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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

Oh, crap, this seems like exactly the kind of situation for something a friend of mine used to say, when trouble was approaching

BC Finance Minister Carole James

Yesterday afternoon, early in to her third budget speech, NDP Finance Minister Carole James stated;

Working together will help us build a stronger B.C. for everyone, and that's what Budget 2020 is all about. It's about the fundamental changes our government has been making for the people of British Columbia. It's about continuing to fix the problems facing families today. It's about delivering the results that keep us moving forward together.

The changes we've made are all about making lives better today and creating opportunities that last a lifetime: opportunities to put down roots, contribute to your community and have a job that provides a good quality of life”.

Good so far ... but where did things go from there?

She went on to say;

As with previous years, our government continues to work from a balanced budget. Our fiscal strategy lays out a solid plan, with layers of planning and foresight. B.C. remains an economic leader in Canada. We're the only province with a triple-A credit rating from the three major international rating agencies. We have the lowest unemployment rate in the country and zero operating debt.

Ummm ... the only reason this government can ‘claim’ the lowest unemployment figures is due to the fact thousands gave up looking for work (‑5,700).  Meantime last month BC experienced a LOSS of 6,100 full-time jobs ... which was offset by a gain of 9,500 part-time jobs. The magic of ‘government math’ allows the Jobs Ministries the ability to claim an increase of 3,400 jobs. 

And CTV News, in December, had a banner headline stating “
BC lost more than 18,000 jobs last month”.  But let’s continue with the words of Finance Minister Carole James;

Our fiscal foundation remains strong, as does our commitment to making life more affordable, to delivering the services British Columbians depend on and to building a sustainable economy with opportunities for everyone. We know that in the country and zero operating debt.

Yup ... or sustainable economy with MORE THAN two dozen BC forestry mill closed, or with shifts that have been reduced or temporarily curtailed.  How affordable is the lives of the people without those jobs ... without a paycheque ... or with a greatly reduced paycheque?

Our fiscal foundation remains strong, as does our commitment to making life more affordable, to delivering the services British Columbians depend on and to building a sustainable economy with opportunities for everyone....”

“... We're not here to deliver the largest surplus possible at all costs. The point of a budget is to plan ahead, to set priorities and to make responsible decisions that are good for people over the long term. That's what we've done for the last 2½ years, and we can't afford to turn back ... “

“... the old practice of hoarding surpluses at the expense of people is over. Instead, we're choosing a balanced fiscal approach, one that maintains a reasonable surplus while investing in people, because we understand that when the door to opportunity closes one too many times, people can lose hope ...”

On numerous occasions, Ms. James brought up the forest industry ... here’s another gem she provided us with ...

“... over the last number of years, the mountain pine beetle infestation, wildfires and the softwood lumber dispute have reduced timber supply and triggered a wave of mills to close their doors or scale back shifts. These changes didn't happen overnight, but that doesn't lessen the hardship that forest workers and their families are facing right now. 

As a government, we will not turn our backs on the people who have helped power our province for so long ...”

The government continues to play the blame game.  The last government didn’t do anything ... it was the fault of the US government imposing tariffs on us (then why weren’t they at the last meetings in the US attended by all other lumber producing provinces in BC) ... it’s the fault of the mountain pine beetle.  Look Minister Davidson ... your government has had this file for nearly three years now.  

What CONCRETE actions have you taken?

We now return you to our regularly scheduled program.  Heeeeeeeere’s Carole;
“... investments in public infrastructure are building a better BC ...”

According to a Sound Off commentary with CFJC Today, they indicated ... the Illecillewaet River highway widening project was first announced in 2015 budgeted to cost $35 million. Now, years later, and after receiving only five bids, government announced a cost overrun of a staggering 143 per cent higher than the initial budget in 2015 ...

Vaughn Palmer, writing in the Vancouver Sun regarding the four-laning of the Kicking Hose Pass project said the were ‘fudging highway cost overruns’ ... the projected cost had overshot the two-year-old estimate by almost a third. The $450 million has now become $601 million ...

