Posted on Oct 2, 2020
NDP MLA LIVING ON AISH RECIPIENT’S BUDGET FOR ONE MONTH
- ALBERT - NDP Community Social Services Critic MLA Marie Renaud will be living off a budget that is similar to an AISH recipient in hopes of raising awareness about how critical the program is and the struggles Albertans with disabilities face.
Marie has worked with AISH recipients to build a budget that reflects their own finances and will rely on a total of $1,685, which is the maximum living allowance for AISH recipients. Her endeavour comes as Premier Jason Kenney has openly stated he is looking at removing some Albertans from AISH and previously stories surfaced in the media that cuts to funding for the program were being planned.
“Jason Kenney seems to believe Albertans on AISH earn too much, he is dead wrong,” Renaud said. “I realize that, as politicians, we in the legislature are arguing from a place of privilege. We debate over who receives what and how much, but we don’t have insight into the very real impacts of our decisions.
“I am trying to get just a sliver of insight into the struggles Albertans on AISH face and I hope that by doing this I will raise awareness and help fight back against planned UCP cuts.”
Renaud will be consulting weekly with Albertans on AISH and getting their experiences and advice on how to live on a tight budget.
“Empathy is created through experience,” said AISH recipient Don Slater. “Unless a person is disabled, they can never fully digest what it is to live that life. If the disabled person's life experiences are a meal, Marie is at least willing to sample a bite from our plate and that is appreciated.
“When I heard Jason Kenney’s words about the disabled community, I became angry. Some may think that AISH cannot be too comfortable because it would discourage those who collect it to stay on it, but they are failing to consider that being on AISH does not involve choice. Choosing AISH would be like choosing to be disabled.”
Renaud will be documenting her experience and posting about it on social media. Those wanting to follow along or share her experience are encouraged to use #AISHRealityCheck and #AISHLife.