Wendy Bales On Issues And Sustainability

By Wendy Bales. Many issues tie together, treating them in a short term silo way is often part of the problem. Some of many key issues are: better management of tax dollars, better education, healthcare, affordable water delivery and watershed protection, sustainable agriculture and stopping the Waste to Energy.

For many people today the cost of living and taxation is rapidly outpacing living wages. Added to that, local jobs have been lost to temporary workers on a lower pay scale, while working standards are eroding. As I learned at a CETA Free Trade forum easier flow of temporary workers is also being worked into free trade deals. I spoke of my concerns at the forum. Although we need some temporary workers, it shouldn’t be at the expense of local residents jobs or at a lower WCB standard and wage, otherwise it will lower the bar on standards for all. You can also tie living wages in part with B.C.’s high rate of child poverty and people ending up on the streets, on welfare and in prisons… Many are just a paycheck away.

Solutions will not be easy considering the current debt that the Liberals are leaving us with, but they could include a better public education systems starting in the early years of a child’s life, more investment in trades & technology, more affordable housing, a living wage and better health care. These investments would create jobs & also go a long way in saving tax dollars currently being spent on welfare, policing or prisons.

Countries like Norway have been smart by keeping sovereign control over resources and using profits gained to re-invest in new technology, infrastructure and social programs. Before the last decade of mismanagement, B.C Hydro when it was still profitable benefited British Columbians in much the same way. B.C could save a lot by not having to buy back resources after private for profit margins are added on.

Renewable technologies have been working well to grow economies in other countries. Upgrading building standards to conserve energy, encourage by low interest loan incentives would help people with utility costs and prevent a future need for so much costly energy expansion. As well we should be looking into and re-aligning what our tax dollars are subsidizing as well as how much. If we put a bigger portion of the same subsidies towards things like solar, geo thermal or many other good alternatives as they are towards fossil fuels, they could be mass produced and more affordable. It is working well in countries like Germany.

An example of issues that are tied together is that the future of affordable potable water as well as our hydro power are tied to the need to have stronger protection of watersheds and aquifers. To do that we need better ground truth studies of them. That needs to include information on cumulative impacts from current uses as well as impacts from things like the large gravel zones proposed in the Aggregate Pilot Project as well as other possible growing uses like pipelines. One solution is more meaningful regulation and to address limiting negative cumulative impacts by amending the over 150 year old Mines Act as well as having a made for B.C. Environmental Assessment process. For more info see my Mines Act resolution that I wrote for the Union of B.C. Municipalities and that passed with a big majority click here.

Watershed protection also ties into protecting important habitats and our tourism industry which are far more important to having more sustainable long term jobs.

I was surprised to hear that neither Abbotsford or Mission included projections on climate change in their studies to predict their long term future water needs. Contrarily in the many provincial committees and workshops on the Water Act as well as drought committees that I have attended it is one of the main concerns. One small example out of many sources is this short report.

It is important for the future that we conserve, and support renewable industries. We need to go back to effective independent regulating with consideration of the cumulative impacts, otherwise the rights of some big industries will outweigh sustainability & the rights of everyone else.

Last but very important is the need for electoral reforms. That should include many issues like the public’s right to timely information on issues and the right to make statement about them before they are voted on. We should as well look at a system that includes for a more equal transferable voting system, so that the majority vote is reflected.

Similar to local government, the provincial government mostly works on a majority vote in the legislature. But also similar to local government a lot of work and info is done in closed door meetings and committees, so you really need representatives who will stand up for the people of their riding. I have a record of consulting with constituents on important issues, as well as voting on their behalf. I have been elected twice and been in local government for 4 years but also have experience working on provincial committees. As politicians we really need to get back to truly working more co-operatively for the consensus of the people who pay our salary.

Wendy Bales is a native of Vancouver, she has lived in the Abbotsford Mission riding for 38 years.

For much of her early years she worked in forestry, and related industries. Since 1985 Wendy has been successfully self employed working mom with a landscaping & tile-setting business, and as well has been working on growing a small organic gardening business.

Wendy has been twice elected in this riding as a Director for Area C in the FVRD that is part of the Abbotsford-Mission riding; a position she’s held since 2008.

For the last 2 decades Wendy Bales has been devoting more time getting involved in many community riding issues. “I’ve always thought that when trying to make a difference, it is best to start close to home.” For more info please see: www.wendybales.com

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