If you aren’t outraged, you haven’t been paying attention – part II

A long time reader, Gordon, otherwise known as Canadianbud, left this comment yesterday on my recent post When the solution becomes part of the problem, and after reading it, I really felt it was worthy of a post itself.

 Having worked in the non-profit sector for a while in the early days of Campbell’s cuts to social services and related agencies, I have personally worked with many wonderful people like Gordon who faced multiple barriers in their lives that made regular fulltime employment hard to find, along with those who simply wanted the world to give them a free ride. 

This commentary speaks to both the growing frustration felt by those who have been intentionally marginalized by the Campbell/Clark governments, and to the outrage many of us feel by the growing gap between rich and poor.  That’s why I am here, to give a loud, angry – no, outraged voice for the people who might not have one. I don’t have a quick fix for you nor do I have a party label or a rigid ideology to go with that, but I sure as hell know that what’s going on in this province isn’t working, and hasn’t been for some time.

Maybe I can help change that, and so can each of you, if we keep revealing, keep discussing and keep fighting to right what is wrong in British Columbia.

Thank you Gordon.

I’m permanently disabled.
My total income from government disability (and all other sources) totaled (gross) $9,140 for 2011. (I get about $900/month now).
For 5 years after my first stroke (1997-2002) I struggled on $490/month ( $500 -$10/month to pay back damage deposits from having to move to rooming houses) selling off everything of value, before finally applying and getting my disability-1 for 7 years (I didn’t and don’t like to think of myself as permanently disabled, but I am).
Then Campbell came in 2001 and ripped everything up in the social system saying this would weed out the klingons and abusers of our system.
That’s when doctors started charging $50 for a basic form up to $200 for a disability form. Check it out for yourself.

So, after Campbell made it near impossible to get back on the system due to paperwork and costs, I went up Island to Nanaimo to work in an MSN call center.
You could NOT get welfare in Nanaimo at that time unless you had a rejection notice (FACT) from RMH (the people who owned the fully American call center in the Country Club Mall, totally SUBSIDIZED by our government in order to “promote jobs”). That in itself should have been illegal. But, understandable I guess in order to get complacent people on welfare actively job searching.
We weren’t considered human there, just expendable if we didn’t meet their (RMH’s) unreasonable (profit based) time quotas.
Sure enough, within the year my disability interfered enough to get me “medically released”.
I tried for work again in 2003 at the West Corporation (AT&T wireless call center out on Keating Xroad) but had a seizure and was put on medical leave, they then “terminated” me as an “abandonment of position” even though I had doctors notes and letters excusing me.

So, I’m the thief, the abuser, the klingon of the welfare tit eh?!
That’s the feeling and looks I get (my disabilities aren’t readily apparent, I don’t use a wheelchair for example) when mentioning my income.
The ignorance is maddening.
I get a few thousand a year, yet politicians and so called officials steal or waste millions every day/month, and people have the audacity to take the stance you have, to make unrealistic suggestions on how to live with a situation you absolutely have NO CLUE ABOUT, on an amount that is unlivable.
An MLA recently tried it for a month AND COULDN’T DO IT.
http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/01/18/british-columbia-mla-jagrup-brar-tries-living-on-welfare-for-a-month/ .
I’ve been doing it for almost 14 BLOODY YEARS. What do you think I have left? Barely my dignity.. and I can’t even afford that anymore.

AND, just as ONE example of where we really see abuse, Ida “CHOMP CHOMP” Chong spent over $6,000 in one year JUST FOR HER 1 MEAL PER DAY PERK (per diem) .
How much does she make a year? How much of her travel, food, lodging are covered by taxpayers and why? Now multiply that by every MLA and MP.
Don’t have the money for schools and such eh?!
Why is all this travel (including Clark’s jet-setting) when things can be done over a video-conference.. isn’t everything electronic these days anyways?

