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If the BC government were a basketball player…

Dear friends,

BC poverty rates and poor basketball skills: what’s the connection? Check out this excellent one-minute video from the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, and please help us share it far and wide (bounce it out to your facebook friends, twitter and email contacts). It’ll make you laugh, but there’s a serious message here for anyone who cares about poverty in BC.

Watch ‘If the BC government were a basketball player’ on our website at: <http://bcpovertyreduction.ca/>.

Did you know that BC has the highest rate of poverty & the highest rate of child poverty in Canada? Yet unlike 6 other Canadian provinces, BC has no poverty reduction plan. No plan! That’s why about 300 organizations from across BC are standing together & saying: “There is nothing inevitable about poverty, we need a poverty reduction plan now.” The BC Poverty Reduction Coalition includes community and non-profit groups, faith groups, health organizations, First Nations and Aboriginal organizations, businesses, labour organizations, and social policy groups. Our group’s impressive diversity is a reflection of a simple fact: poverty impacts everyone.

A recent Environics poll reported that 74% of British Columbians would be more likely to support a provincial political party that pledged to make poverty reduction a high priority. With the provincial NDP & Liberal party leadership up for grabs, we have an unprecedented opportunity to make our political leaders commit to serious action on poverty.

Now is the time to make your voice heard – please:

  1. Add your name to the call for a poverty reduction plan at: <http://bcpovertyreduction.ca//take-action/petition/>
  2. Contact your MLA and tell them “I am one of the 87% of British Columbians that wants the premier to set concrete targets and timelines to reduce poverty.”
    You can find your MLA here: <http://www.leg.bc.ca/Mla/3-1-1.htm>

Updates:

Asking the questions you want answers to: Our Leadership Candidates’ Questionaire

We’ve sent a few questions on poverty reduction in BC to leadership candidates from the NDP and Liberal parties. Questions like: What is your position in regards to the open letter? Do you support the legislated targets and timelines outlined in the letter? If so, would you create a cross government Secretariat with a lead minister? Specifically what actions would you take in the 7 policy areas in the letter?

The responses are trickling in and we will be reporting back to you next week in the hopes that you’ll pass it on. Keep checking your inbox to find out where there propective leavers land on our call.

“Fragile Lives”: new report calls for poverty reduction to save children’s lives

In a recent report, “Fragile Lives”, the BC Representative for Children and Youth investigates the deaths of 21 infants. In her review, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond notes:

“All of the infants in this review were born into families facing tremendous challenges. Many of the 21 families struggled with circumstances like serious poverty, inadequate housing and fragmented systems that failed to provide the supports they needed and failed to identify and respond to the risks that were in many instances obvious.”

She finds: “The lack of a coordinated and responsive government approach to poverty is also a significant concern in this review.”

And she then recommends: “the Representative continues to advocate strongly for a comprehensive provincial poverty reduction plan. As this review shows once again, poverty is directly correlated with compromised outcomes for children. Concrete and effective prevention measures are required to make a difference in the lives of infants, children and families in this province.”

Download the report at: <http://www.rcybc.ca/Images/PDFs/Reports/Fragile%20Lives%20-%20FINAL%20Jan%202011.pdf>

Wilkinson links

Back in December we hosted an exciting forum with author Dr. Richard Wilkinson exploring the premise that more equal societies do better. For those who missed his lecture, the video is now posted on the SFU Centre for Dialogue website here:
<http://www.sfu.ca/tlcvan/clients/dialogue/2010-12-13_Dialogue_Woodwards_5680>

And if you’d like to learn more about his work, you can find excellent resources here: <http://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/>

Esquimalts Living Wage by-law moving ahead!

As reported by First Call: Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition, Esquimalt is close to becoming Canada’s second living wage municipality. Councillors voted in January to develop a document that will come before council in March, outlining a living wage policy with wage goals for full and part-time township employees. It will apply only to future contracts that are longer than six
months or worth more than $100,000. The current living wage for the Capital Region is $17.30 an hour. The wage would be reviewed by council every three years.

Read more in the Victoria News <http://www.bclocalnews.com/vancouver_island_south/victorianews/news/114286369.html>.

And find out more about the Living Wage for Families Campaign at <http://www.livingwageforfamilies.ca/>.

Thanks so much for your support!

Sincerely,

The BC Poverty Reduction Coalition