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Globe and Mail: Flurry of BC court battles threaten to drive away investment

A flurry of court cases has tied up more than $25-billion worth of resource projects this year as First Nations, environmental groups and others battle pipelines, mines, a dam and a coal port – a situation that some observers fear will drive away investment.

“Well, it’s not new, but arguably it’s intensified,” Jock Finlayson, executive vice-president and chief policy officer for the Business Council of B.C., said of the legal roadblocks.

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The Globe and Mail, Gary Mason: Opposition to BC resource projects comes with economic repercussions

[EXCERPT] Former Quebec premier Jean Charest was in town recently to speak to a conference organized by the B.C. Business Council. He now travels the world offering advice to companies looking for opportunities in Canada. He said the country, and B.C. in particular, is gaining an international reputation as a difficult place to do business. And that rep is scaring away investors.

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Business in Vancouver: Unions need to strengthen their labour rights 'brand:' Sinclair

[EXCERPT] A 2013 Business Council of British Columbia white paper found that union “density” – the proportion of paid workers protected by a collective agreement – dropped by five percentage points in B.C. between 1997 and 2012, compared with the national average decline of three percentage points.

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The Vancouver Sun: Luster of BC bonds dulls under weight of provincial debt

[EXCERPT] However, Jock Finlayson, executive vice-president of the Business Council of B.C., on Monday reiterated his group’s position that building more infrastructure now still make sense.

“I’m not suggesting going out and borrowing another $3 billion on top of where we already are,” Finlayson said, but it is also counterintuitive to cut back on capital spending at a time of weak growth in the economy, corresponding with “the lowest borrowing costs in recorded human history.”

And he added that the advantage of preserving B.C.’s credit rating now could be washed out by the overall rise in interest rates that are expected to double on high-quality government bonds, in nominal terms from 2.5 per cent to five per cent, over the next several years.

“If you need to build a Pattullo Bridge, or St. Paul’s Hospital needs to be rebuilt, there’s an argument for advancing some of those capital projects,” Finlayson said.

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The Vancouver Sun, Vaughn Palmer: BC Premier rejects business call for more infrastructure spending

[EXCERPT] Since winning the last election on a promise to make the province debt-free, the B.C. Liberals have balanced the budget for program spending and slowed the rate of growth of borrowing for capital projects. Still, even that modest progress was challenged recently by the Business Council of B.C., which called on the Liberals to postpone their drive in favour of borrowing more to pay for infrastructure and stimulate the economy. “While prudent fiscal management is highly desirable and is something that sets B.C. apart from some other Canadian jurisdictions, there are advantages in having some flexibility around public investments in large capital projects, notably those that promise to pay significant economic dividends,” observed the council in a white paper on infrastructure policy and financing, released last week.

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ITS International: White paper focuses on British Columbia infrastructure needs

With the economic prosperity of British Columbia and Western Canada relying increasingly on global trade and our ability to deliver goods to foreign markets, the Business Council of British Columbia (BCBC) has released Building BC for the 21st Century: A White Paper on Infrastructure Policy and Financing in advance of its second annual BC Business Summit today.

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Vancouver Sun: Premier cool to loading up on debt to build out infrasturcture

[EXCERPT]Council vice-president and chief economist Ken Peacock, in releasing the white paper Wednesday, acknowledged that the province does need to worry about its credit rating with international bond-rating agencies.

However, he believes borrowing more without hurting its rating would be “manageable,” in the context of B.C.’s still-low ratio of taxpayer debt compared with the size of the overall economy.

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CBC TV Francais: Coverage of the BC Business Summit and the Business Council Whitepaper on Infrastructure

Includes interviews with Honourable Jean Charest, Premier Christy Clark and Business Council Chief Economist, Ken Peacock

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CTV: BC Business leaders are proposing more tolls in Metro Vancouver to fund transit and public infrastructure

Watch CTV report on the Business Council's Whitepaper on infrastructure

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Nanaimo Daily News: Paid in Alberta - Higher wages lure workers away from home

[EXCERPT] B.C. Business Council chief economist Ken Peacock said the "very widespread" trend of residents obtaining work in Alberta could increase labour demand for major projects in British Columbia, such as the development of liquefied natural gas or the potential construction of the Site C Dam.

