BC Politics with Hubert Beyer

Archives of British Columbia's most well read Political Columnist

 

 

 

Hubert Beyer, Biography

Hubert Beyer was widely known as one of Canada's most read journalists. His columns were published regularly in most BC Community Newspapers, and his perspective sought on the Federal level as well as by NORAD in the US, Beyer lived up to his reputation as the "Fairest of them All."

Born in a small village in West Germany, Beyer immigrated to Canada in his 20s where he married and had 4 children.

A German Language publication in Winnipeg was Beyer's first foray into writing in Canada, it was soon followed with work at the Winnipeg Free Press as a Reporter covering many different beats. more

Top Search: Forestry

Find out what Beyer had to say about Forestry in BC through the years. With the forestry industry supporting a large segment of employment and opportunity in British Columbia, it's no surprise that it's a top search.

Top Search: Elections

Election are always a hot topicAnytime the faintest hint of a provincial or federal election announcement draws near, the search for quotes and history on past British Columbia elections starts to climb.

Top Search: Budget Release

When is the Budget not a hot searchProvincial Bugets are introduced with fanfare and fraught with talk from pundits, experts and critics. Take a few minutes to see how BC Budgets of the past were often projections of the future. 

SCHOOL MEAL PROGRAM AXED

VICTORIA -- Well, it looks like the NDP proposal for A government-sponsored meal program in Vancouver schools is dead. Good thing, too.

Social Services Minister Claude Richmond gave the plan the deep-six at a press conference last week. He said the government had carefully considered the scheme and come to the conclusion that it would, at best, address the symptoms, but not the causes.

Here are the facts: Between 400 and 700 children in Vancouver come to school hungry. They have not had breakfast and often bring no lunch. These are estimates by teachers and principals who recognize the problem but are unwilling to identify the kids out of respect for their human dignity.

To address the problem, the NDP proposed a general school Meal program. Any student could take advantage of the offer, but those who could afford to pay would do so. Assurance of anonymity wouyld be guaranteed.

Richmond said the biggest problem was that any such program Would probably get out of hand, even if the number of hungry kids doesn't go up. Anyone familiar with government has got to agree with that assumption. Government programs, even the smallest ones, have a tendency to become empires onto themselves.

The administrators of the programs will see to that. The minister also pointed out that even if the program Succeeded in feeding the hungry children, it wouldn't address the Root problem -- parental indifference, neglect or a family's Inability to manage its budget. Right again.

Contrary to many claims, B.C.'s social services system is Quite adequate. Nobody needs to fall through the cracks. Here are Some examples.

A single parent with two children gets $435 in monthly Support benefits, $486 in shelter allowance, $10.99 a month (averaged) in school start-up and Christmas allowance. The federal family allowance, child tax credit and federal sales tax credit add another $147.84 a month.

That gives a single parent with two children a total Monthly income of 1,079.83. Free drugs, dental, medical and hospital care add an average of $114 a month to that total. And if, for some reason, that amount should ever fall short of what's needed, the government will provide crisis grants.

The benefits increase with the number of dependents. A Single parent with three children has a disposable income of $1,256 a month plus free health care; the figure for two parents with three children is 1,368 a month.

Keep in mind that the provincial portion of those benefits is not taxable income. The federal portion will also end up non-taxable if it's the only income. An employed person would have to earn at least $1,600 a month to take home $1,386. That amounts to 9.85 an hour, not a princely wage, but more than a lot of working people make.

Don't get me wrong. The question is not whether it's fun to be On welfare. It isn't. A job beats welfare six ways to breakfast. Unfortunately, our free enterprise system is unable to provide work for everybody. The question here is simply: are welfare payments too low for families to feed their children?

Based on the figures above, the answer to that question has got to be no. Cries by the NDP that the Socreds have no compassion for hungry school children were as predictable as they are unconvincing. The NDP has no monopoly on compassion. It is, however, often convinced that there's a government program for anything that ails society.

Richmond said he would much rather see his ministry's Financial advisers counsel families who can't seem to manage their budgets. He urged teachers and principals to identify children who come to school hungry and without lunch.

When reporters asked Richmond what he would do if teachers refused to co-operate, he was evasive, saying that it was their moral responsibility to identify the hungry kids. As for their legal responsibility, the minister wasn't so sure. Maybe he should check into that.

According to the law, any citizen has the legal responsibility To notify the authorities of child abuse. Letting children go Hungry is as much of an abuse as any other, and professing to Lofty ideals of respecting the dignity of children doesn't put Food into their stomachs.

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