Column: BC Green Caucus Advocates for Rebuilding With Cleaner, Green Economy

Jun 25, 2020 | Blog, Governance, MLA Column | 0 comments

After nearly four-months away the British Columbia Legislative Assembly will finally resume. MLA’s will sit for eight weeks through July and August.

British Columbia has been widely recognized for our collective handling of the pandemic. Our public health professionals, civil service and politicians have all been focussed on addressing the emergency as best as possible. Our response and the result have been remarkable.

As we begin the economic recovery there are critical choices that must be made. Are we going to rebuild the economy of the last century? Or, are we going to build a cleaner, greener, more resilient economy of the future?

With this key question in mind, the BC Green Caucus has been working closely with the provincial government to encourage them to invest in the latter. We recognize the investments coming out of the pandemic will set the direction for the coming decades. B.C. has the opportunity to be a climate leader, make strategic investments and build a low-carbon, sustainable, just and inclusive economy for all. By committing to a green recovery coming out of COVID-19 we have the opportunity to make this change. We cannot afford to let it pass us by.

I am committed to prioritizing a green recovery on all fronts, and I will continue to focus over the months ahead on promoting long term, evidence-based policies that address the core issues facing our province. We need to address the inequalities and disparate impacts of COVID-19 on women, minority groups, low-paid workers and marginalized communities, and make sure that ensuing policies will support them in this health and economic crisis.

We have provided the BC NDP government a comprehensive list of specific policies that we are advocating for as part of a green recovery. These will be the central feature of the BC Green Caucus work this summer.

In summary, they include:

  • Using CleanBC as a guiding strategy for B.C.’s economic recovery, with a focus on recovery policies that help us reach legislated emission reduction targets;
  • Prioritizing economic stimulus initiatives that advance the implementation of DRIPA and address the structural elements that limit Indigenous self determination;
  • Strengthening made-in-BC supply chains, to create more jobs in B.C. and make our economy more resilient to future shocks;
  • Creating immediate employment opportunities across B.C., especially for young people, through environmental remediation projects, tree planting and rewilding projects;
  • Increasing social supports like mental health programs and affordable housing in conjunction with safe supply to protect the most vulnerable in our society;
  • Using Genuine Progress Indicators to measure our progress to building a healthier economy, instead of continuing to rely primarily on GDP growth as the primary metric;
  • Using the Emerging Economy Task Force and Innovation Commissioner reports as roadmaps to harness innovation across all sectors of B.C.’s economy so we remain competitive and provide a high quality of life;
  • Creating a truly sustainable forestry industry that emphasizes value-added manufacturing and does not rely on logging the last remaining old growth to be viable;
  • Ensuring that any “shovel ready” projects that receive funding are also “shovel worthy” projects;
  • Supporting worker transition with programs and skills that would have long-term applicability, and redistribute jobs across B.C.;
  • Ending fossil fuel subsidies and instead investing into strategic sectors with long term sustainable growth potential

As a caucus we are meeting with experts and stakeholders to ensure that we have the strongest policies and solutions to offer. We are constantly working to convince our BC NDP partners in our minority government of the urgency of adopting an ambitious green recovery.

British Columbians have endured significant hardships from COVID-19. We must learn from our past and have the courage to take bold action to do better. Governments across all jurisdictions must prioritize long-term planning in our recovery and build a stronger and more prosperous province for our children to inherit.

I hope you will take action and share your vision for the future of British Columbia – our government needs to hear your voice. Every effort can make all the difference.

This was originally published on the Salt Spring Exchange on June 25, 2020.

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