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Single moms, BC NDP urge province to stop social assistance clawbacks

NEW WESTMINSTER (NEWS1130) – It’s supposed to be a day to honor your mother, but some single moms in New Westminster sent a Mothers’ Day Message to Victoria instead. They’re calling on the Provincial government to put their children first, and stop clawing back child support from parents on social assistance. The BC NDP warn it’s about more than just money–it’s a child poverty and food security issue.

Diane Terrillon with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now says she’s forced to use the food bank, and rarely can afford fresh fruit for her son since any money provided by her child’s father is taken off the $1200 disability cheque she receives every month.

Like many mothers, Terrillon has to say no to her son as they pass the aisles of the grocery store. What’s different, she says, is he’s asking for fruits and vegetables, not junk food, and she can’t afford to buy fresh produce on her 35-dollar a week budget instead relying on expired cans of soup and pasta from the food bank.

“If we had the extra 200 dollars that a judge has ordered that is his money, I would have enough money each month to go get the extra groceries that my son needs, to go get the fruits and vegetables that he needs to eat each month,” says Terrillon.

Premier Christy Clark’s slogan, Families First is frustrating for Terrillon and many other single mothers, “Christy Clark has been saying Families First for a long time–and I have never seen her put families first. If she is putting families first, I am a family, why aren’t I coming first?” She adds she’s tired of hearing the Premier talk about Liquefied Natural Gas, which she says won’t help feed thousands of kids in the province going hungry right now.

BC NDP Health Critic Judy Darcy is renewing the call for the province to create a Child Poverty Reduction Plan like every other province, except Saskatchewan, did years ago. She says if the Liberal government took the 17-million dollars they spent on ads leading up to May’s election, it would be more than enough repay money taken off income assistance cheques for single mothers.