Raise welfare rates so people don't have to depend on charity

By Bill Hopwood

Poll

Does the media focus enough attention on long-term solutions to poverty?

Yes 12%
7 votes
No 84%
49 votes
Unsure 3%
2 votes

In 1982 the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society was established as a temporary social service. Now 30 years, later it has become a permanent institution to help feed many of the hungry people in B.C.

At this time of year many organizations and media networks run appeals asking the public to help those in poverty with donations of money, food, and other presents. The people of B.C. do give generously at this time of year.

However, no matter how generous the public is, charity cannot eradicate poverty. The season of giving will end in a month or so but the poverty continues all year round. In addition, forcing people to rely on charity can be humiliating. It is impossible to eat a healthy diet on welfare. People deserve justice rather than charity.

After 30 years of Food Banks and nearly a decade of B.C. being one of the worst provinces in the Canada for poverty, isn’t it time to ask questions about why is there so much poverty.

Rather than the media simply raising support for charity, shouldn’t there be a provincial dialogue on the harm that poverty does to the people of B.C., the waste of human lives and billions of dollars in costs.

B.C. needs the government to show 10% of the compassion of the public and take action to raise welfare and the other steps necessary to tackle poverty.

Raise the Rates is encouraging all the media to launch a dialogue on "What would be needed to make Food Banks unnecessary in B.C. by January 12, 2018?"

As a start of that dialogue Raise the Rates will be hosting a Poor People’s Radio between noon and 1 p.m. on Friday, December 7, outside the CBC at 700 Hamilton Street, Vancouver.

Bill Hopwood wrote this open letter on behalf of Raise the Rates.

Comments (18) Add New Comment
iSheep
Its obscene that Welfare Rates are so far below the cost of LIVING!

The Government under the Fiberals ran up Billions in Debt but cut Social Services.

$565 Million for a BC Place Leaky Tarp Roof

$4 Million for the WIFE OF the CEO of BC HOUSING to "Property Manage" low income Housing PAID FOR BY BC HOUSING.

Would you like your Spouse to get $4 Million?
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iang62
There should be a guaranteed annual income rate in Canada, if not BC. IMHO Canada can afford to give ALL it's citizens $1000 per month no questions asked, no stupid forms to fill in and no stupid job search and resume classes. Citizens can then chose what they want to do with the $$$.
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Sid Tan
Sweet strategic move and good on Bill Hopwood and Raise the Rates.
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OldMale
As a single white male, I'd say don't hold your breath waiting for relief, and to get used to poverty-line dumpster-diving. The food bank doesn't provide vegetarian or other special diets by policy, and most local managers don't make substitutions, expecting one to eat putrifying flesh at any opportunity. There is no xmas package of foods or any purchase vouchers for Safeway, if you don't have a family; singles continue to starve. The province in its infinite wisdom hasn't given a disability cost-of-living "raise" in over a decade, leaving such recipients with diminishing returns during food shopping; an increase at this time would merely restore the buying-power of 5 or 10 years ago. I've seen little justice or compassion in a long time, connected with seasonal wishes or otherwise. I try to remember the truthiness of the following: If you act like a dumbsh*t, they'll treat you like an equal. Merry merry, happy happy...
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Birdy
The scary thing here is the passive demonizing of directly helping people. Pretty spooky to hear a "progressive" sound exactly like Ayn Rand. I don't consider helping out the people in your own community charity, it's part of living with other humans, and you shouldn't need a taxman threatening you to do it. (and siphoning off his 90% cut)

"However, no matter how generous the public is, charity cannot eradicate poverty."

But the government can? Any evidence that this is possible? And don't say "socialist Northern Europe" because Sweden is currently borrowing money to pay their unemployed youth to move to Denmark, to make their unemployment figures look better.

FYI- 13.4% of the population in Denmark lives under the poverty line, which is worse than Sri Lanka or Thailand.

