BC FORUM News - From The Advocate, Special Edition 2020
This election, let’s choose a better,
fairer future for all
By Laird Cronk, Chairperson, BC FORUM
This election, British Columbians have a choice:
• Go back to the senseless cuts that left so many people out in the cold, and left us vulnerable?
• Or build a future for everyone that puts people and families at the forefront?
You and I remember the BC Liberals all too well: how they governed only for the wealthy and powerful.
But after three and a half years of government by Premier John Horgan and the BCNDP, we’ve had a chance to see what it’s like to have a government that actually listens to workers. They’ve made major progress in building a better, fairer province.
Well before this pandemic began, John Horgan’s government took steps like investing in affordable childcare and housing, raising the minimum wage, eliminating MSP premiums, investing in primary health care, improving our labour and employment standards laws, developing Canada’s most ambitious climate action plan and recognizing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in law.
And during the pandemic, the BCNDP took care of people. They brought in job-protected sick leave, income supports, help for renters and BC’s most vulnerable people, improvements to worker safety and workers’ compensation — and a lot more.
Think about seniors’ care. The Liberals underfunded it and treated private-sector long-term care as a business like any other, allowing contract-flipping and terrible understaffing to run rampant.
John Horgan and the BCNDP saw the way contract-flipping got rid of experienced caregivers, and banned the practice. They invested in increasing the number of caregivers in care homes.
Over 8,000 long-term care workers in BC had to work in multiple care homes, in many cases just to make ends meet - a legacy of the BC Liberals changes. The BCNDP government saw the COVID transmission risk this represented. So they limited workers in seniors’ care homes to a single facility, to limit the risk of exposure while minimizing income loss for workers. And they levelled up wages, so all seniors’ care workers earned the higher provincial standard rate.
There’s still a lot to accomplish: universal Pharmacare and dental care, expanding and improving public services, a truly worker-centered Workers’ Compensation Board, investing in building sustainable green infrastructure and tackling climate change for future generations, and more.
But to do that, we need a government that can act without constantly looking over its shoulder — a stable, four-year NDP government. Because this province needs to make decisions not just about getting through the next few months, but what BC will look like for many years to come. The good news is that we know British Columbians share our vision.
A recent poll the BC Federation of Labour commissioned showed that 72 percent of British Columbians want to see BC make changes to support a fairer, more equal province, rather than going back to the way things were.
That only happens, though, if enough of us vote for the future we want to see — and re-elect a government that listens to us. And with Elections BC expanding mail-in voting, you can do it safely and easily. Just visit elections.bc.ca/ovr, or telephone 1-800-661-8683 for your package, and then be sure to vote.
We have an opportunity to make lasting changes for British Columbians like investments in crucial public services, securing good jobs and opportunities for the next generation, and building a better, fairer and more sustainable economy.
We have the chance to build a future that works for everyone.
Let’s take it.