Wednesday, January 04, 2012

NDP MLA Jagrup Brar walking the talk - and he deserves our thanks for exposing outrageously low welfare rates

MLA Jagrup Brar with son Fateh, left, and daughter Noor, right.
Jagrup Brar is a big man - with a big heart and a strong social conscience.

The New Democrat  Member of the Legislative Assembly for Surrey-Fleetwood accepted the challenge from Raise The Rates to live on social assistance - welfare - for a month to highlight just how difficult it is for the 180,000 British Columbians who need help from government to survive but get very little.

Jagrup is walking the talk - and is the first MLA to do this since the late great Emery Barnes in 1986, when the rate was only $350 a month.

You can see and read more at the website for this challenge.

I was particularly moved to see how proud Jagrup's 12-year-old daughter Noor was in speaking to Global TV about her father's determination to do something good for those in need.

Jagrup has to get by on just $610 for a month - of which $375 is for shelter and $235 for support - but pretty obviously the shelter money isn't enough anywhere in Metro Vancouver, so the support money gets used for rent, not food, for most recipients.

Social assistance rates are never an easy issue for governments of all stripes - the current BC Liberal government has a terrible record - the worst child poverty rates in Canada for eight straight years.

But the previous NDP governments and Social Credit governments also were strongly criticized at times for their policies.

I wish Jagrup well in not only getting through one difficult month that others face every month for years, but in opening the eyes and hearts of British Columbians to find a solution that lets people in need get the help they deserve.



Sid Tan said...

yo bill. you and your readers can check the video

Anonymous said...

You've got to be kidding.

This guy is still receiving $8300 for his montly salary in January. Of that, x number of dollars goes to pay out his monthly mortgage, the montly bill for his Visa card, plus Hydro, Telus and Shaw. Then there's probably a deduction for his RRSP.

He gets to keep his phone, returns home one day a week, plus he gets to go to his constituency office.

If this guy had any notion of worth on this project, he would forgo the entire $8300 he is receiving in the next four weeks and donate the whole amount to a worthy charity for community service that actually does something and not bea contributor to the poverty industry. A straight donation with no, absolutely no tax receipt.

In addition he would need to stop any pay outs for Hydro, the mortage, any loans such as for a car, and Telus, plus no pay ins to his Visa card. In other words a complete stop to the benfits of a healthy chequing account.

Emery Barns lived in a good neighbourhood in Port Moody at the time of his "social welfare experiment". He was featured in an NDP Democrat article featuring a rather despondent Barnes sitting on a wood chair in a small room.

Thing was that Barnes had a comfy home in a good neighbourhood on the northwest side of Port Moody above the Barnet Highway.

Far removed from welfare, as is this "look at meeeee" thing with Brar.

Anonymous said...

That link didnt work for Me, Try this one for the Vid


cherylb said...

Hi Bill,
Happy New Year! I'll try to post directly instead of the alternate way we worked out.

I have so much admiration for Jagrup. He is shining a much needed light into the absolute disgrace of not only the welfare rates, but also the inhumane way vulnerable people are treated by the Ministry and its policies. I have been posting Jagrup's updates on my facebook page. On Day 3 he is already hungry and thinking about food all the time. In my opinion, in order to survive the entire month, he is going to have to learn to either steal, or panhandle. Any other way, he just won't make it.....

Anonymous said...

So how does a person who brings in $8300 a month spend that money while he is supposedly on welfare.

This is just a publicity excercise.

He will be receving $4100 in automatic deposit in about a week.

Anonymous said...

Ahh, a lieberal stooge. Always trying to deflect the truth. Jagrup is showing what the truth is, not sugarcoating it. More power to him, exposing this government's views on poor people, SHAME ON YOU CRISTY!

Kam Lee

DPL said...

Well said Kam Lee.

Brar says he won't touch the income so why does anon 10:48 try to lower Brar's efforts? The government has to be shamed into raising any benefit but have no problem in raising fees for anything,and everything

Anonymous said...

Brar says he won't touch the income so why does anon 10:48 try to lower Brar's efforts?

