Thursday, May 15, 2014

This Day In Snookland...$187.


Interesting exchange between the Premier and the leader of the Opposition yesterday...

But before we get to it, a little background, from Lindsay Kines, a month ago in the VTC, on Christy Clark's war on poor people:

...A single mother with one child receives $945 a month in income assistance or $1,242 in disability assistance. If she receives any child-support money from an ex-partner, the government reduces her assistance cheque by an equal amount.

Victoria single mothers Jennifer Brice and Michelle Tallio said the policy leaves them struggling to find enough money for food and other necessities for their children.

Premier Christy Clark defended the policy this week, arguing that taxpayers want to be sure that people on social assistance receive only the bare minimum....

Got that?

If you're a single mom with a kid on social assistance there is no reasonable ceiling at which the clawback begins.

Instead, you get nothing more than $945 per month, period.

To be honest I can't even imagine a single Mom (or Dad) with a young child being able to do that while living in Vancouver or Victoria or even Kelowna.


Paying for the childcare alone so that you could go out and 'find a job!' would very likely cost you more than that if the kid was still a wee one.

So, essentially, to fulfill some kind of ideological clap-trap dream/nightmare of Rob Fordian-type future marketing campaign research-assisted proportions, Ms. Clark is actually saying that she must force kids to grow up in abject poverty so that she and hers can win next time 'round.

Think I'm being hyperbolic?

Well, go back and read that last sentence from the LKines VTC piece quoted above.


Now with that in mind.

It's off to the big show in the legislature yesterday...

J. Horgan: This past weekend single mothers and their children rallied across B.C. to draw attention to the child clawback that's been conducted by this government over the past ten years. Hon. Speaker, $17 million is taken out of the hands of children every year by this government — $17 million that could go to basic things like school supplies, nutritional food, clothes and other things.

The Minister of Social Development says that we can't afford, at this time, to give back mandated child support payments. The courts have said that these child support payments must go to children, and the government immediately claws it back.

It's not Liberal money. It's children's money. My question is to the Premier. She's had time to reflect on this. She's answered the question once before. Will she do the right thing today and end an egregious program that takes money out of children's pockets?

Hon. C. Clark: May I start just by saying that because of my travels, this is the first opportunity that I've had to face the new Leader of the Opposition, so I'd certainly like to welcome him to his new role in this Legislature.

In answer to the question, I'll say this: being a single parent is difficult. Any of us who experience that on a day-to-day basis know how hard it is, but for some parents it is a lot more difficult than it is for others. People who are struggling to find work that can support them to the extent that they need to be able to care for their children struggle more than most of us can ever imagine. We do need to support those parents, but what we need to do is also make sure that we are fair to all of the people in the province that are paying taxes and that are dependent on the system.

The reason that the government asked for that money back is because it's income. It's declared as income. Some people garner quite a bit of income in child support, while others don't garner quite so much. We want to make sure that we are fair across the system and recognize that income assistance is a service that's provided to try and help people get from social assistance back into the workforce. We intend to try and do that as broadly as we possibly can, making sure that parents have the opportunity to get to work, which is what we know all of them want to do...

Let's stop there for a moment...

Once again, just like she did when she told us she had to screw over our public educators to save 'our' children, Ms. Clark is playing her faux conflation game, hinting that as a single Mom herself she feels these poor women's (and their even poorer children's) pain.

But here's the thing.

She is not a single parent, she is a co-parent.

And she is not poor.

And none of those Mom's that she is screwing over so she can do the Fordian election thing down the road have been away 'on their travels'  because, even if they could afford a bus ticket to Chilliwack to look for work at the local Denny's they wouldn't have enough left over to pay for the sitter.


Here's an idea....

Maybe all those real single Mom's who are out looking for work could drop off their kids down at Burrard Communications for the day instead?

But I digress.

Back to the show....

Madame Speaker: Recognizing the Leader of the Official Opposition on a supplemental.

J. Horgan: I appreciate the sentiment from the Premier that she wants to respect taxpayers. Well, I would argue that the $17 million that this government spent on partisan advertising last year would have been better spent for children living in poverty. So $342 million in cost overruns on the northwest transmission line; $341 million in cost overruns on the Vancouver Convention Centre; $464 million in cost overruns on the South Fraser Perimeter Road. That would pay for the clawback for 60 years. How is that respecting taxpayers? How is a billion dollars of cost overruns while people are going without in this province…? How is that respecting taxpayers?

Families-first doesn't mean families are the first to pick up after Liberals make mistakes. It should be putting people in need at the top of the line, not the bottom of the line.

Madame Premier, you could make a difference today in thousands and thousands of people's lives by ending the clawback, ending it right now.

