12. April 2012 21:25
My perspective has changed since I moved to my neighbourhood. There are good things that happen you you break out of your isolation and see a world outside your own.
I'm extremely proud of my neighbourhood. I'm extremely proud of my neighbours. I have the best neighbours in the world. I swear.
One of the people in my building is forced to rely upon AISH. We're not extremely close friends, I don't know all the details of their life. There's actually quite a lot of privacy between us. But I'm extremely pleased to shovel their (and everyone's) walk when it snows. I'll redeliver mail whenever it comes to me. I happily share my jam and jelly when I make it in the fall. I do the same for all my neighbours, it's no big deal.
But I'm sickened when I think about scraping through month to month on *my* salary. I couldn't imagine doing the same on AISH. I was absolutely sickened when the rates of AISH were hiked to great fanfare. There were stuck at the same levels for years during some of the highest hikes in rents I can remember in Alberta. The squeeze was immense.
It's not okay to leave AISH recipients languish for years on end, then come with tears of gratitude when we hike the rates. That's the worst thing I can imagine.
These aren't lazy people, some of the people on AISH work harder than anyone I know to make it through month to month. These are the most vulnerable people amongst us. These are my neighbours. These are my friends. These are people who need better, who deserve better.
I can say with great confidence there is not a single member of the Legislature that does not have their salaries tied to - or exceeding - inflation in the province. It is insensitive, it is ridiculous to not tie AISH to a basic rate of inflation.
I don't live high on the hog, I have no idea how my neighbour makes it month to month. We need to treat them better. This isn't a gold plated plan, it's tying AISH to inflation and creating dignity and safety for our citizens.
I didn't tell anyone I was going to ask the question, it came up somewhere along the way during the leader's debate. Glenn Taylor had no advance warning. Glenn's response:
"Yes, it should be indexed to inflation. Why should it be different from any other form of compensation, especially since we are talking about the most vulnerable amongst us."
Glenn, you are fabulous and deserve to be heard by all Albertans at the debate. Thank you for your answer, you represent me and my values.