April 19, 2016

A sustainable British Columbia

Photo from Times Colonist

"Growing the economy" is only a sound bite. It is not the answer for everything, though Christy Clark and the BC Liberals would have us believe it is. It's tedious at best.

Our party's vision for a sustainable BC is a dedicated to the principles of sustainability which secures for present and future generations the benefits of a healthy environment and a decent, just and sustainable society.

Photo of our next premier from BC NDP

12 Principles of a Sustainable BC
1. Social equity - Every British Columbian has a right to clean air and water, healthful food, adequate shelter, quality education and health care, safe surroundings, a sustainable livelihood and active participation in the economy.

2. Democracy and due process - All citizens have a right to access to full and accurate information concerning all elements of public policy, meaning- ful opportunities to participate in decisions that affect them and entitlement to fair treatment by the judicial system.
3. Protection for the ‘commons’ - The ‘commons’ must be held and managed in the public interest. The shared public trusts are water, air, fish and wildlife, our parks and protected areas, cultural and intellectual assets and amenities such as health care, education, public utilities and infrastructure.
4. Resilience - Diversity needs to be fostered in communities and in economic, social and infrastructure systems in order to lessen vulnerability to risk, uncertainty and surprise, to maintain flexibility, to aid adaptation in the face of adversity and to facilitate future innovation and infrastructure.
5. Ecosystem protection - The environment must be protected from pollution or other degradation of air, water or soil exceeding that which can be safely absorbed or renewed by nature.
6. Biodiversity - Protection of diversity of plant and animal species is essential if ecosystems are to thrive and maintain the resilience necessary for adaptation and survival.
7. Food security - Increased local and provincial food self-sufficiency is essential. We must protect the agricultural land base, promote environmentally sustainable farm practices and support economic viability for food producers.
8. Resource conservation - The principles of ‘reduce, reuse, and recycle’ must govern the use of all materials and energy. Renewable resource
use should be less than the rate of replenishment, while non-renewable resource use must be decreased in order to conserve and share equitably with future generations.
9. Precautionary principle - Given the best available information, where there is no scientific consensus on risks that specific actions or policies might pose to human health or the environment, decisions must err on the side of caution. Lack of scientific certainty should not be used as a reason to delay action to prevent harm, where a threat to health or the environment exists.
10. Full cost economics - The true cost of environmental, social and economic impacts must be fully reflected in the price of all goods and services in order to discourage pollution and resource waste, encourage innovation, encourage socially and environmentally responsible behaviour and true progress toward sustainability.
11. Adaptive management - In order to achieve sustainable objectives, the use of best available practices and technologies needs to occur within a culture of continuous learning, adequate monitoring and a commitment to modify strategic directions.
12. Just transition - Mechanisms must be in place to manage the transition toward Sustainable BC so that everyone takes responsibility and no one bears an unfair share of the burden of change.
We can do this!

April 18, 2016

The hidden costs of cutting taxes... Bowinn Ma in the North Shore News

North Shore New Democrat activist, Bowinn Ma, recently had her letter-to-the-editor published in the North Shore News. It speaks to the problem with the BC Liberal agenda of simply cutting taxes... People deserve better from their government as Bowinn explains:

Bowinn Ma/Facebook photo
Despite MLA Jane Thornwaite’s recent report to the Deep Cove Crier, I am not convinced of the overall merits of the B.C. Liberals’ latest “balanced” provincial budget. Among my many concerns is the gradual shift over the past decade or so of provincial revenue from progressively calculated income taxes to regressive taxation. With regressive taxation, the less a family has the more that family hurts.

Sales tax is one of the biggest culprits of regressive taxation, though there are many others: BC Hydro and ICBC rates, for instance, have been inflated for years to generate a net income for the province, effectively turning crown corporations originally created to provide low cost services into profit-driven enterprises; B.C. continues to hold the unflattering status of being the only province in Canada to charge a flat-tax MSP premium, effective rates which are on the rise again; and the province turns a blind eye to the ethically questionable practice of spending millions of dollars promoting gaming to collect billions in gambling profits while the number of people affected by problem gambling skyrockets.
And then there are the hidden costs: The taxes that never were and yet still have to be paid. These are paid by the parents and teachers dipping into their bank accounts on a regular basis to answer the fundraising calls underfunded schools are constantly putting out. They are the charitable donations to the local food bank in an earnest attempt to subdue the hunger of hundreds of people left behind by a system that fails to support them. Let’s not even get into the costs we pay by not addressing poverty with urgency: Higher crime rates, depressed communities, a repressed economy, loss of income tax revenue and production and a deepening of the cycle of poverty. All of this spells disaster for the future.
Poor fiscal management isn’t just about spending money on the wrong things: It’s also about collecting money from the wrong places and failing to spend money on the right things. It is time to do away with the hidden costs and side fees and accept higher income tax rates as a far healthier, more progressive, and cost effective strategy for keeping the province ticking long-term with the money we’re already paying all year round.

April 16, 2016

Make time for coffee ~ Saturday, April 23rd

It's just over one year until our next provincial election and Vancouver-Langara New Democrats are getting together for a meet & greet coffee hour Saturday, April 23rd.

We'll be meeting in the heart of Marpole at Gigi Blin Market Cafe. It's a great coffee shop and a lot more. The coffee's on us, so join us!

Meet your constituency's executive. Meet fellow members from the riding. Bring a friend.

Talk about the issues that matter to you today.

So join the party on April 23! And join literally if you like by clicking on the link on the left.

We're working towards a campaign to win this riding, and our coffee date on April 23 is just the beginning. It's your opportunity to be involved in the change that's coming to our province in just over one year.

Spread the word! Bring a friend! Gigi Blin Market Cafe is located at 1400 West 70th in Vancouver.

Contact us by email at vancouverlangaranewdemocrats@gmail.com

April 6, 2016

A bill to end corporate & union donations


Today, BC New Democrats introduced a bill calling for an end to corporate and union donations in BC politics for a fifth year in a row. For the fifth year in a row the BC Liberals have refused.
Instead, Christy Clark hosts “dinners with the Premier” — at $20,000 a head.
Public outcry is forcing Clark to acknowledge the issue — but she still refuses to address it. We need to turn up the pressure on the BC Liberals.
Yesterday, Elections BC revealed a whopping 60% of the BC Liberals’ funding is coming from corporate interests.
With a select few BC Liberal donors from the last election receiving lucrative government contracts, it’s obvious things need to change now.
This is rotten. It undermines our democracy. It has to stop.
Raj Sihota, Deputy Provincial Director       BC’s New Democrats

April 1, 2016

Grow the Economy... A simple answer for every problem

Sarah Hudson recently posted this on Facebook, in response to our Premier's response to just about everything....