B.C. throne speech focuses on real needs of British Columbians - BCGEU

BURNABY – The B.C. NDP government's first throne speech is a transitional roadmap that steers the province toward a progressive future, the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) said today. 

"The throne speech strikes a positive tone and commits the government to focus on the real needs of our citizens," says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. "The former government spent 16 years balancing the books by eroding public services, and this government has clearly signalled a new approach that reflects a number of priorities the BCGEU has identified in our budget submissions."

Smith is pleased with throne speech commitments to improve services for seniors' care, child care, poverty reduction and making life more affordable for working families and renters. 

"B.C. is one of the richest provinces, with some of the highest rates of poverty and child poverty in Canada," Smith says. "The government's commitment to initiate a poverty reduction plan and take the first steps toward affordable child care is a refreshing and much needed change from the past."

Improving the government's relationship with First Nations and reforming the province's out-dated electoral system are key commitments to establish progressive democratic reform.

"In supporting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the B.C. government is signaling an historic shift in the relationship between government and First Nations peoples," says Smith. "Electoral reform and campaign finance reform is also long overdue. It's time British Columbia joined other progressive democracies and controlled the influence of big money on government."

The BCGEU is British Columbia's fastest growing union, with over 70,000 members working in direct government service, the broader public sector and service sectors in British Columbia.