Sunday, August 24, 2008

BC's economy is heading for bust - does Premier Gordon Campbell know? Or care?

Business groups sound alarm that BC economy is taking a big hit – but will Gordon Campbell do anything?

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Column

For Tuesday August 27, 2008

B.C.’s economy will grow at a much slower pace this year and next, marking the weakest performance since 2001.

- Central 1 Chief Economist, Helmut Pastrick

While Gordon Campbell alternates between playing carbon-taxing, new green religion premier and private jet-setting, B.C. 2010 Olympic booster boss, the province’s once-booming economy is headed for bust.

British Columbians need two questions answered – does he know and does he care?

Certainly there’s no sign of either from the premier or Finance Minister Colin Hansen, who recently told the Vancouver Sun’s editorial board the B.C. economy is doing pretty well.

Tell that to Central 1 – formerly the B.C. Central Credit Union – which now projects our economy will grow by just 1.5% this year and 1.8% in 2009 – well below government predicted growth rates of 2.4% and 2.8%.

Or explain it to the B.C. Business Council, which notes with some alarm that its B.C. Economic Index has dropped in the last two consecutive quarters – something that has only happened three times since 1978 – including the huge B.C. recession of 1981-82.

“The Index has consistently identified past recessions, or near-recession downturns,” writes Business Council Vice-President Jock Finlayson, adding drily that: “The slowdown may be more significant than commonly perceived.”

But it doesn’t take an economist or business analyst to tell you that B.C.’s economy is in trouble – just ask a forest worker – if you can find one who still has a job.

B.C.’s beleaguered forest industry has lost more than 13,000 jobs in the last year alone – and the Steel Workers’ Union says another 10,000 jobs were lost since 2001.

But is Campbell doing anything about it?

Oh sure. The Throne Speech promised a forestry round table. Let’s hope it’s made of wood, so at least someone gets a job out of it.

Meanwhile, Campbell had no problem finding $50 million for a new Vancouver Art Gallery building, part of $209 million in arts and culture grants he announced.

The arts deserve support – but how much did he promise to help wood workers in a devastated industry facing unemployment?

Try zero dollars. What’s more, Campbell’s government is rampantly exporting raw logs to the U.S., South Korea and Japan, where they process the wood into finished products – and sell it back to dumb suckers in Canada.

Since 2001 almost 25 million cubic meters of raw logs have left B.C. – devastating our saw mills and pulp mills while creating foreign jobs.

And while Oregon creates 40% of all its forest industry jobs from value-added manufacturing, B.C. gets a pathetic 12% - even though value-added creates four times as many jobs as simple logging and primary processing.

But that’s all you get – with a bump on the log as premier.


NOTE: This is an unedited version of my column for Tuesday - posted a day early because I will be in New York city on holiday. I will try to post comments as best I can.

21 comments:

DPL said...

I always figure Gordo is ridning high because of the economy but this sort of news is teeling us the chickens are coming home to roost to use an old expression. The guy dropped 15 million for a info center in China that he boasted would have 400,000 visitors, around 30 thousand showed up and those numbers no doubt included assorted MLA's and flunkys there on our dollars. It's time to head to Hawaii Gordo before BC is totally sold out

Anonymous said...

Campbell is not making any decisions,Campbell is a bought,paid for and owned by American firms,Campbell is a slave to higher ups,Campbell is a goverment WHORE,PROSTITUTE, and I do apologize to real sex trade girls,at least they EARN THEIR MONEY!

Anonymous said...

The BC economy is fuelled by:
1) The energy industry.
2) 2010 Olympic spending - tax dollars.
3) The illicit drug industry and associated money laundering spin-offs (restaurant/night-clubs, casinos, high-end items as cars boats, etc.).

One out of two economic generators will end as of 2010 and the question is: "will the other two sustain the economy?"

Anonymous said...

Consumer spending fuels our economy by almost 70% according to Stats BC.

With higher food prices, especially from the staples such as cereal, bread and pasta; high gasoline prices; high home heating bills from Terasen; the further price hikes from BC Hydro; and the price increases incurred on our goods and services from the so called revenue-neutral Carbon Tax, families have begun to curtail their discretionary spending. Common sense dictates that they will continue to do so because home heating costs, BC Hydro rates, and the Carbon Tax are all expected rise over the next few years.

