I believe we need to start looking at a different way of providing Social Services in our Province.
Do we need to change all of it, no I don’t think so but I think we need to start looking at what we want the outcomes to be and figure out a way to achieve them instead of only dealing with surface issues. I guess what I am saying is that we need to stop looking at what we need to do to address a family or individuals immediate problem and try to look at long term and lasting solutions for some of our residents.
Do I have all the answers ? No I don’t, However I have some ideas. Let’s look at one problem that many single parents face which is trying to look after and raise their children on their own. I know some single parents and this is a very daunting task. I think we need to look at helping these families participate fully in our society which means having meaningful employment for the parent and making sure the children are safe. I believe that we might want to look at supporting these parents by not just giving them a handout but by encouraging them to find employment, especially after their children are in school. It has been shown that having meaningful employment is very good for people, it gives them a greater sense of self-worth and more confidence. How about we do this by increasing what a single parent gets when their children go to school provided that they start working. As an example for every dollar a single parent makes they receive an extra 20% of that amount to help them raise their family. This amount is just an example and I am sure with a little research we can refine that. We can incentivize single parents to go to work and stand on their own. We would need caps in place and a few extra rules etc. I am sure, but the idea that we reward people for participating in society rather than giving them an excuse to just have a free ride sounds like a step in the right direction. We might want to do something similar if the single parent participates in a retraining program provided they maintain a passing grade in their courses and find suitable employment after completion. Maybe a small trial run to see how it works out before committing wide spread funding. Just throwing money isn't making thins better time to look at alternatives.
The key to this strategy in my mind is that it helps more of us agree with and support our Social contract. We help those that need it and they do their best to help themselves by participating and contributing to society. I believe that contracts have 2 sides. I will do this and then you will do that. If one side doesn’t perform then the other side is not obligated to perform either. This is an important factor when it comes to society and it seems to be forgotten. Things can’t be one sided, the side that keeps doing will soon tire of watching the other party to the agreement not fulfill their actual agreement or the perceived obligations that the performing party expects. We will then have a political party that will see this as an opportunity to use harsh methods to fix this situation and if enough people are unhappy with what they see as an unfair system we may get changes that cause unintended consequences for all of us. What would happen if we just stopped helping anyone no matter what the reason, that sounds like a very uncaring society and not a place where I want to live. The flip side is true as well I don’t want to live in a society that if you don’t feel like contributing you don’t have to and I am expected to support you. What happens when everyone decides they don’t want to contribute. Where does the food come from who cleans the roads and gets rid of the trash. Where does the wealth and resources come from to support us. Someone has to work and that means we need to enforce our social contract if you want our help then you need to be willing to try and help yourself, if not you don’t get anymore help. I am sorry if that sounds harsh but our resources are finite we only have so much and if we use up all of them on 1 % of the population what happens when my children need medical care and I am told sorry there aren’t any doctors they all left because there was no money to pay them. The only way we can afford to help the less fortunate is if we have a strong economy with a high labour participation rate. The more of us that stand on our own the more able we will be as a society to help those that really need it.