Tuesday, November 25, 2008

BC is Canada's worst province for child poverty 5 years in row - while Premier Campbell hands out gold medals

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Column
Tuesday November 25, 2008

No medals for Gordon Campbell on child poverty


A medal glitters but it also casts a shadow.

- Winston Churchill

How is it possible that the "best place on Earth" is also the worst province in Canada for child poverty five years in a row?

How is it possible that Premier Gordon Campbell can give out thousands of gold medals with his own name arrogantly stamped across the face to construction workers on multimillion-dollar provincial projects while one in five children live in deprivation?

And how is it possible that a government spends millions on feel- good television ads about how wonderful this province is, while thousands of homeless walk the streets?

Welcome to British Columbia, where medals are given out to mystified workers by an oblivious premier who ignores the obvious despair in every city.

On Friday, two stories made the news - contradictory stories that deserved to be connected.

The first, a devastating report that found B.C.'s child poverty rate is 21.9 per cent, the highest rate in Canada for the fifth year in a row.

The second, a provincial program uncovered by the New Democratic Party opposition where more than 2,000 gold medals worth about $15 each and inscribed "Presented by Premier Gordon Campbell" are being given to construction workers on infrastructure projects.

The child poverty report from First Call, Campaign 2000 and the Social Planning and Research Council showed that in 2006, the most recent year with statistics available, there were an estimated 181,000 poor children in B.C.

That's more than the combined total populations of Nan-aimo, Prince George and Cranbrook.

And B.C. is the only province with a higher child poverty rate in 2006 than in 1997, even though federal and provincial child benefits have increased.

Astonishingly, the richest families with children had an income of $201,490 in 2006, an increase of $47,591 since 1989, while the poorest families with kids actually saw their income drop during the same period, to $15,657 from $16,966.

Then there's the government's self-promotional ad campaigns - which the B.C. Liberals steadfastly refuse to release the budget for but can safely be estimated to cost millions.

That money could be put to far better use finding a warm, safe bed for the 40,000 people who were turned away from shelters in Metro Vancouver between April and December of 2007 - because there was no room for them.

A staggering 16,000 of the turnaways were women and children who could not be accommodated at the region's 36 shelters.

It is a dark shadow indeed that has been cast on a premier who gives out gold medals in his own name while letting kids go hungry on the streets of our province, which he ironically pays to advertise as "the best place on Earth."


Anonymous said...

Don't ever expect anything else under Gordon Campbell. He is incapable of caring for anything other than stroking his own ego with his own success. Harper also is incapable. This guy shook his young son's hand when he took him to school. What is a hug Harper?

With our province and country under fascist control, expect to see the poverty of the lower classes grow.

The bigger question is, Why do we vote these types in?

Anonymous said...

Bill, you worry too much - gordo & his sycophants have the matter well in hand.

Les Leyne wrote in the Times Colonist that BC Housing Minister Rich Coleman [perennial 'hands-0-stone' winner] has put out a request for a "Homeless Services Management System". The really good news is that a BC luminary like Accenture could soon be in charge of tracking the poor and homeless in "best place on Earth"... Just in time for the Olympics!

So Bill, relax - all is well in lotus land.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else out there have such a hate-on for this premier as I do? I think it is worthy of its' own recognized medical term.

'Gee Doc, I don't know what is wrong with me, I'm cynical, depressed, and I can't sleep. I worry all the time. My kids have no future and I want to scream every time I see the face of Gordon Campbell on TV or in the paper' 'I don't throw up, but I feel like I will'.

Yup, I have a hate-on for him.

Anonymous said...

In this little town called Victoria, there are lots of kids with working parents that have to do without as the parents get such small wages. The rents here are very high. The Liberals simply wont admit the issue exists. They always claim the folks putting out the reports are "friends of the NDP".

