LETTERS: Commitment still as strong as ever on child poverty

I am writing in response to the letter to the editor titled “High child poverty rate in Williams Lake a sign of wealth inequality.”

Editor:

I am writing in response to the letter to the editor titled “High child poverty rate in Williams Lake a sign of wealth inequality,” written by John Dressler on December 13, 2016.

As the local MLA, I find it necessary to address the fact that I was misquoted by the author, and to clarify the misinformation he’s circulated.

Firstly, no government wants to see any child or family living in poverty. And it is disingenuous for the author to misquote me when speaking in the context of the rejection of Taseko mine and the jobs and economic growth that it would bring to our community. I was referring to the massive loss of economic opportunity this project’s rejection meant for Cariboo Chilcotin.

Secondly, our BC Liberal government is providing the main ingredients for success by growing the economy and creating sustainable and secure jobs; and providing targeted supports that make a direct difference in the lives of individuals and families who need them. Our government  does not take its responsibilities lightly, and has committed a record $327.8 million for child care in 2016-17, a 56 per cent increase since 2000/01.

Our approach is working and our commitment is as strong as ever.

How do we know our approach is working? According to the After-Tax Low Income Cut Off, the number of children living in low income in B.C. fell by 50 per cent between 2006 and 2014 — that’s approximately 79,000 fewer children living in low income. No other province has matched B.C.’s declining child poverty numbers. During that same period, the total number of British Columbians living in low income dropped by approximately 162,000 — or 27 per cent.

I look forward to continuing to serve the best interests of the great people in our community, and I am committed to continue to work to improve the lives of all British Columbians.

Donna Barnett

MLA for Cariboo Chilcotin

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