An open letter to Justin Trudeau:
I’d consider it unfair to openly criticize you for holding a $600 million-dollar COVID election; in the same vein, I hesitate to condemn your lack of interest in implementing a living wage, or your declination to tax the super-rich.
After all, I cannot presume to know the full circumstances that led to those decisions; for this reason, I believe a benefit of the doubt is in order.
All I ask for in return is your sincere acknowledgement that mitigating poverty in this country is a viable and necessary government responsibility, as implied in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. Because in case you’re unaware, a few articles in this Declaration are being blatantly violated left, right, and centre in this country — especially Article 25.
In my personal case, I possess the aptitude, the motivation, and the time to educate myself, knowing a comprehensive education is imperative in my search for meaningful employment.
My abject poverty, however, prevents me from officially fulfilling my educational goals, because post-secondary education here in Canada is hopelessly inaccessible to the destitute, especially when they require over $400 a month in neurocognitive supplements (not including healthy food) to prime their brains for learning. (Among other factors, I sustained a severe head injury as a child).
Still, none of these obstacles even slightly deters me from self-educating using textbooks purchased at Value Village at bargain prices.
Indeed, over the years I’ve memorized a wealth of information in the fields of astronomy, meteorology, geology, and calculus, motivated by nothing other than a burning passion for learning. Alas, I could be a skilled meteorologist if only my barriers were being addressed!
To cite another example, a close friend is a skilled manager in the retail industry, yet her severe pain, PTSD and anxiety has sidelined her to languish on a disability pension for over a decade, simply because the appropriate treatment is hopelessly inaccessible to her — again due to financial reasons.
Countless other examples of abject poverty (and UN Declaration violations) exist here in Canada: Citizens without dental benefits suffering excruciating toothaches, children whose parents cannot afford them nourishing food for their developing brains, homeless citizens who must sleep on the streets during freezing winter nights, and a wealth of others too numerous to fully describe here.
Many of these individuals could be enjoying success and autonomy in the work force, if only their financial and medical barriers would only be dealt with through proper government subsidies and poverty reduction initiatives. To allow them to languish in an unemployed state — especially when they are otherwise employable — is a disgrace to our country and a detriment to our GDP.
In resolution of the flagrant UN violations I’ve referred to, I’ll refrain from making any specific demands for you to address poverty immediately, for I know you’re aware of what needs to be done.
I merely hope your justification of the status quo doesn’t involve infringements on the rights of some billionaire who feels aggrieved to forfeit a marble floor for their super-yacht, in order to grant a destitute Canadian child proper nourishment so that, God help him, that child could survive in today’s harsh economy.
Because, if that’s your reason for continually sweeping poverty under the carpet, then I DO judge you.
- Peter Toth, Port Coquitlam