Vancouver – In its first formal Throne Speech, BC’s NDP government covered a lot of ground outlining a plan to put people first and address the challenges faced by workers across the province, says the BC Federation of Labour.
“It’s a refreshing change,” says BCFED President Irene Lanzinger, “because there’s so much to make up for after 16 years of the BC Liberals whose legacy is higher costs, reduced services, growing inequality, and inaction on the priority needs of BC families,” she says.
“Where the Liberals refused to act, the NDP pledged to make headway in this Throne Speech laying a solid foundation to make life more affordable and better for all British Columbians.”
“On big picture affordability issues,” says Lanzinger, “the government has sent a new message that help is on the way for working people with the largest-ever investment in housing to address affordability and supply issues, comprehensive action on childcare, and measures to address economic inequality.
“We are also pleased that fair treatment for BC workers is set out as a priority in the speech because there’s much to be done to restore balance and fairness to level the playing field in our workplaces,” Lanzinger says.
“Better workplace laws, more stringent enforcement, improved training and apprenticeships, more emphasis on health and safety to reduce workplace deaths and injuries are all good for working people, good for the economy and good for our province,” she says.
And Lanzinger says she’s pleased that government efforts to develop and implement BC’s first poverty reduction strategy remain a priority.
The Throne Speech lays out a foundation for the future and builds in big and small ways on the many accomplishments of the NDP’s first seven months in power such as reducing MSP premiums, eliminating bridge tolls, implementing over time a $15 minimum wage, and making important commitments to new infrastructure by building hospitals and schools.