Child poverty in West Vancouver? In that affluent municipality?
Well, yes and no, according to Tom Fletcher’s article entitled Time to Enrich Poverty Debate in B.C. (March 9, Comox Valley Record).
Mr. Fletcher bases his concept of child poverty in B.C. on the ideas of Liberal MLA Ralph Sultan of West Vancouver. In a paper called Child Poverty in West Vancouver, Sultan takes issue with the Statistics Canada report on child poverty that gave B.C. such a shiner.
Where did Mr. Sultan go for his research? Well, West Vancouver. The same West Vancouver I became acquainted with in 2006 in a blockade at Eagleridge Bluffs.
The Bluffs were destroyed by Kevin Falcon, then Liberal Transportation minister, to save about six minutes getting to the Olympics in Whistler. Still, this is an odd place to go to research a paper on child poverty.
West Vancouver is the wealthiest municipality in B.C. and one of the top contenders for that title in all of Canada. More than 70 per cent of the homes in West Vancouver are worth well over $1 million.
Nevertheless, this is where Mr. Fletcher studies child poverty in B.C. to prove there isn’t any. Or when there is, that it is primarily single women with children, some immigrants, and First Nations people on reserves who are responsible for clogging up the child poverty statistics that make B.C. look bad.
Especially single women with children.
It’s their fault, Mr. Sultan seems to imply, that they and their children are poor. Never mind that outside the ethnic communities marriages now break down nearly half of the time, and many will leave women with a child or two to support.
And while Mr. Sultan claims that “his personal cause at the moment” is to get single mothers back into the workforce, he sneers at Quebec’s provincially subsidized daycare. The cost to parents for daycare in Quebec is $7 a day, or $140 a month, which is the lowest in Canada.
In B.C., the average cost for daycare is $600 to $700 a month, which is the highest in the nation. So we have both the highest child poverty rates in Canada and also the highest cost for daycare in Canada.
No wonder the population in B.C. is shrinking. If it weren’t for immigration, we would be in serious trouble.
When women are expected to be both producers (get and keep outside jobs) and reproducers (make the babies, feed and water them to adulthood and be ready with abject mea culpas if things go off the rails in the process), without adequate affordable social services, then many women decide to pass on reproducing altogether.
This province needs leaders who recognize that children must be a priority.
What we don’t need are more pompous, sanctimonious pronouncements by B.C. Liberal Party politicians and correspondents, who, in my opinion, can’t write, can’t reason, and understand nothing about the lives of women and children outside their own class, which includes most of the women and children in B.C.