Well Mr. Premier, you’ve been unnaturally quiet since your successful bid to reclaim your political throne. It does seem however, that even though you may have gone into a deep retreat of the political soul, certain of your colleagues and minions have been happily revealing the true nature and the real meaning and intent of your party’s re-assent to power.
It was most interesting to discover that Kevin Falcon, the previous Minister of Transportation is now re-cast as the Minister of Health and his first words to the masses were an indication of his position on public vs. private health care in B.C:
“I don’t have an objection to people using their own money to buy private services. Just as they do with dentists, just as they do with other decisions they make -- you know, sending their kids to private school or what have you. I think choice is a good thing actually - reducing choice I don’t think is a good thing.”
Mr. Falcon’s statement seems to be in direct opposition to your government’s recent brief to the court’s reacting to a legal challenge by a number of private clinics. Apparently your government stated that it is trying “to preserve a publicly managed and fiscally sustainable health care system for BC in which access to necessary medical care is based on need and not on an individual’s ability to pay.”
Hmm. Perhaps you might want to email Mr. Falcon the wise words of Yoda, the miniscule Jedi knight who stated “try not, do!” But, make sure you save the email as I understand a whole bunch of emails from your office and other government offices regarding the BC Rail scandal seem to have disappeared.
Now that must have really shocked you to discover that almost four years of emails that could have been directly relevant to the corruption case involving charges against three former Liberal government employees had mysteriously been deleted.
As the editorial in the Times Colonist stated on June 25, 2009, “if cabinet communications, especially those potentially relevant to an ongoing criminal case, are not deemed worthy of retention, what is?” Good question! Ah the challenges of leadership eh Mr. Premier!
Then there was the announcement that your government had been looking for new and creative ways to identify areas to reduce expenditures due to the current economic challenges and that your people were “searching for smart solutions that will work in the long run.” Shortly after, there was the proclamation that there was a freeze on a program that subsidizes summer camp fees for disadvantaged children. Now that’s the way to cut costs Gord. Eliminate that $360,000 program! Did you know that BC still has the highest rate of child poverty in Canada? After a few statements that likened your government to Scrooge, Housing and Social Development Minister Rich Coleman announced that he was moving to lift the freeze which means that hundreds of kids may be able to attend summer camp after all. Truly heartwarming.
And Mr. Premier, there’s the ongoing saga of our marine highway system and the apparent challenges that BC Ferries is facing.
Seems that due to a number of factors – rapidly increased fares, service cuts, and the economic downturn – that BC Ferries is losing customers at a rate of more than five per cent last year. Overall, traffic is less than it was in 2003 when you made BC Ferries a private company. Did you know Mr. Premier that fares have risen 152 per cent on the minor routes since 2003? That’s an even higher increase than the raises your government voted itself last year! And that figure doesn’t even cover fuel surcharges. Now in these “tough economic times” can you imagine the impact these figures are having and will continue to have on tourism to Vancouver Island, on food costs and on the general cost of living on ferry-dependent communities? Do you realize that almost 20 per cent of BC’s population lives in ferry dependent communities? That’s a big whack of voters Mr. Premier. Heck, with these increased costs, attending the 2010 Winter Olympics will be an even greater financial challenge to the few of us who even think they’re a good idea.
In that vein, it’s intriguing to me to see how smoothly massive amounts of money have been directed to the Olympics, and how much marketing has been done to ensure that we should all be so proud and excited to be the hosts to the world during this 17 day event. When this questionable event is over and we are left with an astounding, massive debt, do you think we could borrow a few of your promoter advertising types and get them to focus on more mundane concerns like poverty, the minimum wage, huge job losses, the ferries and all that?
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