Media Statement: February 19th, 2014
For Immediate Release
Victoria BC - While Budget 2014 rightly places an importance on living within our means, it falls short of providing a diversified and affordable economy for British Columbians.
“There are very few specific initiatives targeting the BC Green Party agenda. However, the addition of $1,000,000 for the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund, increasing the tobacco tax and investing part of the new revenue in cancer prevention and raising the threshold for exemption from the property transfer tax are a good start for this government,” said Adam Olsen, Interim-Leader of the BC Green Party.
The Government has described this as a status-quo budget at a time when income inequality continues to grow and BC is losing its leadership in addressing climate change.
The Government can address issues such as these by making smart investments in our Province and in our workforce, which provide real opportunities for British Columbians today, while ensuring that our children have the same opportunities we do. There are a number of examples of these solutions that link the decisions we make in our economy to our social and environmental needs, including:
• U.S. states such as Washington and Oregon are already seeing the economic benefits of developing their clean energy sectors. With the establishment of a new BMW manufacturing facility for zero emission vehicles in Moses Lake, WA and a Google Data Centre in The Dalles, OR, these states have been placed “at the cutting edge of the technological revolution”, resulting in both job creation and economic diversity across the region. We could be doing this in B.C.
• Utah has succeeded in reducing homelessness by 78% in the last 8 years. They based this investment on studies that show a clear net economic benefit to society from addressing homelessness.
• As the social and economic impacts of storms linked to climate change increase, we could follow our Pacific Coast Action Plan partners and explore all means by which the provincial government may halt the expansion of thermal coal exports in British Columbia. This approach would be consistent with the province’s commitment to addressing climate change.
“We continue to be out-paced by our neighbours,” said Olsen. “For our province to have a sustainable economy and a healthy balance between our economic, environmental and social responsibilities we have a lot of work to do to ensure our priorities meet the short, medium and long-term needs of British Columbia.”
Adam Olsen – Interim Leader BC Green Party
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