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A Leadership Race for the Books – #AnjaliForBC #TeamEby #BCNDP

I remember having a conversation with someone close to me a few years ago. It was when I had first started taking sociology classes and I was really thinking about the systems in place verses the ones that I believe in. This person was definitely of a different generation than I am and the conversation touched on things that really matter to me; healthcare services, public education, welfare and disability benefits… I shared my vision of a government focused on human interests as opposed to consistently funding and protecting large corporations. I touched on my ideal system focused on preventative measures to counter crime rather than a punitive approach. I talked about Indigenous rights and sovereignity. I told him what I thought about the Universal Basic Income.

“At some point,” he exclaimed, “You’re just talking about SOCIALISM!”

I smiled and shouted, “NOW YOU’RE GETTING IT!”

I don’t really care about labels that much. You can call me a “leftist” or a “liberal” if you want to. “Radical socialist” may be the most accurate description of who I am at the end of the day, but it doesn’t matter what you call it. I believe that we should be judged by how well we take care of one another.

I believe in politics for the people. I believe that our representatives on every level should be educated about the problems that are facing the general public. I want the people making decisions on my behalf to have a good idea about what my life is like and which challenges I’m facing. It bothers me that regular people are most often represented by the affluent elite and, to be frank, I’m tired of career politicians.

I don’t ALWAYS get fired up about politics but when I do I really really do.

It’s been twenty years since I turned eighteen and gained the right to vote. Since then I spent most of my adult life watching as the BC Liberals (social credit aka neoconservatives) absolutely sold out the people of the province.
We saw it with Gordon Campbell and it intensified rapidly under Christie Clark.

We saw education funding cut. Healthcare funding cut. We saw privatization of services. But hey, at least we got those Olympics, right?
Further down the BC Liberal path we eventually saw rampant corruption and the lining of party pockets with dirty foreign money. As long as the corruption funneled money into the hands of the right people, everyone seemed to be happy to turn a blind eye.

We were left with a housing crisis. A climate crisis. A drug policy crisis. Our crown corporations were being grossly mismanaged. We were bleeding money.

For a province rich with stolen resources we sure seemed to be having a hard time.

The NDP promised to fix this. They were ultimately elected because a lot of us were sick of the Liberal government hacking away at what little we had left. In true Canadian style we didn’t necessarily vote the NDP in so much as we intentionally voted the Liberal party out.
I voted for John Horgan and most of the people I know did the same. We voted for the NDP because they promised to do things differently, but here we are years later and, well….

I haven’t been impressed with this government. Granted they had a pandemic to deal with, but the crises that we faced in terms of social support all still remain. Disability rates remain below the poverty level. Many people here are underemployed and even more are underpaid. The cost of living is soaring.

Pipelines are being jammed through Indigenous territory. Old growth is not being protected. The Vancouver Police are displacing the homeless in the heat of the summer with no solutions on where they should go. The situation in the Downtown East Side is at a critical boiling point and an average of six people are dying every day from a poisoned drug supply.
Meanwhile, corporate profits are at a record high.

Corporate interests are being protected over our resources and our people. We’re auctioning our future off to the highest bidder,
We keep getting further and further from the plot. There’s no care. No community. No connection.

And we wonder why we’re all sad and sick.

For a moment it looked like one candidate was just going to take the position of leader without any opposition running at all, but suddenly something pretty amazing happened and a new candidate announced that she would throw her hat in the ring. This is someone that I knew on a personal level as a young person and who I have watched grow into such a powerful force as she’s pursued her passion as a climate activist.

The criticism I read made note of Anjali’s lack of experience in the political sphere, to which I wonder if that’s just the sort of fresh thinking we need. The criticism I read disregarded her as nothing more than a climate activist candidate with no substance beyond the environment. I attended her campaign launch and was moved by her ability to see the major issues facing British Columbia as intersectional problems. Anjali, like so many of us, knows that the most immediate concerns plaguing our province are just symptoms of a much larger picture.

The platform that I believe in, as an NDP voter in British Columbia, is not one that hinges on “more of the same” and “no drastic changes”. As an NDP voter, a leftist, a liberal… I believe in taking care of people before profit. I believe in reconciliation. I believe in protecting the land. Most of all, I believe that the NDP is a party rooted in a goal of social change. I think back to the roots of the movement and compare where the party stands today and it’s becoming almost unrecognizable.

Bold, world-leading change. A government that works to improve the lives of the people. These attributes can’t be enthusiastically attributed to the BCNDP in 2022, but we have a unique opportunity to send a clear message about the future of BC but it’s going to take more than just a retweet.

I beg you to ask yourself, are you satisfied with “more of the same”?

Before September 4th, please join the BCNDP so that you (anyone 12+) can cast your ballot and decide the next leader of the party and our province.

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