BC Budget Rewards 1% at Expense of the 99%
The B.C. Federation of Labour called today’s budget a wrong-headed continuation of the policies that have put more money in the pockets of the richest British Columbians and BC Liberal insiders at the expense of working and middle class families.
“Working people in British Columbia are having a tougher and tougher time making ends meet because of the policies of this government,” said Sinclair. “The 2012 budget, again, puts more money in the pockets of BC’s corporate elite while asking average working people to suck up wage cuts and fee increases. This budget reflects BC Liberal policy to reward the one percent at the expense of the 99 percent.”
Sinclair said the budget was a clear illustration of the government’s misplaced priorities. “If a CEO buys a vacation home in Whistler, this budget puts up to $10,000 in his pocket, while average families are paying more in Medical Services Plan (MSP) and Hydro rates and childcare workers, teachers and hospital workers are being told to take real wage cuts,” said Sinclair.
Sinclair said that the BC Liberals will continue the underfunding of healthcare, education, justice and social services, while reckless tax cuts to the extremely well off and corporations starve the province of funds. He noted that despite huge increases in Hydro rates, MSP premiums, tuition fees, and bridge tolls paid by average families, government revenue in 2012 was down $7.7 billion annually from 2001 numbers as a percentage of BC’s GDP.
Sinclair noted the budget speech acknowledged that front-line workers in BC’s public sector had already foregone billions in income due to real wage cuts over the past two years. “Front line workers have been falling behind, while Cabinet Ministers and senior managers have been taking double-digit pay hikes. It’s simply not fair. And it’s made worse by this government’s plan to eliminate 10 percent more front line jobs from the leanest public service in Canada.”
Sinclair also expressed concern that an unpopular Liberal government would quietly announce the fire sale of key government assets in the final year of their mandate. Sinclair condemned the move to privatize liquor distribution in particular as an irresponsible giveaway to BC Liberal supporters in the private liquor industry.