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B.C. MLA Completes Month Long Challenge Of Living On Welfare

On Tuesday, Fleetwood-Surrey MLA Jagrup Brar completed a month-long challenge to live on the single person welfare rate of $610.

The challenge was issued to 85 MLAs by the poverty advocacy group Raise the Rates. The group said Brar’s experience proved welfare rates were too low since he not only lost fifteen pounds because he was unable to afford food, but also had to cash in bottles to get by in his last days.

Brar took up the challenge to learn what it was like to be poor in B.C.  Brar said his “life-changing” and “humbling” experiences will guide his policy.

“I want to apologize to the people who lost their lives because of poverty,” Brar said choking up at a conference Tuesday. “We failed to provide you the resources to live your full potential lives and I want to promise you, wherever you are, that I will work hard to make a positive change.”

Policy improvements Brar promised to make include:

· Decreasing the number of approximately 137,000 B.C. children living in poverty

· Improve disability and mental health services

· Provide training for foreign workers and better protect wage rights

· Support for sponsored refugees to make sure sponsor families are provided with promised food, shelter and services

While Brar did not promise policy changes on the spot, he said he would begin a poverty reduction plan immediately with his caucus members.

 

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