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Letter: NDP should be ashamed of transit strike handling

"[Y]ou and your government are favouring big business and the union over the actual people who elected you."
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Striking transit workers pictured picketing in front of the Lower Mainland Local Government Association’s conference in Whistler earlier this month.

This letter was sent to provincial Transportation Minister Rob Fleming and MLA Jordan Sturdy, and shared with Pique.

Your government’s and your personal inaction regarding the public transport stalemate in Whistler, Pemberton, and Squamish is shameful.

You have done even less, if that is possible, to continue the dialogue about sustainable public transit options in our area despite a clear outline provided by local stakeholders.

On the NDP’s watch, this region has seen skyrocketing housing prices, inflation, and we now have NO public transit. The labour shortage is worse than ever. Has it even occurred to you that this all goes together?

When the tourist satisfaction for the area goes down, and your tourism revenues along with it, your NDP government can blame itself. If the workers can’t even get to work, let alone afford to live here, how are businesses supposed to provide service?

Have you thought this all through? Clearly not.

For the transit situation, you and your government are favouring big business and the union over the actual people who elected you.

From my personal experience, as a family of six with one car:

Mental health outcomes you are choosing to ignore: [Because] I do not want our teenagers to live further mental health fallout after COVID sent them completely sideways, I drive so they can have some semblance of a normal life.

They should be developing confidence and independence right now, not stuck at home.

My 20-year-old has various legitimate issues which preclude driving, and they are not well enough to walk or bike very far. So, they can’t get to counselling, can’t get to physio, and can’t continue to try to build any form of independence, without public transit. They can’t afford many taxis. They had a significant downturn this winter, which was very hard mentally and physically on them, and our entire household, on all fronts.

I consider the latter in particular to be your, and your NDP government’s, fault.

Labour market outcomes you are choosing to ignore: My 22-year-old son’s job sees me driving at dawn and evening. He had to refuse another, better-paying job, as the transport wouldn’t work.

My 20-year-old has been set back in their quest for independence and the possibility of the freedom and productivity working would provide. (They have been able in the past, but not now, and it will now take longer to be able.)

My 15-year-old would like to work, but without public transit, and with the season making reliable biking iffy without a significant investment, there is no safe way for a young female to get home from work after dark.

My 13-year-old is precluded from getting a part-time job, for the same reason.

My husband and I are working less, earning less, and spending less locally, just to take the time to maintain a daily life for our household.

You should all be ashamed of yourselves. This lack of engagement is pathetic.

You are wilfully victimizing lower-wage earners, students, small-business owners, and the disabled with your inaction.

You are blithely ignoring longer-term economic, environmental, and mental health outcomes. Shame on you.

In particular, an NDP government is at the least supposed to stand up for its people. Our region did not vote NDP. Maybe you would care about this fiasco if we had.

The fact that you are actually presenting to a group about the future of public transit [at the LMLGA conference in Whistler on May 6], when you have done worse than nothing about this situation, is worse than hypocritical.

Disrespectfully,

Laura Scully // Whistler