Taking a look back at 2014, one thing is clear: it’s hard to take Premier Clark and the B.C. Liberal government at their word.
In the last 12 months, the B.C. Liberals showed that they may know what to say, but then they do whatever they want – if anything at all.
After the family of Roderick MacIsaac, who committed suicide after being mistreated and fired as part of the health researcher firings scandal, told his story to reporters at the legislature, Premier Clark finally promised to get to the bottom of the shameful public firing of eight health workers. The premier claimed that “in her heart” she knew her government’s actions were “heavy-handed.” But her government’s own review, released just before Christmas, says the review process was doomed to fail, and couldn’t even answer the two fundamental questions – who did it, and why?
The spring brought cuts to ferry services and hikes to fares, even after evidence that fare hikes already lost our province $2.3 billion in economic activity between 2003 and 2013. Medical Service Premiums and ICBC rates were jacked up again, and hydro ratepayers were walloped with the start of a $477 hike to their bill over the next three years despite the premier and B.C. Liberals telling voters in the last election that there might not be a hydro hike at all.
The B.C. Liberals continued to stall on transit investment in the Lower Mainland. The B.C. Liberals forced the mayors to put this needed investment to a referendum, and now the premier won’t even do her part to ensure her government’s referendum passes – risking more gridlock, pass-ups, packed busses major gaps in service and a drag on the economy.
Premier Clark and her government continue to claw back money from B.C.’s poorest kids by seizing child support payments from single moms who receive disability payments or income assistance. And despite knowing what to say – and even sounding sincere when they say it – the premier and her B.C. Liberals continue the clawbacks even after New Democrats and parents repeatedly pressed for a change to this callous policy.
The premier promised the LNG industry would be a windfall for the province, allowing us to pay off the provincial debt, eliminate the PST, create 100,000 jobs, and enjoy a $1 trillion boost in economic activity.
However she failed to ensure British Columbians receive a fair share when her revenue legislation sold British Columbians short. The premier also promised jobs to overseas workers instead of investing in training and getting B.C. workers ready for LNG jobs. Her promises for a clean industry also went up in smoke when government’s LNG environmental legislation failed to adequately protect our air, land and water.
Following the Mount Polley tailings pond failure, the premier took her time before finally visiting the community of Likely where she promised to stand “shoulder to shoulder” with people trying to cope with the disaster. She never returned, and her government has done little to get businesses in the area back on their feet, or even find out how this disaster could have happened and what role her own government played in setting the stage for the disaster in the first place.
Following Amrik Virk’s denial – then proven involvement – in the Kwantlen University compensation scandal, the premier continues to allow the minister who has hidden information from the public to remain in cabinet and was recently selected over all other government MLAs to be the minister in charge of Freedom of Information.
Despite promising to improve bargaining with teachers, Premier Clark and her government helped orchestrate the longest province-wide shutdown of schools in B.C. history, and spent months antagonizing teachers, making a settlement impossible, and leaving parents and students to cope with the chaos of school closures.