In the case of BC Hydro, the rates may rise dramatically because of privatization and the cost of the much needed upgrades to outdated infrastructure. The upgrades are expected to be close to five billion dollars, according to The Vancouver Sun. Site C environmental studies and building costs are also on the horizon.

Combine that with the expected decline in the residential housing market and our economy is going to be floundering for some time to come, especially after the 2010 circus leaves BC.

Does Campbell care? No, why would he with a fabulous salary and a fine government pension to sustain him for the coming years. He's looking out for number one. And in my opinion, he always has.

Anonymous said...

BC has been heading down this road for at least five years but nobody in the celeb-loving mainstream media, with it country club leadership (ie: Fat Dennis and the Graspers). . . would report it.

It was always neo-con good news on phoney P3 self-offs or how pretty a certain Finance Minister's shoes were.

Yes the Campbell factor is a disaster for BC, but the media and its many fellow-travellers must carry much of the blame for their betrayal of the people.

And just to spread things evenly, when you have no effective opposition or worse "no opposition leader" the NDP have dirt to scrape from their boots too.

The GREAT SATAN

Anonymous said...

RAIL:(intransitive verb), To speak bitterly or reproachfully, complain violently.

Tennyson once said, "it is better to fight for the good, then to RAIL on the ill. I have felt with my Native land I am one with my kind, I embrace the purpose of God, and the doom assigned"

*RAILING IN B.C. IS ILLEGAL!*

source-'HOSTILE' the movie made in Canada!?

Baxman said...

I first saw this information in the Globe & Mail on August 20th.
It finally appears in the Times Colonist today the 26th. Not a word in the Sun or Province. What we don't know won't hurt us?

Anonymous said...

Umtil we put 150,000 angry citizens in the streets we can expect nothing but filth from our elected "leaders"!

The GREAT SATAN

Anonymous said...

22 Years Later !

When it comes to corruption little has changed in the world.

Under Gordon Campbell and his phoney Liberals, BC has become just another ON-THE-TAKE 3rd World Cess Pool.

In Feb,1986 after years of rigged and meaningless elections, rampant corruption and a national media also ON-THE-TAKE . . . the people of the Philippines rose up to kick Ferdinand Marcos and his high-end . . . shoe loving wife Imelda out.

Ferdinand, Imelda, their mutual families and many of their "connected" friends looted billions from the national treasury with their numerous policy schemes, land sales and government contracts.

Over two hundred thousand angry citizens marched peacefully through the street of Manila. Within days those numbers climbed to over 500,000 in what became the People Power Movement.

At that point, Ferdinand & Imelda called their dear neo-con friend Ronald Reagan, and the "royal" couple along with their billions of stolen dollars and Imelda's high-end shoe collection were flown out on a US military executive jet.

Have you noticed that El Presidente Campbell also likes executive jets and hanging around with elites, or how some celeb Liberals really like high-priced footwear ? Gordo even has a large collection of country club media butt-kissers to insure him only good news reporting.

The GREAT SATAN

A. G. Tsakumis said...

Look, the calculus here is very simple...

While all of you have made some very compelling points, baxman and The Great Satan have the smoking gun...

Let me expand the thesis...

When the media gets accused of biased reporting, most of us brush it off as a disgruntled pol or supporter who might not want to hear the truth. That's not the case here.

It's obvious that the mainstream media in this country are bent on electing liberals, without one shred of concern as to who they might be and what they might represent, as long as the position they find is as close to their's as possible.

Journalistic integrity exists with very few because the higher-ups are busy readying some fat sponsorship or golf tournament.

I have nothing against Mr. Skulsky or CanWest Global. I enjoy reading Vaughn's columns in the Sun, as much I laugh, heartily and with cause, at Barbara "Daffy's" transparently pathetic, ill-researched columns that amount to nothing more than an advance of Liberal speaking notes for the week. She tries, the poor dear...but McKnight is equally shameless and let's not even start about Mulgrew and his uneducated efforts to legalize "soft" drugs. But this recipie is consistent throughout the CanWest Global chain.

