For Immediate Release: March 11, 2011
COPE calls on Premier Designate Clark to truly put “Families First” and de-link casino expansion from social services
COPE Councillors Woodsworth and Cadman announced today that they indend to bring forward a Motion before City Council calling upon Premier Designate Christy Clark to live up to her “Families First” campaign statements and immediately de-link the question of gambling expansion and her government’s decisions regarding social spending.
The motion comes in light of recent comments made by Rich Coleman, the minister responsible for both housing and gambling expansion, where he calls into question the idea proposed by NDP leadership candidate John Horgan of closing BC Lottery Corporation’s online casino. Coleman said, “We expect that it’s going to make about $30 million this year. $30 million that I don’t know where Mr. Horgan would [get] to help pay for education and health care and other things.”
Councillor Woodsworth has long objected to the idea of spending on social services and the arts being linked to gambling expansion. “Cities all over our Province need to be reassured that funding decisions made by this Provincial Government aren’t going to be contingent on gambling expansion,” said Woodsworth.
Councillor Cadman pointed out that many have linked the long delay in securing Provincial funding for the 14 social housing sites in Vancouver to decisions like gambling expansion. “As Councillors, it’s impossible to make clear public policy decisions when there is the perception that you’re going to lose social service commitments for voting a certain way.”
Woodsworth noted that Premier Designate Clark could send a strong “families first” message by immediately de-linking gambling expansion and social spending decisions. “The question is will the incoming Premier break with Minister Coleman and separate the gambling and housing portfolios at the cabinet level?” said Woodsworth. “The Premier Designate needs to ask her Minister of Housing to confirm funding for the 14 Vancouver sites and stop bullying Councils across BC. That’s the signal from her we’re all waiting for.”