An open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Preface
*In recent weeks I, like all Canadians, have watched the ’emergency’ aid packages roll out. While I applaud the efforts to do so, I have wondered-as someone who advocated in my former column for a Universal Basic Income-why the government did not choose this route as an immediate option. Emergency aid is exactly that…it is needed immediately. Funds coming two months from now, don’t help those treading water and slipping below the surface right now. Delivering a Universal Basic Income would have saved on the myriad of administrative costs associated with multiple funding routes and could be delivered immediately to every Canadian,thereby leaving no one falling through the cracks. And there are still many who do. Those who survive in a gig economy, those on CPP, etc etc. I think government failed to recognize how a very large majority of Canadians are living right on the edge. Many leaders will be defined by their responses during this crisis and if you have never struggled in your life, it is often hard to develop policy that effectively represents the reality of those in poverty, or on the edge of it. We see that clearly now in the current crisis as every community is dealing with trying to feed people who, in some cases, have not eaten for days. Kim is a friend of mine. She has been a hard working Canadian and a fierce advocate in her life for others. She is one of many being left behind. She asked me to proof read this letter she intended to email, and upon reading it I knew it would be better served representing the voices of many in the public realm because I think there are many more like Kim out there, who may not have any voice at all.  If you too find yourself not fitting into any emergency aid categories, please share your story in the comments. We hope it will help officials in guiding their policy decisions during this time.And if we can help direct you to assistance in the community you live in, we will do so. Without any more delay, please read Kim’s letter below. * 
Dear Prime Minister,
I am a constituent of the Honourable Mr. Garrison, on Vancouver Island.
During this difficult time, I have watched different press conferences every day, from all levels of government, hoping that today will be the day I will no longer fall through the cracks.
Every day I am left feeling defeated, and disappointed.
I understand that you need to help suddenly unemployed Canadians. I applaud that you are trying to do that.
Today the province of BC pledged some real help for the poor, in supports for those on Income Assistance and PWD, and I applaud that as well. Many BC’ers are still falling through the cracks though, because it was required that we access CPP disability before any provincial disability…and that made us invisible to the province.
Personally, let me describe my situation.
My CPP Disability (I am not quite a senior) pays me $890 a month, my husband gets about $910. We have paid the rent. Most of the bills. But the last month we ran out of medications, so I rationed mine, and husband was out for 5 days. Blood pressure meds, in a highly stressful time, should not be rationed.
We had $100 left for food last month.
Friends brought me toilet paper. And food. This month I went to the pharmacy and they informed me it would take 3 days to fill my prescription and the were limited to a 30 day supply now. My medication went from $70 over three months to $40 for one month. I now have to pay more dispensing fees. The grocery store charged me $11 for 15 rolls of toilet paper. All of this comes directly out of our food budget.
It seems fairly obvious to me that many people are falling through these cracks. It seems fairly obvious to me that this is by design. Everyone knows you could immediately deliver a universal basic income. Even the Conservatives are calling for that. I can’t help but think you are terrified that once you unleash such a powerful tool, it will be demanded that it remain in place.
I want you to consider history for a minute, how Tommy Douglas managed to do a good thing for Canadians with Universal Health Care and how Canadians have voted him the Greatest Canadian for that. Mr. Trudeau,  please reach back and find that your father had the courage to trial this idea in Manitoba in the 1970’s.  Imagine the legacy such courage would leave you. Our grandchildren would learn about it, and celebrate your vision. This is what Canada needs right now, urgently so. An error doesn’t become a mistake, unless you fail to correct it.
Lacking the courage to act so boldly, at least, for the sake of the citizens of this country, who need it, raise the CPP. It’s not perfect, but it will help the poor people continually ignored.
I remain
in poverty,
Kim Poirier
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13 Comments on “An open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

    • I do too Kim. There are so many who dont hit these boxes. People who are on or were on Wcb who may have additional medical expenses. Families where one just came off maternity leave to go back to work and now doesnts have the hours or income to qualify for the last year. Families where one partner has been trying to get back into the workforce. People whose EI ran out before this happened.

      There are a host of valid reasons for the many people who dont fit into the current CERB or BC emegency benefit. These are all instances where a UBI would have gotten money into peoples pockets faster than 2 months down the road,would not have required an application and would save millions on administration costs.

      Hes already changed things once, there is no reason it cant be done again. Nothing has happened with the province application yet.

      I know it’s a long shot but your points are so powerful 🙏🏼 Thank you for sharing this with everyone.

  1. sharing the crap out of this, and encouraging people to do the same….let’s make it viral, let’s make it happen. Much love to you both.

  2. Moving, articulate statements showing the urgency of this situation, the way it’s been inefficiently fumbled, and how it can be corrected with a few strokes of the pen. On behalf of so many of us, thank you, Kim and Laila! I’ll share on various pages, and hope all readers and recipients will do the same.

  3. its true it may be much less expensive to have a guaranteed income, but it isn’t going to happen. Not even many of those who need it will go along with it. For them the Striving society they were born into, and socialized them won’t admit that that societal structure won’t work any more. It has reached the end of the road. there has been a monumental shift in the world as to has all the money. Every time we hear a billionaire has a few more billion, that also means some one else doesn’t have that money. That money might have been spread over a million or so families, but once its in one pocket, it doesn’t do much use for anyone. Does Bezos do much with his money? How many fridges can he purchase? does he keep small local businesses open and running., No, he has ware house factories where people work in conditions which are dehumanizing. But this is what our system has brought us to and for some they aren’t ready to give up on it. It would mean we all lived a lie.

    Much of the funding going out from the federal government will go via charities and then into the community. Well people know what they need and it would be so much easier to simply send people cheques each money. But that would let go if the control corporations and politicians have over us. It might also be a real threat to multi national corporations

  4. I noted references to prescriptions. Harvey O at keeping it real has a great post up about pharmacies have figured a way to rip us all of -/those of us who use specific medication long term purchase 3 months st a time reducing dispensing fees. Well no more all we will be able to get is a months worth thus having to pay in some cases hundred more each year. While other small businesses try to help pharmacies are going for the gol

  5. I think Trudeau perhaps turned out to be the better fit for being the Prime Minister as being more in tune to compassion and human needs. I will never vote for someone of his ilk in normal times though, because him and his people allowed Canadians to come back here, and walk free amongst us, that went overseas and joined in the terror clubs. Right now though we have too get through this battle with Covid 19.

  6. I find that even though most things, slow as they may be, given the crisis we jumped into from normal, are coming through, the one huge thing I see as being a continuing threat to the gains we are making is the deadly negligence of the federal leadership and Prime Minister, allowing domestic and international non-essential travel to take place even when infections are being reported from this travel. The mandatory self isolation orders just don’t always go accordingly as we have witnessed. Where’s Elisabeth Tam this. MIA I suppose. Don’t rock the boat. Nice huh ???. When the rest of us are trying our darndest too do right. Yeah I’m in a love hate relationship with Trudeau and his people, not my people. Hurrah for the financial aid to Canadians, but F… him and his slime group for being negligent with life itself.

  7. Needless amount of deaths in seniors home because of gross negligence by Federal Governing leadership. Threw precaution to the wind months ago by not getting on top of known lousy policies known for years. Did not learn from past too make changes for future disease control. Did not get on top of badly run long term care and seniors homes. I got sad and mad continuosly hearing the numbers of deaths everyday announced by government. And Tam our so called Federal Health Officer. Patti Hadju, our Federal Health Minister. What a joke. I wouldn’t blame the families and loved ones of these poor lost souls going after those useless incompetent F…..S. Enough blame leftover for provincial leaders too.

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