The Benefit of the Doubt

Our Province has a new Premiere.  He made many promises about making people's lives easier by lowering the cost of the things that cut into their earnings.  He is committed to efficiencies.

The concern is that word, "efficiencies".  It conjures the picture of a small kitchen in a bachelor apartment.  You can cook basic meals but it's hard to be creative and a challenge to cook for company. If you take away even the small kitchen you have to rely on take-out.  Which puts money in other people's pockets.  And isn't necessarily nutritious.

The new Premiere says he will give the money from being efficient back to the people of Ontario. All of them, in his words.

People in faith communities hope that he will find ways to distribute cost savings to those most in need. Although we fear he has started to empty the cupboards (support for refugees, support for initiatives that deal with climate change) the hope is that the things we need as a society we won't be sacrificed to efficiency.  That we will keep what we do need (teachers, nurses). For a time we will ask ourselves to give him the benefit of the doubt. We tend to be people of hope until reality suggests otherwise.

Our fear is that the story we will eventually tell will be akin to this one from Luke 16.19-31:

“There was a certain rich man who clothed himself in purple and fine linen, and who feasted luxuriously every day. At his gate lay a certain poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. Lazarus longed to eat the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. Instead, dogs would come and lick his sores.

“The poor man died and was carried by angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. While being tormented in the place of the dead, he looked up and saw Abraham at a distance with Lazarus at his side. He shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I’m suffering in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received good things, whereas Lazarus received terrible things. Now Lazarus is being comforted and you are in great pain. Moreover, a great crevasse has been fixed between us and you. Those who wish to cross over from here to you cannot. Neither can anyone cross from there to us.’

“The rich man said, ‘Then I beg you, Father, send Lazarus to my father’s house. I have five brothers. He needs to warn them so that they don’t come to this place of agony.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets. They must listen to them.’ The rich man said, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone from the dead goes to them, they will change their hearts and lives.’ Abraham said, ‘If they don’t listen to Moses and the Prophets, then neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.’”

Lazarus died in poverty.  The rich man thought his actions were inconsequential, except to the extent they benefitted him.

If the Premiere keeps emptying the kitchen cupboards, we should doubt, and confront him on, his effiencies.