Single-parent clawbacks condemned

NDP plan: use budget surplus, planning to ease poverty

A recent report by First Call B.C. revealing half of the children with single parents in British Columbia live in poverty has the NDP criticizing B.C. Liberal government clawbacks.

NDP social development spokesperson Michelle Mungall said the government’s policy to claw back child support payments to welfare and disability recipients elevates poverty.

“This report proves that children are living in poverty because the B.C. Liberal government is clawing back child support from single-parent families living on income assistance and disability.

“It’s time for the B.C. Liberals to end the clawback and give kids their money back.”

The NDP is pointing to the $444-million budget surplus expected by spring – twice what was predicted last February – used for poverty reduction funding.

The estimated cost of ending the clawback is $17 million, which Premier Christy Clark told media the province “can’t afford” right now.

She said her government is sticking to its highest priority of further paying down the about $5 billion in provincial debt.

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett said nobody likes to see people live in poverty, but there is “no more in the pot” of government money.

“We’d like to see people get more, but we have to live within the means of the taxpayer.

“The best way to reduce poverty [is] education and creating jobs. Employment stops poverty.”

The surplus is still a projection at this point that may disappear under the impacts of the world economy, she noted.

Barnett added the B.C. economy is fuelled by resource industries, and funding social programs at a level beyond those revenues hits the taxpayer.

“[Low-income residents] don’t pay health care, they get free subsidies for this and that; there are so many things out there. I think government is doing everything we can possibly do.

“We now have help at schools with food for children at breakfast; there are lunch programs; there are all kinds of programs … for people in need.”

However, Mungall said B.C. needs a legislated poverty-reduction plan, noting it is now the only province without one.

“One in five B.C. children is living in poverty. That’s disgraceful in a province with so much wealth.”

The BC Poverty Reduction Coalition agrees a poverty-reduction plan is needed in the province, and presented thousands of letters in support of this to the premier on Nov. 25.

In a release, it stated B.C. has the highest poverty rate in the country (according to the most current Statistics Canada numbers from 2007 to 2011) with 10.7 per cent of B.C. residents listed as low-income.

However, Barnett said statistics on all people on the low-income scale will include many who have health-care costs covered, and seniors in subsidized housing or long-term care residences.

“Those are things you have got to take into consideration when you [look at] poverty.”


Just Posted

South Cariboo bags three medals in figure skating competition in Revelstoke

Two girls brought home gold, while the third brought home silver

100 Mile House remembers

Residents of 100 Mile House honour the country’s veterans

B.C. Legions in need of young members to continue aiding veterans into the future

Lest we forget what thousands of men and women did to fight for Canada’s freedoms – but without new membership, many Legion chapters face dwindling numbers

North Coast figure skater to star in Dancing On Ice

Carlotta Edwards learned to skate in Prince Rupert, before becoming a star with millions of viewers

VIDEO: Amazon to split second HQ between New York, Virginia

Official decision expected later Tuesday to end competition between North American cities to win bid and its promise of 50,000 jobs

Loggers pull door off wreckage to get to Cariboo crash victim

“It’s an absolute miracle the man’s alive.”

Stink at B.C. school prompts complaints of headaches, nausea

Smell at Abbotsford school comes from unauthorized composting operation

Fear of constitutional crisis escalates in U.S.; Canadians can relate

Some say President Donald Trump is leading the U.S. towards a crisis

B.C.-based pot producer Tilray reports revenue surge, net loss

Company remains excited about ‘robust’ cannabis industry

Canada stands pat on Saudi arms sales, even after hearing Khashoggi tape

Khashoggi’s death at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul further strained Riyadh’s already difficult relationship with Ottawa

Feds pledge money for young scientists, but funding for in-house research slips

Canada’s spending on science is up almost 10 per cent since the Liberals took office, but spending on in-house research is actually down

‘Targeted incident’ leads to death of Quesnel man

One man died of life-threatening injuries on Nov. 8

Disabled boy has ‘forgiven’ bullies who walked on him in stream, mom says

A Cape Breton teen who has cerebral palsy was told to lie in a stream as other kids walked over him

Most Read