One Manitowaning Road

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Economic update reveals new pages in Tory playbook—sorta

To the Expositor:

The Ontario government recently released its fall economic update and there were a few surprises contained within its pages. Most notably among those surprises is a provision to link the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) to rising inflation. That is tantamount to a recognition of what most social agencies have been telling governments of all political stripes for, quite literally, generations—ODSP falls far short of what is needed for anything approaching a reasonable lifestyle. Most who deal with the disabled advise doubling the amount currently being paid out.

Unfortunately (coincidentally?), the plan to link increases in ODSP rates to inflation won’t kick in until next year, when most economists project the worst of the current supply-chain induced inflation will have passed.
There are two main social safety net programs in Ontario. The first, Ontario Works, used to be called, somewhat pejoratively, welfare. Welfare was the big bugaboo of the Mike Harris government and he and his cohorts wasted no time in gutting that program to a point generally agreed (by those without a political agenda, at least) to lie far below the amount needed to hold life and limb together, never mind providing for hearth and home.

Liberal successors to the Harris government shied clear of the issue, although there was plenty of lip service and clucking words to be heard amongst the red tent ranks—substance was thin gruel at best.

In the intervening years “welfare” rates have not kept up to inflation, even those meager percentages that prevailed in heady pre-pandemic days. It would be quite a surprise indeed were the current Progressive Conservatives were to be so progressive as to rise to that occasion—relax—that isn’t one of those surprises mentioned above.

No, the item that caught The Expositor’s attention was a line suggesting the government will link the rates of the other social safety net program, ODSP, to inflation. Those receiving ODSP are a class of what are (largely) recognized as the “deserving” poor—unable to participate in the workforce through no fault of their own.  Those who are in need and are unable to work because they are too old, disabled, or too sick.

Still, in the hardcore mindset of the further right among us, the ranks of ODSP recipients are only slightly less inhabited by malingerers and con artists—never-you-mind the statistics that clearly indicate that is not anywhere close to being true. After all, they will tell us, you can make statistics say anything you want to—especially if coming from one of those “woke” institutions like Stats Canada.

This outlook can be seen peeking through the Ford government’s own version of lip service and faint praise contained within the fall economic statement. Strapped with a shrinking labour force that is bedevilling the Ontario economy’s climb out of pandemic doldrums, the Ford government plans to mine the deserving poor vein among the ODSP ranks for malingerers. This will be accomplished by allowing those too old, disabled, or too sick to work to work more before taking back a quarter out of every dollar they make over the $1,000 threshold.
True, the current $200 threshold and 50 cent clawback is a disincentive for ODSP clients to work, but even more so is being “too old, disabled, or too sick.”

As we head into this Christmas season where so many of us are struggling to come to terms with the escalating cost of turkeys and trimmings, spare a thought or two this year (and perhaps even a few more pennies) for those who remain abandoned to the cruel vicissitudes of fate by our demonstrably callous political masters. Don’t be counted among those who choose to walk past the poor and homeless with little more than a bah humbug and directions to the nearest workhouse.
Don’t be a Doug.

A plea to police officers to not become discouraged; Your efforts are appreciated by a host of people

To the Expositor:

I often hear from law practitioners about the concern of bringing “the law” into disrepute. And before I go any further, I am pleased to live in a society where an accused has access to the best possible defense.

But if your footsteps trace from a car accident and the smell of alcohol is on you, it seems to me an arrest by our OPP is firmly in order.
If this is an unjustified arrest, what is an arrest that would make sense?

Recently I cleaned up all the garbage along my road. Within an hour, going back to my house, there was a fresh beer can tossed to the roadside. The empties are being tossed out of windows faster than I can pick them up. I regularly hear from students who are generating savings from picking up empties from the side of the road. What message is this passing on to our young people?

Where is the message of personal responsibility from our courts? Would it be better, from a Charter point of view, to let alcohol scented drivers walk away from their poorly guided vehicles? Apparently so.

Frankly, in talking with others across the Manitoulin, I see that my road littered with empties is the rule, rather than the exception.

So I would close with three important thoughts:

If you have a battle with alcohol, please seek support. You are valued and loved.

If you are an OPP officer, please don’t feel discouraged. You are appreciated by a host of people who are grateful for the safety you provide us. Often, officers don’t see us at our best moments, and their professionalism and service is deeply valued. I am pleased to know many of you personally, and my family supports you.

