Bob Jackson: will the BC election be a progressive beachhead?

The following is re-posted from Headwinds, a blog written by the PSAC Alliance Executive Committee - the National President, National Executive Vice-President and seven Regional Executive Vice-Presidents. Read more of their thoughts on the issues that affect PSAC members and all Canadians at aec-cea.ca and watch for more from Bob - we plan to make this a regular feature here at the regional website.

BC election: a progressive beachhead?

Posted by Bob Jackson, April 3, 2013

In just over 40 days, on May 14th, voters in BC will head to the polls. Barring any last-minute surprises, it looks as though the NDP will sweep the BC "Liberals" from power.

I put "Liberals" in quotation marks because the Christy Clark Liberals are Liberal in name only. They are, and have been for years, a conservative party, with both ideological and personal links to the Harper Conservative government in Ottawa.

Take, for example, Ken Boessenkool, the former BC Liberal Chief of Staff and before that, an advisor to Stephen Harper. The internal investigation into his abrupt resignation last fall was conducted with "zero paper trail", leaving the media and British Columbians completely in the dark.

Then there's Sara MacIntyre, formerly Harper's press secretary and BC's director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

"[She] brought back all the memories of what we go through every day with the Harper government: tight media control, lack of respect for the media," said Robert Fife, CTV's Ottawa bureau chief. "She's taken the Harper media plan and brought it to BC"

Here she was in action:

MacIntyre left her post last October.

But it would be unfair to suggest that the BC Liberals took their cue from Stephen Harper when he was first elected in 2006. The Liberals have been pushing their right-wing agenda for the past twelve years: privatizing and contracting out, slashing corporate taxes so they're now the lowest in Canada, dismantling the social safety net and environmental standards regulations in BC, and attacking public sector workers.

Just like the federal Conservatives, the BC Liberal government used their majority to subvert the collective bargaining process by imposing contracts on teachers and hospital workers. Our colleagues in BC's labour movement fought this all the way to the Supreme Court and won.

Does this sound familiar? Here's one more.

A partisan and clumsy initiative to win the hearts and minds of "ethnic" voters led to four resignations, including that of multiculturalism minister John Yap. Jason Kenney tried something similar in 2011.

British Columbians have had enough.

We're all working hard and will keep working hard to help elect a progressive, positive, provincial government - a government that understands the issues that face working people and will work with us, not against us.

A strong NDP victory will send a message across the country: The Buck Stops Here.

Unions and working families are under assault. Right-wing politicians reward their friends and business partners while inequality grows by leaps and bounds. Environmental protections are being eroded to let corporations do as they wish. Canada's social safety net is being ripped apart.

BC is where it all stops. On May 14th we'll be turning back the tide and making history. Mark your calendars.