Editorial: No child deserves to live in poverty in B.C.

Children have no choice over whether they are poor or not.

Whenever we publish anything about income inequality there are always those who argue that those at the bottom of the income gap are somehow deserving of their poorly-paid fate.

They must have, the argument goes, asked for it in some fashion by making poor choices in life.

It’s largely nonsense, of course. But this argument especially disintegrates when one is talking about one particular group living in poverty in B.C.: children.

Children have no choice over whether they are poor or not.

They cannot help their parents to get an education or to get a job. They cannot raise themselves up out of welfare.

Fortunately we don’t live in a Dickensian novel where all those unfortunates could just be shipped out to work in a factory for a few cents, where they might die in the squalid conditions.

But as we reflect on National Child Day, which was celebrated earlier this week, we cannot help but think about how, as a society we are falling down on the job when it comes to offering kids a bright future.

Because how much money a family has (whether it is adequate to cover basic needs such as shelter, clothing and food) has a huge impact on the probable future a child has.

The 2017 BC Child Poverty Report Card was released by First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition Tuesday and the numbers were stark. In this province the child poverty rate is 18.3 per cent — that’s 153,300 children. That is unacceptable in any society, let alone one of the wealthiest nations on earth.

Unsurprisingly, children who are recent immigrants, off-reserve Aboriginal children, visible minorities, and those in single-parent (largely single mom) households are the worst off.

It’s all predictable. And fixable. A guaranteed basic income is a good place to start, along with affordable childcare. We just need the will.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fire crews put out blaze in Cowichan Secondary outbuilding

Three halls respond to fire in storage structure

Furstenau accuses Horgan of politicizing new Cowichan hospital as premier makes Valley campaign stop

Premier suggests that new facility hinges on re-election of NDP government

Who’s running in Cowichan?

A list of Cowichan candidates for the upcoming provincial election

Cowichan Performing Arts Centre streaming new short film tonight

Standing By has been created and performed by Cowichan-raised actor Nicole Ratjen.

Orange Shirt Society launches first textbook on residential school history

Phyllis Webstad and Joan Sorley worked on the 156-page book to help educate students

Metis pilot Teara Fraser profiled in new DC Comics graphic novel of women heroes

The Canadian pilot’s entry is titled: ‘Teara Fraser: Helping Others Soar’

Horgan vows to replace B.C.’s shared senior care rooms in 10 years

$1.4 billion construction on top of staff raises, single-site work

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

More sex abuse charges laid against B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’

Investigators now focussing efforts on alleged victims within the Glad Tidings Church community

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Orange Shirt Day lessons of past in today’s classrooms

Phyllis Webstad, who attended St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School in British Columbia, is credited for creating the movement

Greens’ Furstenau fires at NDP, Liberals on pandemic recovery, sales tax promise

She also criticized the NDP economic recovery plan, arguing it abandons the tourism industry

Most Read