By James W. Breckenridge. The Government Acting Stupid …
… is neither an excuse nor permission for citizens to act Stupid.
A fortunate happenstance for Canada and BC, given the levels of Stupid the Federal and Provincial governments have achieved.
In point of fact – governments, politicians, corporations, bankers, people etcetera committing a Stupid never provides an excuse or permission for responding with the commission of a Stupid.
“I/we had to after he/she/it/they did X.” No you didn’t, you could have chosen to act like an adult rather than a sulky two year old.
“I/we had to after he/she/it/they did X.” So, if there was a line of people jumping off the Lions Gate Bridge you would join the line and jump off the bridge because X, Y and Z jumped off the bridge?
What had me thinking about the assertion, “I had to commit a Stupid because Mr. X or Ms. Y committed a Stupid”, was listening to someone asserting that because the government was committing Stupid that negatively affected him, it gave him the right to go out and commit a Stupid and that creating a Stupid was the way to resolve the matter.
Take a look at the world around you. If raising the level of Stupid solved or resolved anything we should be living in paradise given the mind boggling levels of Stupid we have set loose in the world today..
I am not saying that he did not have a right to be P’d at the government’s behaviour; I am not saying he should not act to resolve the problem; I am saying that adding more Stupid to the world is … well, Stupid.
So our victim, let us call him ‘Larry’ … hmmm – do we need to give him a last name as well? … Yes? No? Maybe? … argh! … ’Nedelkoff’ … so Mr. ‘Nedelkoff’, ‘Larry’, had found himself in arrears with child support early in the previous decade. Now ‘Larry’ wasn’t denying or trying to avoid paying what he owed and once he had determined the amount owed he paid it in 2005.
Over the intervening years, even though ‘Larry’ had paid the amount owed in 2005, this matter continued to pop up and cause problems for ‘Larry’. It wasn’t until last year – 2013 – that someone was able to help ‘Larry’ find a telephone number for an employee of the federal government who could determine why this ghost continued to haunt ‘Larry’.
It turned out that after ‘Larry’ had been told that he owed X dollars and had paid the X dollars the government told him he owed, some bureaucrat decided there should have been an interest charge and, without ever communicating the assessment of this interest charge to ‘Larry, added a $9.xx charge to ‘Larry’s’ account …
When ‘Larry’ finally was able to determine what the problem was, and was fortunate enough to be speaking with someone helpful, as opposed to someone playing “abuse the taxpayer”, the $9.xx had been written off so as to resolve the matter in a straightforward manner and time …
Leaving ‘Larry’ believing the matter was finally resolved.
So of course ‘Larry’s’ pension is being garnisheed, leaving him scrambling to manage to pay rent every month and avoid homelessness.
Let us leave aside for the moment the question of just how tremendously ethically challenged a government, a country and its citizens are when pensions that are the only source of revenue a pensioner has are garnisheed, causing the pensioner to join the growing ranks of the homeless population.
‘Larry’ has the documentation to support his statements that he paid the amount he owed in 2005; that it was not until 2013 that ‘Larry’ was able to determine that the cause of his continuing problems was a $9.xx charge some bureaucrat imposed without ever notifying ‘Larry and that the $9.xx was written off to close the matter.
Meaning the federal government is garnisheeing his pension, making him un-housed – homeless – without justification, that is to say: illegally.
Adding insult to injury there is no information as to where the funds garnisheed from ‘Larry’ are disappearing to. Well, no information that the federal government is willing to share with ‘Larry’. Apparently as far as the government is concerned all ‘Larry’ needs to know is that he isn’t getting the funds not why or where the funds are going.
Worse, it seems that ‘Larry’ is not unique. Or so ‘Larry’ was informed by the Abbotsford News when he took his plight to the News thinking this was a story they would be interested in. Only to be informed that – Yawn – it was no big deal, it happened all the time and so was not newsworthy to anyone – except one supposes: those who it is happening to.
The recent acquisition and killing off of the Times leaves no need for the News to publish items of interest or relevance to the citizens of Abbotsford.
Aa well, given the Abbotsford News’s rabid pro Abbotsford Council editorial policy, the News would not want to be publishing any story that might suggest that the homeless on the streets of Abbotsford are not all people who have chosen to be homeless but include those who are homeless because of events beyond their control such as being Victimized by their government.
You would think that with a government where people regularly end up in financial distress as a result of government actions such as the garnishee of pensions for a nonexistent reason or pensions cancelled because the person is declared dead by the government even though clearly they are still among the living, that the government would have built in a……failsafe where people in these situations could easily find and contact someone capable of resolving the matter before the victims end up homeless or dead at the hands of a government that is suppose to protect, not victimize, them.
