Public Affairs Update Header
February 1, 2016
In This Issue
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 B.C.

B.C. parties sharpen their messages ahead of 2017 election
The next BC provincial election doesn’t happen for another year and three months, but that hasn’t stopped the two main political parties from sharpening their attacks on one another in the lead-up to the provincial vote.


This week saw Premier Christy Clark and the BC NDP launch new rounds of pointed attacks directed at one another.

Premier Clark criticized the BC NDP for their opposition to the siting of an LNG facility in Northwest BC, calling the Official Opposition the “forces of no” who oppose everything. “There are people who just say no to everything, heaven knows there are plenty of those in British Columbia. But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you give up. It doesn’t mean you should be a quitter.” Premier Clark said that for the NDP, “It’s just about trying to say no. It’s about fear of change. It’s about a fear of the future.”
The BC NDP countered with an attack of its own – a negative online advertisement highlighting what the NDP is calling “five years of Christy Clark photo-ops and empty promises to B.C. families.” The ad leads off with a photo of Premier Clark’s cancelled “Om the bridge” event, then shifts to health and education underfunding and government scandals, before inviting voters to send Premier Clark a message in a pair of by-elections on February 2. The ad is a marked departure from the 2013 election, when the NDP’s then leader eschewed such negative attacks.
The next BC provincial election is scheduled for May 9, 2017.

Oil and Gas Sector Spared in Alberta Royalty Review
A much-anticipated review of Alberta’s royalties on oil and gas has concluded that Albertans are indeed receiving their fair share, and that no major changes should be made to the existing system. Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has accepted the recommendations and confirmed the system that’s in place now for wells drilled before 2017 will remain the same for the next 10 years, with only a few minor changes.


Premier Notley, who has criticized the royalty regime in the past, says “times have changed and we need to work in the best interests of the current economic challenges that we’re faced with. This plan does that.”

New Skilled Immigration System to help meet B.C.’s economic needs

The B.C. government has launched a new intake system for the Provincial Nominee Program so it aligns with British Columbia’s labour market and economic development priorities.

British Columbia is forecast to lead the country in economic growth in 2016. Although British Columbians are front of the line for those job opportunities, economic immigration will play a role in meeting the labour demands of our diverse, strong and growing economy. The Provincial Nominee Program is the province’s only direct economic immigration tool for bringing in new British Columbians to assist in filling the nearly one million job openings due to retirements and economic growth

New funding to help young entrepreneurs reach their potential

The B.C. government is investing in emerging business leaders with new funding to expand a successful Futurpreneur program that offers business skills and coaching for young entrepreneurs launching new small businesses.

The government is providing $50,000 to Futurpreneur so it can expand its reach by offering Rock My Business Plan workshops in Prince George, Nanaimo and Kelowna. The curriculum of the one-day sessions will be tailored to the participants with personal coaching for business planning and marketing.