Saturday, April 22, 2006

See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Make No Move

I think the editors of the Toronto Sun dislike Ontario Lieberal Premier Dalton McGuinty almost as much as I do. This morning's editorial chastises the so-called 'leader' for not taking any action at all regarding the Caledonia stand-off.

The theory, according to the Sun, is that Dalton figures if he pretends he doesn't know anything at all, he is therefore justified in not making any kind of decision. He is obviously afraid of being pilloried the way his own party did to Mike Harris during the Ipperwash fiasco.

This is so reminiscent of the past Federal Fiberal government, when Paul Martin et al swore they knew nothing about Adscam. Ralph Goodale and his buddies had a similar case of amnesia concerning the Income Trust leak. Scott Brison is still trying to mop up the floor after that one.

Well, guess what, Dalton? I believe you!! I do think that you don't know anything at all, so I absolve you from any guilt here. I just don't understand how you became the leader of what used to be a great province.


Mary said...

Wow! Straight and to the point! I like your play on words! Keep holding their feet to the fire Joanne!

Anonymous said...

to quote Warren Kinsella: "People still like McGuinty's Grits: A poll conducted by SES Research just a few days ago – one of the firms that came closest to predicting the outcome in the most recent federal election – found that nearly ten per cent of Ontarians favour Dalton McGuinty’s party over John Tory’s Tories. At 41 per cent support, in fact, McGuinty is more than double the 20 per cent of voters who like the NDP. Among women, Dalton’s gap over John is 15 points. And among 18 to 30 year olds his party has double the support of the Tories. What does that mean? Well, it means that the endless braying and screeching about broken promises and Fiberals and other clever Toronto Sun headlines are just that – a lot of dumb Toronto Sun headlines."

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mills said...

Once again a Fiberal lackey goes to the polls to make a point. The point of the above story is that MicLiar should atleast acknowledge that he is "aware" of what is going on, but is leaving it up to the police. What a great idiot to represent to toronto Fiberals. Keep supporting him anonymous , looks good on ya!

x2para said...

The only thing McGinty knows is how to make promises and then how to break them, why anyone would support or defend a clown like that just shows what a bunch of toadies they are.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

I had to remove a comment due to language. If the participant would like to repost it using different wording, that would be great. My mother reads this thing, guys! Thanks.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

"Among women, Dalton’s gap over John is 15 points." - Not this woman.

Mills - You got it!

Anonymous said...

If it wasn't so tragic I'd be ROTFLMAO at this one , but even the Gomery inquiry was amazing.
Two P.M.'s declaring they were too stupid and willfully ignorant to have know that their high salary and responsibilities meant they were also accountible for tax fraud and Election fraud by people under their authority.
AdScam was only the CRIME by Liberals that we DO know about, and since Martin quickly jumped ship after losing power over the Balance Sheets in Ottawa, I think the real criminal actions are to come when Harper opens the books.
Just look how the Liberals and the Liberal stacked Senate are fighting tooth and nail to block the accountibility Bill that will give Jail time to those caught in future AdScams.

molarmauler said...

They just want to delay the FAA so the new prosecutor doesn't have them all indicted before the next election rolls around.

Riley Hennessey said...


Great post Joanne. too bad people use poor language on blogs. I have also had to delete comments because people take postings too serious. It's sad that more people just don't try to have fun with blogs. I visit sites because I respect other people's opinions and want to engage them in sharing of ideas.

When people just start writing insults with no debate, it gets pretty pathetic.

Good on ya Joanne!

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Thanks, Riley. I don't mind a difference in opinion, and quite frankly, a blog gets boring if everyone is always on the same page. The key is to keep it civil, and not get personal.

I always enjoy your blog, Riley, for those very reasons.

Molar, if the Senate deliberately filibusters when the FAA rolls around, they will in effect be signing their own death warrant. Canada will see it as the obstructionist, expensive, outdated and useless albatross that it is. (IMO)

Mac said...

As strange as it may sound, I don't have a problem with the Senate but it's role has been perverted by decades of partisan stacking by the Liberals.

Having a chamber of sober second thought isn't a bad idea at all but the current model is dysfunctional.

I'll bet Larry Campbell (former mayor of Vancouver, former Mountie, former Coroner and all around Liberal) wept tears of joy when he got "tagged" for Senate. What a life! Show up occasionally, accountable to no-one, draw a big cheque. Wow!! Sign me up!!

What I would love to see is a senate with equal representation to each province. Let's say... two senators from each and one from each territory. Is that too few? Double it if you want. I don't think that many are necessary but I'm open. I'm not looking for representation by population here; that's for the House of Commons. I'm looking for sober second thought.

ANYWAY, let the provinces elect their senators for four or five years with term limit of two.


Joanne (True Blue) said...

Interesting proposal, Mac.

I'm o.k. with sober second thought, but not partisan thought. And methinks they should show up once in a while too.

Zac said...

