B.C. vote a ‘plebiscite on prosperity’ – by Diane Francis (National Post – May 11, 2013)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

VANCOUVER — On May 14, British Columbians face Hobson’s choice in their provincial election: Liberal leader Christy Clark is in trouble in her own riding and the NDP’s Adrian Dix is wobbly in polls and should be.

But voters must hold their noses and re-elect the Liberals (who are actually Conservatives) because it’s the only pro-development party on the ballot. The NDP, everywhere, is a coalition of vested interests, posing as a party with broad appeal, and without free enterprise smarts. Anywhere this party runs, voters must reject it out of hand.

This is no time to get even for the B.C. Liberal sales tax fiasco or to send a message to Ottawa. This is an unusually important vote for this province and for all Canadians. In fact, this is an “existential” moment for Canada.

If the NDP wins power in such a strategically important and rich jurisdiction such as this one — a keystone within the Canadian resource economy — B.C. voters will have chosen economic decline. This is as important as was Quebec’s referendums and yet this has not been acknowledged in the lead up.

British Columbia and Vancouver (and Canada) would find itself, if anti-development attitudes become its governance model, bypassed in terms of future growth. New pipelines and railways carrying oil, commodities and freight can be, and will be, diverted through Seattle, eastward or up to Valdez if necessary. The world does not owe British Columbians a living, and the world isn’t providing much of one for the province either at this point.

The province lists and economy is moribund.

Some talk about the future prospects of Vancouver’s Hollywood North or Silicon Valley North, but these are myths. The place has only three sustainable economic upsides, apart from operating nursing homes for its disproportionately senior population: the development of energy resources, the development of mining resources and the expansion of its critical logistics role and sector. B.C. has the infrastructure and geographic good luck to be where imports and exports transit via pipelines, airlines, ships, rail and roads.

Vancouver’s financial services head offices left with the closure of its stock exchange and the city has fewer head offices than Calgary with less business travel.

Instead of talking about how to maintain living standards, or improve them, much of this electioneering has been petty and a contest between which oil and natural gas pipeline proposals and which port enlargements are unacceptable. Political correctness here has become how to forestall or avert economic opportunities, not how to grab them with the least environmental impact and greatest public good.

The place is going from NIMBY, not in my backyard, to BANANA, build absolutely nothing anywhere near anyone. Politicians and other interest groups just pile on against any means of transporting the oil sands through the province. Next, one can expect, will be a pile on against the transport of wheat, potash, nickel, beef, soybeans and manufactured goods.

This has resulted in B.C. per capita incomes of $47,579 in 2011 versus Alberta or Saskatchewan’s of plus $70,000 a year.

The NDP opposition’s economic development model consists of turning the place into a gigantic, empty park populated only by those retirees who can afford to buy the most expensive real estate in North America. The Liberals, who should make a solid case, have stumbled and bumbled along.

For the rest of this article, click here: http://opinion.financialpost.com/2013/05/10/bc-election-clark-dix/

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