EDITORIAL: Raising the welfare of all

The Leader makes a case for raising B.B.'s welfare rates for those less fortunate in society

If you’ve ever had $610 in cash dropped into your hands you probably felt like you had a small fortune.

Wealth. Power. Freedom.

Those are all aspects to enjoy from the financial windfall if you’re like the majority in society who already have a roof over their heads, the security of knowing three meals a day will be provided, and a comfy warm bed awaits you when it’s time to turn in.

Now take that $610 and remove the shelter of your home, the certainty of breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the anticipation of a restful night’s sleep.

What do you have left?

The $610—B.C.’s monthly welfare rate—is still a sizable sum of money, but not one that can readily provide all the comforts of home in the economy those in Metro Vancouver, or most other communities in B.C., currently live under.

This month Surrey-Fleetwood MLA Jagrup Brar is finding out just how tough it will be to eke out an existence with that meagre amount of money.

With much of it destined just to provide a place to sleep, it doesn’t leave a lot remaining to stay fed and healthy.

B.C.’s welfare rates for the 180,000 or so who collect it need to be raised.

While providing a “handout” to those needy individuals may chafe those working hard to make a living you need to look at what it “buys.”

Welfare is designed to provide the basic necessities in life. It’s not to feed an extravagant lifestyle.

It helps deliver a measure of dignity to someone who has fallen on hard times.

It allows them to not be totally left behind and forgotten.

It’s a safety net to offer protection and time for a person to hopefully work their way towards a better future.

Some are calling for the B.C. rate to pretty much double in order to meet costs for a reasonable life. The actual increase is a matter for a mixture of politicians and social agencies to decide upon.

But up it should go.

And while that may mean a few dollars taken from your pocket, the absence of adequate assistance when you need it most is probably something to contemplate when you’re in a drive-thru line up for that morning coffee.