Thursday, July 24, 2014

Poverty and Economic Disparity in Canada

This blog was started on July 24, 2014

This blog was last edited on Dec 21, 2014 at R S T.

Feb 7, 2015 @ W, Feb. 26, at X.

March 13, 2015 @ Y

April 11, 2015, picture added to end of C

April 12, at Z

Part A. 

In Canada, since the 1980's, there have been cuts to social services (disability and welfare), First Nation's People, Senior's programs and services, the unemployed, and War Veterans.  

In this same time frame, government employees have received raise after raise after raise. 

In the 1990's Ontario's social service's recipients received a 22% reduction in their pensions, and since then, these pensions have only increased by 2%. This 22% reduction was supposed to be temporary, just like the cuts to government employees (who's cuts were only 4%) were only temporary and have since been reinstated and then some. 

Part B. 

In Ontario, in the 1990's, long term care budgets were cut to help pay for rising government salaries, resulting in neglect to seniors and the disabled.  Neglect is a form of abuse which is illegal.  For example: One nursing home had a $3 million operating budget.  Queen's Park (Ontario's Legislature) cut the budget by $500,000.  at the same time CUPE (Union for public servants), received a raise.  This raise came from the operating budget, which was already under strain, so when an employee called in sick, they weren't replaced, resulting in chronic care patients sitting in urine soaked briefs for long periods up to sixteen hours and not being fed or moved, confined to bed or wheel chair.  This was illegal behavior because there was already pre-legislated regulations in place under the Long Term Care Act regarding staff/patient ratio.  That ratio is 1 to 8 for chronic care and it was increased to 1-16, far exceeding the humanly possible quality of care. 

At that above long term care home, 80% of their operating budget goes to staff salaries and benefits. 

There are lots of other horror stories resulting from the Mike Harris' budget cuts.  They also cut pre-legislated over-night staff in assisted-living group homes and facilities for special need's people resulting in clients dying from neglect. 

There were other stories of chronic care people in local hospitals who died from not being fed and basically just neglect.  They cut funding to the hospitals, promised more funding for home care, sent sick, seniors, and disabled people home without out increasing home care, resulting in a lot of suffering and death.  

Mike Harris's Common Sense Revolution budget was basically a war on poverty, the poorest of the poor, the disabled and seniors. They balanced the books on the backs of seniors, the disabled and the poor.  A sad chapter in Canadian history.  This was also the time when food banks started to spring up all over the place. 

Canada is a democratic country and pre-legislated regulations for long term care facilities cannot be tampered with without following proper democratic processes as it can result in neglect and abuse and that is illegal behavior.

Part C. 

Canada now has one of the highest paid middle classes in the world, all funded by cuts to the poor. 

Also, in this same time frame, a lot of 'living wage' (meaning good paying) manufacturing and other jobs have disappeared in Canada, thanks to globalization.  Now more Canadians are working minimum wage paying jobs which are not enough to pay for shelter and food.  

In the Federal conservative government's 2012 ominous budget, they passed laws so that the private sector must now work until age 67 while government employees still get to retire at age 55 and on full pension. 

My question for them is this: "for  how long do you think the private sector is going to play stupid?" 

Many Seniors have been unable to adequately save for retirement and are now living in poverty. 

Part D. 

Since the 2008 global recession, the cost of food, goods, and services have all risen dramatically.  Pensions to the poor have not followed to accommodate this. 

Consequently, many Canadians are falling deeper into poverty. This story is similar south of the border with our American friends where there are now more empty homes then there are homeless people. 

The number of people now visiting the food banks on a regular basis is at an all time high and even once successful middle class people, who were laid off, or lost their jobs, are now having to resort to this. 

A person on welfare in Ontario receives $530. month.  The average rent in southern Ontario is $300. to $1000. a month, the average food budget for a healthy adult is $300. to $500. a month. 

Part E. 

Note: The following comments do not apply to all North American Social Services Agencies in North America, many of them really do care about their clients, some prefer to badger them, but not all social service agencies are created equal, some are really good at what they do but...

A lot of North American Social Service agencies appear to spend more on hiring private investigators (to try and dig up dirt on people who are on the system) then they do on programs designed to try and get them into the work force. 

Many of these agencies are in vagrant violation of confidentiality laws which can lead to harassment, because people on social assistance are always harassed.  This greatly affects their ability to function as productive citizens of society and can lead to isolation, depression, and other problems. 

Historically it has always been governments responsibility to look after all of their people and make sure there are opportunities for everyone.  That is what they are hired to do, not to create expensive scandals for themselves that distracts and diverts funds away from the poor. 

Social Services is no longer giving people enough money to live off of, they're not allowed income from other sources, and when they do try to do something to try and get ahead they're often treated like criminals. 

North American Governments seem to have lots of money for jails but not for the social programs that historically were designed to distract people from crime. 

Part F. 