The people you see on Pandora street DO NOT REFLECT EVEN 1% of a percentage point the “type” of people receiving assistance, yet they are the first people you think of when the words “welfare recipient” are put out, and then all of a sudden everyone that’s on welfare is a scammer, etc.
I do see the abusers of the system, I hate it, they make the ones who need/depend on it look bad. But, I will not turn into a dicktator and tell people what or where they should be when I have no idea of who they are, or more importantly, where they’ve been or may be in life as a person.

How about not outsourcing all our jobs (see any “made in Canada” products on shelves lately?) and creating work here.
How about making jobs easier with technology rather than eliminating them completely so people have some job options, especially for people like me who are so bored, have capabilities and WANT TO WORK.
Instead, EVERY DAMN MONTH I worry myself sick (stress is a major trigger to my disability, fancy that) that there won’t be a cheque in the mail (as has happened many many many times) and I’ll have to go through all the BS it takes to get things straightened out in this red-tape govt.
That means missing many meals, adding late payment charges to my bills, and my eviction notice will have to wait.

I’m so mad, yet God bless those who do understand and have empathy. We will prevail. We will make things right. Just give us a chance.

23 thoughts on “If you aren’t outraged, you haven’t been paying attention – part II

  1. Excellent comment Gordon, very accurate. I too have a disability and try to volunteer as my contribution to society for my assistance cheque.
    During that period of cutbacks I was trained at my volunteer position how to keep clients on the phone if they appeared to be in crisis (suicidal) while a social worker could be located to take the call..
    The changes to the system brought so much fear to those that were trying to reapply.
    Many had no family or friends to assist them with those horrendous forms.
    I fear that what Gordon has described hear will again escalate as the government tries to cut costs.
    I’m passing this post to several advocates that I hope can contribute to this conversation..


  2. Centre right parties see injured and disabled persons in BC in a cynical rather than empathetic light. It’s very sad, because the criteria for being designated disabled – is sufficient enough to suggest that once designated (and its almost always long term disability) you live in an economic environment – unable to do things that regular people are capable of doing to make a living.

    It’s only in the most ignorant of political cultures that disabled people are treated as lazy people.
    Why wouldn’t we permit the disabled to receive a reasonable monthly income and permit them to earn more as well (than the $5,000 per year). What is the argument opposing this – that’s not fair the disabled get better treatment than some of us? The concept for better economic treatment is that (a) disabled people who are less stressed about surviving may in fact find a job they like and can perform full time; (b) people who are not disabled have greater opportunities to succeed in the job market – owing to the fact that they are not limited by their disability.


  3. I’m so honored Laila, thank you!
    And thank you to all who read and understand. I’m more blessed than I’ve given myself credit for, thank you for reminding me of that!
    Tears of joy (relief?) are flowing.. joy that I’ve been recognized in a unique (to me) fashion, and relief that my hesitancy to tell my story based on my insecurity is unfounded.
    Much Respect,



  4. If Gordon’s situation was unique, then fixing the crack in the system would be difficult but certainly someone (like an MLA) could and should be able work to fix it specific to the individual, but his situation is not unique. Continually, we are hearing more and more heartbreaking stories like his. Gordon has outlined his plight very well and certainly I can read his frustration at the system that allows those who want to advance themselves, even with a disability but are held back by a system that cares only about itself.
    While I appreciate that the mandate of the ministry employees are to ensure that the regimes regulations and rules are met, but where is their humanity and guts to confront the ministry to assist someone like Gordon. The government is only part of the problem (now for my bomb shell), the other part of the problem rests with the BCGEU and its’ members in not speaking out and embarrasing the government for its’ lack of concern for those seeking legitimate assistance. But then, why would they, they have their pay cheques and terrific benefits, why rock the boat.
    What really is the role of a Social Worker these days and who do they really represent, solely the mandate of government or the taxpayers/voters who have paid their wages at times past and are in need of assistance during a crisis or tough economic times.
    I do want to be clear the BCGEU and its members seem to be as much a part of the problem asthe government of day.
    I can’t help but wonder with folks like Gordon who needs assistance and seems to have a desire to work, even with his disability why we collectively as a society cannot give him the leg up that he needs so that he can be less dependent on the system and more productive. Now, I do not know how old Gordon is, but I am guessing 50 plus at this point, which would mean that prior to his stroke he was likely working, paying taxes, consuming goods and services with after tax dollars in otherwords doing all the right things.
    You know, I understand our premier attends regular church services, I think she needs to spend some time reflecting on the gospels and actually listening with some understanding as to the actual words and instructions that we as Christians have been given, especially as it relates to those in need.
    Sorry about the rambling….


