BC Election: The key issues and our questions for the main parties

The provincial election on May 9 is drawing close. As we did in the last provincial election, The Federation has sent a series of questions on key issues to each provincial party.

The reason that we (and many other organizations) do this is to make sure that politicians and party leaders know exactly which issues we care most about—issues like reconciliation, contracting, children in care, mental health, and addictions.

If we want our values to show up in the way our province is governed and in the way provincial resources are allocated, we need to make those values known. This is the same reason The Federation submits to the Select Standing committee year after year.

We also want the parties to answer these questions so we can hold them accountable. Once they know what’s important to us, we want to know plain and simple what they will or won’t do to address them.

This election, we chose questions that spoke to key initiatives and activities The Federation is undertaking. In choosing them, we conferred with our allies and were mindful of the questions they were asking—we wanted to cover the important issues without overlapping or sounding redundant.

For issues that don’t appear in the questions below (child care, poverty, domestic violence), we deferred to our allies who were already speaking to these topics. For issues that do appear, we tried to connect them with recent events, news coverage, or important statistics. For example, we know that a large percentage of Indigenous people in BC don’t live in their land-based nation, so our question about reconciliation is mindful of that urban perspective.

Take a look at the questions below and stay tuned for the responses. We will share the answers we get from each party with our members. In the meantime, I encourage you to use the same questions when talking with your local candidates.

Let them know which issues are important to you, inform them of what’s and stake, and ask them where they stand and what they will do to win your vote.

1. Reconciliation 
As many as 70% of Indigenous people in BC live in urban areas, not their land-based nation. With that in mind, what does reconciliation mean to your party? How will your party, as the government, work meaningfully towards reconciliation in BC? 

2. Residential Review 
BC’s new Representative for Children and Youth said in February, that greater attention to the conclusions of the 2012 Residential Review Report (co-authored by The Federation and The Ministry for Children and Family Development) might have prevented the death of Alex Gervais. If your party forms the next government, what will you do to expedite the implementation of the 32 recommendations in the Residential Review Report? 

3. Youth in care 
According to recent figures, approximately 700 youth “age out” of government care each year when they turn 19. Unfortunately, many end up homeless. What are some of your party’s ideas for better supporting youth transitioning out of government care?

4. Contracting & Funding 
Many of our members have contracts with government funding bodies to provide essential services to the people of BC Many of these contracts are short term or year to year and many fail to cover the full cost of providing said services. How would your party improve the funding relationships with community social services? 

5. Addiction Services 
The death of Nick Lang in June 2015 highlighted a series of gaps in our province’s child welfare system. How will your party improve the system of supports for young people with addiction or mental health issues? What services will your party make available so at-risk youth don’t have to be flown across the province away from their family in order to get treatment?

6. Special Needs 
Many BC youth with special needs are falling between the cracks, especially those transitioning to adult services that often have reduced capacity for support. In addition, our province’s long-term care facilities aren’t prepared to welcome an increased number of aging people with disability-related needs. How will your party better support this growing section of the population in the years to come? 

7. Representative for Children and Youth 
Bernard Richard was recently appointed as BC’s new Representative for Children and Youth. What does your party envision for the future of this important role? Should the RCY office be independent? Should its mandate be limited to monitoring? Should the office have greater capacity for advocacy efforts?