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George Abbott calls for child poverty reduction plan

Liberal leadership contender George Abbot outlines platform policies during a press conference in Vancouver January 4, 2010.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail/John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

Liberal leadership candidate George Abbott is calling for a "comprehensive" child-poverty plan with clear legislated reduction targets over the next five to 10 years.

Child-poverty has been a challenging issue for the provincial government with the province's child watchdog, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, this week urging candidates in both the Liberal and NDP leadership races to come up with plans to reduce B.C.'s child-poverty rate.

George Abbott, the former health and education minister, called Friday for a round of public consultations leading to a plan to reduce child poverty, suggesting the issue has arisen as he has toured the province seeking support from BC Liberals.

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He said in a statement that some measure of the issue is a necessity.

"As Premier, I believe that if we are going to address this issue, we first have to collectively agree on the basic measure of the problem - including how those measures may differ between urban and rural B.C. Only then can we talk about real policy and community responses to the problem, and then set achievable targets to measure our progress," he said.

The NDP opposition has accused the Liberals of failing to fight child poverty rates in B.C. that some have called the worst in Canada, but Children's Minister Mary Polak this week said the government has cut child-poverty rates by 40 per cent through various programs.

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About the Author
B.C. reporter

Ian Bailey is a Vancouver-based reporter for The Globe and Mail.  He covers politics and general news. Prior to arriving at The Globe and Mail, he reported from Toronto and St. John’s for The Canadian Press.  He has also covered British Columbia for CP, The National Post and The Province. More

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