Maybe McGuinty should call Mike Harris, he can tell him how to "get the f**king indians out of the park.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Zac, the ghost of Dudley George is exactly what is paralyzing Dalton McGuinty.

So he's turned into a Mr. Dithers instead, just pulling the covers over his head and hoping the bad dream goes away.

vicki said...

Part of the 'acceptance' of Mcguilty and Fibs co. is the general 'Harris was bad' theme that runs thru certain (unionized) institutions in Ontario. When challenged on 'just what did Harris do that was so bad?' the pat answer where I work is 'all the layoffs'. Harris inherited Rae's socialistic mess, did what he said he would do, and gets the wrap for the fiscal mess. And when hospital budgets were affected, it wasn't Harris that said cut nursing staff, it was administration. Guess what...'no chopping at the top'.
That age group has also been indoctrinated by teachers 'Harris bad' comments.
Toronto Sun calls the Fibs for what they are.

Zac said...

Vicki, the "harris was bad mentality" is because Harris was bad.

Lets run through his legacy:

1)He slashed welfare rates by 22%
2)He downloaded many programs to the municipalities
3)Created the double-cohort mess by cutting grade 13 and not investing money in university's to deal with the added number of students.
4)he rewrote labour laws making it easier for employers to require thier workers to put in more hours without being payed over time wages
5) He made is more difficult for workplaces to unionize
6)provided tax credits to parents to send their kids to private schools.
7) He is responsible for the state sanctioned murder of Dudley George at Ipperwash.

Not the mention what he did to education.

Oh, and let's not forget the massive debt that he left Ontario in that McGuinty is now cleaning up because Harris was too incompetent to deal with.

Mac said...

Zac, your partisan slip is showing.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Whoa! Zac!! "3)Created the double-cohort mess by cutting grade 13 and not investing money in university's to deal with the added number of students."

I don't think that was under Harris' watch! Please correct me if I'm wrong!

Zac said...

Funding to university's was cut by Harris and not reinstated by Eves while the double cohort was happening. So...I guess it wasn't all Harris's fault.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Yeah, I think people say "Harris" like it's some kind of curse. But, Zac, who exactly was in power during the decision to cut grade 13? Just curious. Not that it was necessarily a bad thing. I think all the other provinces had already made that decision.

Riley Hennessey said...

Are we into a discussion on grade 13? come on folks grade 13 was a WEIRD concept. I come from the east coast and we all wondered if Ontario students were slow or something.

I'm glad you guys cut grade 13.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

lol! Yeah, Riley, I would say that Ontario is very slow in that regard. Unfortunately, my son was caught right up in that changeover. Suddenly the requirements for university jumped about 10%. However, he ended up in a college engineering program which might end up being a good thing after all.

I'm still trying to remember who was in power at that time provincially; Zac seems to think it was Ernie Eves, but it had to be done no matter what.

Zac said...

It's not necessarily the point of who cut grade 13, it is mostly the point of who failed to provide funding for the transition.

Mac said...

In other words, Zac, your mind is made up- don't confuse you with facts?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Zac, I honestly can't remember who transitioned the double cohort, but what does that have to do with McGuinty?

Let's just accept this fact: Anything that ever went wrong in Canada was Mike Harris' fault (in the Liberal POV). Does that make you feel better Zac? Can we move beyond this now? Mike Harris is the Grit's whipping boy. That seems to be his legacy. Too bad. I liked the guy. He actually did what he said he would do! What a novel concept!! Unlike McGuinty.

Mac said...

Part of the reason why Harris is a dirty word is that Harris challenged unions. Voters forgive and forget; union do neither.

One of other "big" issues was the forced amalgamation of Toronto. The big sucking centre of the universe didn't like having it's internal politics messed with by "outsiders" since they're supposed to be our guiding light, right?

Interesting note- Harris appointed more women as deputy ministers than any other premier in Ontario history, including the only two women to head the Ontario public service. Funny how right-wingers manage to be equitable than lefties who scream about equality but never do anything, isn't it?

Sara said...

hi joannes mom!

vicki said...

zac... only 2 points you made re: Harris worth responding to(you are too heavy into the 'Blame-Harris-for-everything' bandwagon..must be from COTU?)
1. welfare...I saw too much welfare abuse in my rural community. I commend him for what he did.Guess what?They found jobs!
2. the debt was leftover from Rae's socialism spree, and agravated by federal(Liberal) cuts.
Harris's best political attribute: he did what he said he would do.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Vicki, right on! I am with you 100% in your assessment of Harris. He was actually one of the first politicians that actually made any sense to me at all. He said what he was going to do, and then when he got elected, gosh darn, he actually did what he said he was going to do!! Who knew?

Riley Hennessey said...

I find it funny when people lay blame on popular politicians, and then suddenly from then on, it was always that persons fault, nobody liked them, boy what crap they were etc...

