today I can tell you that we will increase the shelter allowance
for income-assistance recipients in the next budget for
British Columbia and that will be the first increase since
Premier Gordon Campbell, Speech
to the UBCM, October 2006
for the poor should always be grateful when a few crumbs
fall off the table. After more than five years of neglect,
it is hard not to say thank you for finally considering
an increase in the shelter allowance for our most needy
3rd, BC's Minister Responsible for Housing, Rich Coleman,
a $40 million a year program which he said would benefit
low-income renters; those on welfare were ruled ineligible.
On October 27th, Premier Campbell said people on welfare
would get some good news with respect to their shelter allowance,
if they held on for another four months plus whatever implementation
time would be announced in the February budget.
October and February, BC will go through a cold, wet winter
with many of the most needy not being able to find shelter.
When the Campbell government came to power it announced
$1.5 billion in tax cuts the day it was sworn in, followed
by another $790 million in corporate tax cuts in its July
2001 mini-budget. Why can't it act with equal speed to help
people needing assistance, including those on the streets,
before the start of winter?
increase in the shelter
allowance, about 40% of the total income assistance
budget, would cost less than the annual amount given in
tax cuts in 2001 to those making more than $250,000 per
year. It took less than a day to give an average tax cut
of over $20,000 per year to the most privileged, but it
will take more than four months for the Campbell government
to think about what it might to do help 135,000
people who depend on income assistance. The months of
delay will be months of real suffering for thousands of
people, some of whom you see on the street, but few of whom
you'll ever see at a ballot box.