Thursday, December 13, 2007

The "P" Word

I read that the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) gathered yesterday in downtown Toronto's PATH system to protest the city's treatment of panhandlers. OCAP organizer Mike Desroches put their case thus:
Police, security and sometimes the media will suggest panhandling is something people should be afraid of and it is not at all. It is people trying to make ends meet, to survive.
Fair enough, Mike. But it seems to me that you're only compounding the problem by maintaining the use of this offensive term "panhandling." Have we learned nothing from the example of Canada's soon-to-be legitimized profession? You don't strike me as the sort of chap who would ever be so uncouth (nay, intolerant!) as to call a sex-trade worker a hooker--so why refer to the solicitations for loose change of the homeless as "panhandling"? It's disgraceful!

I hereby propose, then, that Canada's panhandlers hitherto be referred to as no-trade workers. Give it a couple of years, Mike, and you can expect to have even the Fascist Post pleading your case.

(I'm not married to no-trade workers, and any other suggestions are welcome via my email.)