‘Premier Christy Clarke’ Announces Action to Tackle Poverty in British Columbia

Announcing a raise in welfare and launch of a poverty reduction strategy

Raise the Rates organized a spoof media conference – if only it was true.

VANCOUVER – Unceded Coast Salish Territory

B.C. Family Day, February 10, 2014 – Premier Christy Clarke marked the second annual Family Day with an historic shift in government policy in order to tackle poverty in British Columbia.

The coming budget will include an immediate increase in Social Assistance rates. Following this, the government will roll out ideas for a full plan to eliminate poverty in British Columbia.

Premier Christy Clarke stated that, “Today, on Family Day, I promise the 153,000 children in poverty and the 700,000 people in poverty in British Columbia that change is coming. We will bring forward the best poverty reduction plan in Canada so that B.C. no longer has the worst child poverty in Canada.   It’s time for all to have a decent standard of living.”

“Many families are unable to enjoy fully Family Day because they cannot afford to take their family to places like Science World”, said Premier Clarke.  “These families’ lack of finances is not their failure. The reality is that world economic growth is slow and our Jobs Plan has hit a rough patch. When people are not working, it makes social and financial sense to support them through times of crisis.”

Premier Clarke stated today that, “Over 75% of the people of BC want a provincial poverty reduction strategy;” and “much of our economic strength and vitality comes from our local economy. The best way to strengthen our economy is here in BC. There is a strong economic case to tackle poverty.”

“Doctors, dietitians, local government leaders, the Surrey Board of Trade and many others have all told me that we need to tackle poverty. The total costs of poverty in BC are over $8 billon dollars every year. A comprehensive strategy to tackle poverty in BC would cost around $4 billion a year.  By reversing the tax cuts that gave, on average, $41,000 a year to the richest 1% of people in BC we can afford this plan which will then save the people of BC $4 billion a year,” stated Premier Clarke.

“Raising the income of people on Social Assistance means they will spend that money in their local stores, in their local communities.  The increased income for people and the savings on expenditure due to poverty will flow through the economy.”

Premier Clarke concluded saying that, “The last increase in Social Assistance was in 2007. In real terms, it has fallen 10% in value since then. I want to be in province where government does things with people. The community is doing its part. I am determined that my government will do its part. British Columbia will be province we can all be proud to live in as it will be a better place for everyone.”

Reaction from Parents in Poverty

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A full transcript and a video of Premier Christy Clarke’s speech, high quality still photographs, raw footage of today’s event are all available free of charge.

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