09 July 2014

This is Canada

Canada Day has come and gone, and no peep from me. I'm conflicted about Canada Day. Patriotism is bullshit in my not so humble opinion. You're proud of being Canadian? Why? We've done some great things, yes.
We have universal health care.
We have no abortion laws.
We have codified equality, including the right of any couple to marry each other, regardless of genital configuration.
We have a social safety net.
We have a law that allows people to apologise without taking legal responsibility for the issue.

And... ummm... we're good at hockey?

It's not enough. We could do so much more. We've codified equality, but we are not an egalitarian society.

Oh Canada, our home on native land. Racism continues to flourish. Just read the comments on any CBC article about aboriginal people. Never mind the statistics that show that they die younger, are paid less, are on welfare more, are incarcerated at way higher levels, and the biggest kick in teeth: have their children removed at way higher levels than non-aboriginals. Nearly half of the children in foster care are First Nations children. 3.6% of Aboriginal children aged 14 and under (14,225) were foster children, compared with 0.3% of non-Aboriginal children (15,345)

Women still make less money than men for the same work. Women still can't walk down the street at night without fear of rape, and then be blamed for having the nerve to walk down the street at night. Our reproductive rights are still an issue. There is no access to abortion in PEI, and in NB women need permission from TWO doctors. And if you're a native woman? Well, you're more likely to die of a violent crime than any other group. Domestic abuse (pdf) is far far higher in the aboriginal communities. And if you're missing? No one seems to give a shit. Forget about an inquiry, even if there hundreds of you missing or murdered.

Our social safety net is so awesome, isn't it? I mean, that's what I hear from my father-in-law. He tells me that people (read: natives) scam the system, because it's just so generous and easy to live on. No. Not just no, but Grumpy Cat NO. You know what welfare pays in BC?

a single person considered employable receives $610 per month – $425 for shelter and $185 (or about $6 per day) for all other needs, including food, clothing, transportation, telephone, etc.;
a single parent with one child received $946 a month from the province (plus $422 in various federal tax credits and child benefits); And if the parent receives any child support, it is clawed back from their welfare.
a single person with ppmB (persons with persistent multiple barriers to employment) status receives $658 per month; and
a single person with PWD (person with disability) status receives $906 per month.
$906 for a disabled person. $906. This is for someone who anyone but the harshest of conservative assholes can't blame for their situation. Do you know much rent goes for? A 1 bedroom apartment is about $700/mo. Are we really saying that disabled people must take a roommate? That we won't afford them the dignity of being allowed to live on their own if they desire? Fortunately, their meds are covered (except when they aren't!). Food isn't though. Or heat. Or telephone. Good luck with that.

And that's what we do for people who were born here. Not born here? Refugee? Well, we're sorry, but fuck you.

And that's just our domestic social policies. Don't even get me started on foreign issues. Or what we're doing to the environment. It's shameful.

So while I'm happy to live in a society in which I don't have to have my head covered to leave the house, where my husband can't beat me in front of a cop, where my daughter can and in fact must be educated, where we don't let people die from infections because they can't afford the ER, where gay people can marry the person they love, there is so much more we can do.

But we won't. Not with the KapitalistKonservativeKrapfest in power. Because greed trumps all with them. Greed of money and power. That is all they care about. And it's heartbreaking. So I don't celebrate Canada Day. I quietly rejoice to have been born in one of the best countries in the world, and quietly pray that everyone can step up and be better.