As we head into the holiday season, various media sources remind us to give to those less fortunate than us. And for many years we have heeded that call. Yet, recent reports inform us that Canadians have reached another record when it comes to personal debt.
Locally, we know that several long-term charitable organizations are struggling. Citizens who are deeply in debt are not likely to help those charities thrive. They are having a sufficiently difficult time just keeping our economy on the rails.
It is time for senior levels of government to take the issue of poverty – whether that of children or of adults – seriously. We all know of people who are struggling to keep their families in shelter, food and heat. Charities cannot be expected to pick up the slack for governments inadequately distributing tax dollars.
In a Feb. 8, 2011 Province letter to the editor, Seth Klein (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives) wrote: “Between the mid-1970s and early 1990s, B.C. brought on stream almost 2,000 new units of social housing per year. In contrast, a study we published in September found that over the last five years the government’s own numbers show an overall net increase of only 280 units.”
Well-managed social housing can underpin both individuals and a community. Since we all gain by positive action, we need to remind our governments to do something for those who need support – action that goes well past the holiday season.