Only a small number of people across BC would agree that they are much better off than they were five or ten years ago. Research, statistics, and anecdotal evidence reiterate the fact that things have not significantly improved since the last election.
As such, The Federation identified two key goals for the 2017 provincial election cycle:
1. A greater number of social issues make it onto the agendas of politicians across the province.
2. Eligible voters across the province better understand the breadth and impact of social issues facing BC.
Social services are an election issue already being debated in Richmond while seniors care was the topic of a candidate’s debate in New Westminster. Child care issues are on the radar of many candidates and the NDP have promised $10-a-day child care if elected.
The NDP has also promised to increase the minimum wage to help address poverty and to develop a drug plan to address the fentanyl crisis. The Green Party has supported a “comprehensive” anti-poverty strategy.
Unlike 2013, this year’s election will focus on much more than jobs. Social issues like seniors care, poverty, housing, and child care are already on the agenda of candidates across the province.
And thanks to our ‘Life in BC’ Snapshots—eight fact sheets on the state of social care in BC—and an op-ed campaign rolling out this week, we are working hard to help people understand their connection to the social issues facing BC.
Make sure to read and share the Federation emails going out this month. They contain contact information for the candidates in your riding. They also contain the contact information for other Federation members in your riding in case you want to meet with those candidates as a group to talk about social issues or to invite them to your pre-election events. (Be sure to print off the Snapshot fact sheets to bring with you!)
Those emails also contain notes on social care issues from The Federation’s 2017 Social Policy Forum, key messages that you can join The Federation is using during the election period, and links to other useful information.
Finally, I encourage you all to help us get out the vote on May 9. Federation member employees alone represent over 6000 votes. In the 2013 provincial election, some BC ridings had victory margins of less than 100 votes. That same election had a total voter turnout of 57%. In 2009, it was even lower: 51%.
Increasing voter turnout—helping your community get out the vote—is one of the easiest ways to have an impact during an election. This is especially true in a province like ours where voter turnout has been low in previous elections.
Continue to talk about the issues, share the Snapshots, and work with others in your riding. But also make sure you, your staff, and your client groups are registered to vote and know where to cast your ballot on May 9. In the coming weeks, we will share other resources and materials to help you and your community get out the vote.
If there is anything else we can do to help you prepare for the provincial election, please let us know. Being altogether better means we’re here to help when you need it!