I remember reading Gordon Campbell’s platform in 2001. Based on the promises, I concluded Liberals were the logical choice for my vote. The trouble was, Gordon Campbell and the BC Liberals barely meant a word contained in the document A New Era for British Columbia.
Despite Liberals not living up to their promises, they were reelected three times. John Horgan learned a lesson. Platforms are for campaigning, not for governing.
Let’s examine a few items from the BC NDP platform for 2017.
Properly fund classrooms and school equipment, so parents don’t have to fundraise for classroom essentials. Replace portables with real classrooms and make our schools earthquake safe.
In 2020, teachers are still paying out of pocket for classroom materials because budgets remain inadequate. Educators are also supplying their own personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies because of the coronavirus threat. Surrey school district said it would use 361 portables in 2019, an increase of 28 from the year before. “We truly are in a crisis,” said Surrey District Parents Advisory Council president Rina Diaz.
Restore our parks, hire more park rangers and conservation officers, and build new campsites.
BC Parks saw a minor reduction, from $41.7 to $40.6-million, at a time when advocates have are calling for increases and criticizing the funding imbalance between BC Parks and Destination BC (a Crown corporation dedicated to marketing B.C.’s tourism industry).
Tackle the backlogs in our courts and invest in programs to end gang violence.
Develop and implement a comprehensive poverty reduction plan.
The 2020 Homeless Count in Metro Vancouver identified more individuals experiencing homelessness than in the 2017 count. The report stated, “Seniors’ homelessness continues to increase while Indigenous people remain significantly overrepresented; additionally, racial identity data collected for the first time in a regional count reveals that Black people were found to be disproportionately represented among racialized groups experiencing homelessness.“
We will make reconciliation with First Nations a priority, creating certainty and opportunity for First Nations and for our economy as a whole.
What they failed to say is that reconciliation with BC’s Indigenous people would remain secondary to the needs of corporations that exploit natural resources and governments aiming to flood traditional First Nations territories.
Increase minimum wage to $15 and bring in $10 a day childcare.
BC’s minimum wage is not yet $15 and $10 a day childcare is only available to a small number of families. As one childcare facility owner said, “It’s such a cliche, but it’s like winning the lottery,”
Revitalize BC’s forest industry and make BC a world leader in engineered wood products.
According to BC Stats, employment from forestry and logging with support activities was 16% higher in 2017 than in 2019.
We’ll make BC a leader on climate action. We’ll reduce our carbon footprint with energy efficiency retrofits to public buildings and residential homes, and create good jobs that last in every community. We’ll also invest in traditional sectors of our economy and launch a major jobs initiative in clean energy and energy efficiency to reduce your heating bills.
PowerBC is designed to reduce electricity demand, generate new energy responsibly and sustainably, and create lasting good jobs in energy efficiency and generation.
The 180 degree turnabout on these promises is probably the most egregious of all failures.
Fixing the Housing Shortage: Building 114,000 Homes
According to BC Housing in 2019, about 9,210 additional affordable housing units for low-income families were in development or under construction. That suggests the NDP’s ten year housing program will have to last almost 40 years to meet the promised goal.
We’ll take immediate action to make renting more affordable, more fair and more stable. We will provide a refundable renter’s rebate of $400 dollars per rental household in BC each year. Homeowners get a break on their property taxes each year; renters deserve a break too, especially with the skyrocketing rents we see today.
The rebate finally introduced in 2020 was only available to some renters and applied for a limited period, April to August. It did not provide treatment equal to the home owner grant as promised.
The Temporary Foreign Worker Program must ensure the interests of BC workers have priority…
Les Leyne reported on LNG Canada, “estimates of how many B.C. taxpayers will be in the 10,000-strong workforce on the project are remarkably low. They are between 35 and 55 per cent, according to a government briefing note…”
No government can solve every problem in a single term and in many areas of health and social supports, BC NDP has proceeded with empathy for people in need.
But they fail dramatically on climate change, probably the most important issue of all. Massive support for fossil fuel expansion puts them in league with the world’s worst climate change deniers and erases successful steps in improving the lives of people in need.
As with natural resources and energy, BC NDP policies for education are a largely a continuation of approaches designed by the preceding government.
But, overall, I’m reminded of Rafe Mair’s axiom, “You don’t have to be a 10 in politics, you can be a 3 if everyone else is a 2.”
BC Liberals had grown so corrupt they didn’t even rate a 2. In 2020, there is zero evidence of change. Re-elected, the first move they’d make is to remove restrictions on political funding by corporations and wealthy people willing to write 6-figure cheques to gain the lavish rewards of pay-to-play government.
My own preference is for a coalition government led by John Horgan with a strong contingent of Green MLAs. I think the Greens would support worthwhile social initiatives but demand radical change on environmental matters.
The dangerous air quality from 2020’s wildfires is just part of the proof that every jurisdiction needs to change its planning objective from economic growth to human survival.
Categories: Election 2020