Archive for October, 2014




Income Spitting: Huge Tax Cuts for Rich Families

“How’s your leg today, Chuck?”

“I checked it last night, it was looking better then. This morning it’s looking better still. I wasn’t very good company yesterday because I was worrying about it.”

I said, “I was listening to the news this morning, our Prime Minister is offering a tax break for people earning over fifty thousand a year. It will cost all taxpayers 2.7 billion dollars.”

Income Spitting: Huge Tax Cuts for Rich Families

The chart below shows how much couples at different household income levels are estimated to get from federal parental income splitting in 2014. Each decile contains 10% of all families, arranged by family incomes. Couples in the first decile have average family incomes of $30,600 or less. These couples will get an estimated $9 per year from these new tax cuts to help them give their children a good start in life.

The tenth decile contains the 10% of families with the very highest family incomes. Couples with children who fall into this decile will receive federal tax cuts worth an average of $1,914 per year, up to the maximum of $6,600 per year for those living on single incomes of $187,000 or more.

But, if parental income splitting is to help make sure all children get the best possible start in life, why should parents who need the most financial assistance raising their children get small federal benefits like $9 or $74 or $104 per year – while those who need it the least will get an average of $1,008 or $1,091 or $1,914 per year, and as much as $6,600 per year? Why should parents who can already do virtually anything they want to help their children off to a good start need such generous help from the federal government?

How is this tax cut fair? With children all across the country going to school hungry every day, how do such extremely unequal benefits help give all children in Canada the best possible start in life? (Canadians for Tax Fairness)


Chuck said, “That reminds me of a cartoon I saw a while back. It showed an alley with garbage cans, one of the seedier parts of town. There was an upturned cap on the ground and a sign above it that read ‘Wintering in Florida, please leave donations in the usual place.’ What I can’t figure out is why the government is doing this. It just doesn’t make any sense.”

I said, “The government isn’t required to make sense, only to get reelected.”

“I shouldn’t have even bothered to get out of bed today. I got another letter saying they’re going to cut my TV off because of that disputed $54 bill. I have proof that it’s been paid, they just won’t listen. If they cut me off, I’ll take all my business to another company. They can take me to court, shoot me, do whatever they want. I don’t care.”

I asked, “Do you have any plans for Halloween?”

“Yes, I’m going to be disguised as a magician. I’ll have my slippers on, I’ll turn off all the lights and I’ll disappear.”





29 October 2014

“Well,” said Chuck, today’s going okay but yesterday was the day from Hell. It started out alright, but I decided to stop at one of those public walk in clinics. I went to the first one I thought of. When I got in the door I saw the price schedule on the wall. There was no way I could pay those prices. I remembered another one I used to go to — same thing there. The third one was okay. By okay, I mean that it was a public clinic. There was a line-up of people all the way around the room waiting to see the doctor. I waited my turn. What I thought was going to take a short time took me all day. I didn’t get home until six o’clock.

What I went there for was a red spot on my leg that had started hurting. It began with sore I got from falling in the boat. Each day the pain has gotten worse. Besides that the skin has become flaky and weeping. The doctor took a look at it, poked around a bit then prescribed antibiotics and  some ointment to put on it. He he gave me some of those pads that women use to remove their makeup. I use adhesive tape to hold them in place.  I’m supposed to take the pills every four hours. Of course, I can’t do that. I’m not going to set the alarm for  2 am, just to take a goddamned pill, so I miss that one. Apart from that, I’ve been doing everything the Doctor told me to do.

When I took the bandage off this morning, I got worried. The red spot has turned black. I don’t know that means, but  what I’m afraid of is that it’s turned gangrenous because of some kind of flesh eating disease. I’m seeing my doctor this afternoon. My system couldn’t withstand any kind of operation. If it’s what I’m afraid of the only thing to do is to call all my family together, tell them what the situation is, tell them about my last requests:  I want to be cremated;  I don’t want any kind of service. I’ll then buy some cigarettes, go to a strip club have a drink, a smoke and a lap dance. If that doesn’t kill me the first time, I’ll do it again, until it does.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Delightful book., October 25, 2014
Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
I have often wondered what it might be like to life on the street. I have also wondered if there was any truth in what people say about people who are homeless. What I found reading “Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People” by Dennis Cardiff is that it doesn’t matter what others think of people who are homeless because they are people too.

