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Monday, April 21, 2008

lloyd snelgrove on child poverty: an educational and character building experience.

I'll forgive you if you've been too buried under all this lovely April Alberta snow to notice that Alberta Legislature is in session. A new session, with new MLAs, will bring all sorts of intelligent hijinks's/painfully predictable heckles and intelligent intentional/painfully unintelligible quotes from the floor of the Legislature.

In today's edition of The Best of Hansard, we hear from the Treasury Board President and the Honourable Member for Vermilion-Lloyminster, Lloyd Snelgrove (yes, Lloyd from Lloydminster). In responding (but not answering) a question posed by Calgary-Varsity MLA Harry Chase during last week's Question Period, Snelgrove made a stunningly stunning statement:

Mr. Chase: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. There is no excuse for child poverty in abundant Alberta. Sixty-four thousand Alberta children are living in poverty. Although more Albertans are employed now during this time of incredible economic prosperity than ever before, full-time work at minimum wage does not permit an escape from poverty.

To the President of the Treasury Board: with the paltry increase of 40 cents bringing the minimum wage to a mere $8.40 an hour, how can this government continue to justify token wage increases instead of establishing a realistic living wage which would act as an effective tool in ending child poverty?

Mr. Snelgrove:
Mr. Speaker, I grew up in a very poor family. We looked after each other, and we looked after our neighbours. There were very few government programs of any kind to do it. There was a certain pride that was developed amongst our community and each other in how we had to lift one another up. The hon. member is well aware that the minimum wage was never designed nor will it ever be an amount of money that you can raise a family on. In many ways it's an educational learning experience for some. It brings people with limited skills into the workforce, and it accomplishes that very well.
While I have no doubt that growing up in poverty gives a person different perspectives and values, calling it an "educational learning experience" makes it sound like a field trip to the museum...


Anonymous said...

Generally conservative types that characterize their own childhoods as having been poverty level are often, well, full of it.

I'd love to see someone find out exactly what Mr. Snelgrove's childhood was like, what his parents did for a living, etc.

Bill O'Reilly tried this same "don't talk to me about poor people, I know from poverty!" schtick, until it was revealed, repeatedly, that he grew up in a comfy middle-class family.

tjk said...

"Generally conservative types that characterize their own childhoods as having been poverty level are often, well, full of it."

WOW. Talk about arrogant, disdainful, distrusting, stereotyping.

That comment really makes me sick.

Gauntlet said...

So let me get this right. He's saying that the purpose of minimum wage is to encourage young people to work, because if the minimum wage wasn't that high, many of them wouldn't bother, and would lose out on an educational opportunity?

Interesting. I guess we need to look out for kids working at McDonalds. What's that? McDonalds pays more than minimum wage to start? Hmm.. Well who does work for minimum wage? Daycare workers, you say. Interesting.

OK, fine. Let's get even greater educational opportunities for daycare workers, then. Bump it up, lloyd.

Anonymous said...

I can tell you having grew up being poor(no really,I am serious) and understanding the "educational"experience of being poor I can relate to Mr Snelgrove.I cannot however see how he has been practising what he has learned.He is the only "Robinhood" I know that steals from the rich and,well,you know,gives it back to them(Royalty Regime Kickback) at the sacrifice of the needy.It is this philosophy that will turn our economy into the "Alberta Disadvantage".While wages are decent,the costs to live in Alberta tips the scales too much to one side-And I have lived here most of my life!!!Honest Ed has a lot of convincing to so that he has a plan that will satsfy all Albertans and not just the Oil Exec

daveberta said...

"Generally conservative types that characterize their own childhoods as having been poverty level are often, well, full of it."

That is a really generalized statement. Any data to back it up?

Anonymous said...

If someone thinks that being poor is an educational experience, I would invite them to relinquish their salary to a charity so that he/she could continue with his/her "education."