THE LIBERAL RECORD ON POVERTY
The Liberals’ decade-long minimum wage freeze may have thawed, but their response to poverty as a systemic issue remains as cold-hearted as ever. While big bonuses are the norm for Crown Corporation executives – including those at Community Living BC who have overseen policies that have created crises and chaos for adults with developmental disabilities – life is not getting better for thousands of British Columbians who live at or below the poverty line in B.C.
- Worst child poverty in the country for almost a full decade: B.C. has had the distinction of having the highest child poverty rates in Canada for almost a full decade, with one in four children living below the poverty line, according to the latest numbers available.
- No plan to address rising hunger: Too many people are still going hungry. More than 90,000 British Columbians used a food bank in the past year – up more than 15 per cent from 2008. Almost one-third of those using food banks are children.
- Refused to bring in a comprehensive anti-poverty strategy: Despite repeated calls from New Democrats, the Liberals have refused to follow the lead of other provinces, such as Ontario and Quebec, by bringing in a comprehensive anti-poverty strategy. Meanwhile, food banks have seen a sharp increase in the number of hungry British Columbians coming to them for help.
- Refuse to close loopholes that allow renoviction: The Liberals have repeatedly refused to support New Democrat legislation aimed at ending the practise of renoviction – where property owners engage in fake renovations in order to evict long-term tenants (often seniors on fixed incomes) in order to jack up rental rates.
- Restricted legal aid to women in need: In 2002, the Liberals slashed legal aid funding by 38.8 per cent. Since then women have been largely denied legal aid funding for family law disputes, which leaves women, especially women trying to leave violent relationships, vulnerable and at risk of further victimization.
- Made post-secondary unaffordable for low-income students: B.C. has the highest interest rates on provincial student loans in the country. These interest rates mean that low-income students actually pay more for their post-secondary education than their more affluent peers. The Liberal decision to eliminate needs-based grants has left low-income students out in the cold.