Category Archives: Poverty


The obscenity of CBC turkey drives

Phony annual charity drive illustrates how little has been done to reduce poverty

Merry Christmas from CBC, sorry you're life is not so merry

Nothing is more obscene than the pampered people at CBC with their annual do-gooder turkey drive. CBC wastes it’s considerable resources attacking the wrong end of the stick.

Do they think one turkey at Christmas will alleviate the crushing weight of poverty or is this all just another WKRP radio station publicity stunt?

If the folks at CBC really carried about Christmas and the message of Christ, they would use their considerable resources to report stories about the reality of PEI’s poverty problem.

A short stint of real reporting at CBC would inform the public and embarrass the government into fixing the problem once and for all.

Dr. Robert Coull wrote that charity drives make him angry. “The need for charity is something that makes me very angry.  It reminds me that our society is unjust.  The poor continue to be poor, while the rich get richer.  Rich people ‘feeling good’ about giving a few dollars or a few hours of their time to the ‘deserving poor’ is something I would love to see the end of.”   Continue reading

Minister of Community Services, Seniors and Labour Janice Sherry, press release to follow

Will UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities mean anything on PEI

PEI celebrates the day with plagiarism, pontificating and prevarication

Minister of Community Services, Seniors and Labour Janice Sherry, press release to follow

The world celebrates UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities. On Prince Edward Island, we can look forward to political hot air.

The appropriate minister will rise in the Legislature to acknowledge her love for and empathy with the situation of Islanders living with disabilities. Those speeches are fulsome, with profound words that puff up those who listen.  In reality, they are hollow with pontificating and prevarication.  Continue reading


UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities and all is not well in Canada

Two decades of neglect by government leaves many living with disabilities further behind and living in poverty

The UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities may be a publicity stunt or a grim reminder to many of the 4 million Canadians living with disabilities that they are locked in last place in the Canadian experience.

The UN press release says “The Day aims to promote a better understanding of disability issues with a focus on the rights of persons with disabilities and gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of the political, social, economic and cultural life of their communities. The goal of full and effective participation of persons with disabilities in society and development was established by the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1982.” UN Enable

How good is life for people with disabilities in Canada?  Continue reading

Photo by Sharyn Morrow Creative Commons

Basic Income Could Eliminate Poverty

Changes to benefit system would replace welfare for working age people with disabilities

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Federal Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Diane Finley (photo Government of Canada)

Minister responsible for disability has inaccessible office

Ironically Federal Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Diane Finley has inaccessible constituency office

Federal Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Diane Finley (photo Government of Canada)

Bob Speller, Liberal candidate in the Haldimand-Norfolk riding, blasted Federal Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Diane Finley for having an office that is not wheelchair accessible.

“She keeps making announcements saying the government is doing so much for the disabled, but she doesn’t seem to care in her own riding that they don’t have access,” said Speller. “It goes to show she’s not serious about the issue. She should be setting an example. This is embarrassing.” (

The access to Finley’s office is by way of a set of stairs and a barrier at the door. People in wheelchairs cannot navigate stairs or door sills.

“Bob Speller is simply trying to distract from the dismal Liberal record on helping person with disabilities,” said a statement from Finley’s office. “In fact, Michael Ignatieff’s Liberals are constantly voting against support for persons with disabilities such as when they voted against the creation of the historic Registered Disabilities Saving Plan and the Enabling Accessibility Fund.”

That’s cold comfort to her constituents who must make an appointment with Finley and meet her off-site, perhaps at Tim Horton’s.

The lack of accessible office space is the tip of the iceberg for Finley, who despite her own vision impairment has little sympathy for Canadians living with disabilities.

Yes she piloted the Registered Disabilities Saving Plan through Parliament. That helps the children of upper-middle class Canadians save for the time when the parents have passed on. Those lucky few children with disabilities, then adults, face the bleak future of struggling to exist in Canada’s disability wasteland. The program is useless for most Canadians with disabilities who are struggling to survive.  Where are they going to find disposable income to save for their childrens’ income?   Continue reading

Harry Wolbert, disability activist

Disability and poverty go hand in hand

Many Canadians assume people with disabilities are well provided for. Few understand that disability and poverty are synonymous. Disability can lead to poverty and poverty can lead to disability.