Footsteps traceable to a vehicle accident and the person smelling of alcohol?  Innocent of resisting arrest?  Madness.  To restore confidence in the law, this judgment must be appealed.

The issue isn’t about driving under the influence anymore. The Charter issue on trial is: “What is reasonable?”

Keep it up, OPP!

Outraged,
Ray Scott
Big Lake

Cold weather is no excuse for bad behaviour; Upward swing in incivility toward those in customer service called out

To the Expositor:

I talked about this once a while ago, but it bears repeating.

I know November is cold and sometimes gloomy, but that is no excuse for bad behaviour. I have noticed an upward swing of abuse towards people who work in customer service. These people are in their jobs to help you.

Don’t have money in your bank account? That’s on you.

Checkout girl accidentally rang in your grocery item twice? There is no need to insult and berate her. It wasn’t done on purpose and those that flip out over it must be blessed to have never made a mistake in their lives.

Don’t like the cost of an item? Don’t buy it! Long line at the post office? Should’ve sent your parcels/cards earlier. Don’t go on at the employee when they have no control over such things.

I think everyone should have to work in a customer facing job for a month, minimum, at least once in their lives.

We all have crises and trauma in life. I don’t know your story any more than you know mine. It’s how you carry yourself through those moments that matter. Be patient. Unless you want to jump on the other side of the counter to help out, quit telling the lone poor soul who’s probably been told by more customers than just you they should have scheduled more staff.

Grumbling about being in a lineup? Don’t show up during busiest days or times or find alternatives.

Most of all, we should all start taking responsibility again for our own choices and actions. No one else is to blame for your choices but you. I repeat, you.

I have no idea at what point in time we became such a “it’s not my fault” society, but it’s got to stop.

Your bank teller, checkout girl, retail sales clerk, post office employee and gas attendant will thank you.

Andrea Bath
Little Current

The house always wins in games of chance and the capitalist system; The longer the game goes on the less and less remains on the table for the players

To the Expositor:

If you have ever played poker, especially in a clandestine and secretive location, you will have noticed that only one person ends up with all the money. He does not work at mastering the game. He doesn’t gamble or take a chance in any way. In fact, he doesn’t work at all. He (or she) is not the craftiest or luckiest player. He is the person who “rakes” the game. This person is usually the one who sponsors the game at his home or place of business. He takes a small percentage from each pot regardless of who wins the hand. Sort of a tax.

The longer the game goes, the more this person makes, resulting in less and less for all of the players.

Does this scenario ring a bell? It should.

Does this explain why some men become billionaires and millions of other people starve?

The rake, or tax, does not end in this poker game. The rules of this game favor very few of our fellow players.

Over time, all the “pots” migrate to an infinitesimal number of chosen players. This migration occurs imperceptivity across generations. The rest of the planet’s inhabitants jump onto a treadmill for survival called “jobs.”  In the words of the immortal Jim Morrison, of the rock group The Doors, “we trade in our hours for a handful of dimes.”

And you thought that you never played poker.

Tommy Lough
Tehkummah

Inequity in transplant access due to vaccination status must not stand; Unvaccinated can donate organs, but cannot receive lifesaving transplants

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following letter has been sent to the office of Premier Doug Ford and has been reprinted here at the author’s request.

Dear Premier Ford:

I am writing to you in regards to transplant policy in Ontario. Currently, those who have not received COVID vaccinations cannot receive lifesaving transplants. COVID vaccines have not in any way lived up to their promised expectations. They are experimental in nature. Their safety profile is unknown.

Having spent months attempting to acquire the scientific data to support such an inhumane policy, I was not surprised to receive a response from the Ajmera Transplant Centre in Toronto that did not offer the opportunity to view such data, as it does not appear to exist, but rather links to a couple of untested opinion pieces dated from the beginning of COVID.

Despite coercion from all levels of society, individuals still choose not to receive vaccinations by reason of conscience, and overall dissatisfaction with the lack of professionalism, compassion, and common sense shown by most of our elected officials and unelected medical bureaucrats in regards to COVID mandates. The individual must retain the right to bodily autonomy. Only the individual can decide what goes into their own bodies.

Health officials in Ontario have informed me that although unvaccinated individuals cannot receive lifesaving transplants, unvaccinated individuals can still donate their organs.

The transplant policy regarding vaccination for COVID is rationally inexplicable and morally unjustifiable. Please restore justice and bodily autonomy to the people of Ontario. Unvaccinated citizens must be able to access lifesaving transplants.

Sincerely,
Zak Nicholls
Little Current