Resolutions to watch for at the BC NDP’s annual convention this weekend

Premier John Horgan speaks to media following his speech to delegates and supporters during the B.C. NDP Convention at the Victoria Conference Centre in Victoria, B.C., on Saturday, November 4, 2017. Chad Hipolito/CP

The BC NDP is meeting this weekend for the party’s annual convention, and a big part of the event in Victoria will be the party’s resolutions.

Delegates will be able to vote for or against supporting certain policy initiatives. It will then be up to Premier John Horgan and his team to decide whether the policies are put into place, promised during the next election campaign or ignored.

Here are some resolutions to keep an eye out for:

Eliminating Parking Fees at Hospitals: NDP members will vote on a resolution brought forward calling on the province to eliminate parking fees for patients and families visiting hospitals in B.C. The resolution calls on ensuring spaces are available and not abused by those who are not patients or family members. Health Minister Adrian Dix has said in the past he is looking at the issue.

READ MORE: B.C. collected a record-high haul of hospital pay parking cash this year, says advocate

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Rolling Dental Care into Health Care System: A number of resolutions call for a variation of including dental care into the health care system. One idea is to begin by including children and youth and then expanding it to adults if “finances allow.” Estimates peg the change at more than $1 billion province-wide, and the idea has been supported at the federal level.

READ MORE: Premier John Horgan opens door to including dental coverage within B.C.’s health care system

Putting in Place Renter’s Rebate: The B.C. government has still not put in place the promised $400 rebate for renters. The program has been criticized for not being means tested but Horgan is still committed to implementing it. The resolution calls for the party to put the rebate in place.

READ MORE: BC NDP’s $400 yearly renters’ grant will come in next four years, premier pledges

Affordable School Supplies: Ongoing tensions between the provincial government and BC Teachers Federation are going to be front and centre during this weekend’s convention. The teachers’ union is having its representative assembly in the same building as the NDP convention and is planning a public awareness campaign about the ongoing negotiations. The resolution on school supplies calls for the province to provide at least $30 million per year to schools to ensure teachers and students have the supplies they need.

READ MORE: BC government to consider funding boost for school supplies

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Banning Single-Use Plastics: The New Westminster Riding Association is recommending the provincial government put in a B.C.-wide ban of single-use plastics, except for when needed for accessibility reasons. The federal government promised before the election to phase out single-use plastics by 2021, and B.C. conducted public engagement on the issue earlier this year.

READ MORE: B.C. government seeks public input on plastics ban, reduction strategies

Paid Leave for Victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence: This change would require a change to the Employment Standards Act. The membership is hoping to debate whether the government should create a fund and deposit money to pay victims of domestic or sexual violence. The province also asked residents and employers for their thoughts this year.

READ MORE: B.C. wants to know if domestic, sexual violence survivors should get paid leave

Lowering the Legal Voting Age to 16 in Provincial and Municipal Elections: The BC Greens have been calling for this change for a while. Horgan has rejected the idea, instead pushing for a better practice of registering young people before they turn 18. But the Young New Democrats are going to try and change the government’s mind about the issue.

READ MORE: Lowering the voting age for local B.C. elections gets vote of confidence from UBCM

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Lowering the Legal Drinking Age to 18: It’s the last resolution in the book and probably won’t even be debated. But the Young New Democrats are hoping the party will lower the drinking age from 19 to 18.

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