The B.C. Electoral Plot Thickens
Happy Thursday, Passengers. Sarah (@sarahkrichel) here, reporting to your inbox with your need-to-know and highlight-worthy Canadian news. Today we’ll cover: British Columbia election platform updates and lack thereof; an update on the probe into Joyce Echaquan’s death; a Vancouver-based study highlighting the positive effects of a basic income; some CBC cringe; some Kamalamania cringe.
Political platform soup for the British Columbian soul
As the election creeps closer, British Columbians are paying close attention to the orange, green and red carrots being hung above their heads.
The NDP released its official platform on Tuesday, making a myriad of promises relating to Indigenous reconciliation, climate action and COVID-19 recovery. According to the NDP website, a re-elected NDP would bring a Recovery Benefit for British Columbians, which would include a one-time $1,000 direct deposit to families whose household income is under $125,000, as well as a one-time deposit for single people earning less than $62,000 a year.
But there’s a whole lot more: Other promises include faster health care, universal $10-a-day child-care, more accessible transit, decriminalizing small amounts of illicit drug possession, phasing out single-use plastics and incentives for people to buy electric vehicles.
Green Leader Sonia Furstenau has made her party’s position on the election clear: it’s no more than a power-grab. In her reactive statement to Horgan’s platform, Furstenau said many of the NDP’s promises are things the Greens have pushed the NDP on for the past three years. “There is no reason we needed to go to an election to implement these policies.”
The Greens have yet to share an official platform, but have released the party’s plans in supporting small businesses and young families. These promises include rent subsidies for small businesses, faster grant money flow for small tourism businesses hit hard by the pandemic, increased child care funding and grants for young families with a stay-at-home parent. The party has also campaigned on a four-day workweek.
The Liberals, meanwhile, have added to their $8-billion PST tax cut promise by pledging to bring competition to ICBC by introducing private car insurance. A 2018 study, however, showed the price of car insurance would increase for those under 35 if ICBC had competition, while those over 45 would save.
- Quebec officials report that the public inquiry into Joyce Echaquan’s final moments will happen “as soon as possible” in 2021. The 37-year-old Atikamekw mother of seven died in hospital shortly after livestreaming nursing staff shouting racist remarks at her while she pleaded for help.
- The press release doesn’t specify any reason for the timeline, as APTN points out, including whether COVID-19 had any impact on how soon it can take place.
- Meanwhile, Echaquan’s family is taking action of their own, announcing last week that they’re suing Joliette hospital as well as the implicated nurse and patient attendant. The family is also petitioning the Quebec body that issues nursing licenses to ban the nurses involved for life.
- Premier François Legault continues to deny the role of systemic racism in Quebec, but Manawan Chief Paul-Émile Ottawa says the Atikamekw Nation will make “precise demands” to help curb racism in health care, entitling them “Joyce’s Principle.”
- The New Leaf Project, a joint study started in 2018 by Foundations for Social Change and the University of British Columbia, gave $7,500 to homeless Lower Mainland residents to see how they would fare more than a year later.
- It found that its participants moved into stable housing after an average of three months — two months faster compared to those in a “control group” that did not receive the payments — and food security was established after one month among almost 70 per cent of people who received the payments. It also found that spending on alcohol, cigarettes and drugs went down, on average, by 39 per cent.
- The study adds to the growing conversation around the promise of a universal basic income, which has resulted largely from the pandemic forcing of millions out of work.
The CBC doing CBC things
- In a poetically mediocre attempt to encourage Canadians to read their local news outlets, the CBC released a directory that produces a list of local publications you should apparently be supporting.
- It made its way across Canadian Twitter when users quickly noticed that many prominent local news outlets were missing — such as Calgary’s The Sprawl, Vancouver’s The Tyee and Toronto’s NOW Toronto — while every Postmedia local paper seemed to be on the list.
- In glummer news, the CBC announced that about 130 jobs across the country, mostly based in Toronto, will be cut over the next three months.
- Check out J-Source’s tracking of the pandemic’s impact on the media industry.
ICYMI: Your diagnosis is Kamalamania
“Canadians have claimed her as a native daughter, seeing her as an embodiment of the country’s progressive politics,” writes the Canadian correspondent for the New York Times, Dan Bilefsky, of senator and vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris.
Get a good cringe purge in this piece which portrays Harris as someone who just loved pursuing justice. Of course, Harris’ professional career and track record as attorney general in California ended up being full of contradictions. If you’re in the mood to wince with irony, Bilefsky’s it.
The NYT piece of course ended with a quote from Harris’ memoir, establishing where her loyalties lie with a dash of patriotism: “‘By the time I got to high school, I had adjusted to our new surroundings,’ she wrote in her memoir. ‘What I hadn’t gotten used to was the feeling of being homesick for my country. I felt this constant sense of yearning to be back home.’” Nice.
Talk to you all soon and remember to channel your inner audacious fly today.