Sunday, February 24, 2008

I'm tired

I’m tired. Not the “I’ve drank too much egg nog and stayed out too late at a party tired”. I’m “there is no program, resource agency or government body…that can help you,” tired. I’m tired of letting people down.

“Yes I know you are working full time and I know your minimum wage job isn’t enough to live on but there is no help yet for your bills…maybe in January.”

“I know you’re cold now, I know you have no food, no heat, no hydro and worst of all…no hope, but this is all the information I can give you.”

“I agree it’s not fair they claw it back.”

“I know it’s not enough to live on”

“I’m sorry you have nowhere to live”

“I’m just sorry.”

They closed the Status of Women’s offices because the funds were being spent on administration. So what? Is there something inheritantly wrong with paying people to do a job? Do they want more programming and needed the administration funds to fund these programs? I don’t think so because if that were true they would have just closed the offices, not cut the funding and announced the investment in more programs.

The removal of the word equality from the Status of Women’s mandate, what’s the point of that? It is a word, with a huge meaning behind it to women, what would be the harm in leaving it there? Is the word ‘scary’?

I truly wonder what the thinking is behind government decisions. I’ve found some statistics that say it costs upwards of $40 000 to have a child in the foster care system. Imagine if some of that was used to cope with poverty related refers to Children’s Aid. Raising Ontario Works, Ontario Disability Payments, the minimum wage to a point where it is conceivable to make ends meet would prevent a lot of government involvement, and therefore administration costs, in people’s lives.

There is a huge reliance, of the government, on public will, to cover off what is suppose to be our safety net. Social Services refers people to the United Way of Bruce Grey all the time. We can connect people to food banks, financial counseling, second hand stores and other resources. I wonder what would happen if we all closed up shop and went home?

What would the government do then?

We won’t do it, we cannot risk people going hungry, cold or without a resource. It amazes me that everyone I talk to agrees that many of the rules surrounding government related assistance don’t make sense and are a deterrent for working and getting ahead. But no one seems to have the political will to do anything about it.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Extra allowances are disappearing

This is what I've been told.

OCB= Ontario Child Benefit

NCBs= National Child Benefit Supplement

The OCB starts July 1 2008 and it does include the Back to School Allowance and the Winter Clothing Allowance. The full OCB implementation is being phased in over a couple of years and there will be transitional funding in the interim.

Ultimately, all families will be better off. They will keep their NCBS funds and they will receive OCB as well. The Province is still working on transitional plans for 2008 and there is a commitment to ensure that families are not worse off. There is a lot of active discussion over issuing Back to School and Winter Clothing in 2008 as the implementation of OCB closely coincides with Back to School. I am expecting to see an Interim Directive addressing this issue before August 2008.

There will also be an information package which will be sent to all agencies in Bruce/Grey with explanations around OCB and the impact on our clients. The first year of OCB has the potential to cost families money. The transitional plan will address these issues and it is expected that the Province will respond in a positive fashion. Municipal Delivery Agents are strongly advocating for a transitional package which will address all financial matters.

All of us want to make sure that our clients receive their full benefits and that no one is penalized during the implementation period.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Not just my voice

Local women who are physically abused by their partners are almost three times as likely to face either a weapon or the threat of a weapon than the national average, according to a new two-year study.
“It’s something I think is a very important finding that we as a community really need to look into more deeply, what this is about, because the use or the threat of a weapon is also linked to a much higher level of fear,” said research co-ordinator May Tettero. “It just ups the ante quite a bit.”
Feelings of shame, concerns about losing control over their life if the social and legal systems get involved and a lack of anonymity in small communities may also prevent some women from seeking help or even talking about such abuse, she said.
The study group, made up of 95 women whose partners were registered with The Men’s Program, were divided into one group of 30 women who live in Owen Sound; the rest were included in a group considered rural for the purposes of the study
“We found that the use or threat with a weapon was significantly higher in the rural area,” Tettero said. “That doesn’t prove anything, but it makes us think that perhaps there is a relationship between that form of abuse within a relationship and abuse in rural areas.”

is Feminism unreasonable?

The following discussion has taken place in the Sun Times, primarily between myself and Jim Merriam, a bi weekly columnist and editor.

It should be noted that I was a columnist for htis paper for 5 years, but my 'services' were no longer required in November. Actually I was the first female columnist when I started writing "Running With Scissors" 5 years ago. They told me they were trying to keep the paper 'fresh' but they kept all the old boys. But my issue is trying to change the attitudes in a rural community.

A Column he wrote

My letter to the editor in response

He buries a response in here (Sisterhood of Perpetual Victim)

Someone else wades into the debate

Jim full responds here

I am formulating a response to the last column but have nothing submitted as of yet.

From my letter to the editor I got 2 phone calls and 2 emails the morning it was in the paper, all from men, all telling me to keep battling on, and how I was right.

Joachim's letter has also gotten a huge response to people connecting with him.