Meantime in the New Westminster Record; “... while Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said drivers are now one step closer to a safer, more efficient crossing that will benefit thousands of people every day, Delta council and staff had previously made the city’s position clear when it comes to the aging four-lane bridge being replaced with a new span with the same number of lanes ...
Delta City Council doesn’t see all that impressed with at least one of these infrastructure projects being hyped by the government ... nor are many other people.

Moving from infrastructure, on to competitiveness and productivity, here’s what Greg D’Avignon, CEO and President of the Business Council of BC had to say about todays Budget Speech from Finance Minister Carole James ... “This Budget will do little to encourage companies and entrepreneurs to invest and create jobs in BC. We needed a Budget that recognizes the province is operating in an increasingly competitive and uncertain global economy and that we must up our game on productivity. This Budget falls short.”  
It certainly doesn’t seem he’s impressed – wouldn’t you agree?

But there’s more from the Business Council of BC ... this time from Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Jock Finlayson; The Budget does not pay sufficient attention to the storm clouds facing us due to slower global growth and escalating tax and regulatory costs at home”.

Oh, crap, this seems like exactly the kind of situation for something a friend of mine used to say, when trouble was approaching ... “Hold ‘er kewt, we’re headed for the rhubarb, keep that rig on the road.”

BC Conservative leader Trevor Bolin, upon examination of the budget speech, stated ... “The cost of living has been on a sharp incline since the BC Liberals implemented carbon tax and the BC NDP increasing it. This year the full effect of the new employer health tax will hit small businesses and leave the decision for many small operators to lay off staff, or close altogether.

Continuing, Bolin went on to say, “These two parties, that have been British Columbians only choice for generations, are leaving BC closed for business. The results of this grossly negligent mismanagement is inching us closer day by day to being a “have-not” province”.

BC Liberals aren’t impressed either, but that should come as no surprise ... here’s what Finance Co-Critic MLA Shirley Bond had to say:

Once again John Horgan and the NDP have put forward a budget with no economic plan and with the only source of revenue being the pockets of taxpayers,” said BC Liberal. They have squandered the opportunity to help people with no focus on growing the economy or delivering on their promises to make life affordable. No $400 annual renters’ rebate, no $10-a-day childcare, and we’re still 98 years away from the NDP fulfilling their affordable housing target.”

By 2022, the amount paid in taxes per household in B.C. will have increased by over $2,362 under the NDP government. Under John Horgan, taxes are up $5.7 billion while spending has increased by $11.4 billion.

British Columbians aren’t getting ahead and life is less affordable than ever before,” added BC Liberal Finance Co-Critic MLA Stephanie Cadieux. “With 22 new or increased NDP taxes and no plan for economic growth, families across the province are going to keep feeling the squeeze under John Horgan.”

The BC Liberals say ... according to budget documents, British Columbia will continue its streak of losing full-time private-sector jobs, with up to 32,800 lost in the past eight months.
On-going full-time job loses ... schools coming apart at the seams ... hospitals that look like they belong in a third world country ... ballooning provincial debt ... benefits to workers in select unions, while the rest of BC’s construction workers watch from the sidelines as they are refused access to infrastructure jobs ... environmentalism gone wild ...

It’s crazy ... it’s being inflicted on us by a minority government, right before our eyes ... as the BC NDP government of Premier John Horgan sends us down the rabbit hole to their idea of a utopian paradise.

I’ll leave the final remarks about yesterdays budget speech to Conservative Leader Trevor Bolin, who uttered these word earlier today:

In my household, as I am sure is the same in yours, you cannot make money just appear while continuing huge spending sprees. You look at what needs to be cut back, what bills need to be paid and how you can stretch what you have to ensure your quality of life is comfortable.

Why are we not running this province like we the people run our finances and households? Well that answer is easy; out of touch politicians making the decisions for everyone as if they lead the same lifestyle as those who can just “create extra money”.

Put the Politicians on minimum wage and see how fast things change”.


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