  5. First, Gordon, don’t thank me,I feel very honoured for you to share with us here, and that you allowed me to post this to get the attention I felt it so rightly deserved. You are not alone, nor should you feel insecure. Your voice is strong,as is your message. Rest assured, many are reading this right now. I don’t have much, but my ability to write and convey a message, to engage others is my biggest asset in this fight. Thank you.

    Stan, do not apologise for what you have written, it is not ramblings and I don’t have word limit on comments. True enough, there are many you are part of this cycle, and this industry – and yes it is an industry of which I have written about many times over the years. Again, it goes back to a balance in the system, and right now I think the current government has made a long series of cuts to different forms of taxation that deeply cut our provincial revenue stream, and created an environment of spending that has come at the expense of our provinces most vulnerable – whether it be children seniors disabled, or the mentally ill.

    Let me share with you something that was sent to me by a friend and reader on facebook, who gave me permission to share. We were chatting about a womens centre that was facing a closure, a place this reader has used herself, a place where women can get clothing for jobs, and toys for their kids, meet and find resources and help, etc.It moved to, of course, talking about Chisty Clark as a politician. These are some of her thoughts:

    ” I cant believe a woman would actually take part in contributing to something like this Pretty bad when Women have no Empathy
    Pretty difficult to Numb that in a Woman”

    “Some people talk about Soulless Humans People who are Cloned and Well its People like Cristy Clark that Make it Believable lol. Seriously, I wonder. Look at her when she smiles, every women knows a Fake smile. We have or most of us at some time have done it .Practice in mirror for that perfect smile. You know it just doesn’t ever look good unless the smile that comes from our heart and taken off guard someone snaps a picture and your so proud of yourself you got that Smile but it cant be duplicated because it was heart felt hahaha.

    You can see Cristy Clark needs more Practice because it is the only one she has and its FAKE !

    Well I hope she makes room in her Office for a clothing and Toy drop off and meeting place for clothing Exchange That is a great idea ” Wonderful Christy Clark Opening her doors for resources I need to ask her for some Business cards haha Ill pass them Out and say Here’s Christy Clark’s # Call her She has all the answers !

    You can use anything I say to You and you do not have to mention my name or that I said it Really Laila I believe people listen to you and the People need to Wake Up !
    You have a Genuine True heartfelt Smile that requires No Practice 🙂 “

    Yes, Christy’s smile is very fake, and we all know it, and I think that turns other women off more than anything, because as women,we do value our empathy and our ability to get things done and make things right. Generally that is,clearly not all women are like this.

    George, I fear the same thing, that in the race to give China all our natural resources, this government has forgotten about the people who made this province what it once was, not what it is rapidly becoming.


  6. Then there are the incentive bonuses, to cheat the people who really need those services, which we pay through the nose for. Gordon is certainly one of those people being cheated, by this corrupt, most foul and evil government, ever in Canadian history.

    BC citizens are thieved from, non-stop by the Campbell/Clark BC Liberals, for well over 10 years now. On top of Ida Chongs fine dining, it seems she has developed a taste for fine wines as well. The BC tax payers also pay for visits to nail salons. It is “totally” easy to see why BC is the most corrupt province, in this “totally” corrupt country. The Campbell/Clark BC Liberals expense accounts are obscene and so shameful you, would have to be a criminal of the worst kind. Decent, honest people do not behave as the BC Liberals do. I guess we have to add Boessenkool to this evil mix.

