Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Blame the Victim: A New Canadian Value?

How Did We Become So Mean-Spirited?

Is Blaming the Poor  A New Candian Value?

"There's not much sympathy for the poor in Canada. According to a new report, many of us believe the poor have themselves to blame for getting into that situation, and that povery is a choice. The Salvation Army report is called "The Dignity Project: Debunking Myths About Poverty in Canada".

37 percent of adults polled believe the poor still have it pretty good and about half thought a family of four could get by on $30-thousand a year. Statistics Canada puts the poverty cutoff line at 35-thousand for a family of four living in a city. All in all, Canadians don't have a realistic picture of what it's like to be poor.

An army official, Andrew Burditt says low paying jobs, lack of job training and affordable housing keeps the poverty circle growing."

Another story on this, from CTV: "Nearly half of survey respondents said if poor people really want to work, they can always find a job. And about a quarter believed that people are poor because they are lazy.... (but) "If there weren't food banks, a lot of people wouldn't eat"
(The sample of 1,025 Canadians was drawn from a panel of more than 100,000 Canadians surveyed Jan. 26-27, 2011. The margin of error was approximately plus or minus 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.)

* Update: And a contrarian view HERE "Do you think poor people fall into poverty because they’re lazy? If so, sorry to be the one to inform you, but most Canadians disagree with you. In fact, according to a recent poll, you are among a small minority of Canadians – 23 per cent, to be precise."

Welfare Food Crackdown Needed says Deputy Mayor, Doug Holyday. We’re glad to see the province take action to stop the fraud because that’s an awful escalation in cost,” Holyday, who sits on the city’s audit committee, said Saturday. “We have to make sure the taxpayers are protected — unfortunately that harms people who are legitimately entitled to get the benefits, but sometimes that’s the result of people taking advantage of the system and the system has to protect itself,” the deputy mayor said....But Councillor Joe Mihevc, who is a member of the city’s health board, said it was wrong to call those living on social assistance “fraudsters” because even with a $250 supplement a month, it’s most likely still not enough to get by.  Anyone who knows how high rent and food costs are in Toronto — people aren’t spending on frivolities, that’s so rare,” he said.  “It’s on a different ethical level than a middle-class person fraudulently robbing a bank,” Mihevc said. “I don’t think it’s fraud when someone is trying to feed themselves and their children...“This is a classic case of blaming the victim. They found a way to use the system to their benefit — then all the power to them.”

Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC)  tenants are probably worried what the one track 'gravy train' Fords are going to do about their negligent and greedy landlords.
Community Housing Scandal a "Gift from the gods" for Ford

Heads Should Be Rolling at TCHC says The Star's Joe Fiorito...
TCHC Residents Angered by Inappropriate Spending

"While staff members of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation enjoyed expensive chocolates, massages and lavish Christmas parties the agency’s tenants waited for much needed repairs and action on pest infestations.... The audit report will be discussed at a TCHC board of directors meeting Thursday, which is open to the public at the housing office on Yonge St, next to Rosedale subway station....
This audit represents another black eye for the agency that was told to review its eviction policies following the death of 82-year-old tenant Al Gosling (Here's the story on how TCHC contributed to death of an 82 year old tenant)."

SUGGESTION for Mayor Rob Ford and Toronto City Council:

* Put both Michael Shapcott  and Joe Fiorito on the board after you rol the heads there that need roling.

* Update: Civilian members of TCHC board refuse request to resign “We were appointed by City Council for a term that expires on December 31, 2011. As TCHC directors, we have a fiduciary responsibility to the Corporation i.e. we cannot simply walk away from our responsibilities,” Ron Struys said in a statement on behalf of the board’s seven non-elected, non-tenant members."

.... umm, yes you do and you blew it. Directors have liabilities and perhaps the city should use its lawyers to pursue financial redress from them? 

* Update: Former TCHC Public Housing CEO Remains Mum "...Derek Ballantyne is now the man on the hot seat, after Toronto’s auditor general released a stinging report slamming employee expenses and purchasing practices at Toronto Community Housing, the agency he once headed. While Mayor Rob Ford is calling, unsuccessfully so far, for the head of current CEO Keiko Nakamura, Ballantyne is keeping a low profile. Ford said Monday the public will “have an answer by Friday’’ as to Ballantyne’s fate...Now chief operating officer of Build Toronto, the city’s real estate and development corporation, Ballantyne served as CEO of Toronto Community Housing from 2002 to May 2009, well into the period covered in the auditor general’s reports..."

.... court proceedings to come?

* Update: A List of TCHC SpendingAbuses Example: $1,925 spent for a “divisional planning meeting” at the Elmwood Spa. The meeting included a three-course lunch, pedicures, manicures and water therapy for eight staffers.

* Update: They Resigned 

Who is on the TCHC Board
 (citizen members) All of whom refuse to quit:
•David Mitchell (chairman)
•Zahra Dhanani
•Michelle Joseph
•Greg Kalil
•Carol Osler
•Sheerin A. Sheikh
•Ronald Struys

Update: Mayor Ford wants to put only one person in charge of TCHC... someone who is very much against social housing: Case Ootes story here "Ootes has also asked for a complete list of all single-family houses owned by Toronto Community Housing, the 2006 Current Value Assessment of each and recommendations on the feasibility of selling the properties to generate revenue. Toronto Community Housing owns some 500 single-family homes throughout the city."