Coalition for Better BC rallies in Vancouver

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The Coalition to Build a Better BC held a large rally in downtown Vancouver to oppose sweeping provincial funding cuts and to call on British Columbians to work together to build a better province. The rally is being hosted by B.C. singer and actor Jim Byrnes.

The Hospital Employees’ Union is a member of the Coalition, which includes more than 30 groups representing the arts community, First Nations, health care, seniors, community services, unions, post-secondary students, youth and environmental groups.

HEU’s presence as a member of the coalition was clearly evident at the noon-hour rally. The union’s puppets – always crowd-pleasers – towered above attendees and attracted attention from passing pedestrians and motorists. The HEU table was also a big success with its focus on what British Columbians want their better B.C. to include. People lined up to fill out “My better B.C. includes...” cards throughout the hour-long event.

“British Columbians have worked hard over the decades to build public, community and cultural services that make important contributions our province. They add tremendous value to our society and this coalition is working to defend and enhance them,” says Sylvia MacLeay of the Council of Senior Citizens Organizations.

“This Coalition has come together to say with a united voice that our province is on the wrong course. Instead of the growing inequality we see all around us, we want to build a province that provides opportunities for everyone,” says Irene Lanzinger of the B.C. Teachers Federation.

“Public, community and cultural services are the cornerstones of our society, especially in tough economic times. The government should be protecting them not systematically dismantling them,” says Adam Lynes-Ford of the BC Health Coalition.

“Funding cuts and chronic underfunding have eliminated important public services and threaten even more. The most vulnerable people in our communities are too often the people most affected by these cuts,” added Lynes-Ford.

The Coalition is calling on the provincial government to:

* Stop eliminating public and community services;
* Fulfill their legislative responsibility to provide adequate, fair and consistent funding to support public services and community groups; and
* Consult with groups and individuals to build public and community services that give every individual the opportunity to participate in building a better B.C.

The Coalition to Build a Better BC continues to grow and already includes:

* Alliance for Arts and Culture
* B.C. Federation of Labour
* B.C. Federation of Retired Union Members
* B.C. Association of Social Workers
* B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union
* B.C. Government Retired Employees Association, Columbia/Shuswap Branch 1000
* BC Health Coalition
* B.C. Persons with AIDS Society
* B.C. Retired Teachers Association
* B.C. Teachers Federation
* Canadian Federation of Students
* Canyon Golden Agers
* Canadian Artists' Representation/Le Front des artistes canadiens
* Check Your Head
* Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C.
* Community Business and Professionals Associations
* Council of Senior Citizens Organizations
* CUPE BC
* First Call
* Hospital Employees’ Union
* International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Northwest District 250
* International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
* Moms on the Move
* Positive Living Fraser Valley
* Positive Outlook Program
* Positive Women’s Network
* Seniors on Guard for Medicare
* Sierra Club
* South Fraser Community Services Society
* Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs
* Union of B.C. Performers
* Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter
* Wilderness Committee