Aug. 7, 2012 – BC Chamber Public Affairs Update

Public Affairs Update Header
Issue No. 25 August 7, 2012
In This Issue
BC NDP Establishes Election Platform Committee
BC to Cross-Examine Northern Gateway Pipelines
Energy Policy Not Top of Mind for British Columbians
BCGEU Issues Strike Action in BC
The Public Affairs Update is your weekly insight, perspective and analysis on politics in British Columbia and Canada.  This newsletter is brought to you by the largest, and most broadly-based business organization in the province, the BC Chamber of Commerce – the Voice of Business in BC.
BC NDP Establishes Election Platform Committee
The BC NDP has begun developing their party election platform, with MLAs Carole James and Bruce Ralston serving as committee co-chairs. Also on the committee are MLAs John Horgan, Mike Farnworth and Shane Simpson.

Dix has publicly identified the following policy priorities going into the May 2013 election (although the NDP’s platform is not expected to be released until next April): improving access to higher education and training for skilled employment; making better use of the province’s publicly-owned resources to create good paying jobs; reducing poverty in general and specifically child poverty; and improving resources in the K-12 sector, reducing class sizes and increasing staffing to assist children with special needs.

In order to finance their policy agenda, the NDP have proposed the following tax changes: a one point rise in the corporate rate; a minimum capital tax on banks and financial institutions; and some proposed surcharge on income taxes of high income earners (over 200K).

BC to Cross-Examine Northern Gateway Pipelines
Minister of Environment Hon. Terry Lake has formally submitted BC’s intention to cross-examine Northern Gateway Pipelines on the Northern Gateway Project. Questioning will focus on spill prevention, spill response, and financial liability.

Particularly relevant to the anticipated cross-examination are the specific elements of world-leading marine and land oil-spill management; these are expected to relate directly to the findings in government’s July 23, 2012 technical analysis.

Beyond the cross-examination, last week the BC government outlined five requirements that must be met before consideration of any heavy oil pipeline proposal in the province.

Energy Policy Not Top of Mind for British Columbians
An Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has reported that only one per cent of British Columbian respondents consider energy as the most important issue facing the province. This poll reports that 25 per cent of respondents view the economy as the most critical issue; 19 per cent view health care as such; and, 12 percent chose leadership.

Mario Canseco, Angus Reid vice-president, states that the Northern Gateway Project is not viewed as an important issue facing the province because of the ill-defined economic benefits for BC.

BCGEU Issues Strike Action in BC
BC Government Employees Union (BCGEU) members in four BC cities plan to go on strike Tuesday, August 7, 2012.

Certain employees from Surrey, Kelowna and Campbell River plan to picket the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, among others.

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This weekly report produced for the BC Chamber of Commerce by Fleishman-Hillard.  While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information included in this publication as of the date of issue, events and government policies are subject to frequent change.  Therefore, the BC Chamber of Commerce and Fleishman-Hillard cannot assume any responsibility for actions taken solely or principally on the basis on the information contained herein.

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