No Car, No Radio, No Liquor Permit: The Moral Regulation of Single Mothers in Ontario, 1920-1997
Fourteen years ago the author volunteered at Bridge House, a shelter for women in Kingston, Ontario. Many of these women were single mothers on welfare. She watched them fret about accepting a coffee or beer at the local bar, or permitting a male friend to walk them home. Social workers and neighbours intruded into their lives in minute ways. These women even self-censored their days and nights, all in an attempt to guarantee the welfare cheque, a cheque that did not even begin to meettheir subsistence needs. This led the author to ask questions about the nature of our welfare state and its impact on poor single mothers' lives. 'No Car, No Radio, No Liquor Permit' examines the history of single mothers on welfare in Ontario, from the establishment of the Ontario Mothers' Allowance in 1920 to the elimination of the policy under the Harris government in 1997. Through the use of government documents, case files, and oral interviews, the book shows how single mothers throughout history have opened their homes and their lives to intrusive investigations to prove themselves financially and morally worthy.
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