NEWS RELEASE · 27th November 2009
For six years in a row, the B.C. Liberals have failed to act while B.C.’s children have lived in the worst child poverty in the entire country, said New Democrat leader Carole James today.
In response to a report entitled B.C.’s 2009 Child Poverty Report Card, which shows B.C. has had the highest child poverty rate in Canada for six straight years, James reiterated her call for a comprehensive strategy to eliminate child poverty.
“It’s appalling that the B.C. Liberals have failed to invest in the health and well-being of an estimated 156,000 children living in poverty in this province,” said James. “Unlike other provinces, B.C. has failed at every opportunity to bring in a poverty reduction plan that sets clearly defined targets and timelines.
“This report establishes yet again that children don’t live alone in poverty; in fact entire families live in poverty. And when the government fails to invest in children, the entire system suffers,” James said.
The report, which was released by First Call: B.C.’s Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition and SPARC B.C., states that one in five children and their families live in poverty in B.C. It also brings into focus the government cuts in the last eight years to a variety of critical services for children and families.
“It’s paramount we take immediate action to reduce child poverty rates - by implementing measures such as increasing the minimum wage, providing affordable housing and investing in accessible, affordable quality child care,” said James. “As politicians, policy-makers and leaders of political parties, we have a special obligation to ensure our children aren’t left behind.”
James said that the issue of child poverty requires a constructive and non-partisan dialogue and yet, Premier Campbell refused an opportunity earlier this year to join her in meeting with B.C.’s Representative for Children and Youth Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond to discuss the issue.
Carole James and the New Democrats are committed to eradicating child poverty in B.C. and have consistently been pushing the B.C. Liberals to raise the minimum wage, create accessible, and affordable high quality child care, and to develop more social housing in communities throughout the province.