Carole James guest post – Leader of the NDP

Credit: BC NDP

Credit: BC NDP

Ms. Carole James (Leader of the NDP Party) was kind enough to answer the same three questions I asked Premier Gordon Campbell (Liberals) and Ms. Jane Sterk (Green Party). Ms. James offered to provide her responses in a video interview, but I suggested that we use the same format that I had with the other candidates,

1. Give me three reasons to vote for each one of the other parties (NOT to vote for yours)

I believe that strict partisan divides don’t help when it comes to solving complex problems — it’s very important to listen to other perspectives. That’s why I enjoy traveling the province, meeting with people from all backgrounds and all political stripes. Regardless of which party people support in the election, I want everyone to know that their views will be part of my solution, and all views are welcomed at my table.
But I can’t recommend a vote for the other parties. There’s just too much at stake. It’s going to take all of us who want change working together if we want to protect the environment, fight child poverty, revitalise our forestry sector, and provide real transportation alternatives.

2. Explain to me the main differences you see in your platform as opposed to the other parties

The BC NDP platform puts people first.

We’ll cut hospital wait times, improve care for seniors, and stop the privatization of health care. High quality care must be available to all, not just those who can afford to pay for it.

We’ll strengthen B.C. businesses and support B.C. jobs with investments in local economies. Our B.C. Green Bond initiative will support the creation of green jobs, and help us lead the world in transitioning to a green, sustainable economy.

We’ll stop the giveaway of public resources and services that people depend on.

We’ll make life more affordable for ordinary families by stabilizing Hydro rates, freezing and rolling back tuition fees, closing legal loopholes that allow huge rent increases, rolling back transit fares, and increasing the minimum wage to $10 an hour.

We will improve classroom conditions for students, and improve access to post-secondary education and training.
You can see the full platform at http://www.bcndp.ca .

3. Explain to me your social media strategy, long term

It’s amazing how much things have changed. When I was growing up, it was so much harder to communicate with people beyond the immediate horizon of your community. Long-distance calls were expensive, there was no e-mail, and no on line place for people to share experiences.
Now people are creating communities that connect people no matter where they are, united by common interests and goals. It’s an incredible tool for social change, and we’ve only just begun to grasp its potential.

But at the same time we can’t lose sight of the importance of staying connected to the communities around us.

In this campaign, we’ve tried to balance both. We’re using social media like Facebook and Twitter to reach new audiences, and we’re using traditional means to connect with them – phone calls, doorstep visits, public events and so forth.

In the long term, these two approaches will become more closely connected, using technology we can’t even imagine right now, and that means more people will have a chance for meaningful participation in the political process. It’s very exciting.

4. Several colleges became full-on universities recently. The research universities in British Columbia keep graduating PhDs. What is your plan to support these newly formed universities and to ensure that B.C. educated PhDs end up teaching in B.C.?

Several colleges were re-named as universities, but unfortunately, they did not receive funding to match. About the only thing that changed was the sign out front. In fact, funding for universities and colleges has been reduced.

We will restore the core funding for colleges and universities that was cut in 2008. We will provide stable, multi-year funding to make sure institutions can better plan for the future.
And because we believe its vital to give more young people the chance to get advanced education and training, we will make it more affordable:

We will freeze tuition – which has been doubled by Gordon Campbell – and reduce tuition when the economy improves. Post-secondary institutions will be compensated for the lower revenue.
B.C. is currently worst in Canada in financial assistance to students, and our graduates carry the highest average student debt. We will restore needs-based grants. We will cut interest rates on student loans, making them more affordable and reducing students’ debt.
We will expand post-graduate student grants to encourage more PhDs to stay in B.C. to conduct research and teach.

Related posts:

  1. Guest post by Jane Sterk – Leader of the Green Party in British Columbia
  2. Funding shortages, university presidents resigning, what else is coming?
  3. Why I’m probably going to cave to Facebook
  4. On the idea of British Columbia colleges becoming universities
  5. Guest post: The King is Dead

Comments (4)

JamesMay 9th, 2009 at 9:46 am

Thoughtful, considered and pretty nuanced. She’s pretty smart.

AlvinMay 9th, 2009 at 9:48 am

Great comments. I totally didn’t know about how colleges converted to universities didn’t get the funding to match. What’s the point of that?! I just graduated from UBC, and things have been a joke. I had the chance to go to McGill, but I decided to stay closer to home to save money. But after 5 years, i’m in crazy debt. If I had gone to McGill, my tuition would have been less than half (after my first year when I would qualify as a local) and the rents in Montreal are half of what they are here. I don’t know, I think I’m still glad I stayed here, but still, massive debt sucks. Anyways, nice to see what the NDP has planned for students.

BethMay 9th, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Hey, why didn’t you ask Gordo that question about the colleges converted to unis and jobs for PhDs questions? Or did you ask it and he didn’t answer it?

Beth’s last blog post..Single Transferable Vote – In The Words of Christy Clark

RaulMay 9th, 2009 at 3:35 pm

I actually forgot to ask Gordon Campbell that question :( and I remembered it after I had already published his responses.

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