Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ruby Dhalla and the culture of entitlement

When I first heard this on talk radio last week, it sounded reasonable that if there is an inherent racism engrained in the Old Age Security act as stated in Ruby Dhalla's presser from last June (and was stated on the radio last week), then of course it should be addressed.

Then, I went back and read the bill that she and Bob Rae have co-sponsored I learned something. THERE WAS NO RACISM IN THE BILLS.

I'm going to say that again, just so that it is absolutely apparent. The Old Age Security Act Sections 2 and 3 do not make any mention of the place that an immigrant comes from, it only sets out the rules for receiving a pension.

Now realistically, someone who receives an old age security pension based on 3 years of residence in Canada after immigration, would be eligible for about $35 per month. Not a lot. Certainly not enough to make a big fuss about it, except that there's another thing to remember - there is no residency test for the Old Age Supplement, meaning that an elderly immigrant receiving OAS would also receive Supplement to the tune of $7200 a year in addition to regular welfare and "social safety net" payments. Total cost to us of this bill? approximately $50,000 in new entitlements for a group of people who has done nothing to contribute to the growth and prosperity of Canada.

Now, it could be argued that by giving additional money to these people makes it easier for their children to make ends meet and get established in Canada. The problem is that there are already supports in place to do just that, and so creating another entitlement for an entire group of people would overlap and remove incentive to look after oneself.

But back to the original point of the post. Ruby says that the bill was inherently racist and that her bill addresses that racism. I say that Ruby doesn't know what racism is.

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