    Canada is pretty much viewed as a, fascist dictatorship regime. Another Common Wealth country’s media said, how badly Harper is destroying Democracy in Canada. Our Civil Rights and Liberties have been taken from us too. They are trying to take our, Freedom of Speech from us as well.


  7. Lailia, thank you for printing Gordon’s column. It clearly outlines the problems faced by people on disability “pensions”. They are forced to live on such a small amount of money all they can do is survive. The lieberals appear to have money for everything except people who should be getting it.

    Christie thinks B.C. didn’t need the $35M from Telus, well I’m sure there are a number of disabiled people in this province who would disagree. The lieberals have waged war on everybody who isn’t one of their “friends”. When I see what the lieberals have done to health care, community living, etc. it leads me to conclude they just want people to die so there won’t be any expense to the lieberals.

    Many people do not understand what happened to Gordon could happen to anyone. One minute you are fine & working the next you’re disabiled & sidelined for life. If you were lucky enough to have worked for an employer who offered disability insurance you could get by but most employers dont’ offer it anymore. It is one of the benefits of being unionized. Many union’s negotiate disability insurance into their collective agreement.


    1. Even many unions are having their disability benefits along with other benefits as the employers move to the american style healthcare “flex plans”. I know someone who recently had their union agree to the employers move to flex plans, which many didnt understand.The employer erroneously claimed benefits would remain the same and in fact they do look the same at first glance, until you read the fine print… now, because it was a completely new plan and policy,many employees with pre-existing conditions wont be covered like they were before and will be denied benefits, including disability.

      Absolutely, anyone could end up where Gordon is, and in this era where many are living pay to pay, it can happen very fast. So the question is, with everything we see before us, the corporate handouts, the favourtism,the beefed up P3 and other contracts, the credit card abuse by gov employees,the trips overseas, parties, etc etc etc… why are so damn many people still going along with the program? Why aren’t more out there demanding, demanding this government be removed immediately? Why are we ALL not heading to Victoria on the ferry for a mass demonstration in front of the legislature? Hmmm?


  8. Thank you so much for posting this! I have a few people in my life with the same “invisible” disabilites and the same fight with the goverment. To say that I am outraged by our government’s treatment of persons with disabilities is a huge understatement. I can’t belive the amount of money that is wasted daily by the people in power in this country. I could go on all day…but I don’t have anything that you haven’t heard already. Anyway…I just want to say thank you Gordon! I pray that your fight gets easier.


  9. Dear Gordon,
    I feel 4 you more than you can imagine 🙂

    I hear and share your madness, I live it every day, a challenge every day,
    I am also on disability, CPP disability and I get a whooping $558.98 a month, I have no benefits at all, worked in Canada on and off for about 30 years, some months this amount hardly covers my meds, plus the parking I have to dish out every week at St. Paul’s hospital and every 2 weeks at Peace Arch, UBC & VGH occasionally, the amount is the hundreds.
    I have written to the MLA met with him, written to Stephen Harper, to the Ministry of Health (Abbott at the time, useless guy), to Fraser Health etc. they all have the same answer if they answer at all, we can’t help you.

    I am very lucky however, I have a husband that works, we had savings, had, as it has dwindled down and we have downsized, done all we could and can 2 not spend more than we need.
    It is an absolute crime in my opinion to treat us patients on disability like this, we nothing more than just garbage to them, to top it off, this CPP disability is not tax free.

    now having to deal with the increasing diesel fumes, my health is deteriorating obviously, but I fight it with all that is left in me to get us a realistic pension, a pension that will allow us to live a life we deserve, we have put in the work, we have put in the taxes and we are still paying supporting businesses, making my Pharmacist a happy man for example…

    Where this or the last government and the one before that, I don’t care which one actually started this insane unrealistic program or whatever they call it, to pay out a disability amount so we can live on the streets, where they get the nerve or gull to do this, is beyond me and my horizon.
    While they get their feisty pensions even after they screwed us, and we are left to gnaw on a hunger blanket.


