Campbell's not listening

Once a month, North Okanagan Labour Council President David Doran sets the business community straight with a column on labour issues in Kelowna's Capital News newspaper. Here's his column for May, 2002:

With virtually no opposition in the legislature, the people of British Columbia are the opposition.

Unions do have a political voice and serve a significant number of working people in British Columbia, union and non-union.

Hospital closures, school closures, massive layoffs of health care workers, huge cuts to vital public services, the wasteful and unfair referendum on aboriginal treaties, longer working hours and less coverage for workplace injuries, increased fees and decreased services, lower wages and higher tuition fees, more hardship for seniors, women, children, the disabled and the poor are just some of the issues unions speak up on.

These are all changes made by the current government under the pretences of "we had no choice" or "we can't afford it."

At the very beginning of the Liberal term, labour asked for meaningful consultation with the new government.

Jim Sinclair, B.C. Federation of Labour president, pleaded the case. First let's agree there is a problem. Then form a committee of business, labour and government and agree on a course of action to revitalize this province. Of course, this government has all the answers and this request fell on deaf ears.

Union leaders do not profess to be experts in all fields they are asked to comment on. Their ultimate and only job is to represent working people. How can any lawyer worth his salt sanction the tearing up of a legal contract? The legal profession was extremely quiet when this legislation passed.

The lifting of the fish farm moratorium by this government flies in the face of all the expert testimony that was available.

It is all fine and dandy to say you support the idea of opposing views, as this government does. But if they don't listen to them, they are fools. How many political and social disasters have been authored by leaders who refused to listen?

Premier Gordon Campbell's stance is that of an arrogant jackass who thinks he knows everything.



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