As a child born during the Depression of the 1930s, my mother knew a lot about saving money. She knew all kinds of ways to stretch our family's food budget, and we all grew up believing that that was just the way things were done.
You always made do or did without until you had saved up enough. She was quite proud of the time she saved up for a year so that she could take a train trip to visit family.
When my daughter was little, she'd save her pocket money for the two-for-one days at the local candy store. She loved being able to buy lots of her favourite kinds of chocolate after weeks of saving.
Saving is a simple concept in some sense. You do without now so that you can have something you need or want later. The incentive to save now is the later reward.
But what is the reward that the B.C. Liberals have in store for us after "saving" taxpayers' money for the past 14 years?
Since 2001, B.C. Liberals have justified their cuts to a range of social services including education and health as being about saving public money. What are they saving the cash for? Who are the taxpayers for whom this money is being saved?
It's certainly not families with school-age children who are paying more for MSP premiums and for increases in BC Hydro while at the same time donating thousands to school fundraisers for basic learning supplies.
It's certainly not people who seek justice through the courts but who cannot afford a lawyer after the B.C. Liberals gutted legal aid funding.
It's not parents of children with learning disabilities who get no support in underfunded schools.
It's certainly not drivers who pay tolls to cross bridges to and from work.
Or those living on islands who don't enjoy the same subsidies that those living in Atlantic Canada do.
It's not people like my friend who waited 30 minutes for an ambulance to arrive after falling off the roof of his house.
Or sick people who wait hours in the emergency rooms around our province.
And it's certainly not our senior citizens. After decades of working, paying taxes, and contributing to public funds that built hospitals, schools and highways, they now find themselves paying more for everything, especially health care, while on a fixed income.
It's so sad and ironic that the generation who survived so much -- the Depression, and two world wars -- are now faced with a heartless government who even taxes them on their wheelchairs in seniors' homes.
Given her recent performance in the legislature, we voters realize that our premier is not adept at answering questions directly, but I'm sure I'm not the only citizen who would love to hear some answers to the following:
- Who are the taxpayers that you are saving money for?
- What will the saved money be spent on?
- How does your idea of saving taxpayers' money fit with your providing corporations with public funds to upgrade their facilities?
Saving for a rainy day is an easily understood concept. It makes perfect sense to not spend too much so that you have enough funds to deal with whatever crises comes up in the future.
Corporations who operate with any level of accountability should have known that their facilities would need upgrading in the future and should have saved for that eventuality. Why do taxpayers have to pay for those upgrades while seismic upgrades for public schools get deferred?
Isn't this the time we were saving for?
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