Families are struggling to survive and thrive in B.C.

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John Horgan Leader of the B.C. New Democrats
John Horgan Leader of the B.C. New Democrats
John Horgan
Leader of the B.C. New Democrats

Victoria: On paper, B.C. is a rich province. In reality, prosperity is not being shared equally. We live in the most unequal province in the country, with persistently high child poverty and more than half of B.C. families living paycheck to paycheck.

Every December, food banks do their big push for donations. Every year they have to work harder and harder, as more and more people are struggling to feed themselves and their own families.

For two years in a row B.C. food bank use has broken records as families struggle to afford the basics because of choices made by the Christy Clark government. Many families are forced to go to food banks because food keeps getting more expensive and it’s the only place they can cut from their budget. More than 33,000 children in B.C. rely on food banks. That’s over 3,000 more than when Christy Clark first became premier.

Politics is about choices, and at time when one in seven children go to bed hungry – Christy Clark chose to give a billion dollar tax break to the richest 2 per cent of British Columbians while increasing the cost of auto insurance, medical premiums, and hydro bills for ordinary people and families.

Hydro rates have gone up 11 times under the B.C. Liberals, and they are going to rise again. As the days get colder, many families are wondering if they can afford to keep their houses warm because Christy Clark keeps increasing their bills. And it hurts big families the most, because multi-generational households pay an additional, higher rate for electricity even if each member of the family is using less energy than a family in a smaller house.

And hydro isn’t the only bill that is rising under Christy Clark. Medical premiums have gone up year after year – and it’s never been more expensive to insure a car.

These costs are hurting families. So is the Christy Clark government’s refusal to take action to address the high cost of housing in many B.C. communities.

For years the rising cost of housing has been hurting families – increasing their property taxes, making it harder to find and afford a place to rent, and making it near impossible for young families to get into the housing market.

Christy Clark knew that high housing costs were hurting families, but she waited until the problem became an emergency to take action, and even now that it is an emergency what little she has done hasn’t made housing any more affordable for families.

B.C. is the most unequal province in the country. We’re also the only province without a poverty reduction plan.

I want to make life easier for families.

I would introduce a plan to reduce poverty, address medical premiums, raise the minimum wage, and introduce $10/day daycare, so that every family has the opportunity to thrive.

I believe that’s the kind of B.C. that people want – a province where we take care of each other, a province that is stronger because we build each other up.