Dear Premier Christy Clark,
I'm having a hard time finding these choices you keep telling me I have. You say that you'd rather I have money in my pocket so that I can choose what to do with it. You say that you want your B.C. government to be accountable to taxpayers like me but I'm having difficulty understanding what you mean about choices and being accountable.
I really wish I could enjoy the choices you say I have. Please help me to find them. All I seem to be able to find are all the things I didn't choose.
I didn't choose for ferry costs to be so high that I have to think twice about visiting other parts of "Super Natural BC."
I didn't choose to have overcrowded emergency rooms in our local hospital.
I didn't choose to have to wait nine months to see a specialist.
I didn't choose to allow the gas industry to pay a 0.1 per cent royalty fee in exchange for access to our public resources.
I didn't choose to have to pay a toll every time I cross the Port Mann Bridge.
I didn't choose to have foreign corporations come into B.C. and fill our groundwater with undisclosed fracking chemicals.
I didn't choose for there to be such a lack of regulation and oversight that environmental disasters like Mount Polley could easily happen again.
I didn't choose for public money to be taken from public schools while more public money is given to private schools.
And I certainly didn't choose for the minimum wage to be so low that our province has the highest child poverty rate in Canada as parents are forced to choose between rent or food.
These are just some of the things I didn't choose at all.
Each year the three per cent rise in the cost of living in the Lower Mainland gouges into my paycheque. People like you don't have to worry about that though as you have a Cost of Living Adjustment each year that covers that, don't you?
I wish I had that choice.
What do you expect me to be able to do with the money you say I keep in my pocket when you make the choices you do?
Is the low personal income tax you have chosen for me supposed to leave me with enough money to donate to all the little children who keep coming to my door each week with fundraisers for their school?
What choices can I make as an individual taxpayer with the money you say you have saved me?
I can't provide a better public transportation system.
I can't provide more doctors or more nurses.
I can't ensure our elderly are cared for.
I can't provide legal help for people who earn too little to pay for a lawyer themselves but who earn too much to qualify for the limited legal aid there is.
I can't create a subsidized daycare system like Quebec has where parents pay $7 per day to have their child looked after while they go to work.
What exactly am I supposed to do with the money you say you're allowing me to have?
I certainly can't spend it in the luxury goods stores proliferating in B.C. these days since I can only afford the increasing number of dollar stores in my neighbourhood. Even Target was too expensive for taxpayers like me.
I suspect that all those millionaires who you have now given another tax break must know exactly what to do with all the money you have helped them to keep in their pockets.
I wish I had their choices.
Most of all I wish I could choose a government that sees me as a citizen first.
Wasn't your last election promise to put Families First? Which families exactly did you have in mind?
Not mine, that's for sure.
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