LETTER: Government attempting to put positive spin on bus pass decision

Disabled citizens neglected for nearly a decade

MLA Darryl Plecas posted a letter in your March 23 edition, suggesting that the government’s recent announcement regarding bus pass fees for the disabled was being “misunderstood.”

Once again the government is attempting to put a positive spin on a poorly thought out announcement.

Your newspaper has done an excellent job in describing just how important the bus pass is to many of the disabled in our community. Andrea Wettleland described the pass as being her “lifeline;” however, if she decides to renew her pass, the impact to the announced $77 monthly increase turns into $25!

I suggest that the government has neglected this segment of vulnerable citizens for the past nine years over which time the disabled have not received any increase to their benefit amount. A good example of the impact of no increase in benefit amount is when you look at the government-approved annual increases that landlords apply to rent (2007-2015) the cumulative effect turns a $600 rent in 2007 into $803 2015 dollars! The “facts” are that for nine years the monthly benefit for the disabled remained at $909, and the example of 2015 rent being $803 leaves $106 to apply towards other monthly expenses.

There is, of course, the reality of another increase in rent for 2016 at 2.9% which the remaining $25 (after clawback for bus pass) will not cover, let alone the other annual cost of living expenses. This helps to explain why many on disability will have to consider giving up their “life line to independence” to survive the impact of nine years of no increase to benefit amount.

I respectively suggest that MLA Plecas failed to consider this factor when he concluded that the announcement was being misunderstood. The facts best illustrate the challenges many on the disability program face each month.

Jim Walton