Support Bill M218: The Poverty Reduction & Economic Inclusion Act!
BC is now dead last in Canada when it comes to fighting poverty! We used to share with Saskatchewan the dubious honour of being the only provinces without a Poverty Reduction Plan, but on October 22, 2014 the Government of Saskatchewan announced its commitment to the development of a poverty reduction strategy. While Saskatchewan is already conducting consultations with communities and organizations across the province, British Columbia has been left behind. And we still have one of the highest poverty rates in the country!
We now have an opportunity to make real change happen here too. Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall has recently re-introduced “The Poverty Reduction and Economic Inclusion” Act, which would have the BC government commit to establishing a clear plan, with targets and timelines, to fight poverty in the province. You can watch a video of the bill being introduced, and also a quick video of hundreds of postcards you helped sign and collect being submitted here.
In previous efforts, thousands of people have sent emails to BC Premier Christy Clark, and contacted their MLAs, asking them to support this initiative. But our provincial government has still not committed to establishing a meaningful plan, arguing that their failed jobs plan is sufficient. Meanwhile, almost 500,000 people continue to suffer in poverty. Enough is enough!
Make your voice heard and help change this!
BC’s Legislature is currently in session, and they need to know how you feel! Below are some easy steps you can take right now, which will give us a chance to set BC in the right path. Let’s make sure our politicians do what’s right for everyone!
1. Email the Premier
Send an email to BC’s Premier (and Opposition Leader) and ask her to take advantage of this opportunity to help British Columbians.
2. Talk to your local MLA
Find your MLA and then email, call or visit them. You can use this sample message or prepare a more personal one based on this fact sheet. For more resources, including specific guides for NDP or Liberal MLAs, visit our Meet Your MLA page.
3. Spread the word
4. Ask everyone you know to take action!
In most other places, it was community pressure that convinced the government to take action so encourage others to support this call! We need a lot of pressure to push our elected representatives to take bold steps. Please ask your friends, family & even strangers to raise their voice with you in support of this effort.
There’s already been lots of support!
In previous efforts to have BC’s government commit to a Poverty Reduction Plan people from across the province sent over 1,000 letters the Premier! The issue has been a hot topic on Twitter and Facebook, and there’s been some coverage on the media (see below). Special thanks to our members from Victoria, including Faith in Action and Community Action Plan on Poverty, who have been in the Legislature when the Act was introduced, as well as to the Canadian Federation of University Women who collected thousands of petition signatures calling for a poverty reduction plan for BC.
The following organizations have also taken a leading role and are champions of this effort, by submitting formal letters of support to the provincial government. Please encourage any organization you’re involved with to write one too!
- Peers for Mental Wellness Advocacy Group, Canadian Mental Health Association (Kelowna & District Branch) (read their letter here)
- Dietitians of Canada, BC Region (read their letter here)
- Eco-Justice Unit of the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster (read their letter here)
- BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre (read their letter here)
- Public Health Association of British Columbia (read their letter here)
- West Coast LEAF (read their letter here)
- BC Healthy Living Alliance (read their letter here)
- Richmond Poverty Response Committee (read their letter here)
- First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition (read their letter here)
- Pivot Legal Society (Read their letter here)
- Oakridge Lutheran Church (Read the sermon made by Pastor Adolf Manz here)
More information: A Poverty Reduction Act was previously presented in the BC Legislature in June 2011 and in May 2014 but it did not pass a second reading before the Legislature session closed. We have an opportunity to take it all the way this time before the Fall session ends but we need your help!