rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

B.C.'s social infrastructure house of cards

Photo: Esther Gibbons/Flickr

In her report on B.C.'s 2013 budget CCPA-BC economist Iglika Ivanova concluded that the province's financial statement focused on balancing the budget at the expense of British Columbians' present and future wellbeing. The following are a few examples of this.

Last Tuesday's budget continues a 12-year record of systematically undermining the province's social infrastructure.

-  Block funding for school districts was frozen for the next three years despite the fact that enrolment has started to rise again. Inflation and other costs imposed on school boards will mean a hit this year of $134 million in school funding cuts. 

-  For the second year post-secondary education funding is actually cut. Student fees have been rising by 5.4 per cent annually -- the fastest rising single source of revenue for the provincial government.

-  In four years the provinces spending on education in B.C. has fallen from 5.6 per cent of the provinces gross domestic product to 5.1 per cent. And this year's budget expects that number to keep falling. B.C.'s funding for education is the second lowest in Canada.

-  The Budget says that spending on B.C.'s Medical Services Plan which pays for 10,000 family physicians and specialists will rise go up by only 1.1 per cent this year. That is a third less than the rate of expected inflation. Again, B.C.'s health-care funding is the second lowest in Canada.

-  The budget slashes spending on adults with developmental disabilities. In two years time spending on adults with fetal alcohol disability of autism will be cut in half. Community Living BC Executive Director said, "We know that all the other costs of providing service are going up, why would the cost per individual client go down?"

-  B.C.'s Children's' Watchdog, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond called the budget harsh pointing out that BC has Canada's highest poverty rate. "If you cared about kids that are vulnerable, you would do the right thing, and this budget fails to do that right thing yet again," she said.

Maybe we have a balanced budget, but if we do it comes at the price of reckless and continuous undermining of education and social supports in B.C. This doesn't even mention cuts in areas like the environment and forestry.

It is like someone standing on the front porch of a house with a leaky roof, broken windows and a furnace that doesn't work bragging about how much money they have saved on maintenance. Surely we are at the breaking point. How long until the house collapses?

Photo: Esther Gibbons/Flickr

Thank you for reading this story...

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all. But media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our only supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help.

If everyone who visits rabble and likes it chipped in a couple of dollars per month, our future would be much more secure and we could do much more: like the things our readers tell us they want to see more of: more staff reporters and more work to complete the upgrade of our website.

We’re asking if you could make a donation, right now, to set rabble on solid footing in 2017.

Make a donation.Become a monthly supporter.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.