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

Heavy police presence after body found in Maple Ridge

Body was discovered beneath the Golden Ears Bridge

On Cooking: Yes, I eat meat

I recognize the fact that we as people are not all the same.

Sports announced for Maple Ridge 2020 BC Summer Games

18 events will attract almost 3000 young athletes

Untrending: A good place to start my search

Facebook offers a legacy service.

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Mountie left with ‘significant’ injuries after driver attempts to flee traffic stop

Richmond RCMP are looking for a dark coloured Mercedes Benz

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

Vancouver Police look for man in connection to ‘sexually motivated’ assault

Woman says man followed her into an apartment building

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

Most Read