Its funny that the people who always get picked on the most are those who had a knack for power. Chretien had three back to back majorities. Harris had two back to back majorities right? These people may be whipping boys but you can't discount the fact that despite the afterthought on who is to blame for what, man they sure knew how to kick *butt* at the game of politics eh? That tells me they were doing something right!

Frank McKenna is the same for New Brunswick. Everybody wants to lay the blame down on him but man, he won so bad that the conservatives couldn't even elect a SINLGE opposition seat in the 80's. Boy, the public must have hated him hunh? It's the same thing for Harris...he must have done something right to get strong majorities?

People just get so blinded by rhetoric it drives me up the wall.

Zac said...

Ok, ok, ok...I see I caused a stir again. I guess I'm good at that.

"Part of the reason why Harris is a dirty word is that Harris challenged unions"

Ok Mac, I dont like unions either. I didn't like the union, anti capitalits ethos of the Rae years either. But some workplaces deserve unions. For those making $7.50 per hour, yeah a union could help. For teachers making a $60,000 plus, I have no sympathy.

"One of other "big" issues was the forced amalgamation of Toronto"

I supported this move. Less buracracy is good for everyone.

"Anything that ever went wrong in Canada was Mike Harris' fault (in the Liberal POV). Does that make you feel better Zac? Can we move beyond this now? Mike Harris is the Grit's whipping boy."

Did I say that? Honestly?

C'mon Joanne, I know that many grits don't like him, me included but he is not the grits whipping boy. He is, in my mind, a perfect example of how to do politics wrong. I think he did have some things right. He did nearly halve the Rae governments $10 billion debt but is that really a legacy. Cutting welfare 22% while cutting income tax 30% is wrong. I support tax cuts, I truly do, but cutting taxes on the backs of the poor is selfish and wrong.
"1. welfare...I saw too much welfare abuse in my rural community. I commend him for what he did.Guess what?They found jobs!"

Yes, our new treasury president will brag about the same points there Vicki. For every one person who abuses welfare, there are hundreds who actually need it. I have seen welfare abuse in my life time too. It happens. But it also helps many people.

Vicki, you and I are lucky to have never needed to use welfare. But there are many who do need it. Let's stop the blaming the poor, let's stop the "we have to burn this village to the ground in order to save it" mentality.

Welfare is there for a reason, let's not tamper with it.
"2. the debt was leftover from Rae's socialism spree"

Yeah, of course it was. I won't make excuses for Rae. And before people start jumping on the "he's running for your party's leadership" bandwagon, lets get something clear, I don't support him.

If Harris hadn't cut middle class tax rates then he would have been able clear the debt, not leave $5 billion + for McGuinty to clean up.

"He said what he was going to do, and then when he got elected, gosh darn, he actually did what he said he was going to do!!"

This is no big achievement. He was elected on middle class disatisfaction and greed.

vicki said...

zac...again you assume too much. You accused me of blaming the poor? Beep ...wrong! I saw many people who needed welfare,used it and then got off. I also saw many who needed it.
We were discusing politicians, not 'the poor'

Zac said...

Vicki, when we discuss politics, we discuss the poor. Let's not forget that.

As much as we shield ourselves in our residential community's let's not forget that they do exist.

I've seen many people who do not need welfare. In fact, I have seen some who have referred to is as, "free money". I kid you not.

But will I let this cloud my perspective on welfare? No, not in the least.

Can everyone find a job? No. Welfare is there for those who need it, perhaps, one day, I will need it myself. Perhaps, Vicki, one day you will need it also.

Are we so inclined to blame the poor for thier condidtion?

I know that my party is to blame for this also. Banish the thought hat I will let the Liberals off the hook in any way. When Harris was slashing and burning public programs, Paul Martin was cutting transfer payments. It was a recession, drastic measures were needed. I am aware of this. But cutting middle class taxes instead of helping our most vulnerable, is shallow and selfish. This is why I oppose Mike Harris.

Mac said...

Zac, why do you equate politics to poverty? Where is the connection?

Governments role is to regulate, to enforce and to protect. That "protect" part means with Armed Forces and police. All of these roles involve the use of power or force (whether actual or threatened) because that's dealing with rights & freedoms.

Here's an example of what I mean by use of force. If someone breaks a law, police arrest him and put him in jail. Jail interferes with that person's right to move about freely.

Although we like to think it's all nice & pretty, that person will go to jail whether he likes it or not. If he cooperates, no force needs to be used but the threat is still there. The courts are there to ensure the use of force was appropriate within our standards.

Back to poverty. Governments suck at service delivery of social programs. There's many reasons for this but the main reason is because it's part of their original mandate but governments have grown and taken on many tasks which don't exercising governmental power.

Check your favourite copy of the Charter of Rights and tell me if there's a Right to receive welfare. I won't hold my breath waiting for you to find it. Same thing for medical services and schools and transportation infrastructure. These are not rights but we've come to depend on our government for them.

As a matter of fact, as a free Canadian citizen, I have a right to be as poor as I like and there's nothing you can do about it.

