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By Alastair McCollum  

All around us! But you would never know it from the lack of interest and attention it is getting from those running for high provincial office in the May election.  

All people should engage in the forthcoming election in the province; all people of faith and conscience should consider how their beliefs apply to their voting. This was a shared concern of the diocesan Social Justice Matters group at their recent meeting. Anglicans in our diocese are encouraged to research the policies of parties and candidates, consider manifestos, and be willing to ask questions of those standing for election, questions that reflect our concern for issues of justice and for those most in need in our province.  

One question all should consider is “where is poverty?” in all of the party manifestos? Are political leaders and parties considering a “Poverty Reduction Strategy?” British Columbia, despite its great wealth, is one of the few provinces without such a strategy. The most vulnerable, among them the homeless and those at risk of homelessness, those with disabilities, those with mental illness and addictions, the marginalized and the poor, suffer from little planning and investment to deal with the root causes of their difficulties.

We should be asking our leaders to formulate and put into action a clear plan for the reduction of poverty, the basis of many of the difficulties from which our society suffers. Much poverty and the struggles associated with poverty are invisible, and it seems that our leaders would prefer it to stay that way. There is no mention in any statement from any of the parties in this election of a coherent strategy to work with those trapped in the poverty cycle. 

With just over a month until election day, spend some time researching in preparation for your vote and make sure to exercise your franchise responsibly on May 8.