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Published On: Friday, 14 July 2017

Political Instability and Instability Holding B.C.’s Economy Hostage

Political Instability and Instability Holding B.C.’s Economy Hostage
The tremors have already started in some corners. It’s not just the Site C dam project; it’s other companies and sectors that wonder what is next.

- Mark MacDonald is the Publisher of the Business Examiner News Group, and President of Invest Northwest Publishing.

BC - Business likes certainty.

Business can’t be happy with what is happening in Victoria these days, as from one day to the next, it is anything but certainty.

Almost every group and organization is being “targeted” in either the campaign promises of the NDP/Green coalition, or the Throne Speech, dubbed the “clone speech” by Vancouver Province columnist Michael Smyth.

Except the business community, which, at the end of the day, will be saddled with paying for the enormity of the promises made, if indeed they are kept at all.

The tremors have already started in some corners. It’s not just the Site C dam project, the companies that have geared up to build, and the 2,200-plus workers on-site that the two-headed Green/NDP monster has its sights on that are trembling at a potential stop-work order. It’s other companies and sectors that wonder what is next. Some developers have already pushed the pause button on projects, adopting a wait-and-see attitude to see what the immediate future holds.

That’s what business does when it can’t see what’s coming. If the forthcoming months and years provide a climate of certainty, owners and investors are inclined to move forward. Stormy political climates produce the opposite effect, as the brakes are applied to other projects that create wealth for investors and jobs for those who build them.

A one-year delay in the construction of Site C dam in northern B.C. will result in $630 million in extra costs, as the massive project will miss a critical seasonal window for damming the Skeena River for the third time.

Green leader Andrew “Dream” Weaver’s claims that these jobs are “imaginary” and “temporary” are incredibly callous and naïve at the same time. Isn’t every construction job temporary? That’s because once something is built, the builders move on to build something else.

While NDP leader John Horgan is calling for a brief moratorium/study of the project, it remains to be seen whether or not he’ll have the guts to issue to place pink slips in the hands of the 2,200-plus workers at the site, despite the Green demand to stop the project outright.

Reading between the lines, Horgan seems to be suggesting that those working on Site C will find immediate replacement jobs elsewhere in the province. There is no mention of what those jobs might be. Surely he doesn’t believe that 2,200 workers will be absorbed in building the social housing the NDP promises.

The ramifications of stopping Site C now – even being so close to the point of no return construction-wise - will be widespread and devastating. It will immediately hammer northern B.C., and because the electricity generated by Site C is earmarked for the Liquid Natural Gas industry, it will thump northwestern B.C., where much of the action is supposed to be. Many of those jobs have their roots and head offices in the vote-rich lower mainland.

Those high-end construction jobs that would be eliminated when large companies are told their services are no longer needed to build the dam will not instantly result in comparable jobs elsewhere. The six-figure-plus salaries that bigger firms can afford to pay won’t transfer over to the same income for workers at other, smaller projects. Bigger companies can cover bigger paycheques. Smaller companies typically pay less, because that’s what they can afford.

What the recent election has demonstrated is that each of the parties will say literally anything to get elected, or stay in power.

BC Liberal Premier Christy Clark’s throne speech read like it was lifted directly from the NDP. It was an almost 180-degree turn from her campaign promises just weeks earlier.

Clark’s dramatic about-face may have made Clark not only unelectable, but could have driven a permanent wedge in the federal Conservative/Liberal coalition. Clark may have succeeded where others have failed – re-creating a viable, second free-enterprise party for Conservatives who can no longer align themselves with the increasingly left-leaning BC Liberals.

It seems that voters who only tune in, briefly, during elections, hear any party say they’ll “create jobs” and think that’s good enough and the same as any other party. The campaigners seem to realize that few dig deeper than those headline grabbing comments to see if the party platforms actually can create jobs, or have at any time.

Yet jobs “created” from each party are completely different.

Jobs from a typical free enterprise government come from the private sector – which is really THE job creator. Which create jobs and growth.

Jobs from socialist governments come from an expansion of the public payroll. They use tax dollars to create more programs to hire ideological soul-mates and friends. All paid for by the increasingly-burdened private sector.

The mainstream media has treated the Greens with kid gloves, like they’re well-meaning and harmless. They barely pat the party gently on its head even when they step offside.

Nobody believed the Greens would get elected. Except now the Greens hold the balance of power in the province, even though Weaver gave all his negotiating power away by acquiescing to every major NDP policy in order to overthrow Clark.

The Greens don’t appear to be so cute and cuddly” and “harmless” anymore, do they? Yet this is who they were all along. It’s just that they cloaked themselves with motherhood, feel-good environmental “principles”, while understanding virtually nothing – or choosing to be clueless - about how B.C. is driven by resources.

The Green party has one goal: Stop the extraction of resources. And now, this small group of economic terrorists is close to hi-jacking the high-flying economy of resource-dependent British Columbia.