Why would someone choose to be poor? It's not likely their first choice; it's more than likely a consequence of priorities. If I choose drugs or alcohol as my top priority, one of the results will likely be poverty.

So, as a government, can you use force to make me stop drinking or doing drugs? Nope. So any money you give to me is enabling me to destroy my life more quickly and thoroughly.

As long as governments will give a free ride, there are people who will want to ride for free. There is no incentive for them to do otherwise. People don't change for change's sake. They change because they're unhappy or uncomfortable or both.

When was the last time you heard of someone kicking an addiction with government help? Never happens.

Private agencies and groups like Alcoholics Anonymous gets results. Why? People seek their help... make the choice... and get results.

If you really wanted to end poverty in Canada, you would stop supporting governments that throw away money and make the problems worse.

I know it sounds brutal but guess what? It wasn't that long ago when Canadian governments did not provide welfare or disability or unemployment insurance or universal health care or... well, you get the idea. How did people survive?

They survived by working hard, making hard choices and controlling their expectations. Yes, some did better than others but guess what? Life isn't fair.

Those people were the ones who've provided the most innovations and advances in mankind's history.

This generation will never match them because they have no incentive to do so. Imagine where we'd be if this generation had that incentive.

Mac said...

Oops! I put an "is" where I meant to put an "isn't" which proves one should never proofread their own schtuff.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

"Did I say that? Honestly?"

Zac, my apologies for misquoting you with misplaced quotation marks.

What is a "thought hat", BTW? Is that something Liberals put on when they have to come up with a policy before a leadership convention?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Excellent rant, Mac! And don't feel bad about the typo - we all do it; except Zac.

The editorial in today's (Sunday) Sun - "Homeless Numbers aren't Pretty", is very relevant to this discussion. (Someday I'll figure out how to do a link in the comments properly...)

Anyway, they refer to the poverty 'industry', which of course refers to massive bureaucracy and piles of money thrown at problems hoping they'll go away, but of course they never do. The bureaucracy is like a leech - needing more and more to sustain itself. Union jobs of course. What a goldmine for Toronto. No wonder they always vote left.

Zac said...

Ok, through the pain of my morning hangover, I will try to dissect some of this. Hopefully this post will come through spelling error free, but if any of my last ones are any indication it wont.
"Governments role is to regulate, to enforce and to protect. That "protect" part means with Armed Forces and police. All of these roles involve the use of power or force (whether actual or threatened) because that's dealing with rights & freedoms."

Hmmm..sounds like someone's been reading John Locke a bit too closely.
"As a matter of fact, as a free Canadian citizen, I have a right to be as poor as I like and there's nothing you can do about it."

Of course you do, but would you actually want to exercise such a right? Coming from such privileged backgrounds, I feel that we have a duty to improve the lives of those who did not.
"If I choose drugs or alcohol as my top priority, one of the results will likely be poverty."

Mac, let's not be so callous as to naturally equate poverty with drug and alcohol abuse. There are a
variety of reasons why people live in poverty. While that is one of them, I think it's shallow to say that it is the only reason. It's painting the poor with broad generalizations.
"So, as a government, can you use force to make me stop drinking or doing drugs? Nope."

Drugs are illegal Mac, dont forget that. So, I would say that the state can force you to stop using them.
" It wasn't that long ago when Canadian governments did not provide welfare or disability or unemployment insurance or universal health care or... well, you get the idea. How did people survive?"

Hmmm..seems like a long time ago to me, but I'll play along.

Yes, hard work will take you a long way but there are many things which can have an influence. How about mental illness? Kinda hard to hold a job then my friend. You get the idea.

Hard work will not solve every problem. There are those who lack the essential elements of determining thier own course in life. From our, class centric, middle class pedestals it is hard to see that, but its a fact.
"This generation will never match them because they have no incentive to do so."

Yes, I'm sure you walked 25 miles to school everyday without shoes, up hill both ways. Yes, I get it. This isn't a lazy generation that has be shaped by government hand outs. Drop that thought my friend. I know I'm young but I'm not lazy, don't imply such things.

Zac said...

"thought hat"? I must have mean thought that but forgot the t, I do that a lot

Joanne (True Blue) said...

That's o.k. Zac. I was just kidding you. We're all human.

Mac said...

Was that a rebuttal? I read a great deal but I haven't read anything by John Locke. Can you recommend something? These were my own observations based on my life's experiences. I'm always learning and open to new experiences.

Zac, you may come from a privileged background but I grew up in poverty on the East Coast. Any affluence I've gained is as a result of my hard work and life choices. Many of the friends of my youth are still living in poverty, albeit less marked than when we were kids.

If you feel duty bound to deal with poverty, may I suggest you use your own resources to address the problem and get your hands out of my wallet. I don't feel any such compulsion.

Actually, that's not true. I want to change the path of those who live in poverty but, unlike you, I recognize that throw money blindly at a problem does nothing to resolve it.

