The more people I speak with, the more I’m hearing it’s time for change. Seniors, working parents, and youth raise a wide range of issues when I knock on their doors. But there’s a common thread. They feel let down. They feel that things could be better for ordinary families if we worked together to tackle our challenges.
Young people worry about their future. Students face an intimidating choice—keep studying and graduate with a large debt, or abandon the education and skills training they need to get satisfying, well-paying jobs. Young people also wonder if their parents’ generation will ever tackle the growing environmental deficit, or just keep talking about it. Where is the commitment to building an economy that fights climate change while supporting value-added green jobs for their future?
Most people in Vancouver-Fairview, the heart of our city, are renters. They love our community, yet far too many say they can’t imagine raising a family here. They can’t afford it, and they can’t see the B.C. Liberals doing anything to change that.
We all worry about what the future holds for our aging parents. Home support services that allow seniors to remain in their home and community have been cut continually. Socially and economically, it’s wrong to limit their alternatives to care homes. It’s not what seniors want—and it costs more.
Over 12 years of B.C. Liberal rule, people in Vancouver-Fairview, like all British Columbians, have experienced growing inequality between the wealthiest and everyone else. Families that once got by, even slowly got ahead, now struggle to make ends meet. Child poverty climbed to shameful levels. The cost of living was driven ever upward by a cluster of fee hikes on everything from transit to medical premiums and tuition. Jobs were made more insecure by slashing employees’ rights and protections. And from day one their mishandling of the HST angered British Columbians and hurt small businesses.
As they’ve failed to stand up for ordinary people, the B.C. Liberals also failed to stand up for our threatened environment. They stepped away from their responsibility for controversial projects like the Enbridge pipeline. Instead, they handed full control to a federal government that deliberately gutted environmental standards to ram through projects like Enbridge—no matter what scientists, the public, or First Nations have to say.
In their latest deficit budget, the B.C. Liberals claim they’ll balance the books by selling assets like public land. It’s a missed opportunity. Public lands could be used to support nonprofit housing, greatly increasing affordability. Their dubious balancing act also cuts $233 million from health care. Even in an election budget, the B.C. Liberals failed to respond to our community’s priorities. It’s too late for piecemeal handouts, late-term gestures, and recycled announcements. Even the odd praise-worthy act begs the question: “Why now?”
In Vancouver-Fairview, most people I’ve spoken with are eager for change. People want to improve their community and family life. That’s why New Democrats are committed to better health care for seniors, non-refundable grants for students who need assistance to access education, responsible use of public assets for the long-term benefit of our province, and a made-in-B.C. assessment process that relies on science to protect our environment and our future.
Perhaps most importantly, people are looking for honesty and respect from their elected representatives. I give you this commitment. B.C. New Democrats will be practical and accountable. We will focus our energy on meeting real community needs and priorities.