Brar doesn't have to. He is still receiving the $8300 (it is a direct deposit), and even if he doesn't touch it, he is still receiving the $8300. The concept is to have him remove the $8300 so that it doesn't exist. His wife would still pay with HIS monthly cheque, the mortgage, the Visa, Hydro Telus and Shaw. Real welfare people have severe difficulties in getting their bills paid, assuming that they still have those services.

C'mon people, this isn't a reflection of the real world what it's like to be on welfare.

So why doesn't DPL and others do the same thing? Try it for a month.

Anonymous said...

Jagrup is showing what the truth is, not sugarcoating

Since he gets to go home once a week and also gets to go to his own office, it's not real living on welfare. He should have completely cut himself off from home and office. But hasn't.

If he isn't touching the January paycheque, what happens to it? He should donate all of it, with no tax receipt to him at all.

Anonymous said...

More power to him, exposing this government's views on poor people, SHAME ON YOU CRISTY!

The NDP wasn't any better.Harcourt to his credit made it easier, but Clark rescinded much of those gains as Dix admitted.

the NDP was always declaring a fight on poverty, but didn't do much to eliminate it.

So why doesn't Kam Lee try living on welfare for a month?

Anonymous said...

So why doesn't Kam Lee try living on welfare for a month?

Well, I am retired, small pension, counting my pennies. I am walking the walk fellow. It isn't easy. The point is, and please understand this part...It is the government of the day that is crushing these people. Do not go back over 11 years and bleat about the past mistakes. Help the poor now! How stupid can you be?

Kam Lee

cherylb said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

"It is the government of the day that is crushing these people.

Would that include the "government of the day" when the NDP was in power? There were alot of critical comment against the NDP from poverty advocacy groups back then.

Expect the same when the NDP gets into power.

Don't expect an Adrian Dix government to magically eradicate the problems that exist with the social welfare system.

If anyone figures that poverty is going to be eradicated under a Dix government, well I have an old bus I can sell you.

"Do not go back over 11 years and bleat about the past mistakes. Help the poor now! How stupid can you be?"

Jag is not helping the poor people one bit. If he takes a bed in a shelter, that takes away one for a homeless person. How stupid can a person be??

Anonymous said...

It was important of the NDP to acknowledge that such a problem existed, which is something that apparently the Liberals have trouble with.

and something the NDP wouldn't have much of a chance to eliminate.

The NDP has always been 'against' something and have always been "fighting" for something.

No wonder many of their supporters are Negative Norberts and Nellies.

Anonymous said...

So I see it now, keep these criminals in power, that will fix it all. We have a track record
that is NOW, not a long time ago. Why is it when the lieberals are getting cornered with Bc Rail cover-up, BC Hydro, BC Ferries, etc, all the trolls get on their hind legs and say, "Remember the 90's". This is 2012, and they, the liberals have squandered our money, our children's money, as
well as our grandkids future on ponzie schemes. Maybe that's how we could have paid for the poor in the province, not the filthy rich. Sad but true bucko.
T Bennettio

e.a.f. said...

When Emery Barnes took the challenge I recall the major newscasters, print & t.v., carried the story frequently. I doubt if that will happen this time.

The major corporations who "produce" the news do not want this being seen by the general public. Their friends in government would take way too much heat. People don't really realize what it is to live on the little the government pays to people on welfare. Having it publized would just drive ole' christie crazier than she is.

The leiberals can say they can't afford to pay more for welfare because they don't have the money. They don't have the money because they reduced taxes, especially for corporations like the ones report the news. They spent the money on Olympics, conventions centres, roofs for stadiums, etc. They made it easier for corporations to ship raw logs out of B.C. without paying much tax/royalties, etc. You would think the lieberals might consider charging mega corps more in the way of royalitiers for mining our minerals and coal and shipping out our logs. No that won't happen, it is better for Multi national corps to make the huge profits and let B.C. citizens go hunger, cold, without adequate shelter, medical care, etc.

I hope Mr Brar gets as much coverage as possible. He is doing a brave thing. As to those who complain he is still receiving his salary, well he still has his family to support. I'd like to see them or one of the lieberals live on such a small amount of money.

Many pensioners may complain they live on little money but in a majority of cases those pensions are a lot more than what people are paid on welfare. We also have most likely paid for our vehicles, houses, furniture, etc. and have all the things we need. We don't need to worry about trying to get a job or get to work, etc.

