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CONTRIBUTION · 19th October 2011
Merv Ritchie
You are most certainly aware a municipal Mayor has next to no impact in influencing these wage and poverty issues. However what I can do is explain how I feel and what direct impact I believe we can have in Terrace to address the serious nutrition and child rearing depravation.

Your Question can be read by clicking here.

The first thing you address is a resolution passed at the Union of BC Municipalities convention. Obviously you are enlightened enough to follow the political shenanigans and know the BC Premiers, present day and the past have generally ignored these motions. These higher levels of government seem to have an agenda quite different from municipalities (Local Governments).

My first reaction to your question is; Why do we even ask a working family making under $40,000 a year to pay any taxes? Every single dollar they make is spent back into the community to simply survive, thus helping to drive the local economy. Even the process of filling out the tax return is onerous to the family struggling at this wage. Essentially the Federal and Provincial governments are helping fund H & R Block with the scanty funds left after a year of struggle.

Not so many years ago families had two parents and only one worked. There was no need for child care. I was raised in such a family when it was common place. Virtually every single kid I went to school with in Saskatoon went home for lunch. The kid that brought a lunch was the unusual situation.

This situation was foisted upon the Provinces by their need to borrow money. And to borrow they are required to meet certain expectations no different than the austerity measures being imposed on Greece today. Yesterday it was not so obvious. The intricate interweaving of these measures leading to the retraction of all types of social programs was insidious. Today our education system, medical system and community infrastructure is so depleted it is hardly recognizable from just a few decades ago.

And this goes to the heart of your question.

Yes, absolutely, I support and will argue vigorously for a decent living wage and child care, but it is the mother or father that should be caring for their own children. This is a great issue to discuss and we must ask ourselves how and why we have degenerated to such a state where a family cannot even raise and teach their own children.

I believe; the living wage, the $10 a day child care and the no charge day care for those earning less than $40,000, are all embarrassing stop gap measures. We need a much deeper discussion on just where we are all headed if this constant growth and robbery of our nation’s wealth continues.

What we can do however, unlike the previous Terrace City Councils, is support ingenious programs like the HOPs Center. They have been providing nutrition to the most desperate at a buck a day and they get virtually no help and no recognition. This is an unheard of cost benefit service. It is a service that should receive the Order of Canada or the Order of BC. Terrace hasn`t done so much as to recognize this one of a kind effort.

Terrace has even degenerated into sacrificing the one volunteer service that dedicated themselves to helping the least fortunate, the Terrace Anti Poverty Society. The audacity of charging them rent of $600 per month when the Womens Resource Center was occupying the same space previously for $1 per year was way beyond ludicrous; it was simply a crime against humanity.

To add insult to injury, or a better analogy, to pour lemon juice on the paper cuts, the City renovated the building for the next occupant, Northern Health, after the Anti Poverty group . . . get this . . . Anti Poverty went broke!

Terrace has a lot of growing up to do and it will not occur if those we elect have an agenda of maintaining the system we have today.

No I have not signed the petition but I will if you truly believe it will make a difference.

Please accept my understanding how these petitions and resolutions have next to no influence on our present day political structure. I sincerely sympathise but even after the HST was forced into an incredibly difficult process and was defeated the Provincial Government allows it to fester. No vote, no petition, will have any effect. It is the process that must change.

My plan is to show how that can be done.
Response to Merv on why we speak in spite of..
Comment by Robert Hart on 28th October 2011
Merv, you preach a gospel of powerlessness when you begin by saying that municipalities have no role and the provincial government doesn't listen to municipalities. We elect municipal government to speak for us always, not just when they think they think that higher levels of government are listening or, better yet, will agree. Would silence send a clearer message?
The same principle applies with petitions. No one expects every petition to meet with success, or even most. That is not, in fact, their primary intent. Their purpose is to allow people to raise their voice because THAT exercise is important for citizens as it is equally so for politicians to hear that voice, even if they do not heed it.
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