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BC FORUM News - from the Winter 2017 issue of The Advocate

A busy agenda lies ahead for 2018

By Diane Wood

President, BC FORUM

What a year 2017 turned out to be. Seldom have we seen so many ups and downs. As I read the news and heard from members I felt I was on a teeter-totter between exasperation and blessed relief.

A lot of my exasperation originated south of the border. A dreadful man who has bragged about groping women – “When you’re famous you can do anything” – is marking one year as president of the most powerful nation in the world.

With proper and thoughtful leadership, the United States has an unmatched capacity to be a beacon of hope for everyone. Instead, it’s now the USA against the world.

Long-time allies and friends are the targets of insults. Despots and dictators are praised as “good guys.” And who knows what the next tweet will bring.

Small wonder the world is anxious. This angry, impetuous, abusive man holds the codes to the USA’s vast nuclear arsenal. He has reduced support to United Nations’ efforts to promote human rights and humanitarian relief. He has withdrawn support of the Paris Climate Accord. The USA is now the only country that has not signed onto this agreement to try to prevent or limit climate change.

Reflecting all the growing threats of man-made global catastrophe, not just nuclear, the atomic scientists’ doomsday clock ticked forward to two and a half minutes to midnight.

To the full extent that we can, we must stand in solidarity with the many Americans who are steadfastly resisting their intemperate president’s attacks on visible minorities, health care, the justice system and so much more.

In Canada, we had our own betrayal of decency. Justin Trudeau pledged, with such seeming sincerity, that every vote would count in future elections – that never again would a minority of votes be enough to elect a majority government.

Compared to Stephen Harper, Trudeau may seem like a nice guy, but he lied to us. With a smile. Repeatedly.

In British Columbia, the agreement by Greens and New Democrats to work together for a new government provided a ray of hope. Instead of constantly fighting to protect basic services from a government that put its big donors first, BC FORUM and our allies can shift to action to build a better future for people.

With your support, that will be our focus in 2018.

We will push for decent pensions and an end to corporate pension theft so workers can have income security in their retirement.

We will advocate for improvements in public health care – especially home and residential care – and universal pharmacare to cover the rising cost of prescription drugs.

We will fight for a higher minimum wage and quality, affordable child care.

And yes, we will strongly support modernizing our democracy so every vote counts.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank the hard-working volunteers who serve on our board of directors, and the regional representatives who are the voice and face of BC FORUM in communities throughout our province.

On their behalf, I also extend my heartfelt thanks to you. Your involvement and participation in BC FORUM is critical.

As retired and older workers, we know what it’s about. We’ve been there. We’ve experienced the victories and learned from the setbacks.

We know the fight for social justice is never over – and that if we rest on our laurels special interest will try to claw back our gains.

The new year will likely have surprises for us. We’re all better off when we confront the challenges and opportunities together.

 

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