BASS: On death (sort of), parking tickets and peanut galleries
More odds and sods that will never grow up to be full columns, but deserve some ink just because of the complete stupidity of the situations:
• The federal government has apologized to Constance Herrington.
It killed off the Chilliwack senior last month, sending a letter to her estate clawing back her HST/GST tax credit.
It cancelled her Old Age and Canada Pension Plan cheques.
When she contacted the vital-statistics agency to try and convince the staff that an error had been made, she was told she would have to pay $25 for an investigation to affirm she is, in fact, alive.
Herrington’s case isn’t unusual, it seems.
Last year, a 51-year-old woman in Ontario was also declared dead by the federal government, which stopped sending her a disability cheque she required for living expenses as she battled leukemia.
Letters were also sent demanding payback of tax credits she had received during the time she was, in the eyes of the government, dead.
A Kamloops woman also received an apology from the feds after it decided she had died.
She was alerted to her situation when she inquired about her pension benefits.
The opposite can happen, as well. My brother-in-law died more than two years ago and yet the government — both federal and provincial — seems to think he’s still alive.
During the time since his death, his wife has received mail asking why he hasn’t renewed his driver’s licence, advising him his gun permit is being amended and another one asking why he hasn’t paid his MPS premiums.
Each time, she has called the agency involved and told the staff there to check their files again, because she did all the paperwork quite some time ago to let everyone who needs to know in the government that her husband — the love of her life who was taken from her suddenly — is, indeed, dead.
And, each time, it causes unnecessary stress and frustration.
• On to Christy Clark’s government and, no, this has nothing to do with ethnicgate, or whatever the media is calling it.
Enough has been said about the unmitigated disaster that memo has caused to the soon-to-be-gone Liberal party in B.C.
This has to do with the Kamloops courthouse and a parking ticket but it’s a precautionary note to our city councillors, too, as they go shopping for their new electronic meter stations.
Part of my job now is to cover the courts and, last week, I was sent for what should have been a brief appearance by a local man who was making an application before the courts.
I put in enough money to cover a period longer than that which I thought this would require but, upon leaving to head back to work — five minutes after the ticket expired — I discovered something called a parking invoice under the windshield wiper blade.
This is not a problem; it’s a cost of doing the job so I tried to pay the ticket, only to discover that, in the land of the much-vaunted B.C. Jobs Plan, buy-B.C. promotions, keep-it-all-in-B.C. credo continually mouthed by our premier and her minions, this ticket required payment to an Ontario company.
That company gets to set the ticket amount, as well, according to a government spokesman when I asked why it was $50, rising to $100 if not paid with one week.
It also keeps a portion of the money, with the remainder going to the building — in this case, the Kamloops Law Courts.
I’m still waiting to find out how much money we’re talking about here but must say paying a parking ticket obtained at a B.C. government building to an Ontario company — where no one ever responds to voicemail requests to call, as well — just seems wrong.
• Donovan Cavers has been on city council long enough to have grown some thicker skin, which makes me wonder why, when he voted against something and reporters tweeted he had done so, he got defensive and likely thought they cared when he called them “the peanut gallery.”
Not a good decision.