In “Gotta Find a Home…” I was able to read some very heartwarming stories that Dennis learned directly from the people whom he befriended on the streets where he lived. I enjoyed learning more about his friends’ lives. The thing that I gained the most from this book was the understanding and appreciation that while we cannot help everyone we can do something whether it is a bit of breakfast, a coffee, or just a kind smile every little bit of human decency that we exhibit to all those around us is helpful.

If you enjoy reading heartwarming real life stories then you will definitely enjoy this book.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Heartwarming, October 25, 2014
Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
Have you ever wondered what it is like to be homeless, jobless, or simply underemployed? In “Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People,” Dennis Cardiff gives us a glimpse into the lives of some kind individuals whose lives have been struck with misfortune. I know I have been told countless times that giving money to a homeless person is unwise as they will just spend it on alcohol and/or drugs, and while that can be true, this story showed a picture of human beings beyond the stereotypes.

In “Gotta Find a Home…” Cardiff shares real life conversations that he has had with friends he has made on the street. My favorite conversations were those that he had with a woman named Joy. While she often had a roof over her head, that roof came with an abusive boyfriend, unsupportive friends, extra hands that demanded of her time and care.

While Joy was my favorite, all of the stories really brought to life the reality that all of these people are real human beings, not just some statistic that we walk past on the street and avert our eyes. I found it all very moving and well worth the read.



24 August 2014

“HI, Dennis, I got a joke for you,” said Chuck.  There was this blind guy with a seeing-eye dog who would go to all the Maple Leaf hockey games. Every time they would leave the game they would stop for a while, the dog would cry.  A man who had noticed this on a number of times asked, ‘What does the dog do when the Leafs win?’ The blind man said, ‘I don’t know, I’ve only had him for six years.’

Later at the park, I asked the group if there had been any further news about the death of Alphonse. Outcast said, “It’s official, he was found hanged. Whether or not he took his own life nobody knows. I do know that he’s tried it before when he stayed with me. I had to haul him back off the balcony.”

I asked, “Do the police suspect that foul play was involved?” Mariah said, “This is Montreal we’re talking about. It’s a rough city. If he said the wrong thing to the wrong people, that’s all it would take. Personally, I think he was fucked.”

Outcast said, “I agree, he was fucked.”

Jacques said, “That’s another of us gone. I wonder who will be next.”

Little Jake put up his hand.

Mariah said, “Me.”

I asked her, “How have you been feeling lately? Is your back still giving you problems?”

“Well, my back always gives me problems. Some days are worse than others. Some days I can’t get out of bed. I’ve also got osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Either one of those is always acting up, but today isn’t too bad.”

“How has Joy been feeling?” I asked. “Is she getting out at all?”

“Yeah, she’s able to manage the stairs to come up to my place every once in a while. Big Jake was drunk yesterday. She’s still trying to get rid of him.”

I said, “I heard that she’s stopped panhandling because he takes any extra money she gets.”

Little Jake said, “Dennis, I’m sorry that I’m drunk.”

Jacques said, “You’re always drunk. You shouldn’t apologize for being drunk. You should apologize if you’re ever sober.”

“Yeah, ” he said, “That’s true.”

Outcast introduced me to Debbie. He said to me, “You mentioned, the other day, something about a TV interview. I’ve been giving it some thought and Debbie and I may be interested.”

“That’s great,” I said, “I’ll let my brother-in-law know. He has all the contacts.”

Debbie said, to me, “Just today I lost my job. I’ve been bullied lately and had a letter I was going to hand in concerning the situation, when I heard about losing my job. I have some mental illness. I get very depressed sometimes.”

I said, “I also have mental illness: bipolar, paranoid personality and obsessive compulsive disorders. I’ve taken medication for them for the past twenty-five years.”

