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Vancouver Sun: Canada, BC economies to sputter in 2013 as growth forecast cut

The Bank of Canada cut its 2013 growth forecast Wednesday to 1.5 per cent and said it now thinks the economy won’t get back up to full speed until mid-2015 — about six months later than predicted earlier this year.

British Columbia could be facing a similar fate, according to Central 1 Credit Union, which also downgraded its provincial growth forecast for this year to 1.5 per cent.

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Business in Vancouver: Work with Australia to tap Asian market potential, former Aussie prime minister tells BC businesses

B.C. firms should be looking to partner with Australian counterparts rather than seeing them as competitors for Asian business.

That was one of the messages from Kevin Rudd, former prime minister of Australia, who was in Vancouver as the keynote speaker for the first Circle of Prosperity summit organized by the Business Council of BC (BCBC) and the BC Chamber of Commerce.

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The Tyee: Who Says BCs Election is a Bore?


Greg D'Avignon, president and CEO, Business Council of British Columbia

"The most important issue facing the province is our ability to be globally competitive and maximize the benefits of our human and natural resources. Unfortunately B.C. is increasingly uncompetitive.

"If this continues, we will be unable to improve healthcare, advance our education system or generate a stronger sense of shared prosperity. We need smarter tax systems, improved educational outcomes and modern regulatory processes that attract investment.

"By growing the economy, small businesses will get bigger, larger businesses will grow high-paying jobs, enabling our communities to reach their full potential. When we are competitive, we are more collaborative, we grow the economy and we see more British Columbians participating in the benefits."

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The Tyee: NDP Policy on liquified gas unclear to expert pansl

An expert panel of academics, environmentalists, First Nations and business representatives spent two hours Monday evening debating premier Christy Clark’s liquefied natural gas strategy.

But none of the participants had any strong opinions about the alternative vision offered by NDP opposition leader Adrian Dix. Broadly speaking, nobody was quite sure what an NDP government would do differently.

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Vancouver Sun Op-Ed: Shared Prosperity benefits us all (Tamara Vrooman)

British Columbia is blessed with an abundance of assets, from natural resources to a skilled workforce to cultural diversity.

We are a prosperous province in so many ways.

Sadly, not everyone is sharing in that prosperity right now. B.C. still grapples with serious problems such as the second worst child-poverty rate in Canada, the nation’s most expensive housing market (which, unfortunately, is not accompanied by the highest levels of household incomes) and a generation of young people facing employment prospects that could be described as shaky at best.

As participants recently discussed at the B.C. Agenda for Shared Prosperity — Circle of Prosperity (co-organized by the B.C. Business Council and the B.C. Chamber of Commerce), leaders in business, government, academia, not-for-profits, labour unions and First Nations must find innovative ways to use our plentiful assets for the benefit of all.

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iPolitics: Pushing past politics to prosperity in BC

An interesting experiment in underway in B.C. It hasn’t yet captured the attention of the national media, but that’s not surprising. It doesn’t have the snap or sizzle of a big political scandal or a business mega-deal.

However, if successful, it may be more important to the economic and social development of the province than any corporate merger. B.C. business is trying to chart a middle path for the province in partnership with a wide array of partners, some of whom have been its traditional opponents. Recently, led by the Business Council of B.C. and the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, the partners met in Vancouver at an event entitled: “The B.C. Agenda for Shared Prosperity”.

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Vancouver Sun Blog: Memo to "No Growth" crowd: We need growth

Professor Christina Romer of University of California at Berkeley and Zanny Minton-Beddoes of the Economist Magazine had one point of agreement that politicians in the western world, including British Columbia, should pay attention to: Economic growth is critical for many of the problems plaguing us. Those problems include: lack of early childhood education programs, affordable child care spaces, decent jobs and income and consequently less or no social and income mobility. This is not to mention threats to the financial viability of our pension plans as the yield on investments are way below the projected rates of returns.

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Vancouver Sun: Don Cayo: Lessons from Australia on how to increase trade with Asia

If you believe, as I do, that Canada could profit by taking a page from Australia’s book when it comes to trade with Asia, then you should be grateful to that country’s former prime minister, Kevin Rudd.

Rudd gave us not just a page of trade-building secrets, but several insightful chapters, during a keynote address to the B.C. Business Council’s Shared Prosperity Summit in Vancouver on Friday.

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Vancouver Sun: Glut of baby boomers a big economic issue for BC, summit told

Canada would experience more robust economic and social growth if it rewarded risk-takers and reconsidered entitlement programs that are disproportionately benefiting baby boomers at the expense of children and young workers, a summit on British Columbia’s economy heard Friday.

