By Marvin Ross (he/him)
A letter to the editor written by a woke woman objected to an op ed I wrote. I’m used to criticisms as everyone who writes opinions is and I welcome them. As one of my editors years ago said, it proves someone is paying attention. This woman is entitled to her opinion of course but it was so silly, in my opinion, that I have to comment.
First, however, let me deal with my one time only use of the phrase “he/him” after my name. What does that mean? Why does it matter? I have no clue but I suspect it refers to the fact that I am a male and maybe that I am a straight male. Does that really matter? No. It is, I think woke or political correctness and serves no purpose but I see it all over the place.
I really don’t care what you call me and the anti-psych people have called me lots of names. I pointed out to one who lambasted me on social media that ad hominem arguments don’t cut it and she replied with I intended it to be ad hominem. So much for logic. I was influenced early on by the late Alan Borovoy who was head of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association for many years fighting discrimination in rental housing and work. He always said “I don’t care if you like me, I just insist that you treat me fairly”.
For the past few years, I’ve been writing op eds denouncing the Ontario Government for its failure to provide adequate financial supports for the disabled who cannot work because they are disabled. A significant number have serious mental illnesses. Almost 30 years ago, a right wing government won the Ontario election and introduced what they called the Common Sense Revolution which included slashing social assistance payments. When challenged, they produced a welfare diet which proved to be unhealthy and suggested people could buy dented tins of tuna cheap.
Subsequent governments failed to restore social assistance rates to where they were in 1995 and the plight of the disabled got worse and worse. Today, a single disabled person gets $1169 a month to cover all their costs. The average cost of a bachelor apartment in Toronto is $1225. When the current government was first elected in 2018, they cancelled a legislated increase for the disabled. They think the disabled should get jobs. For those who have to live in group settings (and I suspect they are mostly those with serious mental illnesses), the mostly private operator is paid according to the Ministry:
All ODSP applicants in a board and lodging situation will have their budgetary requirements calculated based on the maximum board and lodging rate. In the case of a single ODSP recipient it would be up to $825 a month.
And, being generous:
In addition, recipients in a board and lodge situation receive a special boarder allowance of $71 per benefit unit to help with additional personal need costs such as toiletries.
I did ask some follow up as I thought it was about $125 but they are ignoring me.
My latest op ed on the topic discussed all this under the head of “Compare disability benefits to corporate welfare to measure our disdain for the disabled”. The disabled get bupkis (literal translation from the Yiddish is goat shit) while 3 large corporations got government covid grants of $240 million to continue giving their shareholders increased dividends and the Auditor General reports that the Ontario government can’t find $4 billion of covid grants. Add to that the fact that the new government has the largest, highest paid cabinet in the history of the province.
The $1169 a month income translates into $14,028 a year while the low income cut off (LICO) for Ontario in 2022 is $26,426.00. LICO is an income thresholds below which a family will likely devote a larger share of its after-tax income on the necessities of food, shelter and clothing than the average family.
I had hoped that people reading all this would get angry and I know that many did. But not the woke letter writer. This bothered her:
while the debate continues about whether to use “people with disabilities,” or “disabled people,” the term “the disabled” is generally considered derogatory and a form of “othering.”
Call me what you want but don’t call me late for lunch or, as Borovoy always said, I don’t care just treat me fairly.
She also said
The experience of disability is diverse. For many people disability is an essential and fundamental part of their identity. Rather than “shedding” disability, research indicates that society must shed its disabling barriers and attitudes that prevent the full participation and flourishing of people with disabilities.
I don’t know any one who sees their disability as part of their identity but rather as a burden they must deal with every single day. As a compassionate, caring society, we must help people to cope and to flourish. That means providing them with a decent income so they do not have to decide between rent and food unless they were lucky enough to be born into a very wealthy family.
If the woke and the politically correct warriors have a social conscience, they will focus on what really matters and not this silliness.