statement by Anonymous 3
September 26, 2018

I'm a 43-year-old Hamilton resident on ODSP working part-time in a precarious work-from-home job.

For now, I'll concentrate on Minister MacLeod's July 31st press conference in which she insulted and patronized ODSP recipients, not to mention misleading the public at large.

The "best social program" is not a job. It is not even a good job with benefits (with emphasis on the "good" a point she neglected to mention). That line is just tired, old right-wing claptrap. There are a few programs that take priority over a job: health care, the justice system, affordable housing and education, and that's just off the top of my head.

Let's challenge the politicians to try to land a job when they are ill. Let's see how high their confidence is, or how well they can concentrate, or how well they can do in an interview. Try getting work when you have to constantly monitor and manage your condition, let alone keeping a job never knowing when the next attack or episode is going to strike. Yes, health comes before work. Sorry to break it to you, Minister MacLeod. We aren't robots.

For better or for worse, like any modern civilization, our society depends on a functioning system of policing and justice and laws, including the laws that grant businesses their status. Under our economic system, jobs don't just materialize out of thin air.

No housing? The stories of homeless individuals becoming self-made entrepreneurs represent an extreme minority. The reality is, without a stable roof over our head, a job is nigh impossible to get. Try telling a prospective employer that you've got nowhere to live or shower, and that your other set of clothes (if you have one) is stashed away in a secret corner!

No education? Good luck with that job hunt.

The Conservatives' (there's no such thing as a "Progressive" Conservative) right-wing base keeps bleating on social media that Tim Horton's, McDonald's and Wal Mart are always hiring. Whether that's true or not, what if you can't do physical work or have other disabilities that present barriers to landing that kind of a job, or any job?

We need to ask Minister MacLeod loud (no pun intended) and clear, "what if we can't work? What is our crime?" The province and the Feds house, feed, educate and rehabilitate violent criminals. Do the disabled deserve no less?

We need to demand why she had the gall to say that cutting the Liberals' planned 3% increase to social assistance is a "compassionate" approach to her mandate to reform social assistance. And we all know that "reform" is a euphemism for "cuts." That she stormed away from the podium once the media's questions became too much for her speaks to her lack of understanding or caring about this matter.

We need to know the logic behind eliminating the Liberals' planned increase to earnings exemptions. Didn't the Minister say she wants to encourage us to work? It makes no sense to proclaim to incentivize work while clawing back so much of our earnings (50% after the first $200 earned). How are we supposed to get ahead? Do Conservative voters want us to get ahead financially, or do they want to ghettoize us?

I know, I know. I should be grateful they haven't gotten rid of social assistance entirely. Not even Mike Harris did that, despite his cuts. Eliminating ODSP would cost this government a lot of votes in the next election, and the cabinet should know it even if Ford himself doesn't. Perhaps they are considering merging ODSP with OW, an idea the provincial Liberals floated. We must be on alert for that kind of drastic measure, and take drastic measures ourselves to prevent it.

Towards the very end of its tenure the previous government was finally taking steps to help ODSP recipients improve our quality of life. The provincial Conservatives and their base seem bent on making it worse. Don't they realize that the more they attack us, the more appealing suicide can get (don't worry, I know this doesn't apply to everyone)? If the rules on physician-assisted death were not so restrictive, I would have availed myself of that route. Having tried and failed to kill myself on my own, I have little desire to fail again, nor do I want to engage with dangerous individuals to get the substances I need to succeed. So, for now, society is stuck with me!

The Ford government is trying to take out the Liberals' debt and deficit on the poor when we didn't create the problem. We need to tell the Ford government to stop bullying us. We shouldn't stand for it. We won't stand for it. We'll stand up against these bullies!