I am so angry I am spitting nails. I made the mistake of watching the news this morning. Actually watching the news wasn't the mistake. The mistake came when one of my least favorite city counsellors came on and I didn't change the channel. This man is pushing to make panhandling illegal. Don't get me wrong. I don't like aggressive panhandlers. They sometimes scare me. What made me angry was what he said. He said they are all able bodied and there is no reason for them not to get a job and contribute to society. I beg to differ. Mr. Steeves they may seem able bodied but that does not mean they are able to hold a job. Some of these people may be able bodied but not able minded. Some of them battle addictions. Sometimes these addictions prevent them from getting or keeping a job. They lose everything. A lot of the shelters won't let them stay if they are drunk or high. What are they supposed to do. The safety nets fail them. How are they supposed to live? Some of them sit all day trying to get a day labour job. Some days there are not enough day labour jobs for them. What are they supposed to do then? You don't qualify for Unemployment if you haven't worked the required minimum number of weeks. How do they live? Some of these people battle mental illness. These mental illnesses sometimes prevent them from holding down a job. Again, sometimes this can lead them to lose everything. Tell me what are they to do? I understand that panhandling can be an annoyance to some people. I understand that they can be a traffic hazard. But to assume they are all just too lazy to get a job is just plain wrong.
I have to tell a story about a panhandler. I used to work downtown. I took the bus to and from work because it was much easier than battling for a parking spot every morning and it was cheaper than having to work for a whole week to pay for your monthly parking fees. Anyway, I was sitting with a Co Worker at the bus stop waiting. A pan handler came along and sat down beside Clint. He asked Clint for some spare change. Clint said he was sorry but all the money he had until payday was his bus fare. The pan handler then dug into his pocket and pulled out some change. He then asked Clint if HE needed some money. Clint declined but that incident stayed with me. This man was down on his luck but he was willing to try to help someone else. Yes Mr. Steeves. These are the people that you vilified. People that is the key word there. They are still people. I hope Mr. Steeves never has to experience life like that but maybe he should try talking to these people before he paints them all as lazy.
Thus concludes my daily rant.