Friday, September 23, 2011

Clark job plan does little for today’s unemployed

Premier Christy Clark’s job plan, despite all the flying around the province and flashy announcements, is a bit of a letdown.
There are some good measures. It’s worth trying to attract more foreign students, creating teaching jobs and bringing economic activity. Speeding up approvals for mines and logging and other activities, without compromising environmental standards, would be helpful. So would the promised agreements with First Nations to bring greater certainty for potential resource developments. And maybe all the new panels and committees and agencies will help bring economic activity.
But based on the advance hype, the more than 200,000 unemployed people looking for work probably expected more. After all, Jobs Minister Pat Bell promised a “seismic” impact from the strategy back in May. That suggested big changes and a lot more opportunities.
Instead, Clark delivered a package of promises that, for the most part, won’t result in increased employment for several years. There were promises of funding for infrastructure related to ports in the Lower Mainland and Prince Rupert, so, assuming speedy progress, there will be some construction jobs in the near term.
Most measures won’t produce significant results for years. Clark set a goal of eight new mines in operation by 2015, for example. That would bring many good jobs — but not now.
And the jobs plan is highly dependent on global economic recovery. Government can make B.C. a more appealing jurisdiction for mining companies committed to increasing production, for example. But they will only be interested if commodity prices are strong enough to encourage investment.
That’s the reality of the B.C. economy. We remain highly resource-dependent. Demand for minerals, logs and lumber and energy in other countries is required to fuel growth.
But it’s surprising, given the extent of joblessness in B.C. right now, that the plan did not include some short-term measures that are within the province’s control.
The federal-provincial stimulus program, now completed, offers one model. The infrastructure projects — with a few exceptions — were needed long-term investments in communities. Governments moved them up to provide jobs when they were needed, accepting the additional interest costs and earlier increase in the debt.
Jobs are still needed, and communities have a list of worthy projects. Clark could have announced a stimulus fund.
Or the government could rethink its commitment to make balancing the budget by 2013-14 it’s main priority.
Returning to a balanced budget as the economy improves should be a goal. But clinging to an arbitrary date could be bad policy. The federal government, for example, has given itself an extra year to return to eliminate its deficit.
Delaying the return to balanced budgets would give the government the ability to consider spending aimed at easing the impact of unemployment in the near term. Immediate measures could be taken to protect and increase employment — a subsidy for B.C. Ferries to allow a tourism promotion, for example. The government could protect families from the impact of prolonged job losses by funding training for people whose Employment Insurance has run out, or programs to fund needed community projects.
In fact, the fixation on the deficit could increase unemployment in B.C. Given the defeat of the HST and the slumping economy, the government is faced with making deeper spending cuts to meet its deficit targets, Finance Minister Kevin Falcon says. Those cuts will inevitably mean job losses at a time when prospects for new work are slim, and likely mean a reduction in community services when they are most needed.
A long-term focus is certainly valuable. But for many families, the impact of joblessness — or the threat of joblessness — is immediate, and dire. And when they can’t spend, their communities suffer.
Clark’s jobs plan has many commendable features. But for those seeking work today, it has little to offer.


Anonymous said...

Bill Good liked what he heard and seems ready to lead the cheering squad for the Campbell/Clark Liberals. How can Christy Clark now try to tell you she's "Different"...this announcement is like deja vu all over again.

Good had Dix on his show this am but spent half of Dix's slotted time replaying the Christy Clark announcement. Dix should have walked out of the studio, but he's too much the professional. He stayed to press his very reasonable position and made Good look all the more like the foolish and gullible Clark sycophant that he is. Like Dix pointed out to Bill Good in his crtique of Clark et al's announcement (in small part)...what about training; what about value-added instead of shipping out only raw logs at an ever accelerating rate; what about Vancouver Island period? All Good could utter, over and over again, was the rediculous query to Dix "so you'd ban the export of raw logs then?" to which Dix had to explain three or four times "no, not entirely". My God, what has the MSM become?

Raymond Graham

Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

In the short term it looks like the people of B.C. created more jobs here by repatriating the jobs of our sales tax people, by voting out the HST, than Clark has managed so far. Pie in the sky is what is on the menu as usual.

Anonymous said...

All you need to know about Premier Christy Clark’s job plan is this...

Harry Bloy's in charge. The Minister of Social Development is also heading up Employment and Labour Market Services.


DPL said...

The story line seems to be. Vote for the Liberals and we will will do big things for you, then not now. The BS continues. The BC and federal government blew away over 30 million for a couple of roundabouts to the airport, which really roved little, yet can't see the need for runway improvements that would greatly improve the capability for longer haul flights, which would bring in more business. But since the island mostly doesn't vote Liberal, it isn't going to happen. It didn't get little Garry Lund elected either and Murray Cole is about to leave politics with a nice pension.

RossK said...


In addition to the 'doom', does this not also, perhaps, say something significant about the state of Ms. Clark's support within her(?) caucus.

And/or her ability to trust said caucus.


Anonymous said...

The job creations Christy is preaching about, were planned by Campbell and Harper long ago. There is nothing new.

The port expansions, CN rail expansions.

The Enbridge pipeline, the dirty oil tankers from China. The LNG liquid gas, in Port Kitimat.

Expansion of Prosperity Mines. Harper had left the back door open, the expansion could be reapplied for.

Logging the Rain Forests.

Harper and Campbell have plotted for, drilling oil and gas wells off the coast of BC.

The plot to build the Site C Dam, flooding the most valuable farmland, in all of Canada.

Campbell works for Harper, BC has been thieved right down to the bare bones.

Christy's job plans are all old hat, Campbell and Harper news.

Anonymous said...

Do people actually fall for this brand of political hyper-spin?
It is all so predictable and phoney. MSM dutifully trundle off to these non-events and publish the media releases they are fed along with the stale sandwiches and cheap beverages. Then back to the office to dutifully publish the newz fish wrap as directed from high on above editorial staff who are waiting to be picked to join the inner circle...yawn!

BC Mary said...

While Christy has been flitting around British Columbia talking about jobs, jobs, jobs ... Canadians are being turned away from jobs in Kitimat.

Read this new article at Kitimat Daily

If Christy knows about this, why are the U.S. hirings continuing? If Christy doesn't know about this, who the heck is in charge here?

BC Mary said...

Here's a better link for that Kitimat story:

Anonymous said...

I also say. The Enbridge pipeline, will bring their own employee's.

If any of the seven mines going up in Northern BC, are American, they will hire Americans.

The ship building company Christy will choose, will be SeaSpan. If we get the contract. This is an American company, Christy's brother Bruce was involved with. They too, will bring their own U.S. people with them.

We own none of our, BC natural resources or assets. Campbell sold us out. He even sent some of our mills to China, along with our raw logs.

Everything of value in BC is now gone. Along with our jobs, which the Americans and China now have.