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News Releases and Op-Eds

Jock Finlayson: We need to watch spending by local governments (Vancouver Sun)

A cross Canada, municipal elected officials and their advocacy orga-nizations have been sounding alarm bells over a perceived inadequacy of resources to finance local government services and physical assets. Last month, for example, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) called on the federal government to provide billions of dollars to help close the "infrastructure deficit" that is said to plague many cities and towns.

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BCBC Statement regarding Canada's decision on foreign investment

The Business Council of British Columbia today welcomes the decision by the federal government in the purchasing processes involving Nexen Inc. and Progress Energy. While we will need to review the conditions in greater detail, we believe this decision sends a positive investment signal and balances the important need for capital investment with a net-benefit framework that advances the interests of all Canadians.

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Jock Finlayson: The centre of economic gravity is tilting (Vancouver Sun)

The rise of China and other emerging economies is having a profound impact on the international economic and political order established by a handful of Western countries at the close of the Second World War. Collectively, the emerging economies of Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and Africa will soon account for half of world production and consumption. They have also driven most of the growth in the global economy since the mid-2000s. One area where emerging economies are making a notable difference is the pattern of foreign direct investment (FDI). Long viewed solely as destinations for FDI by Western-based multinational companies, some emerging economies have become important sources of investment into the U.S. and other advanced country jurisdictions.

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Jock Finlayson: US Economy in the hands of its politicians - God help us all

With the seemingly never-ending U.S. election finally out of the way, it’s time to assess what the outcome may portend for the giant but underperforming $15 trillion American economy. President Barack Obama managed to eke out a second term, but he will continue to face stiff opposition in Congress. Moreover, Obama cannot be said to have secured a sweeping mandate. The country, like Congress, remains almost evenly divided between proponents and critics of “big government.” On economic policy, getting anything done – raising the debt ceiling, giving the President authority to negotiate trade agreements, inking an annual budget, and finding a fix for the U.S. government’s deep-seated fiscal problems – will require compromise and good will among the political class, commodities in short supply in Washington D.C. over the past few years.

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Advisory Council Announced for the BC Agenda for Shared Prosperity -
12 civic leaders from across British Columbia's social and economic sectors to guide process

October 11, 2012 (Vancouver, BC) - The Business Council of British Columbia and the BC Chamber of Commerce announced today that a group of 12 respected and civic-minded British Columbians have agreed to sit as members of an Advisory Council to the recently announced BC Agenda for Shared Prosperity. The Council will play an important oversight and commentary role within the BC Agenda initiative which aims to establish greater connectivity between the province’s economic developments and the interests and opportunities of British Columbians.

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Finlayson: Emerging markets the defining characteristic of our age

At a time of slowing global growth and considerable uncertainty about the economic outlook, it is easy to lose sight of the longer-term trends that are re-defining the international marketplace. The most far-reaching such trend is the rise of emerging markets in the world economy. Emerging economies include all of Africa and Latin America, and Asia apart from Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. Most of the states that comprised the former Soviet Union are also classified as emerging economies, along with Turkey and the Middle East (except Israel). Emerging markets currently account for 45 per cent of world consumption – a proportion that continues to edge higher – and they have driven the lion’s share of global economic growth for the past decade. By 2030, upward of 60 per cent of total world-wide spending will be occurring in countries now labeled as emerging markets.

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Business Council of BC and BC Chamber of Commerce Launch New Policy Initiative: BC Agenda for Shared Prosperity

The BC Chamber of Commerce and the Business Council of British Columbia have launched an innovative new policy initiative designed to take a fresh look at the economic and social development issues affecting the prosperity of British Columbians called the BC Agenda for Shared Prosperity.

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D'Avignon & Winter: BC Agenda for Shared Prosperity

Too often when British Columbians hear the term 'prosperity', the belief is that the rich are simply getting richer and the poor poorer. In fact, in a recent survey commissioned by the Business Council of British Columbia found 84% of British Columbians believed this to be true. While the reality may not be quite this stark, there is no question that many BC families have accumulated higher levels of debt and are under increasing financial pressure in their day-to-day lives. Why should BC businesses care about this widely held sentiment in BC?

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Finlayson: Metro Vancouver's Economic well-being needs work

Metro Vancouver scores well in international surveys that measure the quality of life in different urban centres. With a beautiful setting, temperate climate and many attractive amenities, the region has much to offer. But while it boasts an enviable lifestyle, Greater Vancouver’s economic performance is less stellar. Moreover, the region faces not just economic challenges but significant demographic pressures, with the population set to climb by more than one million by 2035. As more people cram into a small geographic area, there is the risk that long-standing problems around housing affordability, congestion and the provision of adequate transit services will intensify.

