Premier John Horgan: On Disability Benefits

Disability benefits are usually the lowest priority on the political agenda in good times and bad. It is also the first to get slashed in a climate of austerity while the rich get even richer, which is scandalous at worst – ridiculous at best. Outgoing former BC Premier Christy Clark had the decency to raise our benefit rates after freezing it for 9 years while in office. But, now with the BCNDP in power, what will the new Premier of BC, the Honourable John Horgan, do?

He had a campaign promise of raising our rates to a living wage. But will he? Power is a heady thing. Is it possible that Premier John Horgan will forget the $200 raise in disability benefits that he campaigned on now that he’s in power along with the BCGreens for the next 4 long years? Will he do a “Christy” and wait until the next election campaign as the incumbent and tease us with a raise while failing to deliver? Honestly? Anything is possible with power.

Will the BCGreens keep him in check? Do the BCGreens even care? Does John Horgan really care? Does anyone really give a damn? Does the average British Columbian have to know someone in their own family with a mental illness or other debilitating disability before they start caring?

This attitude that we need to work to make up for our rental and living costs has got to stop. The reason why we are on disability isn’t for the free money: it is our only means of survival after being told we’re unfit to work. This is especially true after trying to find work and having the doors of opportunity slam in our faces – because the employers don’t want a paranoid schizophrenic as an employee. In some cases, the emotional, physical and mental toll of work is so great that one successful work day is followed immediately by 5 days of complete respite–because, it is all too much. For many, even should they get hired, their first day on the job is their last because of the ravages of the illness, of the medication, of their physical, mental and emotional fitness to deal with the demands of the job and workplace politics. Honestly, did former Premier Christy Clark really know what she was doing? Yes, she just couldn’t give a damn. But she did enjoy some nice sunny spots with the family while on vacation, eh? Something most of us will never do.

Does the newly sworn Premier John Horgan really care? The only litmus test is if he puts the money where his mouth is, literally. ~V.

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