Serious work ahead for BC

Editorial

Tuesday, June 6 2017

Here they are, the top priorities given in a joint statement from the BC NDP and BC Green parties as they prepare to govern BC.

• Reforming our electoral system, getting the influence of big money out of politics, and reforming lobbying rules

• Recognizing that education is about lifelong learning and fast-tracking enhancement to K-12 education funding

• Protecting and promoting public health care, creating a proposal for an essential drugs program, and giving families the security of quality, affordable child care

• Getting people moving with better transit

• Giving the opioid crisis the attention it deserves

• Establishing an Emerging Economy Task Force and an Innovation Commission

• Eliminating Medical Services Premiums

• Implementing a basic income pilot project

• Fighting climate change while creating good jobs and introducing rebate cheques that will mean most people pay less while increasing the carbon tax beginning in 2018

• Sending the Site C project immediately to an independent review

• Opposing the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project

If the government survives four years and is able to bring about all these changes, BC will be in a much better state than it is currently. Of all the goals, there are four which need to be taken care of as soon as possible. The ones where a return to a Liberal (or other pseudo-BC Liberal) government control cannot be risked.

1. Get rid of corporate and union donations.

2. Bring in Proportional Representation.

3. Cancel the Site C Dam project.

4. Stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion.

On donations, legislation is already being planned to be tabled at the first sitting of an NDP government supported by the BC Greens eliminating the allowance of such donations.

Proportional Representation: A referendum is being planned to coincide with the local government elections to ask British Columbians about changing BC’s provincial elections  to being based on proportional representation (and to move fixed-date elections from the spring to the fall).

On Site C. The proposed NDP government should just cancel the Site C Dam project, rather than send it to any kind of review. The economics (all negative, none positive) have shown the dam to be a billion-dollar boondoggle. If it still ends up being  built, that boondoggle name will now be hung on the BC NDP’s reputation rather than that of the BC Liberals who have shoved it forward as fast as possible.

But the BC Greens have said they will work with the BC NDP option, to have the independent BC Utilities Commission conduct a six-month review.

That’s fine - but in the meantime, BC Hydro should - and needs - to stop serving eviction notices on people living in homes located in the proposed Site C area. No sense kicking people out for a dam that should not - and hopefully will not - be built.

Kinder Morgan: BC NDP leader John Horgan has promised to use every legal tool available to stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion. Cue the rage from the Alberta Premier Rachel Notley....

Mixed in to all of this, and certainly not minor by being mentioned last, is the promise by the BC NDP and BC Green in the document presented to the Lieutenant Governor of BC.

“A foundational piece of this relationship is that both caucuses support the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls-to-action and the Tsilhqot’in Supreme Court decision. We will ensure the new government reviews policies, programs and legislation to determine how to bring the principles of the Declaration into action in BC.”

If only outgoing Premier Christy Clark would deign to let the work begin.