Hon. C. Clark: Having answered the question a number of times already, I'd like to reflect on this, and that is the fact that we believe on this side of the House that the best and the only way to lift people out of poverty, to lift families out of poverty, is to grow our economy. It's to make sure there are opportunities for people to access meaningful and useful job training that will put them into the workforce. It's to support people moving from social assistance to work, and it's to make sure that there are jobs for them when they get there.

That's why we are embarked on a generational opportunity to transform our economy to ensure that we create more jobs in our province so that more people have an opportunity, a real opportunity, to participate in our workforce in a meaningful way and to bring home a family-supporting wage.

We believe in getting to yes on economic development. That's how you resolve poverty. One day I think the opposition will catch on...

With all due respect, perhaps the good Premier of British Columbia could explain how forcing Moms to become prisoners in their own apartments because they won't be able to afford childcare, or even busfare, on $945 per month is going to help them reach out to grasp their 'generational opportunity' to participate in our workforce?

And, by way of reinforcement, the following is the kicker from Mr. Horgan and a real single Mom....

Madame Speaker: Recognizing the Leader of the Official Opposition on a further supplemental.

J. Horgan: I thought it was impossible, but somehow the Premier just said that liquefied natural gas is going to help people on disability income assistance feed their children today. I don't know how that's going to happen, but in the world the Premier lives in, apparently that's the case.

Jessica Sothcot is here today with her 14-year-old daughter (whom Mr. Horgan introduced to the House at the beginning of the session). Jessica was injured at work. She's on a disability assistance pension right now. She receives minimal amounts of money from the province to pay for her basic needs.

The court has mandated that Rosie's father pay $187 a month for basic necessities, school clothing, so she can participate in active, ordinary things that kids like to do — $187, and this government is clawing that back every single month. Jessica can't go find work. She's on disability pension. She's unable to work today. So what's the Premier's solution in her one-size-fits-all, LNG-will-save-the-day world for Rosie and Jessica? What is she going to do today for families like that?

Hon. C. Clark: Today all across our government we are working to make sure that people who are living with disabilities have more opportunities to work. That means across ministries finding ways to change the way we deliver services, to change the way we deliver training, so that we can help lift people up who are living with a disability, most of whom would love to be able to fully participate in the workforce, but there are many government barriers in the way of that happening....

Say what?

With all due respect, once again, Madame Premier...



The Snooklandians could step back from this thing right here and right now.

Specifically, they could set a reasonable level of income assistance + child support (say, for example $2000) above which the income assistance portion will then be clawed back.

And in doing so that extra court mandated child support money, which is NOT coming from taxpayers, would help raise a whole bunch of kids out of abject poverty and it would help a whole bunch of single Mom's get out to participate in Ms. Clark's so-called 'generational opportunity'.

Of course if Ms. Clark did make such a change, right here and right now, she would probably only 'save' something like, maybe $7 million per year instead of $17 million. 

On the bright side, the cumulative savings could subsequently be blown on a spring 2017 pre-election, next-generational, vote-buying bogus Bollywood-type thingy that is of no lasting use to anyone.

Or some such thing.




e.a.f. said...

thank you for printing the exchange between Clark and Horgan. This needs as much publicity as possible. It is beyond me, how a government can say they are so short of cash, they need to mine for money with children living 50% below the poverty line. The lieberals take is $17Million, yet at a mining convention this yr. Christy Clark had $10 in tax rebates for them. No where did it say the mining companies were going bankrupt, paying taxes, were B.C. companies which were hiring B.C. workers and paying "living wages".

The B.C. Lieberal agenda is clear. They don't care about children. They don't care if these children suffer from malnutrition, live in sub standard housing, or get a decent education, etc.

It would be nice if some union or community organization would run ads in local papers to ensure every one in B.C. knew about this. At least some of the churches might want to start a discussion about this.

It would be kind of fun to see what would happen if Christy Clark and her cabinet were arrested for child abuse/neglect.

The Christy lieberals aren't going to change their policies. They don't care. We can only hope to embarrass, them into permitting children to keep the child support paid to them by their non=custodial parent. Perhaps some smart young lawyer would like to take this up in court. It in fact is a matter of discrimination on the basis of family status. Children, whose parents aren't disabled and are not in receipt of disability funding from the government get to keep the money, but kids whose custodial parents are disabled can't. Has any one tried to file a human rights complaint about this. it might be fun just to see a few thousand complaints go in to the commission. It would certainly get some exposure.

Anonymous said...

So Christy wants to grow the economy to make everyone rich ? However she failed to disclose her track record doesn't agree with her: " British Columbia has received an average grade on the Conference Board of Canada’s latest economy report card, released May 15. " And about those jobs " The province received a “C” on employment growth, as employment fell by 0.2% in 2013 "

So Christy Clark can go on lying through her teeth & the Liberal toadies will be happy.... while everyone else just keeps going backwards. It's been that way for a decade and British Columbians simply said so what and gave her another 4 years to to deliver more BS.

