Tuesday, March 09, 2010

BC Liberals attack people with disabilities once again in nasty changes to basic needs

The author of BC's changes to disability benefits?

Bill Tieleman's 24 hours/The Tyee column

Tuesday March 9, 2010

Disabled again on BC Liberals' Hit List

The poor and people with HIV and chronic illnesses whacked with more cuts to income and health support.

By Bill Tieleman

"There are a number of initiatives that are undertaken in the budget to make sure that we continue to put low-income people on the top of the list."

- Premier Gordon Campbell, March 5, 2010

The poor and the disabled are definitely at the top of the B.C. Liberal government's list -- the hit list for more suffering, that is.

Last week -- with tens of thousands of British Columbians having lost their jobs and thousands more dependent on meagre disability benefits to survive -- the government slashed social assistance to save $25 million over two years.

At the very top of the Campbell hit list -- people with disabilities who have no home or with chronic serious illnesses like HIV/AIDS or diabetes.

And yet the government's Orwellian headline for its
news release actually reads: "Province protects services for low-income clients."

God help the poor from more B.C. Liberal "protection" -- they can't take it!

In fact, they are "protecting" people with disabilities and those on income assistance between the age of 60 and 64 who don't pay rent by taking away their minimum $75 monthly shelter allowance.

That will leave those who might be staying with a friend or family member without paying rent -- or are simply homeless -- just $531 a month to live on.

More 'protective' moves

The B.C. Liberals are also "protecting" persons with AIDS and other serious illnesses by making it harder to obtain the Monthly Nutritional Supplement intended to provide vitamins and healthy foods like fruit, vegetables and special meals.

Previously anyone with disabilities on assistance who was suffering from any one of the
following conditions was eligible for the supplement:

Underweight status
Significant weight loss
Significant muscle mass loss
Significant neurological degeneration
Significant deterioration of a vital organ
Moderate to severe immune suppression

Now the government will require having at least two of those conditions to qualify -- apparently just "malnutrition" or deterioration of a vital organ alone wouldn't be enough!

And the government shamelessly used a $20-a-month "bottled water supplement" that it will now eliminate as cover for the cuts.

The reality is that only those with compromised immune systems, when their doctors advise it, could
get bottled water to avoid possible health problems.

But this government wants you to think those on income assistance sit around drinking Perrier at your expense. It's a disgustingly unfair attack on the sick.

Cuts 'will cost the health system more'

B.C. Coalition of People with Disabilities is stunned by the government cuts, and knows they won't save any money.

"Already inadequate support for people with disabilities is being cut further," the Coalition's Robin Loxton said in an interview Friday. "In the long term it will cost the health system more and will not save money."

Why? Because poor people and those with disabilities who are deprived of healthy food and shelter get sick -- so sick they end up in hospital for expensive treatment.

Coalition executive director Jane Dyson says things are already bad enough for those on disability benefits.

"People are using part of their food money to pay for housing, so they are already unhealthy," Dyson said, adding that many people receiving disability support have diabetes, which is further aggravated by eating low cost food.

1,400 people shoved further to margins

The $75 shelter cut will affect about 1,400 people, according to the government, and Loxton says that will particularly hurt the homeless.

"Homeless people have shelter-related costs," he said. "I don't know how people do it -- the cost of everything is going up and they can barely afford to live."

But the cuts don't stop there. Also being slashed are glucometers for diabetics, and pre-made foot orthotics, while dental services and x-rays will be reduced and chiropractic and physiotherapy services eliminated unless required for a "life threatening health need."

Presumably for this government not being able to walk isn't life threatening.

But these cuts most certainly are, not to mention utterly rotten.



Anonymous said...

Another proud Rich Coleman moment.

Henri Paul said...

Hate to say but ,we voted in the government we deserve,along with the opposition we deserve.

Kam Lee said...

What a vile government we have. They steal, lie, and kill off the poor and seniors. Good work gordo. Tar and feathering for all lieberals

kootcoot said...

"Now the government will require having at least two of those conditions to qualify -- apparently just "malnutrition" or deterioration of a vital organ alone wouldn't be enough"

Sounds like Dick Head Cheney and Professor Yoo defining "torture" out of the English language. But what else would one expect from our provincial incarnation of the neo-con ideology?

Anonymous said...

These are simply the most spiteful, nastiest people I have ever had the misfortune to come across.

Screw the Initiative. Let's go straight to Recall!!

Rod Smelser said...

