In Muskoka, we don’t all live on the lake, soaking up sunshine and lounging on the dock. When most people think of Muskoka, they think of big cottages, big lakes, big toys and big money. For most of the permanent residents living here, that isn’t reality – it’s as far-fetched as winning the lottery.
Most Muskoka residents work in the retail or service sector, generally meaning lower paying jobs, no benefits and seasonal employment. Unemployment can make for a long and lean winter. So many in Muskoka live close to, or below, the poverty line.
So, what exactly does this mean to many of our friends, family, co-workers and neighbours? It may mean that we have to make some tough choices about dollars. Perhaps you’ve seen the recent PSA’s on TV where they’ve shown this dilemma… someone has to make tough choices… food …or ….electricity… this month? These choices are made every day by people living on the other side of the tracks within ‘luxury Muskoka’.
If that’s a more genuine picture of life here in the North, I am shuddering to think of choices to come, as Ontario instigates its plan to put beer (and later, wine) inside grocery stores, late this year. What decisions will grow more difficult, when diapers share the shelf with booze?