I’m tired. Not the “I’ve drank too much egg nog and stayed out too late at a party tired”. I’m “there is no program, resource agency or government body…that can help you,” tired. I’m tired of letting people down.
“Yes I know you are working full time and I know your minimum wage job isn’t enough to live on but there is no help yet for your bills…maybe in January.”
“I know you’re cold now, I know you have no food, no heat, no hydro and worst of all…no hope, but this is all the information I can give you.”
“I agree it’s not fair they claw it back.”
“I know it’s not enough to live on”
“I’m sorry you have nowhere to live”
“I’m just sorry.”
They closed the Status of Women’s offices because the funds were being spent on administration. So what? Is there something inheritantly wrong with paying people to do a job? Do they want more programming and needed the administration funds to fund these programs? I don’t think so because if that were true they would have just closed the offices, not cut the funding and announced the investment in more programs.
The removal of the word equality from the Status of Women’s mandate, what’s the point of that? It is a word, with a huge meaning behind it to women, what would be the harm in leaving it there? Is the word ‘scary’?
As for people not complaining to MP Larry Miller’s office, well let me explain why he didn’t hear from me personally. Colleen Purdon sent me a copy of the letter she was sending Mr. Miller’s office. I thought it was a great letter, covered all the basics. I let her know I would be interested in seeing his reply.
I saw no point in me writing another letter as it would contribute to Mr. Miller’s administration costs as his staff would then have to reply to my letter and Colleen’s, and we know we don’t like spending money on administration!
I just about wept at the Auditor General’s report of Ontario last week. Here we have people who’s children go into the care of Children’s Aid for financial reasons, they get the heat cut off or they can’t afford the fire extinguisher that is required etc, and yet some Children’s Aids are wasting funds that could have been spent on children and families.
We’ve had calls at the United Way of Bruce Grey office where families will lose their children unless such and such is done, and it’s all financially based. If there was that much money floating around why isn’t it being used to keep these kids at home, where the only risk is poverty related.
It’s on days like this I just wonder if we’re making a difference, are we making a dent at all? The need grows, the resources and donations shrink. People get tired of helping the poor, and then a government starts the blame game.
Pointing fingers that the unemployment rate is the lowest ever so everyone should have a job. Well with no daycare spaces, how does a parent go to work? With a lot of the local jobs at minimum wage, who can earn a living?
December 6th was last week, The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women On December 6, 1989 fourteen young women were killed at l'Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal because they were women. The Grey Bruce Domestic Violence Coordinating Committee unveiled End Abuse Now their new website. www.endabusenow.ca
I didn’t make the memorial, and I’m angry with myself for not going. But I was tired, so very tired and I just couldn’t face it, knowing that the difference we’re making is so small, that society just can’t seem to make the needs of women a priority, even when we make up more than half of the population. I just knew that if I heard one person tell me ‘we’ve come along way’, I’d lose it and tell them off. So I kept my peace, curled up in a blanket and mourned quietly on my own.
Getting back to my original complaints, I truly wonder what the thinking is behind government decisions. I’ve found some statistics that say it costs upwards of $40 000 to have a child in the foster care system. Imagine if some of that was used to cope with poverty related refers to Children’s Aid. Raising Ontario Works, Ontario Disability Payments, the minimum wage to a point where it is conceivable to make ends meet would prevent a lot of government involvement, and therefore administration costs, in people’s lives.
There is a huge reliance, of the government, on public will, to cover off what is suppose to be our safety net. Social Services refers people to the United Way of Bruce Grey all the time. We can connect people to food banks, financial counseling, second hand stores and other resources. I wonder what would happen if we all closed up shop and went home?
What would the government do then?
We won’t do it, we cannot risk people going hungry, cold or without a resource. It amazes me that everyone I talk to agrees that many of the rules surrounding government related assistance don’t make sense and are a deterrent for working and getting ahead. But no one seems to have the political will to do anything about it.
The blame game is huge, “everyone knows someone who’s “milking” the system,” and that justifies treating the majority of those in need as sub-human. The last numbers I heard on welfare fraud were in the 4% range. So out of 100 people, 4 could be considered bilking the system. So in the interest of protecting ourselves from those 4 people, we condemn 96 to a life of invasion, judgment and finger pointing.
Most people are one pay cheque away from poverty. Think about it, what would YOU do if you lost your job today, were in a car accident and couldn’t work, today, found yourself single with children to support, today? How would you cope? What would you do?
Sure there’s Employment Insurance: takes a month or so to get on the system and start getting cheques, which are close to half of what you use to bring home, AND the Hydro bill is due TODAY.
Insurance will cover you on the car accident but after a year or two they get tired of you and they start trying to get you off their books, but you need to pay the rent TODAY.
Child support and alimony can get tied up in the courts for years, but your child needs winter boots TODAY.
We need the resources in our community, we need to ensure that the gaps in the safety net, and a net has gaps in it, are there for when YOU need them too.
Because I’m tired, and I just can’t do this without YOU.
Running With Scissors - orginally published December 2006