The event, co-produced by the Business Council of B.C. and the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, attracted an international roster of speakers including former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, former Obama government economic adviser Christina Romer and former Bank of Canada governor David Dodge. It was part of a “shared prosperity” dialogue series the two B.C. groups launched last September.

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GlobalBC Video: Return of PST will have a serious impact on BC business

The Business Council of B.C. says our return to the PST is the biggest single tax increase on business in the province’s history, and says it will have a serious impact on our ability to compete.

Add to that the strong prospect of an NDP government in the spring, and the business sector is calling on whoever wins in May to make sure B.C. remains open for business.

Jas Johal reports.

View Story BC must refocus on Competitiveness in Wake of PST Switch

British Columbia's return to the provincial sales tax (PST) "represents the single biggest tax increase on business in the province’s history," and will impact heavily on competitiveness, industry representatives have warned.

A Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) system was introduced in the Canadian province in 2010. It blended the 7% PST and the 5% federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) to create an overall HST rate of 12%. However, taxpayers voted to restore the PST/GST regime in a 2011 referendum, and it was duly reinstated on April 1. The Government will have to repay a CAD1.6bn (USD1.58bn) transition payment provided by the federal administration when the HST was first implemented.

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Business in Vancouver: Global business leaders to gather for BC prosperity summit

Business leaders are set to converge on Vancouver later this week at the Circle of Prosperity Summit at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will give the keynote address at the event, which is being hosted by the Business Council of B.C. and BC Chamber of Commerce.

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iPolitics: BC business leaders split over return to PST

The harmonized sales tax has been wiped out in British Columbia, and the provincial sales tax is back in force, but business leaders remain at odds over whether the change is good or bad for the province’s economy.

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Canoe News: BC bids adieu to HST

British Columbia’s harmonized sales tax was officially phased out Monday, sending final prices down 5% for restaurant food, haircuts and cinema tickets, among many other items.

Most retailers and small-business owners are now transitioning from collecting a flat rate of 12% HST to ringing up both 5% GST and 7% PST at the cash register.

Business Council of B.C. president Greg D’Avignon said the return of PST represents the biggest tax increase on business the province as ever experienced.

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CTV News: Restaurants, business leaders in BC split over return to PST

The harmonized sales tax has been wiped out in British Columbia, and the provincial sales tax is back in force, but business leaders remain at odds over whether the change is good or bad for the province's economy.

The restaurant sector said Monday it was delighted to return to the lower tax, an announcement that was quickly followed by concerns from the Business Council of British Columbia saying the switch will hurt the province's competitiveness.

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Globe and Mail: Official end of HST divides British Columbians

Fresh from a spell outside to check his beloved lilac bushes, the long-time Delta businessman said he was all set for British Columbia’s unprecedented switch back to its old sales-tax regime.

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Beacon News: BC LNG sector conference concludes with big budget announcements

A 25-year export licence to Shell, $32 million in non-equity investments to First Nations and $120 million in provincial royalty credits to fund pipeline infrastructure in the province are the highlights of a recently concluded two-day international conference about the B.C. liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector.

Academics, provincial and federal government officials, First Nations leaders, representatives from 25 communities in B.C. and 192 companies from eight countries landed in Vancouver to attend the first international conference – Fuelling the Future – demonstrating potential of the BC LNG sector.

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BIV: Government plan to lure Asian corporate offices lands support

BC’s scheme to lure more Asian corporate offices to Vancouver could help offset the city’s loss of head offices – and the related high-paying jobs, according to local experts.

Premier Christy Clark’s recent throne speech promised a new organization geared at making “Vancouver and Canada’s West Coast the hub for Asian and South Asian corporate offices and investment activity.”

As of press time, no details had been released about the organization. But local business experts are optimistic that, if designed right, the plan could help Vancouver compensate for head offices lost to Toronto and elsewhere.

And the need is clear, says Greg D’Avignon, president and CEO of the Business Council of BC.

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BIV: On the road to election 2013: What have the Liberals done for BC globally?

With B.C.'s provincial election rapidly approaching, the province's political parties will need to sell their record – and fresh ideas – on their business game plan for B.C. As Business in Vancouver explored last week, that will involve assessing which party can best steward the province's economy and create crucial high-paying jobs. But in an increasingly global economy, B.C. voters will also need to assess which party can secure the province a prominent place on the world stage and help its businesses capitalize on the hottest international markets.

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Vancouver Sun: Balanced budget but Liberals take flak

Premier Christy Clark's government tabled a balanced budget Tuesday, announcing plans to co-opt tax increases proposed by NDP leader Adrian Dix, bank a massive windfall from the sell-off of government assets, and impose extraordinary spending controls across the entire government.

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