It has become a recent trend in Canadian urban centres to combat panhandling by installing so-called “charity metres.” These metres are on-street receptacles for small change donations styled after parking metres. Sometimes they are attached to parking metres themselves. Edmonton and Ottawa have them, cities like Windsor and Halifax have considered them. My own Peterborough had a few installed back in 2011. The idea is to deter panhandling while still encouraging donations to programs that help the poor.
I guess it works something like this: you see a panhandler, you feel compassion, but then you slip a loonie into a cold machine instead of the individual’s hand, communicating that you’re a really nice person and would like to help, though it would be nice if this bum got out of your way.
I find this to be a pretty disturbing trend.
First, even suggesting that we should remove our panhandlers from…
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