To the Editor,
As a member of ALERT and the anti-poverty coalition working group for a liveable income I am aghast that the government and its department responsible for social assistance allowed a 2013 budgetary "surplus" of thousands of dollars to be cancelled or "disappeared."
This done despite the years of lobbying by anti-poverty groups like the ones I belong to and that of other social justice organizations, yes, including political voices, saying loudly and clearly: social assistance rates are too low.
People on social assistance do not eat well, are not eating healthy food, live in poor housing and cannot participate in the communities in which they live even at a minimum level because of the mean-spirited welfare budget rates set by government. Countless studies over the years highlight these facts and show the negative impact on our society when people have to live like this.
A charity model at its worst!
I am disgusted that after all the years of meeting with government ministers and their officials to point out the real need of allowing people on social assistance to have a better life Minister Docherty and her department allowed this thoughtless and irresponsible handling of funds. That surplus could have been paid out to social assistance recipients, especially to those with children. [Oh yeah, there will be food rate increases, minimal at best, but won't kick in until next year, a possible election year.]
To add insult to injury this same government and their officials want to consult with us about a five-year poverty strategy, a strategy talked about for the last five years. Why would we since it is obvious we haven't been listened to up to now.