It is very agonizing to read the many reports detailing how difficult it is for people to financially survive in this province.
The increased demand on food banks, the number of personal and commercial bankruptcies and the large number of people who depend on agencies such as the Gathering Place to survive are sad but telling indicators of this fact.
There are many people who have to make daily choices such as whether to stay warm or have a healthy meal, to pay the light bill or have enough money to get their drug prescription filled.
Every year people on low or fixed incomes have to bear the brunt of increased costs for things like heat and light, phone, insurance and taxes.
As a result, they have to make decisions on where they can cut back on spending to live within their budget.
Government, on all three levels, don’t have to agonize over such decisions. When they need more money they take the easy way out and raise taxes.
What is truly and sadly ironic is that taxpayers, who are the funders of government, have to cut back on their spending to stay within their budgets but the governments who live off taxpayers’ money, do not. This is unacceptable and all three levels of government need a change in mindset.
Why should people have to suffer for the benefit of governments?
Until things improve significantly with the economy, the province and municipalities should freeze spending for the next several years and make the necessary budget adjustments to achieve this.
I would also like to see politicians’ pay tied to this objective. If they don’t meet it, they don’t get paid. I guarantee you they’ll meet it.
I also believe it is a far more practical way for politicians to be held accountable than for them to make expensive promises (to get and stay elected) when these promises are paid for by people’s tax dollars. I would love to see a politician of any stripe have the courage to lead this new mindset but I’m not holding my breath.
People on low and fixed incomes need a break.
P. J. Martin