Helping out impoverished children

Kevin Hampson

The Alberta government should raise more dollars in taxes in order to support impoverished children, argues Joel French, keynote speaker at the Alberta Teachers' Association's Well-Being of Children and Youth Conference, held Friday in Grande Prairie.

Nearly one in six Alberta children are living in poverty, said French, who is the executive director of Public Interest Alberta (PIA), an advocacy group.

"Alberta needs more tax revenue," French said, adding that the province could raise $14 billion more by adopting a tax system similar to other provinces-including a sales tax. This could fund various government initiatives supported by PIA, such as tax-payer-subsidized housing, a provincial day care system and increased welfare benefits.

French presented findings from a recent child poverty report, produced by PIA in partnership with The Edmonton Social Planning Council and the Alberta College of Social Workers. The report uses the After-Tax Low-Income Measure, which considers families to be poor if their income is less than 50% of the median income for all households.

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