Opinion Column

B.C. loaded with luxury cars, poor people

By Bill Tieleman, News, Views, and Attitude – 24 hours

2013 Porsche 922 Carrera S Cabriolet. $149,631.76 (Taxes not included). (QMI FILE PHOTO)

2013 Porsche 922 Carrera S Cabriolet. $149,631.76 (Taxes not included). (QMI FILE PHOTO)

Social acceptance: It is important to us that the Porsche brand is firmly anchored in society. And represents an attainable dream. — Porsche Canada

Great news: Porsche sales went up 20% in British Columbia in 2013.

Unfortunately, so did the number of poor children and people without full-time jobs.

And while it’s good Porsche is concerned about the “social acceptance” of the cars it sells starting from $54,000 for a Macan S to $1 million for a 918 Spyder — something is wrong with this picture.

Sadly, a Porsche is an “attainable dream” for B.C.’s rich, but the hope of a full-time job and raising children without poverty is unattainable for hundreds of thousands of citizens.

And don’t look to B.C. Premier Christy Clark’s heavily advertised “B.C. Jobs Plan” to change that, unless the BC Liberal “strategy” of betting everything on liquefied natural gas manages to cure all.

Clark and her entourage of four ministers visited Ottawa Monday, repeating claims that LNG will create 100,000 B.C. jobs.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, child poverty, income disparity and job losses in B.C. simply grow and grow.

Statistics Canada reports that B.C.’s full-time employment dropped from 1,814,100 in October 2013 to 1,802,700 in February 2014.

But every other western province saw full-time employment grow during that period.

And B.C.’s labour force actually shrunk, while the employment rate dropped and 157,500 workers are jobless.

A report by youth advocates First Call late last year puts B.C.’s pathetic child poverty rate at 18.6% — Canada’s highest and 5.3% above the national average, according the latest Statistics Canada figures available.

One out of five B.C. kids – 153,000 – live below Statistics Canada’s low-income cutoff.

And B.C. also has Canada’s most unequal distribution of income among rich and poor families with children. The richest 10% of citizens have 12.6 times the income of the poorest 10%.

But hey, no worries: Porsche saw a 20% sales increase over 2012 in B.C. Jaguar jumped 80%, Land Rover 24% and Audi 12% — and even Mercedes Benz moved 5,492 new models to rise 3%.

And as a current radio ad cheerfully tells us: “Just like that, you can afford a Mercedes Benz!”

Unless, that is, you unfortunately happen to be unemployed or poor in British Columbia.

Bill Tieleman is a former NDP strategist. Read his blog at http://billtieleman.blogspot.ca Email: weststar@telus.net Twitter: @BillTieleman


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