Reality Check: Who can trust the Liberal's 'Plan B' for the economy?

August 31, 2011 | Reality Checks

Now that the HST has been voted down, the B.C. Liberals say they have a “Plan B” for the economy, and are asking British Columbians to trust them.

But the hard facts of the B.C. Liberals’ poor economic record show they cannot be trusted with the economy.

Economic growth: Under the B.C. Liberals, economic growth has been weaker (just 2.4 per cent on average) than in the 1990s (3.0 per cent).

Job growth: Under the Liberals, job growth has also been slower - just 1.5 per cent growth per year on average, compared with 2.2 per cent in the 1990s.

Unemployment: British Columbia’s unemployment rate in July (7.3 per cent) remained above the national average and well above the unemployment rates in Alberta (5.5 per cent), Saskatchewan (4.9 per cent) and Manitoba (5.7 per cent).

Investment and productivity: Despite soaring profits and billions in corporate tax cuts, British Columbia’s business sector investment has lagged well behind the Canadian average. This has resulted in the second-lowest record in the country on productivity growth. The gross domestic product per hour worked has increased by only 0.7 per cent on average under the B.C. Liberals.

Exports: Between 2001 and 2009, B.C. was the only province in Western Canada to have negative growth in exports. As a consequence of B.C. Liberal policies, B.C. exports few value-added products, shipping manufacturing jobs overseas.

Family Income: The 2009 recession hit B.C. family incomes harder than in any other province in Canada. B.C. had the largest decline in median before-tax family income in 2009, a 6.8-per-cent drop. Nation-wide the decline was only 2.9 per cent.

Child poverty: In June, First Call released child poverty numbers for 2009 showing B.C. had the worst child poverty rate for the eighth year in a row.

Household debt: According to a February report by TD Economics, British Columbian families are the most economically vulnerable in Canada, have the highest debt to income ratio, and have the lowest personal savings rate. Thanks to the Liberals, B.C. families have been hit hard by higher fees such as medical service premiums, hydro rates, the HST and tuition.

HST deception: Starting with the Liberals' refusal to tell the truth about the real size of the 2009 deficit, Liberal deception and arrogance have created two years of uncertainty while their government desperately tried to sell the HST to British Columbians. They put their own political ambitions ahead of the needs of the province and the economy.