Monday, September 5, 2011

There has basically been NO CHANGE in unemployment from one year ago

This past week Christy Clark announced there would be no early provincial election, and that it will be held as set up in May 2013.  She is however firing up the troops and giving them a reminder of the party’s commitment to free enterprise, jobs, and lower taxes.  Here’s part of what she had to say:

Our focus must be on one thing more than any other: jobs for BC families. We will be presenting a plan that strengthens free enterprise, expands markets for BC products and sticks with our commitments to low taxes and a fiscally responsible approach.” – Christy Clark, in the BC Liberal Party’s most recent fundraising letter.

I hope that is indeed her plan because there has basically been NO CHANGE in unemployment from one year ago.  BC Stats (July 2011) shows unemployment at 7.3% while a year ago (July 2010) it was 7.5%.  There has also been no change in full time employment vs. those at part-time ... full time workers still account for 77.2% of those employed

Here is the scary news ... all 5 goods producing sectors had a 3.3% drop, with employment in Fisheries and Mining leading the way losing 10.4% of their workforce, agriculture dropping 7.2% and manufacturing and housing dropping 3.3% of their workforce. 

Just as a point of interest ... this government crows about putting Families First, and yet the highest employment drops have been in goods producing sectors, with jobs that actually would support and sustain families.

Jobs on the other hand that require people to live in a basement suite, or to live with others to share expenses, have seen increased employment of 7.0% in accommodations ...  and 4.3% in food services.

Like I say ... I sure hope that now Mother Knows Best Christy Clark has decided to focus on actually governing, rather than speculating on an early election call.  What we really need to see is job creation in industries that actually will support families ... and will in turn see increased tax revenue to the government that is badly needed for health, education, and more

IF indeed Christy Clarks focus is on families and creating those family jobs, why is it there have ONLY been 9 announcements of things that even vaguely come close to job creation?  For the BC Governments own Newsroom ( here are the stories I would figure fit with that criteria of creating jobs --- note however I do not agree with their premise they are actually creating jobs.

New jobs training for smaller B.C. communities  (08/31)
VICTORIA - The B.C. government is seeking proposals to provide $4.3 million in additional funding for Job Options BC training programs that will help people find and keep employment in small, rural communities.

Job Options BC is targeted to unemployed British Columbians who are non-Employment Insurance clients. Up to 10 weeks of group and individual programming is available, including short-term training and work experience that prepares participants for new employment, or further training.
  • given the drop for those employment in some of BC’s main industry sectors, what types of jobs will these people be training for ??

B.C. and other Canadian exports now flying direct to China  (08/29)
VANCOUVER - B.C. and other Canadian exports are finding new markets for their products in China through the new China South Airlines (CSA) cargo service from Vancouver International Airport to Shanghai.

CSA chose Vancouver because of the great export potential through Canada's Asia-Pacific Gateway and already have steady business.

Since July 2011, CSA has been moving B.C. seafood and heavy equipment from across Canada four times at week. The new service will create the equivalent of about 40 full-time jobs in the airline industry and other indirect jobs in Canada's export industries.
  • Thank goodness exports to China have increased (they have in fact nearly doubled since 2008) because since that 2008 date exports to Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan have all either decreased or are holding steady at previous dollar figures

First new copper mine since 1998 opens near Princeton (08/18)
PRINCETON - Mining is returning to the Princeton region as the Copper Mountain Mine celebrates its grand opening. The mine brings jobs to the area and benefits the entire province.

Having started production in June 2011, Copper Mountain is the third-largest copper mine in Canada and the first major-metals mine to open in British Columbia since 1998.
  • I do not wish to take anything away from the government in the opening of this mine, however the fact that this is the first one in 10 years they have been government does not speak well to their program to clear the way for business to create new jobs.  The media release stated that 270 jobs will be the result on this one new mine.  My question is, how many mines have closed --  and how many jobs have been lost – in the mining industry over the past 10 years?

Royalty program creates jobs and new infrastructure (08/16)
VICTORIA - The Province has approved $120 million in royalty credits which will lead to the development of 30 new infrastructure projects in northeast B.C. The building of these projects will create over 2,085 direct jobs.

Twelve companies are being awarded credits under the 2011 Infrastructure Royalty Credit Program. New and upgraded roads and pipelines will improve access to underdeveloped areas and increase year-round production activities, which will generate more jobs and more business opportunities in the province's petroleum and natural gas sector.

Industry funds the entire cost of each infrastructure project. Companies can then apply for a credit of up to 50 per cent of the construction costs, which are applied against the royalties companies pay to the Province.
  • Okay again I am glad to see that 2,085 jobs are being created … BUT … would these projects not gone ahead anyways?  If not, then why is government subsidising business to the tune of 50% on these development costs??? …  are they not just a normal part of doing business??

BC's exports surge 14 per cent in first half of 2011 (08/12)
VICTORIA - Led by strong gains to Asia and Europe, British Columbia's exports for the first half of 2011 are up by nearly 14 per cent compared with first six months of 2010.

