Discover more from The Red Review
The BC NDP government stands for “Affordability” they say. How are they doing?
By Gary Porter
The Gross Provincial Product for British Columbia is forecast by RBC to be the lowest in Canada at 0.5%.
Just today the NDP Housing Minister in BC announced that the limit on rent increases in 2024 will be 3.5%. In Ontario, Tory Doug Ford allows only 2.5%. "Affordability" would require a substantial roll back, not increases.
In 2020 data reported as part of the 2021 Census, British Columbia's poverty rate for all persons was 9.8% - tied with Nova Scotia for the highest poverty rate in Canada. The national poverty rate was 8.1% with the lowest poverty in Quebec.Oct 26, 2022. (The poverty rate is the ratio of the number of people (in a given age group) whose income falls below the poverty line; taken as half the median household income of the total population.)
British Columbians pay the 2nd highest rate for gas at the pump even though we pay billions in subsidies to the fabulously wealthy oil and gas cartel.
Opioid deaths in BC are still climbing. We have the highest rate of drug deaths in Canada, right here in beautiful BC.
The highest house prices and rental rates in Canada are in BC. At $873,000 the BC average price is $75,000 higher than Ontario. Vancouver, known as one of the world's most expensive housing markets, has a median home price significantly higher than Toronto due to its limited supply of land and high demand from buyers.
While having a lower overall cost of living than Toronto, Vancouver is still the most expensive city in Canada regarding housing, with a median rent of $2,335 for a studio apartment and a median home price of $1,220,469. Aug 28, 2023.
Unemployment is rising in BC from 4.5% in March go 5.5% in June. Meanwhile, medium income in BC ranks 7th at $53,000.
BC is home to the largest number of indigenous people of any province or territory in Canada. Indigenous people in BC, as in the rest of Canada have higher than average rates of infant and child death, poorer health, higher suicide rate, shorter life expectancy, less education, smaller incomes, higher rates of incarceration, higher unemployment, more inadequate housing and less pure water. The NDP government has not altered this tragedy in BC.
Surgical wait times are longer in BC than anywhere else in Canada.
The NDP government of BC has failed in almost every sphere to increase "affordability" for the working class in BC.
BC does have the highest minimum wage in Canada at $16.75 hourly and pegged to the cost of living. This is a clear NDP gain.
An initial wage of $100.00 in June 2015 is equal to $123.58 in real wages in June 2023, an increase of 23.58% in the Consumer Price Index for Canada, or a compound annual inflation rate of 2.68%. The compound rate of industrial wage growth in BC over the same 9 year period is 2.53%. Every year wages buy a bit less.
For working people in BC, the NDP government has failed using its own criteria, affordability.
How Is big business doing under the NDP? Is the capitalist ruling class suffering?
Net Income at B.C.'s most profitable companies spiked in 2021. Companies on the list that reported profits for the last two years grew an average of 283.3 per cent, according to data collected on Business in Vancouver's list of the most profitable companies in B.C.
Over the past year, average net income for the 50 most profitable companies in the province grew 74.5 per cent to $464.6 million. Over the four-year period prior to 2021, the average net income for the top 50 hovered between $250 million and $310 million. Average net income hit its most recent high of $313 million in 2018, and then fell 19.8 per cent to $251 million in 2019. (A data discrepancy in 2020 meant that BIV could accurately measure the average and median trends for only the top 50 companies.)
So big business has done well, in fact phenomenally well. Why is it, after 6 years in power, when blaming the Liberals is not longer credible, that the BC NDP government has performed so poorly for BC working class families and so incredibly well for big business families, the ruling class?
The answer is simple. The BC NDP government supports capitalism, rules in the interests of big business and tries to distinguish itself from the United Party and the Conservative Party only by advocating small reforms that cost the capitalist class very little and do not challenge the priority of profit over human need. Although the party is based on the labour movement, the NDP leadership, in power, is a capitalist government. This is an intractable contradiction unless a socialist leadership with a working class agenda replaces the cabal of social democrats and labour bureaucrats currently in power in the BC NDP.
Photo: People shout slogans for social housing as they attend an anti-Olympics rally in central Vancouver, BC, Canada on February 12, 2010. (Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images) (Source).