Andrew Wilkinson: Let’s make sure B.C. remains a land of opportunity
British Columbians will soon face a choice that will determine their economic prospects for many years to come: a choice between continuing the 12 years of prosperity we have enjoyed under a series of B.C. Liberal governments, or throwing fate to the wind under the NDP, who have no economic plan that they are prepared to reveal to the taxpayers and voters of this province.
Let’s not forget that the B.C. Liberals reduced income-tax rates in B.C. from the highest in Canada to the lowest—and that low-income families now pay no income tax at all. And remember that B.C. became a have-not province under the NDP, taking transfers from Ontario and Alberta due to financial mismanagement here in B.C. And remember that B.C. now has a balanced budget, while Ontario and Alberta run deficits of around $1,000 for every person in those provinces. Responsible public finances mean lower borrowing costs—and that means less money spent paying interest, and more on public services.
Many young adults in B.C. are now concerned about their ability to find long-term, meaningful work. They are very concerned about their future, because today’s job market is filled with uncertainty. We owe it to them to continue to deliver a vibrant economy that creates well paid, long-term jobs. We cannot leave them with accumulated debt from excessive government spending. We cannot risk the possibility that young adults who are unable to find work here will be find it in Calgary or California—and never come home again.
So what can we do to keep B.C. attractive—as a place to work, as a place to invest, and as a place to live?
From my years as deputy minister of economic development, I know that we need to build on our strengths—and we have many of them.
Think of Prince Rupert, now a vibrant container port and still growing as export facilities are added. Think of all of the skilled people working in B.C. in areas as diverse as video-game development, all-weather shelters, and stem-cell lab supplies.
We also have huge opportunities in resource industries. But we cannot expect resource-based companies to invest here if they are faced with a volatile and unpredictable policy regime under the NDP. We need orderly evaluations of resource-related projects to make sure that those projects will respect the land we live in. And that means that we need to respect the rule of law and make decisions based on evidence, not emotions.
There is a lot of work to be done to keep us moving ahead. We need to ensure that our children get the best education available, and we need to find efficiencies in health care so that care is available in a timely manner.
Prosperity leads to a future we can be proud of so that we can pass on the opportunities that we have enjoyed to the next generation. That means responsible government spending, value for money in government services like health and education, and it means keeping this province attractive for investment. Prosperity means opportunity for graduates, for young couples, for First Nations, both in small resource towns and here in Vancouver. It can all be summed up by that one word—opportunity—and that means opportunities for everyone all over this remarkable province.
This is why I am running for the B.C. Liberals, and I hope you will support me—because there is work to be done to ensure that B.C. remains a land of opportunity for all British Columbians.