british columbia

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On February 18th British Columbians will be watching to see if finance minister Mike de Jong’s budget sets out a plan to deliver on his government’s 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.


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While Premier Christy Clark aims “to create an environment where growth and investment can flourish,” little has been achieved since last year’s 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.

Here’s what’s needed.


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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.


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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. That’s why it’s not a coincidence that Rivers Day started in British Columbia in 1980.


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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.


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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 BC’s recently minted Clark government works through its economic priorities, it would be well advised to consider worker choice laws.


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On the last day of May, the government of British Columbia gave the back of its hand to Alberta and indirectly to the rest of Canada, which benefits—and could benefit more—from continued development of Alberta’s oilsands. Claiming insufficient environmental protections, the BC government rejected the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project that would bring bitumen from Alberta’s oilsands to Kitimat, where it could be exported to markets in Asia.