A B.C. provincial election is approaching. So, set your alarms for May 14, 2013, and then head to the polls, cast your ballot, and cross your fingers in hope that the Honourable Christy Clark doesn’t win.
To be fair, I imagine Clark is crossing her fingers, too, because, as I see it, she stands no chance. When she took office, Gordon Campbell left her a lovely monster to clean up after: the HST. As soon as it was announced it became a disgusting political nightmare for the Liberal party, and a boondoggle of similar proportions to the PacifiCat ferries. If the HST didn’t sink the Liberal ship, than perhaps it was the Liberal budget, which was released recently, but I will get to that later.
So…why should you vote Liberal? I suppose you would vote Liberal if you were in favour of a multitude of things, such as families, trades…and, well, maybe that’s it. Since coming to power, Clark has been pushing for support from families, women, trades, and also natural gas. She toured the province in 2012 holding women-only meetings. She’s backed potential expansions in natural gas, which have yet to really pay dividends. She succumbed to the wishes of the people of B.C. and will be removing the HST.
A mix of good and bad, right? Maybe. But no matter the mix of good or bad, she has managed to alienate an essential component of the electorate: the university student and young people in general.
To be clear here, alienation of the young populace is nothing new for the Liberal Party of B.C. Their reign as ruling party in the legislature has seen constant cuts to the arts, education—both secondary and post-secondary—as well as dealing with strikes from several different unions—from teachers, to public workers and nurses. The effects of these issues are not hard to see as a university student. Since I began my post-secondary schooling in Jan. 2007, I have seen course offerings in certain fields cut in half, axed entirely, or completely shifted. Soon, VIU won’t have a Theatre minor, which, as far as I’m concerned, makes the Theatre department at VIU meaningless. The province’s ad campaigns, which were designed in such a way as to get the youth interested in finding “meaningful” employment, came across as naïve, short-sighted, and, in the case of the “Hipster is Not a Real Job,” ignorant and offensive.
Now, to top all of that alienation off, the Liberal Party of B.C.’s most latest stab at the youth: the proposed 2013 budget. I say proposed because should Clark and her Liberals fail to win the election, the budget would be scrapped and the winning party would have to draft a new one. So, what exactly is within this budget?
First off, as part of Clark’s family first plan, there are proposed tax cuts for B.C. families, especially for those with multiple children. That’s wonderful and I’m sure B.C. families will appreciate the break, but what about those without children? Myself, for instance, or many of those who attend post-secondary institutions, won’t see any tax breaks simply because we don’t have children. It seems almost unfair to those of us who see the growing population as a problem and choose not to have children to have to carry the weight of those who have children.
Secondly, Clark is proposing two-year tax hikes of two percent for those who earn $150 thousand or more. This is actually one of the few pieces of the budget I agree with. They earn more and can, hopefully, handle paying more. They may see it as unfair, but for someone who made barely over $10 thousand in 2012, I won’t be complaining.
Thirdly, and most importantly for those who attend post-secondary institutions, Clark has proposed sweeping cuts, yet again, to post-secondary education. However, they have also proposed higher funding for certain schools that are more focused on the trades and research. VIU does not fit into either of those categories, and would only see cuts. This would force our school to, once again, look at where they could make cuts and would put more pressure on other programs that do well to continue doing well. Not only that, but universities are now fighting with one another to get that extra funding for trades and research. I would rather our universities work together than fight each other.
The Liberal Party of B.C. and Clark have no idea what the youth want or how to even connect with them. With that in mind, I feel that she has no chance of winning the next election. I wish her luck, but my vote will be going elsewhere.