Accordingly, I haven't the foggiest clue how CanWest can any longer claim journalistic integrity, when they are so obviously silent on the issues of the day, unless they buttress a point of view that is in line with the pan-Liberalism that seems to have enveloped 90% of the media in this country. The Post being the exception, Conservative or not, they have writers you can actually read and are highly literate, even if you don't agree with them, like George Jonas, who remains the best writer in this country. Wente at the Globe and Mail and Cannon, occasionally along with Blatchford are good too. And Rex Murphy is the absolute best, on par with Jonas.

But other than rethermalized, tabloid level pablum, what good is the Sun anymore? The occasional ray of light peers through...occasionally, if Fazil Mihlar is writing.

Think about it...Glen Clark had a deck built that we eventually found out he paid for-at a discount, fair enough, but paid for, in a casino building scheme that he knew next to nothing about...the charges are beaten...VanderZalm gets 20K in a cash bag as a deposit, we were originally told, on a $16M dollar private deal, and all of a sudden it is portrayed as a 'bribe', without the word having ever been used. Never mind that the discussins with the buyer took place in the Preem's office (true, but a side issue)...charges are beaten...both stories started out wrong and there was ample evidence for even a cursory investigation to deliver, but no one reported it...no one. The Sun even continued with headlines that were more Enquirer-like than ever! But the stigma remains, unfairly, on two former Premiers because we have torn them down with other, irrelevant to the issue, items: cost overruns, marketing boards, fast ferries, etc. Even though, both started out doing quite well.

Now think about this...what would the media have done if either of those men, while still Premier had their immediate campaign manager and highest ranking political advisor acting as unregistered lobbyists??? What would CanWest have reported if Clark took a private plane ride with Ken Georgetti to the Olympics or VanderZalm did similarly with Peter Toigo? What would they have done if Bill or Glen had bypassed due process and promised a $20M dollar expenditure (autism center), right from the Premier's office, without one approval, nothing?

The cries of "crucify them" would have been as voluminous as in the court of Pontius Pilate.

Canwest/The Sun/BCTV have a long-standing tradition of bias.

Jagger and Richards had it right..."made damn sure the Pilate, washed his hands, and sealed His fate..."

That's the role of Mr. Skulsky...the Pilate...except in the reverse. His companies' silence gives wind to Mr. Campbell's sails..

He, and the Premier have no clue what's coming...or perhaps they do...and they're afraid.

That's what people do when they're afraid.

They lie, when they're not too busy being silent.

A. G. Tsakumis said...

Look, the calculus here is very simple...

While all of you have made some very compelling points, baxman and The Great Satan have the smoking gun...

Let me expand the thesis...

When the media gets accused of biased reporting, most of us brush it off as a disgruntled pol or supporter who might not want to hear the truth. That's not the case here.

It's obvious that the mainstream media in this country are bent on electing liberals, without one shred of concern as to who they might be and what they might represent, as long as the position they find is as close to their's as possible.

Journalistic integrity exists with very few because the higher-ups are busy readying some fat sponsorship or golf tournament.

I have nothing against Mr. Skulsky or CanWest Global. I enjoy reading Vaughn's columns in the Sun, as much I laugh, heartily and with cause, at Barbara "Daffy's" transparently pathetic, ill-researched columns that amount to nothing more than an advance of Liberal speaking notes for the week. She tries, the poor dear...but McKnight is equally shameless and let's not even start about Mulgrew and his uneducated efforts to legalize "soft" drugs. But this recipie is consistent throughout the CanWest Global chain.

Accordingly, I haven't the foggiest clue how CanWest can any longer claim journalistic integrity, when they are so obviously silent on the issues of the day, unless they buttress a point of view that is in line with the pan-Liberalism that seems to have enveloped 90% of the media in this country. The Post being the exception, Conservative or not, they have writers you can actually read and are highly literate, even if you don't agree with them, like George Jonas, who remains the best writer in this country. Wente at the Globe and Mail and Cannon, occasionally along with Blatchford are good too. And Rex Murphy is the absolute best, on par with Jonas.

