Raise the Rates takes campaign to B.C. political leaders

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      Anti-poverty activists walked 15 km from B.C. Premier Christy Clark’s office in Point Grey to NDP Leader Adrian Dix’s constituency office in Joyce Collingwood Wednesday as part of their ongoing campaign aimed at raising welfare rates.

      The demonstrators delivered letters to both leaders calling on them to commit to a poverty reduction strategy.

      Bill Hopwood with Raise the Rates said about 80 people took part in the march throughout the day, which began at 10 a.m. in Point Grey and concluded at 4 p.m. on Joyce Street.

      “The aim is to make the leaders of the government and the opposition aware of public feeling, make them aware of the issues…hopefully convince them that doing something is a good idea,” he told the Straight.

      “Tommy Douglas didn’t do a focus group to decide that Canada needed a public health system,” he added. “He knew it in his bones, and he worked for it and he built a campaign. Politicians today too much listen to advisors and focus groups, rather than what is doing the right thing, and we would hope that politicians do the right thing by raising welfare as part of an anti-poverty strategy.”

      Dix spoke with the advocates and accepted the letter from two Vancouver residents on disability.

      “Can you find a place to live at $375? That’s not a lot, and we really need to see some change in this, because people are suffering,” Phoenix Winter told Dix.

      Dix thanked the advocates for bringing attention to the issues, and said the NDP will be announcing their platform for the election campaign later – which he indicated will reflect the party’s “desire to address poverty”.

      “We’re obviously concerned by the fact that inequality in B.C. is higher than any other province in the country,” he told the Straight following the demonstration. “That includes people on income assistance, it also includes a lot of families who are working, and so there are real challenges and we have to deal with them within our means.”

      Dix noted that NDP MLA Jagrup Brar lived for a month on the B.C. income assistance rate.

      “It’s obviously hard for people to make ends meet,” he said. “The challenge is to decide, because there are significant needs all over the place, where to start. Because we’re going to have to do this one step at a time.”




      Mar 28, 2013 at 11:11am

      My goodess 80 people represent Vancouver ,
      so equality means take from the ritch ( who worked all their life to earn a good wage) and give to the poor who dont work,that seems fair .
      And yes 375 dose not go far but its free and you dont have to work.,Most people get a job and if it dost pay enough get a second one,look aroud there are a lot of people that work at two jobs to make a go.
      Vancouver has more homeless and vegrants as the weather is good year around ,so giving them free mony will only bring more.
      If we all made the same mony what would be the insentive to work harder.Same as when you raise the welfare rates where is the incentive to go get a job?.


      Mar 28, 2013 at 1:10pm

      Now we see with these anarchists breaking windows on banks,what a load of sh-- ,wearing masks really shows the guts these assh--- have.
      What is this supposed to prove ? that you can break a window? do it in front of a police officer then you can talk.
      You kids have nothing else to do exept cause damage to private property,maybe get a job .
      Thats probably why they dont raise the welfare so it would get idiots like you off the street and working .
      Violance begets the same.Breaking windows shows cowerdis and the need for some jail time,o ya police only pick on young people and nativs I wonder why.

      Rick in Richmond

      Mar 28, 2013 at 3:47pm

      The NDP won't raise the rates by more than a token amount. Why? The cupboard is bare. There are many other priorities. And people who work in education and health care are much better organized. They have big numbers and real clout.

      37 people marching around have very small numbers, and zero clout.

      The NDP won't raise rates because the issue is hopelessly interlocked with DTES issues. There is no public support for giving free money to drug addicts. There is none for giving free money to 'anarchists' who steal sidewalk signs and throw bricks through windows. And there is none for people who enable drug dealers and pimps.

      Taxpayers want to put their money where they can see positive results: health care, schools, roads, the environment, public safety, reforestation, energy. The NDP knows this.

      Taxpayers do not want their money going to subsidize drug dealers, pimps, and the armada of enablers who look the other way. The NDP knows this too. Dix is a cautious leader, on the verge of becoming Premier.

      Go to the DTES on Welfare Wednesdays. See the drug enforcers collect their debts the instant that welfare checks are cashed. Taxpayers know this. They understand it. They hate it.

      Until the perpetual protesters in the DTES start acting against the drug dealers and the pimps, they will have no audience but themselves.