What will the B.C. election on May 9 bring? An increase on the 55 per cent of eligible voters who cast ballots last time? An NDP government? A Green surge?
Full disclosure: I don't enjoy the partisan bickering of political parties and their candidates. I don't belong to any political party. Like my MP, Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May, I have a pan-partisan civic spirit. What I am passionate about is democracy. And I defend it vigorously.
That's why I am among a growing chorus of voters who think it's time for a change in B.C.
To me, a democracy works well when the governing party shows humility and transparency, and is accountable to the people. The corporate Clark government has been none of that.
The so-called B.C. Liberals aren't liberal. They try to run government like a business. B.C. is the only province without a poverty reduction plan. Not a word on this from the corporate premier. Clark likes to brag about B.C's strong economy, but she won't address the gross inequality in our province or the record number of children in poverty. In many communities, large and small, families can't afford the explosion in rental market fees or the high cost of child care. Parents have very little left after paying the rent. This is especially true for single parent families.
Is Clark really for families as she says she is? Hardly. Her balancing of the budget is for show. Critics point out that it's done with deep cuts to social services and public education, and by raking in mega millions from B.C. Hydro, ICBC, and B.C. Ferries, while we citizens wonder why our rates keep climbing. One hardly gets a sense of provincial corporations providing services. It's more like a shock to the wallet in rate increases.
B.C. Liberals appear to be a 1% party for corporate donors who get a return on their investment. Add to that incompetence, and you’ve got their "triple delete" circus (in response to Freedom Of Information requests), and the firing of health researchers fiasco (and the subsequent suicide of one researcher) in a string of scandals too numerous to cover here.
The premier’s $100 billion LNG fantasy has gone bust. Her $8 billion Site C damn project is simply not needed. And she has little to say about the emerging renewable energy markets that hold great promise for sustainability and fighting climate change.
After MSP premiums doubled over the last few years, Clark has cut them in half at election time and boasts about it. That’s not leadership.
And for over three years, the community of Shawnigan Lake urged Clark's Minister of Environment to ban toxic soil dumps on its watershed. I joined that community’s fight against the Clark government to help save a pristine lake and its water source for 10,000 people. Repeatedly, on social media, I urged any MLA of the BC Liberals to stand with this Shawnigan families. No one did. Not one responded. Not one.
It's time for ethical government. Time for accountability. Time for a people’s premier for the 99 per cent of British Columbians wherever they live.
On May 9, I urge you to vote. Never voted before? Now is the time. Please make your voice heard. Vote for change.
Raffi Cavoukian, C.M., O.B.C., is a singer, author, music producer, and founder of the Centre For Child Honouring. He holds four honorary degrees and is recipient of the Order of Canada and Order of BC awards. Raffi is a passionate children’s advocate and defender of democracy.
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