Vancouver, British Columbia, November 23, 2011:
The Honourable Christy Clark
Premier of British Columbia
Dear Premier Clark:
You have said on a number of occasions that Occupy Vancouver "has made its point and now it's time to move on." Occupy Vancouver did not set out to "make a point." Our commitment is to change a corrupt and destructive system that serves less than 1% of the people and disadvantages the rest. It is a global system with serious local consequences. We won't be moving on. The Occupy movement is here to stay.
You said that you agree with many of the points Occupy Vancouver has raised; that you want to narrow the gap between rich and poor and that you want to grow the middle-class. Your record shows the opposite. You were an important cabinet minister and Deputy Premier of the Liberal government in British Columbia that presided over a tax shift that privileged the wealthiest 1%.
This tax shift took $3.4 billion out of the government’s revenue stream. This week British Columbia had the dubious honour of winning first place in Canada for the number of children living below the poverty line. The connection is clear.
The provincial government diverts billions from ICBC and BC Hydro into general revenue instead of taxing the wealthy. People in BC pay more in MSP premiums than corporations pay in income tax.
This is narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor?
Premier Clark, you stated several times this week that Occupiers “violated the spirit of the law."
This is something with which you and your government should be familiar. In 2002, the Liberal government broke its contract with the Hospital Employees Union, violating not just the spirit but also the letter of contract law.
When you were Minister of Education in 2002, you violated the contract provision with the British Columbia teachers on class sizes. The BC Supreme Court ruled against your action in April 2011.
You were intimately involved with the sale of BC Rail, which broke your government’s promise not to sell it. The provincial government could not afford $1 million to fund concerned parties in the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry but paid $6 million in legal fees to former government aides in that scandal. The priorities of the government are clear.
These are clear examples of one of the Occupy movement’s main charges. The corruption in your government and in your own office indicate that you are spending too much time worrying about our exercise of democracy and not enough looking in your own.
Premier, if you are truly concerned with families and their future, join us instead of criticizing what we are working to accomplish. Occupy Vancouver stands for an end to corporate influence over government, an end to corruption, and an end to the systematic advantaging of the rich over the poor by the powerful. If you truly stand for democracy, we invite you to join us in conversation
Premier, you have stood against democracy and equity with your injunction and comments regarding Occupy Vancouver. We invite you to join us on the side of true democracy with a meaningful commitment to the people of this province.