At a mock funeral today people commemorated the shameful 10th anniversary of BC’s frozen welfare rates.
“Welfare cheques don’t come with a health warning,” said Raise the Rates organizer Bill Hopwood. “But about 100 people every week are killed in BC” because politicians have decided to promote poverty and inequality.
Hopwood was speaking at the event called by Raise the Rates to make the point that low welfare rates contribute to the inequality that causes about 40,000 deaths a year in Canada.
“Inequality is a political decision,” explained Hopwood. “The richest 1% in BC got a $41,000 a year tax break. The government must think it’s harder to be a millionaire than to live on welfare of $610 a month.”
“Wealth is not being fairly distributed,” said Dr. John Millar, former BC Public Health officer. As a result there is a “loss of hope, feeling of despair, pain and mental illness.”
Carmen Paterson called on the government to raise welfare rates to $1500 or more so people can have a healthy standard of living.
Without higher welfare, disability and minimum wages people living with HIV “are more likely to die in poverty just as they’re winning the war on HIV,” said Neil Self or Positive Living.
Raise the Rates is calling on the province to increase welfare rates to at least $1500 a month, the federal market basket measure, to promote more health better lives for low income people. The last increase in welfare for single people on basic welfare was on April 1, 2007.
April 1 is 10 years since basic welfare was last raised in BC, frozen at $610 a month . Statistics Canada reports that inequality kills 40,000 Canadians a year. BC has the worst inequality in Canada.
Gather at Carnegie (Main & Hastings) at 10 am on Friday March 31, set off about 10:15 to walk to the welfare office at Main & Powell. There we will have eulogies.
You are welcome to join us.
Report in the Toronto Star on Inequality Kills
The job description is below.
If you are interested please apply. Also feel free to share this with anyone you think might be interested.
Raise the Rates Campaign Organizer
Contract hours: ~ 15 – 20 hours per week
Pay rate: $20/hr. plus 15% in lieu of benefits
Commencing: Ideally during May 2017
Raise the Rates is a coalition of community organizations, faith based groups and unions working to get government to raise welfare rates, build more social housing, eliminate arbitrary barriers to accessing welfare, increase the minimum wage and raise taxes for the wealthy.
Raise the Rates uses a variety of activities and events to raise public awareness of the many reasons to significantly increase the present poverty welfare rates in BC.
Email resume plus 2 letters of reference plus a half page essay on the causes of poverty to:
by April 21, 2017.
Admission by donation, suggested $20 with a reasonable income, no one turned away for lack of funds.
Tickets at the box office on the night.
Raise the Rates, with others, is pleased to have a pre-release showing of Ken Loach’s new film I, Daniel Blake.
This is a hard-hitting look at the reality of the British welfare system. After the film, there will be a panel discussion on comparisons with BC’s experience.