Figures released by Statistics Canada show that B.C.'s international merchandise exports from January to June were worth $15.9 billion, compared with $14 billion last year.

Solid growth is being recorded in exports of forestry products, industrial goods and energy products, along with gains in agricultural and fishing products, machinery and equipment and automotive products.

British Columbia's domestic-exports to Asia over the first half of 2011 are worth $6.9 billion, surpassing the $6.8 worth of goods shipped to the United States.
  • Those export gains to Asia pretty much bringing us back to where we were in terms of exports in 2008.  This is good news especially given the huge drop in exports to Japan, plus a drop in exports to Taiwan and South Korea.  Meantime from 2008 to 2010 exports to Britain and Germany went from nearly $1 billion a year down $675 million --- a drop of 33%.  Regardless of those exports however, it is important to note the USA still accounts for 42% of our exports – even with their weak economy.

Seaspan shipbuilding bid gets boost to land jobs in BC  (07/25)
A $40-million package from the Province will support Seaspan's bid for a portion of the federal government's multi-billion dollar National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS), and support marine industry jobs in B.C., announced Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation.

"As promised, our government is helping Seaspan submit the strongest possible bid and this investment focuses on job-creation," said Bell. "We are investing in our human capital by supporting the creation of marine industry jobs for years to come."

If Seaspan's bid is successful, the Province proposes to offer enhanced training or other labour tax credits for eligible marine industry employers in B.C. The proposed tax support would provide up to an estimated $35 million in benefits to Seaspan over the 30-year life of the shipbuilding program.
  • This money is to be given IF Seaspan receives contracts as part of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy.  Was Seaspan’s bid ONLY placed because of this, or had they planned to make the bid regardless??   Does BC, working with business, not already have a training and apprenticeship program in place?? … given that, why is this subsidy necessary or required?

$8 million for clean energy projects (07/23)
The ICE Fund helps B.C. entrepreneurs, communities and First Nations demonstrate the viability of their pre-commercial clean technologies to investors and customers worldwide. Since 2008, 56 projects have been approved and are receiving funding to develop new energy solutions to real, everyday energy and environmental challenges. This includes solutions like biomass gasification to produce biogas, which is a clean heating alternative to fossil fuels.

These 12 B.C. entrepreneurs, communities and First Nations will invest about $71 million in their projects. With government's support of $8 million, this brings the total investment in green innovation to $79 million.
  • With $79 million, that means the value of each of these 475 jobs is $166,315.  Notice the wording however -- this is NOT to develop new jobs, it is to demonstrate their viability – in other words, marketing and promotion.  Again is that not a part of doing business that most companies would expect to do?

Strong B.C. job growth and labour demand projected (07/21)
VICTORIA - A new provincial government report predicts the number of skilled workers needed will exceed the supply of workers available by 2016.  One million job openings are expected in B.C. by 2020. One-third of the jobs available will result from the province's economic growth, while two-thirds are spurred on by retirements and the aging workforce.

Responding to the increasing need for skilled workers in B.C., the government is investing over $470 million in jobs training and skills development programs this year. The government has also developed Skills for Growth, a labour market strategy to ensure that workforce skills in British Columbia match and meet the economic needs of the Province.
  • Note that 1/3rd of the 1 million skilled jobs over the next 9 years will be due to economic growth … that’s roughly 333 thousand (37,000 / year).  I’m just wondering, as it is not stated in the news story, whether this is new funding, or funding that was already committed for job training and apprenticeship programs?

Fund aids jobs, opportunities in First Nations communities (07/20)
VICTORIA - People in 16 Aboriginal communities around the province will benefit from the first round of funding from the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund, Premier Christy Clark announced.

This first round of funding from the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund will do exactly that," said Premier Clark. "B.C.'s clean energy advantage is creating jobs and economic opportunities for families across the province and First Nations have a key role to play."

Funding of $850,000 will support 16 clean energy projects, including hydro, biomass and windpower. The funding will be used for a range of activities from business planning and project management for First Nation communities looking to get off diesel power to developing a sustainable commercial and industrial park in the Okanagan.
  • Maybe I am missing something here, but it appears that rather than creating new jobs, this is in reality financial assistance for First nations communities to have a find fuel / power sources that have less of a carbon footprint.  It doesn’t really seem like much of a job creation program??

Recently, Pat Bell (Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation) had these words to say ... “We're achieving this growth directly to our ability to diversify B.C.'s export markets. Given the recent economic troubles in the U.S., it is imperative we continue this successful export market development strategy and builds on B.C.'s successes in Asia

Given export records over the past few years --- job creation --- and a lack of real job creation despite what the governments newsroom has to say – BC Liberals have a long way to go in creating the kinds of jobs we are going to need to beat down both the annual ongoing debts and deficit they have been creating year after year.

In Kamloops, I’m Alan Forseth, and those are the thoughts of one conservative.
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