Participant bio – Haida Arsenault-Antolick

Name: Haida Arsenault-Antolick

Live: East Vancouver

About myself: I’m a graduate student at SFU, where I work on issues of racialization and neoliberalism. I grew up in rural PEI, and now live in East Van with my partner.

Why doing the Welfare Food Challenge: The brutal, punishing policies all levels of government in Canada enact against poor people in our society are disgusting and unjust. Starvation social assistance rates are a painfully real manifestation of our country’s apparent hatred for poor people, particularly indigenous folks, people of colour, women, and children. While I haven’t experienced being perpetually hungry, or having my life controlled by service providers, and this experience won’t change that, I think it may be valuable in glimpsing just how completely the promise of the welfare state has been broken.

My worries: I’m concerned that I won’t have enough vegetables and protein to feel healthy, and that I won’t be able to concentrate, and work well throughout the week. I’m also conscious of how much time and planning I’ll need to put into creative meal preparation, and making sure I have food with me when I leave for long days from home. I can see that I’ll have to change my social habits in that I won’t be able to focus seeing friends around eating out, or even enjoying a nice homemade meal. I’m also nervous about running out of money before the end of the week.

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