“Many of the programs that the federal government has been talking about, we are already subscribed to,” said James. B.C. is “certainly open to more funds,” said James, but it’s unclear whether increasing the federal share of previously announced projects is what Ottawa has in mind for stimulus.
James is taking the right approach, said Jock Finlayson, executive vice-president of the B.C. Business Council.
Although major infrastructure spending has historically been used to help pull economies out of recession, it now takes so long to get permits and environmental approvals for large B.C. building projects that it would take years to get any actual economic benefit, he said.
“The governments in Canada collectively have created regulatory systems that have made it almost impossible to use infrastructure spending as a counter-cyclical tool because by the time you get through the approval processes, the recession is over,” said Finlayson.