February 24, 2018

Winnipeg
-7° C, A few clouds

Full Forecast

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Don't judge without facts

We mine the Free Press archives for advice that still applies today (...or doesn’t)

From the Winnipeg Free Press, published Nov. 19, 1936

Dear Mrs. Thompson: Recently in your column “Indignant” asked whether she should report a family on relief whom she thinks is extravagant. I would like to say a few words about the other side of the question, as the family she mentioned might have been misjudged by appearances.

I am taking my own home for an example. We have been on relief for a little over a year now, and it’s no fun. We had hardly any furniture, so we asked several friends if they knew of anyone who would like to store furniture in exchange for its use. In this manner, we got a piano and radio.

We have only a table in our dining room, and if anybody wants to store a dining-room suite, far be it from us to refuse, in spite of the fact that some nosy neighbour thinks we are buying furniture that we do not need.

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 60 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Add a payment method

To read the remaining 275 words of this article.

Pay only 27¢ for articles you wish to read.

Hope you enjoyed your trial.

Add a payment method

To read the remaining 275 words of this article.

Pay only 27¢ for articles you wish to read.

From the Winnipeg Free Press, published Nov. 19, 1936

Dear Mrs. Thompson: Recently in your column "Indignant" asked whether she should report a family on relief whom she thinks is extravagant. I would like to say a few words about the other side of the question, as the family she mentioned might have been misjudged by appearances.

"Miss Nabob" made calls on Winnipeg homes, "receiving splended receptions wherever she called," and handing out dollar bill to women who happened to have Nabob tea, coffee or baking powder in the house. </p>

"Miss Nabob" made calls on Winnipeg homes, "receiving splended receptions wherever she called," and handing out dollar bill to women who happened to have Nabob tea, coffee or baking powder in the house.

I am taking my own home for an example. We have been on relief for a little over a year now, and it’s no fun.  We had hardly any furniture, so we asked several friends if they knew of anyone who would like to store furniture in exchange for its use. In this manner, we got a piano and radio.

We have only a table in our dining room, and if anybody wants to store a dining-room suite, far be it from us to refuse, in spite of the fact that some nosy neighbour thinks we are buying furniture that we do not need.

Several families might look as well dressed, even though they are on relief, as their neighbour who is not, but it is very seldom because they are cheating on relief. It is because they can sew and make things over. I’ve done all the sewing for our family, and we don’t look bad, even though they are last year’s things made over. People on relief like to look neat and tidy as well as the next person.

"Indignant" does not say whether anyone in that family is working, and 10 to one there isn’t. So my advice to her is to be sure of facts before she judges by appearances. Most likely these people are putting on a show for her benefit.

Reporting relief fraud is a good citizen’s duty, yes, but it is also a good citizen’s duty to keep one’s nose out of other people’s affairs. 

— Interested

Dear Interested: When other people’s affairs involve the spending of public money they cease to be entirely private, and relief recipients have no right to resent a certain amount of scrutiny.

It is only natural that neighbours who feel the pinch of paying heavy taxes should want to be sure that community funds are not being wasted. It is, even more, to be expected that people who are working hard and managing to keep off relief should feel it is unfair that others should be equally comfortable without any exertion.

On the other hand, everybody should be glad when citizens on relief manage to make the most of a bad situation. You deserve a great deal of credit for managing so well. 

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.