british columbia

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Too often in politics, particularly during election campaigns, citizens conflate political brands with policy. That is, too often we make assumptions about the policies of political parties based on a perception rather than the reality of experience. Many assume, for example, that Conservatives care deeply about and pursue policies based on tradition, balancing budgets, and competitiveness while the NDP focus more on the poor and disadvantaged, strengthening unions, and restricting trade. The reality, however, is that policies are never that tightly woven with specific parties.


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There is apparently no shortage of politicians with a not-so-secret Hollywood love affair: they love to throw tax sweeteners and direct subsidies at the film industry, this in an effort to lure film production to their province or state.

The latest starry-eyed politician is the British Columbia opposition leader, Adrian Dix. In his run-up to that province’s May election, the B.C. NDP leader has promised to up the film tax credit for labour costs to 40 per cent, up from 35 per cent.


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April 1st is an important day for British Columbians and we're not referring to the Easter long weekend. On that day BC officially scraps the HST and in one fell swoop restores the old Provincial Sales Tax system.

But moving back to the PST will cause harm to the provincial economy and BC families will lose out on the increased prosperity and jobs that the HST would have encouraged. Since our province will be poorer with the PST, it falls on our political leaders to take action to lessen the impact.


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More than three years after the end of the recession and British Columbia’s provincial government continues to struggle with deficits, which as of the last quarterly update will likely exceed $1.5 billion. Relying on revenues to rebound enough to catch up with spending just doesn’t work as BC’s own history aptly demonstrates. Similarly, municipalities across the province continue to struggle to find sufficient resources for infrastructure needs while balancing their books.


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Going by Finance Minister Mike de Jong's public comments, Tuesday's provincial budget is supposed to present a plan to finally balance the books. But after four consecutive years in the red, British Columbians can't yet breathe a collective sigh of relief. Critically important is how Minister de Jong plans to eliminate the deficit. Will he take the path of tax increases or spending reductions?


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When Canada’s premiers recently met in Halifax, talks of a possible pipeline to move oil from Alberta to eastern Canada dominated national headlines. There was also mention of talks about trade, immigration, skills training, and infrastructure. One issue that didn’t receive nearly as much attention is the management of public finances and growing government debt.


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If you’re a fan of lower prices, increased convenience, better product selection and improved customer service, you might want to keep the champagne on ice---at least when it comes to BC’s liquor industry. Despite all the recent talk of the BC government privatizing the Liquor Distribution Branch [LDB], it’s not happening. Not even close. And that is unfortunate for regular British Columbians who enjoy a cold beer, a glass of wine or a sex on the beach every now and then.


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With her demand that either Alberta or Ottawa ante up more cash before the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline can proceed through parts of British Columbia, BC Premier Christy Clark is playing a risky and ill-advised game of economic chicken. But before getting into details of that, consider Clark’s five demands, some of which are reasonable, if occasionally superfluous.


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As we approach what would have been the 100th birthday of Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman, I am reminded of his common sense thinking. “There is no such thing as a free lunch,” he once famously remarked.  The same could be said of Premier Christy Clark’s Family Day, the statutory holiday that will come into effect just a few months before British Columbians go to the polls in 2013. Someone will have to foot bill. And unfortunately, it will be the very people the holiday is supposed to help: ordinary BC families.