The year is almost a wrap and - safe to say - 2016 was one for the books. In keeping with the spirit of the season, it's time again for a few New Year's resolutions for B.C.'s political parties and politicians to consider in their on-going quest for self-improvement.
Less than a year before the provincial elections, education has been identified as a key election issue -- and just like that, Christy Clark begins a slew of million-dollar announcements, many aimed at ridings she knows the Liberals will struggle to get elected in.
The B.C. Liberals have been cutting funding and supports for public schools. This year alone the government asked school board to find $25 million in "administrative cuts," last year it was $29 million. So this one-time funding announcement is not what I consider to be an addition to funding, but rather a reduction in this year's cuts.
We live in one of the most expensive places to live in Canada, have some of the highest taxes, are one of the only provinces to pay a health premium -- and yet we are second to last in the country for education spending. How can this be?
John Horgan didn't hold back while questioning Premier Christy Clark on a rather puzzling $150k donation, that ended up indirectly benefitting her brother. A donation that appears to have no paper trail, policy, or even a record that the request for the donation was ever made.
The spring sitting of the BC Legislature has wrapped up with a lot of talk about information and transparency, but with little action.
For a government that prides itself on holding the line on taxes and cutting red tape, the B.C. Liberals have sure blundered on their new off-road vehicle (ORV) tax and licensing scheme. Late last year, the government began forcing people -- mainly rural British Columbians -- to register their off-road vehicles, including snowmobiles, ATVs and dirt bikes.
When I first met Christy Clark, I remember thinking we had a lot in common. Journalism has changed a lot, but at the time, female reporters and anchors were unusual -- in fact, when I was the first female reporter at CKNW, some listeners complained: how could this woman report the news? Likewise, Christy was also a woman in an untraditional place: cabinet.
The BC Liberal government cites declining enrollment for both schools closures and constant cuts to overall funding. They blame school boards for mismanaging their money, constantly insisting they just need to cut the low hanging fruit. They blame teachers for asking for too much with their salaries and class size demands, despite the fact that we have some of the lowest paid teachers and highest class sizes in Canada.
Now that the Trans Pacific Partnership has been signed, maybe we can have the honest, open and transparent debate that Canadians were denied during the federal election -- and which the new Liberal government in Ottawa has promised. So, let's have that debate. There's certainly a lot to talk about.