Colin Hansen

‘Boring budget’ leaves lots of room for new premier

It’s been tagged the “boring budget” by the media, but B.C. Finance Minister Colin Hansen gave an upbeat, folksy overview of the province’s financial status to Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce members Thursday.“Sometimes boring is good,” Hansen said, at the chamber luncheon.But afterwards, he told reporters the 2011 budget contains no tax cuts, no big spending announcements, to give the new premier, who will be elected by the B.C. Liberal Party Saturday, “as much flexibility as possible to run the province for the coming year.”He said it would be “inappropriate” to tie the hands of the new premier with any big budget promises.Still, the minister painted a rosy picture of the provincial economy under the BC Liberals for the Chilliwack chamber members.With corporate tax rates in B.C. cut by another 10 per cent last month, and the federal rate expected to drop by 15 per cent next year, the province is an “icon of strength” to foreign investors, Hansen said.“U.S. companies are looking to move into B.C. because we are once again competitive,” he said.B.C.’s economy and its markets have both diversified, and its no longer reliant on a single sector like forestry.Over one billion dollars was invested in mine development last year, Hansen said, and exports to Asia Pacific countries are growing, like the market for raw lumber in China.Job-creation is also back to pre-recession rates, he said, and taxes and fees paid by British Columbians is “less today than they would have (paid) 10 years ago.”While cuts in health care spending have been criticized, Hansen, who is also the health minister, said “you cannot measure the success of health care by how much money you throw at it.”He said success is measure in the medical outcomes, and B.C. is leading in life expectancy, leading in cancer survival rates, and has the second lowest infant mortality rate.The minister also touched on the sensitive issue of the harmonized sales tax.Hansen admitted doing a “terrible job” of introducing the HST, but he now sees a “palpable change” in the public’s anger.“There’s a lot more we could have done and should have done to explain (the tax) to B.C.,” he said, but he maintained the HST will result in a “higher standard of living” for British Columbians.Both Hansen and Chilliwack MLA John Les, who introduced the minister at the chamber lunch, are supporting Surrey-Cloverdale MLA Kevin Falcon in the party’s leadership race.

Just Posted

Chilliwack saw sub-tropical blast of warm air Wednesday

It didn’t break any official records but it was warmer than usual by several degrees

Around the BCHL: Junior A cities to host World Junior tuneup games

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s happening in the league and around the junior A world.

GW Graham wallops Ballenas Whalers in junior football playoff

Logan Buchwitz scored four touchdowns for the Grizzlies in a one-sided 40-0 win.

Junior football semi-final has GW Graham facing John Barsby Bulldogs

The Bulldogs beat Pitt Meadows Marauders 57-8 in quarterfinal action Wednesday in Nanaimo

VIDEO: People with diabetes meet their alert dogs

A diabetic alert dog is trained to detect low blood sugar in people who have Type 1 diabetes

Ten-year sentence for man convicted of B.C. belt-strangling death

Shayne McGenn guilty of manslaughter in 2016 death of David Delaney, 63

BREAKING: Metro Vancouver mayors cancel Surrey LRT in favour of SkyTrain

TransLink will immediately suspend work on light rail

WATCH: Brother of missing Hope woman makes emotional appeal for more media attention

Next search for Shawnee Inyallie Nov. 18 along Highway 1 towards Boston Bar

Roy Clark, country singer, ‘Hee Haw’ star, has died

Guitar virtuoso died because of complications from pneumonia at home in Tulsa, Okla. He was 85.

Lack of funding, culture on campus biggest barriers for Indigenous students: report

Report based on nearly 300 responses found lack of support at post-secondary schools a big concern

Tinder sex assault suspect charged; additional alleged victims sought

Vincent Noseworthy of Alberta is accused of aggravated sexual assault, unlawful confinement and more

Drug-related deaths double for B.C. youth in care, advocate says

Teens say positive connections with adults key to recovery

Children’s strawberry-flavoured medicines recalled due to faulty safety cap

Three different acetaminophen syrups part of nationwide recall

Most Read