Government part of the problem

Resident challenges Colin Mayes over comments about homelessness

Having read MP Colin Mayes recent comments in The Morning Star, I am appalled. You stated that, “it’s not governments fault there is homelessness.” Maybe not directly at the federal level, but let me give you a prime example of how our provincial government can create a problem.

Take a good man who has worked every day of his life since he was 15.  He’s 32 and on his way home from work and gets rear-ended. He suffers injuries that make it impossible to work and will require significant rehabilitation.

He collects EI until that runs out and, as ICBC will not settle until he’s returned to work and they can determine wage loss, he is left with no option but to collect welfare.

Welfare agrees, after a lengthy process, that he is disabled and entitled to medical coverage but it’s limited to 12 visits per calendar year of chiropractic, physiotherapy and massage combined.

His visits are used up in the first two months of the year and the therapy he needs in order to return to work is discontinued.

The government is not willing to pay for the rehabilitation of a man who wants nothing more than to work to support his family.

What they will pay for are steadily increasing doses of narcotic medications.

He is developing a tolerance to the drugs, needing more and more to manage his pain, and is slipping quickly into addiction. He’s being locked into the cycle of addiction and poverty that leads to homelessness, and this is absolutely being caused by government policies.

This was my husband’s story 17 years ago. He did recover and return to work when we risked homelessness by choosing to defer payments of our utilities in order to cover the costs of his rehab, so he could return to work and finally settle with ICBC.

How many more stories like ours are out there to be told?

How often do government policies put people at greater risk of homelessness?

How many addicts have been created because drugs are cheaper than rehabilitative treatments?

Government first creates addiction, then offers ineffective treatment where detox beds are plentiful and treatment beds are insufficient.

There are nine detox beds for every one treatment bed in B.C. (the last time I checked).

People make the decision to get well but the resources needed to follow through are not available. A homeless addict coming out of detox has no where to go but back to the street, perpetuating the cycle of addiction.

This is caused directly by government policy.

So, Mr. Mayes, your claim is simply not true. It may not be your level of government that makes these policies, but they are in effect and they are causing the addiction that can lead to homelessness.


Sam Zaharia