Round Table with Premier Christy Clark & Pamela Martin!
When I walked into Premier’s Office to attend an intimate round table discussion I saw two chairs in the hall with the word hope inscribed on the pillows in bright pink. I knew this was to be the picture for my post immediately!
Let me rewind…A couple of weeks ago I was delighted to receive a personal invitation from Pamela Martin, Director of Outreach from the Office of the Premier, asking me to join a special round table discussion. When I arrived to the Premiers office I was pleasantly surprised it was an intimate group, which translated to my voice being heard. In attendance was Pamela Martin, Premier Christy Clark, Christine Pilkington of Vancouver Mom.ca and a group of Vancouver based Mom Bloggers. My name was recommended by the lovely Christine for being someone who is actively involved in the BC Mom blogging community. I was honoured to be invited! Thank you Christine and Pamela for extending this invitation!!!
When Premier Christy Clark arrived she went slowly around the room shaking everyone’s hand and thanking each one of us personally for attending. The Premier wanted to meet with other working Moms and discuss what support we felt BC families needed from government. I think by connecting with the female blogging community the Premier is indirectly addressing the recent concern of not having a huge female following. We are a vehicle that the Premier is able to use to get her word out. We are connected by a network that extends globally! We regularly share, relate to one another, stand up for what we believe in and create change where we can. We all have a voice to be reckoned with. Brilliant strategy!
Women generally view our gender as nurturing, soft motherly types so when a women takes a position that requires strength and power, some women perceive that as hard and aggressive. Women who are willing to go head to head with our male counterparts have a confidence that not everyone is comfortable with. Mix that demeanour with politics and you get some heat. Regardless if you agree with or like Premier Christy Clark her position in government should either inspire you to join forces or stand up and oppose her, both will help facilitate or influence change. I admire any women who has the courage, confidence and perseverance to use her voice to create change whether it be in government or a community circle. You have a voice…use it!!
Down to business…
The Premier extended her concern right away in regards to the death of Amanda Todd. She has always had a strong platform against Bullying and hopes that this tragic loss can be the instigator of dramatic change in every community, helping kids feel safe at school and on the internet. She recently spoke at We Day in Vancouver and expressed her concern to thousands of young leaders all wanting to be the change. A tough task we have all been reminded of lately!
Childcare was brought up several times as it is such a difficult issue to find a resolution to. There are not enough regulated childcare services available in the city and waiting lists don’t allow part time care because of the demand for full service. The consensus was we needed more before and after school care within schools so parents didn’t have to worry about the safety of their kids. Families who required childcare were concerned about the cost taking a good portion of their wage. The Premier didn’t feel government would move toward a National Childcare Program.
Tax breaks for stay at home Moms were suggested. I joined the conversation here having been a stay at home Mom for 10 years. My family moved from the North Shore to the Fraser Valley so I could stay home with my kids and we could afford a home for our growing family. I didn’t want someone else raising my family and I wasn’t willing to miss out on milestones from working outside of my home. I made the choice to leave a career in film and television to be an at home mom. I have never regretted my choice but face a different problem now wanting to re-enter the work force. I believe kids need even more guidance as they enter into Middle and High School so my issue is finding a challenging creative job with flexible hours so I can continue to be present in my kids lives. I was given the link to Women’s Enterprise Centre which looks very helpful. Micro-loans were a suggestion by the Premier to get women back into the work force which I am a strong supporter of through Kiva.
Housing was a hot topic! The general consensus was that it was not possible for a family to buy a home in the greater Vancouver area if one parent stays home. Even with both parents working full time it was a difficult task to do anything but eat and sleep.
GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) were brought to our attention. The point was made that buying Organic was simply out of the question for most families because of the expenses. Buying local was becoming a stretch for the everyday budget as well. It doesn’t make sense with obesity growing each year that feeding kids fast food is cheaper than buying fresh healthy food. However the school systems do have a program where kids are getting fresh produce and vegetables in school at no extra cost. Labelling our food in Canada was also brought up and the importance of being able to make the choice to buy a product that is genetically modified. The Premier wasn’t concerned about GMO’s but did agree it should be our choice with proper labelling.
Exploitation of women was a topic touched on briefly because it was the passion of one of the bloggers. She felt connected to our ‘sisters’ who are not as fortunate as each of us sitting around the table with the Premier. She was a voice for formerly prostituted women and women who were in the process of exiting prostitution. Women taking care of women, regardless of where they stand in our community! I love it!
Job Sharing was also touched on. Women are wanting to be present in their kids lives but also want to work part time and find it difficult to find an employer who would allow it. I job shared in the film industry which was generally not done, but with the right employer I do believe it is possible.
Autism was also discussed, cutting programs for kids with special needs was brought to the Premiers attention and how it affects working parents. A struggle I am aware of having a friend who has been fighting that fight for many years!
Women working together finding solutions to key issues was what this discussion was all about. Having the voice of government was an added bonus, we can only hope. We banded together listening to one another brainstorming and connecting as women do.
One voice can make a difference! Whether you use your voice to inspire, provoke thought, stimulate conversation, create change, be relatable, or try to influence your government, it is your duty to stand up for what you believe in.
To conclude my post I will say that although I have never been passionate about politics I feel as though I have the desire to get more involved after this discussion. It piqued my interest and by meeting Premier Christy Clark and Pamela Martin it made me want to become more aware of what government in general is doing to make our Province and Country a more affordable place to live. By using your voice and exercising your right to vote for who you believe will move the change we need forward is a great way to be the change!
Hope…we can never give up hope, even in our government!
“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.” ~ John Lennon
“Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul And sings the tune without the words And never stops at all.” ~ Emily Dickinson