Top News

PAT CULLEN: Charity games

It is disheartening when you look at web sites dealing with poverty-related issues and find the same problems each year – too many people turning to food banks because they do not have enough money to allow them the dignity of feeding themselves and keeping warm as well.

I am aghast at the number of working people using these facilities. Some are employed by companies that give significant amounts to charitable causes, yet refuse to give their employees a decent living wage or enough hours so they can go it on their own.

Keeping wages low increases bottom-line revenues and playing the charity game generates good press, but it is a tiresome picture — just as tiresome as hearing those businesses referred to as good corporate citizens, when in my opinion, they are little more than publicity-seeking scavengers.

Then there is government with its long line of inadequacies including sub-standard dental care and drug coverage. It makes little difference which political party is in power.

Many of my Facebook contacts promote the New Democratic Party as the answer to all social ills. But has the NDP ever done anything but tinker with a system badly in need of structural change?

We must find different ways of delivering social services (and there appears to be little, if any, political will to do so), just as we must rid ourselves of over-paid and redundant public servants, including the unionized among them.

Constructive attention should be focused on those struggling and those at the bottom.

Politicians must be pressured to find financial solutions to the biggest blights this country faces — hunger and poverty. To do less is simply to smear cheap ointment on a severe burn and expect it to heal. It won’t happen.

Pat Cullen is a journalist and community volunteer who lives in Carbonear. She can be reached at 596-1505 or

Recent Stories