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Category: Rants (page 1 of 11)

Poverty, Precarious work and voting

(This is the first of several items I’ve been wanting to write about. I thought it was best to wait until after the election)

There are many people talking about the voter participation rate in the last election and how low it was.

At first, I was jumping on the “all people don’t care!” bandwagon but upon some reflection and reading how other people were feeling I have to get this off my chest.

Some people may not care about it but some other people don’t vote for several reasons.

  • They are tired of a system that does not seem to help them no matter who is in power.
  • They don’t have the time to vote let alone research the issues and candidates.

There can be many reasons for both of these, but IMHO people who are living with poverty and precarious employment have more important things they think about.

Things like:

  • Will I have enough money to pay the rent/mortgage this month?
  • Will I have enough money to put food on the table for myself and my family?
  • Can I earn enough to have a cash flow to pay for prescriptions that will take Trillium 6-8 weeks to send a check back? (if the med is covered)
  • Can I earn enough to afford the dental work for a family member who really needs it done?
  • Can I turn my brain off at night to allow me to get enough sleep to function the next day?

This is the reality for many people. The municipal government does not have control of many of these policies but people have been let down by those on the provincial and federal level enough times that they don’t see the point with another layer of government.

We know what has to be done, and we know how much it will cost, what we need is the will to do it.

To those who can manage trying to make ends meet as well as getting out and helping the community, my hat is off to them. Not everyone can.

I manage to find time to be on the Library Board, it is time well spent and I feel like I am making a contribution back to an organization that provides a lot of good in the community. However, I have had to back away from other commitments as I know what my physical limits are.

Having lived with the stress of non-full-time employment for 4 out of the last 7 years, I can tell you it is a constant stress. Thoughts like above are usually the first thing I think about waking up, and it’s what I try to not think about so I can get a decent nights sleep.

I am halfway through a three-month contract which pays well enough to pay the bills but not enough to cover any unexpected large expenses or my wife’s medical bills. I always try to save a small portion for fun things like a meal out or to support the community in some way. I am always looking for other sources of income to try and build that savings up. Telling your family you cannot afford to do something is the toughest things anyone has to do. Seeing other people doing cool things can be depressing as well.

I don’t look for pity, amazing people have stepped up to help when we really needed it. I look for people to realize what we have tried in the past does not work, it’s time to do something different. If you are a politician or policy influencer think of it like this “It’s more important then being re-elected or how my peers will think of me”. If we can break this cycle then more people will have the physical and mental energy to do amazing things.

So let’s move ahead and have a bit less about the low voter turnout, please.

More than a Promise Broken

The decision of the Federal Liberal government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to break their campaign platform promise of Election reform is a truly bad idea.

In the last election, the liberals promised a new era of transparency compared to the previous party in power and in some ways they have done that. However, this was a key campaign platform and many people voted for the Liberals instead of the Green Party or the NDP based on what they promised to do on election reform.

In recent years we have seen people’s views of politicians and the political system become more cynical. This is not without some merit if you look at the last campaign both in the US and Canada.

Many people were hoping that a change was happening from business as usual politics but it looks like it is just more of the same. I found it striking to read tweets and Facebook posts by supporters of the party and I found them very similar to supports of the Conservative party defending a policy that the public did not think was right.

Beyond the issue, itself is the fact that this will make more people more disappointed and cynical about politicians and the political system in general. Having more of the electorate disengage and not being as informed can be a dangerous thing. People are more likely to believe fake news sites and other sources of misinformation.

This issue could have been handled much better. Make a decision on what sort of voting system would be best and put it to the citizens in a referendum. In this way, if the majority of voters did not like the idea then you could say you put it to the people. Instead, all this has done is anger many people who took a chance and wanted change. Those that do choose to participate in the voting process again may not be as trusting in future. And that is the real shame.

Random Thought June 18 2015 – On Inspiration

dawn with stars

It’s been a very long week which did not start well and I’m realizing that I’m not as young anymore. I broke my own rule on knowing when to slow down and I have been paying the price physically and mentally in the last 24 hours.

However tomorrow brings more things and I look forward to it.

So why do we continue?

  • We continue because we want to be inspired.
  • We continue because we want others to be inspired.
  • We continue because the alternative is not acceptable to us.
  • We continue in spite of the negativity.
  • We continue because of the negativity.
  • We continue because we are not perfect but we know we can play a part in making our communities better.
  • We continue because we see others facing a much more challenging journey and yet they continue.
  • We continue because we do want to make things better.

 

 

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