Thursday, 23 May 2019

Kendall Worth has a nose for good stories, and this is one of them. On the Easter weekend of 2015 Daryl and Darlene met in the QEII emerge, both there for mental health issues aggravated by loneliness and isolation. Now they’re friends and support one another when things get tough. What happened?

Ever since the Wortley report came out almost all the discussion has focused on street checks and whether to ban or regulate them.

What about rampant racism among the force as reported in Wortley’s community meetings? What about classism, sexism and ableism we continue to hear about? And why do we think the same old and tired recommendations are going to work this time?

Recently Erica Lewis considered applying for membership in the National Advisory Council on Poverty. This is a group consisting of people with lived experience of poverty, who are tasked with providing input on the federal government’s poverty reduction strategy.

When Erica found out it wasn’t for her because of the nature and severity of her health issues, she wrote to the Feds.

“If you really want a diverse group of people giving input, you should
accommodate those who, because of illness, rarely leave their homes,” she writes.

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!

In 2019 all income assistance recipients in Nova Scotia stand to lose a good chunk of buying power to inflation. In 2020, when people on income assistance finally get a raise, that raise in most cases gets eaten up by inflation, and then some.

In other news, Community Services spent millions less on welfare payments last year than it anticipated.

Stella Lord, of the Community Society to End Poverty in Nova Scotia, writes on this year’s budget, and welfare transformation. “nstead of punitive regulations and an outdated categorical budget deficit model that pre-defines “need” but keeps people constantly “in need,” we require a social safety net and service-delivery model worthy of the name. How about one that rests on social justice, human rights, and community well-being?”