Mr. Dix, we’re all ears

December 11, 2012

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I want to welcome David Bieber to the Duel this week by not quite disagreeing with all he has to say, but by saying he has missed the point by looking too much to the past.

He is arguing that the record of the New Democratic Party in government during the 1990s wasn’t the disaster most people believe it to be. David has presented us with some facts to support his case. Here’s a few more facts about the NDP’s time in government — by their last full year in power, 14,783 more people left B.C. for other provinces than came here. When given the chance to judge the NDP on their economic management, the people of B.C. wiped out their government on election day.

But that’s all behind us now. Let’s leave arguing about the past to the historians. What I am concerned about is the future.

These days, provinces are competing for jobs, investment and even people. B.C. is losing that competition. Last week, the Fraser Institute released rankings of the fiscal performance of the premiers. The results were depressing — in only one year Christy Clark has managed to pull B.C. out of the top spot and drag us down to fourth. Judging by the way this year has gone, I’m sure we’ll be even lower next year.

One of the most important ways to measure if a province is doing well is if people are moving here from other provinces. If more people are coming to B.C. than moving east, it means there are jobs, opportunities and competitive taxes. If more people are leaving, it means that other provinces have more to offer than B.C.

In the five quarters reported since Clark became premier 5,572 more people have chosen to leave B.C. for other provinces than move here.

The question is about the future. How can B.C. turn our economy and poor management around, so that we can attract people once again? We know what the Liberal approach under Clark is — more spending, more debt, more taxes and more bumbling. We know it isn’t working.

But what do Adrian Dix and the NDP offer? Well, no one is really sure exactly, because they have been very vague. Instead of defending the NDP’s record from 15 years ago — let’s hear about what they would do today, specifically, to make our province attractive for jobs, investments and opportunities.

Mr. Dix, we’re all ears.

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