Eric Foster defends food bank response

The B.C. government’s track record is being defended although food bank use is climbing.

The NDP is blasting the Liberals after a new report indicated food bank demand in B.C. is increasing twice as fast as the national average.

“We take the problem very seriously,” said Eric Foster, Vernon-Monashee MLA, of his government.

“Minimum wage is up and we have created more jobs than anywhere else in the country. If we can get people to work, that makes the difference.”

Beyond wages, Foster says the primary challenge for many people is the cost of housing and his government is taking positive steps to address the issue.

“We’re making progress. In Vernon, during  the last two street counts, there are zero homeless camps,” he said.

“We have partnered up with community organizations and that’s making a difference.”

Statistics from Food Banks Canada show that food bank use in B.C. increased by 6.6 per cent – more than double the rise of 2.4 per cent across Canada.

It also states that 11.4 per cent – or more than one in 10 British Columbians – who accessed services at B.C. food banks between 2011 and 2012 were employed.

“This is not a simple issue that can be fixed with band aid solutions. British Columbians deserve solutions to the problems they face today, and the Liberal government has refused to take the problem seriously,” said Carole James, NDP social development critic.


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