Letter: Councillor Golden Responds to Universal Basic Income Support

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Dear Editor,

I would like to respond to Linda Godhue’s letter in the last press, questioning the fact that the rest of council did not support Councillor Myles motion to support the City of Kitchener’s resolution asking the Fed/Prov governments to pursue Universal Basic Income. I believe a sentence from the information piece presented by Noreen Steinacher and Brian McHattie, on the same subject, in the same edition, inadvertently encapsules my rationale… “We need more information about our workforce for the community, business leaders and municipal government to better understand the economic options that might work differently for an important segment of our community.” 

While open to being “educated” on the subject, I need to know more.

As for the admonishment… “there but for the Grace of God go I”… I have been there.

For those who wish to read further and were not in Tobermory at the time…here is a bit of history.

When we were first married in the mid 70s, I ran a tourist home and cabins in Tobermory for 3 seasons, while my husband commercial fished on the Drifter. The business was for sale, and we couldn’t afford to buy it, so when it sold, we obviously had to move. We finally found a place to live (very difficult, even then; we moved 5 times the first year we were married). I cleaned motel rooms that summer for $3.15 an hour, rushing to pick up my 6 month and 3 year old children from family (thank goodness for them, as there was no daycare), then I didn’t qualify for El, as I had too few hours. 

I waitressed seven seasons at the old Garage Restaurant. Day Care was always an issue. Marlene Peacock, ECE, Cathy Robins (then Municipal Clerk), and I talked about how we could get a Day Care. They did most of the work, but the first Day Care was in the old Community Centre. Everything had to be put away, in cabinets built by Bert Munn, every Friday, so the hall could be used on weekends. The kids had nap time on cots behind the curtain on the old stage; but what a relief for many.

My first term as a Councillor was the last one of the old St. Edmunds Township. El was always an issue, especially since we were in an area with Southern Ontario. It was always running out well before spring. The rest of council supported trying to get a better deal for our area, and we worked with Ovid Jackson, then MP, to get us into a more northern designation, which he did. It is still not great, but we did what we could. I can’t even tell you how many times we have tried to get the “Northern” designation for other things to help our situation here, but it doesn’t seem to be in the cards.

I relate this, not because it is anything special. There are so many in this community who have done much more (including Ms. Godhue, in her fine work with the food bank), but I take offence at the suggestion that I don’t have empathy or understanding of the issue. I have been there, and I have worked, over the years, towards a good quality of life in our communities. I see our biggest challenge for the future is being able to keep living here viable, especially for the young, with the huge increases in the housing/land market. 

It will take a village…

Smokey Golden