Letter: Dear Premier Christy Clark

Tuesday, December 20 2016

Dear Premier:

Your recent announcement about interest free loans for individuals purchasing a home for the first time has left me confused. You stated that B.C.’s economy is sufficiently healthy to be able to offer these loans for down payments. I cannot see how this will actually assist anyone but developers and speculators – many of whom are contributors to your political party. 

I also have a number of concerns around your statement about the provincial economy. If B.C’s economy is as healthy as you claim, why are there so many homeless people in our province? If the economy is so strong, why does B.C. have the highest rate of child poverty in Canada? If the economy is as robust as you indicate, why does B.C. continue to tax British Columbians with an unfair MSP health tax when no other province in Canada does this – and why are you raising this tax in 2017? If the economy is so vigorous, why is the population of the downtown east side of Vancouver in such a state of desperation? If B.C is in such excellent financial health, why is B.C Hydro in such fragile economic straights and why did rates increase this year? And, while we’re looking at BC Hydro, why is your government proceeding with the Site C dam when it’s obvious that the power it might generate is not needed and the environmental damage and impact of the construction is unacceptable to many, including many First Nations people and others who live in the area?

I fail to understand how you can make this claim when it is obvious that the decisions made by your government seem to be denying the reality that so many of us face daily. 

I also notice that you are making many of these blatantly political announcements about six months before a provincial election. I personally find the timing suspicious. I respectfully suggest Premier, that your government is out of touch with the challenges that many, if not most, people in this province contend with on a daily basis. 

If indeed you would really like to discover how many of the people of B.C. struggle to make ends meet, you may wish to sit with some people who live on the streets for a night or two and have a conversation; you may wish to visit one or two of the hundreds of older people who are waiting for Long term Care or who desperately need Home Care to stay in their own homes; you may wish to spend a few days with an individual on welfare to see how far $610 monthly can be stretched, or someone on disability to check out how far $906 a month can go; you may also wish to visit one of the many food banks around the province and chat with one or two of the over 100,000 people and families who needed to use food banks to feed themselves and their families this year. 

I’m fairly certain that if indeed the provincial economy is in such great shape, there are better ways of distributing this apparent wealth than offering $37,500 as a “second mortgage” to help first time homebuyers buy an expensive house that they actually may not be able to afford.

Yours truly

~ Stephen O’Neill