B.C. VIEWS: Stakes go up in B.C. gas gamble

Mike de Jong’s debut as B.C. finance minister was a grim one

Mike de Jong’s debut as B.C. finance minister was a grim one. The first financial update for this election year projects a $1.4 billion decline in natural resource revenues from Kevin Falcon’s one and only budget in February.

Most of that is from declining natural gas revenues in the next three years. And it’s not just the price of gas that’s lower than the finance ministry’s array of private sector experts had forecast.

The volume of B.C. gas sold is down as well, as abundant new sources of shale gas come on-stream in the U.S. with oil, currently the only market Canada has.

De Jong’s response shows how serious this problem is for any B.C. government. He inherits Falcon’s political commitment to present a balanced budget next spring. How he will do that, and be believed in a heated post-HST election campaign, remains a mystery. De Jong announced a hiring freeze for government staff, and a management salary freeze across health care, universities and Crown corporations as well as government operations. He hinted at an even harder line with unions, as the government’s largest employee group continued selective strike action.

This, and the familiar vow to rein in travel and other discretionary spending, won’t come close to replacing the lost gas revenues.

 

tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Just Posted

Habitat for Humanity North Island wants to keep momentum going

Organization asks City of Campbell River for more land to build homes for young families

28 townhouses on the way to 525 Dogwood

Council approves latest phase of development, but not before expressing traffic concerns

Diver discovers possible historic anchor off Campbell River

The rusted, barnacle-encrusted anchor was wedged into the bottom off Quadra Island… Continue reading

Leigh wants Strathcona Regional District budget amended over water rates

Area D Director cites punitive water rates as a reason to slow down process

Cold weather puts pressure on homeless shelters in Campbell River

Salvation Army and Sobering Centre offer a total of 40 beds

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

The can’t decide the pipeline’s fate until a new round of consultations with Indigenous communities

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

Most Read