As part of our Meet Your MLA campaign, Tara S. met with her Burnaby-Lougheed MLA Katrina Chen, who is also the Minister of State for Child Care, to push for the implementation of an accountable, bold and comprehensive poverty reduction plan. Tara kindly shared her experience with us to give you an idea of what you might expect in a meeting with your MLA.
My meeting with Katrina Chen was all in all fruitful. Meeting with politicians is always a mixed-bag but i find her more sincere than most and she gives you a good listening ear.
After pressing that the BC plan with all its urgency, dimensions, timelines and targets needs to be dealt with equally, I was promptly handed the “Budget 2018: Working for You” document.
At a cursory glance, definitely provides relief in housing, child care, health care and programs for Indigenous communities. However the emphasis is on the middle class, which is great but not addressing issues of the working poor (many of whom are racialised communities) and people in deep poverty.
As Katrina is Minister of State for Child Care, she related the story of a single mother who because of housing affordability had to move from Burnaby to Maple Ridge. However, the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative brought her great relief and she was able to go back to work. This was my segue into the All On Board campaign. I mentioned how wonderful it would have been for her if her child could ride for free and that she had a bus pass on an income sliding scale, so she could be more frequently connected to her old community in Burnaby. She very graciously agreed to distribute the All on Board cards from her office, but was not quite sold on the income sliding scale and the logistics of accomplishing that. But if we make good presentations to council of different municipalities, she would be willing to revisit.
Katrina is an approachable endearing person, who is very collaborative. She introduced me to Raj Chouhan, the Burnaby-Edmonds MLA. She was also present at the BCPRC presentation to cabinet on October 17th. I honestly feel she could be a good ally and I will endeavour to meet with her and Janet Routledge, MLA for Burnaby North, before the budget 2019, so that we can try to influence how the government is going to meet their legislated timelines and targets for poverty reduction.
Join Tara by arranging to meet with your MLA. Together, we can push for an accountable, bold and comprehensive poverty reduction plan!