View from Labour, January 23, 2009

The Somass Mill isn’t starting up on time. Could this be a harbinger of worse to come? With most of the Western Mills on Vancouver Island shut down “indefinitely” and not looking to start up, we don’t want the same for the Somass crews.
Last weekend the BC Liberals introduced and passed a bill to rescue the city of Vancouver from a bad deal for the Olympic Village. The Speaker of the House sided with the Government side and ruled that all readings of the Bill would be in the same sitting. Not one Liberal voice was raised to either defend the action or explain the actual cost of the Olympics that the BC Taxpayer is on the hook for. Only the NDP Opposition spoke and tried to get an answer to this question. The Liberal MLAs obediently sat on their hands and kept their collective mouths shut. They didn’t even try to justify the travesty. A large contingent of silent puppets! One would think that at least one of them would have a conscience and speak up for their constituents and the taxpayers of BC. I guess that’s too much to hope for.
I agree with assisting a city that is in trouble, but why a band aid solution to a major problem? If the Liberals had come clean and admitted how much the Olympics were over budget, we’d all at least felt we knew the truth.
We hear a lot about “Homelessness” in BC and our Valley, but it seems to be a faceless problem. Some are suffering from mental illness and should be in an institution, but the government is shutting down psych wards and we don’t have any institutions. Some are authors of their own problem by being addicted to various drugs and alcohol and need treatment. However many are just out of work and out of EI benefits, In the past two weeks I’ve met young and not so young workers who have had to give up their apartments due to lack of funds. These few are luck and have parents they can “crash” with. They’re still homeless and this is just the tip of a very, very large iceberg! I can imagine how demeaning that must feel. From being a proud worker to “couch surfing” is humiliating.
I never heard these unemployed mentioned by the Liberals over the weekend. If an NDP member mentioned them they would be ruled out of order as “off topic”. If ever we need evidence of the mean spirited positions of our present Government we need to look no farther than the waves of people being displaced by Liberal land use policies. Families are breaking up and people are being put on the street. Once you’re off EI you are no longer even a statistic!
Next week I’ll talk about some of the vultures trying to take advantage of these same displaced workers.
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