  10. wow thank you gordon , thank you laila for a great blog.
    imy name is harry lawson and i have been an advocate, committee member,and board member of several major and minor non profits in vancouver.bc.

    what type od society are we that treat our disabled with such disdain.
    we have micro managed services to those who are ill to the point of virtually no services at all.

    the majority of funds for services have gone to staffing and administration of service providers rather than clients,
    i have personally witnessed abuses by staff to clients that is crimminal in nature.
    trying to report and ensure resolution is very difficult.

    the goverment has non profits as service providers great in theroy however there is no complaint resolution process,

    all i can ask is who truly benifits ?

    the answer is not the clent mmmm.


  11. Laila, let me thank you for your past kind words. Like you and so many others, I believe that truth will always out but it sometimes needs seekers to bring it forward. Gordon’s post and the ensuring comments prompted me to share with you a chance meeting I had about 25 years ago on a beach one morning in Hawaii.
    I had been soaking up some warm rays and enjoying a brief respite from the daily tasks required of a mother of three toddlers who had a husband who was often away from home. My life was crowded with all the mundane things that occupy us all. Social activism was not on my radar nor did I have concerns for the world events happening around me.
    That morning I was approached out of the blue by an elderly lady who asked if she could speak to me for a moment and even though I half expected to be sold a time share condo, I said sure. What followed changed my life forever.
    She was German and she wanted to talk to me about her daughter. She talked about her curly blonde hair, her deep blue eyes and her rosebud lips. She told me of her sunny disposition, a laugh that was more of a giggle and how she loved to hug everyone she met. Her daughter was six when the SS came to her door one evening and took her away. She never saw her again and never knew what happened to her but she could guess because her daughter was mentally handicapped and so had been declared by The Reich to be a drain upon society.
    I didn’t know what to say to her except to say how sorry I was. But she wasn’t finished and through her tears she continued.
    She had been, like I was at the time, a young mother who was busy with life’s journey. When Hitler came to power she didn’t think too much about it and since he seemed to have turned the corner on their economy and people were working she even had supported him. Then she started to hear the antisemetic talk and how Jews were being “given” an area for them to live in. That way they couldn’t “contaminate other good German’s”. She thought it was wrong but didn’t say anything because it didnt really effect her. Then she heard about book burnings and internment camps but since it didn’t effect her she did nothing.Then she was concerned about why they suddenly needed identity cards and she found herself being careful about what she said. How did this happen she had wondered but had kept her concerns to herself because to disagree could bring unwelcome attention from the authorities. Now she was afraid to disagree and point out the wrongs she knew were occurring. Then they took her daughter and she could do nothing to stop them. Throughout the war she cared for her other children as best she could and tried not to remember those small outstretched arms as she cried out for her. She could not bear to think of what horror had been her fate. They never spoke of her missing daughter until the war was over.
    I was shocked by her words, even revolted and wondered why she had chosen me to speak to. I was unprepared for what came next.
    It was her daughters birthday and she had vowed that if she made it through the war, she would tell her story on that day, every year to strangers. She wanted people to know that when you see or hear wrong being committed you must speak out, even if you think it doesn’t matter because it doesn’t effect you. Because, she sternly told me, eventually those wrongs will catch up to you and those you love in ways you could never imagine. Don’t ever be too busy or too shy to speak up and act for what is right because if you dont you empower those who do wrong.
    She had wanted her daughter’s short life to have mattered and to be remembered. This was her way of honoring her much loved daughter.
    She never told me her name nor that of her daughter’s and I regret not asking. Our meeting only lasted a couple of minutes and I watched as she continued down the beach, stopping to have a word with other strangers.
    Whenever I feel discouraged or frustrated and wonder if speaking out and showing up is worth it I remember the pain in her eyes and the regret in her voice as she admonished and warned me of the dangers inherent in complacency.
    Activism can be uncomfortable, lonely and as we see so often now, even dangerous. So I honor all of you who are not content to say nothing and are vigilant in seeking out the truth and exposing the dark corners in our governments and corporations. By doing so, you pay honor to all those who have suffered at the hands of those who think only of power and possessions. Every single voice and every action counts to the whole. So on behalf of an innocent little girl whose Mother sought to teach us our actions do matter, dont be shy, speak up and be counted before we are forced into silence until the war is over.