How is it that my linking of addictions to poverty is callous but your generalization that poverty and politics must be linked is okay?

As far as for drugs being illegal, have you seen any effect from these prohibitions? Did the number of addicts suddenly diminish overnight while I was asleep?

I guess I'm not a typical conservative because I would legalize marihuana, then regulate and tax it mercilessly.

As for as the "timeline" for the social safety net, I'm not as old as you appear to believe (age 42). As part of your political education, you should include some history.

Universal health care wasn't official until 1968 when Pearson and the 10 premiers agreed to follow Tommy Douglas' Sask example. I expect 1968 seems like a lifetime to you but on the relative scale, it's pretty small potatoes.

You bring two good points but being a critic is easy; where's your solutions?

Nope, hard work won't solve every problem but I've yet to see a case where throwing money at a problem in "feel good" programs fixed anything.

Folks with mental health problems will always be a problem but I'm fairly sure that was a problem before social problems came along and it will continue to be a problem in the foreseeable future. You got a magic pill to fix mental health problems? Society will worship you.

I'm not saying your generation (or mine) is lazy, although my son plays a popular song which declares as much. I'm talking innovation. There's a huge difference.

It wasn't my generation or yours that invented computers (although I'm heard Al Gore invented the Internet) but we've always had them. What has our generation contributed to match that innovation? The iPod?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Wow, this is looking like a Mac-Zac attack! I am going to get into this. Just trying to resolve some technical issues at the moment.

Zac said...

Hey man, I like my Ipod.

What you said at first sounded a lot like John Locke, I know he's a Conservative diety, I figured you must have read him. I'm not accusing you of plagerism or anything like that, let's not freak out.

But really there Mac, we're both criticizing. You dont put forth any solutions either, besides cutting and running. Do you really propose that cutting welfare will make people get off of it? Albeit I will state that it does work for those who are cheating the system. To be honest, I'm not concerned with those who cheat the system, I'm concerned with those who need it. Slashing welfare by 22% is a foolish way to rid the system of corruption.

Mac, I'm sorry that you got the impression that I was, in some way, implying that you don't know what poverty is. Obviously I don't know anything about you or your life. I encounter poverty daily, I do study in Hamilton, Ontario by after all. A city with a population of 520,000 and 100,000 of them live below the poverty line, a city where 25% of the children grow up below the poverty line. It ain't pretty. So when I hear people refer to the poor and homeless as drug addicts and alcoholics etc, it puts me off.

We have to end the blame and guilt associated with the poor, we have to end the name calling and finger pointing. I don't believe that poverty is necessarily a product of self-conditioning. I don't think that we can simply blame some one for being poor.

Mac said...

Joanne & Zac, I'm not intending to sound like I'm angry or attacking. If such was the impression, please excuse me.

I've never read John Locke but I'll make a point of looking him up now!

Zac, your figures for poverty in Hamilton make no sense. I'm sorry- there is simply no way 20% to 25% of the population lives below the poverty line. The city could not survive if such were the case.

You know how it makes you feel when you hear someone linking addiction and poverty? That's how it makes me feel when someone links poverty and politics.

My solutions for welfare might not tickle your fancy. I would have people "working" to improve themselves; life skills development.

If you need welfare because you're temporarily incapable of working, that's one thing (ie: mental health, mentally challenged, physically challenged, etc should be a separate budget or category) but if you're able-bodied and on welfare because you can't get a job, your "job" is making yourself employable.

You will show up to your job daily. If you show up drunk consistently, you will go to detox. If you show up in dirty clothes, you will learn how to do laundry. If you show up hungry, you will learn how to cook. You will learn how to prepare a budget. You will learn how to prepare a grocery list. The simple exigence of establishing a daily routine makes a huge difference.

Single mom with kids? You work at a daycare centre where you can care for your kids AND someone else's.

If you've learned all of these life skills and you still can't find a job when you're sober, clean, well-fed, etc, then there will be a line in the sand drawn.

This program would NOT be run by the government since, as I said earlier, they're hopelessly inept at service delivery. Instead, it will be run by private groups like the Salvation Army who do essentially this already through their Harbour Light program.

Yes, this absolutely tramples over people's dignity and rights but no-one is forcing the able-bodied to be on welfare. If you choose to opt out of learning life skills, you also choose to opt out of welfare.

Zac said...

Well Mac, you certainly have a point. Just a few considerations:

"Zac, your figures for poverty in Hamilton make no sense. I'm sorry- there is simply no way 20% to 25% of the population lives below the poverty line. The city could not survive if such were the case."

Since amalgamation, the city of Hamilton joined with neighbouring regions such as Ancaster. Ancaster is one of the wealthiest postal codes in Canada and is secluded because it is on a mountain. The urban core of the city is mostly made up of the poor. A drive down our infamous Barton street on a Friday or Saturday night will show you streets filled with prostitutes, drug dealers, the homeless, and a variety of drunken brawls. The rich,literally look down on the poor in Hamilton, being set high atop a mountain. The city is a living, breathing sociology text book.

