OPINION: Premier Eby hits the ground running on key issues


NDP MLA for Richmond-Queensborough


LESS than two weeks ago David Eby was sworn in as B.C.’s 37th premier, and he has hit the ground running with major steps to address some of the most crucial issues for people right now: housing and community safety.

Everyone deserves a home they can afford. Last week, we passed legislation to get homes built faster, turn more vacant units into rentals, and remove unfair restrictions that keep families out of strata housing.

The Housing Supply Act will help speed up housing projects in communities with the greatest need and fastest population growth, so we can get homes built quicker where they’re needed most.

Changes to strata rules will allow more people to rent out their homes, making more empty units available on the rental market. We also removed age restrictions on stratas, so families have more options of places to live, and those planning to start families won’t be forced to move. The legislation preserves 55+ strata rules, so that seniors can maintain the important communities they have created.

Right now, people across the province have concerns about the safety of everyone in their communities.

We know that addressing safety issues has to start at the root cause of crime and violence. That is why Premier Eby launched the Safer Communities Action Plan with immediate steps that will strengthen enforcement to keep those who commit repeat violent offences off our streets, and strengthen services to build safe, healthy communities for everyone.

Safer Communities Action Plan measures include establishing new repeat violent offender co-ordinated response teams, comprised of police, dedicated prosecutors and probation officers. The plan also includes expanding mental-health crisis response teams into more communities so police can focus on crime, and people in crisis are met early on by health-care workers and community members.

Our government is working with the internationally-recognized experts at St Paul’s Hospital Clinical Addictions Program on a new model of addictions care. This will help people move seamlessly from crisis response in the ER, to detox, and then to treatment and aftercare services.

With an historic investment of an additional $230 million in rural and specialized policing over the next three years, we’re also ensuring that police forces have the resources to do their jobs effectively.

This approach will ensure there are consequences for people who continue to commit violent crimes, while ensuring supports are there to help people break out of that cycle.

In just a few weeks, Premier Eby has taken bold and decisive steps – and our team is right there with him, ready to get to work on these and other priorities.

I think everyone in B.C. can agree that we want communities that are affordable, diverse, healthy and safe. We’re working steadily to make that a reality for everyone.