Personal reflections on the accomplishments of the Provincial NDP Government
Our NDP Government has been remarkably productive. I’m sure that each of us could make our own list of the most important accomplishments of the NDP. Mine would include:
- confronting the financial mess at ICBC and
- confronting the financial mess at BC Hydro. The BC Liberals deliberately mismanaged both Crown corporations for years. Both face bankruptcy.
- I’m also proud that the NDP is confronting the issue of money laundering by organized crime, an immense problem that has distorted the economy of BC — and which was completely ignored by the BC Liberals, who even squashed an investigation of the problem.
- I am also proud that the NDP is addressing the gross neglect of the education system by the BC Liberals — a neglect that lasted years and was ultimately ruled illegal by the Courts.
- And finally, I am proud that the NDP is implementing a system of universal child care and early education. The OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), UNICEF, and even the World Bank, all endorse the type of universal child care being set up in British Columbia, and which is very common in Europe. Although such systems are expensive, they actually save governments money in the long run (which is why the fiscally conservative World Bank supports them). It’s not a mysterious process. Early childhood interventions reduce the need for special education services and medical treatment as children grow older. Given a leg up, these children move through the education system more easily and more frequently graduate from high school. Having graduated from school, they more easily get jobs as adolescents and young adults and move on to advanced training and university. They have less contact with the police and the Courts, and so are less likely to be incarcerated. Thus by benefitting children and families, early childhood interventions enhance adult employability and earnings, increasing future tax revenue while reducing the need for expensive remediation programs for adolescents and adults. Some studies have found that for every dollar spent on early childhood education, governments save $16 over the long run. We’ve had 16 years of indifference, inaction, and fiscal irresponsibility from the BC Liberals. Universal child care is long overdue.
As I look over my list, I’m struck by the fact that all five points concern serious, intractable problems that have been festering for years. None are “accomplishments”, in the sense that solutions are obvious, straightforward to apply, and inexpensive, and have therefore been successfully resolved. But they are at last recognized as problems that need to be addressed. I am proud of the NDP for acknowledging them and for making progress on their resolution.
I’d be glad to hear your own responses and thoughts (I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
William Roberts, President
Kamloops South Thompson NDP