Reality Check: Where do the B.C. Liberal leadership contenders stand on the AdvantageBC corporate giveaway scheme?

Posted in: ,

Last spring, when B.C. Liberal leadership hopeful Mike De Jong was the finance minister, The New York Times exposed the B.C. Liberal government’s International Business Activity Program as opaque and ineffective.

In addition, Dermod Travis of Integrity B.C. has described the program as “the Frankenstein of tax breaks.”

Despite a lack of evidence that the program created jobs, the B.C. Liberal government continuously expanded it, giving away millions each year to already profitable corporations.

Following advice from ministry experts that the program doesn’t do what it intended, current New Democrat Finance Minister Carole James has proposed ending the failed scheme in the budget update bill currently before the house.

But AdvantageBC Chair Colin Hansen (also a former B.C. Liberal finance minister) is undeterred by the lack of evidence and is working hard to save the B.C. Liberal giveaway scheme.

Hansen has lobbied MLAs by email and has been at the legislature in person this week to step up his efforts.

With the opposition remaining silent so far on the issue, British Columbians deserve to hear from Mike De Jong and the B.C. Liberal leadership candidates: Will they listen to Hansen and mount an effort to save the program? Would they resurrect the failed scheme if given the chance?