It is time for the government to reinvigorate BC’s economy by clearly outlining the direction the province will head in order ensure we stay competitive in the country and the world and develop in a way that will position BC for long-term sustainable economic growth well into the future.
Decrease the tax burden on British Columbians:
The everyday spending of British Columbians has a large effect on the BC economy. The Government needs to realize every dollar you spend generates the economy far more than a dollar the government spends because of losses due to bureaucratic waste.
Make the budget public down to the last tax dollar and allow British Columbians to help the government uncover waste and spend tax dollars more effectively.
By spending tax dollars more effectively, the government will be able to provide higher levels of service while collecting less tax from you. You will be able to spend that money on what you want which will help to generate the economy.
Decrease small business costs:
The government needs to work with small businesses to reduce the financial cost of starting up and running a small business.
Creating regional business licenses instead of separate municipal business licences would go a long way to reducing costs in the home improvement, renovation and construction industries.
Making it simpler to do business legally in BC will encourage a lot of business which is currently done under the table to become part of the legal economy.
The government should facilitate the hiring of unemployed British Columbians by working to make them more employable.
The government will create a searchable inventory of available land and buildings which could possibly be used for different types of short term and long term projects. Areas can be as small as a little patch of park available for a community garden to a large patch of wilderness available for sustainable ecotourism businesses. Making this list easily accessible will help inspire British Columbians to the possibilities around them.
Refocus the resource extraction industries:
The provincial government relies too heavily on the revenue generated from these industries which is hard to predict and impossible to rely on since it is dependent on international commodity markets.
The government needs to refocus the resource extraction industries in order to make them sustainable while keeping them profitable into the future.
The government needs to work at diversifying the markets for these goods so they will not be as dependent on the success of one country.
The government will need to work with forestry, mining, and oil and gas companies to make specific changes in each industry to redevelop these industries and ensure the revenue generated by them helps ensure their long term sustainable growth.
Develop a Green Economy in BC:
BC has the opportunity to lead the world by investing in the creation of a truly Green Economy and not just paying lip service to the green movement.
BC needs to end their practice of forcing all levels of government to buy “carbon offsets” from large corporations. These offsets cost taxpayers, and government branches like school boards, and health authorities millions of dollars yearly and the offsets bought do not actually reduce the amount of carbon created. If the government wants to be truly carbon neutral they shoudl invest that money in the green economy in BC.
The cornerstones of BC’s Green Economy will be: the Technology sector, the Sustainable Tourism sector, and the Green Construction sector.
The government can encourage the Technology Sector by embracing technology as a government and encouraging its citizens to use it, by adding basic computer programming courses to the elementary school curriculum and by opening up the technology training markets.
The government can encourage the Sustainable Tourism sector by providing greater opportunities for sustainable tourism businesses to access BC’s wilderness, by facilitating the partnerships between sustainable tourism businesses and other business that benefit from tourism to create packages easy to market internationally, and by making sporting goods, many of which are used in the sustainable tourism industry, tax free.
The government can create a Green Construction Sector here in BC by providing BC manufacturing companies greater access to BC’s resources to create sustainable construction products, by giving tax incentives to companies which use sustainable BC products for construction, and by working with certification organizations to ensure certifications are based on practical sustainable practices and not just techniques which sound sustainable.
Invest in cheap, environmentally sustainable, electricity on demand:
BC has historically had a competitive advantage in North America by having access to cheap electricity produced sustainably and available on demand.
This electricity has been provided by dams throughout the province providing a large hyrdo electric capacity. BC needs to invest in the development of more large scale dams to create enough capacity for the future.
Large Scale Hydro dams have traditionally been the key to BC’s energy needs because they do not burn fossil fuels, they have a minimal environmental impact per Kw/hr and the electrical capacity can be saved for use at peak demand times. Continue to look at increasing BC’s large scale hydro capacity.
The extra electrical capacity can be sold to other jurisdictions at peak times for peak prices enabling those jurisdictions to rely less on the burning of fossil fuels.
Continue to keep BC a desirable place to live and work:
Reaffirm a commitment to the protection of the environment for use by the future generations of British Columbians.
Provide improved access to nature in and around BC and encourage British Columbians to use it responsibly.
Work with newcomers to BC and work with areas outside of the Lower Mainland to encourage sustainable development and growth in these areas.4