We can embrace change without embracing hatred and fear

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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: At their heart, elections are about choices. This election Americans chose change. Many of us are rightfully concerned about the change that Donald Trump represents. There are good reasons to be worried about what this victory means, especially for women and minorities. Time will tell what effect the drastic change Americans chose will look like. Even with these concerns, it’s not hard to understand why Americans chose change.

We heard Americans talk about feeling left behind, left out, ignored and belittled. They were asking themselves ‘does government work for me?’ And now we know their answer.

The American people had good reason to want change. Just like us here in B.C. ordinary families have seen their lives get tougher every year. Just like here in B.C. where people are working harder, longer, and falling behind, Americans are suffering from a government and an economy that isn’t working for them.

I believe, that like Americans, British Columbians want change. However, we want change that reflects our values: fairness, equality, caring for each other and preparing for the future of our province and our people.

We live in an abundant place. We can see the wealth all around us. Yet, after a decade and a half of B.C. Liberal neglect, and under Christy Clark’s leadership, we are becoming a province where only the rich can thrive. In the five years since Christy Clark became premier life has become a lot harder for British Columbians.

While those at the top reap the benefits, we have been left to wonder why we are falling behind. We’ve been left to wonder why in a province that is so prosperous and so wealthy, life is so hard.  We’ve been left to wonder why our children are not being educated in real classrooms, in safe schools, in good repair.

We’ve been left to wonder why our elders are being abandoned in their time of need, why families are being left to struggle to find appropriate seniors’ care for those they love.

With such abundance in our province, why are we leaving people in mental health crisis? Why can’t families find affordable housing or access affordable child care?

These are the questions that have left British Columbians aching for change.  I hope no one in B.C. wants to embrace the angry, sexist, prejudiced and divisive politics that carried Donald Trump to the White House.

But we do need to listen to British Columbians.

I’ve been listening. And what I’ve heard is that people in British Columbia want change, change we can be proud of. British Columbians want a fairer, more just province. A province where hard work is rewarded, where children don’t go to bed hungry, where families don’t stay up late at night wondering how they will afford rent and hydro.

We can embrace change without embracing hatred and fear. We can work together to make B.C. better.