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The Struggle is Real for Families in B.C.

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Dear Premier Clark,

I would like to start by expressing my frustration at your inability to respond to correspondence from myself and countless others. This is a direct quote from your speech when you won your seat as premier:

"I want you to be my partners in bringing open government. You can count on me to listen and count on me to engage and count on me to ensure government really does include you."

Can I ask what your definition of "partners" "listen" and "engage" are, because I certainly have not seen any of this from you. When you said "count on me to ensure government really does include you" were you speaking to big corporations and foreign investors? Because those are the only people I have seen you actively engage with on a regular basis.

When announcing your intentions for running for premier you scolded NDP candidates for not standing up for the "working man," you blamed them for empty store fronts and the unemployment rates, and you repeatedly emphasized your "Families First" platform, telling us you would ensure our government was "tuned in" to citizens like never before.

Well Ms. Clark, we are four years into your reign as premier, that has given you more then enough time to make good on the many promises you made. However it is clear to us "working class" families that the only families you are putting first are the highest income ones. You've done little to improve unemployment rates, unless of course you expect us to count the thousands of jobs that we "could" see in the future with your hopelessly flawed LNG plans. Storefronts are still turning empty and vacant, especially in smaller communities and those located on our coastal islands where people cant afford to keep up with the rising ferry costs.

You smile to the cameras while toting your "balanced budget," hoping we will all pat you on the back for your hard work. Sure, let's just ignore the fact that your "balanced budget" comes at the cost of higher ferry fares, hydro rates and MSP premiums.

Let's just ignore your reckless and detrimental cuts to our health care, education and other basic services. Let's ignore the fact you have done nothing to address the out of control child poverty rates or the urgent need for affordable child care and housing.

While we are at it, I guess we should also just forget about the fact that in 2013 you were only able to balance your budget after selling public land at a hugely discounted rate ($43 million below market value), including selling to a BC Liberal party donor nonetheless!

I guess we could instead focus on the good things you have done like all the amazing tax breaks your have implemented for high income families and big corporations, or the increases to funding and tax breaks to private education. Those have surely benefited a select few in our province, that's got to count for something right?

Before running for premier you took a break from politics to spend more time with your son, as you said, "The Liberals can find anther politician, Hamish will not be able to find anther mom." Strong words that ring true for many of us, especially single moms like myself, who often feel between work, cooking, cleaning, after school activities, PAC and everything else life throws our way, that we just don't get enough quality time with our children. Too bad you don't value all children of this province in such a manner that they too would deserve more quality time with their parent(s).

Most households have two working parents and many single parents end up taking two or more jobs to make ends meet, with steady increases to utilities, food, housing, transportation, MSP and almost everything else we need to survive, this is unlikely to change anytime soon. Anther budget year has passed and you have once again ignored any recommendations that would have helped give the families in the province a much needed break.

Recommendations such as:
  • Implementation of a poverty reduction plan, IGNORED.
  • Implementation of an affordable universal child care plan, IGNORED.
  • Raise of minimum wage, IGNORED.
  • Review of income assistance and disability rates, IGNORED.
  • Work with the federal government to increase access to affordable housing, IGNORED. Increase in funding to public education, IGNORED.

What did we see from you in the 2015 budget?

  • Increase in tax breaks to corporations --516 million this year alone!
  • Removal of tax brackets for high income earners -- which will work out to an additional227 million for this province's wealthiest.

We will also see less job opportunities, revenue from our natural resources drop (even though natural gas production is at an all time high) and no action for climate change. We do see minimal increases to health care and public education but as usual they aren't even enough to even keep up with inflation and rising operational costs.

Thanks to you Ms. Clark, this province spends more money every year providing tax credits to corporations than to lower income individuals, and we collect more revenue from post secondary tuition then from natural gas revenue. You are quite literally squeezing every dollar you can from the average, middle and low income citizens in B.C. while stuffing the pockets of corporations.

Your "Families First" platform is now regarded as an absolute joke, nothing more then a catch phrase you used to entice people to vote for you. You care nothing about the struggles of the families in this province, you have no problem running a province with some of the highest child poverty rates in Canada and doing absolutely nothing to stop it, and you have total disregard for public education and health care.

The reality in B.C. is that a lot families face struggles on a daily basis with one or more issues such as; finding employment, affordable housing, affordable child care, reliable transportation, putting food on the table, keeping up with bills, spending quality time with their families and so much more. You can only hide behind your "Families First" catch phrase for so long before families start to wake up and realize that we all deserve so much better then what you have to offer.

You, Ms. Clark have failed the families of this province in too many ways to count, and it will be families that ensure you do not get anther shot at being premier of this province come next election time.

This province and the families in it will be so much better off once you are no longer premier.

Sarah Miller