By the way, Hamtilon has the largest concentration of urban poverty in Ontario and the second highest amount nationally, next to Vancouver and thier infamous east side region of main and hastings, or as many refer to it, "pain and wastings".

In the urban core and surrounding regions, there are houses that sell for $40,000..I kid you not. During winter we have more homeless who die on the streets than Toronto.

I've done extensive research into poverty in Hamilton since I entered university here.

In the past, with a group of other students, I have been able to address city council to build more shelters and affordable housing. We have even had a chance to lobby the provincial government, notably, then, social services Minister Sandra Peupetello for an increase in the personal needs allowance. The PNA is seperate from welfare and is currently set at $114 per month for recipients.

Since a lot of major manufacturing jobs have left Hamilton over the years, it has left many unemployed. Neighbouring cities, such as Burlington, Oakville, and Mississauga (where I'm originally from) have such a high cost of living, it is hard to simply pick up and move for unemployed labourers. Many are left with few options. This is where welfare helps.

With few skills it is hard to find work. When you got a job at a steel factory right out of high school and get laid off 20 years later, you really don't have many transferable skills. All you can do is search for a job with similar qualifications as your last. The problem is that many of them don't exist anymore. Most of them have been moved to countries where labour is cheaper, many have left Hamilton for Michigan.

So, now your thinking why don't these people get jobs in fast food restaurants or in retail or something following along those lines? Work is work, right?

It has to do with the wages paid. You can barely support yourself on $8 an hour. Try having a family. Try having kids. All this when considering that most factory labourers recieve around $20 per hour.

I'm not saying that the streets of Hamilton are filled with the homeless. They are mostly the working poor, those who are underemployed, those whose companies have left them behind. Those who do not have enough to feed thier families and are forced to run up debts, instead of saving for retirement.

Now Mac, being 42, I can imagine that you are thinking/worried that you might not have enough to retire on. I'm not trying to make any guesses about your life, or trying to imply anything. From what I understand it is a thought that crosses most people's minds. I know that many worry about topping up thier RRSP's. So, by not trying to sound insulting, it would be hard to try to save for retirement when you barely get by now. What do you do when you are too old to labour? Where do you turn?

Cuts to welfare may have been necessary when considering the crushing $10 billion debt that Bob Rae left for Harris, I can understand that. But cutting welfare by 22%, while cutting taxes for the middle class by 30% is wrong.

Mac said...

I started worrying about my retirement when I was 24, not 42. Nothing like being raised in poverty to make you appreciate having a good job and planning for the future.

Vancouver's notorious Eastend poverty which you mentioned is an interesting example.

Do we have poverty? Yup but unlike Hamilton, it is almost exclusively addiction-related. Hamilton's and Vancouver's issues can't be compared.

Unlike Hamilton, we have no lack of jobs in Vancouver. We have a shortage of labourers, unskilled & skilled. Anyone who can arrives at a jobsite can have a job and employers are willing to pay decent money for reliable workers. Example?

Some employers are advertising on the radio, offering to pay people to obtain skills certifications and guarantee employment. Seriously.

Unlike Hamilton, the lowliest hovel in Vancouver is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Governments, especially municipal, keep making bleating noises about affordable housing. Example?

They created "the Woodward's Project" by purchasing a vacant multilevel department store which has been used as a "squat" by homeless for years and they're zoned it as affordable housing. After a couple of years of arguing about numbers of units, designs, etc., they settled on a plan. Ready?

This week, they sold every unit in the building. Renovations haven't started and it's still populated by squatters but based on the plan alone, they sold every unit in the building within 24 hours. The lowest priced unit was over $250K and the highest was just under $1M. Total of $220M.

So what should we do to address our poverty problem, Zac?

Zac said...

Mac, I'm actually very familier with Vancouver's problems. I was born in West Van...moved while I was very young though, so I guess that doesnt provide me much cred here, but I have been back a number of times. My family has a cottage on Galliano Island.

Anyways, enough about me.

The last time I was in Vancouver was around 2 years ago. I went through the east end, and I will agree that your poverty problem is addiction related.

The problem is complex and I would place the begining of the problem to Expo '86. The rounding up of the poor and herding them to the east end, I believe only led to the concentration of the poor in a single area. Such concentration was worsened by the heroin epidemic which ran through the affected area like wild fire.

Creating affordable housing in a city with a booming housing market is near impossible. I will be honest when I say that easy answers will not present themselves in complex situations.

The addiction problem has to be dealt with. Safe injections sites, could be the answer but I will be honest, I'm not convinced of thier effectivness.

Safe injection sites, do help in saving addicts lives. I will grant them that. They are mildly effective in getting information on treatment programs to addicts but I doubt thier overall effectivness.

Safe injection sites do hold some promise, but not all the answers. It is certainly a step forward though.

