Helen Keller told us that “optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence” and your BC Liberal government has never been more confident and optimistic about the future of British Columbia.
When we were elected by British Columbians in 2001 we were presented with a financial disaster highlighted by the $3.8 billion structural deficit left by ten years of NDP fiscal mismanagement.
We inherited a province that had been plagued by what were known as NDP “fudge-it-budgets” where the NDP would offer millions in surpluses in pre-election promises knowing that there would actually be millions of dollars in deficit after the election. They left us with a province that ranked last in private sector job creation in all of Canada and suffered from the highest unemployment rate of all the Western provinces. Real disposable income dropped every year between 1991 and 2000 and while bankruptcies across Canada fell by 13 per cent they rose by 12 per cent in B.C.
The NDP 90s saw British Columbians leave in droves to find better opportunities elsewhere; in the NDP’s last full year in government, nearly 14,800 people left the province.
Combined with the NDP’s eight consecutive deficit budgets that doubled the provincial debt and six consecutive credit downgrades, BC had the worst fiscal record in Canada.
In the face of these mounting catastrophes the people of BC expressed their optimism and confidence in the leadership of the BC Liberal Party, voted us in and we started work.
So did we do it?
You bet we did and we continue to do so!
Since forming government we have balanced the budget every year between 2004 and 2008 and used our record surpluses to pay down debt. In fact we made the largest single debt pay-down in BC history in 2004/2005 – $1.90 billion.
We have built BC back into a “have province” with seven consecutive credit upgrades, saving tax payers tens of millions that would have otherwise gone to higher interest payments.
We re-established our AAA credit rating status putting us in an elite class not only in our country, but our continent and the world.
We continue to put Families First by keeping taxes low and as a result have the lowest provincial personal taxes in Canada and an increase of 22 percent in real disposable income between 2001 and 2012.
When it comes to jobs, we are second only to Alberta in total percentage of job growth and since December 2001 British Columbia has added over 430,000 jobs; 75 per cent of which are full time jobs. Our BC Jobs Plan is working!
There are those like Norm Macdonald who will tell you that our current provincial financial situation has never been “more dire” and will also try to tell you that you are worse off than you have ever been.
Truthfully, he and those of his ilk could be no further from the truth.
British Columbia families count on their government to live within their means and your current government is committed to continue doing just that.
In spite of the world economic woes, our future together has never looked more optimistic or hopeful.
Fairmont Hot Springs, BC