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.
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.