Q&A with the candidates: Part 6

How can B.C. stay competitive in the global market?

  • May. 9, 2013 4:00 p.m.

Question 6:

How can B.C. stay competitive in the global market?

Michael Henshall:

To start one thing that myself and the BC Conservatives would do to stimulate economic growth in Chilliwack and BC is to support, growers, fishers and processors with a branded communications program called “My British Columbia” to sustainably build capacity within BC’s agricultural industry. A BC Conservative government would also provide families and businesses with an annual tax credit of up to $500 to encourage increased purchases of qualifying locally grown, raised, caught and processed agri-food products at retailers, restaurants and farmers markets throughout British Columbia.

My British Columbia would provide shoppers and diners with a tangible incentive to choose locally grown, raised, caught, and processed agri-food products more often. The program would also provide businesses within the agri-food sector with access to branded communications tools to aid in the accurate identification and promotion of BC agri-food products at home and outside the province nationally and globally.

We lost close to 4 billion dollars to cross border shopping last year. These lost dollars do not help our local businesses and there is no tax revenue coming back to areas such as our HealthCare, Education, and Justice systems. This initiative is crucial to reversing this trend.

We have also fully costed the elimination of the ‘Carbon Tax’ over 4 years. This is a punitive tax that makes our products less competitive with other jurisdictions. We are the only jurisdiction in North America with the tax and it goes into general revenue. This tax punishes farmers, ranchers, people for driving, heating their home and makes their groceries more expensive. Again this sort of tax pushes BCers with the option to buy things such as gasoline to areas that do not have the tax (Alberta and the USA) This tax also penalizes people in rural areas or in colder parts of the province. We want to keep dollars in the local economy and stay competitive  and these are a few ways to do it.

Ryan McKinnon:

To stay competitive in the current Global economy British Columbia needs to get the Mining sector in full steam.We have an abundance of precious minerals that are in great demand right now.In doing this we need to enforce strict environmental practices at the same time utilizing our grassroots labour force as opposed to importing workers.

We need to start manufacturing more finished wood products from our forest as well as planting more trees.

Gwen O’Mahony:

A sustainable, diversified economy that creates new opportunities, good jobs, and a strong middle class is the foundation of the BC NDP platform. We will focus on the fundamentals that promote private sector growth, entrepreneurial innovation, and we will tackle the growing skills gap and make post-secondary education more affordable. We will support a diversified economy by investing in forestry, mining, agriculture and oil and gas industries, as well as film, high tech, and tourism. We will help communities create thriving local economies, with a strong middle-class, successful small businesses and a thriving entrepreneurial culture.

Some specific policies include expanding the BC Training Tax Credit Program for small and medium-sized businesses that hire co-op students from BC’s colleges, institutes and universities; establishing a wage subsidy program for non-profit enterprises that hire co-op students; bringing back the successful Buy BC marketing program and expanding it to include non-agricultural products made in BC; supporting Destination BC as BC’s industry-led, formula-funded tourism marketer and working with small and local business owners to implement the BC Small Business Accord.

For more details on how the BC NDP grow our economy and reaming competitive please see our platform available at www.bcndp.ca/plan.

Laurie Throness:

BC can stay competitive globally by strengthening its infrastructure to get goods to market.  In this regard the BC Liberals are building the Asia-Pacific Gateway, a $22 billion transportation network.

We also need to diversify our export markets. BC Liberals are already well on the way.  While 70% of all BC exports went to the US in 2001, today only 40% does.  This shift makes us less reliant on one neighbor, and spreads our economic risk over many trading partners.

Finally, we need to capture emerging markets.  We are planning to seize our opportunity to develop a new, multi-billion dollar Liquified Natural Gas industry in BC’s north, using the revenue to pay off our provincial debt.

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