By Victor Schwartzman
June 20, 2014
Give that politician a hand!! Two fisted B.C. Premier Christy Clark, fresh off an election victory that punched her to a large majority government, in response gave voters a few fingers when she talked relatively straight recently, Not anyone to palm things off, she spoke as clearly as she ever has about when she will work hard to make life better for people in B.C. who have disabilities.
A recent Globe and Mail article by Ian Bailey quotes Premier Clark about her exciting new plans, starting with when her Government will improve monthly income payments for people with disabilities ($906, plenty to live on if you don’t eat.)
“We should, when we can afford it, raise rates for people who live on disability… This is why it’s so important that we grasp the opportunity for the liquefied natural gas industry, that we focus on exports particularly to China and other Asian countries. That’s how we will grow the economy… If we grow, then we will be able to afford to improve and invest in social programs.”
There will be money to spend on “extras” when the economy grows more. It does not take Nostradamus to predict where this is going. In fact, many past Premiers have made similar statements, including when the economy was performing well. Just a little more growth, a few more bucks in the coffers, and then society can afford programmes which help people in addition to corporations.
B.C. has a history of providing sufficient income supports to people with disabilities to ensure poverty. On top of the $906 per month are additional supports, but the Government is notorious for clawing back any additional income it can which a person might receive. The Government’s guiding principle in the claw backs appears to be ensuring people with disabilities always live in poverty.
As noted, in Premier Clark’s statement one finds comfort. She is being clear. Investing in social programs will not happen until there is more cash in the coffers, certainly a lot more than the Government has now. How much more she needs, she never said.
Corporations provide jobs, but people with disabilities also contribute to the economy. If the Government put more effort into improving access, those people could contribute even more. Only about one fifth of B.C. citizens who have disabilities draw a pension. However, while it is good to count potential income from helping corporations, it is apparently bad to count potential income from helping people become employed through improved access throughout the community.
Anyway! We’re always getting bogged down in details!
Premier Clark DOES have a plan for when the $906 monthly pension will be increased. Just as the Clark Government has five points governing acceptance of the proposed oil pipeline from Alberta to the B.C. coast, it has five requirements for increasing the sub-minimal monthly assistance provided to people with disabilities. This plan also applies to improvements in social services and culture, but not negatively affected are improvements to pavement:
FIVE REQUIREMENTS FOR B.C. TO IMPROVE SERVICES:
1. Liquefied natural gas is produced and sold to the named and other countries and the economy grows by more than a little and less than a lot, to be determined by numbers produced later.
2. The oil pipeline receives approval from all First Nations Governments, including those which take a tragically short-sighted approach of opposing the pipeline because it could destroy the environment for future generations.
3. The majority of B.C. citizens with disabilities help the economy by donating some or all of their pensions back to the Government. Donors would live in a big tent city inside the big domed sports stadium downtown, at least when there are no football or hockey games. Investing in B.C. lottery tickets is also acceptable, providing the person does not win.
4. B.C. establishes a colony on the dark side of the Moon.
5. The fifth requirement is being left open for an emergency situation (i.e., that the other four requirements somehow are met.)
Next: AODA, THE SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER SEQUEL!!!
Thanks to ‘unamused reader’ for pointing out the Clark comment!
Victor Schwartzman contributes this weekly satiric column to Accessibility News nothing in these columns is true except what they are about. His graphic novel (where each chapter is one issue of a community newspaper) is serialized on the great Canadian lit site, http://www.redfez.net . He also contributes a monthly poetry review to http://www.targetaudiencemagazine.com . He has had poetry and short fiction published, and has edited novels. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.