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October 27, 2017 6:48 pm

Interest Groups Weigh in on Provincial Budget

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 @ 4:31 PM

Prince George, B.C. – There’s been a flood of reaction to today’s provincial budget.

As 250News reported earlier this afternoon, it includes a plan to cut Medical Services Plan premiums in half for households with annual net incomes of up to $120,000.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong also announced that the small business tax will be reduced from 2.5 per cent to two per cent and that the Ministry of Health will see a three-year increase of $4.2 billion, compared to is 2016-17. For more details on the budget click here.

The Council of Forest Industries (COFI) was happy the Province put forth is fifth consecutive budget and that it included some tax relief.

“We are pleased to see the PST on electricity will be phased out over the next two years,” said president and CEO Susan Yurkovich. “This tax relief is critically important for forest-dependent communities in B.C. Reducing taxes frees up capital to be spent in facilities around the province.”

Meanwhile the Canadian Taxpayers Federation also praised the budget and its planned cut to MSP premiums noting it will save families with two kids making $45,000 to $120,000 per year $900 a year.

“For a middle-class family, $75 a month is going to be a big help,” said CTF BC director Jordan Bateman. “This is the signature tax cut of Christy Clark’s six years as premier – in fact, it’s the first true, broad-based provincial tax cut we’ve seen since 2007.”

But the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives was decidedly less impressed with the MSP announcement.

Senior economist Iglika Ivanova said while the tax will help some families, the government could have reduced MSP and tweaked the mix of business taxes without sacrificing much-needed public revenues.

“It’s a concern that the MSP cut eliminates nearly $1 billion of revenue every year. If these revenues were replaced with fairer taxes, they could have been used to tackle unmet needs in our health care system, increase staffing in seniors’ nursing homes, and fund more hours of home support or boosted mental health supports.”

The Wilderness Committee was also critical of the budget, arguing it “provides band-aid solutions for the environment and climate.”

“While the government talks a big game on climate change, our increasing emissions and support for industries like fracking tell a different story,” said spokesperson Torrance Coste. “The government continues to treat this crisis like a minor inconvenience rather than the challenge of our time.”

Locally, the Prince George Chamber of Commerce was pleased, with CEO Christie Ray noting the budget was not only balanced but that it also offered her members some tax relief.

For example, she noted she’s excited about the MSP cut and said the drop in the small business tax will save B.C. businesses $213 million over three years.

“It frees up money to do other things, like reinvesting in their businesses or hiring extra workers.”

UNBC political science lecturer Jason Morris said with cuts to MSP and extra money for things like education it seemed the BC Liberals may have been trying to cut into traditional “NDP turf” prior to this May’s provincial election.

“We can consider whether that’s electioneering at this stage but it would seem to be a far cry from the earlier BC Liberals we knew from back in 2001 with a much stronger, New Era, document.”


Amazing, it’s not unheard of for the liberals to go further left of the NDP to out flank them, this happened in the last federal election. But what is with the Conservatives in BC? They abandon their Party to hide under the Liberal banner, then go even further left and pretend to be NDP.

BC Conservatives are a rare breed indeed, to hold on to power, they will pretend to be anything, any time… they stand for nothing!

    Why are you obsessed with the idea of Conservatives in the BC Liberal party? Maybe it’s because your fantasy would be to have a resurgence of the BC Conservative party to split the right vote much like Alberta with the Wild Rose party. It’s about the only way the NDP has a chance and I think you know that.

    What would you like them to “stand for”, Being Human? To stay in office, it has to be something we’ll “fall for”, or most of us anyways. Yet at the same time it has to avoid anything that interferes with the favored position of those who back them with the big bucks, and the bankers of those backers. So don’t look for any moves to meaningfully lower the COST of living relative to the STANDARD of same. What keeps us indebted to the max, but just below the level that ensures our taxes and incomes can always meet the interest is what they’ll give us. But what will the NDP give us that’s any different? Where’s Horgan on increasing not just our incomes, but the PURCHASING POWER of those incomes? Out to lunch, as usual.

Give it a break BeingHuman. As I have stated before there are many Liberals in the BC Liberal Government, not the least of which was Gordon Campbell, and of course Christy is a long time member of the Liberal party, and actually worked with Jean Chretian and the Federal Liberals a number of years ago.

Most of the old Social Creditors, and Conservatives, have long since retired and moved on. Even the Provincial Conservatives are dead in the water.

Christy cobbled together a bunch of less than stellar liberals to form her last couple of Governments and what you have today is some sort of Liberal, left leaning, conservative, coalition Government that only stays in power, because not many people (at this point in time) like the alternative.

If the NDP could get out of its Union/Teacher/Government worker mentality, and actually put forward some ideas in addition to Tax and Spend, they might be able to make a difference in the next election.

