“It is encouraging to see strong agreement on so many important issues ahead of a new budget. In particular, the commitment on mental health supports stands out as important. This commitment elevates strategies that recognize the urgency around the opioid crisis, which we know is having a devastating effect on workers and the communities in which they live.” — Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President
Vancouver (31 May 2017) — Yesterday saw a historic agreement between the BC NDP caucus and BC Green caucus.
“Three weeks after B.C. went to the polls we now finally have a clearer idea of what the next government’s priorities are going to be going forward.” said Stephanie Smith, President of the BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE). “The Green and NDP Confidence and Supply Agreement sets the stage for four years of stable government that is founded on transparency, collaboration and is rooted in the spirit of Reconciliation and the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”
Agreement reached between BC NDP and BC Greens will allow progress to be made on key issues
The agreement, a first of its kind in B.C. politics outlines a collaborative and open framework for decision making between two parties that together earned over 56% of the vote in the 2017 election. The BCGEU/NUPGE welcomes this approach, and is hopeful that through this framework major progress will be achieved on issues that BCGEU/NUPGE members have long been advocating for.
For years BCGEU/NUPGE members have been calling on the government to take decisive action on climate change, to implement a poverty reduction strategy, to strengthen the rights of workers and their safety on the job. Members have written, phoned, and talked to their elected representatives about improving home care for seniors, about investing in early childhood education and childcare, calling for a $15 per hour minimum wage, and investment in quality public transit. It is through their hard work and efforts that many of these issues became central to the political discourse, and ultimately found their way into this agreement.
On the whole, there is a lot in this agreement for working people to be hopeful about: a strong commitment to a revitalized forestry sector, a new credible Environmental Assessment process centered on safety and sustainability, investment in child protection and hiring more social workers, as well as funding Adult Basic Education and English as a Second Language programs.
BCGEU/NUPGE welcomes the agreement to take on issues such as climate change and the opiod crisis across B.C.
Smith noted that “It is encouraging to see strong agreement on so many important issues ahead of a new budget. In particular, the commitment on mental health supports stands out as important. This commitment elevates strategies that recognize the urgency around the opioid crisis, which we know is having a devastating effect on workers and the communities in which they live.”
If the NDP and Greens can work together over the next four years to deliver on the promises outlined in this document, it will be a major step forward for a British Columbia that lifts up all people, that provides a transparent and accountable government, and that protects our environment for future generations.
The BCGEU/NUPGE looks forward to the opportunity of meeting with MLAs of all parties once the legislature is recalled to discuss the timely implementation of these policies, and to offer the input of the more than 73, 000 BCGEU/NUPGE members who live, work, and vote in British Columbia.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. ~ NUPGE