Povery still sucks

Good news for those who are suffering below the poverty line — turns out, some of your friends managed to get better jobs...

Good news for those who are suffering below the poverty line — turns out, some of your friends managed to get better jobs, or leave the province, or, well . . . err, died.

The latest Statistics Canada report (shh, don’t tell anyone that it takes this stellar organization two years to compile their numbers, which means they are totally useless when they arrive) that everyone loves to twist to fit their own agenda is out and B.C. has clawed itself out of the gutter to post impressive child poverty  results. Turns out, the number of children living below poverty in our province dropped from 11.8 per cent in 2009 to 10.5 per cent in 2010.

That means, wait for it, we’re no longer the worst province in Canada. Take that, Manitoba — we’re No. 2 . . . well, actually, number two from the bottom, but still, hey, for eight consecutive years we held the loser’s crown of being the worst. In 2010, we only had 87,000 children struggling to get by, which is just slightly more than the entire population of the city of Victoria.

But wait, there’s more.

The poverty rate for people of all ages in B.C. also fell slightly from 12 per cent in 2009 to 11.5 per cent in 2010. But, sorry, don’t cheer too loud, it was still the worst poverty rate in Canada, which means we earn that loser’s tinfoil crown for the 12th consecutive year.

StatsCan uses the following figures to determine poverty: a family of four in a city of 500,000 or more, earning $35,469 or less; a single parent with one child, earning $22,831 or less in a large city. In 2010, a parent working full-time at B.C.’s $8-per-hour minimum wage would have earned $15,600, or $7,231 below the poverty line.

Naturally, not everyone is celebrating (especially if they can’t afford the paper hats and sparkling apple juice.) Adrienne Montani, provincial coordinator of First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition, for example, says these results show, “the need for a comprehensive anti-poverty program in British Columbia, supported by every political party. Poverty is costing children their health and limiting their ability to reach their full potential.”

While I agree with Montani in spirit — how can you not? — I worry about the pressure that B.C. taxpayers are continually coming under as earning more money doesn’t necessary equate to having any extra to give back. Poverty, social assistance and addiction support should be a national burden rather than a provincial one. One of the main reasons that we tend to have a larger percentage of poor, homeless and addicts has more to do with our mild climate than any great failing of our province. We need to look at all Canadians as a national pool with resources and funding divided where it’s needed most.

This shouldn’t be B.C.’s burden to carry alone. M

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Jen Hodge conducts an online concert during the pandemic after returning to B.C. from New York City. Photo courtesy Claudia Nobauer
Canada Recovery Benefit won’t replace the magic of live performance, musicians say

Cash will help, but its the audience connection that most performers miss — and crave

Mary Fox’s new book My Life as a Potter is available at bookstores nationwide. (Cole Schisler photo)
My Life as a Potter raises funds for Mary Fox Legacy Project

Acclaimed Vancouver Island potter’s story raising money for developing artists

Premier John Horgan and Rob Douglas, BC NDP candidate for Cowichan Valley, meet with Cowichan First Nation elders, as they demonstrate spearfishing along the river. (Submitted)
Horgan acknowledges A&E sector hit hard by COVID-19, but showing signs of recovery

Hollywood North doing better than Hollywood South, Horgan says

Can you spot all 12 Days of Christmas displays at the Butchart Gardens? Jen Blyth photo.
The magic of Christmas returns to the Butchart Gardens

Some events cancelled due to COVID-10 but 12 Days of Christmas will brighten the season

Gatineau artist Michèle Provost visits the Malaspina Galleries during her artist residency on Gabriola Island. (Photo supplied)
Gatineau artist the first to take part in new Gabriola Island artist residency

Michèle Provost to create art book reflecting on the positives of aging

Legendary Vancouver-based blues and jazz guitarist and vocalist Jim Byrnes will perform live at the Tidemark Theatre in a concert that will also be streamed. Contributed photo
Legendary blues musician and actor Jim Byrnes hits the Island

Playing Campbell River’s Tidemark Theatre for a hybrid live/online show

Dinner shows in the Playbill Dining Room are keeping the Chemainus Theatre going during the pandemic. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Dinner events satisfying for the Chemainus Theatre and patrons

Small groups enjoy entertainment and the food in the Playbill Dining Room

Kent Laforme looks through the sound tunnel, or visual portal, carved inside the 25,000-pound marble sculpture that could be installed at Cattle Point. (Screen Shot, Oakbay.ca video)
Kent Laforme looks through the sound tunnel, or visual portal, carved inside the 25,000-pound marble sculpture that could be installed at Cattle Point. (Screen Shot, Oakbay.ca video)
Stone Takaya sculpture could soon ‘howl’ at Cattle Point

Oak Bay inviting public suggestions for 25,000-pound marble sculpture

The Sid Williams Theatre marquee is once again proudly displaying upcoming events. Photo supplied
Courtenay’s Sid Williams Theatre reopening in a limited capacity

Theatre has been closed since March due to COVID-19

Nanaimo-based ceramic artist Joe Lyons is presenting his first solo exhibition, ‘Poppin Bottles Soda Distraction,’ at Nanaimo Ceramic Arts from Oct. 26 to Nov. 12. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-based ceramic artist showcases variety of bottles in first solo show

Joe Lyons presents ‘Poppin Bottles Soda Distraction’ at Nanaimo Ceramic Arts

Toronto poet Robert Priest is presenting an online reading on Oct. 24. (Photo courtesy Allen Booth)
Nanaimo spoken word society presents online reading by prolific Toronto poet

Robert Priest to dip into 40-year catalogue for upcoming Zoom reading

Most Read