In 2003, I was overseeing child welfare, health, income assistance, justice, and alcohol and drug programs as the director of health and social development for the Sechelt Nation. I was the president of the Sunshine Coast Arts Council, teaching cello, and occasionally playing with the Prince George and Kamloops symphonies. I was not involved in politics.
Then the government of B.C. asked me to investigate the death of a child in care. I discovered that a sudden change in government policy, along with miscommunication and poor decision-making, led to the placement of a child in an inappropriate home where she died at the hands of her caregiver. Government had introduced a less expensive form of foster care to help keep families together but had done so without adequate foresight and planning. This, in part, led me to seek elected office. It was clear that our democratic system was not working in the best interest of the public. Our government was putting its ideological and short-term economic goals ahead of the public interest.
We have to work toward putting the long-term best interests of citizens first. To do this, we have to make sure we have a solid and unified party. This is why I am seeking the leadership of the B.C. NDP.
I will do everything in my power to make sure that when we form government it will be strong and principled and will demonstrate integrity at every level. Governments that are more concerned with public relations than good public policy are bringing our democratic system into disrepute. The public deserves better representation, and I am committed to contributing to better public policy. We need to restore confidence in politics and politicians.
The party of my Nova Scotian grandfather was one that put the best interest of citizens first, basing its policies on the solid foundation of the principles of fairness and good sense. Under my leadership, our legislature will become a place of real debate, our committees the venue for in-depth consultation, and our academics and scientists the source of our information.
I would like to be part of a government that reflects the principles of democracy, gives citizens their voice, and encourages participation in the formation of public policy. Our party must become stronger by being dynamic and principled without fear or apology. It must be robust enough to embrace diverse views, but principled enough to stand strongly on its founding principles. This is what will attract people to the B.C. NDP, and this is what will lead to electoral success in all parts of the province.
The public is becoming tired of governments that hide their bad policies behind slogans and deception. The public is aching for principled decision-making, and a vision for British Columbia that looks beyond election cycles. In order to strengthen the resilience of our communities, we must always look to the needs of future generations.
This is the approach I have used to identify key policy proposals. They reflect the principles of Sustainable B.C. I have proposed a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy that makes long-term sense economically. My proposals to address climate change and the need to protect our resources promote sustainability. My ideas for education are based on the value of life-long learning. Fair taxes are the way we pay for public goods and services that I believe our party wants for all citizens. If you would like to learn more about my ideas, please visit nicholassimons2011.ca.
Nicholas Simons is a B.C. NDP leadership candidate.