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Neither woke nor lit

Jordan Bateman lists 10 ways young British Columbians have been let down by the NDP government.

It’s the dirty little secret the John Horgan NDP doesn’t want people under the age of 35 to know: they’re more than willing to gouge you in favour of their ideology.

They just can’t help themselves. It’s part of their trade union DNA: sacrifice the young to enrich the old.

It’s why union contracts are structured to reward longevity, not talent or hard work. It’s why the NHLPA agreed to a contract which limits rookies to $925,000 a year, meaning Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes make less than one-sixth what Loui Eriksson makes. Unions happily sacrifice what younger stars deserve in order to get more for older members.

Not surprisingly, this inequity has led to plunging unionization rates for young people.

But the BC NDP don’t know any other way. With a cabinet stocked with former union organizers and employees, ignoring the needs of the young is simply instinctual. Birds fly, dogs bark, unions sacrifice the young.

A dip in support from younger voters is natural for most governments—Senator Barack Obama and third-party leader Justin Trudeau looked a lot better to young voters than the reality of President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau turned out to be. While Obama and Trudeau managed to hold enough of those voters for re-election, they both lost all-important seats and political clout.

The Horgan NDP, already behind the BC Liberals in seat count, don’t have that luxury. They need support among 18- to 35-year-olds to go up, or they will return to their natural habitat in opposition.

Despite this, the old trade union DNA is too powerful for the NDP to overcome. They just can’t help themselves—they happily throw young voters under the bus over and over and over again. Here are 10 examples:

1. David Eby’s ICBC rate hikes on young drivers are obscene. The horror stories are all over the media. $3,204 for a KPU student to insure a 1997 Saturn. $5,300 for a young woman to insure her $10,000 Nissan Altima. $5,921 for a young woman to insure a $5,000 VW Rabbit. A Surrey grandfather’s insurance rate doubled because his 19-year-old grandson drives the car too. A Port Alberni family’s rate jumped by a third because a 19-year-old daughter drives the car to work. A 30-year-old woman with a perfect driving record hit by a 19% increase. This is classic NDP ideology: the young pay, the old don’t.

2. Dave Eby is making ICBC even worse for young drivers by moving to no-fault. Despite these massive rate hikes on young drivers, those involved in serious accidents are about to lose the protection of the courts, thanks to Eby’s no-fault system. If a young person is injured badly in an accident, their wage-loss benefit will be capped at $50,000 per year. Even if they’re starting out as a doctor or entrepreneur or teacher or lawyer, $50,000 will be the max they can get – with no recourse in the courts. Future earning potential will mean nothing, a change that will further devastate young drivers trying to overcome catastrophic injuries.

3. NDP investment in transit has been non-existent. We’re into the NDP’s fourth year as government, and not a single SkyTrain station has been added to the network. There hasn’t been so much as a groundbreaking for either the Surrey or Arbutus SkyTrain lines. It’s too long to do nothing, especially when young people are being insurance-hiked out of their vehicles.

4. Opioid overdoses are at an all-time high. While not limited to just under-35s, overdoses are a public health crisis, and nothing the NDP has done has helped. In fact, Horgan’s vaunted Ministry for Mental Health and Addictions has a smaller budget than his own office of spin doctors and advisors. If money talks, the Horgan NDP have said this is their lowest priority. More than 40% of these overdoses happen in males aged 18 to 39 years old.

5. The Horgan NDP have done nothing on strata insurance. Tens of thousands of young families have purchased townhouses or condos. Tens of thousands more rent in stratas. The NDP has stood by and done nothing to stop these from becoming more expensive, as strata insurance costs go through the roof. So much for the NDP’s promises of affordability.

6. The Horgan NDP broke their promise to give renters a $400 per year subsidy. With strata insurance skyrocketing and other costs piling up, the NDP’s 2017 platform promise of $400 per year for renters would come in handy. But Horgan has abandoned that pledge.

7. They have no plan to help young workers hit hardest by the COVID-19 recession. This statistic is astonishing: as many 15- to 24-year-olds lost their jobs in the COVID-19 recession as 25- to 54-year-olds. Some 50,000 of those very young people were put out of work, and most of them haven’t been able to go back, as the NDP mismanage the economic fallout of the reopening – especially in the hospitality and tourism sectors. Unemployment for 15- to 24-year-olds is still at 30%. But the NDP sit on their hands—so much so that tourism workers are now holding a hunger strike at the Legislature, trying to get their attention. No wonder 18- to 34-year-olds are most likely to say the BC NDP has no plan for economic recovery.

8. The NDP’s sweetheart deal with its building trades union donors cuts out 82% of apprentices and underpays young workers. We know unions often throw youngsters under the bus; the so-called “Community Benefits Agreements” are no different. The original deal was so bad it actually paid young workers LESS than minimum wage. Instead of embracing the modern era and paying workers based on skill, merit, and hustle, the NDP pay on seniority only. Plus, the NDP cut out the 82% of apprentices not affiliated with the unions who gave them millions in donations.

9. The NDP is hopelessly behind on its child care promises. Child care is a huge issue for young parents; the NDP explicitly promised $10 a day daycare in their 2017 election platform. They’ve failed miserably: no $10 a day, and have created just 16 per cent of their promised spaces. Another three generations of kids will age out of child care before the NDP gets anywhere substantial on these promises.

10. The NDP botched electoral reform—something young people were more likely to want. While polls consistently showed that voters under the age of 35 supported proportional representation, the Horgan NDP bungled the process by trying to stack the deck for prop rep. The Globe and Mail called this Dave Eby-led debacle Canada’s “least honest attempt” at electoral reform. The Globe noted that Eby “tried to gerrymander” the vote, but all he did was infuriate prop rep opponents. Horgan’s narc-like attempt to brand prop rep as “lit” and “woke” didn’t have much street cred with “the youths” either. Electoral reform is now dead in BC.

To form a majority government, the NDP must not only hold onto every seat they have, but add three more. Any erosion in the under-35 vote, whether to the Greens, BC Liberals – or even young people just staying at home – will make that goal impossible.

And right now, the NDP are offering very few reasons why any under-35 voter should be excited about re-electing them.

Jordan Bateman has a long history of public policy work, championing small business and fiscal responsibility. Currently the Vice President, Communications & Marketing for the Independent Contractors and Business Association (ICBA), Jordan also served six years as the B.C. Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, and was a two-term Langley Township Councillor.


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