Opinion

Letters: We have right to live with dignity

Editor, The News:

Re: Seniors told, pay more or move (The News, May 16).

I’ve been following the stories of many seniors and people with disabilities lately.

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for them, the often overlooked members of the community, the people who often try to scratch out a living all of their lives, pay into the Canada Pension Plan, only to end up in destitution and ruin, wasting away in what are supposed to be their Golden Years.

Government-legislated poverty seems to be the way this affluent country rewards them for all of their hard work over the years.

We no longer live in close-knit families, in which the younger generations take care of their aging relatives.

Based on median income, the cost of living, and extreme inflation, it is no wonder we, as families, have not the money to take care of our elders.

It is more than just a runaway lack of morality. This is a financial apocalypse. Even the middle class is quickly disintegrating.

I hear of seniors having to skip meals and go without basic necessities in order to make rent on time. Wages and pensions have not been increased with the ever-soaring cost of living.

I remember a time when $20 could get a four or five good-sized bags of groceries. Now, you couldn’t even buy one bag of the basic staples required for proper nutrition.

Canada is well overdue for a pension reform.

Also, I know a few people with children who are physically disabled or have a mental illness that prevents them from working. They are forced to live on a meager income of $900 a month. With the average rent being $750 a month, most times not including phone and Hydro, how are they supposed to survive?

You could argue that there are food banks and local charities, but how can one simply say that they should have to rely on the charity of others, when even the hard-working stiffs who run our gas stations and prepare our food, not to mention pay exorbitant  taxes, could be in need of a bit of charity themselves?

Where is the dignity in all of this? Many families with children, and seniors, struggle daily to put food on the table or to keep the lights on.

Every person has a right to live with dignity and respect.

Seniors and people with disabilities deserve an adequate income in order to pay for core housing need (which should be a third of income), proper diet and nutrition, and to be able to participate within their own community, because you can hardly step out of your door without something costing money these days.

Dharma Jorgensen

Maple Ridge

 

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