Which right wing Canadian party would you rather vote for?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Should Canada get rid of its Welfare System?

Isn't it time Canada eradicated poverty by replacing its welfare system with a "Canadians with Disability Program", a "Workfare Program" and a "Training & Apprenticeship Program"

There are jobs out there that need doing, plenty of them. Roads to build, houses/apartment buildings to construct, rivers to be bridged over, data that needs computing, paperwork that needs to be processed and filed. It may not be the most exciting work to do, but there is a lot of it.

The problem is finding people with the proper training, the skills and experience required.

There is also people out there who want jobs, but lack the proper training and experience to do them. How do you gain experience if no one will give you a job in the chosen career?

Thats why Canada needs a Workfare Program, coupled with a Training & Apprenticeship Program. Together these two programs could finally eradicate poverty in Canada.


First, lets explain the Training & Apprenticeship Program.

Essentially this would be a government operated service which helps Canadians to train and learn a variety of work-related skills that aren't taught in highschool. Such a program would place more emphasis on college and university education (higher education is pretty much mandatory these days to find a job that doesn't pay minimum wage).

There are existing programs in Canada that are similar to this, but many Canadians don't take advantage of them. These programs need to be more strongly promoted so that more Canadians are aware of them and will take advantage of them.

Next, the Workfare Program.

For people having difficulty finding work and paying their rent/feeding their family Canada needs an alternative to the welfare system. Essentially this would be a combination of labour jobs and clerical work, stuff that needs to be done but no one has thought to do it. The jobs would be reasonably well-paid and its workers would benefit from a much higher living standard than they would be on welfare.

Scrapping the welfare system and replacing it with a "Canadians with Disability Program" means only people who are legitimately disabled would benefit from it. However, that doesn't mean they can't still be productive members of society. The program would facilitate training the disabled for careers they can do, and helping them to achieve that goal so that eventually they are not a burden on society. Most disabled people don't want to be a burden and want to contribute to the rest of society and "stand on their own two feet" so-to-speak.

Canada is also suffering from what I call a "Ghost Town Effect". There are small towns scattered around Canada where vast numbers of the town's residents are on welfare. The people refuse to leave the town and so go on welfare just so they can stay. Despite the fact that the town has little or no industry and is essentially a Ghost Town they stay because welfare gives them the ability to stay. As is expected, such towns also have abnormally high crime and suicide rates. This is a problem that needs to be fixed.

Canada needs a Workfare program in those towns, along with an Entrepreneurial program to help start up new businesses and industries. Once people start working again the towns will flourish and people can indeed stay where they are if they desire to do so.

One Example of an Industry in Canada that needs Improvement: Greenhouse Products.

Canada has a shortage of fresh fruit and vegetables (especially in the winter). We import many such fruits and vegetables from the USA and other countries, but in reality we have the ability/technology to be growing such plants here in Canada under the warm windows of greenhouses.

Best of all, greenhouses don't need fertile soil. They can be built on rocky ground that is useless for anything else.

Family-owned greenhouses can sell their products to the local grocery store (or open their own grocery store).

Wait there's more!

Canada also has a shortage of bakeries, buying a lot of their bread from factory-style bakeries like "Wonder-Bread". Despite the advent of breadmaking machines people prefer to buy bread from their local grocery store. But if small bakeries started up right next to the grocery store and people had a choice between so-called Wonder-Bread and freshly made bread in 20 different varieties and zero cost of shipping... well, personally I'd pick the fresh bread. It just tastes better.

Basically whenever you see a product that is shipped to Canada from overseas (or made in some big Toronto factory), stop and ask yourself: "Couldn't we make that here in our little town?"

Years ago (and still today according to some people) stone houses were considered the epitome of what a good house should look like. Stone houses simply look more beautiful, they are well insulated (which saves on heating costs), they have a better resale value, they last a lot longer and are less likely to burn down in a housefire.

But stonemasons as an industry has almost entirely disappeared. Almost everyone has switched to brick or aluminum siding. And yet becoming a stone mason is really a quite simple task. Everything you could ever want to learn about stonemasonry can be found either online or in your local library.

Furthermore, stone and mortar are relatively cheap compared to brick. Its the amount of labour required that is the problem. Stonemasons must be physically fit and able to lift stone on a constant basis, and as such usually command very high wages (due to a combination of supply of demand, there is a shortage of stonemasons hence higher wages, plus only rich people seem to be able to afford to buy stone houses and thus they can afford to pay the stonemason).

Over the past 20 years a lot of stonemasons have retired, hence there are very few left at all. There's also no college programs in it, which means people seeking to learn stonemasonry must either teach themselves (which isn't too difficult, but will require some trial and error to learn the basics) or apprentice to somone who is a stonemason (which is difficult because there's a huge shortage of them).

My suggestion: If you own a house that has aluminum siding now is your chance. Renovate your house and reface it with stone. Get together with a few hardworking friends (or other people interested in stonemasonry) and start your own stonemason company. Renovate all of your houses with stone until you've gained enough experience doing it. Afterwards you have a choice: Work for other people renovating their houses, build new stone houses or buy crappy houses, fix them up, reface them with stonework and sell them for a profit.

If stonework isn't your thing, take notice of the greenhouses above. There is huge potential in Canada for workers who build greenhouses (possibly even out of old recycled glass to cut costs). My parents have a tonne of glass windows and doors stored in their barn that has been sitting there for years. Given the time and opportunity I would love to build a greenhouse out of the pieces (possibly even using stonework for the flooring and base of the building). Sadly my mother doesn't see the point of building a greenhouse because she doesn't like tropical plants and has no interest in growing her own tomatoes and citrus fruits.

I know some of the ideas I've mentioned above seems pretty left-wing for a conservative eccentric like myself, but lets face it: Getting rid of the welfare system is VERY RIGHT WING. The problem is that if we do get rid of the welfare system we have to make certain that all those people currently on welfare are somehow provided for (either through the disability program or the workfare program). If we don't provide jobs and encourage people to start up their own businesses then they will eventually resort to crime to feed themselves.

And the last thing we need is soaring homelessness and crime rates.