Harry Wolbert, disability activist

By HARRY WOLBERT, For the Winnipeg Sun

In less than a year, Manitobans, and possibly Canadians, will again head to the polls.

There are certain issues that are bound to surface again. They are poverty, housing and the closure of institutions for people with disabilities.

Disability poverty is an unacknowledged reality. Advocates and disability organizations have been calling for social policy reforms that would eradicate poverty.

One of the proposed reforms is for the introduction of a Basic Income Plan for Canadians with severe disabilities. The foundation of this plan is a new federal Basic Income program that would replace provincial and territorial social assistance for most working age people with severe disabilities. The disability community is also asking Ottawa to covert the existing non-refundable disability tax credit into a refundable disability tax credit.   Continue reading

Laurie Beachell, national co-ordinator of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities

Disability Community Needs PALS in 2011

Scrapped mandatory census cuts even deeper for disability advocacy group

Laurie Beachell, national co-ordinator of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities

Council of Canadians with Disabilities – Statistics Canada’s Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (PALS) is the most important and comprehensive source of disability statistics in Canada and is seen as a best practice model internationally. CCD is concerned that Human Resources Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) has not yet committed funding for a PALS for the 2011 census.

It is crucial that PALS continue so that governments and community have the information and research needed to develop good policy and programs. It should be noted that upon ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Canada will be obligated to collect data on the socioeconomic status of persons with disabilities.

PALS and its predecessor HALS have been, and remain, extremely valuable survey tools. No other survey provides the range and depth of statistically reliable information about:

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Walmart employee

You are one paycheck away from poverty

Being on social assistance is often the result of mid-life disability over which people have no control

A recent Guardian Commentary resurrected some of the negative stereotypes of the past, quoting,

“Social Services, on the other hand, deals with the failures and fall-outs from all other social systems, beginning with dysfunctional families and going on to where health, education, attorney general (corrections), and community services have failed.”

In one sentence, the writer characterized those on social services as “failures”. “fall-outs”, “dysfunctional”, and rejects from prison. What is he thinking?

This is so far from the truth it is an affront to people who need social assistance to survive. For PEI’s disability community, social assistance is often the only way they survive from month to month. The problem exists across Canada and only varies in severity by Province.

Continue reading

Anti-panhandling poster, Calgary Downtown Association

Should we give money to panhandlers?

Alberta government’s new plan to discourage people from giving money to panhandlers and give to agencies instead

Anti-panhandling poster, Calgary Downtown Association

by Stephen Gaetz, Homeless Hub

The Government of Alberta has announced its intention to put forward a plan that encourages people to refrain from giving money to panhandlers, and instead to give those resources to agencies serving people who are homeless.

While many people may be annoyed at the sight of panhandlers, we need to dig a little deeper to understand what is driving this initiative. At the root of many people’s negative responses to panhandling are prejudices about homeless people, and why they panhandle in the first place. Is this same prejudice driving government policy?

The Alberta Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Jonathan Denis says: “Most people think if they are giving to panhandlers they are helping the problem, but they are hurting the problem. Almost 80% of money going to panhandlers goes to negative habits — drugs, alcohol, gambling — anything that can be destructive.”  Continue reading

After tax LICO for person with disability on PEI

Welfare income for disabled on PEI falls

Disabled on PEI living on welfare at 57% of the poverty line

After tax LICO for person with disability on PEI

The National Council of Welfare has published statistics that show people with disabilities on PEI are living 43% below the LICO poverty line (or low-income cut-off).

People with disabilities were receiving almost 90% of the assistance they needed in 1992. Reforms to the welfare system on PEI hit the disabled hard and their situation deteriorated significantly since then.

Since 2003 the disabled have been living at 57% of the after-tax LICO.

The majority of Islanders on welfare are in that situation because they can’t find employment due to their disabilities.   Continue reading