Vancouver-Kensington MLA Mable Elmore (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. MLA’s meal claim comes at an awkward time

Struggling through ‘welfare food challenge’ while collecting $61 a day

Vancouver-Kensington MLA Mable Elmore was proud of her participation in the annual MLA “welfare food challenge” last year, in which she pledged to spend only $19 for a week’s worth of groceries.

A year later, opposition MLAs questioned why Elmore claimed her $61 daily meal allowance during that week, the first week of November 2017.

After the receipts and Elmore’s Twitter photo of getting by on two hard-boiled eggs for breakfast were released by the B.C. Liberals, Elmore initially stopped short of saying she would pay the money back.

“The intention of the food challenge, I wanted to take that to understand what’s the experience of folks who were living on a limited income, and the challenges around purchasing food and really having that budget stretch out for the week,” Elmore told reporters at the legislature Wednesday.

After reviewing her records, Elmore said the daily allowance was claimed by her staff “as a matter of course.”

“In the spirit of the Welfare Challenge, I’ve decided to pay back the per diem for that week,” she said.

The $61 “per diem” is a flat rate paid to MLAs to cover their food costs while the legislature is in session. It is in addition to travel expenses and the MLA salary, currently at $108,105.35 with an annual cost of living adjustment.

Raise the Rates, an organization of unions and community groups, has staged the MLA welfare challenge since 2012.

The first year, Surrey-Fleetwood MLA Jagrup Brar lived on the single-employable social assistance rate of $610 for a month. Brar stayed at a shelter and a single-room occupancy hotel, reporting that he lost 26 pounds and had to borrow money and sell possessions to make it through the 30 days.

The NDP government raised all social assistance rates, including the single-employable rate, by $100 after forming a minority government in 2017.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Four air ambulance flights out of Terrace delayed or cancelled

Pandemic precautions caused nighttime closure of service station providing weather data to pilots

Skeena Resources, Tahltan prez excited by purchase of Eskay Creek

Skeena gets full control of mine, Barrick gets 12 per cent of Skeena and a one per cent royalty

Seabridge Gold starts drilling along proposed tunnel route north of Stewart

Twin tunnels will connect the KSM mine to its mill and tailings site

Mother grizzly bear with two cubs spotted on Gruchy’s Beach trail near Terrace

Conservation officers also warning public to stay away from Grizzlies on lower Kitimat River

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Most Read