There is a small lunch arranged for this Saturday, down at the nearest rec. center. 4 bucks for adults and 2 bucks for kids. Sort of indicates to me that a lot of people don't have the money to pay more than that. We can't make it that day but took the loose change from my pocket and told them that this was for the first three kids showing up who looked like the parent was having a hard time. Am I a saint? Hell no, but a kid not eating is something that shouldn't happen in a province that throws lots of money when adverising what great people they are. Lots of us have seen poor underfed kids as we traveled the world, but in a country as rich as ours, it just shouldn't be happening. A MLA , Maurine Karagianis tells us how she spent her raise, over 12,000 for 16 charities including The Mustard Seed. Now there is a MLA that puts her money where it works for then poor, underprivileged. And she isn't my MLA. My thanks a go to a person who sees the needs of the working poor and does something about it. Wonder how many Liberal MLA's pass their wage increase along to the poor in their ridings? Does King Gordo?

Anonymous said...

...and now Vanoc is pushing Vancouver to close all our schools for two weeks, literally putting inner city kids out on the streets, so that the elite won't have to contend with traffic jams en route to their $500 events.

The folks running things in this Province have lost any grasp they may ever have had re the reality on the ground for even average BC families, far less those in dire economic straits.

Anonymous said...

As I have said before, many times...this is precisely the kind of issue that the Fiberals can lose the election on.

New poll has Carole three points below Gordon.

Not good...for who, I'm not sure yet...

Anonymous said...

An Address to the UBCM by Premier Gordon Campbell

"........You know, Canada is the only country that's ever hosted an Olympics that hasn't won a gold medal when they were hosting. In 2010, the Olympics are coming back to Canada. Canadians are winning gold, and there's going to be lots of British Columbians amongst those gold-medal
You know, a strong economy is not an end it itself; it's a means to an end. Is there more we can do
to help provide for people that are in need? Absolutely. And now we are in a better fiscal position
to do just that.

We need to improve shelter options for people who need safe housing. We need to improve drug and alcohol treatment programs to help those who want to break out of the cycle of dependency and dysfunction and despair that addictions create. In the months ahead you will hear much more
about we intend to do that.

I'm asking Mayors Campbell, Lowe, Kinsley, Gray and McCallum to work with Ministers Locke, Brice, Coell and me to establish a framework for an integrated, comprehensive program to tackle the challenges of mental illness, homelessness, and addictions in our communities.

This is a great province. We can care for those in need and make our streets feel safer. People need clean, safe rooms. They need treatment for illness. They need counselling and support. They need training. They need jobs. To have all those things, we need a strong economy.
As we build prosperity for all British Columbians, all of these initiatives create a sense of
optimism and hope for the people that live here.

If you look at our health care challenges that we face, we've made major strides in the last few
years. British Columbia is the most popular place for doctors to practice medicine, and we're
seeing more specialists in rural communities. We're seeing more general practitioners in town
after town. And we're continuing to build on those programs.
We now have a stable funding formula that allows us to focus on providing care for people where
they live.

Anonymous said...

These Gold Medals are just one more attempt in Gordon Campbell's decades long campaign to create a Campbell Cult of Personality.

Gordon who has always been emotionally fragile . . . seems to need constant ego stroking in order to address his latent limitations.

For BC's "Fuehrer" he always has to more than the sum of his flawed parts.

If someone told me he chewed the carpets at his Maui condo it would not surprsise me.


Sue said...

We need newspapers and TV stations willing to tell the truth, explore truth and investigate for the truth. We need Bill T. as editor of the Sun, Province, etc., and get rid of verything that's there now--bunch of cowardly corporate toads. But we also need to change our schools. For the last 30 years, our education has been watered down so that we now have the dumbest graduates ever! No critical thought whatsoever! Who the hell were their teachers? My generation--a really intellecturally lazy lot themselves!

Anonymous said...

How arrogant can this egomaniac get? $30,000!

But still, it's not as bad as Christenson spending $560,000 on the lavish decorating scheme at the Ministry of Children and Family Development a while back.

The hubris 'n' ignorance with which these people operate is astounding and unacceptable.

The election can't come soon enough.

Simple as ABC (Anyone But Campbell)

Anonymous said...

The international community, justice, and human rights groups need to step up! The homeless will be/are being, targeted and turned into unsuspecting, manufactured victims!
PS: they win, because they vote for themselves!