Failing that you would think that having a member of the federal Conservative government as your MP would be beneficial in getting this matter resolved before one found oneself driven into homelessness – in winter.
However when ‘Larry’ went to seek the help of Conservative MP Ed Fast, ‘Larry’s’ situation resulting from an action of the federal government, ‘Larry’s’ situation was either beyond Mr. Fast’s ability to deal with or to unimportant for Mr. Fast to deal with and ‘Larry’ was directed to his provincial MLA.
Pointlessly directed since, in order to protect itself from the federal government downloading financial responsibility for ‘Larry’ from a federal pension to provincial welfare the income assistance system in BC considers ‘Larry’s’ income to be the full amount due him from the federal government. Meaning ‘Larry’ has sufficient income that he does not qualify for income assistance.
‘Larry’ is not unique in being caught in the ‘avoid financial responsibility’ war being waged between the federal and provincial governments. A growing number of individuals, who have the misfortune to be dependent on government to survive, have been caught up in and become victims of this war.
The two levels of government are so focused on their financial conflict they either don’t see or don’t care about those who become casualties in their conflict, casualties who sometimes end up homeless senior citizens.
Given the fervour with which both levels of government are pursuing this war, the fervour with which the federal government is pursuing a course of action that seems more about bringing the citizen into a state – dead – that matches the governments records, rather than correcting the governments error and return the person to life …
…..one cannot help but wonder whether these misappropriated funds are being used to fund the gold, diamond encrusted pensions and unconscionably exorbitant salaries of federal MPs and provincial MLAs or the extravagant salaries and pensions of government employees.
Now there is a concept: government that acts with competence and in the best interests of all citizens, not just the privileged few.
Another addition to the list of excellent reasons for citizens to stop accepting the ‘lesser of evils’ choices the politicians and political parties offer and to replace them with individual citizens with demonstrated trustworthiness, interest and thought about the issues – and who are willing to lose re-election if that is what is required to do a good job.
Because if the replacements are not willing to risk not being re-elected they are not going to be telling the public unpalatable truths or pushing public discussions and decisions – uncomfortable decisions – that are necessary but that citizens want to remain in wilful denial of.
Back to our tale:
When we left ‘Larry’ he was up the proverbial s**t creek without a paddle, short of the $$$ needed to pay his rent in full.
With no idea of how to get the federal government to acknowledge their error and stop garnisheeing his pension, it is understandable that ‘Larry’ is worried and incredibly frustrated with the government’s insisting on keeping their Stupid in place.
Which is, as noted at the outset, neither an excuse nor a justification for ‘Larry’ responding with a Stupid of his own. Such as breaking a window at the Service Canada building and when the police show up, insisting that the police provide him shelter inside.
When I commented that this seemed a rather pyrrhic approach and that just because the government was increasing their level of Stupid, was not an excuse or permission for ‘Larry’ to add his own Stupid to the ambient level of Stupid,……‘Larry’, unsurprisingly given his mood, pointed out he had not asked for my opinion on his plan to add to the amount of Stupid involved in this matter..
a) If we let the government do this to ‘Larry’, how long before they are doing some such thing to the rest of us?
b) Vandalism comes out of taxpayers pockets.
c) Police are a municipal expense, letting the federal government be successful in downloading the cost of housing ‘Larry’ to a lower level of government.
Instead of vandalism, ‘Larry’ needs to gather bedding, clothing, toiletries and entertainment/work materials together and arrive at MP Ed Fast’s office just before closing. After he has notified the broadcast media of his need to take up residence in Abbotsford’s MP’s constituency office as a consequence of the federal government choosing to make ‘Larry’ homeless by refusing to correct the government’s error [Adjusting his move in time to accommodate the media’s deadlines should that be necessary].
If the federal Conservative government is responsible for ‘Larry’ becoming homeless, the federal Conservative government should be providing ‘Larry’ with housing.
Hopefully this will motivate our federal government representative, Conservative MP Ed Fast, to have the wrongful garnishee of ‘Larry’s’ pension corrected.
If not there is Plan B – pitching a tent on Mr. Fast’s front lawn.
Sadly: politicians, political parties and governments have made it clear that citizens need to find ways, often creatively maladjusted ways, to force them to do their job – looking out for the best interests of citizens.
If Canadians want a government that is concerned about the welfare of all Canadians, not just Corporations, the Well To Do and politicians, then Canada needs a Revolution.
A Revolution not of guns and bullets but of Thought; a Revolution where voters no longer meekly accept the ‘lesser of evil’ choices offered by the political parties and instead take action and assert their Right to chose and elect someone interested in their welfare and their future.