Public Affairs Update Header
October 28, 2013
In This Issue
West Fraser, Canfor announce mill closures in Houston, Quesnel
Destination BC names CEO
Dominion maintains “AA” credit rating for B.C.
BC NDP to set leadership election date in November
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.

West Fraser, Canfor announce mill closures in Houston, Quesnel
B.C.’s forest industry is bracing for mill closures in Houston and Quesnel due to timber scarcity in the areas.

West Fraser Timber announced Thursday, October 24, that it will close its Houston sawmill in 2014, affecting 225 employees.

Canfor has announced that it will close its Quesnel sawmill in 2014, affecting 209 employees.

The companies have stated that the closures are a response to a shortage of timber near the mills, due to the mountain pine beetle infestation.

The companies have also announced that they are entering into a tenure exchange agreement.

Destination BC names CEO
After an extensive global search, Destination British Columbia has appointed Marsha Walden as its inaugural chief executive officer, board chair Andrea Shaw announced Friday, October 25.

Walden, who was born and raised in Vancouver, joined the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) in 2002 as director of marketing and eBusiness. Over the last nine years,  Walden served in a number of senior executive roles at bCLC, most recently as vice president of strategy, transformation and social responsibility.

Walden will officially join Destination British Columbia on November 25, 2013.

Dominion maintains “AA” credit rating for B.C.
This week, the Dominion Bond Rating Service (DBRS) confirmed British Columbia’s ‘AA’ (high) credit rating, following the province’s 2013 Budget and First Quarterly Report in September.

The DBRS report notes that:

  • “The Province employs the use of conservative assumptions and modest contingencies in its budgets, which has helped to establish a track record of prudent fiscal management”; and
  • “British Columbia residents and businesses benefit from one of the most competitive tax systems in Canada… British Columbia’s fiscal recovery plan introduced in the fall of 2009 remains on track, with a return to balance on the Province’s accounting basis forecast by year-end 2013-14.”

British Columbia has a ‘Aaa’ Credit Rating with Moody’s, confirmed in September, and a ‘AAA’ rating by Standard & Poor following Budget 2013.

BC NDP to set leadership election date in November
This week, the BC NDP Provincial Executive recommended that the party’s leadership convention toreplace outgoing leader Adrian Dix be held on May 25, 2014.

A BC NDP news release indicates that the recommendation by the executive was made following consultation with the party’s legislative caucus, leader Adrian Dix, and local constituency presidents. The May 25 date was selected to allow municipal and federal leadership candidates to participate without overlapping with upcoming municipal and federal elections.

Following the initial press release, the BC NDP has since indicated that a decision on the timing of a leadership convention has been deferred for discussion at the BC NDP Provincial Council’s next meeting on November 17, following the close of the party’s convention.

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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.