BC politics aren’t just moving, they’re moving in the (mostly) right direction
By Greg Waldock, Staff Writer
British Columbian politicians aren’t known for being fast. Or efficient. Or even a little bit honest. When news comes out that a political party is doing alright, most of us assume it means that the province has successfully not collapsed into the Pacific, and the film industry in Abbotsford has had a slight uptick. To hear that a party is causing real widespread change in a short amount of time in accordance with their campaign promises is like the Leafs winning the Stanley Cup: It has (allegedly) happened decades ago, but is now the punchline of tired jokes.
Yet I would argue that the NDP have managed that exact thing—not winning the Stanley Cup, but fulfilling campaign promises and making real steps to a better BC… for the most part.
During their campaign, the NDP talked a big talk about campaign finance reform, a direct reaction to accusations of corruption against the Liberal Party. Like all other BC political parties who promised actual action on this, I didn’t believe it would ever actually happen—but last year, they really did introduce a ban on corporate and union donations. It was a colossal and comprehensive bill, and it could do some serious good after the stuff that went on with Christy Clark’s government in its final years. They also successfully ended bridge tolls as promised, a thing that had been bantered around provincially for years and years.
This is on top of the other major campaign promise, a careful and deliberate movement to a $15 minimum wage. For me, this is the more impressive one. The route they chose to take in consulting experts, watching trends, and making precise changes one at a time to increase the minimum wage is a route that might not be finished by next election. They’re planning on spending years to increase to $15 and it may not be a bragging point when they roll out their list of accomplishments. This is big of them, because I think it’s absolutely the right way to change something as major as the minimum wage: Carefully and with well-informed changes.
Outside of their basic campaign promises, the NDP have also gotten the new Pattullo Bridge replacement plan underway. This is something that needed to happen two or three governments ago, as it’s way past due for safety and traffic reasons, and the NDP were the ones well-organized enough to get it going. That absolutely deserves kudos.
While I’m not a fan of a lot of BC NDP decisions, specifically their relative silence on the Northern Gateway Pipeline and lack of action of the opioid crisis, it’s hard to argue that they haven’t had a damn successful first year—which is a breath of fresh air in this province.