Policy Creating More Despair, says Study
It comes as no
surprise to anyone who is suffers from a disability and can’t work, but
study shows that if you’re poor and live in BC, you’re worse off than
else in Canada.
released earlier this month by the University of Victoria,
thanks to the policies of the BC Liberal regime, people who are already
economic dire straits are faring much worse.
Cuts to welfare
rates, removing the status from hundreds of people with disabilities,
assistance programs for special needs children and family support,
of welfare-sponsored job training and placement and a host of other
measures have worsened already strict conditions for hundreds of
of April 1, 2004, BC will become the first province in Canada
off people who have been on social assistance for at least two years,
them with no income at all.
"As of April
1st, 2004, the current situation of increased hunger, homelessness and
desperation will increase dramatically," says the report’s author Lynne
Marks, a historian at UVic, who compiled the report based on numerous
interviews with community service workers and witness accounts of the
conditions caused by the government’s policies. “(These) cuts have
rooting through garbage for food, or turning to crime or substance
She is angry that
the Liberal government, which repeatedly assured voters in the last
election that such cuts would not happen, has firmly adopted a policy
“leading the way in being heartless,” in order enrich its elite
backers with tax breaks and handouts.
And she isn’t
alone. The government’s policies have attracted both the attention and
condemnation of several United Nations agencies, including the
Labour Organization and the World Health Organization, as well as
from almost every political quarter of the province, except for the BC
But despite these
surveys and reports, BC Liberal Human Resources Minister Murray Coell
people are actually better off as a result of these measures. He says
policy that limits access to social assistance to two years out of
and cuts people off completely at the two-year time limit, is forcing
find work, which he calls “the best form of social assistance.”
He adds his
government is adopting these measures to promote what he calls a
skyrocketing unemployment and increasing business closures, which many
economists and public interest activists also attribute to the
policies, Coell is certain that most people who are being removed from
are able to fend for themselves and no longer need help.
they are not coming back on social assistance tells us they are still
self-sufficient," Coell told reporters in a previous interview.
But the study
found that the government’s tracking systems, which monitor the
people who have voluntarily left social assistance programs or have
removed, don’t present an accurate picture of what is happening, since
number of people cannot be reached.