Debbie said, “I have borderline personality disorder. I also take medication, and I have a prescription for medical marijuana. I still have to pay five dollars per gram. I won’t be able to afford that, now that I don’t have a job.”

Outcast said, “We should all move to Smith Falls, they’ve turned the old Hershey plant into a medical marijuana operation. Maybe they’d give out free samples.”



5.0 out of 5 stars
Great, October 23, 2014
mother of 4 (Pocahontas, IL) – See all my reviews
This review is from: Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People (Kindle Edition)
This was a great heart warming story to read. It is one of those things that really makes you sit back and take stock of the things in your own life. It is full of kindness and you can tell from the writing that the author has a real passion for the subject of the homeless. He is not only telling their story but trying to open up the eyes of the world to these people and what they have and are still going through. I was very humbled by this project and would really recommend it to anyone. It does kind of restore ones faith in the human race. I was also pleasantly surprised that the writing is not preachy in its message about the homeless nor is it condescending to the people who it is written about. Very nice work Mr. Cardiff.

Advocating Kindness

Posted: October 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

Citizenship. Sustainability. Social Responsibility.

Unknown to many, I have been going through quite an internal struggle during the past couple of years. I have been battling mood disorders and depression that eventually lead to physical sickness.

What this condition taught me is to learn to find joy in the smallest things and the most ordinary things everyday. And to treasure those who love memy family and friends. It also taught me to be grateful and to focus on improving my character. And most of all, to PRAY. Because my strength will always be inadequate to God’s grace.

It has also taught me to be kind, most especially to myself. And that’s when I learned to be kinder to others.

You know how when you look at the mirror and you don’t like what you see? Believe it or not, it has happened to me many times. Don’t ask why. I…

View original post 431 more words




21 October 2014

“Good morning, Dennis. Did you hear the news about our friend? He panned up the street with his girlfriend? What was his name?”

“Are you talking about Alphonse and Magdalene?”

“Yeah, of course they had split up. He was in front of the restaurant, drunk and got in a fight with the guy who has the dog in the cart. I think that guy was high on crack. Alphonse was beat up pretty bad. He hitchhiked to Montreal. Talk is he committed suicide. I’d talked him out of suicide before. He said to me, ‘Because you’re my elder I will take your advice. I won’t take my  life.’ Well, who knows what happened in Montreal. I heard that he was in jail for a week. He probably could have avoided the charges, but he said to the judge, ‘I did it, I should serve my time.’  After  he was let out, he told people that he was heading up to Labrador to visit his mother, but that didn’t happen. It could have been loneliness, being split up with Maggie, not knowing anybody. Who knows why someone takes their life?”

I said, “I had a lot of conversations with him. I was the first one he told that the baby Magdalene was carrying wasn’t his, but he wanted a family and would raise it as his own, with her, or without her. He said that she always wanted control. I’d heard that Maggie was staying in their apartment with her new boyfriend, but was afraid to go home. I guess he wasn’t treating her well. Alphonse had his sleeping bag and was sleeping outside.”

Chuck said, “Yes, I’ve known a lot of people like that. What usually happens is whoever controls the booze, controls the screws. When Alphonse would run out of money, Maggie would run off with someone else. It’s a shame, he was a nice man.”

I said, “Goldie doesn’t seem so upset today. I guess the construction workers haven’t been making too much noise.”

“No, they wouldn’t be working in this rain.





20 October 2014

Construction was taking place at Chuck’s corner. Covered scaffolding had been erected, above the sidewalks, to protect pedestrians from falling debris. Chuck was sitting precariously close to the street. Goldie was shivering. “Hi Chuck,” I said, “how do you like being on this side of the sidewalk?”

“I don’t like it, but there’s not much I can do about it. They will be doing brickwork on this building for most of the winter.”

“Did you go to the mall on Saturday?” I asked.

“Yeah, I was there. I met my friends, had a coffee and some of that great chicken. I noticed that the Greek place isn’t happy with the number of customers they’re losing. They’re a tough lot. I knew a guy who worked for them one time. They let him go for no reason.

