Excerpt from the Official Report of
DEBATES OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

(Hansard)


October 18, 2011

Statement on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

S. Simpson: I'm pleased to stand today to recognize October 17 as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. This is the 19th time this United Nations resolution has been recognized globally. This resolution's intention is to cut global poverty in half by 2015. The UN has identified a number of rights that all citizens should have, including the right to health, housing, education and adequate food, to a decent standard of living and to decent work, among others.

As a province, it is critical that we not only recognize this important day but commit to doing what we can to support these initiatives. We need to advocate with our federal government that they continue to support global matters. We also have to look within our own borders and recognize our own challenges. Some 12 percent of British Columbians live in poverty — that is more than half a million of our citizens who need our help; 120,000 of these are children.

Addressing poverty is a challenging and complex issue. It requires real commitment if we are to break the cycle of poverty and give these children the opportunity for a different future than the one that too many of them face today. Voices are growing across our nation calling on elected representatives to take action, calling on us to blunt the growing inequality that the Conference Board of Canada has recently warned us about. We cannot be complacent.

I believe these concerns were reflected this Saturday in the Occupy Vancouver action and in similar events across Canada. These are British Columbians and other Canadians calling on us to have a plan and to take action, calling on all of us as legislators to look at our priorities and to talk about them with our citizens.

I believe the majority of MLAs understand these challenges and would agree that we need to work together to reduce inequality and, with it, poverty. I believe the majority of members would also agree that we need to put our united voice of support behind the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, and I am hopeful that a majority would embrace our collective responsibility as legislators to do everything we can to support the half a million British Columbians who are looking for the opportunity to escape poverty here at home.

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