Commentary
Apr 18, 2017

On May 9, here’s something to vote for

Rather than just turf Christy Clark, let’s elect a government that works for all of us

If you’ve read any of my columns since I became CUPE BC’s president, you’ll know I believe this province badly needs a new government. In just a few short weeks we’ll have an opportunity on May 9 to give Christy Clark and her BC Liberals their pink slips, replacing them with a progressive government that’s there for working people and their families.

I’ve talked a lot about why I think the BC Liberals of Christy Clark—and Gordon Campbell before her—have taken us down the wrong road. I remain extremely concerned that a fourth term for this government would have a significant negative impact on CUPE members, particularly in the municipal sector, as I wrote in the last Public Employee. That said, while there are many negative reasons to defeat Christy Clark and the Liberals, there are at least as many positive reasons to vote for John Horgan and the BC NDP.

A change for the better

I’ve known John for more than 10 years, but I’ve gotten to know him much better in the past two since he was elected leader. I am completely confident that he will be a great premier and that the slate of NDP candidates (eight of whom—all sisters—are part of the CUPE family) will form a government that’s there for all of us, not just the wealthy and well-connected.

Here are just a few excellent reasons to elect John Horgan and the BC NDP as our next premier and government:

  • As his first act, John will get the big money out of politics by banning corporate and union donations for political parties and putting a cap on individual donations.
  • John and the BC NDP will phase out Medical Services Plan premiums altogether B.C. is the only province in the country to charge this tax.  The BC NDP will make sure the richest British Columbians and big corporations pay their fair share.
  • Recognizing the importance of child care as an important support for families and a key economic driver, John will bring in a $10-per-day childcare plan.
  • John will return B.C. to the forefront of leadership on the issue of climate change by introducing a comprehensive climate action plan—creating good paying jobs, improved transit and transportation, and sparking economic growth.
  • A BC NDP government will also make sure B.C. finally implements a poverty reduction plan, which will include increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour so that people who work (60 percent of minimum wage workers are women) aren’t trapped in a vicious cycle of below-poverty wages. John will also regulate high-interest payday loans, and support new co-operative housing construction.

Those are just a few of the commitments that John Horgan and the NDP have made—you can read about many more at www.bcndp.ca—and the party’s election platform hadn’t been released as this issue went to print.

Time for optimism, determination

As I said above, I really believe that the BC Liberal government deserves to be defeated on its record alone. Whether it’s the wreckage of their 15-year war against the public education system, the tragic deaths of youth in care, the vandalism of their privatization agenda, or their blatant disregard for the needs of workers, this government has got to go.

These are compelling enough reasons to vote against the BC Liberal candidate in your riding. And I hope we all remember those reasons as we head to the polls on May 9. But let’s also head to those polls with a sense of optimism and determination, knowing that we are on the verge of electing a progressive government that will stand for all British Columbians, not just the privileged few.

On a final note, congratulations to CUPE 1858 member Sarah Ogden, who works at the Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo.  She’s the lucky winner of our prize draw for the Public Employee survey. Sister Ogden can contact the CUPE BC Division office to claim some fabulous CUPE BC swag!

Paul Faoro is president of CUPE BC, British Columbia’s largest union, representing 85,000 workers delivering important public services in communities across the province.

COPE 491