Posts Tagged ‘social worker’




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.”


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.




Hi Andre, how was your weekend?”

“The weekend was fine, but I had a depressing morning. I got this letter from ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program), saying that I have to go down there right away or my payments are going to be cut off. I get there, apparently I missed an appointment last Wednesday. I had two appointments on Wednesday. I remembered to go to the doctor to get a prescription for a special diet. I figured that was the important one. I totally forgot about the other one. Now, they’re holding my check until September 15. I said to the guy, ‘I’ve had a heart attack. It killed some of my memory cells. I blank out some times. I’m supposed to be on a special diet. What am I supposed to do? Go home and eat my socks?’ People looked up when I said that. He gave me my street allowance, because I caused a scene.

“I’m supposed to be taking medication for my stomach, but I find out now that I’m not covered. Luckily, my brother-in-law is on the same medication, so he was able to give me a few pills.  I’m also supposed to be getting new teeth, that’s also on hold. I’m trying to stay sober, but I’m getting no help at all, just stress. It was better when I was a drunk on the street. Now I got responsibilities, I’ve got a roommate, if I screw up with the rent, he’d going to be without a place to live.

Debbie said, “I feel the same way. I could use some help now. I don’t need money, but I’m having problems. Staying sober is tough.”

Mariah said, “I visited Joy the other day. I’m also going to see her tomorrow to take care of her check and pay her bills. She thinks she has approval to move into a two bedroom apartment with Big Jake. She’s still pissed off with him for wrecking her bed. I’ve got some photos here of my last visit with her, also some I took on Canada Day. Here’s Precious, my cat, wearing two Canadian flags. Here’s one of Debbie with big glasses and a hat that Jacques gave her. Here’s a picture of Little Jake and Jacques trying to ride a tricycle that Hippo brought. They didn’t stay on very long. That tricycle had no brakes. Jake went down the hill, saw a woman pushing a baby carriage and bailed. He came back with his leg all bloody.

“Did I show you the ring that Jacques gave me? I don’t usually like big rings, but I like this one. It’s mother-of -pearl. It’s like a mood ring. When I put it on my finger it changes color.”

Wolf said, “Dennis, I finished this Jack Higgins book. Do you want to read it? It’s one of his new ones?  It’s called a Devil is Waiting.”

“Thanks, Wolf, but I’ve got a lot of books on my to-be-read list.”

Inuktuk asked Mariah, “Can I buy a toke from you for five bucks. Here’s my change. I’m too drunk to count it.”

“Okay, let’s see what you have here. You’ve got four bucks, but that’s okay. Pay me a buck when you have it.”

“I found another two dollars.”

“Okay, here’s four quarters back. Now, we’re all square.”

I asked, “How are you feeling now, Mariah?”

“I’m okay, the pain comes and goes.”





19 June 2014

Joy was marching towards me as I approached my spot. She said, “Can you watch my stuff. The pizza place wont let me use their washroom.”

“Sure,” I said. I took her place on the plastic box, now with two plastic cushions acquired yesterday. I sat, feeling somewhat conspicuous, ignored by people I work with. I had forgotten my watch at home, so I was watching the wrists of people walking by hoping to get a glimpse of the time. A mans analog wristwatch can be read from at least four feet away.

Joy returned, looking very pissed off, “These damn new people. I’m going to have to deal with this,” she said as she marched off in the opposite direction. I could see her gesturing to a man seated on a marble platform, bordering the steps to a public building.

She came back, just as frustrated. “He knows Big Jake,” she said to me as Jake rolled up in his wheelchair.

“Hi Jake, ” I said.  He waved.

“Joy, said Jake, ‘” you don’t want to go messing with that guy. He’s a spinner. I’ve seen guys six foot six back down from him. You never know what he’s going to do. He’s nuts.”

“Great,” said Joy. “I asked him politely, I didn’t hassle him, but he wouldn’t talk to me. I said to him, ‘I know you can talk, because I’ve heard you asking people for money. What I’m asking is that you wait until until 9 o’clock when I’m finished, or move down the block.’ He still wouldn’t talk.”

“Just leave it, Joy,” said Jake.

A small Asian man, wearing a black suit stopped to talk to Joy, “Hi,” he said. “I haven’t seen you for a long time.’ I waved.

