There is so much that’s wrong in provincial politics. One is that, under the Liberals, the province raised the taxes and prices on cigarettes and liquour–and then bought manifold shares of those same tobacco and distillery companies. They were betting on the fact that profiting off the harm they were ostensibly trying to prevent was a sound, discrete business investment. Funding these companies to better their craft of hooking users to their addictions, the provincial government also profited off many of their mentally-ill clients, as most persons with serious mental health diagnoses depend on nicotine to get rid of voices, as well as to wake up properly from the sluggishness of their medication side effects–medications they are court-ordered to take. Many, also, then self-medicate with alcohol. Wow. Did I just type that?
The previous provincial Liberal government capitalized on the weaknesses of humanity. Wow. How sound is that? Now with John Horgan’s NDPs, the old rules still apply. And then some. Lottery winnings, windfalls that could potentially benefit those too disabled to work for a bit of extra cash, are deducted, or “claw-backed” from the monthly income dollar for dollar, as I painfully found out this month. The arcane, Liberal-instigated rule still is treated indifferently as a cash-grabber by the John Horgan NDP government. Wait, I did just type that. Wow.
The representative at the ministry office, in his explanation to me of why my cheque was thus deducted of declared winnings, even used his stern, punitive tone of voice, playing the schoolteacher persona so he’d have a better chance at not having me argue back. He said if I wanted to make rent, there are avenues like taking out a loan or applying for funding help from existing organizations. And that process could take months. Otherwise, I’d have to look at moving to cheaper accommodation–in Vancouver, in February. Wow, really?
I didn’t even use that money recklessly. I paid off two loans, lent a small sum to someone struggling with an infestation of ants, and banked the rest. There were incidentals, but kept it to small dollar amounts and discounted items. In the end, I thought I took care of things pretty well.
You see, there is a lot of provincial money going into addictions. There’s not much more than a figurative pat on the back, or mere words, to acclaim the hard work many of us do to keep out of addictions in the first place. We are brushed aside because we’re not in crisis, as if we don’t struggle with the same volatile emotions or cognitive disorganization, and from the triggering work stress that prevents us from being able to work in the first place. It’s just that some of us who are less scathed are actually following the program. But we don’t count. There is no incentive to stay on the straight and narrow. All the money is being gobbled up by the immediate and the urgent, which is an ineffectual tax upon effort and resources, since it is mishandled and not helping those addicted from their root causes to until they’re discovered dying on the streets.
So the John Horgan government continues the Liberal legacy of penalizing who live right and don’t cause trouble. Kudos to the NDP for turning its back on success stories. You might have thought better of a more humane government. I think the future looks grim fo persons with disabilities in British Columbia since if the NDP, the people’s grassroots party, can overlook the wheel that doesn’t squeak, what chance do we have with Liberal Opposition Leader, Andrew Wilkinson, in power? ~V.
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