July 9, 2013
The Vancouver Sun
Re: B.C. is the worst place in Canada to be a kid
No government wants to see children, living in poverty and Daphne Bramham is justified in calling attention to the issue. However she ignores some significant facts that should be noted.
In the past 10 years, B.C.'s child poverty rate has dropped by 41 per cent to one of the lowest points in three decades, which means approximately 69,000 children have been lifted out of poverty. We know the only real way to lift people out of poverty is to ensure they have a job and the skills they need to succeed. Our government's BC Jobs Plan is building a foundation that is strengthening the economy, creating an atmosphere for investment and creating jobs for families in every region of B.C.
At the same time, we're providing targeted supports to low-income families. For example, we've raised the minimum wage to among the highest in Canada. More than 97,000 households benefit from social housing; in fact, this government has invested $3.6 billion to provide affordable housing around the province. To make child care more affordable for families, we're introducing the BC Early Childhood Tax Benefit which, when combined with other federal tax benefits, would provide a single mother with one child under the age of six up to $5,514 a year and a couple with two children under six up to $9,703. Not only do British Columbians benefit from having one of the lowest overall tax burdens in the country, but over a million low-income B.C. residents pay no income tax.
In a recent issue of The Economist, an editorial highlights that in the past 20 years, nearly one billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty across the world. Of note, The Economist points out, is that much of the credit goes to capitalism, free markets and a growing economy. Going forward, we will continue to target economic growth as the best method to reduce poverty, simply because it works.
Minister of Children and Family Development
July 9, 2013