Venables: "...those doing the work think there is a lot being done."

British Columbia Salvation Army Major Brian Venables doesn't think "it's a fair question" to ask whether the provincial government should be doing more to combat child poverty. Major Venables was at the legislature today to attend the scheduled unveiling of Finance Minister Colin Hansen's new shoes - a pre-budget tradition. But, instead, Minister Hansen donated $4,000 of his own money so the Salvation Army could buy 100 pairs of shoes for needy children.

As laudable as that donation is, though, in 2008, British Columbia had the highest child poverty rate in the country for the fifth year in a row. This, according to First Call. So we wanted to know if Major Venables thought the government should be doing more to address that problem.

"That's not a fair question, I don't think," he responded. "They do all they can. Different events happen and they need to be supported. The government is trying its best to be supportive of the entire citizenry of British Columbia. So they're doing all they can. Could they do more? Sure."

But why isn't it a fair question, given reports the province has the country's highest child poverty rate? "There's a lot of talk by theorists. And there's a lot of talk by those who observe. But those doing the work think there is a lot being done," said Major Venables.

Later, Minister Hansen said there will be "additional dollars in the budget tomorrow for services for children and families."

The following is a complete transcript of the aforementioned exchange.

***

Media Major, this is obviously a laudable charitable act. But there has been significant criticism of this government - specifically when it comes to its record on child poverty. How do you feel about that particular record?

Major Venables Poverty is not just the responsibility of government. It's the responsibility of all of us to make sure that those around us don't go hungry and don't go without. And we've got a very, very responsive community in Vancouver, Victoria and the whole province. People care about each other. And this is just one example of people reaching out and making a difference to someone else.

Media Do you think the government should be doing more when it comes to child poverty?

Major Venables That's not a fair question, I don't think. They do all they can. Different events happen and they need to be supported. The government is trying its best to be supportive of the entire citizenry of British Columbia. So they're doing all they can. Could they do more? Sure.

Media Why do you think it's not a fair question. After all, there's been a lot of talk about the fact we are the last in Canada when it comes to child poverty.

Major Venables There's a lot of talk by theorists. And there's a lot of talk by those who observe. But those doing the work think there is a lot being done.

1 Comment

Let's clad 'em all in little red Guccis and call it Mission Accomplished?

Why not raise BC's children to depend on charitable handouts from kindly fellow citizens instead of setting minimum wages that allow their families to live with dignitiy and independence?

They (government) do all they can but they can do more?

Sorry, none of it makes any sense at all, Sean. I mean, I can totally see that having the highest child poverty rate in Canada must be great for the charity business.

But I somehow doubt this is what the poor fellow was trying to say - sounds like you caught him off guard or something. In fairness, you should really ask the Salvation Army to issue a statement clarifying their position on the BC government's responsibility vis a vis managing a booming economy that left us with the highest child poverty in Canada.

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