B.C.’s child poverty rate unacceptable, says Horgan

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childrenVANCOUVER– A report out today showing that child poverty in B.C. is consistently high and above the Canadian average is just one more symptom of a Christy Clark government that puts donors and party insiders before the best interests of British Columbians, said B.C. New Democrat Leader John Horgan.

“One in five children in British Columbia live in poverty,” said Horgan. “It’s clear that when Christy Clark talks about things being good in B.C. – she means for her friends and donors, who got a billion dollar tax cut, not for families struggling to make ends meet.”

Horgan noted that 50 per cent of children in single parent families live below the poverty line in B.C. – many of them parents who have seen the Christy Clark government claw back benefits like child support or subsidized bus passes over the last two years. Meanwhile the wealthiest two per cent of British Columbians got a billion dollar tax cut.

“New Democrats are standing up for single-parent families – we demanded Christy Clark stop taking child support benefits away from B.C.’s poorest children. After a year of dragging their feet – New Democrats forced her to end this poverty creating policy,” said Horgan.

“But just a year after the child support clawback ended, the Christy Clark government turned around and started charging people on disability, including parents, a monthly fee to get access to a bus pass. Mean spirited policies like these are why B.C. continues to have one of the highest poverty rates in the country.”

B.C.’s New Democrats have repeatedly introduced private member’s bills to bring in a poverty reduction strategy in British Columbia. B.C. is the only province in the country that doesn’t have one.

“British Columbia is the most unequal province in Canada,” said Horgan.

“More than half of British Columbians live paycheck to paycheck. Yet Christy Clark hikes bills and fees like hydro, like MSP, like ICBC premiums for ordinary people, while giving the wealthiest two per cent of British Columbians a tax cut.

“The result is what we see today –high poverty – and children going to bed hungry.”