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The Columbia Journal
P.O. Box 2633 MPO,
Vancouver, British Columbia,
Canada V6B 3W8
Phone: 604-266-6552
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Web: www.columbiajournal.ca



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    Liberal Budget Questioned

    Marco Procaccini

    The BC government’s fiscal plan calls for a balanced budget, but many people aren’t buying the predictions—and many are wondering who it’s balanced for.

    Liberal Finance Minister Gary Collins has repeatedly touted that the $30.2 billion 2004-05 budget will deliver a $100 million surplus—the first surplus BC has had since the record-setting $1.5 billion surplus realized by the last NDP budget of 2001.

    “We have introduced a balanced budget for 2004/05 and are on track to beat our bottom line target for last year, despite more than $1 billion in unexpected costs from forest fires, floods, SARS, BSE and changes to federal equalization,” said Collins. “As a result of our resilient fiscal plan, we are now able to fund new investments that bring out the best in education and patient care, accelerate funding for the province’s Olympic commitment, and enhance our strategy for economic growth.”

    Collins also predicts a $275 million surplus for 2005-06 and $300 million in 2006-07 based on projected GDP growth rates of 2.8 per cent this year and 3.1 per cent for the following two years.

    But critics are dismissing Collins’ claims as overly optimistic and dishonest, and predict BC’s faltering economy will continue to sink as a result....   see Budget Questioned

    Think Tank Proposes “Alternative” BC Budget

    We’ve invited the world. They’re coming. And the place is a mess.

    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives BC office

    The 2010 Olympic games are coming in just six years. The world will be watching—but what will they see?

    If the spotlight shines on a Vancouver ravaged by poverty and homelessness, crippled by traffic congestion, or in the middle of an environmental controversy, any efforts to promote the city or province will be seriously blighted.

    The provincial government needs to prepare British Columbia for a truly world class performance in 2010. If we continue to ignore pressing social needs, we’ll wind up hoping no one looks under the carpet, instead of welcoming the global spotlight.

    The 2004 BC Solutions Budget uses the Olympics to anchor a six-year public investment strategy that would go beyond the minimum requirements for hosting the games, and use the Olympics as a springboard to revitalize the provincial economy....    see Alternative Budget

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