Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Looky Looky Looky! Canada has poor people!

There ARE poor people in Canada. Plenty of them. Who wudda thunk it. Certainly not all those Canadian Sanctimommy bloggers who congregate at the Troll Queen's lair. Gosh golly gee, there are single parents, and disabled people and plenty of poor people, even in Toronto! Over 54,000 single parent families live in poverty in Toronto alone. Oh my goodness. I guess Canada isn't the best place on earth either. Let's take a look at the government care for the poor and homeless, shall we?

Here's a spot where you can read all about the children living in poverty in Canada. I know, some people pretend that there aren't any poor there, and those people that are living on the edge are disturbed individuals who should return their children to the hospital before they kill them. But you know what? PLENTY of kids are poor there. Almost as many as in the USA. According to this article, close to 1.2 million children - almost one child out of every six in Canada - still live in poverty. Now that doesn't sound too good, does it? 17.4 percent of all children in Ontario live in poverty. In fact, the average low income Canadian family is living in deep poverty. The average two parent low income family would need an additional $10,400 year to bring them up to the Canadian poverty line. The average female lone parent family is living at $9,400 below the poverty line. In spite of a strong economy the average low income income two parent family is still living as far below the poverty line as they were 11 years ago. This isn't quite the rosy picture our Sanctimommy painted, is it? Nobody ever accused her of being bright or of being capable of research, I guess.

Again, according to this article, finding employment IS NOT a guaranteed way to escape poverty. Are you hearing this, Sanctimommy and her little choir of morons? About 1/3 of low income children live in families where at least one parent worked full-time for the entire year. Not like Sanctimommy, whose husband not only provides her a nice comfortable income so she can look down her nose on everyone else, but pays for her jaunts to visit friends in the USA (I hope she showered carefully after arriving back in Canada) where she drinks too much. Of course she doesn't eat, so why not pour back the alcohol? Cause alcohol is SO helpful for someone with serious depression problems.

Now here's something interesting. One in every four jobs in Canada pay less than $10/hour, and two of every 5 jobs are precarious-- part time, temporary, contract or self-employed. Canada isn't sounding all that great now, is it. What person that makes a big $400/week before taxes can afford $150 a week on food, especially organic vegetables. Only Sanctimommy and her cadre of dumbasses, that's who.

Look at this! Government programs exist in Canada. Yes, they do! Here's the GST credit, the Canada Child Tax Benefit and Employment Insurance. They help reduce the rate of child and family poverty. Without these PUBLIC investments the poverty rate for low income families would be much higher, at around 24%. You read that right. ONE QUARTER of all Canadian families would be living in poverty without government assistance. Humph! Mindboggling.

Guess what else? The availability of affordable housing is a KEY FACTOR affecting the rate and depth of child and family poverty. Two in every three low income families with children lived in unaffordable housing in 2003, where shelter costs more than 30% of their total income. 1.5 million households have been identified as having a core housing need. Plus, increased energy costs are putting additional pressure on low income families.

Average shelter costs increased by more than 20% between 1993 and 2006. Yet the Canadian government spending on housing went from 1.98 billion in 1993 to 2.03 billion in 2006. When adjusted for inflation, this is a 25% DECREASE in the federal budget allocation for housing. All of a sudden, this is sounding really familiar. Why Canada is JUST LIKE THE USA! Lookie here. Canada remains one of the few countries in the world without a comprehensive affordable housing strategy and permanent funding. But even worse than in the USA, there is absolutely no Low Income Energy Efficiency Program for low income renters and homeowners to undertake energy efficiency upgrades. We have that in the US.

In November, the Canadian Council on Social Development released its figures for child poverty, followed closely by Statistics Canada’s first ever tally of the number of Canadians living in shelters. The reports highlight the enduring nature of poverty, even in modern, developed societies like Canada’s. But they also documented some unsettling increases for a number of key poverty indicators. For example, the number of people relying on food banks has escalated, as well as the numbers of Canadians living below the accepted low-income cut-off point. Oh my goodness, there are Canadians that can't afford to feed their children, just like in the good ol' USA. Astounding!