Anonymous said...

The HST really hurt the low income people very badly. BC has more children in poverty because of it.

We have hydro going up, heat, health care, and ICBC insurance. Food costs are up into orbit. Gasoline costs are obscene. There are no price controls in BC. No BC children should have to go to school hungry. This is a crime against humanity, in the best place to live in Canada.

There are no price controls in Canada. Harper refuses to answer, why can Canadians save up to 50% shopping in the U.S? Why can we save mega bucks by gassing up our vehicles in the U.S? Harper is the worst P.M. I can ever remember.

And now Obama said, the U.S. is cutting back on their military. He also said, Canada has to pick up the slack. Why should Canada pick up the slack, because of the wars the U.S. starts? Besides which, our military who are maimed, Harper will not give them a pension, just a payout. I would be telling Harper to go to hell, and get out of the military as fast as I could.

Canada used to be a benevolent country, that supported nations in famines, war torn people, disasters and fixed things that needed fixing in the world. Harper can't even look after anything that needs fixing in his own country. Harper is number one, to Harper.

Perhaps Canadians may have to ask for help from the U.N. We may need help, to escape Harper's dictatorship tyranny. BC people suffer the most. Harper and Campbell worked frantically, to dismantle and destroy BC, before Campbell got the boot.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Canadians may have to ask for help from the U.N. We may need help, to escape Harper's dictatorship tyranny.

2012 isn't a week old yet and here comes a stupid comment. Would BC be in a tyrannical dictatorship if the NDP wins the next election? Yes? or No?? I'd say no.

Had the chance to defeat the Conservatives, but didn't here in B.C. Probably spent too much time whining on blogs and not enough time in our NDP campaign office.

Anonymous said...

There are no price controls in Canada.

There were when Trudeau was Prime Minister. It turned out to be a disaster.

Harper refuses to answer, why can Canadians save up to 50% shopping in the U.S?

Doesn't need to answer. Simple answer amongst many is transportation and distribution costs. Plus higer taxes here which support things the U.S. does not have such public health care.

Why can we save mega bucks by gassing up our vehicles in the U.S?

You're actually not saving much. There's the distance to get there, idling in border lines, and quite simply, again, higher fuel taxes here.

Harper is the worst P.M. I can ever remember.

Obviously doesn't remember Trudeau and his reckless management of the country's finances.

ron1 said...

Jagrup is helping to shed a much-needed light on a shameful situation..

If we had investigative journalism in this province - and not monopoly corporate media - we would have no need for an MLA to provide this leadership.

So much for Christy's family-friendlky policies - all of the poor belong to families, Your Perkiness.

terrence said...

Here is a copy and paste from Mike Smyth in the January 6, 2012 Province column. Hypocrisy thy name is NDP!

Former Liberal MLA Lorne Mayencourt conducted his own version of the poverty experiment in 2004, when he spent five days and nights on the mean streets of the Downtown Eastside.

Mayencourt spent two nights in a $30 flophouse populated by crackheads and prostitutes, while he said the rest were spent huddled under a trailer in Crab Park, where he feared roving gangs of addicts and drug dealers.
"It made me understand how terribly, terribly vulnerable people are when they have no place to call their own," Mayencourt said at the time.

But while the New Democrats are celebrating Brar's noble gesture today, they were contemptuous of what Mayencourt did in 2004.

"For a media-hungry MLA, it may be cool to pretend that you know what poverty is by playing tourist in the Downtown Eastside, by coming down for one week and saying, 'I really know what being homeless and poor is like,'"

NDP MLA Jenny Kwan railed at the time. "You have the MLA trying to pull media stunts and playing tourist for one week, as though somehow, all of a sudden, he understands what the issues are around poverty and homelessness."

Of course, the New Democrats would never call one of their own a welfare "tourist," even though Brar claims he already has this whole poverty thing figured out after just five days. (Brar said Thursday welfare benefits are "unacceptable.")

But, in 2004, five days wasn't enough time to truly understand poverty, according to Kwan:
"As a recent community person said to me: 'Don't talk to me about how you know about poverty until you've had two years of accumulated grit underneath your nails and you no longer care what you smell like.'"

Read more:

terrence said...

