February 18, 2016 - 4:30 PM
KELOWNA - Cheerleader-in-chief Christy Clark brought her upbeat message of hope — and prudent fiscal management — to the local business community today.
“The world is full of naysayers, the forces of no, cloudy days in the future, they have all the reasons why everything is not going to work,” Premier Clark says. "Because we have optimism we lead, because we have hope, we turn away from no. We want to make B.C. a place in Canada we can believe in."
Premier Clark’s government introduced its fourth consecutive balanced budget earlier this week and the premier boasted to Kelowna Chamber of Commerce members dining on salmon for lunch what that means for the province.
“It means $1.6 billion in new spending to make life more affordable for people around the province, it’s about finding money to put aside for a rainy day,” she says.
Clark says the province leads the country in growth, creating 60,000 jobs last year and holding the only triple A credit rating in Canada, avoiding $2.6 billion in interest payments and fueling the overall budget increase.
“If we had Ontario’s credit rating and fiscal management we would be paying $4 billion for debt management, almost 10 per cent of our budget would be going to banks in New York and London.”
If you include the controversial Site C dam on the Peace River in northern B.C., Clark says her government is in the midst of spending $20 billion on infrastructure throughout the province.
“The difference is we only borrow for things that leave a legacy for our kids, things that make a lasting contribution to our province, not just pay our grocery bill,” Clark says.
Some 38,000 people immigrated to B.C. last year, with another coming 13,000 from the rest of Canada.
“Those people voted with their feet,” Clark says. “They have come because we have worked so hard to get our fundamentals right.”
If there was a hole in Clark’s vision, it was the lack of results on LNG. She put a brave face on it with the introduction of $100 million seed money for a prosperity fund, reminding the crowd the money was only available because the province is doing well in other areas.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016