Remember your neighbors this holiday season

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As we barrel ahead apparently into a new recession, let’s not forget those who suffered major harm in the last one. We’ll all feel the pinch as the economy contracts, but the lowest income earners will feel it the most, starting just as we head into the holiday season.

The minimum wage has never kept up with even 2% inflation, let alone today’s 6.9%. Tack on the Bank of Canada’s interest rate hikes and the
poverty-as-policy loop of capitalist economies is about rear its ugly head yet again.

Rising interest rates make the wealthy more wealthy while bleeding families absolutely dry — especially low-income single Canadians. Sure, we can’t afford runaway inflation, but at some point the Bank of Canada must take into account the suffering its action (or even inaction) takes on Canadians. The federal and provincial governments must move to blunt the effects of rising interest rates especially on the lowest income-earners.

Until the time when the political ambitions of our ruling elites begin to align with our Canadian values, it is up to all of us to look out for those struggling within our communities.

The is especially true in the Pontiac. With so many Ontario expats having purchased properties here, especially during the pandemic, after having been priced out of Ontario, the pressures shift to Pontiac’s most basic families. These neighbours face mortgage payment increases of about $200 per $100k borrowed. On a reasonable $300,000 mortgage, that’s an extra $600/month in payments; or, for every 40 hours of works, at $15/hour (pre-tax), that’s an extra week of full time work, because wages haven’t kept up! Plus, families face increasing costs for food, fuel, credit, and nearly everything else — all in just one year. Rising interest rates also mean rapidly increasing rents on new leases for those who already can’t afford a home of their own.

This holiday season is a celebration of kindness, love, and mutual care.

Please reach out not only to immediate neighbours, relatives and loved ones, but also acquaintances. It can be difficult for them to ask for help, but we can be proactive. These are essentials we’re considering, not luxuries! Together we can and will get through the difficult winter coming.

Please consider making a donation to Bouffe Pontiac, in Campbell’s Bay, the Pontiac’s food bank. Or if you are struggling to put food on the table, call them at 819-648-5959. And there are other charities busy here — we need them all, and they certainly need our support.