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Monday, April 07, 2014
More Porsche Sales, More Poor Children, More Workers Without Full Time Jobs in BC - Something Wrong With This Picture
Bill Tieleman's 24 Hours Vancouver / The Tyee column
Tuesday April 1, 2014
By Bill Tieleman
"Social Acceptance: It is important to us that the Porsche brand is firmly anchored in society. And represents an attainable dream."
Great news: Porsche sales went up 20 per cent in British Columbia in 2013.
But unfortunately, so did the number of poor children and people without full-time jobs!
And while it's good Porsche is concerned about the "social acceptance" of the cars it sells, starting from $54,000 for a Macan S to over $1 million for a 918 Spyder, something is wrong with this picture.
Sadly, a Porsche is an "attainable dream" for B.C.'s rich, but the hope of a full-time job and raising children without poverty is unattainable for hundreds of thousands of British Columbians.
And don't look to B.C. Premier Christy Clark's heavily-advertised BC Jobs Plan to change that -- BC Liberal "strategy" bets everything on the risky chance that liquefied natural gas will cure all.
On Monday, Clark and her five-minister entourage visited Ottawa to repeat claims that LNG will create 100,000 B.C. jobs.
However a RBC Capital Markets report released last week once again casts doubts on B.C.'s boasts.
"A window of opportunity exists for Canadian LNG projects to capture market share, but that opening is limited given intensifying supply competition from the United States, Russia, and Mozambique," the report says.
"While the global LNG market is likely to remain supply-constrained into 2018, demand growth limitations could play a much bigger role thereafter -- particularly if Japan's nuclear utilization rates rebound as we expect."
Meanwhile, back in the real world, child poverty, income disparity and job losses in B.C. simply grow and grow.
The rich, the poor, the Porsche
Look at the cold, hard numbers.
Statistics Canada reports that B.C.'s full-time employment dropped from 1,814,100 in Oct. 2013 to 1,802,700 in Feb. 2014.
Every other western province saw full-time employment grow during that period.
B.C.'s labour force actually shrank, while the employment rate dropped. Now, 157,500 workers are jobless. (Because of a lower participation rate -- people giving up on finding work -- the unemployment rate dipped slightly from 6.6 per cent in October to 6.4 per cent in February.)
Then look at B.C.'s pathetic child poverty record, Canada's worst again.
Youth advocate group First Call's report released late last year shows B.C.'s child poverty rate at 18.6 per cent, the highest in Canada and 5.3 per cent above than the national average, according to the latest StatsCan figures available.
That means one in five kids in B.C., about 153,000, live below StatsCan's low-income cutoff.
First Call points out that B.C. also has the most unequal distribution of income among rich and poor families with children.
The richest 10 per cent has 12.6 times the income of the poorest 10 per cent, the worst ratio in Canada.
But hey, no worries: Porsche sold 569 luxury cars in B.C. last year, a 20 per cent increase over 2012. Jaguar jumped 80 per cent, Land Rover 24 per cent and Audi 12 per cent -- and even Mercedes Benz moved 5,492 new models to rise three per cent.
And as a current radio ad cheerfully tells us: "Just like that, you can afford a Mercedes Benz!"
Unless, that is, you unfortunately happen to be unemployed or poor in British Columbia.