Charity is peaceful, moral and logical. Welfare is force.
Force does not solve complex social problems.
Drug prohibition added in makes the problems even worse.
It guarantees redirection of welfare funds to gangs.
Rational ethics and community oriented solutions work.
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Bored
governments are always the problem, never the solution.
get rid of taxes. that will give everyone who wants to a job.
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OldMale
Yeah, Birdy, but how did all the world governments get hooked on borrowing rather than simply issuing their own bonds? Someone is making something out of nothing, and demanding something for that nothingness. Governments cannot do anything about the entitlement mentality, and nobody else can either. Ever hear of autarchy? It means self-rule. It means picking up one's own socks. It means life and light and love. It means, *uck 'em if they can't take a joke, and by d*mn: anything for a laugh. And let's remember that everything under the sun is eclipsed by the moon.
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teth adam
Where exactly will this money come from? Maybe we can tax the middle class into oblivion? Get back to me, mkay?
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greensea
Could someone explain to me why, if the government considers $800 a month ($900 a month for teenagers) to be the cost of keeping a child under 12 in foster care housed, clothed, fed and transported for a month, the welfare rate for adults and single parent families are so much less? As the single parent of a special needs kid (who can't go to a regular daycare because, even if there is funding for extra workers for one-to-one care, they can, as private businesses, tell you to get lost, just like a private school cherry-picking the best students), I can assure you that a hypothetical $1600 minimum income cheque would generate a huge improvement in my child's life. Or are children supposed to be punished because they don't have wealthy parents? Do people automatically become "varmints and deadbeats" the minute they turn 19?
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OldMale
Sounds like greensea has a bit of that entitlement mentality, like we all do to some degree. What is it about your genetics that makes it imperative for you to reproduce? That the disabled and unemployed get less than they'd earn at a minimum wage job is deliberate; it's quite "rational". However, the powers that be attack one half of the equation and leave the other unattacked. Life isn't always rational, as even Wittgenstein finally saw. The rational is always superseded by the irrational. One could even assert that divinity is always irrational and insane. However, back down on materialistic Planet Earth, how many more you planning to have, greensea? Any Einsteins or Ghandis gonna be in your family? When can we expect more? Are we having fun yet?
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Dianne
Why do SOME people find it so easy to bash/criticize and demean people who are poor? Shameful. Lets not get sidetracked from the real issues raised by Bill Hopwood and the Raise the Rates campaign.

YES, there NEEDS to be a provincial dialogue on the harm that poverty does to the people of B.C., we need to get a grip on the waste of human lives and billions of dollars in costs.

Charity alone cannot/will not tackle urgent systemic changes needed.

MOST OF ALL BC needs a short and long term poverty reduction plan and changes in public policy/spending which will address human needs.

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Seen it all
What we need is to cut off the actual deadbeats and others who are abusing the sytem so that is can be used as inteneded to help those with a real need. I've seen it again and again where the "poor" always manage to take care of themselves and most of them miraculously find work once the welfare money goes away.

I grew up poor and I can tell you from experience that up to 90% of the people we call poor are abusing the system in some way and are not the least bit "humiliated" to stand around with their hands out instead of looking for a job. Thanks to food banks and other charity programs, it just makes it easier for them to abuse the system more while the people who could actually benefit from a *workable* welfare system continue to fall through the cracks.
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Ryan Buchanan
Name one society in the history of the world that completely eradicated poverty. I absolutely agree that we need to do more to help those less fortunate, particularly those with disabilities and single parents, but I disagree with your assertion that we need to throw more money at the problem and expect it to go away. Am I being ignorant and demeaning when I say those in poverty have issues handling money? Frankly, we need to offer more help in the form of social programs, counselling, addictions help, not cash. We need to address the reasons why people are in poverty, not give them a cheque every month that they can spend on cigarettes and lottery tickets (amongst other things.) And now I know I'm being blatantly demeaning, but I don't think one cent of our tax dollars should go to subsidizing bad habits that perpetuate these problems.
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Martin Dunphy
greensea:

The post to which you responded at 18:52 had already been deleted.
Thank you.
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American Armadillo
This is the choice: raise the rates or face increasing crime. Both are costly but there's a bit more to it than that. The first choice is paying for increased welfare rates and the second choice is paying for more cops, more prisons, experiencing more crime, more violence, unsafe streets and, quite possibly, an overzealous police force.

Personally, I'd rather spend a bit more on making sure people can eat every day of the month. It may not taste right but, in the end, its a lot cheaper than choice number two.
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Nunya Biznis
Give everyone $1000 a month? Is this the same type of person who is going to complain about a nanny state?

Leave the rates and create some kind of incentives for people to get out and earn their keep. In Australia they have basic rates and then state sponsored employment which enables people to supplement their income by actually working for it. This is 3fold positive as getting out and doing something constuctive is good for the body, mind and pocketbook.
I'll go one step further and say we shoud abolish welfare altogether.
If you legitimately can not work,you cango on medical disability, otherwise get to work.






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Angela Browne
Charity is not dignity. Charity is not a step forward. Charity may even be a step back for most. Most of the people that operate charities or volunteer in these places share the attitudes of the poor bashers on these boards. My bet is this is why many are treated so poorly at these food banks, shelters and so forth. And people need more money to decide what they need for themselves, and stop paying highly paid unionized social workers to provide more services that don't work. Get rid of many of the rules that prevent people from benefiting from working or self employment. Treat them as anybody else, a guaranteed annual income is the best solution.
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Migo
Taxes payer again. Sorry, We paid too much taxes
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