Seizing an Opportunity and Meeting the Premier

There are certain opportunities in life that you just can’t pass up. For example, if someone’s giving out free cake, you should totally take the free cake. That’s just common sense. And when someone gets in touch with you and asks if you’d like to meet the Honourable Christy Clark, Premier of British Columbia, you ask, “Where and when?”

For me, meeting the Premier is not about politics. My own politics are always ambiguous at best, and I don’t really support any particular party. For me, meeting the Premier is about having the chance to share my concerns and questions with a decision-maker, regardless of what party that person belongs to. It’s also about being able to snap photos like these:

Cori Howard speaks up for mom entrepreneurs

Name tag and Starbucks

And most especially this one, of the Premier catching a whiff of that sweet baby smell courtesy of Josie, daughter of Andrea:

Everyone loves that sweet baby smell, even the Premier

Pamela Martin, iconic-Vancouver-journalist-turned-director-of-outreach, reached out to Christine Pilkington, my boss at VancouverMom.ca about setting up a roundtable with Vancouver-area mom bloggers. Christine included me on the list. I knew the invitation was coming, and when I received it, I jumped on it. I talked my mom into picking my daughter Hannah up from school so that I could attend, and I made the trip into the big city.

The moms are listening

For just over an hour, the moms in the room voiced their concerns to the Premier. She listened and took notes. A number of issues were raised, including housing affordability (Vancouver is expensive, yo), transportation, health care for new parents, and funding and access to services for kids with special needs. Overall, I think two main themes emerged:

  • We need better programs to support moms who are advancing their education and / or starting a business. Grants, tax credits and the like could go a long way towards helping moms support their families and employ others – and at a fraction of the cost of most business development grants.
  • We need quality, accessible, affordable childcare. Full stop.

The Premier makes some opening remarks

Will anything come out of the conversation we had with the Premier? I don’t know. I do know that not many other political figures have reached out to the mom blogging community. In an of itself, that felt pretty cool. Most of the time I sit by myself in my family room, sending words out into the void. Having the ear of the Premier definitely upped the ante in terms of sharing my story. It also gave me a great chance to talk about government and citizenship with my kids. Whether we swayed Premier Clark to re-vamp BC’s childcare system or not, I know that my kids are watching me, and I want them to learn to say yes to opportunities that come their way, too.

If you had two minutes with the Premier (or Governor, President or Prime Minister), what issues would you raise? And what opportunities are just too good for you to pass up? I’d love to hear!

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Comments

  1. This is so awesome, Amber! Way to go!
    amy lee’s last post … a mother’s letter: a letter to my daughterMy Profile

  2. I don’t know what I would ask. I’m afraid I am in a very cynical place with politicians right now and I know that whatever I asked would get a great sound bite of an answer and absolutely nothing would change. I participated in the Conversation on Health Care five years ago and um, what happened with the results of that? Maybe that’s what I’d ask. Or why does the Liberal party insist on spending money advertising BC to BC residents? Could we possibly spend the money used to do those “believe BC” commercials on something else, like affordable housing, childcare, etc. We already live here and pay a lot of money to do so, odds are we either know it’s pretty great or can’t afford to leave.

    Politics aside, that photo of her eating, er, kissing the baby’s head makes me smile and smile. I hope the campaign team pays you and the baby and her mother billions of dollars for it and you can all retire at 40.

  3. Well clearly I don’t need to write a post on the event now since you completely echoed my feeings!
    harriet Fancott’s last post … The bittersweetness of Mother’s DayMy Profile

  4. I think the Premier recognizes the power of mommy bloggers and recognizes that her party’s popularity is in the tank. So I know it sounds cynical, but I think she understands the true reach that mommy bloggers have.

    This is what I would ask for:
    But I wish she would have such a round table discussion with teachers. Not our union, but 17 teachers from around the province and let us talk about our concerns about education. I would hope that she would really listen to what we have to say, take notes and take it to heart. I am not concerned with a salary raise, but concerned about children with special needs not getting the the support they deserve, struggling readers not getting the help they need.
    Lisa’s last post … Celebrating FiveMy Profile

    • I agree with you – there was definitely a PR component. But I still couldn’t pass up the chance, you know?

      And I think your request is a great one. As a parent, I’d absolutely like to see more dialogue between teachers and the people who make decisions about school funding, etc.

    • I’m with you on this one: she reached out to mom bloggers because they’d then write about it & provide her with free PR. Which is not to criticize you, Amber. I am not ambiguous with my politics & would never vote for the Liberals, but I still would have gone if asked.
      Lisa C’s last post … Nominate The Sprog for Top Vancouver Mom BloggerMy Profile

  5. Great post, and fantastic pictures Amber!
    Gillian’s last post … The Day I Talked to the Premier of BC About BreastsMy Profile

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