Thursday, March 18, 2010

Reject the 2010 BC Liberal budget! Raise the minimum wage and reduce tuition fees!

March 2010

The BC Liberal government released its budget on March 2nd, a budget that leaves much to be desired from the working people of British Columbia. Finance Minister Colin Hansen’s remark that “This budget is about families” must have been referring to their disenfranchisement at the hands of the most destructive Provincial government in the lifetime of young people today. Young families, students, and young workers all face a heightened financial threat because of the backwards fiscal planning of Gordon Campbell and his cronies.

For families already pushed well below the poverty line there are spending cuts across the board from low-income housing to medical services. BC Hydro rates will go up 9.11 percent this year and are scheduled to increase by similar amounts over the next three years regardless of the fact that the BC Liberal government sells energy the United States of America for a reduced rate. With the incoming HST working families cannot escape massive cost increases, cost increase which will sink the people of BC into further debt. The privatization of power must be reversed and Oil and Gas must be nationalized for the benefit of all British Columbians!

Young workers continue to see no movement on the minimum wage. BC now has the lowest minimum wage of any province or territory in Canada. Increased user fees in transit and other government programs further push the cost of the capitalist economic crisis and the Olympic party for the rich onto working people. The YCL calls for reduction of user fees and increased transit services!

Students saw a 28% hit to StudentAid BC after BC Liberal election promises not to do just that. This year the government revenue from tuition fees will exceed corporate income tax by 200 million dollars. BC was already ranked the lowest for non-refundable student financial assistance in the country. Drop fees, education shouldn’t be a debt sentence!

The Young Communist League calls for the immediate reversal of the imposition of the Harmonized Sales Tax and the BC Hydro rate hikes. Minimum wage must be set to $16 and marked to inflation to ensure a living wage for all British Columbians. The so-called training wage must be abolished. Tuition fees must be reduced and a provincial system of grants must replace the backwards student loan system costing Canadians over 13 billion dollars in debt.

These policies are not just pipe dreams if workers, youth, and students are willing to stand up and fight to make them reality. The massive resistance to the anti-people measures of the social democratic PASOK government in Greece, which have included cuts aimed at workers wages, holidays, bonuses, and other benefits, demonstrate the way forward for all those who wish to protect and improve the quality of life of working people. The global offensive aimed at making us pay for the global capitalist economic crisis can only be stopped by mass, united, militant struggle in which youth and students must be a key component.

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