Guy in Victoria

Anonymous said...

And now we have this from the guy who oversees how the Liberal government handles public funds: " B.C.’s auditor-general is warning that disabled people may be at risk of not having their basic needs met.

Russ Jones has found several problems with the provincial program aimed at helping people with disabilities in his report into the social development ministry." (G&M Today )

But o course the Auditor General could be wrong according to Christy Clark...... or he could be let go. Time will tell.

Guy in Victoria

Anonymous said...


Don F. said...

It's mind boggling how stupid and arrogant that woman is.
Bollywood should be shoved in her face on a daily basis.
Even if as you said Ross these women could afford a bus ticket to Chilliwack to seek work at Denny's they would be met with the reality they aren't foreign enough, they are Canadian therefore not eligible!What a sad state of affairs this whole country is in.
Christy Clarke should be banned from speaking until a time when she can think.

Anonymous said...

"Christy Clarke should be banned from speaking until a time when she can think."

You actually hold out hope that Christy will ever have enough brain power to THINK? She never has, never will. The woman is a Mortimer Snerd. Peter Principle to the extreme.

Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

Today's welfare rates, too low for a woman wronged (with young ones to look after) to risk leaving a rotten relationship are a reminder of why Mary Wollstonecraft set modern day women's liberation into motion. Guess Christy Clark missed that lesson in her school days.

bcwaterboy said...

Not surprising that Clark totally missed the point, single parents and their children are going without basic necessities right now and need help. They can't wait for her fantasies to come true. As wonderful as Mr. Horgan's questions were, he forgot to ask her how much her "travels" cost taxpayers and what these travels actually accomplished that would lift people out of poverty, right now. She doesn't get the urgency, lives in a bubble and cannot comprehend anything that doesn't benefit her backers. Hopefully Mr Horgan keeps on top of this growing problem and he definitely has the skills to get Ms Photo Op off message, would be nice to see her lose it and he could certainly make that happen, just keep on her.

RossK said...


It would be good if folks kept on this....

Thing is, this is actually a very good bit of work about how an opposition should work as it has been championed by Mungall and Karagianis for sometime now...In fact, even the (so-called) Dean wrote about it not long after LKines piece.

This is laying of groundwork and then following up on it is one of the reasons I've been impressed with the way Horgan works



If track records had anything to do with anything Ms. Clark would be the one looking for work at Denny's or, at the very least, a mid-morning slot on the Beat 95.3.

And thanks for the heads-up on the RJones report



The mind really does boggle.

And I do expect, sooner or later, for one of Snooklandian's (maybe ol' Turdstormer Bill?) to say, sooner or later, that these people should stop making babies and move 'where the jobs are'.



Be pretty tough for Edgar Bergen to get a hand-in edgewise what with all the other string-pullers already workin' the puppet hard.

And that includes, in my opinion, the fine fellow who runs the lobb-shoppe that I suggested could stand to do a little baby sitting in the post.



Not sure the 'IronSnowbird' who, apparently, could see Maggie Thatcher from her Edinburgh dorm room during one of her bouts of academic tourism even knows who Ms. Wollstonecraft (or Mr. Godwin or Ms. Shelley) even is...



It would appear that for Ms. Clark at least, our fellow citizens who need our help most are fungible.

And trying to get those folks the help they need is nothing more than 'a game'.


Anonymous said...

CC can play the game and knows that most of the people who vote for her party are less concerned with the well being of single moms on welfare. I'm not talking about her corporate friends either. I'm specifically thinking of the average voter who votes Liberal who likely ignores this type of issue. (One can argue that they are abetted in this regard by the MSM in this Province but that's a whole other issue.)

Even better for the Liberals, the NDP, in its role as the Official Opposition, is and should be raising issues such as this. Unfortuantely, by raising "social" issues such as this, the NDP arguably reinforces the Liberals' narrative that the NDP does not give a whit about the economy (and/or cannot be trusted to run it) and is more concerned about social issues (which will be addressed by throwing lots of money at the problem by raising taxes).

I just worry that the Liberals have solely and irrevocably hitched their wagon to LNG development that they will give away the proverbial farm to ensure that it happens and that we taxpayers will be the worse for it.

Kim said...

I would like to weigh in on this one. As a person on CPP disability, I receive less than 10,000 annually. If my partner were to die or leave me, I would not be eligible for PWD in BC because to qualify, you need to qualify for regular welfare benefits and my less than 10,000 disqualifies me for that. So, no support from the province for dental, physio, optical or any other health services.

Together, we total about 1,000 over the arbitrary cutoff line for fair pharmacare and MSP premium assistance, which costs us 2,400 annually in drug and MSP costs. This comes directly off the food budget, which means low quality food lacking in fresh produce and high quality protein. Eventually, this will result in higher emergent care costs. Does this meake sense to anyone?