BC "Boom" going Bust for People

Marco Procaccini

Two reports released earlier this month show that the current “boom” is not benefiting large number of people in BC, as increasing numbers of people are experiencing worsening poverty.

The B.C. Progress Board report, which came down Tuesday, showed British Columbia is falling behind the rest of Canada on issues like poverty, crime and other social conditions. This despite a public accounts report Wednesday that showed the province’s budget surplus had ballooned to $4.1 billion.

“We have a crisis in homelessness in this province, and one in four children lives in poverty," says NDP Leader Carole James.
“With surpluses generated by high commodity prices and low interest rates, the Campbell government could be repairing some of the damage they’ve done to the social fabric of this province.”

The Progress Board report showed that British Columbia ranks ninth among 10 Canadian provinces for social indicators. This province is second worst in the number of people living below the Low Income Cutoff....

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Recall Legislature to repeal Bill 29

Jim Lipkovits

Following the Supreme Court decision to strike down provisions of  Premier Gordon Campbell’s notorious Bill 29, BC ‘s Labour leaders have called for immediate action to right the wrongs enacted by the legislation.  B.C. Federation of Labour President Jim Sinclair  says that the BC Liberal government   must commit to freeze all health care layoffs and wage cuts and recall the Legislature to repeal Bill 29.

The Supreme Court ruled that sections of Bill 29, the Health and Social Services Delivery Improvement Act, violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In a groundbreaking ruling extending the freedom of association provision of the Charter to include the right to free collective bargaining, the Court struck down key sections of the 2002 law that restricted and gutted the bargaining rights of health care workers.It’s a decision that has widespread implications for unions across the country.
In a letter to the Premier, Sinclair said the decision "is a vindication of the thousands of health care workers in BC who petitioned, marched, protested and finally took job action to condemn your government's legislative assault on the health care system and their right to unionize and bargain collectively.

"The damage and upheaval this legislation caused thousands of BC seniors and their caregivers is impossible to calculate," Sinclair said. "The Premier must take action to stop the continued firing of health care workers that's still happening today. The BC Liberals must repeal the bill and sit down with health care workers to develop a strategy to overcome the damage the legislation caused...."
ion for collective bargaining rights.

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The clock is ticking on homelessness and the Olympics

Marc Lee

At the Vancouver Art Gallery is the official countdown clock for the 2010 Olympics: there are now well less than one thousand days left until the opening ceremonies. That may seem like plenty of time, but for folks concerned about the crisis in affordable housing, there is a lot of work to be done to get the place in shape.

While there is lots of housing being built right now, the problem with the current boom is that almost none of it will be affordable. The mass marketing campaigns plastered on billboards and in full-page newspaper ads have one thing in common: an obsession with luxury, exclusivity and privilege. This inner-city housing aims to safely tuck away affluent people from the homeless on the street, not to reduce the latter's numbers.

This should be no surprise: this is the market in action. Developers build to make money on their investments. And poor people are not profitable....

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