With a provincial election just around the corner and remembering that it’s always good to look at where we’ve been to better see where we might be going, I thought it advisable to compile a list of your government’s actions, decisions and their consequences over the past few years just to remind voters and to provide some sense of where we would be heading should your government get re-elected on May 12.
I’ve done this in point form so that the facts are presented with no interpretation or editorial comment. Your government:
• increased the MSP payments by 50% and then cut services covered by the MSP
• remains the only government in Canada to collect a health tax in this manner
• contracted with an American company to collect this tax
• sold off BC Gas
• sold off BC Rail
• maintained the minimum wage at $8 per hour (only New Brunswick is lower and it’s raising its minimum wage to $8.25 in the fall of 2009)
• introduced the $6 per hour training wage (no other province has this wage)
• created the five regional health authorities accountable to individual Boards of Directors and not to British Columbians
• closed hospitals and long term care beds
• closed 177 schools
• created the carbon tax, stated that it was revenue neutral, then sent every British Columbian $100 to offset the tax
• sold off the “fast Cats” at less than what they were worth as scrap metal
• cancelled two sittings of the Fall Legislature after legislating the dates
• passed the TILMA in secret with minimal discussion in the legislature
• re-created BC Ferries as a private corporation and stood by while fares increased as much as 100%. As a result, BC Ferries is no longer accountable to British Columbians but to a Board of Directors.
• allowed BC Ferries to contract the building of new ships to a German company
• led BC to continue to have the highest rate of child poverty in Canada (22%)
• stood by while the numbers of British Columbians using food banks rose to the highest levels ever recorded
• allowed the number of homeless people in Vancouver to double between 2002 - 2005
• provided significant salary increases to MLA’s and the Premier
• provided massive salary increases to senior government civil servants
• allowed the costs for Vancouver Conference Centre to balloon from $495 million to around $900 million
• spent $10 million dollars on the premier’s “Conversation on Health” with no noticeable results or follow-up
• allowed/supported a 60% pay raise for the BC Ferries Board of Directors
• allowed/supported a 500% wage hike for the Translink Board of Directors
• gave away 120 hectares of forest land on Vancouver Island and the Coast without consulting local communities
• interfered in the workings of BC Ferries after stating that this government would never interfere in the workings of BC Ferries because it was a private corporation
• passed Bill 29 in 2002 which eliminated certain collective agreements provisions for healthcare workers in BC and then had to deal with the consequences when in 2007 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that sections of the Act violated the Charter of Right and Freedoms. This cost BC $75 million in compensation and re-training
• introduced Bill 42 “The Gag Law” which attempted to limit free speech and spending for 60 days prior to the election. Initially your government attempted to limit spending for up to five months before an election. The Supreme Court of BC struck down parts of this law as unconstitutional and declared that spending limits could only be applied during the 28 day campaign period before the election.
• introduced the “Run of River” project which will allow private corporations to control our rivers and sell the power they generate to BC Hydro
• increased the cost of power from BC Hydro
Gord, with a record like this, with all of the political bafflegab removed and just the bare facts revealed, with the highest child poverty level in the country and soon with the lowest minimum wage, is it possible that you and your government have lost contact with the reality of life in BC? Can you ever, I wonder, truly appreciate what it may feel like to go to a food bank, to have no housing, to work two jobs as a parent and bring in less than $20,000 a year, to live with a severe disability on $953 a month?
Most Canadians believe that their governments must take a leading role in developing strategies to eliminate these social injustices. I fail to see how your government has taken any role aside from bystander when I consider these issues.
|The Flying Shingle, Gabriola Island, BC, Canada ~ editor@FlyingShingle.com||Web design: Innovative Illusions (Paul Rudyk) ~ webmaster@FlyingShingle.com|