It’s been a remarkably short election campaign, and as it comes to a close, we can’t help but be struck by how many promises have been made to the electorate in the few weeks that our major party leaders have been trying to convince us to vote for them.
It’s been a unique election due to the COVID-19 pandemic, void of the usual door knocking and large public gatherings where constituents can question the candidates face to face. We applaud our local organizations who have gone to great lengths to produce virtual opportunities for the public to get to know the candidates and their platforms.
COVID-19 has also shaped a great many of the major issues being discussed in the street. COVID has exposed huge fissures in seniors care throughout the country, and B.C. is no exception. Federal stimulus money is the perfect opportunity for environmental proponents to push for spending those dollars on a green recovery that will help us fight climate change, and help our economy recover at the same time. And then there are the people who are facing layoffs and job losses due to the pandemic. Some businesses in Cowichan have already succumbed to the pressures of the economic slump brought on by COVID.
The Liberals have promised a year-long holiday from the provincial sales tax in a bid to help people economically. They’ve also stated support for LNG development, creating new childcare spaces, support for the hard-hit tourism industry, and ending ICBC’s exclusive hold on part of the car insurance market in the province. Local candidate Tanya Kaul has promised her party will end fees for seniors who must get a medial exam to continue driving as they age.
The Greens, led by Cowichan’s own Sonia Furstenau, have promised a move towards a guaranteed basic income, as well as phasing out public funding for private long-term care facilities for seniors, a $1 billion innovation fund to shift to a zero carbon economy and $1 billion for mental health care.
The NDP, represented by Rob Douglas, has said they also want to phase out private seniors care in the province, provide free birth control to women who want it, and provide a direct payment up to $1,000 for B.C. residents as COVID stimulus. As the party in power, they’ve also touted commitments already made for the building of supportive housing in Cowichan, a new Cowichan District Hospital, and a new Cowichan Secondary school.
Whose promises tackle your most pressing issues? Whose do you believe? Be sure to take a look at our voter’s guide in this edition, take a closer look at the platforms, and make sure you cast your ballot this Saturday.