Monday, June 7, 2010
Those with outstanding warrants, deserve to get welfare!
It shocks our system because it doesn’t happen very often but politicians occasionally are capable of good ideas.
Take MLA Kelvin Goertzen’s private member’s bill that would see serious offenders who breach conditions and are wanted by police be denied welfare benefits. Consider the current scenario: Criminals can breach orders, get warrants issued for them and all the while Manitoba taxpayers are paying them welfare benefits thanks to the generosity of our NDP government.
Nothing in Manitoba’s Employment and Income Assistance Act red flags welfare recipients who have outstanding warrants.
Neither Goertzen or Justice Minister Andrew Swan can say how many of these people are currently getting benefits but let’s face it, since the checks and balances aren’t present, there’s got to be plenty.
“Taxpayers should not have to provide a hand-out to dangerous criminals who are evading the law,” Goertzen, the Conservative justice critic said Tuesday. With between 10,000 and 12,000 outstanding warrants in the province, these scofflaws shouldn’t get a dime until they’ve reported to police and dealt with the warrant, Goertzen said.
Exactly. Why reward people for not wanting to amend their criminal ways? But the NDP continues to hand out the dough, as if it’s no big deal.
This isn’t about being against the province’s welfare system. The poorest citizens need to be taken care of as long as the benefits make financial sense and recipients follow the rules. If they break the rules, punishment is required.
Goertzen’s bill, if passed, must apply to only the most serious offences and violent crimes like serious assaults and sexual offences.
The idea for this bill comes hot on the heels of another one introduced by Goertzen last week that would prevent serious offenders who are in breach of their conditions from renewing their driver’s licences. Late last year the province of B.C. introduced similar welfare legislation which is scheduled to go into effect June 1.
“People who have outstanding warrants shouldn’t be getting welfare until they clean up the problem,” Rich Coleman, B.C.’s minister of housing and social development said.
The B.C. bill targeted warrants for offences such as murder, sexual assault and drug trafficking.
But enforcement is the problem.
In B.C. they are relying on criminals to disclose their outstanding legal issues when they apply for welfare. Trust the welfare recipient? No way. Any bill would have to make criminal background checks mandatory before financial assistance could be approved.
It’s a good idea but only a bill with teeth and tough enforcement is acceptable.
The government made this bill, with no research or evidence of how many individuals with outstanding warrants for serious crimes, are relying on social assistance. My guess is that it would be few. But if there are people like this receiving welfare, what's stopping the police from going to their residence and arresting them? We should be depriving and punishing people who are innocent until proven guilty. Some may not even know that there is a warrant out for their arrest. Plus, families of these individuals who also rely on the social assistance, would also suffer. We cannot label these individuals as criminals, because technically, they are innocent.