THE Ministry of Children and Family Development said Wednesday, "The B.C. child poverty rate is at its second-lowest level since 1980."
That sounds excellent, doesn't it? But consider also the information First Call B.C. released not long before the ministry "fact sheet" hit the wire: that B.C.'s child poverty rate is the second highest in Canada.
First Call went on to point out that this province had the highest child-poverty rates in all of Canada for the previous eight years.
While it's always fun to watch how government communications professionals can spin bad news into good, the truth is there is some wiggle room in the figures presented by First Call, a child advocacy coalition representing more than 100 B.C. organizations and communities.
Its figures are based on the latest Statistics Canada figures, but they apply to 2010 and therefore do not take into account the increase in the minimum wage to $10.25 per hour in B.C., an increase to some disability payments and new earnings exemptions for those on welfare. The numbers are also pre-tax.
So, the B.C. Liberal government could well conclude that this province's child poverty rate figures are less alarming than First Call is suggesting.
But the fact is that a comparatively prosperous province like B.C. has recorded such shameful figures for close to a decade. The time is past due for Premier Christy Clark to consider an addendum to her Families First agenda that puts children first.
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