BC Fed Makes Case for Change
Vancouver, B.C. – The BC Federation of Labour says it’s time for a new government in Victoria.
Secretary-treasurer Aaron Ekman says the current Liberal government hasn’t been giving working people “a fair shake.” He made the comments during their annual convention in Vancouver this week.
For starters, he says when the government brags about leading the country in job growth, its being “disingenuous.”
“There has been some modest job growth over the last four years but it hasn’t been in good, family supporting sectors,” he says. “In fact, we’ve seen a record number of mills shuttered. We’ve seen a record number of schools closed. The replacement of those good, family supporting jobs has come in low-wage sectors like Walmart jobs, etc.”
Ekman says one way to help lift people out of poverty would be to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
“That would be a great start and we’re just baffled the B.C. Liberal government hasn’t made that step. A number of similar, neighbouring jurisdictions have – Washington State, Oregon, Alberta. Alberta has already said they will in a staggered way move the lowest income earning sector in the workforce to a point where they’re making above poverty wages.”
He says the challenge for the winning party in the May election will be to balance the need for resource extraction with respect for the environment.
“As we travel around the province and talk to working people we hear some very similar trends – we hear a lot of dissatisfaction with the direction this government is taking but we also hear they’re not sure what the alternative is.”
And how does Ekman respond to the government’s pledge of half a billion dollars to address affordable housing needs in B.C. – including this week’s promise of over $ 5 million for 60 new units in Prince George?
“I won’t argue against everything this government does. Sometimes they get it right, even a broken clock is correct twice a day but what’s frustrating is that these kinds of announcements – they really should have been a priority as they took office – not right before an election.”