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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

RUSTAD -- The NDP are massively expanding the size of government and are paying virtually NO attention to expanding the economy to pay for it

 

Here are my thoughts on the BC NDP's budget:

 


  • Since the NDP took power through this budget, the NDP have increase public sector employees by 180,000 jobs. That is about a 60% increase in the public payroll.

  • The provincial budget has increased by 45% under the NDP. This at a time when inflation will have only increased by about 14%. In other words, spending in increasing 3 times faster than inflation. It is also increasing about 3 times faster than economic growth (GDP).
     
  • NDP have introduced 23+ new or increased taxes.

  • Provincial debt in just 6 years will DOUBLE from $65 billion to $127 billion.

 

 

And what will we get from all of this unsustainable, uncontrolled spending? By the end of this budget period, just 2% GDP growth. In other words, the NDP are massively expanding the size of government and are paying virtually NO attention to expanding the economy to pay for it.

 

BC has become very uncompetitive. Our productivity is dropping and our ability to attract investment continues to plummet.

 

In fact, in the entire budget the word "productivity" is only mentioned 14 times. Competitiveness is only mentioned 31 times. Compare this to the word "support" mentioned 2,482 times.

 

This shows what the priorities of the NDP government are. They do not understand or care about sustainable spending. They do not understand or care about how revenues are generated to support services. They do not seem to care or understand that we need to compete with other jurisdictions.

 

These are the same errors they made in the 1990s when more people moved away, from BC, than moved in. These are the same errors they made when head offices and all of those high paying jobs moved from BC.

 

Tourism has been devastated during the pandemic. How will they recover? By government services or by attracting tourists? This government has NO plan to compete with other jurisdictions and attract tourists back to BC.

 

It is a very sad statement on the state of things in BC when a fully permitted pipeline along with a fully permitted LNG project can not attract the capital or investors to move forward in BC.

 

It is also a very sad statement that NO new mines have started construction under the NDP and if we do not see any new mines, there will only be 5 operating mines left in BC by 2040.

 

It is also very disappointing that issue of wildlife and habitat was not even mentioned once in the budget. Combine this with a cut in funding to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRO) budget and this means the NDP have NO plans to help ungulates recover.

 

It was also disappointing that there was NO commitment to fund the Forest Enhancement Society of BC. This society is responsible for most of the rehabilitation and planting of areas previously impacted by wildfires and is now OUT OF MONEY. But I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise given that forestry was only mentioned 4 times in this budget.

 

On the positive side, there appears to be a commitment to increase funding to deal with mental health issues. Hopefully this will translate to better outcomes and not just increased government employees. The Fort St. James hospital is also in the budget, which is very positive sign for getting this project built.

 

The budget also contains billions in unallocated funding, however. I take this as being a slush fund for NDP priorities or simply incompetence in not being able to articulate their priorities.

 

Another item I will call a slush fund is a $500 million commitment to a new crown agency "InBC" to spend on NDP hand picked BC companies that fit their priorities. People, Planet and Profits. In other words, the NDP will be picking winners and losers with taxpayers’ money.

 

The last time they did this, everything the NDP picked ended up being a losing investment. Remember Skeena Cellulous? As soon as the government handout ran out of money, the company went bankrupt.

 

There is more to be said but I will sum this up by saying both the Throne Speech and the Budget Speech were missed opportunities by this NDP government to really get BC recovering, and growing to support the services we need and want.

 

It was a missed opportunity to correct their previous errors. It will heap on a ton of debt and fiscal burden for future generations, with unsustainable spending and no plan to pay for the party.

 

 

John Rustad ... was re-elected MLA of Nechako Lakes last Fall, and currently serves as the Official Opposition Critic for Forests, Lands, and Natural Resources, as well as sitting on the Select Standing Committee on Parliamentary Reform, Ethical Conduct, Standing Orders, and Private Bills

 

Prior to first being elected as MLA in 2005, John worked in the forest industry for more than 20 years. In 1995, he formed Western Geographic Information Systems Inc., a consulting service to the forest industry. John was also elected as a school trustee in 2002, where he worked on a variety of innovative projects.

 

Born and raised in Prince George, John has lived in northern B.C. all his life. When time permits, he enjoys golfing and watersports. In 2009, he and his wife Kim moved to Cluculz Lake, where they enjoy the quiet beauty of rural living.

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