In response to the latest scathing review by the Representative for Children and Youth, the B.C. Liberal children and families minister is claiming they’ve actually done a good job of reducing child poverty.
Minister Mary Polak told CTV news, “Our rate of child poverty since 2003 has dropped by 46%. The only reason we’re last in Canada is because where we started was so far back.”
The part Polak left out was that they didn’t start from so far back after all – the B.C. Liberals created the problem when they took government in 2001.
- Prior to 2001, B.C.’s rate of child poverty was either the same or lower than the national average nearly every year since the 1970s.
- Following the slash and burn program cuts of the first term of the B.C. Liberal government, child poverty rates in B.C. spiked in 2003, something we still have not recovered from.
- In 2000, the child poverty rate in B.C. was just slightly above the national average, but by 2003 the rate was 24.6 per cent in B.C. compared to the declining national average of 18 per cent.
- B.C. has ranked as the province with the highest rate of child poverty in Canada for seven years running. Figures from 2009 during the darkest part of the recession have not yet been reported.
B.C.’s New Democrats are advocating for compassionate and pragmatic solutions to address our social, economic and environmental challenges, including comprehensive and targeted poverty reduction legislation.