A program that employs 29 developmentally disabled people at the recycling depot will continue as long as the depot wants them.
This was the message from Stephanie Cadieux, who was Minister of Social Development in charge of overseeing the agency that funded the program, before she was moved two months ago to the Minister of Children and Family Development portfolio.
Cadieux said she has spoken with the current minister responsible for Community Living BC (CLBC), Moira Stilwell, and she feels Stilwell is "committed" to keeping the program, as well.
When CLBC let the Ridge Meadows Recycling Society know they were planning to cut the program because they wanted "real jobs" for the 29 developmentally disabled people, "they had lost sight of some of their core values," Cadieux told the audience at a Meadow Ridge Rotary luncheon on Tuesday.
In their effort to stretch dollars, the individuals working at Ridge Meadows Recycling Deport were affected negatively, Cadieux said, adding that the employees will have jobs there as long as the society wants them to be working there.
Cadieux spoke at the Rotary luncheon to a full room, speaking about the provincial government's jobs plan, and how it will help to provide for families, and how the government needs to ensure there are the best opportunities to have jobs.
"The reality is people are better at spending money wisely than government is at spending it for them," Cadieux said.
The provincial government, though is "focusing on family affordability" she added, on things they can influence, like BC Hydro rates and daycare subsidies.
When meeting with people and organizations, "everyone comes with a very valid concern or need," but government needs to balance needs for the entire province, Cadieux said.
But on the issue of child poverty, Cadieux admitted that "progress is slow," with B.C. being the second worst in the country, but she pointed out, it is declining.
During the luncheon, Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Marc Dalton presented six-term school trustee Dave Rempel with a Queen Diamond Jubilee medal.
Rempel received the honour for his work in facilitating adoptions from the former Soviet Union and other charity work through Rotary.
Rempel was moved to tears at the luncheon when he spoke about why he volunteers.
Each MLA was given four medals to present, and Dalton presented three medals to Mission residents, and the one in Maple Ridge.
The medals have been given out to Canadians to commemorate Queen Elizabeth's 60 years on the throne.