Thursday, 28 September 2017

What about a living wage for everyone?

I couldn't help to think about the difference between justice and equality when I read the Star-Phoenix the other morning.  Our welfare system works on rules and regulations that don't even seem equal, let alone just.  Although I'm sure there is some information missing in this story it is a reminder of how desperately the world needs people - Christ-followers among others - to advocate for justice.  Please refer to the  Saskatoon StarPhoenix, 

"Mary-Ann McLeod and her son Jonathan are wearing every piece of clothing they own.

Their few remaining belongings are packed into a blue nylon duffel bag and a small backpack.
They have $14 between them and nothing but another night on the street, huddling together for warmth in the autumn air, to look forward to... Four days earlier, Saskatoon Health Region inspectors deemed their squalid apartment on Avenue F South — for which they paid $918 per month — unfit for human occupation. They were subsequently evicted.  “We just came back from a meeting with them. (Social Services)  They told us that because we’re single they’re not going to help us out at all. We’re on our own,” A spokesperson said, "The ministry follows up, especially in cases where properties are “placarded” by health authorities" ... “There are a lot of services that are available and we make sure people are aware of that, and we do our best to connect people with those services. It’s up to the person to decide what they choose to access.”

The idea of a Guaranteed Annual Income has long been suggested as a way to address disparities.  It would propose that every person received a 'living income'.  In addition to doing away with bureaucracy it would provide everyone with the most basic of resources which seems to be the result of the employers actions in last Sunday's parable.  What do you think? 


  1. I think it would be a very sensible, compassionate, and respectful way of helping everyone to meet their basic needs, regardless of circumstance or ability. Given my observations & experiences as a community mental health nurse, I think there would need to be back-up & accompanying systems for those without money-management capacity or who find themselves needing further assistance for a variety of reasons. However, there has to be a way of doing things that offers much more justice and dignity to everyone than our current social services are able to do.

    Sadly, I see much of our society & its leadership moving away from seeing justice for all as an essential and healthy principle by which we communally operate (even though it would likely also be fiscally sensible in that people whose basic needs are met need far fewer health and social services).

    Happily, conversations like this one offer hope and creative dialogue that can perhaps help us move toward being a more caring and equitable society. One never knows where such conversations might ripple outward. For example, I'll be sharing some of it with the first year nursing students I have the privilege of teaching as they share their various 'media watch' items for the social justice unit of their service learning course.

    In fact, there has been at least one resource or idea from each of your reflections/related blogs this fall, Brian, that I will be sharing with colleagues, students, and friends. What a wonderful way of nurturing all within the St. Martin's community and beyond!

    Karen Scott Barss

  2. Karen your commitment to spiritual development and social action are long standing. You are a great mentor for your nursing students. Blessings on your work.