If the Liberals win the next election they will have 20 years in power. This is not a good thing. We need to change the Government if for no other reason than to get a new start.

    Bang on, but change for the sake of change is not necessarily a good thing. I think on balance you have to admit the BC Liberals have done a decent job of growing the economy, balancing the budget and maintaining services. I was surprised the Policy Alternative folks didn’t like the MSP cut, that’s right in their wheel house?

    No, you give me a break Palopu; as I have stated many times before; there are probably just as many Conservatives in the BC Liberal Party / Government as there are Liberals.

    The signs are everywhere:

    ht tp://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/canadian-politics/b-c-liberals-hire-12-ousted-federal-and-alberta-conservatives-which-could-give-province-a-harper-tone

    I find it “creepy” that Conservatives would abandon their own party to suckle on the government teat with the Liberals, this would never happen in Federal Politics, and Federal Conservatives most certainly would not pretend to be as far left as the NDP, however… in BC anything goes! It kind of Alt Right creepy in a way.

      The NDP are so true to their moniker that last time we were in power we must have had an imaginary heath care crisis and imaginary people filled the Multiplex to SRO. And they were so hell bent on welfare they raised the rates for the poor from 510.00 bucks a month when they entered office to a whole whopping 520.00. They get in office tax the “rich” and lose their tax base. They have no idea what the lemonade stand game teaches you.

      Keep on going BH . grind them down. all they see is tax cuts for the corporations and the poor get nothing. In the end they will tell us that we have balanced the budget but the debt will not be mentioned.

      What you get at the Federal level is the NDP grovelling at the feet of the Liberals, and the Liberals taking them the the cleaners time after time. Seems the NDP has a problem understanding how politics work.

      A prime example was how the Liberals manipulated the NDP on changing the electoral system before the last election, and then did an about face and drop kicked the NDP.

      The NDP both Federally,. and Provincially need to take some serious courses on how to run a political party. As it is right now they are babes in the woods.

      @retired, the poor got less than nothing during the NDP term in office. You really think they have changed their practices? You can’t use disability as a yardstick because during the NDP term there was no disability, they were institutionalized. Gordo’s government brought in the disability act, something the NDP were working on for about 4 years before the end of their term just giving those now listed as on disability the exact same as welfare. When they cut welfare rates in 1997(?) they left the rates for those on the new disability alone at least, chalk one up for the dippers

Back to this NDP budget the Liberals have drafted. If anyone thinks this even remotely changes the dismal picture, they would be dead wrong!

Time to double down on this BC Liberal government’s incompetence; for instance is this budget suddenly going to change the fact that our forest industry resources is unknown and unmanaged by this BC Liberal Government?

Will this budget, in any way change the fact that our province has the highest child poverty rate in the country? Because I see no indication that the BC Liberal are willing to develop and implement a Poverty Reduction Plan.

Will this budget, in any way, open closed mines and sawmills in the area and stop the steady migration of families / people out of our region?

Will the increase in Public Education funding, in any way, move our province from having the second lowest student funding, or will that increase only cover the costs of increased Hydro Rates for our schools?

I could go on, and on, and on, and you know what? Between now and May 9th, I think I will.

    Too bad for you BH that BC has one of the best performing economies in Canada. One of the few ‘have’ provinces. Why go back to the bad old days of the NDP?

    BH and Millworker always rallying on about forest industry job loses. Neither one has any idea as to why there are job loses. Pine beetle, AAC and automation are the biggest culprits in job loss. The pine beetle wood is done now and that affected many mills. The mills that did not invest in upgrades could not get the LRF out of the beetle kill and where therefore not profitable. As the AAC went down trucking costs went thru the roof and mills closed or forest tenure was moved to another mill closer to the wood. As mills automated and installed upgrades the demand for employees shrunk. A mill that had 40 employees producing 650,00 FBM in an 8 hour shift became 10 employees producing 850,000 FBM in an 8 hour shift. As an NDP shill and an obvious union hack I understand that neither of you have any clue about economics but this is the facts.

      Check when Canfor took over Northwood. Canfor shuttered mills right after the US meltdown to create new more competitive super mills. In the late1990s Canfor told all its contractors that wanted to keep working in the forest industry to share the pain or leave. Things in forestry were so rosy in the Dipper era, whatever happened to Skeena Cellulose?

      Should correct the train of thought, in 2009 during the US meltdown Canfor shuttered a lot of operations that never restarted in order to produce lumber even cheaper than they could have in the past to improve their bottom line

      The rest of the comment was the late 90s era Canfor taking over mills that were becoming insolvent to gain their cut as they had the idea for regional supermills as a cost cutting measure, you can do a little with a lot of profit or a lot at a skinny profit and the bottom line stays the same.

