Accessible Widget

October 17, 2022

13.2 Billion Surplus Stew Statement for International Day to Eradicate Poverty October 17th, 2022

October 17th, 2022

Surplus Stew Statement
Photograph of stainless steel pot steaming on stove
Link to view 13.2 Surplus Stew film

Members of the Disability Action Hall thank you for attending the premier of
 The stew is our way to share with you how best to invest the 13.2 Billion surplus to help over 4 million Albertans thrive. 

Who:               Members of the Disability Action Hall, Chew on This! and friends
Why:               To recognize surplus solutions to address food insecurity

1st event:       
Monday, October 17th, 2022 12:30 to 1 pm virtual premiere of "13.2 Surplus Stew"

2nd Event:     

To join the conversation from 7 pm-9 pm, visit this link. 


1. Legislate free Internet Alberta-wide 

Onion and garlic add flavor and stand for choices of things we like and money to spend on what we need.

Free internet is needed, especially in rural communities and on reserves. Tech for Good through TELUS is an affordable way to get a new laptop. We need free internet to become law so all internet service providers can help Albertans stay connected. 10% of people living with low-income access to the internet to help address food barriers and food delivery.[xvi] We think the big phone companies can do better.

2. Index Social Assistance 

Cabbage (another name for money) stands for indexing of AISH (Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped) (Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped), income supports, and Seniors' Special Needs Benefits.

Food insecurity is about a lack of income and access to food.[iii] By indexing AISH (Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped), Income Supports and Alberta Seniors Special Needs Benefits, we can address the root problem. We ask the government to look at how much it would cost to index social assistance to the cost of inflation and increase it every year.

One in four working-age Canadians with a disability lives below the poverty line.[iv] We want the Alberta government and federal MPs to begin conversations to help design the ‘Canada Disability Benefit’, Bill C-22, and a ‘Basic Income’ Bill C223, and  Bill S233 for Canadians who are falling through the cracks. Albertans want to be at the table with the Alberta government to ensure no one is left behind and can begin to eat healthily.

3.    Invest in Public Healthcare 

Rainbow carrots, spices, and herbs add flavour. They reflect the diversity and racialized peoples.

Poverty is hard on your health when you cannot afford the food you need. People are seeking out more private healthcare and that is shockingIn the latest news, ambulances are so overwhelmed that they did not show up as a firefighter lay on the arena ice. Our ambulance service should be better than it is. We think ambulance drivers need full-time contracts [v] to help address the drug poisoning crisis and mental health needs. The biggest cause of bankruptcy in the United States is paying for healthcare[vi]. Our public health care needs to be preserved. If there is not enough public health care and private healthcare takes over, this situation could happen in Canada too. Mental health care is an important part of healthcare and the current investment is not enough. It costs $200 to see a private therapist.[vii] To help address the crisis, adequate mental health services need to be covered by health care. Conversations with newcomers during COVID showed that they could not take time off for their health and sometimes had no health care support.[viii] We need a broad investment in public healthcare to help all Albertans.

4.    Address expensive clothing, bank fees, and other expenses 

Wagyu beef as the surplus are only for the wealthy and the Heritage Fund.

It is difficult to go out and get food if we cannot afford to dress for the weatherAll our money goes towards the rising costs of food. Many times, people with disabilities require modified clothing which costs more, also known in the disabled community as the crip tax.[ix]

We also need better banks for people facing poverty, such as no bank fees, services, and low-interest fees for people facing poverty. We support the four recommendations from Acorn Canada: we need no-fee banking, 0% and low-interest loans to people on a fixed income, get rid of predatory lending, and support a nationalized credit rating system.[x]

5.     We need people to help navigate systems to education and employment. 

Swiss chard is something that not everyone thinks of. Being forgotten excludes people and then people in poverty cannot typically afford them.

Having live humans to talk to, such as when applying for grants to upgrade our education and improve our livelihoods is important. We need plain language and real people to talk to. There are 645,000 Canadians with disabilities who have the potential to work in an inclusive labour market and 75% are not currently working. Many Canadians with disabilities are unemployed or underemployed. Improving workplace access and information would allow 550,000 Canadians with disabilities to work more, and increase the GDP by $16.9 billion by 2030.[xi] At present, many grants can only be applied for online, but many people in poverty do not have devices to access the Internet and, therefore, do not know about programs that are only talked about on the Internet.

