While Clark appears at photo ops and campaign stops across British Columbia donning her trademark Cheshire smile, behind that smile lurks one of the ugliest campaigns we have ever seen in B.C. political history.

From wild accusations like the claims of NDP hacking the Liberal website (which was quickly proven to be false) to the nasty “Troll truck” tailing Horgan all around the province and harassing him and NDP supporters at every event he attends, this will be an election I am sure we will all be talking about for years to come.

The biggest issue for me this election comes down to one thing: which party is actually going to put citizens first and will take measures to stop the flow of public money into corporate pockets and redirect that money back into helping citizens and the properly funding the services they depend on.

Let’s take a minute to examine the social deficit left by 16 years of neglect under the BC Liberals: 

We had 120 children die in the ministries care last year — that’s one every three days. 760 critical injuries were also reported — that’s two every day.

91 per cent of senior care homes are not meeting basic staffing needs.

Our homeless population has increased by 30 per cent in three years with 23 per cent being seniors.

922 people died from fentanyl overdoses last year and the numbers are still rising. First responders are overwhelmed and hospitals are already overcrowded.

B.C. has the second-lowest student funding in Canada. Some schools have 18 portables, others have roofs that leak for 20 years and over a decade after promising to make seismic upgrades a priority there are still 118 schools that haven’t even been approved for upgrades.

Housing and rental prices have dramatically increased while availability is decreasing.

MSP, BC Hydro, ICBC rates have steadily risen while the B.C. Liberals continue to siphon billions from them.

We have the second-highest child poverty rate in the country and we are still the only province to not have a poverty reduction plan.

We also have the highest wealth inequality in Canada.

All of these have been completely ignored by — or in fact caused by — our current B.C. Liberal government. And I don’t know about you but I am tired of hearing about children dying or committing suicide in our ministries’ care because they are being abused or neglected. I am tired of hearing about people dying every single day from overdoses while we still don’t have a solid long-term plan — a year after declaring a state of emergency. I’m tired of watching friends and family struggle more and more every year while costs of living skyrocket and wages remain stagnate. I am tired of fundraising endlessly to cover basic supplies at my sons school and watching other schools go without because they cant fundraise enough.

We are one of the wealthiest provinces in Canada and I know we can do better than this — especially for the children in B.C.

The NDP are offering a platform that addresses all of these issues and while some things will take more time to fix than others (as they have been ignored for over a decade) the most important thing for me is to vote for a party that will take steps to address the currently crumbling cornerstones of our society. I truly don’t believe that these basic public services and supports can take four more years of cuts to funding and being deprioritized.

The Liberals didn’t even bother trying to offer any real change in their platform this election — they are quite okay with offering the same old. With over a dozen ex-Harper staff and a slew of ex-media working on the campaign, they are counting on framing the entire campaign around telling us we can’t afford an NDP government. The Liberals are hoping no one does their research and figures out that the NDP weren’t actually that bad with the economy in the 90s and in fact outperformed the Liberals themselves in many areas. Also despite telling us we can’t possibly afford the NDP plan to put people and services first, here is a list of things Clark and the Liberals think we can afford:

Half a million for Clark’s personal flights just last year. 

$2.93 million on Clark’s personal credit card within 5 years. 

$1 million on a personal photographer in one year. 

A $1 million taxpayer-funded donation to her church

$13 million loss in selling a recently renovated ferry to an ex-BC Ferry executive.

A $39 million loan to a rich developer and Liberal donor for a condo development project.

$40 million to clean up Mount Polley, a disaster caused by Imperial Metals who also just happens to be a big Liberal donor. 

$15 million in partisan advertising just this year.

$514 million on a stadium roof.

$43 million lost in a shady land swap deal involving public land in Coquitlam and a Liberal party donor. 

$23.6 million transferred to the top Liberal donors for various reasons with another $27 million planned.

Billions and Billions in cost overruns for projects — typically involving Liberal party donors. 

$9+ billion on Site C dam for power we don’t need.

$1.2 billion in underfunded mine clean up liabilities.

And billions in tax breaks for corporations and the provinces most wealthy every year.

Just a few things to consider when the BC Liberals say we can’t afford the NDPs plan, which is essentially them saying we can’t afford to invest in citizens and services but we can afford to line the pockets of our rich donors through tax breaks, tax payer funded subsidies and shady dealings.

So after 16 years, we have to ask ourselves if we want a government that only supports and benefits the rich or if it’s time to have a government that supports people and the public services we all depend on.

Image: Flickr/bcgovphotos

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Sarah Miller

Sarah Miller was born and raised on Vancouver Island. While enjoying the island life Sarah developed an early passion for writing, photography and art. In recent years she has become a strong advocate...