Christy Clark has confirmed that she won’t be attending any all-candidates meetings or debates in Vancouver-Point Grey in advance of the May 11 by-election. In fact, she scheduled a “telephone town hall” with screened questions and predetermined outcomes on the same night as one of the all-candidates meetings.
If I were the premier-elect, I wouldn’t want to meet the community of Vancouver-Point Grey either. She’s got a tough record to defend to one of the most educated constituencies in British Columbia. But perhaps it’s not surprising. In avoiding these events, Christy continues a long tradition of Gordon Campbell’s to avoid community meetings in the riding.
For the last three weeks I have been knocking on doors and speaking to the Vancouver-Point Grey community about issues that matter to them. They are a diverse electorate and as such have a diverse set of issues they want their full-time MLA to address.
Our province needs prompt action on climate change, by using the money intended for the smart meter program to instead fund green jobs insulating and upgrading the energy efficiency of homes. We need to shift our carbon tax revenues out of general revenue to fund tax cuts for banks and oil companies and towards investment in local transit initiatives.
Our wild Pacific salmon need to be protected with a ban on harmful net pen farming of Atlantic salmon.
Our precious north coast needs to be protected from oil tankers steaming oil sands fuel to Asia—we can do better than that for our future. Christy’s transition team in Victoria is headed by Gwyn Morgan, an anti-Kyoto lobbyist and tanker enthusiast from Encana.
When we take advantage of B.C.’s resources through mining and forestry, we need to do so with the best interests of community foremost in our minds. We can ban raw log exports and ensure critical jobs stay in the province, tied to our natural resources. We can refuse to approve environmentally harmful projects like the Prosperity Mine project outside of Williams Lake that proposes to turn pristine Fish Lake into a toxic tailings pond. Christy personally lobbied the prime minister to overturn a failed environmental assessment on the project.
By rolling back the last two years of corporate tax cuts that have funded record profits but little reinvestment in our community, we can fund critically needed earthquake safety upgrades for our schools, keeping our community’s kids safe. We can also reduce class sizes so that teachers can do their jobs properly, and ensure that kids who need extra attention get the teacher time they need to succeed and contribute to our society. While she was education minister, Christy passed a law, just overturned by the B.C. Supreme Court, that prevented teachers from talking about class sizes and composition during contract negotiations.
We need to revisit the vision for UBC Hospital, and the decision years ago to move away from 24-hour emergency care. We also need to know why patient rooms are being converted into offices, and exactly what the community care future for this hospital will be.
We’ve seen the destruction that broken promises and meaningless consultation around mass transit projects cause in Vancouver; we don’t want another Cambie Street open trench on Broadway. I’ll fight to make sure that consultation engages our community and that TransLink listens to what our community values—independent local businesses and efficient, community-based solutions. I’ll also make sure that promises made are kept. Vancouver-Point Grey’s best interests, from UBC to Kits, will be my priority all day, every day.
For too long our province has expected the police, emergency rooms, and expensive and controversial homeless shelters to be our “solution” to homelessness. Not only is this solution not a solution at all, it’s also more expensive than simply housing people in supported social housing. We can’t waste any more money or time on solutions that aren’t solutions, and that treat those among us who need a hand as not deserving of our time or compassion. If we can put a roof on B.C. Place, we can put a roof on our homeless. Christy is on record saying that the province can’t afford social housing. Perhaps it’s because we spent $1 billion on a convention centre and mega casinos in Vancouver seem to be our province’s focus.
Here for the community
Vancouver-Point Grey has had an absentee representative before in Gordon Campbell, and appears to have an aspiring absentee representative in Christy Clark. It’s time for real change in Vancouver-Point Grey, starting with this by-election.
David Eby is the NDP candidate for the Vancouver-Point Grey by-election.