    Please forgive the length of this Laila, somehow the couple of sentences I meant to write expanded into this missive.


  12. I’d like to thank Gordon for being the voice for so many of the disabled in our province. I do hope that when the BC Liberals get thrown out of office next year (oh, how I wish it could be sooner!) that the new government will see fit to take better care of our most vulnerable citizens.

    That’s what I like about the NDP. They put people before corporations. Our province has suffered so much since 2001 that it’s going to be an uphill battle for the next government to try to get us back on the right track.

    You know, Laila, that if someone were to organize a march on the Legislature that many of us would make the effort to be there, even though we live hundreds of miles and a BC Ferry (ugh!) ride away. I understand that the MLAs are now on ‘spring break’ though. Will they be going back this spring, or was that it until the fall?

    BTW, did anyone else see the interview she did on the news tonight? She was asked when she plans to call those two by-elections and she replied, “You’ll know as soon as I know.” I wonder who’s going to tell her? Patrick Kinsella, or one of the Harper rejects working in her office?


    1. Morning everyone, I’ve just got a couple kiddies with some flu here, so I’ve been soothing heads and cuddling… not much sleep last night unfortunately for them! I’ll reply to everyone as soon as I get a chance, but please continue the discussion on all posts and I love the idea of organizing a march when the spring break for the politicians is over!! I am all for that!!!

      And to those who have so emotionally shared stories on Gordons passionate post,bless you all. Debbie,we stand side by side, I know from personal talks, and emails.

      We will win. Democracy and this country, depend on it.


  13. That’s what I like about the NDP. They put people before corporations.

    Don’t forget one of the first things they did when they came to power in 91 was to cut welfare by 50 bucks… i sure hope they don’t do it again.

    I do not know how people can live in BC on the 906 a month from pwd. Rents, food etc have sky rocketed. seems no increase for anyone whether disabled or teachers but plenty if you are a politician.

    I see in Alberta they gave single disability people a $400 a month raise to $1588 and they can earn $800 a month for a single without it being deducted.


  14. @ Debbie, Gini, Harry, Maggie, Louise, e.a.f., Stan, George, Glen, and especially Laila;
    Thank you for your kind words, your support, your time and emotion! Thank you for getting involved, for being involved. For caring!
    Most especially, for giving me hope and encouragement to step out more, to become more a participant in life rather than an unwilling bystander. Count me in on that march after spring break!

    You take care of yourself and the kiddies Laila, that flu can be nasty as I’m just finishing my bout with it.
    And yes, we will win, there’s simply no other option.
    Peace to you all.


  15. Wow. Thank you for sharing your experiences Gary, I have had similar struggles. First, in advocating for my partner with Worksafe…a decade long fight for justice. Then, after suffering two strokes and being diagnosed with epilepsy, on top of the Reynuad’s and chronic tendonitis, I helped him apply for CPP disability, only to have to fight them for three years before they accepted his claim. So I applied for him to get the disability tax credit from CRA. It should be a no brainer right? Two years later, they are still demanding more information from his well respected doctor, who finally got so sick of filling out forms, he started charging us for them, then threw up his hands and said, “What more can I do?” For all of my hard work, I got him just enough of the benefits to put him just above the cutoff line for premium assisted medical and Fair Pharmacare. The result is We have to pay BC Medical $1113.60 annually and almost $1,000 a year on his meds. The Disability Tax Credit would almost offset those costs. His union, the IWA, refused his claim for his LTD insurance based on a statute of limitations. Even though they represented him to Worksafe, they failed to inform him that he should apply to his union for additional benefits, knowing full well that he was dyslexic and borderline literate. By the time I started advocating for him with them, it was too late.

