Thursday, August 02, 2018

Trampling the Needy, Ontario Style

Image result for trampling the needy cartoons
Hear this, you that trample on the needy,
    and bring to ruin the poor of the land,
 saying, “When will the new moon be over
    so that we may sell grain;
and the sabbath,
    so that we may offer wheat for sale?
We will make the ephah small and the shekel great,
    and practice deceit with false balances,
 buying the poor for silver
    and the needy for a pair of sandals,
    and selling the sweepings of the wheat.”
Amos 8:4-7  (NRSV)

Well, I was away for a week in beautiful Algonquin Park and came back to discover that the Ontario government is going a step farther in it's Newspeak "for the people" campaign.

We've already discovered that Premier Ford is for all Ontarians except Aboriginals, refugees, parents who want their children to have informed sex ed in schools, and those who want to live in a more environmentally conscientious fashion.

Now his administration has turned its sights on the poor, slashing welfare increases in half and cancelling a guaranteed basic income pilot program. There appears to be no rationale for either decision other than that the Ford "base" will likely applaud these moves.

Municipalities are already sharing their dismay, knowing that this will put added pressure on them to respond to the genuine needs of those who live on the edge every month. I know that food and meal programs, including the ministries of faith groups, will see this as a "war on the poor" tactic which will cause misery for many. Former Senator Hugh Segal who was pivotal in developing the guaranteed income project has spoken out against this arbitrary decision.

Of course those who are most disheartened and dismayed are those who were part of the guaranteed income program who suddenly find themselves unable to pay rent or afford groceries. Some were homeless or users of food banks prior to the modest return to dignity the pilot afforded. It allowed some of them the opportunity to search or get training for work.

Shame on Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod who admits that the cancellation of the pilot program breaks her campaign promise to maintain it should the Regressive Conservatives be elected.

Shame on Health Minister Christine Elliott who was a patient advocate before her election and knows that those on low income are more likely to be chronic users of the healthcare system when they are ill feed and housed. I am most disappointed in Elliott because it appears that she has readily abandoned her supposed values.

This government obviously has a narrow definition of "the people" of this province. The message of Amos may be centuries old but the PC's would do well to get out their bibles. They are trampling on the needy and God will be their judge.

Take a look at this Globe and Mail editorial while you're here.

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