THE BLOG

B.C. Voters Care About More Than Money

01/11/2016 11:17 EST | Updated 01/11/2017 05:12 EST
Darryl Dyck/CP

Does Premier Christy Clark believe that money is the only thing on the minds of voters? Does she think that voters are really enjoying having the extra money in their pockets from all her tax cuts so that they can have the choice to pay to cross bridges? Does she think we're pleased that we have some extra change to support school fundraisers and to donate to Adopt-a-School?

I'm asking for a friend.

My friend is too afraid to ask this herself because of the changes to the BC Elections Act that puts the expression of political opinions into the category of "election advertising."

All my friends are concerned about many things: that one in five children in B.C. live in poverty; that facial tissues and printing paper are now on school supply lists; that their children attend schools that are likely to crash onto their bodies during a major earthquake.

When they're not worrying about that, they're worrying about all the methane gas escaping from the thousands of leaking fracking wells in B.C. And the flooding of prime agricultural land for the Site C dam. And the poisoning of our waterways by mining industry incompetence as in Mount Polley.

When they do think about money it's when they hear about how little the B.C. gas industry pays in royalties. How is it possible that those corporations get away with benefiting from having access to an educated workforce, a public healthcare system and public infrastructure and yet pay so little for that privilege?

My friends also wonder why there is money to pay for a new roof for BC Place stadium but no money for the seismic upgrading of schools.

But what really gets them angry is when they see how much the B.C. Liberals have added to public debt even though they like to boast about being good fiscal managers of the economy. This B.C. Liberal myth about being good fiscal managers is so deeply entrenched that when my friends point out that the NDP were actually better managers of the economy in the 1990's, there is scepticism even in the face of the facts.

So, yes, money is on their minds but clearly not in the way that the premier thinks it is.

Perhaps the premier thinks that all we voters think about is money because that's the only thing she thinks about? Not in terms of how to save it but how to spend the money that taxpayers have contributed to public funds.

Was it really necessary to spend so much money on oysters and wine?

My friends have noticed that the premier has already started campaigning for re-election in 2017 with all the recent announcements of extra funding for this and that. It's as though she thinks we've forgotten that she told us that we had to stay inside the "affordability zone" for so long. Is Site C really "affordable" when it will cost us so much environmentally and financially in order to benefit energy consumers in California?

The B.C. Liberals have been quite generous to California before. We remember the payout that Powerex got from our public funds. It's good to be friends with California but isn't spending $750,000,000 on a friend just a bit much?

I wish I had that kind of money to give to my friends. The ones on disability who have not had an increase in their rates since 2007. The ones who work two jobs and yet still have to choose between paying the Hydro bill or eating. The ones who can't afford to visit their family on the island because ferry fares are too expensive. And most of all, the ones who spent their entire working lives contributing to B.C. public funds but who now, in their twilight years, find themselves struggling to pay MSP premiums and other health care costs.

My friends have a lot on their minds lately. Getting rid of a government that cares more about what corporations want than what B.C. citizens need is at the top of that list.

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