Posted by: jmtoriel | February 20, 2009


“It all comes down to one word: confidence.” — Finance Minister Colin Hansen (delivering 2009 Budget) If the BC Liberal government was hoping to stir up confidence in the latest budget, they failed miserably.

The global economy is broken and BC is not isolated from the severity of the downturn. The recent release of the BC 2009 Budget fails to acknowledge the importance of long-term vision. The result of a short-term mentality in band-aid fixes does not consider the next generation, let alone the seventh. All too often our leaders have considered the consequences no further out than the next election and this was made apparent in this year’s fiscal budget. Instead of bolstering confidence and stimulating growth in the green economy, it continues to throw money at sunset industries that are reliant on tax breaks and public infrastructure for short-term profits of finite resources to maintain dwindling revenues. This does not make sense.

Instead, we should focus on tomorrow’s consequences of actions that we take today. This long-term perspective is helpful in asking how we should address our most urgent priorities in a way that assures that we not only solve the current economic and ecological crises, but also prevent their recurrence. Conventional economics has shown to be flawed — creating massive disparities and social injustices, a growing gap between extreme wealth and extreme poverty and a looming environmental crisis.

The BC governments of past and present have been continuously wastefully spending public money to encourage unsustainable growth in unsustainable natural resource sectors through massive subsidies using public revenues without requiring proper long-term management. The result of significant corporate tax breaks and reducing royalty payments in large-scale agriculture, forestry, mining, the oil and gas sector, and open net fish farming have created negative impacts to the environment by accelerating finite resource depletion, creating more GHG emissions into the air, unhealthy toxins into our soil and water, decreased biodiversity and further endangered species at risk and placed greater financial burden onto our future generations.

Subsidies from the 2007 budget slated to 2010 to the oil and gas sector alone accounted for over $1 billion, and increased 40% from 2006. That money could and should be put towards new technologies and businesses of the future.

The only 2 Ministries that indicated positive spending (eg No cuts) were health and education and they’ve been battered so drastically over the past 10 years, we’re basically putting money back into already cut departments!

So, does this inspire confidence and provide stimulus?

Ah, NO…

Never in the history of economics has cutting government ministries improved the state of the economy — generally measured by employment levels. Our unemployment rose from low 4% last summer to well over 6 in January. As far as infrastructure, mega-projects like Gateway were already announced and will not create more jobs than anticipated.

In other words, this is a lose, lose budget and by no means boosts confidence.



  1. First blog I read after wakeup from sleep today!

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