Carole James, the NDP Critic for Social Development, outlined what she called her solution for increased food bank use in a recent letter to the editor.  Her stated solution is to “improve poverty rates by addressing issues of affordability such as housing, education, and skills training.”
That’s all very well, but those are not solutions to poverty.
Food Banks Canada identified the problem quite succinctly: “There is no shortage of low-paid jobs in Canada…It is not so much the job sector that is important; what is important is the fact that 18 per cent of employed Canadians earn less than $17,000 per year.”
 Education and skills training are important, but they do nothing by themselves to create high-paying jobs and bring people out of poverty.
Low cost housing, for its part, simply makes poverty slightly more bearable.
Ultimately, as Food Banks Canada (and common sense) suggest, high-paying jobs are the only viable solution to poverty.
All the training in the world won’t help if there are no good jobs – we’ll simply be using our taxpayers’ money to train people to go to Alberta where good jobs actually do exist.
We have a huge opportunity in the Northern Gateway Pipeline to put hundreds of people to work in highly paid, highly skilled jobs – the most modern, most regulated, most scrutinized pipeline in Canadian history.
A conservative estimate suggests that it will create 4,100 person-years of work in the initial stages and 58,000 person-years of work in ongoing jobs – yet both the Liberals and the NDP are busy throwing roadblocks in front of it.
The pipeline won’t solve all our economic problems, but it’s a start. B.C. needs real positive change in the way we approach business in this province.
We have to stop tying our farmers up in unnecessary red tape and driving them out of business, and we have to stop saying no to potential economic development.
Otherwise we’ll be forever stuck in the NDP/Liberal paradigm – well educated, well-trained people scraping by in subsidized housing because there are no decent jobs.
The poor in this province shouldn’t have to choose between Alberta and food banks.
Scott Anderson, BC Conservative candidate