Renewing and Strengthening our Party
An Open Letter from BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark
I am inviting all British Columbians to help develop our platform new ideas and creative policies. On “Free Enterprise Friday,” the first day of our convention in October, all British Columbians will be welcome to join an open, thoughtful discussion of policies to strengthen our coalition and build a bright future for BC.
I also encourage you to visit our online ideas lab at www.ideaslab.ca where citizens, regardless of their political stripe, are exchanging ideas on the things that matter to BC families.
Three Priorities – Five Questions
Our core focus as a government is built around three priority areas – jobs, families and open government. I am asking you to consider five areas where we should be offering ideas and solutions to British Columbians.
Equipping the next generation to thrive in the economy of tomorrow has to begin with primary and secondary education. I would like to hear your ideas on two important aspects of education – how do we support and reward our best teachers and how do we provide parents with more and better choices within the education system? We need to promote innovation and make sure children who are not going to university get the fundamentals they need to take another path.
Skills and Training
By 2020 – just eight years from now – our province will have one million new job openings. I’d like to hear from you about how we make sure a lack of skilled people doesn’t slow our economy down. Also, how we make sure our post-secondary education system maximizes skills and opportunities for the next generation? How can we improve apprenticeships and, importantly, how do we partner with employers so students and apprentices have jobs when they have completed their training?
Mental Health and Addiction
Dealing with mental health and addiction touches every single family in BC one way or another. We have to do a better job in providing support to those in need. I’d like you to consider how our health care system can work with families to ease the burden and find solutions. Just as importantly, how can government partner with non-profit community groups, including faith-based groups, to find solutions? Are there successes in your community that we can learn from?
Public & Private Wages
The long term fiscal challenge of dealing with public sector unions is a critical question for our province. On one hand, these employees provide important government services we depend on, but, on the other hand, I cannot justify a tax increase on BC families to pay for a wage increase for public sector unions. We need to be sure that the wages and benefits for unionized government employees are not out of step with people working in the private sector. If there is a wage and benefit gap between public and private sector employees, is that a problem? It’s a fair question to ask because, after all, it is taxpayers’ money.
Open Government and the Senate
We are working hard to open up the provincial government. One place that really needs a good dose of open government is in Ottawa. How can a modern day democracy like ours still have appointed representatives in the Senate?
Since it doesn’t look like the Senate will be abolished any time soon, the question is: how do we go about electing Senators in a way that best reflects the interests of BC? Once again, I want to hear your ideas.
Over the last year many people have talked about the potential benefits of changing the name of the BC Liberals. They think this may be an important way to make sure everyone can feel at home in our coalition. I am open to this idea and have asked a working group to look into this possibility. They will report back in September and from there, a recommendation will go forward to the October convention. It would be great if you can provide your input here too.
Sometimes I think our political opponents are taking the next election for granted -- they don’t even think they need to present any real policies. Well, they’re getting a little ahead of themselves and we are taking a very different approach. We want to hear from you and we need your help to keep our province moving forward and providing opportunities for BC families.
I hope you will join us in the work of building BC.