Today's North American society is basically set up for the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer.  Police corruption is at an all time high, their wages have tripled in the last three decades, so they've cut staffing, so they're burnt out, and poorly trained.  Lots of them are protecting the oil and gas industry in preference over clean water rights and the right to clean air and land. Canada has basically turned into a petro-police controlled state.  Many States south of the border are having the exact same issues. 

Part G. 

Another problem in Ontario is our mismanaged Ontario Hydro. Since the 1970's, bureaucrats sitting in Toronto have been dictating our energy generation programs and not giving the tax payers any say in our energy needs.  They have shoved nuclear, an 85 cent a kilowatt solar program, and a billion dollar cancelled gas plant program, down our throats while not one Taxpayer had any say in these programs.  

I've met seniors who have had to sell their homes because they couldn't afford the latest hydro increase.  People who worked every day of their lives until they were 65. 

So seniors are loosing their homes after spending a lifetime working until age 65 so that the high paid energy, medical, educational professions can buy big fancy houses.  There is also a home renovation tax credit for the rich right now.   I say that it is for the rich because it is yet another tax credit where you have to spend money in order to get the tax credit and only the middle class and the rich have money to spend right now. 

Water rates have dramatically risen as well.  And I saw some old pipes that the town removed for a new building and it was so rusty, makes me wonder how much water some people are paying for that they're not even using.   I met a mother with four children who can't afford water, her children smell like a cat liter box.  Imagine trying to go to school to learn in that condition. 

Part H. 

Why are there tons of executive cottages and vacation homes up for sale right now in cottage country and in prime tourist towns, worth millions of dollars?   Ontario's cottage country from North of Toronto to North of Kingston, is basically all private property with tiny little strips of land left for the taxpayers. 

Why does our government constantly dream up scandals that soak billions of taxpayers dollars into unnecessary legal battles when Canada's children are going hungry and without new shoes? 

Why are volunteers having to feed Canada's children and stock food bank shelves? 

Do you wonder what the 'Idle-no-more-movement' is about? Now you may have your answer. 

Countries who do not have adequate social services and social programs also have high crime rates and terrorist or other radical groups.   

Do you wonder what the mass protests in the Middle East (what the Media labeled 'The Arab Spring Uprising' is all about?  You may just have your answer.  Groups like FARK in Colombia, and the anti-Americanism sentiment in the Middle East, (which was started by the Saudi's) has stemmed from decades of government policies that favor the rich and do nothing for the poor.  (The Saudi's started this because they like to keep all their oil profits for themselves and have no social service programs, so Anti-Americanism distracts from this real issue and puts the limelight on the Americans instead of themselves). 

When decades and decades of peace talks get no where, frustration sets in....and then....

I think North America is now seeing the beginning of another 'industrial revolution' type scenario similar the 1920s and 1930s as the poor and the working-poor struggle in an economy that no longer makes it possible for them to have all of the essential elements of survival.  My guess is that if we don't get a lid on it soon, that we could end up like many other countries who have problems with riots and rebel groups.  

By the 1970's there were a lot of good unionized jobs every where in Canada that paid a living wage, meaning it was enough to live off of.  Then some unions got powerful and greedy and demanded more and more money until they put themselves out of business.  Companies out-sourced to cheaper labour pools mainly in Asia and other places. 

High paying companies shut down and reopened under different names, example: A and P grocery store shut down and opened up under No Name. A and P workers were making $22/hr in the 1980's, No Name paid minimum wage. 

So now we're right back at step one where the poor have to fight to regain what they've lost, it's like a vicious cycle.  

I think there should be caps on the CEOs of large corporations meaning they're only allowed to make so much money before they HAVE to share it with their employees, who are the people who are working their asses off to make them rich.  If I come up with an idea for a new product, I know that it will take hundreds of people to make it a successful company.  Why should I keep all of the profits just because it was my idea when hundreds of other people are working just as hard? 

Government employees since the 1980s have gotten raise after raise after raise...and they cut from operating budgets to pay for these raises.  When Government employees get a raise, it shouldn't come from the operating budgets, especially with health care.  So now we are getting less services for more money with most government programs.  Hospitals and medical facilities don't have the quality of care that they used to, police, fire, ambulances have amalgamated so now there are no such services in certain municipalities.  Park lands and green spaces are also being sold off to help pay for these salaries. 

Ontario's teacher's pension plan currently has a short fall so they're selling off properties to pay for this.  For more info about this see this blog

Part K. 


  I'm trying to comprehend and make sense of this bizarre story-
see if you can figure it out:


The Government cut $11. billion from old age security and then gave themselves a raise.  In a time of debt reduction, and budget cuts to programs and services  the Harper Government gives themselves a raise. 

The only thing that these cuts are probably going to do is increase the need for long term care facilities for our seniors.


How are things for our friends south of the border?


