Once again I find myself in front of the computer with nothing on the glowing screen but that infernal blinking cursor. When thinking what will fuel my pen this week I'm usually in the habit of relying on whatever has recently ticked me off or made me laugh.
Generally, I use my power of the pen to attack anyone who threatens the people and well-being of the town I hold so dear to my heart. It is true that historically, my poisoned pen's target has been Squamish council. Now, however, the political landscape has changed and the real threat to our well-being is no longer coming from our Second Avenue ivory tower.
Not to say our new Mayor and council have been beyond criticism. I've had to take them to task on numerous occasions and plan to again. But on the whole they are doing exactly what they promised they would do - develop everything as fast as possible. I've certainly not agreed with everything they have done, but at least they're making mistakes in the right direction. In the last couple years, however, a greater evil has come to destroy our town. Sure, our previous council spent $200,000 on log books (carvings depicting our logging heritage) that no one has seen. But no one can deny that the provincial Liberals have done more to destroy Squamish then any political party in recent history. They've taken our courthouse, our welfare office, they took our Tree Farm Licence, they've taken our hospital beds and our dignity. They've even made us pay for the parks in our own backyard.
In Squamish the job prospects have plummeted while living expenses have almost doubled in two years. We are paying more taxes now - sales taxes, Medical Service Plan premiums, fuel taxes, tobacco and liquor taxes, school property taxes. Plus fees have soared on everything from drivers' licences to firewood at campgrounds. This year the books have been balanced by increasing taxes and fees for Joe and Jane Average by $110 million.
Perhaps most unsettling is the heartless attacks on our Ministry of Children and Family Development. The entire ministry is in chaos, and the budget was just cut a further $70 million. This leaves many women's shelters, including our own, very few options but to close their doors.
This, of course, has Gordon Campbell's Liberals admitting that some people will, unfortunately, fall through the cracks. That's fancy industry talk for beaten women will have to fend for themselves, and under privileged children are going to die. Kind of makes our $200,000 invisible log books seem like a good deal.
At the end of the day, however, I'm still not without hope. I take hope in the fact that the provincial Liberals have gone from superhero indestructible to neck-and-neck with the continually-vilified NDP. I also thank my lucky stars that I'm living in this great community and frankly, I can't think of a better reason to keep fighting.