Column: Where will it end?

Gold prices are on the upswing and some investment advisors are predicting $6,500 an ounce or higher by 2019.

Gold prices are on the upswing and some investment advisors are predicting $6,500 an ounce or higher by 2019. Is this what is encouraging Taseko Mines Ltd. to get Prosperity Mine back on track?

***

It seems we’ve been wrong thinking our economy depends on resource revenue. Real estate and construction are the biggies. The B.C. government posted a $730 million surplus over the last fiscal year, and taxes from the housing market contributed a significant chunk of it. Foreign investors’ willingness to pay exorbitant prices for Vancouver real estate had much to do with the bonanza and cynics wonder if that has influenced the government’s seeming reluctance to regulate the industry.

Two issues here. One, a surplus budget in the private sector is a good thing. It isn’t necessarily so for governments. Surpluses too often mean some public service was shortchanged. Like did the province really need to raise ICBC and health services fees? Force school closures? Two. There is much concern over foreign ownership of Vancouver real estate but there is also the issue of foreign ownership of our farmland and resources. Do we need to keep encouraging foreign ownership to keep our economy growing? Where will it end? Question: who do we prefer to own us, U.S. or Asian interests? Speaking of foreigners, with back to back U.S. leadership conventions dominating the media, it was almost impossible to ignore U.S. politics. Some pundits are calling our southern neighbours the Disunited States of America.

***

A while back I had a question about my cell phone, and after some frustrating button pushing I finally got a human on the line — a man with a friendly voice who solved the issue then and there. Last week GS#3 had a problem with a game, and a few clicks on the website connected him to a live person who was friendly, more to the point and also helpful. When his problem couldn’t be fixed they offered him a refund, which he got the next day. Customer service is hit and miss sometimes. It’s comforting when it’s a hit.

***

According to NASA scientists, this January-to-June, has been the warmest on record.

Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.

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