LETTERS: High child poverty rate in Williams Lake a sign of wealth inequality

he Province of BC is headed for a two billion dollar surplus for the year.

Editor:

The Province of BC is headed for a two billion dollar surplus for the year. Some of the surplus comes from the Province raking in hundred of millions from individual taxpayers in income tax and from the millions raked in from MSP premiums.

The only province to require MSP payments from its citizens. And the only province that does not have a poverty reduction plan in place. No indication that the surplus will be used to reduce child poverty which is near being the worst in Canada.

On Nov. 25, 2016 the Williams Lake Tribune ran a story with the headline: WL tops child poverty rates. That’s right, in a province that is near the worst, Williams Lake is near the worst.

What does our MLA have to say about this situation?

In the spring of 2014 our MLA was speaking in support of the mine plan that was the subject of an environmental assessment.

She said to an interviewer on CBC radio that there were “children starving on the streets of 100 Mile House.”

The mine plan was rejected and since that time I have not heard the MLA (now a Cabinet Minister) speak about starving children, nor about children of working parents living in harsh, grinding poverty.

Her government has other priorities and this MLA has not called it to account on behalf of the people who live in her constituency.

First Call, the BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition, issued a report card in September of 2016 that highlights how growing income inequality among B.C. families has one in five of our children living in poverty.

Poor families with one or two children in B.C. in 2014 had median incomes between $10,000 and $12,000 below the poverty line. So where is the wealth going?

The average income of the top 10 per cent of families was 13 times the income of the bottom 10 per cent. How many of that top 10 per cent of families live in Williams Lake?

Statistics are not people but they tell part of the sad story of a very wealthy province with poor children and families in their midst.

The richest 10 per cent of the population rakes in 27 per cent of the province’s income.

The poorest 50 per cent of the population gets 25 per cent of the income. That is inequality that is not matched in many parts of the world that calls itself civilized.

One-hundred-thousand British Columbians had to use the services of a food bank at some point during 2016. Is that the mark of a “red hot economy?:

We should think about how our society is structured and how it functions as Christmas 2016 approaches.

John Dressler

Williams Lake

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