 6.     25% Essential Disability Worker pay increase 

Tomatoes and potatoes are basics to help keep our lives, homes and health.

Many of us are reliant on our workers to thrive; however, disability workers live in poverty and cannot afford to put gas in their cars and food on their tables. Many disability workers are forced to leave their jobs due to no raise for eight years.[xii]  Disability workers need a 25% raise to be recognized as essential workers by the government. [xiii]

7.     More affordable, accessible housing 

Mixed beans like fava, black, and chickpeas are cheap and, like housing, are foundational as a protein for everyone all around the world. This includes funds to keep the housing.

Affordable housing is needed for people to rent houses. Some affordable housing projects do not have enough funding to run the housing and keep it up. We are concerned that by 2025 over 100,000 Calgarians[xiv] will need affordable, accessible housing. It is a complex problem needing many solutions. The Alberta government recently announced $ 63 million to help with emergency crisis housing and it is a step in the right direction. More specific solutions are highlighted by Calgary’s ‘Social Policy Collaborative.’ 

“As of April 2021, more than 110,000 low-income Albertans live in affordable housing and more than 24,000 are on a waitlist. The last figure has doubled in the past decade.” 

The collaborative has made  three recommendations; a $ 90 million capital investment in affordable housing every year, to review agreements with operators to determine appropriate funding, and an immediate 10% increase to operation and fully index existing operating agreements to inflation.”[xv]

8. Invest in Affordable, Accessible Pubilc Transportation 

Grains like quinoa in the stew for protein and fibre stands for mobility devices, and public transportation.

It is difficult to buy food when we cannot get to the store and are dependent on the kindness of others for basic needs. All three levels of government need to work together as public transit tries to recover from pre-pandemic levels and service cuts. We need to create better connections to rural communities. We need ongoing operational funding to help create free transportation to address ‘food deserts’ in both urban and rural communities,  secure work, and enjoy our community[xvii]. For instance, we all feel better because of enjoying the great outdoors to feel healthy and connect with nature. To take a group trip on Access Calgary, you must fill out a form 5 days in advance, and email it for every trip. It takes at least 30 minutes to do the form for a group trip. It is a lot of unnecessary work, we need more accessible, affordable public transit buses to help us travel together with our family and friends.

9. Ensure everyone has free, clean water across Alberta 

Water and broth as every good stew have a base and it is critical for nourishment.

Access to water for all is a human right. Many First Nations communities and others do not have clean water at the tap, let alone around the world. All levels of government need to work together on an agreement to help the crisis.[xviii]  It is hard to prepare food if people must pay extra just for clean drinking water.

Serves 4.08 billion Albertans



Surplus Stew Recipe

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp margarine
  • 1 lb rainbow carrots
  • 1/2 lb fingerling potatoes (about 8 little ones)
  • 1/2 small cabbage
  • 2 cans mixed beans (e.g., black beans, fava, kidney beans, chickpeas)
  • 1 large tomato or 10 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 box vegetable broth (900 ml)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano
  • Sea salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1 bunch of Swiss chard, chopped
  • Small amount wagyu beef, shaved & chopped

Cook onion and garlic in margarine. Add chopped bite-sized carrots, potatoes, and cabbage. Cook for about 10 minutes. Then add beans., tomato (chopped), and vegetable broth. Cook covered for 15 minutes. Add ground beef and quinoa. Add water if needed. Cook for 10 minutes covered. Add salt, pepper, and oregano. Add stems of swiss chard. Cook for 45 minutes and then stir in the Swiss chard leaves. Cook for 5 minutes more. Taste for seasoning. Add the shaved beef, if you are using it. Stir and cook a bit more until all vegetables are the texture you like. 

Serves 4.08 billion Albertans.





**A second event for a "Virtual Drop-in Community Conversation" facilitated by Voice of Albertans with disabilities, Self-Advocacy Federation, Alberta Ability Network and the Disability Action Hall  from 7 pm until 9 pm  for greater discussion.
To learn more about the evening event, visit this link. 

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