      Comments from some one who thought the BC Forest industry employed 20,000 people when in reality, the Council of Forest Industries pegged the number of “directly” employed forest workers in BC at over 60,000.

      slinky, you have a bit of a credibility gap.

“MiningWatch Canada has published a new analysis showing that British Columbia (BC) has the worst unsecured environmental liability for mine site clean-up costs in Canada.” BC Worst in Canada!

ht tp://www.marketwired.com/press-release/new-analysis-british-columbia-ranks-worst-canada-unsecured-environmental-liability-mine-2129404.htm

“One year to the week after Premier Christy Clark announced health authorities would get an extra $80 million over four years to speed up access to MRI tests, B.C. patients have the longest waiting times in Canada for such imaging tests, according to a Fraser Institute study.” BC longest wait times in Canada!

“B.C. experienced the worst income growth — in fact, incomes declined — of any province in Canada during the 2006-12 period, according to an analysis of Statistics Canada data by an Ottawa think-tank. B.C.’s inflation-adjusted median income fell 2.4 per cent, from $29,917 per tax filer to $29,200, during a period when Canada’s overall employment income grew by 3.5 per cent. Median income is the midway point between the lowest and highest incomes.” Wait… did it say BC experienced the worst income growth (actually a decline) of any province in Canada!!!

BC has the lowest student funding in the Country!!!

ht tps://ca.news.yahoo.com/student-funding-b-c-worst-162949153.html

“British Columbia is the worst place to be in Canada if you’re a child, and it has been for all but one of the past 13 years. The latest numbers released by Statistics Canada indicate that in 2011, British Columbia once again slipped into last place among the provinces, tied at the bottom with Manitoba.”

ht tp://www.vancouversun.com/business/2035/Daphne+Bramham+worst+place+Canada/8632354/story.html

Must be nice being A BC Liberal / Conservative, right wing ideology rarely seems to meet reality.

    So… can anyone step up and tell the rest of us, how yesterday’s announced budget is going to fix all this?

      You bringing this stuff up again? Just go back and read the answer the previous 100 times you posted it

    BH, how much do you get paid to troll this site? By the post? By the number of different usernames you have had? Flat salary? Number of links?

Its unbelievable what some on this site will eat up. But keep the heat on BH. Next year will be to late when all the the christy lovers will see the lights and all the crap they have eaten.

    BH this budget does nothing for me and I am extremely unhappy with it. Way to left and nothing for the higher earners. Don’t worry though no where near enough for me to ever vote NDP. I will continue to make an excellent living in the best run province in the country and pay for all the people who have no desire to better themselves. I guess all my hard work to prosper is somehow a reason for the NDP to not like me and want to tax me to death to pay for free loaders.

      Yep. As a higher income earner I am told by the government to smile, shut up, and pay up. But it would be no bettet if not worse under the NDP.

    This budget does nothing for the right, because it’s the BC Liberals pretending to be the NDP, bringing in an NDP budget. What? Don’t act surprised, the BC Liberals have to pretend they are the NDP, how else could they get re-elected?

    Nice NDP budget BC Liberals.

Yes BH keep the heat on. This being the best province ever I will call BS on that one. Many people on this site only want to talk about fast ferries and the 90’s. IMO this is province is becoming the worst provinces to live in. When you see welfare and food banks on the rise what does this tell you. Wages have not kept up with the cost of living making it impossible for many to ever own a home. Many people nothing left over after paying rent.

Christy and her MLA’s could maybe see if we could get another Casino built in this area and have the vulnerable picked up with a bus daily.

    Oldman a lot of the welfare and food bank people do not want to work. There is a whole generation of people suckling at the tit. I try to hire employees at a starting rate of $28.33 and the candidates leave a lot to be desired. For every 10 employees I hire at a starting position maybe 1 turns out. This is a huge expense to train all these employees for 1 to work out in the end. Maybe if we stopped holding everyones hand and you sink or swim on your work ethic we would not have all these losers and the corresponding drain on government services.

      Yes, I remember when I was the Chief Executive Officer of a major international corporation, couldn’t attract workers in any of our Canadian plants, two of which were in BC, even at $50.00 per hour. Ended up sourcing our workers through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program at $8.25 per hour. I save the Corp 100’s of millions of dollars in labour costs, and the bonus the gave me was yuge! I retired shortly after that.

      See, we can all be anyone we want to be on here, right Ryder and HG?

Ryder- I understand there are many people who are not suited for certain types of employment. Could you give me a hint of what type of work your employee would be doing? There are many reasons why a person would not want to work for $28.33. Is the work out of town, is food and lodging supplied, How far do you have to travel, is the work part time, is travel time paid ,will you get a 40 hr work week, etc, etc ? Sometimes if many of these things are not included it is not feasible to take on some of these jobs.

Oldman1 it is in a union mill 15 minutes from town. Very good work that Millman and BH say the Liberals have lost all the forest jobs.

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