Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.


The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

NDP MLA seeks leader who will fight social inequity

North Island MLA Claire Trevena says she is looking for an NDP leadership candidate to take the party in a much more progressive direction.

A list of questions she is circulating to the candidates looks for commitments to campaign on raising income taxes, strengthen the social safety net, protect the environment and transfer the ownership of more resources to the public.

"Like you, I have ideas about the direction we need to go and policies we should be adopting to improve life and wanted to hear your views," wrote Trevena, who was among a group of 13 NDP MLAs opposed to Carole James continuing to lead the party.

Adrian Dix, Mike Farnworth, John Horgan, Harry Lali, Dana Larsen and Nicholas Simons have announced they are seeking the NDP leadership, which will be decided in an April 17 vote. Trevena said in her message that she will circulate their responses to her questions.

Trevena, who is the legislature's assistant deputy speaker, said she hasn't decided yet on endorsing anyone.

Following is a complete copy of Trevena's message:

In my latest MLA report I discussed the principles of equity which are at the core of our Party, and how those principles can be achieved in BC today. Like you, I have ideas about the direction we need to go and policies we should be adopting to improve life and wanted to hear your views on a number of questions. I will be including your responses in subsequent reports.

I am a firm believer that equity is achieved through redistribution. I believe in a progressive tax system in which those who earn more, pay more.

Would you campaign on increasing income taxes and specific changes to the tax system to ensure corporations and business pay more?

Equity can be achieved through social tools: through a strong social safety net through which no-one is allowed to slip.

How will you ensure our welfare system reflects the real cost of living and keeps people out of poverty?

Will you assess a massive investment in public and co-op housing across the province which would provide an economic boost and address a dire social need?

Public education is a great way of assisting people in all societies and BC has a great school system.

Are you prepared to look at three key factors:

- a comprehensive early learning and care programme for families with children too young for school?

- changing the funding formula to ensure rural schools can provide equality in education?

- providing free post secondary education to BC residents on the proviso that a graduate commits to working in the province for five years?

Healthcare is always a major consideration when it comes to public costs even though we all know that proportionally cuts in funding to other areas has led to the perception that the healthcare budget is ballooning.

How will you address the cost issue logically to ensure the integrity of our public system is maintained and that it benefits everyone in the province?

Would you commit to the introduction of more health centres with all medical staff on salary?

Would you commit to investing in new technologies in rural areas to reduce people’s need to travel for care?

Would you commit to expanding the use of nurse practitioners in rural areas?

BC is a resource rich province – we traditionally have made money from the wealth of our environment. However we also know we can not not treat our environment simply as a commodity; without securing and safeguarding our environment we have no future.

How do you intend to address climate change?

How do you intend to address food security?

Are you prepared to develop and implement an environmental bill of rights to safeguard environmental practices?

How would you work with communities to make the necessary shift to new ways of living and doing business to decrease our carbon footprint?

Do you agree public resources should be held in public hands and used for the public good?

If so, which resources would you include and how would you ensure that the transfer to public ownership is made?

How would you guarantee that public ownership be maintained?

Would you do an assessment of all our crown lands, and what those lands contain both above and below ground?

There are many other problems we all know about and I will follow up with you on other platform questions as the leadership race continues.

I have one final question: if you become leader, will you clearly identify your policies and articulate your vision without waiting for the appropriate (pre-election) time?

I would be happy to include you on my MLA report distribution list, or you can find it on my website or facebook.

Enjoy the race – and I look forward to hearing from you.

In solidarity, Claire

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

Find more in:

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus