Minister of Finance and BC Fed Prez meet with union leadership, staff

Two leading women power brokers sat down with Secretary-Treasurer Kim Novak in a wide-ranging conversation about the relationship between labour and government today.

Finance Minister Carole James and BC Federation of Labour president Irene Lanzinger met with Secretary-Treasurer Novak and UFCW 1518 staff today. Minister James, who is responsible for revitalizing the NDP in the early 2000s, said she was proud of the work her party does to care for the people of British Columbia and she thanked UFCW 1518 for our work in helping elect the first New Democrat government in 16 years.

Lanzinger, the first woman president of the BC Fed, acknowledged the novelty of having a government that actually listens to and addresses the concerns of working people. “The Minister of Labour actually answers the phone when I call,” she quipped. “We have regular meetings. We don’t get everything we want and we don’t always agree, but it’s a great improvement for the working people of BC.”

Lanzinger also talked about the importance of paying attention to politics, plugging the upcoming referendum on proportional representation. “That’s what will give voters, and your members, a true voice, because every vote will matter. Under ProRep, the voting process will be more fair. And more people will be engaged.”

Minister James said it was the government’s responsibility to engage young voters in the political process and that they needed to do more. She also noted that although her party had implemented 70 percent of its campaign promises in their first year in power, they had to “get better at letting people know that they can count on the NDP to deliver on our commitments.”

As Minister of Finance, James said she receives many requests to fund worthy projects, making for some tough decisions. But, she added, spending on things like child care and housing are priorities for the NDP because they support families and bolster the economy at the same time.

“I’m incredibly honoured that Finance Minister James and President Lanzinger took the time to meet with our staff and answer our questions. They are smart, influential and dedicated leaders who are working hard to put the interest of working people at the forefront, and they have the drive to make important and progressive change happen,” said Secretary-Treasurer Novak.