VICTORIA — After months of pressure the Christy Clark government has finally agreed to end benefit clawback policies that drove families deeper into poverty, says B.C. New Democrat social development spokesperson Michelle Mungall.
“John Horgan and the B.C. New Democrats demanded that the government do the right thing for families by putting an end to their cruel policy of taking away parental leave and other Employment Insurance benefits from disabled British Columbians,” said Mungall.
“It may have taken a looming election for Christy Clark to finally start paying attention to families affected by these clawbacks, but at least they will finally see a change. Unfortunately, this is just one of many backwards B.C. Liberal policies that has left families struggling to afford the basics.”
Just this spring the Christy Clark government insisted that taking away maternity and parental leave benefits that disabled people paid into was the right thing to do. Mungall said she hopes that the government’s reversal on this issue will be repeated when it comes to the new monthly fee for disability bus passes.
“The Christy Clark government continues to refuse to reverse the bus pass clawback that has left over 3500 people with disabilities unable to afford a bus pass – making it harder for them to participate in their communities,” said Mungall.
“Raising the price of a bus pass from $45 to $624 per year was mean-spirited and it has left many people with disabilities forced to choose between transportation and food.”
Mungall noted that if the B.C. Liberals had done the right thing and passed her bill to bring in a poverty reduction plan, these and other clawbacks would have been dealt with sooner.
“British Columbia is the only province in Canada without a poverty reduction plan, and it shows,” said Mungall. “More than half of British Columbians are living paycheck to paycheck. One quarter of children are living below the poverty line. Wages are stagnant and the cost of living is skyrocketing.
“In Christy Clark’s B.C. the only people who aren’t struggling are the ones who can afford to spend $20,000 to sit next to her at fundraising dinners. That’s just wrong, and the Christy Clark government has the wrong priorities.”