I will try to post something again - wonder if Tieleman will publish ANYTHING that does NOT show the NDP in a FALSE glowing light. Here is a link to Mike Sythm's column in the Province January 6, 2012.

Ralph Tieleman said...

Tieleman even posts my comments and although I supported Eby against Clark I usually make Kevin O'Leary look like a commie !

Christopher said...

I'm not sure how many Politicians have done this in the past . I recall the last one being total BS stunt, let hope Jagrup is moderately sincere . The truth is that most politicians are pamper A-holes that really don't have a clue ,and more over don't give a rat ass . Nice little stunt but the inevitable results are very predictable " Nothing will change " . I'm almost certain this guy will get five pay raises before any help for these poor people see a thin dime . I call total BS .....

cherylb said...

well Bill - guess we'll have to go back to the alternate way of posting. The fake cherylb has posted again. The second one wasn't mine. This is annoying....

DPL said...

Don't get upset Charylb. If some clown likes to pretend he or she is you just ignore them. They will say something real stupid and can easily be seen as what they are.
Yes we know that the MLA is doing the month on poverty wages to prove a point. If the rank and file, you and I did the same nobody would notice. The coverage has been good and it shows once again that the BC Liberals couldn't care less about the folks doing without.

Anonymous said...

"They will say something real stupid and can easily be seen as what they are."

Can be said for those who use a name label too.

"Yes we know that the MLA is doing the month on poverty wages to prove a point. "

He's not proving much of anything. So he is supposedly living on $610.00. But is he really? His mortgage payment is being taken care of, as is the Hydro, Shaw and Telus for his house. He gets to go home to a comfy house once a week.

There's nothing new he is proving with this media event that has reporters tailing him. Barnes did the same thing in the late 1980s. The NDP (as now) is feeding on it like a kid in a chocolate shop. The NDP raised the rates, but that caused a few problems, so it was essentially back to what it was (ready the history).

So where is the money going to come fromt to payout equivalent to $10.00 an hour 30 hours a week to welfare receipients??

Some here should do what I did in our business. We took in a Social Assistance receipient, who was a bit deficient in mental capabilities but a good guy paid him a good wage and I personally taught him new skills (related to computers, including a share of using them, it wasn't just ordinary put the software back, we ensured he got into things he could handle and could learn from) that helped him out. It was a short term programme we signed in for, and a decision had to be made by me and the owner as to what he is was going to do at the time the programme we hired under expired.

We decided to keep him for as long as he wanted to stay. He stayed for two months as he was able to find a good job closer to his home.

"If the rank and file, you and I did the same nobody would notice."

That's not the point. The attention is not needed. Solutions are.

The coverage has been good and it shows once again that the BC Liberals couldn't care less about the folks doing without

Yeah well the NDP didn't much either, and don't expect a magical lift up from a Dix government either. Isn't going to happen.

I'd much rather see a Premier Dix Premier's Office down to just 15 people, and that money saved goes to Social Assistance receipients.

But both myself DPL and many others can dream on about that happening.

Bill Tieleman said...

Friends - you can post under just about any name you like or Anonymous but if you use someone else's regular posting name here it will be rejected or deleted - silly bugger stuff like that wastes everyone's time.

Christopher said...

I don't know how many here posting have ever truly been poor and I mean on welfare poor . Poverty is a vicious cyclone constantly sucking you down . Social worker bullied from upper management to reduce their case files . Children suffer needlessly . The little money Government allocates to assist these unfortunate people get absorbed back into the administration and pensions of the ministries responsible . Then more over you get some ass-holes attitudes "saying get a job" . I don't think things will ever change ,I truly believe to many greedy selfish people are in there own fishbowl and don't really give a shit . Nothing personnel ...Happy New Year

Anonymous said...

Conversely to Christopher's comment there are many in the "poverty industry" that chase after government subsidies and yet don't actually fix the problems of those who really need help. One can perpetually adovacate "help the poor" and yell until you're red in the face, but that doesn't help, and neither does a publicity excercise by a $101,000 a year MLA.

Some of those who work the poverty industry, just want to keep it going as they get paid to sit around stuffing papers into a file folder and make up cheap quality signs for a dingy office. Some don't give a real rat's ass about the downtrodden, they only want their time in the media.

Nothing personal. Happy New Year.