I loved this piece so much I wrote to Richard Marcus and begged permission to publish it on the DAWN Ontario website. He responded that I could use it as I liked with appropriate credit so am reprinting it here on Care2 as well. Enjoy!
What's The U.N. Know Anyway?
by Richard Marcus
reprinted with permission from the author
Richard's post originally published at Blogcritics.org - May 9, 2006
May 11, 2006
Can you believe those socialist weenies at the United Nations? Do they have some nerve or what? Imagine them criticizing us for our record on the way we treat the poor, the homeless, natives and the disabled. Sure we are signatories to some stupid covenant that deals with the Social, Economic, and Cultural rights, but wasn't that just for judging other guys, not people like us?
Who do they think we are, some despotic dictatorship that ignores the plight of its people where only a small minority control most of the wealth? That we live in the type of country where the poor keep getting poorer and the rich keep getting richer? We're Canada for goodness sakes, we're the good guys.
We don't round up people and put them in jail without giving them reasons or letting them stand trial, too often. We get other people to do our torturing for us, and we've been out of the cultural genocide business for at least a few decades now. So where do they get off telling us that we have the same problems we had the last time they checked in 1998, and in fact some of them have gotten worse.
Oh what, so we've got more homeless people nowadays than we did before, and income support programs for people in need has not only decreased in real spending power due to inflation, but been cut by as much as 20%, tenants in rental units have little security, and any benefits for children are continually clawed back (means they are counted as income by social programs and deducted from assistance checks, instead of being the extra money for necessities for children that it was designed to be).
Well at least they get something. There's a lot of countries in the world where people would be grateful for the kind of benefits we give our citizens, yet all these guys at the U.N. can do is find fault.
They have the nerve to say that our governments aren't doing anything for people with disabilities. In Ontario they just increased disability support payments by three per cent after only a 13 year freeze and they increased the fine for illegally parking in a handicapped zone up to $5,000.
The government spokesperson at these hearings, Allan Kessel a legal advisor to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, pointed out to those do-gooders on this committee that most Canadians "have access to housing of acceptable size and quality at affordable prices." I mean goodness; it's only $800.00 a month for a one-room apartment in Toronto. Only a malcontent would make a fuss over the fact that a single person only receives $540.00 a month on welfare.
Look at all the geared-to-income housing units we have in the province of Ontario alone for these people on welfare and disability support payments. It's only on average a five-year wait for one of those apartments and after that you're set for life. A couple gets a 750 square foot one bedroom apartment in a low rise complex filled with other couples and families just like them. It's a regular community.
Mr. Kessel said Canada was "proud of its record of achievement in the promotion of economic, social and cultural rights." and has been at the forefront of promoting human rights both internationally and domestically. Just look at our new policy for day care as an example of economic and social rights. A couple with only one person working and whose income is over $175,000 a year can claim a $1200.00 tax credit at the end of the year. Of course the less money you make the less of a credit you get because you don't need to deduct as much from your taxable income now do you?
Of course we are proud of our record regarding human rights domestically. Just look at the wonderful work we are doing with our native populations. Twice in the last two months we have successfully airlifted whole communities off their reserves when the water systems have failed and they were threatened with e-coli infestations. They all got to have a nice trip out of town at government expense and nobody got sick.
Oh sure there has been some belly aching because the new government hasn't honoured the Kelowna Accord's commitments for funding housing, education, and employment, but they still got $1.5 million dollars this year. They didn't really think they would get the $8 million that all the provinces and the previous government agreed to, now did they?
What does the United Nations expect us to do - give them opportunities we don't give others to get back on their feet? If we give the Natives proper housing, medical attention, and education, the first thing you know is that everybody in the country is going to expect it. It would set a dangerous precedent.
I used to have respect for the United Nations, back in the days when they were ranking Canada as one of the top ten countries in the world to live in. Now though, they've become a bunch of interfering old so-and-sos sticking their noses in where they don't belong.
It sounds to me that we signed that treaty under false pretences. We probably assumed it was for us to sit in judgement on some tin pot countries in the third world. There is no way we could have expected some self-righteous prig of a United Nations bureaucrat having the nerve to tell us that we have problems. I'm beginning to think the Americans have the right attitude towards the world authority, ignore them unless they agree with you.