BC FORUM News - From The Advocate, Winter 2020
Turning an election victory into a better future for all
By Laird Cronk, Chair, BCFORUM
President, BC Federation of Labour
During the recent provincial election, British Columbians had a clear choice between two very different futures:
• Return to BC Liberal cuts and a government that worked only for those who were already powerful and wealthy — leaving the rest of us out in the cold.
• Or choose a future that puts people and families at the forefront.
Labour activists and workers (including a big contingent of retirees!) helped make a powerful case for building a future for all. We pitched in to get the word out, volunteering in campaigns across every riding in BC.
And I’m proud to say that when the votes were counted, it was clear that British Columbians were with us. They saw a government that works for people, not just for the powerful. And they put their trust in Premier Horgan and the BC NDP with a resounding majority.
The NDP now has the second largest caucus in the province’s history — and, more important, a clear mandate for the kind of changes that put working people and their families front and centre.
And that couldn’t be coming at a more critical time. 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.
Right now, those decisions include how we deal with the long-anticipated second wave of the COVID pandemic.
This includes the need to double down on efforts to protect workers from infection, and build on the measures the government took early on to make long-term care homes safer for seniors and the workers caring for them. And we must do even more to keep people whose lives and livelihoods have been disrupted by the pandemic from falling through the cracks.
But the urgency of those actions shouldn’t keep us from pushing for bolder, more fundamental gains for the people of BC.
High on our agenda for this government: a truly worker-centered Workers’ Compensation Board, stronger employment standards and a fair labour code, increased public services including universal Pharmacare and dental care, paid sick leave for all workers and climate-change strategies that create family- and community-supporting long-term jobs in the new economy.
But we’ve been through this enough times to know that none of it will come without a lot of hard work.
Even with a government that listens to working people, the usual powerful and wealthy suspects will be pulling out all the stops. They’ll try to water down the government’s agenda, block badly-needed improvements and roll back progress at every opportunity. We’ve seen it before with NDP governments, and they’ll need our voices speaking out loud and clear for the kind of changes we want to see.
The good news? We know our voices are many and strong. And we’ve proven we can achieve those changes and more when we mobilize people throughout BC who support real, progressive change and a better, fairer province.
So in the coming weeks and months, you can expect to hear a lot from us about the changes we all know BC needs. And you can join us and start speaking out now through our campaign website: FutureForAll.ca.
In the meantime, thank you for all of your hard work during this election. We can all take some real satisfaction in knowing we helped to re-elect a government with a solid record of delivering for working people — and in knowing what a difference that will make to people throughout our province.