MP says child poverty quotes ‘out of context’
Federal Industry Minister James Moore is being slammed for comments about child poverty, including a suggestion it isn't the government's job to feed poor children. (REUTERS)
Federal Industry Minister James Moore was publicly clobbered for suggesting his tax dollars shouldn’t go to feed other people’s children, and saying it wasn’t the federal government’s job to fight child poverty in B.C.
Twitter and other social media streams quickly caught fire after Vancouver radio station News1130 posted audio online of Moore telling a reporter Friday, “The government says it’s my job to feed my neighbour’s child? I don’t think so,” with Moore heard chuckling at the end.
The Tri-Cities MP also said it’s important children go to school full-bellied, but questioned whether it’s always the government’s job to “serve people their breakfast.” He suggested Ottawa wouldn’t step in to help provinces fight child poverty.
“I have to admit the first thing I thought was, ‘Ho, ho, ho, merry Christmas minister Moore,’” said Megan Leslie, deputy leader of the federal NDP. “Not that these comments are appropriate any time of the year.”
Leslie said the comments suggest Moore lacks understanding about the economy and poverty.
Child poverty has been a hot issue since a damning Nov. 26 report from child advocate organization First Call indicating B.C. has the worst child poverty rate in Canada at more than 18.5%.
“I’m shocked and disappointed,” said Adrienne Montani of First Call. “It’s a very callous statement. It is his job as a federal minister to look after the welfare of some of our most vulnerable citizens and that would include children.”
She added the report outlined recommendations for the federal government to eliminate child poverty.
Montani questioned other comments Moore made about Canada’s prosperity.
“Somebody should ask him how come we’re not sharing that equitably, how come so many kids in the country are poor?” Montani said.
Moore responded to the outrage via Twitter, saying they were taken out of context.
His office didn’t return emails or calls Sunday. A phone message said the office is closed Sundays.