Joy said, “Yeah, how have you been doing. You’re looking great.”

“Thanks,” he said, “I have to go now, but it was great seeing you.”

After the man left Joy whispered to me, “That guy used to be a woman. People gave him a really hard time when he was transitioning. Some people are just born that way. A man born into a woman’s body, or in his case a woman born into a man’s body.”

I said, “Why would people give him a hard time? It’s not as if it’s his choice, but a person has to choose to be an asshole.”

Joy said, “I can figure out how a man could be changed to a woman, but how do they change a woman to a man? Do you know?”

“Yeah, I read about it on the internet. There are these pills you can buy. A guy can grow four inches overnight. I guess, if he wants to be bigger than that, he just takes more pills.”

Joy asked me, “Are you going to be at the park at noon. Do you want your own cushion?”

I said, “I’ll be there, but hang onto the cushion. Someone else may want to use it before I get there.


I walked across the street to visit Chuck. His chair was parked behind a lamppost. As I approached everything fell out of my wallet. I squatted down to put all my cards back. When I had collected everything I stood and said “Hi, Chuck.”

“Hi Dennis, I saw someone sneaking around behind the pole. I didn’t know who it was.

“I saw Joy talking to that crazy guy across the street. Earlier, he was down by the restaurant. He was making elephant noises with the inside of his elbow. Security told him to move along. He went inside and bought a coffee. He came back, walked up to the guard and just stood there. The guard must have been scared of the guy, because he just walked away. I would have fought the guy. I spent a lot of years working as a waiter in a men’s tavern. I’m five foot six and weigh a hundred and thirty-five pounds, but I learned how to deal with these big guys. You hit them first before they see it coming.  Another thing I used to do was, casually walk behind the guy, put my arms around him, just below the waist, pick him up and slam him down on his ass. Then I’d kick him in the head.

I asked, “Chuck, do you know the time?”

“Just about five to nine.”

“I have to go, Chuck, but I’ll see you tomorrow.”




9 June 2014

“Good morning, Chuck. How was your weekend?”

“It was quiet. I came down to visit my friends for coffee both Saturday and Sunday. I was so tired when I came home, I fell asleep in front of the television. I didn’t wake up until 1:3o in the morning. I took Goldie out for her walk, came back and slept until 8:00.

An angry man on a motorized wheelchair whizzed by us on the street, “Get out of my way!” he yelled.

I asked, “Do you know him, Chuck?”

“Yeah, I know him. He’s a mean, nasty man who hates the world. He hates the fact that he can’t walk and blames everyone else for it. I hope I never get like that.

“I’ve told my kids that if I’m ever on life support, and there’s no way I ‘ll recover, they’re to pull the plug. It almost happened one time. One of my kids had told the doctors not to resuscitate me, but my other kids wouldn’t agree. In that case I’m glad they didn’t — I wouldn’t be here.

“I’d give you a hundred bucks if you could straighten out this mess I’m in with my satellite service. They’re still saying I owe them $240.00, but I don’t.”

“Would it help,” I asked if you were to go to their office and talk to them in person.”

“That’s the problem. They have no office. If I phone for assistance I get some guy with a strange accent who could be calling from anywhere in the world. ‘Hello, my name is Terry. How may I help you?” Their name isn’t Terry. They won’t give even their real first names, because they don’t want to take responsibility, so I’m stuck.

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

“When I leave here I’m going to see my social worker. I can take the bus straight there.  There is no way that the wheelchair company should know that my son is a client of Social Services and who his worker is. They also shouldn’t contact his worker to advise my son that I’m causing trouble. I know for certain that’s illegal.  It’s an invasion of our privacy. I’ll sue the bastards,  if I have to. I have access to legal aid, so I can turn to them.  Some lawyers don’t charge a fee, they just take a percentage of any dollar amount recovered. As far as I’m concerned they can take 99%. Some lawyers take cases pro bono. It shouldn’t cost me a cent.

“Anyway, I’m damned mad about the way my son and I have been treated. It’s just not right.”

I said, I wish you the best with that, Chuck. I have to leave now, but let me know how that works out. I’ll see you soon.”

“Bye, Dennis.”