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.

Just Posted

Forestry workers set to begin job action in Kootenays

Operations in Castlegar, Cranbrook, Galloway, Elko, Radium, Golden may see job action this week.

Fernie Memorial Arena unlikely to reopen December 1

Dynamiters unlikely to meet at Fernie Memorial Arena on December 1

Gallery: Festival of Lights fills downtown core with colour

(More photos continue below) Hundreds attended this year’s Festival of Lights celebration… Continue reading

Former Fernie councillor co-launches cannabis company

“Our mission, our goal - it’s about education. It’s about de-stigmatizing” - Dennis Schafer

Fernie Family Housing receives much needed funding for affordable housing

BC Housing funds new affordable housing in Fernie

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

5 B.C. cities break temperature records

Parts of B.C. remain warm, at 10 C, while others feeling chilly

B.C. teacher’s Amazing Race takes students on Canada-wide adventure

Agassiz high school students say they had the experience of a life time

Don’t sign USMCA until LGBTQ language excised, U.S. lawmakers urge Trump

The trade agreement, forged after 13 months of tense negotiations between Canada and the U.S. is scheduled for Nov. 30

Most Read