‘Saturday night I went to the hockey game. The game was fine. Our team won against Columbus 3 – 2. It was after the game that I had problems. There was a long line of people waiting for busses after the game. I tapped this guy on the back and said, ‘Would you please move, so I can pass and get to the front of the line?’ He said, ‘Why should I move? You’re nothing special.’ I said, ‘Move you stupid fuck, or I’ll run into your ankles with this chair!’ He didn’t move so I rammed him, not as hard as I could have, but he felt it. He let me by and I got nearer to the front of the line. There was this big guy blocking my way. I tapped him on the back and said, ” Would you mind moving, so that I can move to the front of the line?’ He said, ‘Sure, no problem, and I’ll get the rest of these people to move as well.’ So I got on the bus, backed into the special section they have for wheelchairs. Then the first guy I talked to got on. He said, ‘I see you got on okay.’ I said, ‘Yes, fuckface, I got on, no thanks to you. Do you see this big blue sign above me with the wheelchair symbol? It’s there to show that wheelchairs have priority on entering the bus, so they don’t run over passenger’s toes while trying to get positioned. Then people needing priority seating are allowed on, like pregnant women, people using canes and the blind. Then the remainder of the passengers are allowed on. Does that make sense to you?’ He didn’t say anything, but when he got off he waved to me.”

The construction crew started banging metal above us. Goldie hid her head under Chuck’s arm. “It’s okay, girl, we’re leaving soon.” To me he said, “Soon, it’s going to be too cold to come out here. I was hoping to get a few more hours here, but it’s not going to happen.”

I said, “I’ll check back tomorrow, Chuck, to see if your here. Take care.’

“Bye, Dennis.”





17 October 2014

As I was walking towards the park I met Mariah and the two Alberts. I asked, “Mariah, are you leaving?”

‘Yes, I’m not feeling so good. Cramps, I’ve just started my period. Albert is going to walk me home.”

The usuals were in there, in their usual place.

Marcel said, “Hi Dennis, I haven’t seen you for a long time. I’m not drinking now. I haven’t necessarily quit, but I’m a binge drinker. I’ll get drunk for a few days then I’ll stay off it for three months. I still have my weed. I won’t give that up. In fact I have a court appearance coming up for that, but the judge knows me. You see, I’m supposed to be getting workmen’s comp. for a back injury and the judge knows that. He knows that I’m self-medicating. Last time I told him, ‘Your honor, I could go to my doctor and get opiates for the pain in my back, but if I did I’d eventually become addicted, then I’d have another problem. Or, I could sell them on the street, to pay for my marijuana, but if I was caught I’d be in more serious trouble. He didn’t like where I was going with this.

“I changed social workers, and every time that happens they cut me off my meds. I have to go in, explain everything to them, get a letter from my doctor. Then I’m reinstated. I waited three months and hadn’t received a letter from my worker. She had been sending my mail to the wrong address. My old landlord hates me. He was probably throwing my mail in the garbage. Anyway, I told this to the judge. I said, ‘Your honor, I had no pain medication for three months. What was I to do?’  It was only a probation breach, so he had it dropped.”

I asked, “What is the charge for marijuana possession?”

“It all depends on the judge. If you’re caught with a gram, they may give you thirty days in jail. If you’re caught with an ounce, that’s a different story. They can charge you with trafficking. You could get sixty days to two years, whatever the judge decides.”

“How did you injure your back?” I asked.

“I was working at the airport. Every so often the 737’s suffer from what is called metal fatigue. The only thing to do is to take them completely apart, then put them back together again. It’s a big job and takes about two years. At the end I had a really easy job. I was doing the final inspection. I had a checklist that was color coded, from red that meant life threatening, yellow was hazardous, but not life threatening, and all the way down. So I didn’t have to do much, just make sure that everyone else had done their job. Near the ceiling of the hangar is where all the gasses collect, from the generators, the welding equipment, exhaust fumes. One day I passed out and fell about twenty feet to the cement floor. I had multiple spinal compression fractures in my lumbar region and neck.

