MLA Jagrup Brar visits Kwantlen to share his experiences
For immediate release
MLA Jagrup Brar shares "challenge of his life" at Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Metro Vancouver, BC - (February 20, 2012) - On Thursday, February 9, 2012, Kwantlen's Criminology: Justice/Injustice class invited MLA Jagrup Brar to attend class and share his experiences. For 31 days last month, MLA Jagrup Brar faced the challenge of his life: to survive on $610.00, the amount given to a single, employable welfare applicant.
The "Raise the Rents" challenge to all MLAs was brought forward by a coalition of social groups that is demanding the BC government raise welfare payments; it is significant to note that Brar is the only MLA to agree to participate in what has been aptly named a "welfare challenge." In doing so he explored first-hand the realities of single welfare recipients in the British Columbia.
Over the 31 days, Brar struggled with the day-to-day realities of living on an income that pitches one far below the poverty level in this province. Splitting his time between the Downtown Eastside (DTES) and Surrey, survival became the order of the day as he traversed the streets in search of affordable housing, cheap food, warm meals, fellowship, and the will to live. A warm shower, decent meal, and clean clothes very quickly faded into the realm of luxury items, as he struggled to simply stay alive and keep his wits about him.
Visibly leaner to the tune of 24lbs, Brar has done something that no other MLA before had the courage to try. His efforts came across as very humbling, authentic, pain-felt, and showed a level of integrity that most politicians can only dream about. He unequivocally stated, "This has changed my life."
Kwantlen's Criminology class applauded Brar for his attempt to shed new light on the marginalized individuals living in this province. Now if only someone higher up would listen.
Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been serving the Metro Vancouver region for more than 30 years, and has opened doors to success for more than 250,000 people. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs, including business, liberal arts and science, design, health, trades and technology, apprenticeships, horticulture, and academic and career advancement. Over 17,500 students annually have a choice from over 200 programs, including bachelor's degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates and citations.
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