BC ACORN Pre-Election Update

Posted May 8, 2017
In little more than 24 hours British Columbians will have decided whether to keep the BC Liberals in power or to elect an NDP government for the first time this century. Elections matter and the outcome of May 9th's vote will have real consequences for every resident across the province.  BC ACORN members know this and have worked hard over the last  5 weeks, making sure that the issues affecting our low and moderate income membership are being heard and addressed by the major parties.  Here is what we've been up to!
March 28: People's Platform Community Meeting
               - Before the writ was officially dropped BC ACORN member's packed Holy Trinity Cathedral in New Westminster to unveil the 2017 "People's Platform", which outlined the demands related to our memberships various provincial campaigns.  4 candidates from the BC NDP attended the event (Judy D'arcy, David Eby, Shane Simpson, and Bruce Ralston) to provide feedback to our People's Platform and take questions from ACORN members.  The BC Liberals we invited to this event, but no representatives were sent to participate. 
April 6: Disability Rights Community Outreach
            - On a cold and rainy Thursday in April, committed ACORN member's gathered outside the office of  Richard Lee, BC Liberal and MLA for Burnaby North, to reach out to the public about our important campaign for higher disability and welfare rates.  The BC Liberals have recently raised disability rates, but have also clawed back a transit subsidy.  There is nothing in the BC Liberals platform that indicates there will be raise in social assistance rates should they be re-elected.  The BC NDP has committed to a $100 increase for both PWD and social assistance, while also reinstating the transportation subsidy.  
April 15: Fight for $15 
             - BC ACORN members have been active in the campaign for a $15 minimum wage since the campaign was launched at the 2015 BC Federation of Labour convention, and on April 15th we hit the streets to remind voters of this important issue.  Many ACORN members struggle with low wages and know that an increase to $15 will benefit everybody!  The BC NDP have committed to raising the minimum wage in stages until it hits $15 per hour by the end of their mandate.  The BC Liberals do not support a $15 minimum wage.
April 20: Stop Predatory Payday Lending
             - Working people in British Columbia are struggling to keep up with the rising cost of living.  In an attempt to keep their heads above water, many turn to payday lenders like Money Mart or Cash Money.  These sorts of lending outfits take advantage of their clients desperate circumstances by charging astronomically high interest rates that can add up to almost 500% annually.  BC ACORN members took action on April 20th to call out these predatory lenders and advocate for stronger industry regulations and alternative lending products.  Prior to the election, the BC Liberals did lower the maximum lending rate to 17%.  This was short of ACORN's demand of 15% and did not include any changes to extend the payback period, online lending regulations, or the creation of a real time loan tracking database.
April 27: Healthy Homes Now!
            - Housing has been one of the top issues of this campaign for good reason, as the affordability crisis has impacted all British Columbians.  ACORN has been fighting for renters, organizing  in building tenant unions, pushing for inclusionary zoning in cities, fighting against renovictions and demovictions, all while advocating for significant changes to the Residential Tenancy Act that would increase tenant rights.  Part of those changes have been centred on strengthening rent control by closing existing fixed term lease loopholes and looking to other rent control models found in  jurisdictions like Ontario and Quebec.  The BC Liberals have not committed to any improvements to rent control, rather Rich Coleman, Housing Minister and Deputy leader of the Liberal party, has openly mused about eliminating rent controls all together!!  The BC NDP have committed to closing the fixed term lease loophole.  On April 27th, ACORN members rallied at the Residential Tenancy Branch in Burnaby, calling on voters to keep this important issue in mind while casting their vote.