BC Poverty Reduction campaign update – Feb. 23, 2009

Greetings signatories to the BC Poverty Reduction Open Letter,


We’re pleased to report that 245 organizations and community leaders have signed the Open Letter to BC political parties and another 453 have signed the online petition calling for a BC poverty reduction plan!

A number of signatories have been letting us know about how they are building the call: groups have been talking about and promoting the call in their newsletters; individuals have been talking to their local radio stations about the need for a poverty reduction plan in reaction to the recent budget; and one group has urged each of its members to encourage five people to sign the petition.

Also, in the next few weeks, Seth Klein from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, will be visiting several cities in BC to talk about the CCPA’s poverty reduction plan and promoting this call. For those who live in the Victoria, West Kootenays and Kamloops areas, the schedule of speaking events is detailed below.

You’ll also find below suggestions for ways that you can promote the call in the media. You will find more helpful resources in the “Learn More” section of the website, including a useful “Q & A”.

And don’t forget – now that you’ve joined the call for all parties to commit to a poverty reduction plan for BC, make sure you let your local candidates know. Contact your MLA candidates, tell them you’ve signed the Open Letter, and make sure they know that you want to vote for someone prepared to commit to legislated targets and timelines to reduce poverty in BC.

Keep us posted about your activities for this call!

Best regards,
BC Poverty Reduction Committee

1.    Seth Klein’s speaking events on a Poverty Reduction Plan for BC
Saturday Feb 28 (7:30-9:30 pm), Alix Goolden Hall  (907 Pandora Avenue)
Sponsored by The City of Victoria, Quality of Life CHALLENGE and Together Against Poverty Society.  Admission by donation (suggested $5 low income, $10 public)
For more information, call 250-383-6166 or This event will be soliciting donations as a fundraiser for Together Against Poverty Society and the Victoria Community Council.

Tuesday, March 3 (10:30 to noon), Selkirk College

Tuesday, March 3 (6:30pm – snacks, coffee and conversation, 7pm – presentation), Trail United Church, 1300 Pine Ave

Wednesday, March 4 (12 noon – 2pm; bring your own lunch), St. Rita’s Catholic Church Hall, 513 7th Avenue

Wednesday, March 4 (7-8:30 pm), Nelson United Church, 602 Silica St.

For more information on the Kootenay events, please contact: Ann Godderis <>

Thursday March 12 (1:30 – 2:30 pm  and again 7:00 – 9:00 pm), Thompson Rivers University (the 1:30pm talk is in room OM 1752 – Old Main Building; while the 7:00pm talk is in room OM 2621)
(Both talks are open to the public and have free admission. Parking is free in the evenings at TRU. For more information about the Kamloops talks, contact Nancy Bepple <> or 250.371.5982)

2.    Promoting the call in the media
A great way that you can individually support this call is to write a letter to the editor of a newspaper in your area. Here are some ideas for letters to the editor:

  • This is not a politically risky call: the majority of British Columbians want action on poverty. In a recent Environics poll, 87% of British Columbia believe the Premier should set concrete targets and timelines to reduce poverty. More importantly, 74% say they would be more likely to support a political party that pledged to make poverty reduction a high priority and bring forward a plan.
  • As governments struggle to find ways out of the current economic crisis, social infrastructure investments, such as in education and training, housing, child care and community health care (called for by the Open Letter), is the kind of stimulus that this crisis demands. The long term cost of not reducing poverty in BC will be much higher than the short-term costs.
  • Poverty reduction is a health issue: the single greatest determinant of poor health is poverty. Poverty means less access to healthy foods, less ability to reject dangerous or unhealthy work, and unhealthy housing, it undermines the healthy cognitive development of children, and results in lower birth weights — these realities all drive up health costs. Again, there is a cost to inaction on poverty.