Canadians are indeed a generous people. When disasters strike or people flee wars we dig deep, do bake sales, spaghetti dinners, and children empty piggy banks to raise funds and the taxpayer, through the government, finds necessary money.
The acceptance of 35,000 refugees is a prime example. Airfares exceed $30 million, there’s over time for public servants, arranging transport is $4 million; hotel rooms, medical care, ESL education, not to mention $35,000 for each family for the first year, and in some cases, welfare.
Should we be proud of ourselves? You bet. With this kind of effort one would assume that we would take excellent care of Canadians in need, right?
A country will be judged by how it looks after citizens in need for whatever is needed. So how do we compare to other industrialized countries? Canada ranks 17 out of 27.
What are we doing to improve life of citizens in need? The thousands of homeless people, the hundred thousands of children below the poverty line and not to mention First Nations?
So, what do we do? Well, every Christmas we give the homeless a turkey dinner, that should hold them until next year. Old ladies are knitting hats and gloves for street people, some young girls are collecting sleeping bags for them. Good on all these people, but it’s not changing the lives of these people.
Food banks and soup kitchens are a temporary measure, are almost 50-years-old, and have not changed the lives of these people.
Terrace now has more then 100 homeless, joining the thousands across Canada.
What to do about the problem? We can not have them damage the businesses on main street, so our city council decided it is preferable to have people living on the street.
City council is joining all those who say they are in favour of shelters for the homeless, but not in their neighbourhoods. Besides, they say these people prefer to sleep outside in 20 below anyway.
By all means let us do what is needed around the world, but let us deal with Canadians in need first.
Shame on the federal, provincial and city government. Shame on all of us in this land of plenty for ignoring citizens in need.
John Jensen, Terrace, B.C.