Canada's real welfare rolls

Greetings!  I’m Nico Trimoff, manager of accessibility services at
How would you like to know more about your neighbours to the North when it comes to their welfare rolls?  Still not too sure about your neighbours and what they do and how they live?  This article may be a bit outdated but it sure paints a very dismal picture.
I hope you find it of interest.
I’m Nico Trimoff wishing you a great day.
Canada’s real welfare rolls

Globe and Mail, December 12, 2008
A report released this week by the National Council on Welfare reveals that most Canadians living on social assistance can’t afford decent housing or adequate food.
According to council chairman John Rook, “There is nowhere on welfare where it’s
decent living.”
Imagine for instance trying to raise a child by yourself in Alberta’s booming – or
busting – economy on $13, 703 a year, or surviving with a disability on
$8,440. Becoming Canada’s richest province hasn’t changed the fact that Alberta has the
lowest social assistance rates, but for most Canadians, no matter where,
life on welfare means grinding poverty.
The NCW is an arms-length advisory body to the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development. The report measures welfare incomes based on the benchmark of the Low Income Cut-Off, or LICO, the line below which a household’s economy is
considered unsustainable. A couple with two children in British Columbia gets only 60%
of this amount.
A lot of working Canadians are less than sympathetic to the plight of welfare recipients.
I work for my money, they say, why should I have to support a bunch of people who
don’t work for theirs? This attitude is certain to soften for many as they
see their own job prospects, and those of their children, fade into the worldwide
credit crunch.
But as credit tightens and talk turns to recession or depression in the world economy,
it’s not welfare for the poor that dominates discussion, but bail-outs for
the rich. After all, if General Motors is allowed to collapse, many
thousands of Canadians will find themselves in dire straits. For the purposes of this narrative, it’s important to ignore the many thousands who already live in hopeless poverty.
Those who are appalled at the idea of forking out billions in tax-payers
money to rescue failing corporations might take comfort in the knowledge that there’s
nothing new in any of this. According to a report released this week by the Fraser
Institute, Canadian companies have received $182 billion in “corporate welfare” in the
Past 12 years.
Corporate welfare, as defined by the Fraser Institute, a right-wing think
tank, means direct cash subsidies, and does not include the billions in tax cuts
corporations have enjoyed during the same period. So while a succession of prime ministers have overseen a steady downward trend in support for the poor, they’ve managed to come up with a billion and a half dollars a year to prop up corporations.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has spoken against what he calls “the trap” of the
“available plethora of loans, grants, and subsidies” in the past, though he’s done
little to put a stop to it since taking office. Now he’s musing about the necessity
of bailing out the Big Three automakers, for fear of “(putting) our sector
in severe disadvantage.”
It seems that, if the US hands the auto-giants a big bail-out package, Canada will
have no choice but to do the same, or risk sending the entire industry south. But there will be conditions attached. As Harper says, “There’s no blank cheque coming
from the government of Canada.” The question arises, what will those
conditions be?
Imagine a world in which those bail-outs were dependant on a commitment to
Produce energy-efficient cars in low-impact factories. Imagine a promise to restrict
Executive salaries, and to pay a fair share of taxes so that we don’t have to keep
Cutting services to the poor. Picture the Big Three promising to bring home all the
Manufacturing jobs they’ve already exported to China and Mexico.
OK, sorry to wander off into dreamland there. Judging from past performance Harper
will no doubt want guarantees of wage reductions on the assembly line and limits
on pay equity and workers’ rights to organize.
The Big Three will get their bail-out, and others will follow. Canada will
run deficits if need be to meet their demands. Later, to ensure that those deficits will
be short term and temporary, the government, whether Conservative or Liberal, will
slash social spending. Canada’s desperate poor will become poorer still.
It may not be fair, but it’s what we’ve always done.
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About Donna Jodhan

Donna Jodhan is an award winning blind author, advocate, sight loss coach, blogger, podcast commentator, and accessibility specialist.
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