Liberals lead B.C. to an economic slow-down

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VICTORIA An RBC Economics report showing B.C. will be one of only two provinces to see slower economic growth this year than in 2012 is proof the B.C. Liberals have mismanaged the B.C. economy, say the New Democrats.

The province’s economic growth is expected to be the third-worst in Canada in 2013, a trend the report attributes to factors such as stagnant job creation, slowing population growth and flat retail sales.

“This report is a clear demonstration that the B.C. Liberals are poor managers of the economy,” said New Democrat finance critic Mike Farnworth. “From the day Christy Clark became premier our economy has slowed and more than 12,000 people have left B.C. for other provinces.

“The premier’s so-called jobs plan has been good for provinces like Alberta, but it has been an abysmal failure here in B.C.”

Farnworth pointed out that the trend of people moving out of B.C. continued in the first quarter of 2013, with 1,200 more people moving out of the province than moving in. There has not been a single quarter under Premier Clark’s tenure in which B.C. has gained population from other provinces.

“This is a government that spent millions of taxpayers’ dollars advertising their so-called jobs plan, but has neglected to mention that B.C. has lost tens of thousands of private sector jobs since that plan was announced. This is a premier who is presiding over the most dramatic growth in debt in the history of the province, yet had the audacity to wrap her campaign bus in the slogan ‘Debt-Free B.C.’”

The troubling economic forecast comes as the government prepares to return to the legislature next week, where it will re-introduce a budget premised on optimistic financial forecasts and unsustainable projected budgets for key areas like health care, said Farnworth.

“This government is scrambling to say they balanced their budget, and while their top political staffers are getting pay raises, it will be vulnerable British Columbians who pay the price,” said Farnworth. “Already, seniors in some regions of the province are being asked to pay a fee to use a wheelchair in residential care homes, and the government has barely begun its review of core services.”

The B.C. Liberal government campaigned on dubious promises of eliminating debt, a balanced budget, and retaining critical services. The New Democrats will hold the government to account for these promises, and fight to protect the services that British Columbians depend on.