"There's a little bit of a problem when we're training workers and they go to Alberta and Alberta benefits from our training," he said. "But if you take a long-term view, people do come back. British Columbia and Nanaimo are nice places to live.

"They will come back."

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The Surrey Leader: More bridge tolls urged by Business Council of BC

The tolls that are now charged on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges should be extended to other Lower Mainland crossings so motorists are treated more fairly across the region.

That's one of the recommendations from the Business Council of B.C. in a white paper it has released on the need to build much more infrastructure in the province and seek new ways of financing it.

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Resource Clips: Urban dependence

The livelihood of city dwellers relies on more resource industries than many people realize

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News 1130: BC Business Council endorses tolls on more bridges

The BC Business Council has come out in favour of tolling more bridges in the Lower Mainland. 

The suggestion is made in a report looking at the need to keep up with demands on our roads, hospitals and water systems.

The council says tolling more bridges will improve equity across the region. 

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Business in Vancouver: BC needs strategic approach to developing infrastructure, says BCBC

The demand on current infrastructure in British Columbia will increase in the decades to come, and the province’s current plans to address these needs are inadequate, argues the Business Council of BC in a white paper released November 5.

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Vancouver Sun: Business Council of BC calls for strategic infrastructure spending plan

British Columbians might think the province has racked up enough debt building capital projects such as the Port Mann Bridge replacement and major expansion of Surrey Memorial Hospital, but a key business lobby group is pushing Victoria to ramp up strategic infrastructure spending.

Even with B.C.’s debt forecast to hit $41 billion by the end of next March, now is still an opportune time to launch a 10-year infrastructure plan in the province, according to Ken Peacock, vice-president and chief economist for the Business Council of B.C.

The Business Council of B.C. put its recommendations on continued infrastructure spending in the province into a white paper it released today.

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Vancouver Sun, Barbara Yaffe: Can BC reclaim its competitive edge?

The Business Council of B.C. is sounding an alarm on a dirty little secret provincial politicians don’t want to hear about — B.C. is no longer a competitive place to do business.

The Clark government does not want to hear it because its commitment to balanced budgets and whisker-thin surpluses leaves no cash to address the problem.

Regardless, the business council pulled no punches in a recent pre-budget submission to the provincial standing committee on finance and government services. Such committees traditionally canvas stakeholder views in the fall regarding the spring budget.

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Business in Vancouver: Profile of Lynne Platt, US consul general, Vancouver

“I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t know [Business Council of British Columbia CEO] Greg D’Avignon, [British Columbia Chamber of Commerce CEO] John Winter or if I hadn’t met with Iain Black and the folks at the VBOT,” Platt said.

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Nanaimo Daily News: Economist 'optimistic' for turnaround

Attendees at this year's State of the Island Economic Summit opened their annual conference with a prediction from a prominent B.C. economist: expect economic growth, but don't expect a boom.

Ken Peacock, chief economist for the Business Council of B.C., delivered the remarks during a luncheon speech to hundreds of business, government and institutional representatives attending the two-day conference being hosted by the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance.

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Business in Vancouver: Seattle soars as land costs stall Vancouver growth

[EXCERPT] To observers of Vancouver’s economy, the city’s economic engine increasingly appears to be stuck in neutral. Despite a growing tech sector, renewed activity in film and TV production and stalwart sectors like financial services, incomes continue to lag behind those in other Canadian cities and have even fallen in the past few years compared with other metropolitan areas. 

“It’s not a new problem, but perhaps it’s gotten more salient because of the rise in housing prices,” said Jock Finlayson, an economist and chief policy officer at the Business Council of British Columbia. 

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Vancouver Sun: BC's new LNG tax regime pleases one company, offers certainty to industry

[EXCERPT] B.C. Business Council vice-president Tom Syer there's still more elements companies will need to see before making final investment decisions.

"This is one piece of the puzzle, it's an important piece . . . but it's certainly not the most important from the tax perspective on what the proponents are going to be paying," he said.

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