Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.


The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Liberal leadership hopefuls ignore children and youth survey

In what child and youth advocate Adrienne Montani calls a "disappointing" lack of response, all six candidates to lead the BC Liberals have failed to answer questions about their positions on reforms designed to meet the needs of B.C.'s young people. (Kevin Falcon, George Abbott, Christy Clark, Mike DeJong, Moira Stilwell and Ed Mayne were all candidates at the time of the survey. Stilwell and Mayne have since withdrawn from the race.)

Montani, the coordinator for First Call, a non-partisan coalition of more than 90 B.C. organizations and hundreds of individuals concerned about B.C. children and youth, said her coalition had circulated a survey on policies that affect young people to all the declared candidates for leadership of both the Liberals and the NDP on Feb. 3.

The survey canvassed the candidates' positions on supports for early childhood development, for students with special needs in schools, and investments in youth employment services. It also asked where they stand on reducing child and family poverty and B.C.'s child labour laws, among other topics.

Montani told The Tyee that four of the candidates to lead the opposition NDP (Nicholas Simons, Mike Farnworth, John Horgan and Adrian Dix) had weighed in with their positions on these topics by the First Call deadline, but that none of the Liberal hopefuls had replied.

"The complete lack of response from the Liberal leadership candidates is very disappointing," said Montani. "Each of these individuals aspires to be the next premier of British Columbia, and our coalition partners are genuinely interested in where they stand on crucial issues like child poverty and child labour protections."

First Call is one of the organizations in the province that has highlighted the fact that B.C. has led the country in levels of child poverty for seven years running, an assessment based on recently released 2008 figures for after tax poverty. While acknowledging that measured before taxes, child poverty rates fell in B.C. during 2007 and 2008, Montani and her coalition are concerned that the provincial government does not seem to be taking child poverty seriously enough. The lack of response from Liberal candidates adds to her concern.

“We hope that by asking these questions and publishing the responses received we have stimulated discussion among the leadership candidates, their supporters and the public about actions we can take to improve children's lives," said Montani.

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