Programs for English learners to close

October 29, 2014

English language students and teachers protest cuts to language programsEnglish language students and teachers protest cuts to language programs

Students who need to access English language programs are being left behind as their programs are forced to shut down.

Premier Christy Clark promised in her throne speech to “ensure today’s students enjoy the best opportunities and career possibilities.” But under the agreement she reached with the federal government, funding for English Language Learning (ELL) programs will run out April 1, 2015, forcing some programs to begin winding down as early as December.

At the end of this school year, 9,000 students at B.C. colleges will lose access to English language education. The government saw these cuts coming for two years and did nothing to prevent them.

In the legislature, we asked Minister of Advanced Education Amrik Virk what his plan is to ensure B.C. has as many spaces next April as we have today. He had no answer for us, or for the hundreds of students from these programs who are asking for help.
Other provinces, like Alberta and Ontario, fund similar language programs, but the BC government has refused to step in to keep these programs alive.

If Clark and her ministers are truly committed to growing our economy and supporting immigrants to this province, like they say they are, they would act today and ensure these programs remain open, and continue to be available to British Columbians who want to learn or improve their English.

You can send an email to the Minister of Advanced Education with your thoughts on the cuts at


Child support clawbacks must end

It’s time for the government to stop taking money out of the hands of B.C.’s poorest kids.

Child support paid to children of single parents receiving income supports like disability is currently clawed back from income support payments, dollar for dollar. The government removed the income assistance earnings exemption for child support in 2001.

Half of children being raised by a single mother live in poverty in British Columbia. The province has had the highest rate of child poverty in the country for more than a decade.

Thirty per cent of all food bank users in B.C. are children. That’s evidence of real food insecurity facing B.C. families. We can do better, and we need to, not just for these families, but for the future of the province.

Child support payments belong to children, not to the government.

Watch me and my colleagues, Michelle Mungall and Jenny Kwan, question the minister on his policy in the legislature:

Hastings Park Farmer’s Market

A warm welcome to the Vancouver Farmers Market Hastings Park market. The market runs Sundays, 10 am to 2 pm, until November 30. I’m very pleased that constituents will have access to more local and organic food choices. I’ll have a table at the market November 9, please stopby and say hello. Find out more about the temporary winter market at

Photo courtesy of Vancouver Farmers MarketsPhoto courtesy of Vancouver Farmers Markets


















Municipal election November 15

Elect a mayor, 10 city council members, 7 park board commissioners, and 9 school board trustees Saturday, November 15. You can vote in advance, 8 am to 8 pm, starting November 4. New this year: vote at any voting location in the city.

Browse candidate profiles and information online at
Find out where your closest polling station is
Call 311 or email to find out more details.


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