To release east enders from the cycle of poverty, I do believe that drug addictions need to be addressed first. If people are able to quit thier addictions, they will be able to capitalize on the booming job market.

While I am not naive enough to believe that addicts will simply form a straight line infornt of treatment centres in the hopes of getting jobs, I believe that one aspect of the solution is the police.

The city needs to use police as a tool to lessen addictions. I believe that cracking down on the criminality which surrounds addiction could be a step that could show some promise. Activley charging those involved in activities such as prostitution for example. This activity feeds addiction. Crack down on not only the prostitute but also those who travel from Surrey, Burnaby, North Van, etc to the city to troll for hookers. They feed addiction and need to the stopped.

Also, the attitude of the police needs to be addressed. When I was down in Vancouver last, I noticed that the police have a, "just move along" attitude while speaking with addicts. They find drugs on them, think the situation is hopeless and tell them to disperse. It has been a couple of years since I've been there, so feel free to correct me if that is no longer the case. The law has to be enforced and perhaps multiple trips to jail is enough for some to want to seek help.

While I won't contend that these are concrete, tangible solutions to improve the east side, I believe that it is a first step. I won't pretend that I know how to solve the poverty problem, perhaps there is no solution. All that I can really be sure of is that we need to remove the culture of guilt which surrounds poverty and the poor. If we can remove the stigma, we can begin to help. This is an aspect of the Harris years which I disliked also. Vilifying victims will not solve poverty problems.

Zac said...

Oh, and by the way Mac, I wasn't necessarily trying to compare the two cities. I've been to both and know that they are too distant to be any source of actual comparison. I was simply saying that Hamilton was second to Vancouver in concentration of urban poverty.

Mac said...

With a minimum of effort (Google is my friend) I located a report which supported the numbers you mentioned but, in looking at the statistical methodology and criteria used, it was obvious they were shooting for "shock" value.

Since the report was prepared for the United Way who have a vested interest in shocking open people's wallets, I'm not surprised. The actual rate of people living below the poverty line is much less than 20%.

So, you don't like when someone says addictions are linked to poverty but agree that is the case in Vancouver. I could go somewhere with that but I'm playing nice.

Safe injection sites had the desired effect; Larry Campbell is now a Liberal Senator. Any other effects are superfluous; don't let Larry tell you otherwise.

The police in Vancouver have their hands full since they're being torn between their duties and a "bleeding heart" council with the added bonus of our pathetic legal system.

If police do the kind of enforcement you're asking for, expect costs to rise dramatically as they're already working short-handed... plus the court costs... plus the jail costs if you can ever find a judge in Vancouver who would put someone in jail!

By the way, by suggesting police step up enforcement, you are effectively vilifying the victims. You see, there's a pretty powerful stigma attached to being arrested...

Joanne (True Blue) said...

O.K. Technical issues resolved for the moment.

Mac, sorry, I wasn't accusing you of attacking Zac. He is quite capable of defending himself. I was just amused at the length and number of posts between you too here! That's great. I love to see a good discussion get brewing.

Mac, I agree with you that just throwing money at the poverty problem isn't the solution in itself. In fact, the Sun refers to it as the "Poverty Industry" in large urban areas.

Zac said...

Mac, with a population of 490,000 (based on 2001 census data) and with my assertion of thier being 100,000 people below the poverty line, that would be 20%, well 20.4% to be exact. You can dispute the methodology of the stats if you'd like, but the city of Hamilton found similar numbers and either way, I can tell you that we do have a problem here.
"So, you don't like when someone says addictions are linked to poverty but agree that is the case in Vancouver. I could go somewhere with that but I'm playing nice."

Ok, well your accusing me of contradicting myself. I don't see how that is though Mac. I have been to the east side of Vancouver. I have seen people injecting heroin right on the street. I have seen people passed out in alley ways with needles sticking out of thier arms. I won't be naive and say that the problem in Vancouver is not addiction based. There are those who are working-class poor and there are those who are homeless but not addicted but I think that we can both agree on where the problem lies. You asked me how I would solve the problem of poverty on the east side of Vancouver and I, while acknowledging that I didn't have all the answers as it is a complex problem, stated that addictions are a place to start.

Also Mac, the problem with addictions and poverty is a similar chicken and the egg argument. It is impossible to determine if the addictions caused the poverty or if the poverty caused the addictions.

While I would generally state that the proper route for addressing poverty is to deal with the root causes, such as the socio-economic conditions which contribute to poverty, on the east side of Vancouver I would state, without hesitation, the addictions must be addressed before we can move forward.

Is that a contradiction? I don't believe so.
"By the way, by suggesting police step up enforcement, you are effectively vilifying the victims. You see, there's a pretty powerful stigma attached to being arrested..."

Mac, I thought you were the conservative here and I was the bleeding heart Liberal?

Anyways, arresting those who break the law is not vilifying the victim, it is vilifying the criminal. Suggesting that we lock up the homeless because they are homeless, like Jim Flahrety, is vilifying the victim.