But other than rethermalized, tabloid level pablum, what good is the Sun anymore? The occasional ray of light peers through...occasionally, if Fazil Mihlar is writing.

Think about it...Glen Clark had a deck built that we eventually found out he paid for-at a discount, fair enough, but paid for, in a casino building scheme that he knew next to nothing about...the charges are beaten...VanderZalm gets 20K in a cash bag as a deposit, we were originally told, on a $16M dollar private deal, and all of a sudden it is portrayed as a 'bribe', without the word having ever been used. Never mind that the discussins with the buyer took place in the Preem's office (true, but a side issue)...charges are beaten...both stories started out wrong and there was ample evidence for even a cursory investigation to deliver, but no one reported it...no one. The Sun even continued with headlines that were more Enquirer-like than ever! But the stigma remains, unfairly, on two former Premiers because we have torn them down with other, irrelevant to the issue, items: cost overruns, marketing boards, fast ferries, etc. Even though, both started out doing quite well.

Now think about this...what would the media have done if either of those men, while still Premier had their immediate campaign manager and highest ranking political advisor acting as unregistered lobbyists??? What would CanWest have reported if Clark took a private plane ride with Ken Georgetti to the Olympics or VanderZalm did similarly with Peter Toigo? What would they have done if Bill or Glen had bypassed due process and promised a $20M dollar expenditure (autism center), right from the Premier's office, without one approval, nothing?

The cries of "crucify them" would have been as voluminous as in the court of Pontius Pilate.

Canwest/The Sun/BCTV have a long-standing tradition of bias.

Jagger and Richards had it right..."made damn sure the Pilate, washed his hands, and sealed His fate..."

That's the role of Mr. Skulsky...the Pilate...except in the reverse. His companies' silence gives wind to Mr. Campbell's sails..

He, and the Premier have no clue what's coming...or perhaps they do...and they're afraid.

That's what people do when they're afraid.

They lie, when they're not too busy being silent.

Budd Campbell said...

I know that BC's wood products and pulp mills have laid off thousands, and no doubt there is a valid question around log exports. If these exports were reduced, would the logs still be harvested in BC and milled here, or would they simply not be harvested in the first place.

I don't know what the BC Govt can do that would increase employment in the forestry, wood products and pulp and paper sectors anytime soon. If the US housing market stays down, things are going to be very difficult.

Longer term, one could well ask why there has been no major investment in the pulp side of the industry for fifteen years. And why the coast mills were never upgraded even after it was apparent that major investment was needed. And then there's the recent depressing example of CANFOR not even bothering to rebuild their plywood plant in Prince George after it burned down.

Is there something fundamentally wrong with the tenure system? Should we be going to private woodlots on the Scandanavian model, or should we be doing some major forest land zoning, as advocated by former UBC Forestry Dean Clark Binkley?.

Some might say we need domestic ownership of forest lands, and privately owned woodlots would achieve part of that, provided it were coupled with a PEI style law forbidding any non-resident (including Canadians in other provinces) land ownership.

Anonymous said...

And this is news? Vancouver's leading media outlets are biased as hell, so much so that they have lost all relevance

I'm not a NDP supporter (Not with Carole James at the helm), yet the feeding frenzy of Clark over a hunting knife and a sun-deck, pales with what is looming over Campbell. Yet almost silence from the likes of CanWest Global/CORUS media giants.

Good God, they have the wife and former Liberal MLA on a talk show. Bill Boring is just as bad on brand-x, just dreadful. Rafe Mair and the guests he had on his radio show are banned from the mainstream media, as Mair is himself. This tell a lot how corrupt the media is.

This free-fall of investigative and factual reporting has left Campbell & Co. in a very dangerous hubris, where they see the economy as 'wonderful', where in real fact the economy is in trouble - big trouble.

Here is a news story first mentioned by Vaugh Palmer (who has been reigned in by the Sun), that should send shock waves to the taxpayer.

JUST THE SKYTRAIN EXPO LINE WILL HAVE A $3 BILLION RETROFIT INCLUDING A 10 KM. EXTENSION IN SURREY.

$3 billion, a vast sum of money, but do the mainstream media report than in Spain and Finland they are building light rail for well under $10 million a KM.? No Why? LRT is a taboo subject.

