Wednesday, April 23rd5.9°C
21633
20950

Clark says B.C. budget in the black

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark repeated her promise of a balanced budget Wednesday, less than a month before her government tables a fiscal plan that is expected to have a thin surplus.

The Liberal premier staked her re-election last year in part on keeping the province's books balanced, and she told a business audience in Prince George she and her finance minister will keep that promise.

"We have balanced our budget, and in February, Mike de Jong, our finance minister, is going to introduced the second-consecutive balanced budget here in British Columbia," Clark said during a speech to the Premier's B.C. Natural Resource Forum.

The Liberal government is scheduled to table its provincial budget on Feb. 18.

The province's previous budget for 2013-2014 marked the end of several years of deficits. A pre-election version of the budget originally included a surplus for 2013-14 of $197 million, though that was cut to $153 million when it was updated in June.

Late last year, de Jong said the government was on track to deliver a budget for 2014-2015 that included a surplus of $165 million.

However, at the same time he acknowledged the government's jobs plan was sputtering, and people were leaving B.C. in search of full-time work.

The Opposition NDP have said B.C. has lost thousands of private-sector jobs since the government launched its jobs plan more than two years ago, with more than 14,000 British Columbians moving to Alberta to look for work

On Wednesday, Clark insisted the forthcoming budget will show the government is controlling spending while embracing a growing resource sector that has the power to turn B.C. into the fastest growing and cleanest economy in Canada.

She said B.C.'s resource sector — propelled by growth in mining, forestry and natural gas development — has bounced back after the global meltdown six years ago.

She said resource development, which includes exporting liquefied natural gas to Asia, developing new mines and building the proposed Site C hydroelectric dam, represents an opportunity to ensure B.C.'s place as an economic powerhouse in Canada, while providing continued support for education, health care and social services and public infrastructure.

"We have a choice as a generation: do we grow so that we can maintain those institutions that our forebears built," Clark said.

"Do we grow or do we manage decline? Do we watch those institutions crumble because we can no longer afford to look after them? I say we grow. I believe we have to grasp this opportunity to make our economy bigger."

Clark said her resource-development vision includes environmental leadership and inclusion for First Nations.

"Too many First Nations communities have been left out of economic growth for far too long," she said. "It's a tragedy. I agree, let's bring them inside the tent."

Earlier this week, the Wet'suwet'un First Nation of north-central B.C. said the Clark government was moving too slowly when it comes to consulting with First Nations about proposed liquefied natural gas developments on their territories. Wet'suwet'un Chief Karen Ogen said in a letter to Clark the government should be consulting First Nations about the developments, including revenue sharing.

Clark said her Liberals were re-elected last May with a mandate to grasp resource opportunities that could open huge trade opportunities in Asian markets while remaining environmental leaders.

"On May 14, British Columbians were confronted with a question, and the question was: do you want to grow the economy or do you want to make a different choice and manage decline?"

Clark's Liberals won re-election last May despite opinion polls that had predicted a divisive win for the New Democrats.

The Canadian Press

COMMENTS WELCOME

Comments on this story are pre-moderated. Before they appear, comments are reviewed by moderators to ensure they meet our submission guidelines. Keep it clean, keep it civil, keep it truthful, stay on topic and be responsible. Comments are open and welcome for three days after the story is published. We reserve the right to close comments before then. Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of Castanet, but only of the comment writer.



Read more Business News

20880


Recent Trending




Today's Market
S&P TSX14555.97+62.29
S&P CDNX1004.887.67
DJIA16514.3765.12
Nasdaq4161.458+39.912
S&P 5001879.55+7.66
CDN Dollar0.9065-0.0003
Gold1284.30+3.7001
Oil102.15-2.22
Lumber336.70+1.40
Natural Gas4.731-0.008

 
Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.105-0.01
Knighthawk0.01-0.005
QHR Technologies Inc1.21-0.06
Cantex0.05+0.005
Anavex Life Sciences0.385-0.005
Metalex Ventures0.080.00
Russel Metals31.17+0.47
Copper Mountain Mining2.380.00
Colorado Resources0.26+0.005
ReliaBrand Inc0.11+0.03
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.025-0.005
Mission Ready Services0.25+0.02

 



21100

FEATURED Property
18762619776 Santina Road
3 bedrooms 2 baths
$445,000
more details
image2image2image2
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading


Learning to flirt with the edge

With all of the adventure activities I have done and still do, I wonder sometimes if the edge still exists. The systematic approach to learning a new adventure or extreme activity combined with the r...


Time spent prospecting

How much time should you put into prospecting? The question is a bit of a puzzle. Ideally, there would be a reference book that lists, by industry, how much time you should invest in prospecting acti...


Valuation fears grip markets

The Big Picture Valuation fears grip markets Growing concerns about the level of stock market valuations sparked a risk-off trade in global markets this week. Investors are worried that many companies...

_





21368


Member of BC Press Council