Trail Times religion column delivers strong message

Trail writer's religious column addresses poverty issue

On behalf of the “Poor No More” anti-poverty group in Trail, I want to thank Louise McEwan for her perceptive and powerful column in last week’s Trail Times. ”Reducing Poverty is a matter of Justice” (Trail Times, Feb. 17) is now posted on her blog “Faith Coloured Glasses”.

She vividly describes the difference between “charity” and “justice” when it comes to dealing with poverty.  For sure, food banks and emergency shelters are important charitable responses, but poverty will only be reduced, and the need for food banks will end, only when we begin to address the underlying causes of poverty.

We also want to publicly thank MLA Jagrup Brar for having the courage to experience living for a month on $610 – the social assistance allocation for a single person. Clearly it was a very enlightening experience for him as he began to understand just how difficult – even impossible – it is to just survive on that small amount of money, never mind to try to improve one’s situation.

Clearly, in the long run, it would be much less expensive to reduce poverty levels than to pay the increasing health, legal, and social costs incurred by keeping people poor. It is shameful that BC has the highest poverty rate in Canada and, it is no coincidence, that BC is also one of only 3 provinces without a comprehensive poverty reduction plan.

It is with this in mind that we ask the readers of the Trail Times to express their support to Premier Clark for the private members bill now before the BC legislature. Called the “Poverty Reduction Act”, it provides a framework for reducing poverty and homelessness in BC. Details can be found on the internet.

This issue and its solution should be seen as an urgent, non-partisan matter. We strongly encourage the NDP and the BC Liberals to come together to support this bill, develop a workable plan and implement it immediately.

Please write to: The Honourable Christy Clark, Premier of British Columbia, Box 9041

Station PROV GOVT, Victoria, BC, V8W 9E1  or email her at premier@gov.bc.ca.

A copy could also be sent to Katrine Conroy, MLA Kootenay West, Room 201, Parliament Buildings, Victoria, BC, V8V 1X4  or email: Katrine.conroy.mla@leg.bc.ca.

Ann Godderis

Castlegar