Where is the honesty, integrity, and the insight of today's media. There isn't any.

Anonymous said...

And how much did Canwest media give to liberal party contribution.?
Looks like the pineapple express is coming in for a ... ahem landing.Another dip in the economy 300 jobs shut down in glass plant in Vernon.Another shut down in 100 mile house (illegal crop).Ah well might as well go down to another casino and watch the raw logs float by being exported.Does the emperor have any .?
NDP.?

Anonymous said...

Oil and gas are now down also.How will that drop affect revenue.?

Anonymous said...

Consumer spending fuels our economy by almost 70% according to Stats BC.

With higher food prices, especially from the staples such as cereal, bread and pasta; high gasoline prices; high home heating bills from Terasen; the further price hikes from BC Hydro; and the price increases incurred on our goods and services from the so called revenue-neutral Carbon Tax, families have begun to curtail their discretionary spending. Common sense dictates that they will continue to do so because home heating costs, BC Hydro rates, and the Carbon Tax are all expected rise over the next few years.

In the case of BC Hydro, the rates may rise dramatically because of privatization and the cost of the much needed upgrades to outdated infrastructure. The upgrades are expected to be close to five billion dollars, according to The Vancouver Sun. Site C environmental studies and building costs are also on the horizon.

Combine that with the expected decline in the residential housing market and our economy is going to be floundering for some time to come, especially after the 2010 circus leaves BC.

Does Campbell care? No, why would he with a fabulous salary and a fine government pension to sustain him for the coming years. He's looking out for number one. And in my opinion, he always has.

Anonymous said...

Tsakumis!

I had you pegged as one of the heartless among the media elite! I sometimes grind my teeth when I read your columns in 24hrs.

But you proved me wrong. You not only have a heart but a brain too. I was VERY impressed with what you wrote here.

Kudos!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I also wanna say how I thought Alex was a hard-ass conservative before, but I really enjoy reading his stuff and this post is no different.

His support of autistic kids was gutsie and his fair comments on this premier and the bullshit going on at Insite are inspirational. I enjoyed his long post here as much as his 24hrs. articles. For sure kudos.

Anonymous said...

A reflection from one who lives in genteel poverty.

Since Campbell & co. have been elected, my income has been halved and yes, I am self employed.

The tourist industry has all but collapsed - the 'Best place in the world' moniker has absolutely no bearing on the tourist market - as an industry we offer nothing, except 3rd rate tourist traps and very expensive (read snobby) winter sports.

Forestry has sunk deeper than the Titanic and the Titanic had more survivors.

House prices have risen to such dizzying heights that my children can never afford 1.

The list goes on and on. But where is the media in all this? In the NDP days, even a minor economic pratfall would bring out the cameras, but not today. The electronic media is asleep at the switch, offering warm and fuzzy feel good stories. Bill Boring on CORUS, with his main competitor, Shock Jock Mair, all but banned from the airwaves, has turned into a Liberal shill - Don't worry, be happy, is his credo.

The racist opposition party is lead by "what's her name', who should resign, but won't. The NDP are racist because a new policy disallows older white men to run in certain constituencies. Here is a good question, "why would middle aged white men vote for a party that rejects them?"

I'll bet Campbell and Co. will have a field day with that one.

Never before has BC been run by such an overpowering corrupt government, with such a weak and inept opposition.

No wonder Campbell doesn't care, he reelection is all but sown up.

I am disgusted with the lot of them!

Anonymous said...

Baxman & A.G. Tsakumis are right on - Why indeed hasn't this news been reported in the Sun? Why won't they touch the Premier's other shennanigans, even when you give them all the facts and all the duly supporting evidence on a plate?

Because it's really hard -- no, impossible -- for polite Liberals to publicly embarrass their golfing buddies or the same folks they share the head table with at their pretentious, hypocritical "charity" events.

Or (horrors!) to admit that the folks on the left or the right are actually the ones who got it right.

Anonymous said...

It's all okay the political elite and the rest of Bill Borings friends will roast him shortly . Though as to why they honor him with this or the other awards he has gotten I don't know. Was the competition really that poor.