BC FORUM News - From The Advocate, Special Edition 2020
FROM THE PRESIDENT – Diane Wood
Whose side are they on?
We need a government that works for us
I hated paying Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums. I hated paying bridge tolls. Every month, the bill would arrive. And every year it went up.
Until John Horgan and the NDP eliminated MSP premiums, those bills were a constant reminder of how far the B.C. Liberals would go to make sure the fat cats received an ever larger share of the pie.
They infuriated me.
B.C. was the only province to impose such a fee. Seniors and ordinary families were paying up to $1,800 a year.
It was a massive hit for low income workers and people on fixed incomes, and pocket change for the wealthy. It was so unfair. A person earning $42,000 a year paid the same as a person who earned $400,000 or even $4 million.
On top of that, people who happened to live on one side of the Fraser River and work on the other were hit with daily tolls that could add up to $1,500 a year.
That too was hugely regressive.
And why were we paying these fees?
We were paying them to make up for the massive tax giveaways the B.C. Liberals were handing to profitable corporations and the super rich.
In 16 years of pandering to the wealthy, they made our province more and more unequal. The gap between the wealthy and the rest of us grew to become the largest in Canada. Before the BC NDP took action to address it, the wealthiest 1% paid a lower rate of taxes in relation to income than everyone else.
Equality? Fairness? Forget it.
In election campaigns, B.C. Liberals promise to look out for people. When they’re in office, they do the opposite.
By the 2017 election, they had turned our province into what the Globe & Mail called “a pay to play empire.” The New York Times called us “the wild west of political fund raising.”
Corporate lobbyists knew what they wanted from the government. They knew the way to get it was to give tons of cash to the B.C. Liberal Party. And the B.C. Liberal government gave it to them, at times going beyond their wildest wishes with more unexpected tax cuts.
That’s just not how democracies should work. Small wonder the rest of us weren’t heard.
Governments should work to provide the services that make all of us stronger as individuals and as a society. They should promote equality, not inequality. They should work for people, not against them.
On page 6, Advocate editor Soren Bech outlines some of the areas where the B.C. Liberals imposed deep cuts to public services – even closing hospitals and long term care homes – in order to cover the cost of their tax giveaways to people and corporations that already had the most. It’s a condensed summary. Soren tells me a complete list would have gone on for pages and pages.
When I think about all the pain the previous government imposed on so many, including the most vulnerable, and compare it to how much John Horgan and the NDP have accomplished to undo the mess, I am in no doubt as to how I will be voting.
Voting by mail
We’re all getting used to physical distancing and other precautions when we go grocery shopping. That’s how in person voting will be done safely.
I have registered to vote by mail. It was very easy, and only took five minutes. If you’d prefer to do likewise, visit the Elections BC website at elections.bc.ca/ovr, or telephone 1-800-661-8683 to request a voting package.
There’s more info about how to vote on page 16. Please vote!