British Columbia was once regarded by miners as hostile to investment and ranked last in Canada for the attractiveness of its mining policy environment. However the tide has turned in recent years and British Columbia has again improved its ratings for global mining investment.
One item sorely missing from Finance Minister Mike de Jongs recent provincial budget was a plan to make BCs business taxes more competitive and attractive for investment.
On February 18th British Columbians will be watching to see if finance minister Mike de Jongs budget sets out a plan to deliver on his governments ambitious goals with respect to economic growth and job creation. And the truth is, the province needs it. The past year was a disappointing one for BC in terms of economic and employment growth compared to other provinces.
While Premier Christy Clark aims to create an environment where growth and investment can flourish, little has been achieved since last years electoral victory. If Premier Clark is to help British Columbians obtain the desired prosperity and jobs, her top economic priority should be to make BC the most investment-friendly jurisdiction in Canada.
Heres whats needed.
Alberta Premier Alison Redford and B.C. Premier Christy Clark recently announced a "framework agreement" on the proposed Northern Gateway oil pipeline, removing what was seen as a serious barrier to development.
British Columbia is often thought of as a province characterized by towering mountains and magnificent ocean views but throughout our history it has been the rivers that have been critically important to our lives. From the First Nations who lived here for millennia to the gold rushes of the 1800s to recreational salmon fishing today, rivers have been central to British Columbians lives. Thats why its not a coincidence that Rivers Day started in British Columbia in 1980.
Imagine if governments engaged in a massive spending binge over the last decade, with the benefits falling to just a small part of the population and then hiked taxes four times to pay for it. Now imagine if they argued, in some Orwellian twist of illogic, that such excess generosity was fully funded, affordable, and sustainable this after the multiple tax hikes demonstrated they were not.
As labour and capital have become more and more mobile, jurisdictional competitiveness is becoming more important in securing and maintaining economic prosperity. A minimum requirement is to have taxes, regulations, and other important policies competitive with competing jurisdictions. To gain an advantage, jurisdictions need policies that differentiate themselves from competing jurisdictions.
As BCs recently minted Clark government works through its economic priorities, it would be well advised to consider worker choice laws.