The B.C. Liberals’ sudden decision to back down on an income tax cut announced in a desperate ploy to buy back support from an angry public proves that the province’s economic policy is in shambles. It shows a government in complete disarray and failing to serve the best interests of British Columbians.
A look at the hard facts shows that the B.C. Liberal record is one of stagnant economic growth and poor job creation:
The HST doublecross: After promising during the election not to implement the HST, the B.C. Liberals betrayed British Columbians by announcing a sudden tax change without any consultation, shifting $1.9 billion in taxes onto consumers. Instead of promoting spending, the HST will cost the average household $521 per year.
A have-not province: Between 2001 and 2009, B.C. was a have-not province six times, receiving a total of $2.4 billion in equalization payments. Between 1991 and 2000, B.C. received only one equalization payment, of $125 million.
Faltering exports: Between 2001 and 2009, B.C. was the only province in Western Canada to have negative growth in exports.
Slow economic growth: The two best years for economic growth under the B.C. Liberals, 2005 and 2006, saw the economy grow by 4.4 per cent. This is lower than the two best years of growth under the previous New Democrat government, 1993 and 2000, when the economy grew by 4.5 per cent and 4.6 per cent, respectively.
Fewer Canadians moving to B.C.: Between 2001 and 2009, an average net of 6,200 people moved to B.C. from other provinces. This compares to an average net of 13,000 per year between 1991 and 2001, when Canadians were flocking to the province.
Minimal job growth: The average annual growth in jobs between 2001 and 2009 was just 1.7 per cent, compared to 1.9 per cent from 1991 to 2000.
Stagnant wages: Between 2001 and 2009, B.C. had the lowest growth in average hourly wages and the second-lowest growth in weekly wages in Canada.
Highest deficit in history: By 2013, the B.C. Liberals will have presented seven deficit budgets, including the largest budget deficit on record.
Lowest paid workers in Canada: While every other province in Canada has raised their minimum wage and many have created certainty for business by indexing it to inflation, the B.C. Liberals have frozen the minimum wage at $8 per hour since 2001. More than 245,000 British Columbians earn less than $10 per hour; over 90,000 are between the ages of 25 and 54, and two-thirds of those are women.
Job losses: Between 2001 and 2009, B.C. lost approximately 50,000 family-supporting jobs in natural resource and manufacturing industries and dozens of forestry operations have been shuttered, a particularly drastic blow for many rural communities.
The Carole James New Democrats’ vision for a strong, dynamic economy includes a fair and competitive tax environment, support for small business, fiscal responsibility, a fair minimum wage with predictable increases, and investment in green jobs to diversify our economic base.