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It is clear that 2020 is one of the most unprecedented years in modern history. Multiple overlapping crises - the affordability crisis, the overdose crisis, the climate crisis - were already coming to a head even before COVID-19. We need to act urgently to get people and businesses the support they need now, and make sure we’re building a stronger, more resilient province in the long term.
Consecutive BC Liberal and BC NDP governments have promised to make life better for people, but have failed to deliver security and long term sustainability. Their actions have not followed through on the promises they make.
The BC Greens are different. We worked hard in the last minority government to improve the NDP’s policies and to stand up for the issues that matter to people’s wellbeing. We’ve shown that partisanship is less important than advancing policy that makes a difference in the lives of British Columbians. Now as we face down COVID, we need this commitment more than ever.
Our plan proposes new, targeted supports where they are needed most. We know the anxiety that British Columbians are feeling about the present and future. We know that for many people, COVID-19 has simply further entrenched the cost of living challenges they were facing. For others, the economic security that was already feeling distant now seems completely out of reach.
People are worried about their health and safety, their kids going back to school, and the future of their jobs and the economy. To address these concerns, we need to build a stronger, more resilient province so that people can be safe and secure in their communities.
We are proposing real solutions, like:
- Support for small business owners by helping with rent payments through the winter;
- A new grant for those facing unaffordable rents as part of ensuring everyone has affordable housing;
- Better quality care and an end to the privatization of our long-term seniors’ care;
- Supporting young families with affordable childcare, income for stay at home parents, and more flexible work arrangements;
- Implementing principles of basic income into our social safety net;
- A green recovery from COVID-19 with an ambitious climate plan at its centre.
These priority actions won’t just help address the immediate challenges in front of us - they can help position our province for success coming out of COVID-19. We need to ensure that the investments we make today to address the health and economic impacts of COVID, allow us to build a stronger, more sustainable, more resilient economy.
While COVID is the most pressing crisis we face, it is not the only one.
For many, the cost of living in BC is far outstripping the ability of people to cover the necessities, let alone save for the future. Not enough has been done to address the growing number of people who are being left out of the prosperity of this province.
Some fear that the massive disruption caused by COVID will pale into insignificance compared with the disruption caused by the changing climate. Our communities face growing threats and our government is not moving fast enough to adapt, and reduce our emissions.
In all of this is an opportunity. By making deliberate, strategic choices in how we navigate COVID-19, we can seize new opportunities from these challenges. We can build an economy that is more inclusive, that has secure jobs for British Columbians across the province. We can establish BC as a world leading low-carbon economy, exporting the ideas and the technology that the world needs to solve the climate crisis.
We know that the government works better when no party has all the power. No matter the outcome of this election, we will fight for the immediate and targeted support that can get us through COVID-19, and we will hold the government accountable for positioning our economy to emerge stronger, cleaner, and more equitable on the other side.