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Vancouver-Mount Pleasant Email Update!

February 28th, 2019
February has been a fast-paced month! From life-changing announcements to exhilarating celebrations, and times for remembrance, this month has truly been one to remember.

I returned to the Legislature in Victoria this month where the government unveiled Budget 2019! I am proud to share some of the ways that this budget puts people first and makes life more affordable for all British Columbians, while also making significant investments that will benefit generations to come. Please check out some highlights from the budget in this newsletter!
February 2nd also marks the 3-year anniversary of my election as MLA for Vancouver- Mount Pleasant! I continue to be honoured to have the opportunity to represent such a dynamic riding in Victoria.

Each February I commemorate the Women's Memorial March and the Moose Hide Campaign. I hold my hands up to all the tireless community leaders organising against injustice and organising in partnership for change. This year, I commemorated both community initiatives with my colleagues in the Legislature.

Please continue to reach out to our office with your ideas on how we can keep improving the lives of British Columbians.

Keep shining,

Hon. Melanie Mark, MLA
Hli Haykwhl Ẃii Xsgaak | 馬蘭妮
In The Community
It's always a joy to take part in Hobiyee in Vancouver, celebrating the Nisga'a New Year and a good oolichan harvest! There was a time when my grandparents had to hide their culture. Today we are able to dance proudly and celebrate our deep roots and resilience as First Nations people. I’m so proud to be Nisga’a! 
Celebrating the Lunar New Year with the constituents of Vancouver-Mount Pleasant is one of the highlights of my year! I especially love giving out the red pockets to the young children. Happy year of the pig!
This year, family members and community allies gathered in the Downtown Eastside on February 14th for the 28th Annual Women's Memorial March to commemorate the lives of missing and murdered women and girls. In particular, the event works to bring attention to the systemic violence experienced by Indigenous women and girls. This year I was unable to attend due to commitments in the BC Legislature, but Ha'awa to all of those who march in memory of those we have lost.

To learn more:
Budget 2019
For 16 years under the previous government, opportunity was out of reach for many, while the few at the top continued to flourish. During those years, B.C. was a province where—despite thriving economically—the government allowed the people at the heart of the economy to fall behind.

Last year with Budget 2018 we took an enormous step forward, introducing a made-in-B.C. child-care plan, a comprehensive housing plan and record levels of capital investment in every corner of the province.

Budget 2019 continues on the transformative path set out over the past 19 months. Check 
out some the life-changing announcements from this year's budget! You can also learn more at or pick up copies of the highlights in our office!
Interest on B.C. Student Loans Eliminated!
As the Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, I've heard from hundreds of students how difficult it is to enter the workforce saddled with student debt. That's why I am so proud that our government has announced that the interest is being eliminated on B.C. Student Loans!
As of Budget Day, February 19th, BC student loans will stop accumulating interest. This means an average graduate would save $2,300 in interest, based on a combined $28,000 federal and provincial loan with a 10 year repayment plan. Many happy faces here with Premier John Horgan and I in the Legislature and surely across the province.
Revenue Sharing with First Nations
First Nations in British Columbia will have a stable, long-term source of funding to invest in their communities’ priorities, through a historic agreement between the Province and the First Nations Leadership Council to share gaming revenue. This is after First Nations have been calling for such an agreement for almost 20 years.
Starting April 2019, approximately $3 billion over 25 years will be shared with B.C. First Nations, meaning every First Nation community in B.C. will be eligible for between $250,000 and $2 million annually through the agreement.  This funding will allow First Nation's to make their own decisions about where funding is best directed.

To learn more:
BC Child Opportunity Benefit
To make life more affordable for families and help every child reach their full potential, we are introducing the B.C. Child Opportunity Benefit, directly returning nearly $400 million to British Columbian families raising children, starting October 2020. 
For a family’s first child, the benefit is as high as $1,600 a year, increasing to $2,600 for two children and $3,400 for three children. Families will receive the B.C. Child Opportunity Benefit from the day their child is born until reaching 18 years of age.

To learn more:
In Victoria!
The Moose Hide campaign is a grassroots movement of Indigenous and non-Indigenous men who are standing up against violence towards Indigenous women and children.

Ha’awa to those who take a stand to honour and respect our community members and our precious leaders of the future.

To learn more:
Hobiyee in Nass Valley!
During the last weekend of February, I had the opportunity to celebrate Hobiyee in the Nass Valley for the very first time in my life! It was extra special to be travelling with my daughters, husband, mom and aunt to our ancestral home. Hobiyee is a Nisga'a tradition: when the moon of Hobiyee appears, it signifies a good season for oolichan harvesting. Having a chance to reclaim such traditional celebrations is reconciliation in action! It was an honour to be able to spend Hobiyee with the Nisga'a Nation.
Government Highlights
Students supported by new school mental health resources
The B.C. government has invested $3-million to support new school based mental health programs focused on prevention, wellness promotion, and early intervention.

