BC Communists take part in Student Vote 2020

From the Communist Party of BC, October 9, 2020

As part of the campaign leading up to the Oct. 24 provincial election in British Columbia, 850 secondary and elementary schools across the province are taking part in “Student Vote 2020”. Students will each vote for one of the candidates on the ballot in the riding where their participating school is located. To help them make decisions, the Student Vote organizers are circulating information materials, including one-minute videos of political party responses to five questions, chosen from many submitted by students around British Columbia.

Here are the “Student Vote” questions, and the text of videos submitted by the Communist Party of BC, which has five candidates around the province. After Oct. 24, the number of votes cast for each party in the participating schools will be posted online at  https://studentvote.ca/bc/

1. “What measures would you put in place that would help us recover from this pandemic economically and socially?” (Windermere Community Secondary School, in Vancouver)
During this pandemic, big corporations and wealthy sections of society have actually made big economic gains. That’s just wrong. We say that working people, poor people, small businesses need help. There should be no evictions during the pandemic, either for tenants or small businesses. Workers affected by Covid 19 layoffs must have security, including 100% recall rights and wage protection. Social assistance and disability rates should be raised immediately by 100 percent. There should be a guaranteed liveable income for everyone. When a covid vaccine becomes available, it must be free for everyone, not a source of corporate profits. This is a rich country, we can afford to make sure everyone has a decent and secure life.

2. “What will your party do to help people with mental health issues?” (students from Summerland Middle School, in Penticton)
Mental health is finally being understood as equally important as physical well-being. We know that there are many complex causes behind mental health issues. Sometimes there are physical problems requiring medications and other treatments. Forms of bigotry, like racism or body-shaming or transphobia, can have severe negative impacts on the mental health of young people. Being homeless or living in deep poverty is a major source of these problems. We all need to recognize that mental health is not an individual issue, it’s a broader social issue. We must all do our best to stop stigmatizing people with mental health problems.  Governments should provide a much wider range of free health services and treatments to everyone in need.  We need to build low-income housing for everyone, and good jobs to allow everyone to live a decent life. All of these measures are needed to tackle this serious social problem.

3. “What are you and your party going to do to support First Nations communities in our province?” (Phoenix Elementary School, on Salt Spring Island)
Economic and social JUSTICE FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLES is a critical issue in this campaign. Most of  BC is unceded indigenous lands. The Communist Party was the first in Canada to support the demand for recognition of Indigenous title to all traditional territories. There should be no more resource projects on indigenous lands without the full consultation and approval of First Nations. They must receive real and permanent benefits from economic growth. BC adopted Bill 41, the “Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.” But this legislation has not yet been implemented in a meaningful, respectful way. That must happen to move towards full nation-to-nation equality.

4. “What are you going to do about the overdose crisis in BC?” (Elsie Roy Elementary School, in Vancouver)
Over the past several decades, thousands of people have died as a result of drug overdoses. This tragedy goes back to the so-called “war on drugs”. Canada and the United States lost that battle many years ago, but the war is still killing our family members and friends. The Communist Party believes that illicit drug use is a huge health problem, but not a reason to criminalize users. We support the whole range of harm reduction policies. That includes establishing a permanent, safe, legal and regulated supply of drugs. It means expanded mental health services and long term recovery support programs. And it means build housing for all. Ending street homelessness will save lives and reduce social and health costs.

5. “What is your climate action plan?” (Begbie View Elementary School, in Revelstoke)
Our planet faces environmental disaster, possibly before today’s students reach the age of 30. But the BC NDP and the Liberals don’t seem to understand this crisis. The Communist Party calls for CLIMATE JUSTICE, NOT CARBON BOMBS. We need to focus on cutting carbon emissions now. That means – stop the Site “C” dam, cancel the LNG/Coastal GasLink fossil fuel project, end the Transmountain pipeline
expansion. All of these fossil fuel projects result in enormous hydrocarbon emissions. We want free public transit for all to cut private vehicle use, and a crash program for renewable energy and conservation. The Agricultural Land Reserve should be protected, and we need to encourage more food production in urban areas. Communists say, put people and nature first, not corporate profits.

For more information, contact the Communist Party of BC, at 604-254-9836, cpinfo.bc@gmail.com.