The Canadian association of food banks released their annual report on food bank usage in Canada yesterday:
On top of that, David Northcott of Winnipeg Harvest was on CJOB yesterday morning. I caught just a little bit of his interview, but the numbers are certainly nothing to be proud of. The report linked above provides easy to read statistics, but I’ll focus on Manitoba.
- Manitoba has the highest % of children using food banks than anywhere else in the country.
- Manitoba’s per capita % usage of food banks is second highest in the country only to Newfoundland and Labrador, and almost double the rate in the next highest province
- The % increase from 2008-2011 is the third highest in country only following Alberta and the Territories
- The Per Capita % increase in Manitoba from 2001-2011 is the highest in the country.
And yet we have had an NDP government during that entire time. An NDP government that positions itself as the champion of the working class
Now from the bits and pieces I caught from David Northcott’s interview, some interesting information, specifically the following points:
- The % of people using food banks in Manitoba on Social Assistance is relatively the same as the rest of the country.
- Northcott said ‘the growth has come from the working poor’
The working poor using the food banks? NOT MINIMUM WAGE EARNERS
The working poor. Those that earn marginally more than minimum wage. Those, that when the NDP says “look at us we’re helping by raising minimum wage”, see no benefit and see a decrease in purchasing power if business owners have to raise prices to compensate for minimum wage increases.
I don’t think it is a coincidence that Manitoba takes the most provincial income tax from low income earners in the country and also has the second highest rate of food bank usage in the country.
Raise minimum wage. But also reduce the tax burden on the working poor, and unlike refundable tax credits you’ll put more money in people’s pocket in each payday, and I’m sure you’ll see a decrease in food bank usage. But then again neither of those result in increased government revenue.
And neither result in reduced dependency on our provincial government.
Wanna get rid of food banks and make a difference? A real tangible difference? Increase the basic personal exemption to $20,000. Heck, increase the high end tax bracket by 1% to compensate if you have to.
Do that, and I’m sure you’ll see food bank usage drop.