By stating that I have personally seen to much softness on the hands of the police, who I believe, are apt to disregard possession charges because they believe it is pointless to lock up an addict, I am not suggesting that we vilify the victim. Those who are in possession of narcotics are breaking the law of Canada, pure and simple.

Man, I can't believe I'm telling a Conservative to get tough on crime. The world's gone upside down...

vicki said...

I'm popping back in ...I don't recall 30% tax reduction for middle class.Anyone have the 'documentation'?

Zac said...

Zac said...

You can also refer to John Ibbitson's book "Promised Land"

Mac said...

There are three kinds of lies- lies, damned lies and statistics.

Ummm, I was being ironic and somewhat sarcastic when I mentioned the stigma of being arrested. You see, you make a couple of statements about not blaming and/or vilifying victims... but then suggested police should step up enforcement.

Sigh... it spoils an ironic statement when one must explain it.

The world is always upside down to someone. Right now, some computer geek in China is upside-down to me but, all kidding aside, I'm all for being tough on crime however I recognize that the cops here in Vancouver are handcuffed by the city council and the courts.

I guess I'm not a stereotypical conservative since I firmly believe we should legalize marihuana, then regulate and tax the hell outta it.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Mac, I got the irony. You make some excellent point. The pot thing, for example. I've been wrestling with that one. On one hand, yeah, let's tax the stuff, just like cigarettes and all the other sins. Where do you draw the line though? Should we allow pornography and tax that too? I am being mildly facetious here, but it's a complex issue.

Why don't you start your own blog, BTW? You have so much to say, and it's very interesting. I would definitely be a regular visiter.

Vicki - Re: Harris. The tax reduction for middle class was meant to stimulate the economy if memory serves me correctly. Harris' theory was to reward hard work, and discourage laziness. Somewhat contrary to the Liberal and NDP POV.

Zac said...

Mac, not to worry, I got your ironic twist and laid down one of my own as well.

But I do agree with Joanne about you starting your own blog. You seem to hav some strong opinions and hey, you'll have the added benefit of having smart-ass, student liberal bloggers terrorize your site from time to time. Just as Joanne how much fun it can be.

But yes, I'm all for legalizing a few other things. But either way, you get my drift.

vicki said...

Yes joanne..those common sense ideas...I saw the wickipedia note...I just don't recall a 30% provincial tax break...maybe because I wasn't middle class at the time(stay at home mom)...whatever that is.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Yeah, now that you mention it, I don't actually remember that kind of tax break either. Maybe we'll have to do a bit more homework and check up on Zac's facts. Wikipedia isn't infallible either. They admit as much themselves.

Zac said...

Wikipedia isn't perfect, I will admit that, which is why I mentioned the Ibbitson book, "Promised Land". Being only around 11 years old when Harris took over, I needed to know more about the man.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Ibbitson, eh? Another reliable resource.

Zac said...

I know that he's on your "MSM hit list", but the book is peer reviewed.

It's just the first source that I read it in, I'm sorry if you don't trust the guy.

Mac said...

I appreciate the thought, guys. As it is, I spend too much time online. If I had my own blog, I would feel compelled to spend even more time.

Re: the marihuana prohibition... I don't smoke, rarely drink alcohol and never do drugs. Legalization won't change any of those things. The people who want to smoke marihuana do so almost with impunity, at least here in BC.

All we're doing by prohibiting it is enriching the organized criminals who grow and distribute it. At the same time, we're spending mucho cash trying to investigate and prosecute only to have the courts slap 'em on the wrist. Why bother!

I'm not a big fan of "slippery slope" or "thin edge of the wedge" arguments since both of these types of arguments tend to focus on one or two points to the exclusion of a broader perspective. This creates an artificial pressure and polarization which is not the best environment for an informed decision to be made.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Mac - "The people who want to smoke marihuana do so almost with impunity, at least here in BC."

Polygamy too, I hear. What is it about the west coast?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

BTW, Mac. You are welcome to use my blog as your public forum anytime. I appreciate your comments.

Maybe someday you'll have the time to start your own.

Mac said...

The polygamy thing is still fairly uncommon but my wives tell me it's nobody's business but ours. :)


I've been in BC since Jan 1990 and I still don't get this province.

The unions here are radical beyond anything I've ever seen. Jenny Sims and the BC Teacher's Federation go on illegal strikes and no-one cares! Deborah McPherson and the nurse's union are almost as bad.

Provincially, there is no right-wing. We have Gordo Campbell's Liberal Party who are pretty much in the centre which has the NDP screaming about the Liberal's so-called right wing agenda.

I think we have the highest concentration of dope-smoking granola-crunching hippy wannabes in Canada and possibly the world. To counter-balance, we're Canada's version of Florida so most of Canada's rich and powerful end up retiring here and they're blue-blooded Tories.

I appreciate the invitation. Perhaps I'll jot up a rant or two for you to post up if I get a chance.