For the love of our children…

mother and child

You know Christy sometimes I think you must just not love children, your election promise of Families First notwithstanding. I don’t know how else to understand your government’s policies when it comes to future taxpayers, the children of our province.

On Friday we citizens learned from Mary Ellen Turpel-LaFond  that there are 93 000 children living in poverty in this province.  93 000 children who are hungry most days of the week, whose development is being affected by their not having their basic needs met. 93 000 children who should be looking forward to a fulfilling future in one of the richest countries in the world but who are instead caught in a poverty trap.

How many Malalas are there among that 93 000?  How many brilliant children whose minds could hold creative ideas for solutions to our most intractable problems are instead focused on when their next meal will come from?

Is it that you simply don’t think about children at all when you make the choices you do?

How is it possible that you continue to ignore the fact that BC has the highest child poverty rate in Canada? Why do you continue to ignore calls for a poverty reduction plan?

Do you manage to do that by simply changing the definition of poverty like your MLA Mark Dalton did?

Your attacks on children and the people who work with them started in 2002 when you first began to fight teachers’ rights to have class size and composition issues part of collective bargaining. In your attack on teachers did you not consider that teachers’ working conditions are children’s learning conditions? That when teachers insist on support for students with special needs, it’s for the benefit of children? Instead your government’s PR machine tried to portray support for students as a salary benefit for teachers when you argued that you could not “afford” to support students.

How do you sleep at night knowing that many children attend schools where there are rat infestations, where there is mould and asbestos and where a lack of custodial staff means that vomit is not cleaned up for 3 hours sometimes?

Not only do you attack the people who work with children but you make life difficult for their parents too. Why did you choose to not provide daycare subsidies? If Quebec can find a way to subsidize daycare so that parents only pay $7per day, why did you ignore the calls for a $10-per-day cost for daycare in BC?

You said that you needed “balance the budget” but why do children have to continue to pay for your balanced budget and not corporations who enjoy one of the lowest tax rates in the country? How many  daycare subsidies could have been provided by the $750 million sent to California in the Powerex deal? How many could have been provided with the money you spent on BC Place stadium’s roof?  Why are those things affordable but not what children need?

I’m sorry that there are so many questions but I am desperately trying to understand the rationality of your actions as a leader.

You have so many opportunities to leave an amazing legacy since you are Premier at a turning point in history.

Right now we are at a climate change crossroads.  We are either going to choose to ignore the growing evidence that climate change is affecting the very foundations of our way of life or we can choose to make the necessary changes to mitigate the effects.

In other words, we can choose to leave a world that our children will find habitable or we can choose to continue to increase the amount of greenhouse gases we spew into the atmosphere and watch as extreme droughts and devastating floods and wildfires render any economic predictions precarious.

There are no jobs on a dead planet.

There is no economy without a healthy environment.

You have the opportunity to provide both a healthy environment and a healthy economy if you would simply “green” your BC Jobs Blueprint so that instead of a focus on LNG, on fracking and increasing the pollution of our waterways, the  focus would be  on careers in the green technology sector.

Why not invest in education and training in careers in clean energy technology like solar power, wind and wave energy?

Why not  provide scholarships for environmental courses like the brand new course at SFU: Bachelor of Environment?

Why not provide lots more seats  at BCIT for Environmental Technology?

Why not follow the lead of countries like Germany that have dramatically increased the use of renewable energy?

Instead of getting rid of environmental education in schools as is the plan in your BC Jobs Blueprint, why not  increase the focus on environmental issues since students today are the citizens of tomorrow who will have to deal with the consequences of climate change in a world of extreme heat, frequent droughts and widespread floods?

Why not do this? Why not leave a province for our children that has water uncontaminated by the undisclosed chemicals from fracking?

Why not leave a province for our children where they do not have to make a choice between protecting the environment and earning a living?

In the 1980’s the musician Sting had a song that suggested that a mutually destructive  nuclear war between the two super powers would be impossible   “if the Russians loved their children too“.

Do you love the children of this province Christy?

I desperately hope you do.

2 thoughts on “For the love of our children…”

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