Hope you’re enjoying your summer Mr. Premier. While you’re basking in your delightfully long summer break, I thought I’d take this opportunity to offer you some food for thought and remind you of some pressing issues that face us that you may wish to meditate and reflect on, to assist you in your decision making when the Legislative Assembly (hopefully) returns to its “busy work” this fall.
There’s the whole issue of “going green” and joining the Governator on the yellow brick road to hydrogen self-sufficiency, and developing new and creative alternative sources of energy for our province. Although we haven’t yet seen or heard of any government plans or thoughts in this direction, I’m sure they’re bubbling away in the deep, dark recesses of the “liberal” caucus-mind. I personally look forward to any pronouncements on this issue as climate change appears to be continuing with little regard to political promises of going green.
I must admit though, the promise of a climate-respectful energy program seems at some conflict with the urgings of your government to lift the moratorium on oil drilling off coastal BC and oil tanker traffic down the sensitive coastal waters of BC. You may recall that: “In 1972, the Government of Canada imposed a moratorium on crude-oil tanker traffic through Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound due to concerns over the potential environmental impacts. The moratorium was subsequently extended to include oil and gas activities." (This statement is from the 2003 Terms of Reference for a federal review of the moratorium written by Natural Resources Canada staff.) Perhaps you can clear this up for me when you get back to work next fall – assuming you don’t cancel the fall session again.
So aside from this green thing, there’s the issue of child poverty that continues to surface. I’m really hoping that you’ll be interested in addressing this one after your summer break as it seems to be hanging around and is a bit of an embarrassment what with all this Olympic stuff happening. You know with BC’s economy supposedly in the best shape in years, it disturbs me that we continue to lead the country in this child poverty thing. Likely not the best marketing material for the Olympics, although I suspect China will have to deal with similar issues when they take on the summer Olympics in a few years. Their economy seems to be doing well too, at least according to recent reports. Maybe you could check with them to see how they’re dealing with this problem. Perhaps Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan could help out with the language issue as I understand he taught himself Mandarin a few years ago.
I’m still a tad concerned about this TILMA deal that was signed with Alberta. Apparently there’s been some significant debate about the overall benefits of this rather quietly signed deal. Hopefully you’ll get another chance to look at this in the fall as well.
Another “economic” issue seems to continue to surface as well. This is the apparently touchy issue of the minimum wage in this province. Mr. Premier, with the healthy economy that you and your government promote and take credit for, I would hope that one of the first pieces of legislation you look at in the fall sitting is the raising of this deplorable minimum wage to the recommended $10.00 per hour that would help some of BC’s poorest reach some semblance of self-sufficiency. I’m sure you know that in March of this year, Ontario approved a minimum wage increase to $10.00 per hour. Now you wouldn’t want to be known to be cheaper than Premier Dalton McGunity would you - especially after the very substantial raise that you and your colleagues voted yourselves just a few weeks ago? And as those of us who live in this beautiful province know, the cost of living here – especially the cost of housing – far exceeds that of Ontario. So Mr. Premier, I encourage you to look again at this issue as part of the solution to address the embarrassing problem of having the highest rate of child poverty in the country and to ensure that this great “economic boom” can be shared by all British Columbians. As the Campaign 2000 Report states: “British Columbia remains the province with the highest child poverty rate at 23.5%. There are too many working poor families in BC who are unable to get jobs with sufficient pay, hours and benefits to lift them above the poverty line.” (2006 statistics)
Last, but not least, I’m hoping that after your summer hiatus, you and your government will once again review the decision of the Supreme Court regarding the apparently unconstitutional “Health and Social Services Delivery Improvement Act” passed by your government in 2002. Apparently there’s less than eleven months now to find a way to fix that piece of legislation that got rammed through in three days. I’m sure we’d be interested in knowing what your strategy might be in addressing this one.
And on this note Mr. Premier, I wish you a pleasant summer and I look forward to continuing this discourse in the fall – unless something happens in August that captures my attention.
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