B.C. VIEWS: Asia-Pacific project marches on

After meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Premier Christy Clark delivered a luncheon speech to the Economic Club of Toronto. Her big talking point was the rise of the Asia-Pacific region.

Premier Christy Clark takes a Chevy Volt electric car for a spin in downtown Toronto last week.

VICTORIA – Here are a few items that didn’t make the daily news cycle as B.C. residents prepared for the long-awaited summer of 2011 to begin.

• After her meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa last week, Premier Christy Clark delivered a luncheon speech to the Economic Club of Toronto.

Her big talking point for the speech was the rise of the Asia-Pacific region, “the fastest-growing middle class in the history of humanity.” The theme ran through her pitch to the federal government for a share of Ottawa’s largest-ever shipbuilding contract, and her recent meeting with western premiers in Yellowknife.

No word on how Clark’s enthusiasm for the west as Canada’s economic engine of the future went over with the Bay Street crowd.

• After the speech, Clark took the wheel of a Chevy Volt electric car for a spin around Toronto with a GM Canada vice-president riding shotgun. She pronounced the car “fantastic technology.”

This is pertinent as B.C. residents get ready to pay the latest increase in B.C.’s carbon tax. Effective July 1, the tax on a litre of gasoline rises from 4.45 cents to 5.56, with comparable increases to other carbon fuels.

Clark has inherited Gordon Campbell’s aggressive climate change-clean energy agenda, and it’s not yet clear what will become of it. She has committed to the last consumer carbon tax increase in 2012 (up to 6.67 cents on a litre of gas), but the fate of the big hydroelectric push remains uncertain.

Those plug-in electric cars need to start selling before Campbell’s gamble of developing increasingly costly electricity starts to pay off. One potential competitor is natural gas-powered vehicles, taking advantage of huge new shale gas discoveries in B.C. and elsewhere.

• Campbell’s pending appointment as Canada’s high commissioner in the United Kingdom should warm the hearts of conspiracy theorists.

The story broke when Clark was in Ottawa, and when reporters asked for her take on the appointment, her first comment was that he’ll be a big help in negotiating a free trade agreement with the European Union.

Students of Bill Vander Zalm will know that he sees the harmonized sales tax and EU trade as an effort to impose world government and set B.C.’s sales tax rate in Europe.

Early in his goofy anti-HST campaign, Vander Zalm claimed this was plan B for world government after the conspirators failed to impose a global carbon tax.

If the HST is a conspiracy, it’s a mighty big one. Finance Minister Kevin Falcon never tires of reminding people that 140 countries already have value-added taxes, including China and those other Asia-Pacific tigers that are dominating the world economy.

• Douglas College in New Westminster and the Heilongjiang Institute of Science and Technology in Harbin, China have celebrated the graduation of 137 students in their dual-degree business administration program.

The program began in 2003, with an exchange of instructors. At the Harbin campus, students take 52 courses to qualify them as specialists in global financial markets and international banking.

• By last year, there were 94,000 international students in K-12, post-secondary and language schools in B.C. According to the advanced education ministry, if considered an export service, international education is B.C.’s fifth largest export, accounting for seven per cent of exports from the province.

Meanwhile in B.C., discussion of international trade still tends to revolve around lumber and logs. And according to a recent poll, Vander Zalm is still considered by many to be an authority on trade and taxes.

It’s time to join the world’s adult conversation.

Tom Fletcher is legislative reporter and columnist for Black Press and BCLocalnews.com

twitter.com/tomfletcherbc

Just Posted

Kent Harrison Emergency Support team honoured for work during 2017 wildfire season

The volunteer group was activated for 254 days in a row to help evacuees

Trial dates set for three men accused of 2017 killing near Hope

Lawyers for the accused appeared in Kelowna at B.C. Supreme Court on Monday

Wildfire threatens weekend campers at Chehalis Lake

The fire started on the north side of Chehalis Lake Saturday

Abbotsford council OKs bus-to-SkyTrain plan

Fraser Valley Express would begin running to Lougheed Station by start of 2021

Chilliwack community group gathering to benefit youth health centre

Chilliwack Citizens for Change planning tailgate party for CHYC

VIDEO: Reading splashes into Agassiz’s Ferny Coombe Pool

The Agassiz Library held its annual Reading in the Pool event Friday, June 14

Man arrested after pimping investigation in Whistler

A 44-year-old man has been charged with procuring and benefiting from sexual services

Thieves steal two $40K chairs featuring gold serpents from Vancouver furniture store

Chairs believed to be the only two of its kind in Canada, police said

White Rock council opts for compromise in waterfront parking fee hike

Amendment calls for hourly rates of $3.75 instead of $4 from April to September

Province to increase parking, pilot First Nation stewards at busy Joffre Lakes

Two-hundred more parking stalls will bring total spots to allow 450 cars

Search on for black bear that appears to be habituated in Burnaby

The bear lunged at a woman who was trying to shoo it from several backpacks

Poll: Rising gas prices force B.C. residents rethink summer road trips

63 per cent of respondents reported gas prices are impacting their day-to-day finances

PHOTO: Moose cow and calf relax in Williams Lake flower garden

The homeowners got a surprise when they checked their most recent surveillance footage

Two in hospital after plane crashes in Okanagan Lake

RCMP say wheels left down caused landing plane to overturn on lake

Most Read