On October 12, Patti Pearcey and Beverley Pitman, constituents of David Eby MLA for Vancouver-Point Grey and Attorney General for BC, met as part of the Poverty Reduction Coalition (PRC) initiative MEET YOUR MLA. Trish Garner was also in attendance, in her capacity as Community Organizer for the PRC. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss poverty issues in the riding, the poverty reduction plan the Coalition is proposing, and emphasizing the Coalition’s Accountable, Bold and Comprehensive poverty reduction plan.
A background document was prepared in advance of the meeting tracking poverty and low income in the riding. This backgrounder provided an important base line to work from in addressing issues local issues.
The meeting was timely as the Government of BC had recently introduced the Poverty Reduction Strategy Act, intended to, among other things, target specific vulnerable populations, meet targets and report annually to the legislature.
The topics discussed included: welfare rate increases, rent control tied to the unit, depth of poverty targets, a cross-ministerial approach to implementing the plan, and addressing the need for a foundational human rights foundation.
Eby, a lawyer, previously worked for Pivot Legal Society in the area of housing and homelessness and co-authored Cracks In the Foundation: Solving the Housing Crisis in Canada’ Poorest Postal Code (Pivot Legal Society, 2006), which focused primarily on poverty and housing issues in the Downtown Eastside.
Essentially, the overall hope was that Eby, as part of the cross-ministerial initiative and Attorney General, would have the opportunity and insight, based on his previous poverty related work, to engage with Minister Simpson and others in establishing and maintaining not only a ‘riding’ approach but also a cross government approach to address the poverty reduction strategy.
As a result of the October 12 meeting, Eby attended a meeting hosted by the Coalition, in Victoria, that he may not otherwise have been aware of – another indication of the importance of establishing a solid local relationship with MLA’s.
The meeting with Eby provided important insights into the role constituents and community groups can continue to work with all stakeholders, including MLA’s and provide relief to the almost 600,000 British Columbians living in poverty.
The PRC looks forward to maintaining communication and working with MLA’s and others across the province to contribute to a Accountable, Bold and Comprehensive Poverty Action Plan.