By Carole James, MLA, Victoria-Beacon Hill
During the recent election campaign, New Democrats put forward a platform that was about people and families and what matters to them most. I was proud to run on a vision for change, and a commitment to make life better for people.
After intensive negotiations, I’m proud to say that we’ve reached an historic agreement between the New Democrat caucus and the B.C. Green caucus. It was an honour to work alongside our Leader John Horgan and to be part of these negotiations.
We’ve ratified an agreement pledging to collaborate to support a stable New Democrat government that works for all people – not just those at the top. Together we can make life more affordable, protect our environment, and restore the services people count on.
As I write this (in early June), the circumstances remain uncertain, as we wait for the incumbent government to recall the B.C. legislature. But our plan for a government that works for people and works together for the public good is certain.
The public expects us to get down to work, and to work together on their behalf to make life easier. We know there will be challenges, but this agreement puts in place a partnership for a long-term, stable government.
We’re going to fix the services people count on and make life more affordable. We’re going to protect our planet and build a sustainable economy that works for everybody and delivers good, stable, family-supporting jobs.
Under the agreement, a B.C. New Democrat government will advance several legislative and policy initiatives with the support of the B.C. Green caucus, including:
Reforming our electoral system, getting the influence of big money out of politics, and reforming lobbying rules;
Recognizing that education is about lifelong learning and fast-tracking enhancement to K-12 education funding;
Protecting and promoting public health care, creating a proposal for an essential drugs program, and giving families the security of quality, affordable child care;
Getting people moving with better transit;
Giving the opioid crisis the attention it deserves;
Establishing an Emerging Economy Task Force and an Innovation Commission;
Eliminating Medical Services Premiums;
Implementing a province-wide poverty reduction strategy and a basic income pilot project;
Fighting climate change while creating good jobs and introducing rebate cheques that will mean most people pay less;
Sending the Site C project immediately to an independent review;
Opposing the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project.
Families have waited 16 years for high quality care for our vulnerable elders, and better access to family doctors. They have waited 16 years for their children to get out of portables and into real classrooms. They have waited 16 years for a government that takes our housing crisis seriously and takes real action to make life affordable for families.
We look forward to giving British Columbians a stable government, and a legislature where all MLAs can put forward good ideas that help people, and come together to support them. That’s the opportunity voters presented us with when they made their decision.
It’s an exciting time for British Columbia and I’m honoured to return to the B.C. legislature to serve the people of Victoria-Beacon Hill. I am grateful for the trust voters have placed in me. I intend to deliver on the commitments we made to the people of our province.