The effects of poverty reach beyond hardships for individuals and families. Many reports have documented connections between poverty and low birth-weights, increased illness, lower labour force participation, family disintegration, and increased rates of homicide or suicide. Education and development studies have further confirmed this issue. A number of surveys have found that children at the lower end of the socio-economic scale had poorer health and developmental outcomes than children in the middle, and that children at the top of the socio-economic scale had better results still. Parents at the lower end of the scale showed some effects of living in poverty. They suffered increased stress and difficulties functioning with their children and higher levels of depression, both of which are bound to have serious effects on the capacity of parents to take care of their children. While living standards are difficult to measure or calculate, the basic economic ramifications of poverty are easier to deduce. Economic performance is markedly affected by the problems associated with poverty. The productive capacity of a healthy workforce has been shown to be greater than that of an unhealthy workforce.

Here's another shocker. There are disabled people in Canada, and they get financial support, just like in the USA. Turns out that the First Nations people (we call them Native Americans or Indians) have a higher percentage of disabilities than the whity white population. And that there are more poverty stricken aboriginal people in Canada than any other culture. I am shocked! SHOCKED. (rolls eyes) The Government of Canada, through the Social Assistance Program, provides funding to make sure that on-reserve Aboriginal people, including those with disabilities, have adequate food, shelter, clothing and other essentials. Most of this funding goes to First Nations, which in turn deliver programs and services to their communities.

Not only do most people in Canada get turned down for disability just like in the US, you have to go though THREE different appeals processes to collect. That ought to take several years. Most people will just give up because it's too hard to fight a government agency. Any government agency. I loved this little sentence I found. Even in America this isn't true: There is no federal assistance for the purchase of a wheelchair. Nice! But in other news, their disability program is run exactly like ours in the USA:

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) disability benefit is available to people who have made enough contributions to the CPP, and whose disability prevents them from working at any job on a regular basis. The disability must be long lasting or likely to result in death. People who qualify for disability benefits from other programs may not qualify for the CPP disability benefit.

You must apply for a disability benefit in writing. There are also benefits available to the children of a person who receives a CPP disability benefit.

Once you qualify for and begin receiving a CPP disability benefit, you must contact SDC to keep us informed of certain specific events in your life. Some examples include: if you change your name or your address, or if you earn over $4,200 in 2006.

SDC will occasionally review the health and work status of people receiving a CPP disability benefit, to ensure that they continue to be eligible.

So in Canada, as in the US, you're allowed to make a small income if you're on Social Security. In the US, it's $600/month. Which I make. But I don't make more. In Canada, you're only allowed to make a bit less than $400/month. Now that sucks!Now, nowhere does it say how much your payments are for disability benefits in Canada, but my guess is they're probably very similar to the USA. The more income you made, and the longer you worked, the higher your payment. I'm at the top level of payment in the US because I made a shitload of money when I worked, and I worked full time from 1978 to 2002 when I got sick. That's considered a full career. Remember, I make "too much" on SSDI to qualify for ANY government subsidy, but we live in poverty. "Whine whine whine", says Sanctimommy. But it isn't a whine, it's a FACT. She just isn't capable of wrapping her pea brain around the difference.

In summary, Canada sucks as much if not more than the US (after all, who wants their weather?), they have plenty of poor people living off the dole, they have the same problems as do most other industrialized nations, and they suck as empathetic mothers. So do you want to live there? Not me. I'd rather live someplace where mothers teach their children about empathy and understanding, instead of being judgemental and bad tempered. I also prefer to eat. But that's just me!

And by the way, all you Sanctimommy readers coming to visit. THIS is how you have a discussion about poverty. With facts. Not with mean judgemental name calling, not with raw emotions, and not with a bunch of asinine rhetoric about Welfare Queens. Learn something about your neighbors to the south, just like I learned about our unfortunate neighbors to the north.

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Blogger Poppy Buxom said...

OK, I'm in medias res here, so I don't know what all this is about, but may I just say that should anyone on the internet think about kicking my ass, I'm going to hire you to run the Poppy Defense Fund.

10/6/07 2:16 PM  
Blogger margalit said...

Please do. I'm good, I'm cheap, and I think it's fun!

11/6/07 1:35 PM  

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