SONIA Furstenau, Leader of the B.C. Green Party, released the party’s full election platform on Wednesday in New Westminster alongside a number of Lower Mainland candidates.
“Our platform gets targeted support to the people who need it now, while also building a stronger, more equitable and sustainable province,” said Furstenau.
“Even before COVID-19, we were facing overlapping public health, inequality and environmental crises. But by making deliberate, strategic choices in how we navigate the pandemic recovery, we can seize new opportunities from these challenges. We can build an economy that is more inclusive and that provides secure jobs for British Columbians across the province. We can establish BC as a world leading low-carbon economy, exporting the ideas and the technology that the world needs to solve the climate crisis.
“No matter the outcome of this election, B.C. Green MLAs are ready to work hard to deliver the immediate and targeted support that can get us through COVID-19, and to position our economy to emerge stronger, cleaner, and more equitable on the other side.”
The B.C. Greens platform builds on previously announced policies such as:
- A rental support program for people paying more than 30% of their income in rent.
- A plan to phase out the public funding of for-profit long-term care facilities.
- Universal early childhood education for 3 and 4 year olds.
- A plan to build an affordable and accessible mental healthcare system where cost is not a barrier to seeking help.
- A clean recovery plan, including a just transition for workers and a $1 billion innovation fund to shift to a zero carbon economy.
Newly announced commitments include investments in public education and affordable housing, such as:
- Funding operating grants for school districts to 100% of the grants received in the 2019/2020 school year to ensure that enrollment during COVID does not comprise the quality of education, nor the ability of schools to retain current teachers or education assistants.
- Investing $24 million in new funding to support the mental health of our students to enhance the number of counsellors in our schools, starting with the current school year.
- Expanding supports for co-op housing through extending leases for existing co-ops about to expire, creating a land bank for new co-ops, and providing security of tenure for co-ops on leased land.
- Establishing a capital fund to support the acquisition and maintenance of rental housing by nonprofits to maintain affordable rental units and address the financialization of the rental market.
- Reducing the exploitation of our housing market by closing the bare trust loophole and closing loopholes in the speculation tax that allow too many foreign owners and satellite families to be exempt.
The platform also includes a number of measures to address income security and systemic inequality, including:
- Providing a basic income for youth aging out of care.
- Beginning the transition towards basic income by increasing income support levels, beginning with making the $300 crisis supplement permanent and indexing assistance to inflation, eliminating the asset test, reducing clawbacks on earned income to reduce the disincentive to work and establishing a 12-month period where those who qualify for income assistance can earn extra income without clawbacks.
- Restarting the Police Act review that was set aside when John Horgan called an election.
- Reviewing procedures for wellness checks in consultation with Indigenous and BIPOC organizations, advocates and health professionals, with a goal of expanding the use of integrated mental health crisis teams in BC for mental health wellness checks.
- Supporting better collection of disaggregated demographic data as required to better understand disparities in our society, for health, education, housing, and employment outcomes in particular.
- Provincially recognizing the International Decade for People of African Descent and carrying out the requests of the BC Advisory Committee on the UN Decade for People of African Descent (IDPAD).
- Re-introducing legislation to ban conversion therapy in B.C.