BC FORUM News - From The Advocate, Winter, 2021
BC FORUM continues our advocacy work!
By Diane Wood President, BC FORUM
This is the first edition of our ADVOCATE issued without the work of our long serving Editor and friend Soren Bech. Soren’s recent passing has been a huge loss to so many organizations which he supported. For BC FORUM, Soren was so much more than our Editor of the ADVOCATE. Soren has been active in BC FORUM since our formation. He initially was our part-time Executive Director, a position which has not existed for many years due to loss of funding. Soren was our wise Elder. So many of us could reach out to Soren, ask for his advice, thoughts or help and he would thoughtfully and practically come to our aid. Not one to ever seek centre stage or have the bright lights shine on him, he was content to just be there for all of us, through the good times and the bad times. He helped us all hold our hand firmly on the tiller to help guide us through many storms. We remember and mourn our Brother Soren Bech.
Sadly, we had another passing in September, a former President and Life Member of BC FORUM, Alice West. Alice was a long serving Director on BC FORUM’s Board representing the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC). Alice rose to become the PSAC National Director representing BC, Yukon and Northwest Territories. I was so fortunate to serve with Alice as an Officer of the BC Federation of Labour and on our BC FORUM Board of Directors when she was President. In 2013, Alice was recognized with the Rosemary Brown Award for Women to recognize her extraordinary contribution in the area of Women in the Labour Movement. She was a femtor to so many women including myself. Rest in power Sister Alice.
This is our first edition of our ADVOCATE since the Federal election. I am proud of the work that BC FORUM did leading up to the election in so many areas of important advocacy to effect important changes. Our last edition sent to members before the election set out some of the areas where change is needed whether it be making the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes, a future with health care that puts us first, where life is more affordable including housing, national standards for long term care, supporting older persons to “age in place” with more home support, closing the gaps in Medicare e.g. Universal Pharmacare and Dental Care, Patented Medicines Price Review implementation, finding the courage to act on climate change before it’s too late! Sadly, we still wait on so many where building a more civil society and filling the gaping holes in the social safety net is a continued area of our work. By the time you receive this edition of the ADVOCATE, we will have had a Throne Speech and to have heard what the commitments are of this government as to what changes will come and where we are needed to continue our advocacy for the necessary changes to make life better, more equitable and inclusive for the people of our Canada At BC FORUM, we hope for the best and plan for the worst.
Our work continues at the Provincial level. BC FORUM made a submission in response to the BC government’s call for consultation on the 2022 Budget. Our submission covered many recommendations calling for: a provision to increase the rent ceiling used in the calculation of SAFER to reflect the actual costs of rent in BC, budget increases to build both affordable housing for seniors and seniors subsidized housing, better access to public transportation for seniors, include basic dental health care services for seniors, provisions for long-term core funding for community based non-profit senior serving organizations, provisions to allow seniors to access equipment and devices they need, including but not limited to glasses, hearing aid and mobility devices through the Fair Pharmacare program, to champion national longterm care standards and commit to applying those standards in BC and the provision of increased support for seniors to “Age in Place”.
COVID has taken its toll in so many sad and tragic ways over the past and we are hopeful that 2022 will bring better days. We live in hope that we can be with family and dear friends over the holidays. Be safe and be well.