Letters

No Santa for B.C. children living in poverty

Dear editor,

It’s that Santa Claus time of year again — but for whom?

Certainly not for the 18.6 per cent of children living in B.C.

Think about it. We’re in this “have” country of Canada, which has 13.3 per cent of children who are poor, and B.C. has the highest percentage of them, compared to any other province.

These newest statistics are from the First Call Child and Youth Advocacy Report.

We need to digest this info and think about what needs to be done. This report gives some good suggestions, which should be heeded by a government that promised Families First.

This government also promised jobs and helping the economy.    Well, a worker who makes only minimum wage ($10.25 an hour) is hard-pressed to support him/herself let alone a child or two. This report advocates for a minimum wage of $12 per hour.

As well, to stop the cycle of poverty, an adequate daily child care rate of $10 would help tremendously. Other provinces have done this and we can see the results: Quebec, for example.

The number of single-parent families has risen from 21.5 per cent in B.C. to 49.8 per cent.

That number itself almost demands that the above two recommendations be followed. If single parents have adequate funds to feed, clothe and educate their children, surely that’s the beginning of rising out of poverty.

We need also to look at welfare rates.

A single parent with one child receives $17,404, which is $11,602 below the poverty rate. It follows, thus, that living below the poverty line perpetuates the poverty.

I can just hear someone say, “Oh, but they have to pull themselves up by their bootstraps!”

How on earth can they do that when we’ve cut back so many of our social programs? The bootstraps have worn too thin — to say the least.

I’m getting older and on my bucket list is to see Canada become a Just Society again — for all families and for seniors. Maybe add a few bonuses, like free post-secondary education and an enhanced Canada Pension Plan to help those who don’t have private pensions for their old age.

Having ranted about all of the above, I can now feel OK with Santa.

Gwyn Frayne,

Courtenay

 

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