One can picture the scene back in the early days of the B.C. Liberals’ rise to power.
Freshly minted Premier Gordon Campbell and his closest confidantes locked in a backroom, flush with the success of their sweeping victory.
“So boys, here’s our chance to make some big changes. The NDP has been milking the taxpayer for their friends for far too long. Where do you want to start?”
“Well boss, they’ve got thousands of people on the public teat teaching each other how to make baskets and feed hot chocolate to crackheads. Let’s cut them off.”
“Hmm…not a bad idea. If any people actually need help, the local communities will step up to the plate. Do it.”
This scene, of course, is a creation of our imaginations, but it certainly isn’t a huge stretch given the situation facing social service agencies.
Ten years of provincial cutbacks have reduced this crucial contributor to the community’s good health to crisis mode.
The community has stepped up somewhat, but not enough.
Municipal governments have been too busy doing the things municipal governments were created to do – build pools and municipal hall additions, cut industrial taxes and hire more bureaucrats at higher prices.
Donors pinched by the economic downturn of 2008 have less to give.
And even if that weren’t the case, too many needy causes have their hands out and there are only so many coins for the cup.
Most of the agencies themselves have cut staff, programs and corners. They’ve found alternate ways to generate revenue. But they are barely hanging on.
A community is defined by the way it treats those most in need of help.
It’s time for the provincial government to give us the help we need.
– Cowichan News Leader