Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservative Party’s attacks on social services have been leaving a resounding effect on our city with every cut, threat or announcement that comes to.
From announcing their plan to reduce planned increases in rates from the province’s largest social programs or cancelling Ontario’s basic income pilot project, which was meant to provide money to 4,000 low-income people in three cities, including Hamilton, a majority of social programs that have been cut have a direct impact on Hamilton’s population.
Compared to Ontario, a significantly higher portion of the Hamilton’s population live below the low income cut-off. As of December 2017, there were 20,291 households receiving assistance in Hamilton. That’s up from 18,719 in December 2014.
This city deserves a hell of a lot better than this. Turning a blind eye on a city that relies heavily on social services and assistance from its government is incredibly irresponsible on a provincial level.
There is work being done. Hamilton mayor Fred Eisenberger and other Ontario mayors asking the federal government to assumer oversight of the basic income pilot and city council has voted in favour of officially denouncing the decision to cancel the pilot project, but there is still so much more work left to do.
McMaster is a great safety net. It lets you experience Hamilton from a moderate distance while keeping you in a closely knit bubble. Unless you’re active within the community, you may not necessarily have to engage with the unique issues that the city of Hamilton is facing.
At the end of the day, however, this is still your city. Regardless of whether you’ll be here for the next four to six years or the next thirty, your city is suffering at the hands of our provincial government. It’s worth considering how your neighbour’s livelihood is being affected by these cuts, even if yours isn’t.