Apr 072014

ACORN members Jonethan Brigley and Scott Domenie write a response to Minister Glavine who made statements earlier this year that put the blame of an overburdened healthcare system on personal lifestyles. Scott Domenie is also a member of Solidarity Halifax.

Originally published at the Halifax Media Coop.

See also: STATEMENT: Glavine’s Statements on Welfare: Shameful, yes. Surprising, no and Social Darwinism with a Folksy Charm: Leo Glavine’s food politics


To the Honourable Mr. Glavine and members of the media,

After much thought, ACORN members have written a response to the February/2014 column in the King’s Register by Mr. Glavine that characterized people on welfare as lazy, irresponsible and draining the system.

ACORN members wish to issue Mr Glavine a challenge: before passing judgement on the people with the least in our province, put yourself in their shoes. Spend six months living on what people receiving welfare get and see if you still hold the same opinions.

The attached letter explains what life for people on assistance is like and makes the challenge to you to live on welfare rates before speaking publicly on the subject again.


To Minister Leo Glavine,

“Good health cannot be given to you. Individuals must take responsibility as well. At the end of the day, all Nova Scotians need to do the best they can with what they’ve got,including our support, to lead a healthy lifestyle.” – Health Minister Leo Glavine

Do you really support us, Mr. Glavine? It’s really not easy having a low income, or worse, no income at all. Having to choose discount white bread over more healthy multigrain because you can’t afford the extra $2.00 is a hard way to live. ACORN’s members on assistance, like others on welfare and disability, would love to go to a gym and eat healthier. The cost of living – rent, phone bills, bus passes/tickets, are always going up though and assistance rates and wages are just not keeping up.

Rather than face our reality, you chose to play politics with our lives. You decided that pandering to the people who say we’re lazy and living high off the system was more

important than our daily struggles to get by.

“Then there are people who are cognizant abusers of the system. They accept government assistance, yet still have money to travel. These people are abusing their neighbours’ hard-earned money.”

Income Assistance only gives you about $535 for rent $200 for food, power and all other expenses. Do you really think there’s a lot of money left over for extravagant vacations?

Rent is almost always more than what we’re given and the places we live in are usually run down with mold, pests and poor security. Our neighbourhoods are overrun with crime and usually far away from services. Grocery stores in our neighborhoods generally charge more for poor quality food because they know we don’t have anywhere else to go. How do you think we can improve our way of life for the better if we have all these obstacles in our way? It doesn’t help that the support systems we need to live on won’t increase what we are given to cover even the most basic necessities of life.

Since you had so much to say about us Mr. Glavine, we’d like to offer a suggestion. Why don’t you try to live on assistance for six months? See for yourself how hard it is to pay your regular bills and buy healthy food that will last month to month. This might shine some light on your harsh judgment for those who have no choice to live off these cheques each month.

Mr. Glavine, you have power to change life for the better for those of us who rely on income assistance to get by. You are a member of the Provincial Cabinet. You have Premier McNeil’s ear. If you truly want to help Nova Scotians live healthier, more fulfilling lives, then use the power you have to improve the support systems we rely on to live our lives.

We look forward to your response,
Jonethan Brigley and Scott Domenie
Leaders of Nova Scotia ACORN
Please contact Shay Enxuga in the ACORN Office:
(902) 266 2956


Note: Articles published by Solidarity Halifax members do not necessarily reflect positions held by the organization.



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