BC Throne Speech response:
Throne speeches are political documents that governments use to promote successes and paper over their failures, while setting broad-brush political priorities for upcoming budgets. The 2017 Speech from the Throne is true to form; providing few details, but gives broad hints about future economic policy.
In this election year the B.C. Liberal government has returned to form, attempting to shore up their political base by touting recent surpluses and promising to “provide financial relief to taxpayers,” presumably through some form of tax cuts.
The government argues that surpluses are excess funds that should be handed back to taxpayers. But in doing so, they ignore the real story – that budget surpluses have been realized on the backs of the most vulnerable British Columbians.
The throne speech is conspicuous for the things we didn't see – $10 a day child care, a poverty reduction plan, additional investment in mental health and addictions, or re-investing in a home support system that meets senior’s continuing needs.
The word ‘seniors’ is not found in the Throne Speech – amid reports that up to 90 per cent of seniors’ care facilities are staffed below provincial guidelines, along with a home support system that often fails to meet senior’s basic needs.
The B.C. government is signalling that they have money for tax cuts, while working families across B.C. struggle to find and pay for quality early childhood education, and B.C. consistently ranks among the highest child poverty rates in Canada.
BCGEU president Stephanie Smith will be present when the 2017 provincial budget is tabled in on Feb. 21, and will continue to promote the need for government to re-invest in public services, rather than give further tax cuts to wealthy British Columbians.