In the first Members Statement of the 42nd Parliament I turn my attention to the responsibility we have as MLA’s to govern for all British Columbians, the impact of COVID-19, and the fragility of our services.
I turn my attention to the important work of food banks and then state my commitment to work toward poverty reduction and a time when people in our communities do not need to rely so heavily on food banks.
This is a challenging time of year for many people. In addition, COVID-19 is stressing and stretching our social fabric in many previously unimaginable ways. Special legislative sessions to debate desperate financial measures that were once an exception in 2020 have become the norm.
The gaps in government service delivery have been exposed. Systems we once perceived to be solid are proving fragile. In the game of partisan politics, the fragility is often blamed on decisions made long ago. Words are volleyed back and forth across the aisle. This chamber is the place we come together to embrace our shared responsibility, and the weight of that responsibility is heavy on us now.
We have been sobered with the fragility of our modern society, the life-sustaining ecosystems that we mine and harvest, the voracious, consumptive craving of our capitalist economy. Everything around us seems to be either breaking or broken.
I raise my hands in deep gratitude to our friends, family and neighbours on the front lines who do the valiant work. I imagine they care little about who is to blame. There is no good reason for the rates of homelessness, poverty and depression in our wealthy society. That is on all of us, on all sides of this chamber, to fix.
This past week, British Columbians stepped up big-time to support food banks across our province. Millions of dollars were raised to provide the financial resources that are needed to fill the gaps. Food banks are one of those unfortunate realities that should not exist in a society so blessed with the riches we have. However, this holiday season, they are necessary, and they can only do their important work with donations of non-perishable food items and money.
As we prepare to celebrate this holiday season, I raise my hands to the volunteers and staff of food banks across British Columbia, and I ask that you please support your local food bank and know that I will be resolved to work in this House toward a future where food banks are no longer needed.