Their wish list includes a responsible free enterprise government that’s taking good care of its finances, a reinforced balanced budget law, and less regulation, said Jim Shepard of Concerned Citizens for British Columbia (CC4BC) in Williams Lake last week.
As a former chief executive officer for Finning and Canfor, operating in B.C. and Alberta, Shepard said he experienced a difference.
In his dealings with ministries in Alberta, their basic point with regulations was to make people safe and responsible, but they wanted investment and investors to be successful.
“In British Columbia there are rules and regulations and the fundamental attitude is what are you trying to get away with? That’s the difference,” Shepard said. “That’s something we’re going to be impressing on the BC Liberals that we’ve got to get away from that.”
When it comes to reinforced balanced budget laws, Shepard said government penalizes cabinet ministers $6,000 off their take-home pay if they run a deficit. “We want that expanded so there’s a penalty paid by every member of government caucus if they run a deficit,” Shepard said.
“We are also standing for a full regulation audit for government in Victoria. That regulation audit would be a needs test.
We’re calling for every regulation to be challenged,” Shepard said, adding the group wants to know if there is a need for a regulation, why?
“Make every regulation justify its existence because right now it looks like regulations are becoming a source of work for bureaucrats and in the process frustrating the citizens of this province.”
It’s a theme he’s hearing everywhere he goes in the province, he said.
“We think the BC Liberals can do better with regulations and they certainly can do better with taxes. We’re not happy that they raised the corporate tax rate by one per cent to balance the budget next year,” Shepard said.
Concerned Citizens for British Columbia is not a political party or a charity, but are activists, he explained.
“We’ve worked hard to build a prosperous economy in this province and we want to see it continue. People aren’t talking about shortages of jobs, they’re talking about shortages of workers.”
Back in the 90s, he recalled, there was a shortage of jobs and many people left the province looking for work.
His group will also insist on more job training and programs that tie training to keeping people working in those communities.
Starting Jan. 15, CC4BC will launch a four-month campaign pressing for their wish list.
While in Williams Lake, Shepard spoke at the Rotary Club of Williams Lake luncheon and met with individuals from various industry and business.
He said he called the lakecity home for five years when he worked with Finning as a civil engineer, from 1975 – 1980.