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

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      By Bill Hopwood

      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.




      Dec 4, 2012 at 3:31pm

      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?


      Dec 4, 2012 at 4:47pm

      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 $$$.

      Sid Tan

      Dec 4, 2012 at 5:16pm

      Sweet strategic move and good on Bill Hopwood and Raise the Rates.


      Dec 4, 2012 at 6:19pm

      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...


      Dec 4, 2012 at 9:13pm

      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.


      Dec 4, 2012 at 9:50pm

      governments are always the problem, never the solution.
      get rid of taxes. that will give everyone who wants to a job.


      Dec 4, 2012 at 10:16pm

      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.

      teth adam

      Dec 4, 2012 at 11:20pm

      Where exactly will this money come from? Maybe we can tax the middle class into oblivion? Get back to me, mkay?


      Dec 5, 2012 at 1:52am

      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?


      Dec 5, 2012 at 7:01am

      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?