Sunday, 14 March 2010

An Open Letter to the Ontario Government

Dear Social Services Minister Madeleine Meilleur;

I have been following the situation in Ontario regarding the Special Diet Allowance for people on various forms of social assistance in this province with interest for some time now.

According to this article in the Star,the province is considering doing away with the Special Diet Allowance and replacing it with a general increase of 3 or 4 percent.

I have a much better idea: give the Special Diet Allowance to everyone on social assistance.

Current levels of social assistance are absurdly low.

I'm retired now, but when I was a landlord I saw a lot of people on social assistance, and got an unusually intimate look into how they were coping in their day-to-day lives. When I first started out, someone on social assistance could keep a roof over their head and eat. There wasn't any extra money, but it covered the basics. That was over 15 years ago. By the time I retired about a year ago, it was clear that the social assistance was no longer sufficient to do the job. And this was in a city with very affordable rents by provincial standards (Cambridge).

"No longer sufficient to do the job." By this I mean that people had to start trying to double up in apartments not meant to be doubled up in, with people they didn't have anything in common with but poverty. You can imagine how well this works. By this I mean the quality of people's possessions dropped as constant moving without any money to move with obliged them to leave things behind for me to discard. It was heartbreaking to throw away people's photos and other life mementos. By this I mean that people's health, and that of their children, suffered as they cracked under the stress of having no money.

I've been a business person for much of my life. I have nothing against the argument that we should provide people with an adequate amount of money to live when we give them social assistance because it is the decent thing to do. Indeed, I don't want to live in a society where people think doing the decent thing isn't necessary.

But I also see that failing to provide the necessities of life to people on social assistance is very expensive in the long run, and even in the medium to short run. Sure, you will save millions by giving out less social assistance money. But you will pay billions more in increased health costs, in increased education costs, in increased policing and justice system costs, in decreased productivity as people fail to thrive sufficiently to return to employment in an effective manner.

Please don't waste my tax money. Please give social assistance recipients the money they need to live healthy, dignified lives, and to return to fully productive lives if and when that's possible. Please provide the money now available only as a Special Diet Allowance to everyone on social assistance in Ontario.

Yours Truly,


Please contact Madeleine Meilleur to express your views on this topic.


Simeon (Sam) George Drakich said...


Simeon (Sam) George Drakich said...

Off topic: I met Michael Schmidt in Ottawa at the OPCP AGM, we became instant friends as we both are men of principles.
Michael claims that dairy farmers are free to sell stock into cows and the shareholders can take the raw milk off the farm for personal consumption. Victory!!!!!!!!!!

Ferdzy said...

Thanks, Sam.

I have to say I am wondering how this ruling will affect REAL CHICKENS which is what I really want to get my hot little hands onto, and which are mostly scarce as... hen's teeth.

Clivia said...

Oh, the Mike Harris damage goes on and on. Just today, I heard complaints about the lack of food inspectors. Does no on remember that he fired them? sigh...
Great letter!

Simeon (Sam) George Drakich said...

Mike Harris has been out of politics for nearly ten years. McGuinty has surrendered the governance and autonomy to Ottawa, squandering this province's great wealth.
McGuinty acts as the irresponsible teenager who denies any responsibilities for the mess he created.
I, a member in the food industry, know the full damages that former Minister of Heath George Smitherman wrought upon the people of Ontario.
Health inspectors mostly are inept, corrupt and lazy, all on a power trip. The only saving grace are the newly educated inspectors that are far superior to the lame certificated ones of old.