EDITORIAL: Disabled citizens poorly served

That $77 is a single trip to the grocery store for many

The most recent increase to the government’s disability allowance was touted as if the provincial government was passing out gold bars.

In fact, the province was merely boosting the monthly amount by $77.

For many people living in this province, that will be less than a month’s rent if the year’s worth of increase is combined.

It’s a single trip to the grocery store.

Then the province decided to compound its stinginess by yanking back some of the money.

If you get a government-funded bus pass, you only get $25 a month. And depending on your transportation method, it can be as low as $11 a month.

These allowances are intended for people who, by definition, may have great difficulty finding work, and an even greater challenge finding housing.

Transportation is astonishingly difficult. For those with physical disabilities, a cracked sidewalk or poorly built crosswalk can be insurmountable obstacles. And transit, while better than a generation ago, does not provide anything like full mobility, especially with the death by a thousand cuts being inflicted on HandyDart, through a failure to increase service levels over the past few years.

Most government assistance in B.C. can barely keep an individual or family out of abject poverty. It keeps people from starving or freezing, and that’s about it.

It is supplemented by a variety of non-governmental programs, including food banks and Meals on Wheels. Without countless volunteers and the aid of scrambling non-profit groups, things would be dire indeed.

Clawing back a meagre increase, as the cost of living heads ever upward across our province, shows that the B.C. Liberals do not value all citizens equally.

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