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Weaver statement for Victoria Downtown Service Providers’ Association event

April 29, 2017

VICTORIA B.C. – Andrew Weaver, leader of the B.C. Green Party, released the following statement for guests attending the Victoria Downtown Service Providers’ Association event. Weaver is on the first leg of his last provincial tour this election, visiting Cowichan Valley and Parksville today.

“I wish to thank the Downtown Service Providers’ Association for their invaluable commitment to social justice and the health and wellbeing of the marginalized. A society is judged by how it treats the most vulnerable among us, and under the BC Liberal government, we have failed.

“Yesterday, I toured the new tent city in Vancouver’s downtown eastside. I again witnessed how the abysmally-low welfare and disability assistance rates, the skyrocketing cost of housing and the lack of support for children have led to so much unnecessary suffering in this province.

“This election, we must shift the direction of our province. We must bring evidence-based policies to support those who need help, while investing in preventative measures that ensure new generations never experience the suffering that current generations have endured.

“The B.C. Green Party believes that we all have a human right to reasonable accommodation that is safe and secure, and a B.C. Green Government will take immediate steps to ensure that this right is met. We are committed to providing adequate, affordable housing and working towards a livable income for all British Columbians.

“Among our many platform commitments to the voters of British Columbia, I am particularly proud of our commitments to establish a basic income support for youth transitioning out of foster care; increase rates for Persons With Disabilities, income assistance and shelter allowance to 50% above the current level by 2020; build up to 4,000 units of affordable housing per year; establish a Ministry of Mental Health and Addiction; and fund early intervention, youth mental health initiatives, supervised injection sites and an immediate response to the fentanyl crisis based on successful programs in Europe.

“Finally, thank you to those attending today’s event. Your commitment to a better society is an inspiration to me and my colleagues in the B.C. Green Party.”

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Background - B.C. Green platform commitments

The B.C. Green Party strategy for income security includes the following measures:

  • Develop a poverty reduction strategy

  • Establish a basic income support for youth ages 18-24 transitioning out of foster care.

  • Increase Persons With Disabilities, income assistance and shelter allowance rates by 10% beginning October 2017, rising to 50% above the current level by April 2020.

  • Eliminate MSP premiums and roll them into the income tax and payroll systems.

  • Establish an arms-length minimum wage commission to establish a new minimum wage and oversee regular rate reviews. 

The B.C. Green Party strategy for affordable homes includes the following measures:

  • Invest $750 million to build up to 4,000 units of affordable housing per year.

  • Invest $100 million in retrofits and renovations for existing social housing units.

  • Make modifications to the Property Transfer Tax and Home Owners Grant to make them more progressive and income-based.

  • Enhance provisions in The Residential Tenancy Act to control rent increases, and to protect tenants from unfair tenure termination.

The B.C. Green Party strategy for healthy lives, including mental health and addictions, includes the following measures:

  • Establish a Ministry responsible for mental health and addictions; which will be responsible for developing and implementing:

  • Mental Health and Addiction strategy based on the recommendations of the Auditor General;

  • Youth Mental Health Strategy for early detection of mental health illness.

  • Allocate $80 million to fund early intervention, youth mental health initiatives, supervised injection sites, and community based centres for mental health and rehabilitation.

  • Develop an immediate response to the fentanyl crisis based on successful programs in Europe that invest in treatment on demand, drug substitution, early-warning monitoring systems, and coordinated response.

Media contact

Jillian Oliver, Press Secretary
+1 778-650-0597 | [email protected]

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