I have always voted Liberal. Always. In fact before this Provincial election heated up, I couldn’t really tell you who my MLA was – even though I voted for him. That’s because I walked into the polling station checked off the Liberal Candidates’ name and went home. I had faith in the Liberals. They were my party. This time it is different.
I am hearing that from many of my peers, “I have always voted Liberal but….”
I first started feeling rumblings of “that’s not right” when the then freshly elected Provincial Liberal majority government announced the HST back in 2009. At the time it seemed shocking to me that the Liberals had not even mentioned this during the campaign, since clearly it must have been talked about with the federal government. They removed Gordon Campbell as a gesture of atonement and lost the HST referendum. Okay, I could live with that.
Fast forward to January 2013 when Christy Clark announces her “Jobs Plan.” The film industry had been struggling for a few years seeing a constant decline in work here, which was proportionate to the increase in work in Toronto because of Ontario’s enticing tax incentives. The industry unions and producers were already talking to government heads about increasing tax credits to be more competitive with Ontario. But when Christy Clark’s “Job Plan” made no mention of the film industry whatsoever, things became very real for me. I remember seeing angry forestry workers and fisheries workers in the 90’s on the News – they were angry that their jobs were threatened. Well now it was my turn. The film industry was being abandoned, postponed, put on the back burner.
So I was awakened to a government that doesn’t listen to a billion dollar industry because they can’t wrap their heads around how the tax dollar value is captured. To me it is simple – if 100% of a chunk of money comes from outside the country into BC, but you give them 25% back (which is what they are doing in Ontario) 75% of that billion dollars – 750,000,000 stays in BC and swirls around the economy. I know because it swirls around me and I buy a house and a car and clothes. I don’t have those luxuries any more and if the Liberals are elected I will have to go to Toronto in the hopes of having them again. I think of all the people and businesses I personally supported that I cannot support any more – nannies, dry cleaners, florists, manicurists, hair stylists, restaurants, movie theatres, gyms, yoga studios – I don’t spend a dime there these days. How can the Liberals be so blind as to how far reaching film money is when it is so clear to me? Then I realized. They don’t care. They just don’t care. We are not a part of their plan.
A balanced budget is all they care about because to them it is a signpost of good government, but I don’t believe that to be so. With their logic we have to pay that 25% right back into the same coffer from which it was taken. But you can never do that with such far reaching industry. How can any statistician hustle down the tax returns of every business I have supported and prove that my film money supported their taxable income and what amount they paid. Impossible. So rather than try to understand that and find a creative way to support the Industry they just give up. It’s easier to count beans.
I always laugh when I see the ad on TV with Christy Clark talking to a child and saying “I want you to stay here.” Sure she may want my kid to stay here – but she clearly doesn’t want me to. I remember when I used to do improv at the Back Alley Theatre in Vancouver we used to do an “Rock Anthem Scene’ like Band-aid or Do-they-know-its-Christmas. All the improvisers would sing a verse about a made up cause like “saving the spatulas” etc. If any one of us were ever stumped at coming up with a verse to we would jump to the fail-safe “What about our children” and lament their future with no spatulas. It always got a good laugh cause it is just corny.
Frankly, I see Christy Clark’s yearning for a debt free future for “kids” as a fail-safe tactic that is kind of corny. After all who doesn’t love kids. And if you don’t like Christy Clark’s ideas, well then you must hate kids.
I went to a Liberal fundraiser and it was made abundantly clear that this party is not Liberal. It is Conservative. It has just evolved to that. Years ago when the Social Credit party died out there was a void left on the Right and over the last 12 years the Liberals have been in power they have slowly shifted into that space. This is a government that makes no bones about the fact that its priority is LNG, selling resources overseas and balancing a budget. Which all seems fine until you are on the other side of it. Until you are a teacher – who is asked to take a 10 year contract, or a sick person in the health system. At this same fundraiser the Premier said disparagingly, that the NDP candidates are “Union Leaders” and “shop stewards.” Since when is a Liberal – a true Liberal opposed to Unions? Seriously, why even bother calling yourselves Liberals?
But this really crumbled for me in something that isn’t getting as much attention and opposition as I would have hoped. Christy Clark’s LNG proposal – again, it’s for the kids. She wants to open new markets in Asia and sell these resources and save it in a box somewhere so our kids can buy nice stuff some day. I think it is crazy. I can always move to Toronto to follow the work. But what alarms me in the world and in this country and right now in this province is the lack of leadership on the real future. Not just our kids’ future but our world’s future. This reliance on oil and gas has to stop. We have to stop polluting, fracking, and poisoning our planet and destroying our water sources. Why on earth is Christy Clark focused on LNG for the next 30 years when we have an ocean right beside us and tide capture turbine technology hasn’t even been scratched. In fact I think I just made it up. I say bottle that and sell it to California. With global warming they’ll need all the help they can get to crank up the air conditioning.
So I am voting NDP. At least Adrian Dix has the wherewithal to suggest we should look at the harmful effects of fracking. It is clear to me that the Liberals, like many parties that have been in power too long owe too much to the people who pay for their campaigns. That has to stop. Adrian Dix said that he will stop this and ban corporate and union donations to political parties. I like that too. If he is elected, I for one will hold him to it. We need leadership that embraces high technology and new ideas. We need to encourage new Energy sources while winding down the old. We don’t need the new infrastructure of pipelines – let the railways carry it and invest in new infrastructure for solar, wind, geothermal, tide capture and whatever new ideas are awaiting us. How about that for our kids’ future!!!! It beats counting beans.
The sad truth is I might have overlooked LNG and walked into the polling station and voted LIberal. But their direct assault on my industry has pulled me out of my apathy and made me take a closer look and for that I guess I can be thankful.