The Premier acknowledged British Columbia and the rest of the world is still grappling with economic uncertainty, but she said there is much to be hopeful about. Clark said the combination of natural and intellectual resources and its proximity to emerging Asian markets will mean British Columbia will lead Canada as the country emerges from the global economic recession.
“I know B.C. will be leading Canada into the next century. This our time, our chance to lead,” said Clark.
She called on municipal leaders to help her government implement its jobs plan, “Canada Starts Here,” that she began unveiling last week. She said the first pillar of that plan is for government to get out of the way of business in regards to cumbersome regulations and permitting processes wherever possible.
“Our plan moves aggressively to eliminate one of the big problems that inhibits job growth in B.C., and that’s delays in permitting approvals,” said the Premier. “We will invest $24 million across the natural resource ministries over two years in order to eliminate the backlog in key authorizations that is preventing projects from proceeding, jobs from being created, and the industrial tax base from growing in your communities.”
Clark said another pillar to her jobs plan is to continue to invest in infrastructure. She announced her government will create a $30 million fund that local governments can apply for to receive up to 80 per cent of the cost of a recreational capital project, including new or improved facilities.
“Those projects and their construction will create jobs, but more importantly it will allow families to spend time together,” she said. “It will bring communities closer, knit them together while having fun and getting healthier.”
The Premier said her government will continue to focus on opening up Asian markets to B.C. goods, with particular attention on China and India.
“We need to expand those markets in Asia-Pacific, that is the key to our success going forward.”
Clark said she remains committed to ensuring her government is open and transparent. She referenced her visit to Fort St. John earlier this year – her first stop outside of Victoria as premier – as an example of the kind of dialogue she will look to engage British Columbians in. She added one issue she is interested in hearing local feedback on is the future of gaming grants for non-profit community organizations.
The Premier added she will work with local governments to help attract private investment and new jobs.
“I will be the best salesman British Columbia has ever had. If you need that help, I’m telling you today, I’ve got your back.”