Happy new year! After a wonderful holiday season, where snow finally graced our ski trails and sparkled in all the lights, we are now embarking on a new year. Maybe you have a resolution, or maybe you’ve resolved to not resolve this year. However you may start this year, 2015 will certainly bring with it some changes, interesting moments and some old favourites.
With many new faces and roles in the Kootenays’ local governments and school board, there will likely be some changes in how our communities are governed and some of their priorities. This year will give us all a good understanding of what we can expect and how we can be a part of our democratically chosen leaders’ objectives.
As a federal election is coming up sometime this year, there are bound to be some interesting moments and possible changes. Each party will offer their platform and you will get the opportunity to be the judge, meet the local candidates for our riding of Kootenay-Columbia and make your voice count by voting.
As a New Democrat, it is no secret who I support, and am immensely proud of the bold ideas and feasible plans Leader Tom Mulcair has already put forward for an economy rooted in social justice and environmental sustainability. But don’t take my word for it. All parties are posting daily on Facebook, plus there are lots of news articles to read and YouTube videos to watch. It’s the information age, after all, so get informed.
Provincially, I am hoping that we will see a change in B.C.’s abysmal levels of child poverty — not because the federal government changed the way we collect statistics, but because government took action. As you may already know, I’ve been calling on the Liberals to end the child support clawback that takes millions out of the hands of B.C.’s poorest kids every year simply because their single parent receives income assistance or disability. This is incredibly wrong and made worse when you consider that former Kelowna MLA Ben Stewart receives $4,000 per month for his Beijing car allowance while these kids go without food and winter boots.
Right now, in an unprecedented move, the Liberals are willing to hear from you about changing this cruel poverty-creating policy. Please send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org and Michelle.Mungall.MLA@leg.bc.ca, and let the government know you want them to give these children their child support, in full, back.
An old favourite of mine that I really hope sticks around is a wild and beautiful Jumbo valley and glacier. As I write this, a decision has yet to be made. After a quarter-century of steadfast support for keeping Jumbo wild, a decision rooted in common sense and accountability, a decision that sees the importance of a wild Jumbo and the ridiculousness of this attempted resort — or, should I say, a concrete slab in a fake town — would put most people in our region over the moon. It would also force the proponents to move on to something more realistic and reasonable in an appropriate location. In fact, this would be the continuance of an old favourite and a good change wrapped up in one.
As 2015 begins, everyone at my MLA community office would like to extend our warmest wishes to you for a happy and peaceful year. May life’s constant changes bring you smooth roads, calm waters, warm fires and the wind always at your back.
Michelle Mungall is the member of the legislative assembly for the Nelson-Creston provincial riding, and is the Opposition critic for social development.