Collapse as “G-21” Resists big Power
The collapse of the World Trade Organization talks in Cancun,
early September gave
vindication to anti-WTO protests in Vancouver
and around the planet. And it bore out predictions of a major split
industrialized nations and Third World
countries from WTO critics on the eve of the talks September 9.
As with previous sessions of
the group, the talks were marked by
protests of thousands who occasionally clashed with police and at one
tore down the perimeter fence dividing the delegates from those whose
their decisions determine. The mood of jubilation following the
contrasted with the sombre acknowledgment of the protest suicide of
farmers' leader Lee Kyung Hae at the barricades on the first day of
Meanwhile, at a "carnival" in
a downtown Vancouver
park September 14, revellers, including a marching band and a satiric
called "Slash Gordon," linked WTO policies to things like public
service cutbacks and privatization in British Columbia. The preceding
evening a forum in New
an intellectual backdrop for those assertions....
Privatization Plan to Cost You
Columbia’s scenic beauty is
reflected in its provincial motto: splendor
sine occasu - splendor without diminishment. But as the Gordon
Liberals implement changes to allow commercial activities to operate
some provincial parks, environmental groups want the government to heed
motto: primum non nocere - first, do no harm.
In January, Land, Water
Protection Minister Joyce Murray announced the introduction of pay
28 provincial parks and increased campsite and license fees. The new
fees forces park visitors to pay $3 to $5 a day in order to spend an
at a lake or hike in the woods.
But Anne Sherrod, chair
Valhalla Wilderness Society, calls pay parking and higher fees “only a
part of the new initiative planned by the Liberals.” In an op-ed piece
for the Victoria
Times Colonist, Sherrod says, “[L]urking behind the new and
is the fact that the park system will be operated as a business through
of private contractors. As business revenue increases, tax support will
contrast with their NDP
predecessors who created 346 new protected areas and park additions,
Liberals have taken a different approach to park management. Just two
after taking office, the BC Liberal government cut the budget of their
Land and Air Protection Ministry by 35 per cent and ended free
programs in all provincial parks. Campgrounds used to provide free
now campers have to pay $4 a bundle and last spring, BC Park staff was
34 per cent.
Calls for Health Minister Resignation
information contained in a secret government report and new figures
that the B.C. Liberals' seniors' care strategy is in serious trouble, a
coalition of public health care advocates today called for the
the minister responsible for seniors.
The B.C. Health
Coalition says that as a result of government policy, more than 3,300
care beds have closed or are in the process of closing despite the fact
the population of seniors, 75 years and older, in B.C. is forecast to
by 68 per cent over the next 20 years.
That will leave British
Columbia with the lowest number of beds for
people aged 75 years and older of any province in Canada.
scenarios contained in a confidential health ministry discussion
contemplate cutting long-term care by as much as 5,600 beds by 2007 and
replacing these services with assisted living units and, for the first
with already over-burdened home support services.
That's a problem,
says BC Health Coalition coordinator Terrie Hendrickson, because B.C.'s
authorities have only announced plans to provide about 3,300 assisted
units - less than half of what is needed under the most conservative
contained in the report.
their own assumptions, the government's seniors' care strategy is in
shambles," says Hendrickson. "It's time for government to admit that
it has no workable plan for seniors' care and engage in a real
communities across B.C. on how to provide quality health care for our