Good to know Doug’s got spare money!

Were we reading the other day that Ontario premier Doug Ford has a rainy-day $12 billion tucked away? That is what you can expect when you have a conservative government. Yet the Ontario Financial Accountability Officer tells us that some of that money was from the federal government to help with pandemic costs. You would think that the province would be in deficit like other governments who are doing their job.

But, obviously, the Ontario Tories are not doing their job at all. They are cheap, conniving, dangerous people. I say this because of a lesson I learned the other day from people helping those on government assistance. It used to be that these people were complaining about the cheap, penny-pinching liberals.

But when the conservatives came into power two years ago, they reduced the amount paid to Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) recipients. It used to be an average of about $1200 a month that was paid to single people with no other income. They were allowed about $600 in housing expense (a room which was paid direct to the landlord) and the rest was provided for food and other essentials—depending on the formula allocated by their case worker.

It is only when you realize that there are more than 500,000 Ontario residents who receive money under this program, you realize the dimensions of the program. They include the mentally and physically handicapped who live so precariously on the margins of our society. They are singles, couples and families. They are at the mercy of a skinflint government. They are mistreated or just ignored by most in our society. They are often lonely and with little to occupy their time. They have to search out the diminishing number of food banks that can keep them fed during this pandemic. They are among the vulnerable.

If you ever need a strong argument for a basic income program for all Canadians, it is bringing these people into the mainstream. They need to become part of the Canadian experience.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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