We're not letting this go.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sisterhood of Perpetual Victims

Oh I love making an impact, being that thorn, that requires attention, it just makes my day.

I can't link to Jim's little "dig" yet as his column is not yet online, but I will when it is.

So what is the "Sisterhood of Perpetual Victims"?

It's obviously a group that holds - media, community leaders, columnists - accountable for what they say, print, and advocate for.

I can take on that new lable!

While I'm advocated for the Sisterhood of Perpetual Victims....

Why is it when our First Nation's want input and engagement they get this headline

Natives demand say in energy megaproject (To me the use of the word "demand" is confrontational.)

Legal action by the Saugeen Ojibwa could derail or delay major energy projects
in Bruce County, Saugeen lawyer Arthur Pape warned an Ontario Energy Board
hearing this week.

and yet when "white" people do the same thing, they get this headline?

Council supports couple in battle with Hydro One;Rawns fighting to keep proposed new transmission corridor out of sensitive wetlands

A Varney couple is getting support from West Grey council in their bid to
protect Camp Creek wetlands from possible environmental damage from a proposed
new high voltage transmission line from Bruce Power to Milton

The Native concern and possible opposition is portrayed as holding up progress, yet when non-natives threaten similar action, it is portrayed as "saving the farm".

Just a question

Monday, January 14, 2008

Biting the hand that once fed...

Funny Farm column

Letter to the Editor

Re: Cry me a river - of votes

Dear Editor,

I am always pleased to see our community on an international stage, advocating for the same issues, having a voice and echoing the standards of society. Yet sadly Jim Merriam must have spent too much time watching Fox news this past weekend.

In his column he claims that it was Hillary Clinton’s tears that won her the New Hampshire Primary.

Well perhaps if he broadened his reading he would see the on going analysis that suggests that it was the treatment of Clinton that drove the female vote to back her. Oh here’s a question: who’s tracking the male vote? We have the female vote, the black vote, the religious vote, the minority vote…

But I’m off topic. I’ve seen the footage of Clinton and ‘tearing up’ is not crying; yet the media pounced on her for being weak. But wait, then there was the media who said it was all fake, and she did it to soften her image. Well which was it, weakness or manipulation: well it could be both, she is a woman after all!!! This is the same media that says she’s cold if she wears black and too soft if she wears pink. This woman can’t win.

Women are dealt a double standard in positions of power. If women are passionate about what they believe in and are determined to make their point; they are called aggressive. If men behave the same way, he’s a hero for speaking out.

If a man shows emotion it means he’s compassionate and caring, and a strong man for showing his emotion if a woman shows emotion she’s being weak and manipulative.

These days a woman has to be twice as smart, twice as good to get what they want.

As for the not so Funny Farm, Mr. Merriam also advocates tears as manipulation: “Guys, if you find yourself losing the election for sergeant at arms for the local Moose lodge, maybe you should try stubbing your toe on the flag pole.”

Too bad he didn’t advocate for being a better lodge member, but then I’m sure this is a male only lodge because who wants women around when the world needs to be conquered.

Jim also seems to think violence within the home is acceptable. And I quote
“Or if you're losing a battle at home, you might trick your spouse by pinching yourself hard enough to moisten the corners of the eyes.
If she doesn't whack you with a frying pan you'll know it might be working. “
Jim, do you really think domestic violence is a joke?
I suggest you go back to reprinting email jokes, and leave the political analysis to people without chips on their shoulder.

Francesca Dobbyn
A woman who tears up and wears pink.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The end of the string or the begining of the string?

Balls of yarn have a beginning and an end. Some knitters knit from the 'end' that's inside, thus making that end, the beginning. Other knitters start from the outside, making that the beginning.

So what makes the beginning and the end of a ball of yarn, is where the knitter starts, not what society might dictate.

So is this blog and end, or a beginning?

No idea yet.

In mid November I was informed:

Dear Francesca;

As part of a regular and ongoing renewal of our editorial pages, we have decided to discontinue Running With Scissors. I want to thank you for the very many excellent pieces you have written for us over the years.

Should you wish to continue writing for us from time to time, we would still consider your submissions on a one-off basis, or as a member of our all-volunteer community editorial board.


Michael Den Tandt
The Sun Times

After 5 years, an email, to say 'thanks' but we're done here.

I've spent the last month and a half trying to figure out where to take my "voice" and go from here.

Blogging "Running With Scissors" seemed to defeat the purpose in that I felt I should be paid for my writing, as an artist.

But I've also realized I've got pent-up issues that I want to discuss and there is no outlet.

So today I promised myself I'd do a weekly blog. I've got a daily blog for the United Way, which I can't seem to get to daily, so I'm not falling into that trap again.

So does this represent the end of Running With Scissors, or the beginning of a new Running With Scissors?

Who knows. But as a wise knitter, I know better than to think the sweater is finished with only one ball of yarn started.