    Then I got sick. My claim went through without problems, amazingly. $740 a month. I live in fear of surviving him. I will be a bag lady, with no help from the province because, in order to qualify for provincial disability, you first have to qualify for regular benefits and the CPP disability disqualifies me from provincial benefits. I often lay awake at night thinking about my future homelessness. I won’t be a senior for another 19 years, given the new benchmark of 67 years of age.

    I feel very strongly that if people are afforded a living wage or benefit, that they will find a way to become productive, whether it’s volunteerism, or just being able to afford to explore their own creative muse. This system is counterproductive.


  16. Dear Kim

    I feel 4 you too, it is hard to deal with any type of disability and trying to get the government to listen and make them understand we are in need for care.

    this system is not only counterproductive like you say and you are right about, it is also trying to get rid of us in a hurry by treating us with no respect and making us suffer financially on top of our daily struggles with our disability, what kind of government treats their ill like this?

    a government that does not care, doesn’t wish to know about us, wants to forget about us, writes us off like an old beaten up clunker, the people/leaders that make these decisions on how much of a pensions we deserve, don’t live in reality like we do, they don’t have to worry about their health, even if they get sick and disabled, their pensions will look after them and their families, they will never get it and understand what it means to be “crippled” in every way, they don’t have to worry about the financial part, the health part, well that can change in a second, we live now and today, tomorrow is not guaranteed to anybody.

    we need a Leader that is not rich, we need representatives with a hear, a soul and compassion for every walk of life, we don’t need 2 worry about the rich, they can take care of themselves, the government should be here to look after people that have lost their health and with that their income, why are we punished? who on earth would choose to be on disability when we could be earning a living?

    this is actually criminal in my opinion, it is taking away the right for survival and getting the proper care, why aren’t more people angry about this and speaking up is beyond me, as a nurse I know how many people are on disability and are in poor shape, physically, mentally and of course financially. my heart was aching for them when I had to watch them suffer and listen to their painful stories, now I suffer with them again, at least we can help each other by listening and letting them know we care, I care for you Kim your partner and Gordon and all the people in our situation.

    like you Kim, it took me 3 years to get the CPP, turned down twice until the BC Coalition of people with Disability took over and my doctors wrote even stronger letters. My doctors are the best, my ENT especially he is my HERO, he was also the one that diagnosed me with my rare blood disorder and the AFS allergic fungal sinus disease, no cure for either and the treatments are very costly, thank god MSP covers them, but I have no other benefits, so like you guys, I have 2 pay for every Rx, parking while getting treatment etc.

    I had several doctors and specialists write on my behalf, but due to my rare condition, CPP had no clue about my diseases, therefore I got turned down twice. My own GP said, they pay for people that don’t have a disability, yet they argue and turn down patients that are really ill, and I must say, none of my doctors ever charged me for their letters. I am very grateful to my panel of doctors, every each and one is just awesome.

    If any of you would like to know more here is my story: old by now and lots has changed, but it still creates Awareness.
    thank you,


  17. @Kim:
    Thank you for sharing. You are a strong woman and Kudos to you for the compassion and empathy you have. It’s too bad that, for the most part, people can’t understand this unless they’ve been subjected to it.

