This morning Tim Blades, anti-poverty advocate, member of BRAG and CASAR, and NS Advocate author, spoke truth to power about the Community Services’ Employment Support and Income Assistance program, better known as welfare or income assistance. Tim did so at Law Amendments, while the Financial Measures Act (this year’s budget) was under the microscope. And oh boy, did he ever tell them a thing or two!
Poverty activist and welfare recipient Tim Blades speaks at the recent screening of My Week on Welfare in Lower Sackville. His message is not the one that Community Services would like you to hear, but it’s rooted in lived experience.
On Wednesday evening several MLAs from all three parties attended a screening of My Week on Welfare at the auditorium of the Nova Scotia Art Gallery in downtown Halifax. My Week on Welfare is a wonderful documentary, produced by Jackie Torrens, that offers glimpses into the lives of income assistance recipients, families and individuals both, trying to make ends meet on a scandalously low food and shelter budget. The screening was organized by BRAG and CASAR members. What follows is what poverty advocate and Nova Scotia Advocate contributor Tim Blades told the MLAs.
Frequent contributor Tim Blades on living in poverty, his struggle with illness and mental health issues, and the urgent need to be compassionate and open with one another. “Now I want to delete that last paragraph. My heart is racing just from typing that last paragraph. While I want to be safe and delete that last paragraph, If I let go of that secret, it’s just one less thing for me to hold onto.”
Anti-poverty activist and Nova Scotia Advocate contributor Tim Blades addresses protesters in front of the Nova Scotia Legislature on Tuesday February 27, on behalf of the Child Support Clawback Action Group he co-chairs. “Single parents are still being forced to interact with an abusive ex due to the child support clawback policy.”
Last night’s screening of Jackie Torrens’ terrific My Week on Welfare was a great success. Lots of people, and more importantly, lots of new faces. It is wonderful to witness people on welfare realize that yes, things are terrible, but there are others like them who aren’t going to take it anymore. We have lots of pictures, and the talk by regular contributor Tim Blades on being on welfare in general, and the extra struggles faced by single mothers who receive child support.
Frequent Nova Scotia Advocate contributor Tim Blades on his experience with the wonderful Halifax Humanities program, and how it offers so much more than an educational experience alone. “Halifax Humanities takes people who might be socially isolated, and brings them together. Halifax Humanities, with its policy of accessibility and inclusion makes it all possible.”
Kendall Worth wrote an open letter explaining why people who are actually on social assistance need to be heard by members of the Standing Committee on Community Services.
It is budget day in Nova Scotia, and a small group of income assistance recipients gathered in front of Province House to remind fellow Nova Scotians that life on income assistance is unlikely to get much easier as a result.
Recently Community Services organized a series of info sessions to provide an update to stakeholders on the ESIA transformation. I couldn’t go of course, since I am merely a grouchy old journalist and not a stakeholder. But I talked to a few anti-poverty advocates, and this is what I found out.