Spring is my favourite time of year. I love watching the transformation of the land as seemingly dead trees fill with pink blossoms and new shoots peek out of cold dirt. So much seems possible in spring when a new cycle begins.
Spring this year brings with it many possibilities. Just as a gardener may imagine what will emerge in the summer after the planting of new seeds in the spring, I too imagine what could emerge in our province in the future.
Imagine if we also had the ferry subsidies that Atlantic Canada enjoys.
Imagine if B.C. parents also had subsidized daycare like Quebec does.
Imagine if school children did not have to fear their school building burying them under bricks during an earthquake.
Imagine if the budget surplus was actually used to put families first.
For 14 years we have been waiting to see the evidence that tax cuts to corporations and funding cuts to health care and education would actually lead to prosperity for all in the province. Instead what we have is the nightmare of the highest child poverty rate in Canada.
We have people waiting years for surgery. We have schools passed over for seismic upgrades while a stadium roof takes $514 million from public funds.
This is not what the citizens of B.C. deserve from a party governing a rich province in a rich country.
On the last day of the TED conference in Vancouver, Nobel Peace prize winner Kailash Satyarthi encouraged all who know about injustice to get angry. He shared with us how anger in his life led him to come up with ideas that then became actions that changed the lives of thousands of children working as slaves.
In B.C. today there are many citizens angry with the way their province is being governed. They range from resident hunters to ferry passengers; from paramedics to farmers; from fishermen to parents whose children's needs are callously ignored.
What would happen if all those angry citizens transformed their anger into an action that would signal to the governing B.C. Liberal party that citizens demand better stewardship of their public funds?
Could we have a B.C. Spring like that they did in other places in the world where authoritarian governments erroneously ignored the needs of citizens?
What alternative vision could we create for B.C.?
What about a province that has the lowest child poverty rate in Canada?
What about a province that is a leader in clean energy?
What about a province where another Mount Polley could not happen?
At the TED conference we were presented with many alternative visions of the future. Some were scary but many were hopeful. At the end of each talk, every speaker said that it is up to us to determine which future is actually realized because every day we make choices that build our communal future. Every day we plant the seeds for a future spring.
What kinds of seeds do we want to plant for the future B.C. that our children will live in?
Imagine planting seeds for a circular economy.
Imagine planting seeds to restore the tattered social safety net.
Imagine planting seeds for employment that does not include destroying the environment in order to earn a living.
The timing of the recall campaign is perfect. It's in spring that we can begin again. We can reflect on the past and then take action to build for the future. Fourteen years ago, promises were made that were never delivered. Just as a gardener needs to prune and uproot that which does not grow and thrive, so too can we citizens uproot what was planted in 2001 and begin to plant anew.
Let's begin to plant seeds for a province that is stewarded with people, not corporate profit in mind.