The funding will include grants for all 60 school districts and independent schools. For more, visit:

Helping people out of debt cycles: Consumer Financial Protection Action Plan
More measures to strengthen consumer protections and improve affordability are on the way for the most financially vulnerable British Columbian's, as part of B.C.’s Consumer Financial Protection Action Plan.

Many constituents have told me that action is needed against pay-day loan companies, so I'm excited to see a new regulatory framework which will provide stronger protections and safeguards, protecting British Columbians who use pay-day loans from being plunged deeper into poverty.

For more, visit:

Safer schools coming to Vancouver
Hundreds of families, students and staff in Vancouver can look forward to safer schools as funding for seismic upgrades has been approved for several schools, including Lord Selkirk Elementary.

The Province has approved funding of $40.6 million to upgrade the three schools, each of which has a high seismic risk.

 For more, visit:

WorkBC helps people get training, find good jobs
New changes to WorkBC will offer better services for people looking to re-enter the workforce, access training opportunities, and find good jobs.

WorkBC locations have increased from 84 to 103, expanding eligibility requirements for specialized services to anyone who has paid into employment insurance (EI) for five of the last ten years.

To learn more about the new changes at WorkBC, visit:

New St. Paul's hospital officially moving forward
After many years of work, improved access to life-saving health care is on the way to downtown Vancouver with the approval of the business plan for the new St. Paul’s Hospital.

The new St. Paul’s will continue to serve the people of Vancouver and all of B.C., and the new building will include 115 new net beds, bringing up the total capacity to 548 beds overall.

To learn more, visit:
Community Programs and Events in VMP

Immunize BC
There is a measles outbreak in Vancouver right now. If you were born between 1970 and 1995, you made need a measles booster. Find out where you can get yours at:

Talking Stick Festival Festival
February 19-March 2, 2019

Multiple events at multiple locations
This annual festival has events spanning Downtown Vancouver to Vancouver Mount Pleasant and is known to gather over 18,000 Indigenous and non- Indigenous attendees alike, with its two weeks of traditional and contemporary visual arts, film, theatre, dance, and music. Programming information on

Sound House: International Women's Day Edition
Thurs, March 7, 7PM – 11PM

6393 NW Marine Drive, Vancouver (UBC Museum of Anthropology MOA)
Sound House is MOA’s new monthly music series and it is free with museum admission. The International Women's Day edition celebrates the achievements of women and features a powerhouse lineup of incredible women artists, activists and community builders. Some performers known and beloved in East Vancouver you may know include rapper Missy D, emcee Kimmortal, and hip hop, spoken word, beat-box artist and cultural dancer Jb the FirstLady (Nuxalk/Onondaga). More information here.

Image result for vpl
One-to-One Tax Filing Services for People Receiving Disability Benefits
Sat, March 9, 9am-5pm
401 Main St. (VPL - Carnegie Library)
Phone: (604) 665-3010
Vancouver Public Library's income tax consultations and on-site service for people with disabilities receiving disability benefits, and their families. Through this one-to-one service, receive consultation on your outstanding taxes, discuss options for dealing with tax debt, and learn strategies for communicating with Canada Revenue Agency. As well, for people with all abilities, you can find out if you are eligible for other free tax clinics and can locate clinics here.

Elders Book Club - Indigenous Reads
Thurs, March 14, 2pm – 3:30pm

1661 Napier St. (Britannia Branch VPL)
(604) 665-2222
Interested in reading Indigenous stories by Indigenous authors? Join VPL on the second Thursday of the month for Elders Book Club, where the group discusses compelling Indigenous literature with like-minded readers. 

This month's title (March): In Our Own Aboriginal Voice edited by Lori Shwydky


UBC CampOUT! a social justice summer camp for queer, trans, Two-Spirit, and allied youth from British Columbia and the Yukon! 2019 will bring on the 10th Annual CampOUT! which will take place on Gambier Island from July 4-7! You can sign up for their Newsletter for more information.

Application Dates for CampOUT!:

Feb 1 – Mar 1: Cabin Leaders

Feb 1 – Mar 15: Volunteers

Feb 15 – Mar 30: Campers

Hon. Melanie Mark, MLA Vancouver-Mount Pleasant
1070-1641 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5L 3Y4

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Melanie Mark MLA Vancouver-Mount Pleasant · 1070-1641 Commercial Drive · Vancouver, BC V5L 3Y3 · Canada

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