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

Just Posted

The cover of the newly redesigned Beaver Lodge Forest Lands activity guide. Photo courtesy Greenways Land Trust
Greenways redesigns Beaver Lodge activity guide

Guide has helped teach students for over a decade

Undersea cables are towed out into position. Photo Baylink Networks.
SRD looks at last-mile agreements for Connected Coast project

District to borrow up to $12 million — pending electoral approval

Crews work on construction of the new composting facility at the Campbell River landfill. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Environment group wishes Comox Strathcona compost site was in a better spot

Province has guidelines on siting, but they are not legal requirements

COVID-19 virus (file photo).
COVID-19 exposures reported for two Campbell River schools

Campbell River Christian School and Ecole des Deux Mondes are the schools involved

The seasonal Search and Rescue program will run between May to September. ( File photo/Canadian Coast Guard)
Coast Guard Inshore Rescue Program starting up next week

Teams have protocols in place to ensure COVID-19 safety

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 rate creeps up again, 600 new cases Wednesday

One more death, 423 people in hospital with virus

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)
UPDATE: B.C. will fund another year of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in schools

John Horgan government working on school meal program

Surrey RCMP is releasing sketches of a suspect in an “indecent act” at the Coyote Creek Elementary playground on April 30, 2021. Police said the suspect was clean-shaven “during some interactions” and on “other occasions had stubble outlining a goatee and mustache.” (Images: Surrey RCMP handout)
Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart addresses supporters in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says there’s no time to redo details of drug decriminalization plan

Kennedy Stewart says a federal election could see the small window of opportunity close on the city’s bid for an exemption from criminal provisions on simple possession of small amounts of drugs

These are just a handful of Vancouver Island’s missing person cases. Clockwise from top left: Lisa Marie Young, Lindsey Nicholls, Micheal Dunahee, Jesokah Adkens, Belinda Cameron and Emma Fillipoff. (File photos courtesy of family members and police departments)
Could Victoria skull fragment bring closure to an Island missing persons mystery?

Skeletal remains found in Greater Victoria have not yet been identified

Premier Mike Horgan received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. (Facebook/John Horgan)
More than 50% of people eligible in B.C. have received 1st vaccine dose

‘We’ve made extraordinary progress together over the past few weeks,’ says Premier Horgan

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of a Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu on May 8. (Black Press Media file photo)
Indigenous woman shot by police was holding a replica gun, says Ucluelet First Nation

Woman has been identified as a member of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation

Most Read