Hudak has been on a roll these past couple of days, putting forth a couple of proposals for welfare reform that play on the stereotypes of social assistance recipients as lazy and wasteful. Of course as is the Right's wont he has couched them in the language of reasonableness when they are anything but.
Framing his plan to cut the already far too low rate of $599/mth available to a single recipient as reinforcing "in Ontario the dignity of a job,” when he knows full well the vast majority would love nothing more than a job. Granted that while offering to allow those who do find work to keep a larger portion of their income is a good thing, the game afoot here is punishment plain and simple. Many of those considered "employable" are anything but for a variety of reasons be it mental illness, lack of phone or literacy. Another factor to consider is that there are many in their fifties who lost their jobs at the height of the recession and may never work again through no fault of their own. These are the people Hudak says we must punish.
Following up on this Hudak then plays the "beer and popcorn" card (yes I know a Liberal said this but it still applies here) playing on the belief propagated by his ilk that those on social assistance squander their money on beer bingo and bongs he now proposes issuing smart cards that can only be used to buy food. Most I know on welfare would love to be able to buy enough food to get through the month however after paying rent and utilities they have next to nothing leftover for food let alone funds to be used for a job search which of course dooms many of them to reduced benefits under Hudak's dignity of work program.
Food Banks Canada in their annual survey of food banks says than more than 40% of the people they serve in Ontario are on social assistance. The real danger here in issuing these cards however is in increased homelessness as Ontario Works breaks down benefit rates into two categories one for shelter and the other basic needs, given that neither is adequate people often need to take from the basic needs portion to pay rent. So by issuing these cards that can only be used for food these folks will not be able to make up the shortfall and out on the street they go.
For those who were around during the Common Sense Revolution this sounds all too familiar Hudak's mentor Mike Harris launched a similar campaign against those most in need that ultimately as this latest incarnation is sure to do resulted in needless death.
Kimberley Rogers was a victim of that earlier pogrom against the poor, dying alone while eight months pregnant in a sweltering apartment to which she was sentenced to house arrest for the dastardly crime of attending school while on social assistance. So as you see we already know where this is headed if we are stupid enough to give Hudak the ability to enact his vile plan.