Opinion

Christy Clark's Jobs Plan Isn't Working

Another number one for BC: The worst unemployment rate in western Canada.

By Bill Tieleman 10 Dec 2013 | TheTyee.ca

Bill Tieleman is a regular Tyee contributor who writes a column on B.C. politics every Tuesday in 24 Hours newspaper. E-mail him at weststar@telus.net or visit his blog.

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In the past year, B.C.'s Jobs Plan hasn't delivered much more than pink slips. Photo: BC Gov, Flickr.

"I'm going to run in the next election on the strong economy. I'm going to run on [being] number one in job creation." -- B.C. Premier Christy Clark, Oct. 2012

B.C.'s Jobs Plan isn't working.

And neither are about 8,000 British Columbians who actually lost their jobs in November alone, according to Statistics Canada's latest labour force survey, bumping the unemployment rate up to 6.7 per cent from October's 6.5 per cent, even though 21,600 jobs were gained nationally.

The number of people employed in B.C. has dropped 15,500 since Nov. 2012, StatsCan reports.

Clark launched her BC Jobs Plan with a $15-million taxpayer-funded advertising campaign back in Sept. 2011 that promised work. But in the past year, it has only delivered pink slips.

Worst in western unemployment

It's rather hard to lead the country in job creation when you are shedding, not creating employment.

B.C.'s unemployment rate of 6.7 per cent is the worst in western Canada, with Saskatchewan at just 4.1 per cent jobless, Alberta at 4.7 per cent and Manitoba at 5.6 per cent.

Vancouver has the highest jobless rate of major cities in western Canada at 6.6 per cent, compared to Regina at 3.9 per cent, Calgary at 4.6 per cent, Edmonton at 5.1 per cent and Winnipeg at 5.9 per cent. Clark's new hometown of Kelowna, where she is now an MLA, has a 6.2 per cent unemployment rate.

From Sept. 2011 to Nov. 2013, British Columbia added a minuscule 1,800 more jobs while the population increased by 83,300, according to StatsCan numbers.

Meanwhile, during the same period Canada as a whole added 435,000 jobs.

Help Clark do her job

If Clark's jobs plan continues to enjoy this rate of success, B.C. would lead the country in job creation by, well, never.

Kind of doesn't validate what Clark claimed when she launched the BC Jobs Plan on Sept. 22, 2011: "The first pillar is job creation, job creation with a common sense government that opens doors, instead of closing them."

But let's be charitable and give the premier a positive suggestion: restore the position of Jobs Protection Commissioner that was abolished in 2001 by ex-premier Gordon Campbell.

Between 1990 and 2001, the Jobs Protection Commissioner helped save 75,000 good jobs by bringing together workers, employers, creditors, investors, unions, government and community leaders to find constructive alternatives to employment termination.

That's one B.C. jobs plan that might actually work.  [Tyee]

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