BURNABY – John Horgan, leader of B.C.’s New Democrats, met with four Burnaby families Thursday to learn about how B.C. Liberal policies are holding them back from building better lives.
“This government is focusing on the wealthiest individuals, but not hard-working middle-class families,” Horgan said. “In this recent budget, Hydro rates went up, MSP went up, and we saw reductions in services like Adult Basic Education.”
Meanwhile, Horgan noted, millionaires got a $17,000 tax cut.
“Those who have much got more back and I think that’s wrong,” he said. “I’m going around British Columbia talking with people and learning about the challenges they face.”
Yashar Hakak is an architectural engineer who fled Iran with his wife. His credentials aren’t recognized in Canada so he’s trying to attend university in B.C. But he’s facing up to $4,000 in Adult Basic Education fees for his prerequisites before he can apply, fees recently imposed in Clark’s budget.
“Education is the way for people to dig themselves out of poverty,” said Hakak, who is currently working as a cook while going to school. “But with these fees, it’s impossible. It feels like the government is closing the door on us.”
Hiruth Mwandemere works in healthcare and earns a good wage. She lives with her daughter Tamala, who also works while pursuing a degree. Their budget is squeezed hard by paying down Hiruth’s student loan. Students in B.C. pay some of the highest interest rates in Canada.
“A huge chunk of my income goes to the mortgage and the loans, then there’s the Hydro,” she said. “I feel like we’re stuck in a loop and we really need help.”