DAVID BURKE TO PRIME MINISTER HARPER: ‘War in Afghanistan should be ignored until we have fed the poor and looked after needs on our own soil first’




‘So much more could be done for the poor and the mentally ill…’


As a theatre person who can no longer work due to a broken back, I have learned a few things from being on disability for twenty-two years, and most of these things to do with the meaning of life would surprise you or take you by storm, and I am predicting that within twenty years, there will be a revolution in the midst of the welfare class and nothing will ever be the same again.

My theatre people are the ragged, the mentally ill, the afflicted, the downtrodden, the marginalized and the addicted.

Many of us pay taxes on tobacco, that in turn turns into our chief addiction and any money we have goes to supporting our habit.

My great grandfather was a bugler in the first war … won two medals and every month his heirloom ring goes in the pawnshop.

It is a good month if the ring doesn’t end up there and I wonder if I was hit by a bus would anyone know to retrieve the ring that is ninety years old?

So it is for so many.

“Never in the field of human endeavour has so much been owed to so many by so few.”

Often I’m suicidal and not exactly because of money, but rather the feeling that my glory days of bringing Canada recognition are over and I will never stand at the podium to receive the Order of Canada or any prize of any merit whatsoever.

My godfather was Canadian ambassador to Southeast Asia Godfrey Hearne; my great grandfather, Charles Schofield built cathedrals at both ends of the country, great grandfather Alexander Nairn built the Nairn docks in Toronto and owned a hundred acres along St. Clair Avenue, etcetera.

My family has paid in blood and I would like to know why are our pension is so low, after all this time, and the benefits so limited when it is the lower class that is the glue that holds together the bricks of our great society.

As a seventh generation Canadian, I turn my face to the wall with manifest sorrow.

So much more could be done for the poor and the mentally ill, trimming the excesses of the many wealthy who think of this, our country as a playground not a battlefield.

Both grandfathers fought in the The Great War for the rights I enjoy but if I do not enjoy and revel in them, a priori, what is the use of their having fought?

I have been twenty-one times across Canada in my career and now that career is kaput and I have to struggle to express myself or even get press or get on the radio.

You should try being bi-polar and still run the country, sir.

It is so unbelievably hard that it is a wonder so many try at all, on this pittance we receive from the province.

I am asking you to consider raising the pension from nine hundred to twelve hundred, so we can afford the luxurious rents here in demi-Paradise.

By the time I will have completed this letter, I willl have smoked five cigarettes, so bad are my nerves, so deep is my concern for my country.

Welfare is not a state of mind or a disability.

It is an idea that society has been force fed.

If more socialism is the answer, so be it.

Whatever works in my books.

The Ministries are brutal in the handling of many cases and if they reviewed me to lessen my winnings, I would not hesitate to take my own life as a symbol.

That’s how strongly I feel.

I know people who clear a hundred on their monthly cheque.

How would you like to pay the bills with that? 

Welfare is warfare so the war in Afghanistan should be ignored until we have fed the poor and looked after needs on our own soil first off.

Surely you think of the poor at home while you are jetting to all those exotic locales to rub shoulders and press the flesh?

Examine your conscience Mr. Prime Minister, are we really doing enough for those at the bottom of the heap?

David Burke




CCC BLOG reprint:

Island Catholic News

December 2009/January 2010

Page 3





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