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NEWS: Austerity budget in advance of May 14, 2013 election in British Columbia

Globe and Mail columnist Gary Mason comments, “On Tuesday, the government of Premier Christy Clark introduced a budget as tightfisted as any the province has seen in 30 years. …There were enough early references in Finance Minister Kevin Falcon’s budget speech to Greece and to the perils of governments that disregard basic economic imperatives that it was easy to tell the direction his fiscal plan would take.”

Notable in the budget:
– “The government intends to reduce the civil service by more than 2,000 people by the end of 2014/15.”
– “Government spending over the next three years will average a modest 2 per cent.”
– “The K-12 education budget…was $5.2-billion a year ago and will be $5.3-billion this year.”
– “Over the next few years, the budget forecasts Health Ministry spending to increase by an average of less than 3 per cent a year.”
– “In all, the budgets of 14 of 17 ministries have either been cut or increased by less than 1 per cent over the next three years.”

“As much as anything, Tuesday’s budget established the ground upon which next year’s election will be fought.” That election will take place on May 14, 2013.

An Ipsos Reid poll conducted earlier this month suggests that election could see a new government in British Columbia. The poll shows:
NDP: 44 per cent support among the province’s decided voters
Liberals: 32 per cent
Conservatives: 16 per cent
Greens: 7 per cent

Just six months before this critical provincial election, the Council of Canadians will hold its next annual general meeting in Nanaimo, British Columbia on October 26-28, 2012.

For other key issues facing British Columbia, please see http://canadians.org/blog/?p=13416.