Surrey-Fleetwwod MLA Jagrup Brar walked the streets in search of shelter last week as part of his month-long welfare challenge to live on $610 in January.

Surrey-Fleetwwod MLA Jagrup Brar walked the streets in search of shelter last week as part of his month-long welfare challenge to live on $610 in January.

MLA walks a mile in a welfare man’s shoes, Leader readers sound off

Jagrup Brar's month-long welfare challenge has sparked debate.

We are all finally glad that someone took the challenge of being on social assistance. There is also the issue of families on welfare that struggle every day as well.

Someone said we have all the benefits of medical, but dental is more of a concern. The dental that we are provided with only allows two teeth to be fixed in the average of six months – and that’s not including major repairs such as root canals.

I can guarantee that no government person or CEO would ever put their families in that position to be living in poverty as some families don’t have a choice like myself.

Jagrup Brar, I wish you the best of luck for the rest of the month, especially with the amount you have remaining. One question: Did you have any problems with landlords not accepting welfare as your income? I do all the time because landlords don’t want welfare recipients renting their homes.

Teresa Lawson


Rates need to be adjusted

While I certainly do agree that welfare rates need to be substantially adjusted, I fail to see how doing so will benefit the economy one whit, as recent letter writer Alex Sangha asserts. The $610 paid out and $610 spent (wherever) is still only $610 at the end of the trip. It doesn’t create wealth for the economy; it just passes from one hand to others within the service industry. What an increase will do is hopefully give the recipient a greater chance of breaking away from dependence on the system – which can only be a good thing.

Jon Christensen, Surrey


Challenge is an insult to those needing welfare

The welfare challenge and publicity surrounding it is so fabricated and such an insult to anyone with any remaining brain matter, I can no longer not comment.

First of all, in the real world, before receipt of any funds from welfare (and I am drawing from experience with local welfare offices through friends who have in the past, and at Christmas time, needed emergency funds to keep them from being evicted but they were evicted and left homeless at Christmas), several criteria must be met before any single, adult applicant can receive any funds from welfare.

Mr. Brar, instead of wasting time in front of the TV cameras, would need to submit and disclose a documented means test of his employment history, plus disclosure of all bank accounts and/or any other source of income, funds, assets, family assistance, etc. Every aspect of his assets would be exposed. This disclosure would need to be made before any decision was made on his application for welfare.

Investigation for confirmation of the above could take a minimum of three weeks, with no monetary assistance until the investigation is completed, no matter what the circumstance.

How will Mr. Brar survive this wait? His one-month adventure on welfare assistance will have expired before any decision on his application is made.

In reality, after disclosure in the real world, Mr. Brar would be denied any monetary assistance whatsoever, period. Plus, there would be no luxury of being able to have one day at home once a week, which is another slap in the face of the destitute and homeless who have no such option.

This whole political media opportunity is an insult to any person having the need to go to welfare in the first place. Most of these people have no alternative and no wish to endure the demoralizing process involved.

I know from experience. One person mentioned earlier who was evicted this Christmas is currently sleeping on my couch.

Should the above all be a fabricated, fast-tracked application for welfare with inside information and/or special privileges not afforded the normal applicant, this is all a huge political and media attention-getting farce.

Nothing new or unexpected.

P. Erickson



Rampant multiple suites

The heroic one-month journey of NDP MLA Jagrup Brar to survive as a welfare recipient has shed light on Surrey’s failure to properly inspect multiple-suite single-family homes.

I have for several years now, along with others, tried to get enforcement of the building codes in the illegal construction and renovation of single-family homes. These homes are not safe. They are built or renovated to keep the unsuspecting tenants in a false sense of security. These houses are built and renovated so the electrical, gas, plumbing and fire regulations are not inspected or up to code for multiple suites. Most of these one-bedroom suites are even without windows.

The building code is a safety document, plain and simple. The City of Surrey is not only contributing to illegal construction by not enforcing safety codes, it is also complicit in the rampant tax evasion by these homeowners with their undeclared income and overuse of public services.

If we were talking about one suite in a house, we would not be talking about it. It is the  two to five suites which are rampant. Enough is enough.

Thank-you Jagrup Brar for reminding us of what is still going on.

Paul Fitzgerald, Surrey

Surrey Now Leader