Well, why doesn't the BC NDP put together a couple of half-minute TV ads on this topic? Show them once on the media for, say, $10,000, but make them available to everyone on UTube.

I mean really, why not?

DPL said...

Coleman strikes again. Each ministry Gordo hands him, soon has big issues and the big goof causes most of the problems.

Bruce said...

What is sad is main media have kept these ugly, ugly politicians in power. Shameful. I don't like people who vote for lies and manipulation. Our province is split on people who care and people who wannabe. I hate that our democracy is based on money and power. I am angry.

Anonymous said...

Look what hes done to forestry,ringing any bell ?

Anonymous said...

C'mon guys, killing them off is part of the plan. They have to reduce the growing welfare rolls somehow. More will be trying to flock to it in the coming times.

They are being sneakier about the increasing move toward computer applications. People were telling me that citizens can't even see workers in welfare district offices anymore, or they make them wait a long time to see a live human. Barriers prevent access. Another strategy.

I did not vote for these scoundrels. I knew what they were, but even in my darkest dreams I could never imagine the kind of evil they would perpetrate on the citizens of our province. Never.
Or how many they were prepared to destroy. People. Our people.

Steve McClure said...

Billions of dollars can be spent on the Olympics, and then this:


When a society thinks it is more important to spend money on spectacles such as the Olympics than the health, education and welfare of its children, then it is doomed. Shame.

Norm Farrell said...

Anyone willing to trade the new BC Place roof for better treatment of the disabled?

How far would $700 million go to help?

Kim said...

I like Norman's idea. I'm going to start writing letters asking that question.

christy gordon said...


DPL said...

Those sleazy guys were about to evict a group of very oldvets from some little building behind the ledg. Give us 28 thousand or you are gone. The joker who is the minister of something or other kept changing the story and now it seems it was "Miscommunication" Believe that and you will believe just about anything.

SharingIsGood said...

Firstly, thanks for bringing this topic forward, Mr. Tieleman.

Re: Norm Farrell's stadium roof V. care for the disabled question:

To put BC Liberal values and money manageement in perspective - even if we do want a retractible roof:
Lucas Oil Stadium that was just completed in Indianapolis for the Colts and it will house 63,000 for football and 70,000 for basketball. The entire stadium (with retractible roof that closes in 9 minutes) was built for $700,000,000.

BC Place Stadium houses a similar number of people and loses 4,000,000 dollars per year, even without the new roof. The roof, which will most likely have to be built with borrowed money, may well end up costing more than $700,000,000 when all of the interest charges are included. Whether they call it borrowed money or not, we know that when a family spends more than it has and needs to borrow to cover expenses, that it is the extravagances (not the necessities)that must be considered the reason for the borrowing. Does a family that cannot meet its rent nor medical needs truly need an extravagant renovation to their home?

kootcoot said...

Gordon Campbell and his cohorts are disabled ethically and morally, but unfortunately in the "Best Place of Earth" (for Scoundrels), these are the folks that prosper.

"CRIME DOES TOO PAY" in British Columbia!

Anonymous said...

I'm a person liveing with HIV & a learning disabilty. I left B.C to come to Albert and they don't give much help out this way at all. Unless you can't work at all. Look into it. It's so wroung there's challage's that come with HIV. I was Advanced Aids not knowing it. felt like I had a flew that wouldn't go away for two months thrush in my through cd4 was down to 40 viral load was over 1,000,000 I'm so lucky to be here today. But now I'm fight with depression, Self esteem issue's, Cronic fateage, All of my counts are back up Atripla saved my life but asking for help has been such a challagne B.C gave me the help I needed. Alberta well I'll bite my toungh on that. I'm finding that our goverment always has there hands open for our money but when we need help it's almost imbaresing to ask for it. They give you such a hard time WHY?? I payed 6-7k in tax's and now I realy could use the help and can't get it. For them to cut the funding for people liveing with HIV thats going to cause a mess. We have to noteafie people befor engageing into intamintce. if we don't its jail time. If the goverment don't care about us then people are going to stop careing to. Think about it there's alot of messed up people out there. I was a victom it can happen to anyone. what would they want if it happend to them ???

Bill Tieleman said...

Thanks for your comment Anonymous 5:52 - I will continue to cover cuts to people with disabilities and I hope you are able to deal with the difficult situation you face - your message is a strong one to all of us.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Bill Tieleman. We all could use a little help in the right place's. Us people have voise's but are never heard Thank you.. I'm a fighter and will keep on fighting. :)Thanks for your message of hope.