As they say, the proof will be in the pudding.
Few would argue contrary to the need for the provincial government to develop a poverty reduction strategy, which Shane Simpson, provincial minister of social development and poverty reduction, unveiled in Newton on Monday morning.
The plan is designed to lift 140,000 people – 50,000 children among them – out of poverty, and reduce poverty by 25 per cent overall, and child poverty by 50 per cent, over the next five years in B.C.
Such a plan is clearly needed, considering so many people are in need of a helping hand in this province – not only those pushing shopping carts and sleeping in tents and doorways, but people who are struggling to make ends meet despite holding down a job, or even two.
That this province was the last in Canada to develop a poverty reduction strategy is a shame. That said, the NDP government should be lauded for grabbing the bull by the horns, so to speak, and tackling this serious social problem.
During the big unveil, Simpson rightfully noted that everyone in this province, regardless of background or income, must be treated with dignity and have access to opportunity, as for too long now too many of our fellow citizens have been “left out, and left behind.”
There is much that’s good and noble in this five-year strategy. The question is, will the NDP still be in government to fulfill this strategy and if not, will we see the plan carried through?
It’s heartening that Bill 39, the Poverty Reduction Strategy Act, was passed last fall with unanimous support in Victoria.
Let’s hope we see a concerted effort, not encumbered by partisan nonsense, to see this vision fulfilled.
Talk, as they also say, is cheap.