Tugboat3 said...

First, I would like to thank you for the great article.

I had personally started a homeless project of my own for the Union Gospel Mission in New Westminster in October 2005 and continued with the project for over 2 years.

As my husband was dying from lung cancer I still continued with my project just as he wanted me to no matter what and I did it because it was too important not to.

I must confess as I did everything myself it truly was an eye-opener and it made me realize how desensitized society including all levels of Government have become towards the homeless and less fortunate including the innocent children.

I had set up a meeting with my local MP Peter Julian last year and met him at his office. He seemed genuinely concerned about the homeless situation and was supportive and even put an article in his newsletter that was mailed out to homes in Burnaby and New Westminster and guess what? a whopping 4 citizens responded by dropping off brand new items.

I sent an e-mail to the Prime Ministers and Premiers office on April 16,2008 and received a response back from the Prime Ministers office the next morning assuring me that my comments have been carefully noted and the individual had taken the liberty of forwarding a copy of my e-mail to the Minister so that he may be aware of my views. However, I never received any response from the Premiers office so I can only assume he has been pre-occupied with busier items on his agenda like handing out thousands of gold medals.

I wonder what ever became of the word "accountability" and whether it even exists anymore? I had better check my dictionary as it may have simply been a figment of my imagination.

I would like to send you a link which I had previously sent to the Prime Ministers and Premiers office www.dashpoemmovie.com which I thought was very enlightening.

Maybe, if all Canadians would take a few minutes out of their busy schedules and listen to the message and really read the words maybe someone out there may finally understand what it is that I am trying to say. Life is all about how we treat one another and the day society loses its capacity to show compassion and understanding will be a very sad day indeed.

I would also like to give a great big kudo's to anyone out there who has worked with the homeless as you all deserve a big thank you. At least, those people were paying close attention when their parents were teaching them the importance of values and of showing respect and compassion to others. In my opinion, you are the people who so rightly deserve those gold medals.

In closing, I would like to say that I am only one person and I was able to do something positive in my own community.

So please, let me believe that there are others out there who are willing to do the same. If everyone just tried a little think of all the possibilities.

Putting a smile on someone's face is simply priceless.


Anonymous said...

More native kids in B.C. living away from parents

The 2008 Child Poverty Report Card does not mention the words 'native' or 'aboriginal'; Lindsay Kines does though in a Times Colonist article (11/27/08).

"The lives of B.C.'s aboriginal children may be getting worse instead of better, the province's child advocate said yesterday.

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond warned that seven of every 10 children living in care or outside the parental home in B.C. will soon be aboriginal if nothing is done to halt current trends."
"Children's Minister Tom Christensen questioned some of Turpel-Lafond's statistics, but acknowledged that one of every two children in government care is aboriginal."

Anonymous said...

It is time to take back our country by whatever means

Anonymous said...

I'm a single mother of three, on maternity leave from my teaching job. I had to go to the food bank just before Christmas. It's too expensive to live here in the lower mainland. I will never be able to own a house unless I leave, but my childrens' father will never let me do that. So we continue to live in poverty.

Anonymous said...

I, have noticed Campbell does nothing in this province that doesn't benefit him personally. He sold the BC Railroad, he has sold our rivers, he has bribed the Haisla Band, not to obstruct the sale of the hydro to, his business friends. He has stolen millions of dollars, from the citizens of BC. Child poverty and the minimum wage, does not benefit his own wallet, so, that he ignores. And shame on Harper, who has bribed Campbell to push through the HST. This will cause his hated mongrels to be more numerous. Then, there will be thousands more homeless people, including families and seniors on a fixed income, will also be homeless. Does every-one remember, how he whined about his criminal felony of a DUI, and begged forgiveness, and we citizens let it go. And don't we all know, he kicked us in the face, for doing so. He doesn't want to know what I would have done with a gold coin, if I would have been handed one. It would go where the sun, doesn't shine, Gordo. I am very unhappy to see a criminal hosting the Games. That man seems so stupid, not to know half the world is sneering at him, representing Canada's Olympic