An interview with former MLA Shane Simpson about poverty reduction in B.C.

This is the eighth in the series of reports “Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside: Past and Present.”

Earlier this week I met with Shane Simpson, former MLA for Vancouver Hastings and former minister of social development and poverty reduction. Simpson was first elected in 2005 and only recently retired in the fall of 2020. In his youth he lived in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and was active in community development. Witnessing the success of a group of women known as the Mothers of Raymur in bringing about a pedestrian overpass to ensure their children’s safety had a big impact on him. 

We discussed a number of things including B.C.’s poverty reduction strategy, introduced in 2018, the $300 supplement to social assistance announced in response to the pandemic and what’s needed to break the cycle of poverty. We also talked about the issues in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and what the next steps are in addressing these.

Watch the full series here.

Jase Tanner has worked in the film industry for 30 years where he frequently serves as a shop steward. During this time he’s been active in social justice issues and has produced a handful of short, web-based documentaries.

Editor’s note, March 22: The introductory text above was updated to add information about the Mothers of Raymur.