    I was made to apply for CPP before I would be considered for disability as well only to find out that I was 53 hours short of qualifying and had I qualified I would only get payments up to $322/month still “topped up” by local (provincial) welfare. And as you stated, it’s a “taxable” income.
    That, in itself, would have been a red-tape nightmare, in some senses I’m happy that I didn’t make it (even though I paid into it for 12-15 years). The only benefit to it is it can be transferred to other provinces while provincial social assistance disability does not.
    If I moved to Northern Alberta or Sask my disability does not transfer and I would have to go through that respective province’s “disability assistance” application process all over again, which is no less costly or time effective than here.

    Until we can stop people from thinking that being on welfare is like getting “free money” they are just perpetuating the falsehood of social assistance as being “liveable”.
    For 7 or 8 years now for me it has been a routine of get cheque, pay bills, pay back loans from friends, and then try to live for the next 28 days (or 35 days, depending on the time of year. Example; December 18 cheque day, next cheque day was January 25, but you only get money for 28, and these 5 week months happen 3 times a year).

    I’m paying out of my own pocket for a therapist (there’s NO coverage for men in this province for mental or psychological help), sliding scale is helpful but the $40 a month I pay is coming straight out of my food. I have to decide if stomach growls are more important than mental glitches. If I’m messed up and miss an appointment I’m charged anyways.

    I’d happily trade with ANYONE who’s working a job, who has family and support in place and a home to come to that isn’t replete with bed-bugs, cockroaches, mold, human filth and stress. I’ve been lucky to have a friend who’s helped me off an on financially, but I try hard to not depend/abuse that privilege because if the friend were to go away, I’d not be able to take care of myself and that’s when I think life would become far too unbearable and not worth living.

    Suffering is different for everyone.. but one thing is certain, and that’s everyone has a point where they just can’t take it anymore.
    I wish society would adopt that with our “elected” officials instead of focusing on the poor who can’t defend themselves rather than the REAL thieves, the REAL “suckers of the tit”, our current provincial (and federal) government.


  18. I’m on B.C. provincial disability; $906.42/month. (That will be there for me *for life* if need be. I hope need doesn’t be.) That works out to be just over $10,000.00 a year. Almost a year ago, I was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer that has spread to my lymph nodes. I thought I’d like to see some of my pension before I’m worm food and applied for CPP Disabilty. I have paid into my pension, a lot of money, as I worked in the film industry and was in one of the highest tax brackets for many years. Finally, after what felt like ages of waiting to hear if I’d qualify, I did! I will receive retroactive money and a monthly amount that is less than my provincial disability. I learned today that I will not be able to keep any of the money. I will get the monthly amount from CPP plus $100 and some dollars from provincial disabilty to bring me to the whopping grand total of – $906.42 a month. The difference is that now, I’ll have to start paying income tax on the portion that is my pension. I’m making the same yearly income, only now I’ll have to pay taxes on it. I am so disgusted by this, that I said “I’m just going to tell CPP to keep their (my) money.” I was told if I do that, provincial disability will cut me off. If I had known I was going to get totally screwed, I never would have applied for my pension. They also will not allow me to keep $500.00 a month as “earnings.” I’m so angry, I don’t what to do. I just know that I’m going to be doing something about it.


  19. @Canadianbud: You were damn lucky you didn’t qualify for CPP. It is loud and very clear to me that our government doesn’t allow people the chance to get out of the hell of extreme poverty. Like you, I have a precarious relationship with someone which enables me to not have to live in a bedbug infested government run SRO crackhouse. There’s constant fear that this person will change their mind and I’ll end up committing Hari Kari rather than live like that. I wish I could help you; I wish I could help me. The reality is that we are powerless. I understand why some people numb themselves with horrendous drugs. The urge to escape even for a few hours, is very powerful. You mentioned moving to another province; believe me, that’s a thought I’m taking very seriously at the moment. That’s not an easy answer, not in any way. Like you said, reapplying for disability, finding a doctor or two (you need two to fill out the forms) in this country is impossible in many cities. Nobody’s taking new patients. I’m beginning to hope this cancer takes me, fast.


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