Both are right and wrong

Re: Lloyd Vinish’s letter Limit government effort and Beverley Ryder’s letter Stereotyping the poor (both Castanet, Mar. 24)

I think, to a certain extent, both Mr. Vinish and Ms. Ryder are right and wrong at the same time.

Mr. Vinish’s mistake is saying the silent parts out loud (parts that many people think but don’t say), while Ms. Ryder’s error is not grasping the entirety of Mr. Vinish’s position.

I don’t see “Limit government effort” as a screed against all people who are not well off or didn’t have even a modicum of success. I also agree with Ms. Ryder that stereotyping the poor is an all too easy way of blaming a “lower” group for the general problems we, as a society, face.

Not all welfare recipients are scam artists, but some are. Not every homeless person is mentally disadvantaged, but some are. Not every cash-strapped family spends money foolishly, but some do. Do you see my point?

When I was a child, my parents always warned me and my siblings against bringing shame or embarrassment to the family. I was taught to never start a fight, to uphold the law, to work hard and respect others. Most families set the same standards, but not all of them.

I think Mr. Vinish’s point was simple. And I think Ms. Ryder somewhat agrees with him. To quote her “the cost of living is too high.”

We all pay sales tax, municipal tax, provincial tax and federal tax etc. We have so many priorities for spending at every level of government that it’s becoming a case where if everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.

Every level of government has a budget, and when a new priority arises, the funds to fix it have to come from somewhere, from some other priority and/or taxes will have to rise.

We complain about the pace of justice and the “catch and release” system for repeat offenders. We need more courthouses, more police, more prosecutors, more jail cells and on and on. Who pays and how?

We need more affordable housing, more tradespeople, more land for building. Who pays?

We have a burgeoning unhoused population that needs physical, emotional and mental support. Do we take the resources from another “pocket”, from the overburdened health system, from (short-term rentals), from overworked first responders? Should we just hire more of everything? How?

We can’t protect our neighbourhoods or our nation, we can’t afford affordable housing for residents or the unhoused, but we can afford to pay the living and legal costs of illegal migrants seeking asylum? We castigate ourselves and our government when the question is asked because everyone deserves everything, especially when someone else is paying. Every hard luck story is true, no one ever lies, and we’re blessed to be here.

I’m glad people are risking everything to get here and that we don’t have anyone risking everything to leave. Where will we put them, how will we feed them? Why not do the same for people already here?

We need to take a serious look at our priorities and take a good look at who really benefits from all the money we’re throwing around.

Gary Lynch

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