Feeling the pinch in Broad Cove
My name is Wanda White. I am 53 years old and disabled. Society does not want to hear about situations like mine, nor should they, in an ideal world. But this is not an ideal world, rather it is a world where people are only concerned if something affects them directly.
Things like Hibernia oil finds or Muskrat Falls and big stakes wheeling and dealing. The story I am about to relate to you is all true and based on my current situation. But it affects the people on income support and seniors. I am hoping someone in a position to affect change for all sees this.
I am so frustrated and down right now. It all started in 2003-04 when we applied for and received a grant to upgrade the wiring in our home. We were TOLD we had to install electric heat in order to bring our house up to code. Refusal meant no grant.
So under protest we had the house wiring upgraded. The reason for my protest was quite simple: we could not afford to use it, at least until our old age, so I saw it as wasteful. We always had oil, right?
Then came 2007-08, and with it extremely high oil prices. Well we managed to squeak by for two years but we noticed black specks both inside and outside our house. A fine film of soot covered us: our clothes, furniture and even siding and snow.
Upon closer inspection of our oil bill, we saw that what we were getting was FURNACE OIL and that it had been crossed off and marked in ink STOVE OIL. We called the company who informed us that they did not supply stove oil but rather “a synthetic blend” and they were not responsible for any damages to us or our house contents, including the stove.
In December 2011 we reluctantly turned on our electric heat. Then came the phone call. It was 8:30 in the morning when the phone rang. It was from Newfoundland Power, demanding a further $100 per month in addition to the amount we already pay.
I must detour here to point out we intend to pay, but we want to draw your attention to the financial difficulties people like us encounter daily.
Our current total income per month is $660. Our household expenditures monthly are: • phone —$60; • Internet —$60; • transportation — $40; • lights — $100; • clothes, etc — $20; • groceries — $95/week for four weeks. This is a total of $660 both in and out. It does not cover incidentals like paint, or fixing anything that breaks down. What do we give up when we have so little?
Do we give up our lifeline in an emergency, our phone? Our only entertainment and link to what’s happening in the world, now that we have no TV (since it went digital), our Internet?
Or do we give up eating and die of malnutrition and starvation? WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
Too ghastly to print? It’s MY REALITY and no doubt, that of countless others in Newfoundland. My question is when is society at large going to insist that the downtrodden and poverty-stricken be shown some respect and dignity instead of turning a blind eye in ignorance?
When is the government of the day going to realize that while Nalcor and Muskrat Falls may be the order of the day, there are people being condemned to further hardship and misery because of the deals? Wanda White writes
from Broad Cove