“Why was there a delay in getting workmen’s compensation?”

“It was a grey area. First of all,  I lived in Quebec but worked in Ontario. They couldn’t decide which province should cover my injuries. Second, it was an international airport, so the federal government was involved. Third, for safety reasons we were only supposed to work eight-hour shifts. The union, without permission from the government, changed it to four twelve-hour shifts, with three days in between. According to the government, I shouldn’t have been working when I was. I raised a lot of shit. I became a whistle-blower and pointed out twenty-one safety violations that were taking place.  Things like guys going out for a smoke and propping the door open with a brick. The inspectors were aware of these things, they just chose to ignore them. That didn’t make me very popular with the union. Heads rolled, but I’ve been waiting fourteen years for my compensation. They say that I’m going to get my money, but I tell them, ‘It’s been fourteen years. My kids may get my money, but I’ll be dead by the time this is resolved.

“I really ruffled some feathers higher up. One night cops came to my door with a search warrant. They took every piece of paper in the house, photographs, even my kid’s drawings on the fridge. Now, why would they take a kid’s drawing? They also magnetized my house. Do you know what that means? They took a powerful magnet to every piece of electronic equipment I had,  computers, cameras, erased everything. They were gone within an hour, but they were thorough.

“There’s something else I did that upset a lot of people. I set up a union for panhandlers. It’s still active. We have a list of lawyers we can call, to appear for us in court, at no charge. They’re good lawyers.”

I asked, “Is there any way that you can go back to the kind of work you were doing at the airport?”

“No, my doctor says that I’ve developed a sensitivity to certain gasses. Even a whiff could trigger my brain into falling asleep. It’s the body trying to protect itself. If you’re asleep, then your breathing is shallower. I get ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program), but because I was in a high paying job, I’d get a lot more from the Compensation Board, but, that’s life.”





14 October 2014

“Hi Dennis,” said Chuck. “Remember that internet bubble that burst in 2001? Long before that I was telling people, ‘If you have any money, at all, in dot-com companies, take it out. I told that to one of my regulars. He didn’t take my advice, used all his retirement savings and now has to work two more years. He can’t afford to retire now. He asked me, ‘Where do you get your information?’ I said, ‘I read the financial section of the newspaper everyday.’ It’s not like I have anything else to do.

“We’ve got a new Finance Minister now. It looks like he’s going to take us down that same path again. Why couldn’t they have learned from last time. He’s been warned that because of the baby-boom bulge, we’ll have a shrinking workforce, a glut of savings, excessive investment in non-productive capital and sagging productivity. That’s something to look forward to.

“Yesterday I was telling you about my time in Moose Factory. One night, in the bar, three beautiful women came in. All the guys started buying them shots and they were putting them back. At closing time they locked the doors. When I came back the next morning the three women were naked and asleep on the pool tables. The bar was down four hundred dollars in liquor that wasn’t paid for. The guy I worked with said, ‘Chuck, you missed quite a party last night.’ I said, ‘That’s not my scene.’ Sloppy fourths or fifths is bad enough. When you’re eighteenth in line that’s not so appetizing.”

A blond woman with a big smile stopped and slipped Chuck a five. “Have a good weekend,” she said.

“I will, even though the temperature is going down to single digits. I’m going to take a sleeping pill tonight, because I haven’t been sleeping well lately, and enjoy doing nothing.”

“That sounds like a plan, Chuck,” she said. “Did you see the hockey game last night? Our team won!”

“Yes, and it was a home opener too. Last year we didn’t do so well on home games. If we’d won four more we would have made it into the playoffs. We may have been beaten out the first round, but we would have made it. Last night, two goals in a span of three minutes, in the third, turned the game around. If we can just keep up that momentum, we’ve got a chance.”

A construction crew started installing a scaffold near where Chuck was sitting. “It looks like I’m going to be getting what they call ‘the bum’s rush’. They will be doing something to the brickwork, so I may be away for a long time. Soon, it’ll be too cold to come out anyway.”