Media Statement: December 10, 2015
Andrew Weaver: Lack of Poverty Reduction Plan in British Columbia Unacceptable
For Immediate Release
Today, Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay Gordon Head and Leader of the BC Green Party, reiterated his call for the Provincial Government to develop a comprehensive strategy to end poverty in our province. British Columbia is now the only Province without a poverty reduction plan, yet is projected to have the fastest growing economy in the country.
“It is unacceptable that in a province with an economy as strong as ours that we are the only ones neglecting our responsibility to our citizens who are struggling to afford the cost of living,” said Andrew Weaver.
An October 2015 report by Citizens for Public Justice showed British Columbia had a 16.3% overall poverty rate and was the only province left that had not advanced a poverty reduction strategy. CIBC World Markets released a report in November predicting British Columbia would lead the country in terms of economic growth in 2016.
In response to the tent community on the lawn beside the Victoria Law Courts, the government has pledged more money for a new shelter in the region, and that campers would be asked to leave if they didn’t accept the province’s offer of housing. The Premier also suggested that the best way to fight poverty was to let the economy grow.
“This is what is wrong with our poverty reduction policy in British Columbia,” said Andrew Weaver. “We have a government that advances short term solutions like shelters, while suggesting for years that we need to wait for our economy to grow before we can take real action. Now we have the fastest growing economy in the country and we still haven’t advanced a plan.”
Other jurisdictions are finding ways to address poverty issues while saving the government money. Housing-first poverty strategies have been one of the foundational aspects of poverty reduction plans in Utah, Denver, Medicine Hat and a growing number of other jurisdictions. This approach recognizes housing insecurity as a key systemic issue contributing to poverty and shifts from emergency management of homelessness, to providing homes for those who need them. By addressing this issue head-on, rather than through a patchwork of services, government costs are ultimately reduced.
“A good place for a poverty reduction plan to start would be addressing the difficulties British Columbians are having finding affordable and supportive housing,” said Andrew Weaver. “This isn’t an either or – we need to continue to develop a strong economy, while ensuring that British Columbians aren’t being left out in the cold.”
Press Secretary – Andrew Weaver MLA
Cell: 250 216 3382
Victoria BC V8V 1X4
Comments are closed.