November 10, 2009

Written Assignment Part III: Essay

Social Assistance: A Bottomless Pit

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CAN190BB The Canadian Political System Seneca College, Newnham Campus Business Administration (Newnham) Marc Menard Radu Chendrean 066-772-054

the outcome translated into the creation of vicious circles that further impoverished the receivers. and the Toronto Star referred to it as ³Heaven´ (Purdy 1). living one day at a time. Poverty is lack of shelter. Poverty is not having a job. Communities and the media quickly recognized the good intentions behind the project. Aside from making no real difference to the lives of the beneficiaries. and especially after the war. The inhabitants of the Regent Park housing community were becoming more and more marginalized due to their overall low average income. Large amounts of money were spent to ensure a minimum standard of living for all the country¶s citizens but as we will see later on. it became obvious that the ³Heaven´ was turning into a ³Neighborhood of exile´ (Purdy 2). most of the inhabitants were either unemployed and living on the welfare system. The main criteria set by the government to qualify for subsidized housing was of course low income. is fear for the future.´ The World Bank Organization Ever since Confederation. the large expenditures made little or no difference in most cases. the government has made transfer payments from the federal level to the provinces in order to assist with administrative cost sharing and to ensure basic universal benefits throughout Canada (McDonald 1). Just a few years after the opening. Poverty is being sick and not being able to see a doctor. or employed but unable to make . The buildings erected on the 42-lot acre in Toronto were designed to accommodate workers unable to afford housing in the city¶s open housing market. Poverty is not having access to school and not knowing how to read. so as a result.Radu Chendrean Social Assistance ± A bottomless pit 2 ³Poverty is hunger. One attempt of aiding the poor was initiated in Toronto in 1949 and consisted of government subsidized housing for ³deserving workers´ (Purdy 1).

a new culture started to emerge.Radu Chendrean Social Assistance ± A bottomless pit 3 end¶s meet. eh ya. Often residents of Regent Park were the targets of odium. businesses slowly started to close their doors as they were no longer profitable. Oh Lawd. With the decreasing income per family and the cost of living on the rise (due mainly to transportation costs that now had to be covered in order to reach businesses that offered basic needs such as groceries). Oh Lawd. ³Rub a Dub Inna Regent Park´ (Purdy 43) . which caused many employment doors to close. With the lack of buying power. and the last convenience store to stay open had to outfit its windows with ³special wire meshing to prevent break-and-enters and to close at nine o¶clock each night for security reasons´ (Purdy 61). as most of them were either black or immigrants. Life was so hard that the ³slum´ artists began depicting it through poetry or songs such as ³All I know is that I live in Regent Park´: An everytime yu slam the door sey no job discrimination injustice a feel the whip lick An its the same boat the same boat the same boat Oh Lawd. The only income opportunities available to the inhabitants of the area now regarded as a ³slum´ (Purdy 1) were unskilled general labor jobs that offered low pay and no benefits. Lillian Allen. There was also the stereotypical factor. of course.

He attempted to implement a system of drug testing for welfare recipients and have the ones that tested positive removed from the welfare payroll. money started to go towards the purchase of alcohol and recreational drugs. and so high among welfare recipients that such a decision would have had the benefits revoked for one in ten recipients (Kondro). (Michalopoulos). John Baird then Social Services Minister argued that ³drug abuse among welfare recipients has become so rampant that drastic measures [were] needed´ (Kondro). often being marginalized and almost coerced into following technical schools and giving up the idea of higher education. inhabitants were not only marginalized. With no way out and no hopes for the future. is still the case. Some believe that the social assistance programs are too generous. In November 2000. Hard evidence to support the idea was brought forward by the ³Self Sufficiency Project´ that was implemented in two provinces. many would agree. so people just avoid work. With such external influence. Reliance on the state¶s support became inevitable on a larger scale. It didn¶t look like there was any way out. Not much has changed since. but any opportunity was taken away from future generations as well. It was not uncommon for young girls to get pregnant just to increase the amount on the welfare cheque by the few extra dollars offered for dependent children (Purdy 47). The purpose of the project was to ³see if temporary earnings supplements would entice . which. Indeed the drug problem was. and since it was the only form of income for most of them.Radu Chendrean Social Assistance ± A bottomless pit 4 The stigma Regent Park residents were carrying started to have an effect on the education of their children as well. various strategies were used to benefit from as much assistance as possible. He was then ridiculed by the media that suggested they [Tories of which he was part of] had ³all been smoking something that confused their judgment´ (Kondro).

