Name: Diane McCluskey

Occupation: Early Childhood Educator

Diane grew up on a small reserve in Klemtu near Bella Bella and now lives in Prince Rupert.  She has a large family, and both of her parents suffered from alcoholism.  She is the mother of three children.  She was inspired by the early childhood educators who took an active role in her children’s lives to become an ECE herself.  Her employment contract ended recently, and she has been on welfare since that time.  She is currently recovering from a health condition that requires her to travel to Vancouver every 3 months for treatment but she receives no additional support.

We support raising welfare rates and indexing them to inflation. Welfare rates are completely inadequate and have not been increased since 2007, while the cost of living has risen substantially in that time. People living in poverty are more likely to have health issues, and the health care costs of poverty are $1.2 billion per year.

“There’s so much more to BC than Vancouver.  Out in the North, there’s so much… People here need something to give them hope. Something to reach for…I don’t understand why we don’t have a poverty reduction plan. I can’t tell you how upsetting that is.”