If Ontario has one of the most expensive e-test programs in the world then why are there still so many vehicles with toxic mufflers on the roads?  Because the poor cannot afford new cars and/or repairs.  So the poor who drive these vehicles, get to make healthy people become sick people and then the high paid medical profession can treat their cancer with expensive and free chemotherapy and radiation, it's the perfect plan to murder millions of people and another example of our petro-controlled life.   Or the medical profession will prescribe some western medicine to treat the asthma.  

Part N - The Rich get Richer and the Poor get Poorer


O. Positive things that people are doing: 

Support community open-green-spaces and programs for ALL of the people.  


P. Other relevant blogs: 

Blue Rodeo song 'It Could Happen To You.'  

This song is about a bunch of homeless youth down in the States who took up residency at an old warehouse, fixed it up, and put in a garden.  The army came in with fire hoses, destroyed everything and caused serious bodily injuries to the homeless people who had no medical coverage.  Blue Rodeo wrote this song about the incident. 


Q.  Pictures from the article 'Old and Loaded', McLean's Magazine, September 15, 2014. 

To enlarge, copy and past to msword or works, click on and drag corners outwards. 

R.  Increase in salaries and decrease in services

When Government employees like teachers, nurses, doctors, CUPE workers, fire, police...etc...all received raises over the past three decades, the money came from their operations budget, no extra money was given to them by upper levels of government in the form of transfer payments.  

So the funds had to come from some place, so they cut at services.  So that is why provinces like Ontario are so far in debt and why we are getting more for less.   For example, our home town no longer has police, they have to come from the next town.  So all the culprits are getting away with all their little misnomers  like drinking in the park, toxic emissions from vehicles. etc...sheesh, what a world we live in.  


S. Park lands vs private property

Someone should investigate all the million dollar vacation homes that are up for sale in Ontario's cottage country compared to the amount of public park land.  It's sad that all them clean lakes were turned into private property for rich people who can no longer afford them or who are selling them for what ever reason, and only shiver size parcels of land were left for the general public.  There's something seriously wrong with this picture with the thousands and thousands of million dollar plus vacation homes that are for sale in Ontario right now compared to the amount of park land available in them areas. 


T.  How a bunch of people lost house and homes in the 1980s and early 1990s. 

Back in the 1970's one could get a 25 year mortgage or long term loan so they knew exactly how much their house or car payments were going to be for the long term. 

By the 1980s, a bunch of bankers and others got greedy and decided to get rid of the 25 year mortgage, now you could only get a 5 year term for mortgage or loan. 

So hard working people slaved away to make payments on their house and cars then after five years the interest rate had risen so high that they could no longer afford the payments. 

So the banks got to repossess these houses and cars, most of them were purchased by banking 'insiders' who heard about them or who actually did the repossessing.  

This was all perfectly legal and set up by the governments and the banks.  


U.  Ontario Electricity rates the highest in North America

to enlarge picture, right click, copy, pate onto word processor, click on pick, drag corners to enlarge.

V.  $240. million for new ODSP computer system.  Not one penny increase for recipients who are struggling to make ends meet.  

to enlarge picture, right click, copy, pate onto word processor, click on pick, drag corners to enlarge.


W.  February 7, 2015:  Ontario's Liberal Government is once AGAIN suggesting cuts to Ontario's Disability program.  This has been going on since the 1990's.  They continue to cut from the poor to give raises to the rich.  


"Today's youth need to be challenged and not cuddled."  Quote from Barny Dancing, one of the founding fathers of Canada's popular Katimavik youth program that was cancelled by Harper's Conservative Government to help pay for a $640. million dollar advertising blitz called 'Action Canada' that actually contained no jobs nor opportunities, it was all just a facade because all of their funds went to tar sands extraction, billions of dollar in scandals, and nothing else.  



I think Ministries that deal with the most vulnerable citizens of society should restructure their funding program. 

They should separate capitol costs from program costs.  

Have a program budget and a separate budget for capital expenses such as new roofs, boilers, stuff like that. 

Facilities could apply for capitol costs based on a need priority bases. 

When the government employees get a raise, the raise should come from the province and not from the operating budget which has what has been happening for the last three decades. 

So in essence, it would be three budgets, program, capitol, and staff raises. The funds from one budget should not affect the funds from the other budgets.  



People on social assistance are having problems paying their rent.  That is because people on work fare receive $530. per month, and in Ontario it costs any where between $300. to $500. a month to feed one single person depending on where you live, shop and what  or how healthy you eat. 

In the 1980's, $24,000. a year was considered the poverty line for a single person. I don't know what the poverty line is now but you can clearly see that people living on social assistance are living way below the poverty line. 

So instead of the government helping the landlords, as is suggested by the editor of this article, how about the government help the poor people. 


The 2008 global recession was partly caused by high gas prices that cranked up the cost of goods and services and completely destroyed the global economy with high gas prices.   Lots of middle class people and others, lost all of their savings.  Now, they can't afford to go off grid and switch to solar energy.  So once again the oil and gas companies get a monopoly on energy.  Also they're just giving solar subsidies and contracts away to the oil giants without an open and competitive bid.  It's time to end the monopoly on energy generation.