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Business Council of BC Launches New Platform for “Next” Generation of Leaders

September 14, 2012 (Vancouver, BC) – The Business Council of BC and TELUS President and CEO Darren Entwistle today launched a unique new engagement platform called “Next” that is bringing today’s young leaders together and ensuring their perspectives are brought forward to shape the future policy and economic development conversations taking place in British Columbia. “As Generation X and Y begin to assume key leadership roles in companies and communities across BC and Western Canada, there are shifts occurring that require an active dialogue between the baby boomers still leading businesses and these Next leaders,” said Greg D’Avignon, President and CEO of the Business Council. “Working with our member companies and our sponsoring corporate partners TELUS, Stantec and RBC, we have created a movement of young business people and a place for them to share fresh ideas, build knowledge and provide the mentoring and networking that supports collaboration.”

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Jock Finlayson: Everything you wanted to know about the TPP

(but were afraid to ask)

Back in June, Canada entered into talks aimed at concluding what some experts believe may eventually become the world’s most exciting modern trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Why does Canada want to be part of the TPP?

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Jock Finlayson: The future of Canadian unions is bleak

Recent news that two of Canada’s biggest unions are contemplating joining forces points to the challenges confronting trade unions in today’s hyper-competitive economy.

The Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP) are looking at merging to enhance their bargaining power and their ability to advance the interests of their members. In late August, the CAW formally voted to combine with the CEP, which itself will take up the matter in the fall.

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Jock Finlayson: Time for a reality check on financial market returns

For investors and savers, today’s financial environment must rank among the least rewarding in half a century, if not longer. In the major advanced economies – the US, Canada, Japan, the UK, and most of continental Europe – the “policy” interest rates set by central banks are at or near all-time lows. This translates into almost non-existent returns for savers who squirrel away money in bank accounts, GICs, and money market funds.

The same is true for the buyers of government bonds – ten-year government bond yields in Canada and the US now hover under 2 percent. With inflation projected to be at or above 2 percent, this means investors in government bonds who hold to maturity are on track for negative real (that is, after-inflation) returns. Despite this counterintuitive picture, there is no lack of demand for the sovereign debt of credit-worthy issuers.

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Canada's Economy in for a Rough Ride

By Jock Finlayson, Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer, Business Council of British Columbia
This summer marks the third anniversary of the economic recovery that began following the 2008 global financial crisis and the recession that descended upon much of the world in its wake. By any measure it has been a subdued economic rebound, particularly for many of the “advanced” countries that belong to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

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Boomtown or Ghost Town? The Need to Secure BC's LNG Opportunity

By Greg D'Avignon, President and CEO, Business Council of British Columbia
Even in the best of times, it is extremely rare that a province is presented with an opportunity to develop a new industry with the potential for $50 billion in capital investment over the next five years. Over the longer-term there may be as much as 1.2 million person years of employment, a six-fold increase in annual government royalties and a cumulative total upwards of $1 trillion in additional GDP over the next 30 years. Such are the magnitudes of the economic and social benefits that BC could realize by developing a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export industry, serving the rapidly expanding Asian markets.

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Public Sector pensions are sure to be reviewed

By Jock Finlayson, Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer, Business Council of British Columbia
With governments across the country addressing budget deficits pushed higher by the 2008-09 recession, attention is turning to the pay levels of employees in the public sec-tor and how these compare with private-sector practices.

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Municipal Operating Spending Climbs by 80% in Metro Vancouver Since 2000

A recent analysis prepared by the Business Council of British Columbia finds that the total operating spending in Metro Vancouver municipalities jumped by 80 per cent between 2000 and 2010; when adjusted for population growth and inflation, the average real per capita municipal operating spending increased by 32 per cent over the period, outpacing population growth and inflation. This rate of growth also outpaces that of the provincial government, which has increased real per capita spending 10 per cent over the same period.

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The Cost of the Public Sector in Canada

Article by Jock Finlayson appearing on the Troy Media website on May 27, 2012.

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Business Council Calls for Resolution of the Teamsters' Labour Disruption at CP Rail

The Business Council of British Columbia is increasingly concerned with the prospect of a protracted work stoppage by the Teamsters at CP Rail that will impact economic growth and hurt BC and Canada’s reputation as a reliable and competitive gateway to markets for inbound and outbound goods and commodities.

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BCBC Appoints Hank Ketcham As New Chair at 46th Annual General Meeting

On May 15th, the Business Council of British Columbia appointed British Columbia Business Laureate, Hank Ketcham, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, West Fraser, as the new Chair of the Business Council for a two-year term.

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