Thank you so much for your series about “Poverty In Paradise” (part two of Lissa Alexander’s series is in the Feb. 27 edition of The NEWS).
In response to MLA Michelle Stillwell comments in part one, I would like to bring her attention to several issues that affect the working poor in our province.
Is our MLA aware that dental coverage in the Healthy Kid program has been reduced? Children are eligible for $1,400 of basic dental services every two years. That’s only $700 a year. Emergency dental treatment is only available for the immediate relief of pain once the biennial limit has been reached.
As to the PharmaCare program, a person has to make less than $15,000/year to get free prescriptions. If you earn $15,000/year, you need to spend $1,000 before PharmaCare will pay 70 per cent. That’s a lot of prescriptions.
Has Stilwell ever had to tell her children they can’t go to a birthday party because there is no money to buy a gift? Can she feed her family on $100/week? That’s $14.28/day for breakfast, lunch and supper. Milk is almost $6 a jug. Does she look at fresh fruit and vegetables in the grocery store?
One recent Christmas Eve, our furnace broke down and on Boxing Day our fridge broke. The only option open was to replace them using a credit card. Now I have that extra payment every month.
I pay almost $100 in taxes for $600 worth of heating oil. Many months we have a choice between ordering fuel or purchasing groceries. And wait until the new BC Hydro rates kick in.
To make ends meet, there are so many things we go without. I pray all the time that nothing breaks down because there is no extra money.
I am one of the hundreds of thousands of “working poor” in B.C. Sometimes I cry, sometimes I laugh, but every single day, before making any decision, I think “how much will this cost?”
I urge your readers to write to our MLA and to the Liberal government to express concern about the growing inequality in British Columbia.