Message to the new BC cabinet: British Columbians want a poverty reduction plan

    VANCOUVER, June 9 /CNW/ - A poll commissioned by the BC Poverty Reduction
Coalition and conducted just before the May provincial election by the Mustel
Group found that 79% of British Columbians believe a poverty reduction plan
with legislated targets and timelines should be a priority for the new
provincial government (46% said such a plan is a high priority, and 33% said
it was a medium priority).(*)
    A growing number of provinces across the country are implementing poverty
reduction plans, but so far not BC. A week before BC's election, a new Poverty
Reduction Act with concrete targets was passed by Ontario's legislature with
unanimous all-party support. And Manitoba is the latest province to initiate a
plan. It is clear from the BC poll results that British Columbians expect
their government to take leadership on this issue.
    The BC Poverty Reduction Coalition has called for a comprehensive
provincial plan in an open letter to all political parties. Leading up to the
May 12th election, the coalition's call won the endorsement of almost 300
organizations from around the province (see for
the Open Letter and full list of signatories).
    The Coalition is calling on Premier Campbell to introduce a plan, and to
designate a lead minister for poverty reduction with a cross-government
mandate and secretariat, a common element of all provincial plans.
    By any measure, BC has the highest poverty rates in the country. With the
majority of British Columbians supporting bold action to reduce poverty, the
Coalition wants the government to consider a poverty reduction plan as central
in its evolving response to the current economic downturn; fighting poverty
makes solid sense as a focal point for an effective economic stimulus package.

    (*) The Mustel Group poll of 500 British Columbians was conducted between
        April 28 and May 7, and has a margin of error of +/- 4.4%, 19 times
        out of 20.
        The question asked (as part of Mustel Group's Omnibus survey) was: Do
        you think a poverty reduction plan with legislated targets and
        timelines should be a high priority, medium priority, low priority or
        not a priority at all for the provincial government that will be
        elected on May 12?

For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview, call: Adrienne
Montani, Provincial Coordinator, First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy
Coalition, (604) 873-8437; Seth Klein, BC Director, Canadian Centre for Policy
Alternatives: call Sarah Leavitt, (604) 801-5121 x233

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