In a study on intergenerational reliance of social assistance. results showed that the more parents rely on government assistance. an average of 29% of the recipients were employed full time by the end of the fifth quarter of the project (Michapoulos). especially since it implies the ongoing use of their money to support a group that chooses not to provide for itself. Another interesting fact the study found was that in most cases ³youths above 18 years old were especially prone to be asked by their [social assistance] claiming parents to claim . promotes a practice that will require more funding in the years to come. Not surprisingly. This factor may therefore reduce their reluctance to rely on the program. children may learn how to use the program while living with parents receiving [social assistance] benefits (a ³learning effect)´ (Beaulieu). The report following the study shows that ³two main reasons may explain the presence of a causal link. This is definitely not the outcome that would thrill the largest part of the population. The government offered salary supplements for those leaving the welfare system and finding full time jobs. but rather lacking the motivation to seek employment and being complacent in a relatively comfortable situation. One could argue that the outlay could be put to better use if directed elsewhere. the more likely it is that their children in turn will rely on the same source of income for at least part of their lives (Beaulieu). First the participation of parents may reduce the stigma felt by their children when they use the [social assistance] program (a ³conformity´ effect). Secondly. Indeed through social assistance programs the government does not only waste existing resources but also as a direct consequence. Indeed it is not always a matter of lacking the skills required for employment.Radu Chendrean Social Assistance ± A bottomless pit 5 welfare recipients into finding jobs´ (Michapoulos). The result of the project also indirectly implies that the government is wasting at least 29% of the public money with the support of these programs.

as demonstrated before. Consciousness in the context used here. implies getting out of poverty and living meaningful lives. the government pays a high price to only cover up the misery and unhappiness that prevails in the lives of these people. now that it is obvious the current approach is not feasible in the long run. Unless they are forced into the real world where they have to find a way out. The ³covering up´ implies using the money to get numb with drugs or alcohol. the more likely it is that parents will encourage their children to claim [assistance benefits]´ (Beaulieu). There is an urgent need for the government to stop the waste of public money and find alternative ways of getting the disadvantaged out of poverty. we can argue that consciousness is not available for these groups. The greater the intensity of parental use (as opposed to incidence). Furthermore.Radu Chendrean Social Assistance ± A bottomless pit 6 [assistance] if they dropped out of school. without offering a way out. Since ³suffering is the sole origin of consciousness´ (Foydor Dostoyevsky). true change might not be possible for them. instead of being used as temporary support on they way of finding employment and a meaning of life. . Accessed 22 Sep.´ Measuring Poverty in Canada´. Academic Search Premier. Accessed 22 EBSCO. Labor / Le Travail 52 (Fall2003 2003): 45-108. 2009 http://search.aspx?direct=true&db=rch&AN=6FP2714149428&site =ehost-live&scope=site Kondro.ebscohost. Sean. Academic Search Premier." Toronto Star (Canada) (n. Canadian Reference Centre.d. 2009 http://search.fraserinstitute.)." (Focus. EBSCO.aspx . Wayne. Fall 1999). Kerry "Subsidized housing 2000): 1829. Accessed 22 Sep.ebscohost. Fraser Institute Website.ebscohost. 2009 http://search." Journal of Population Economics 18.9244 (25 Purdy. Poverty & Welfare (July 1.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=3798294&site=ehostlive&scope=site Michalopoulos Charles . and Territorial Stigmatization in Regent Park Housing Project´ 1951-1991´."Lancet 356.ebscohost. Literary Reference Center.³Welfare-to-Work in Canada. Accessed October 5. "Ripped Off' By the System: Housing Policy. et Accessed 22 Sep. "Intergenerational reliance on social assistance: Evidence from Canada.3 (Sep. Accessed 22 Sep. Nicolas. need grows. 2009 http://www. EBSCO. Chris. EBSCO.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=18891918&site=ehost -live&scope=site Gillespie.Radu Chendrean Social Assistance ± A bottomless pit 7 Works Cited: Beaulieu. "Ontario to impose 'urinary witch-hunt'?.org/researchandpublications/publications/2558. Academic Search Premier. 2009 http://search. 2005): 539-562. Poverty. 2009 http://search.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=41231828&site=ehost -live&scope=site Sarlo. 2001).

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