BC FORUM News from the Advocate, Summer 2017
The long and bumpy road to a better BC for people
After 16 years, a government that works for us, not the wealthy elite
A long night of counting on election day. Another two weeks of waiting for the official count. The spectacle of former premier Christy Clark writing a Throne Speech stolen from the NDP platform and irrefutably branding herself as a politician who would say anything to retain power.
“It was a long wait, but it was worth it,” says Diane Wood, President of BC FORUM. “We now have a government that is pledged to work for us, not the high flyers who have contributed so many millions to the BC Liberals’ pay-to-play empire over the years.”
John Horgan’s New Democrats ran on a platform that includes many initiatives to make life more affordable, improve services to people, and build an economy that works for everyone.
Wood said many of these proposals will improve the lives of retired workers and their families including:
• Investing in home care and quality long term care for BC seniors.
• Working to reduce the cost of prescriptions and supporting a national pharmacare program.
• Increasing the time home care workers can spend with seniors so they can stay in their own homes longer.
• Restoring the 100 percent weekday discount on BC Ferries.
• Cutting MSP premiums in half on Jan. 1, 2018, and entirely eliminating this unfair tax over four years.
Irene Lanzinger, President of the BC Federation of Labour and Chair of BC FORUM, said she looks forward to working with the new government.
“I’m excited to have a government that I think will be on the side of working people and families. I think it will be good for BC,” said Lanzinger. She highlighted a $15 an hour minimum wage and $10 a day child care as examples of commitments that will give hundreds of thousands of workers a chance to climb out of poverty.
Agreement: People come first
British Columbians have been waiting 16 long years for solutions to so many problems, and we want to help,” says John Horgan, Leader of the BC NDP.
“A New Democrat government, with the support of Green MLAs, will make life more affordable, fix the services people count on, and build a sustainable economy that works for people, he says.
The key step towards reaching that goal was taken May 30 when all 44 elected MLAs from the B.C. New Democrat and B.C. Green caucuses ratified an agreement pledging to work together to support a stable government.
“The people of B.C. spoke loud and clear on election day – they want a government that works for them, not just those at the top.
“With the signing of this historic agreement, we are showing that we are ready to roll up our sleeves and work together to make lives better for British Columbians,” said Horgan.
Andrew Weaver, Leader of the B.C. Green Party says the election clearly demonstrated that voters wanted to put an end to the bitter, divisive and cynical politics of the past, and get on with productive governance.
“I am very proud to stand with John Horgan and our respective caucuses to demonstrate how two distinct parties can work together for the good of all,” said Weaver.
The B.C. New Democrat government has agreed to advance several legislative and policy initiatives identified as a condition of support by the B.C. Green Caucus, including:
• Reforming our electoral system, getting the influence of big money out of politics, and reforming lobbying rules;
• Recognizing that education is about lifelong learning and fasttracking enhancement to K-12 education funding;
• Protecting and promoting public health care, creating a proposal for an essential drugs program, and giving families the security of quality, affordable child care;
• Getting people moving with better transit;
• Giving the opioid crisis the attention it deserves;
• Establishing an Emerging Economy Task Force and an Innovation Commission;
• Eliminating Medical Services Premiums;
• Implementing a basic income pilot project;
• Fighting climate change while creating good jobs and introducing rebate cheques that will mean most people pay less while increasing the carbon tax beginning in 2018;
• Sending the Site C project immediately to an independent review;
• Opposing the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project.
“This agreement establishes a relationship of ‘good faith and no surprises’ between the B.C. Green caucus and a B.C. New Democrat government,” said Weaver.
“It is our hope that it becomes a model for future B.C. governments, where working across party lines is quite ordinary. I have always believed we are better off when diverse views can be represented at the table. This is a new era for politics in B.C. - one where British Columbians are truly the winners,” said Weaver.
“The agreement means we have the opportunity to make those changes that are so important. I’m optimistic and excited for the future,” said Horgan.