As this issue goes to press, the Liberal government of BC faces the verdict of west coast voters within days. Public opinion surveys give the NDP a narrow lead, and the Greens are reported to be making big gains on Vancouver Island. But few observers pay much attention to the polls, after the NDP was widely projected to win big in 2013, only to give up a huge early advantage and wind up with virtually the same number of seats as in 2005 and 2009.
Once again, when this campaign began the corporate media dropped any real criticism of Premier Christy Clark, despite her government’s appalling record: happily taking huge payoffs from energy monopolies and big developers, callous public statements, attacks on working people and the poor, and cruel cuts to social programs. Media backing may help the Liberals win re-election, but if that happens, the NDP can blame its own decision to put forward a platform with only minimal progressive content. The NDP’s support for a $15/hour minimum wage and for the proposed $10/day child care program are important, but too timid to energize their own working class base in large parts of the province’s interior.
Only the Communist Party of BC candidates have put forward a truly radical platform, including a rollback of the Liberal tax cuts for the wealthy (which would bring in at least $2.5 billion annual revenue), a $20 minimum wage, 100,000 low-income and social housing units, an end to funding for elite private and religious schools, rejection of Big Energy’s fossil fuel extraction and export projects, a truly universal child care system, a 100% increase in social assistance and disability rates, and much more.
It’s time to drive the Liberals out of office in Victoria, and where the Communists are on the ballot, they deserve the support of progressive voters.