We hope you found this article interesting, enough to read to the bottom. Help us publish more in 2022.

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past two years, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

We’re on a mission to add 650 new monthly supporters to our ranks to help us have another year of impactful journalism – will you join us?

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Help us hit our year-end target of 650 new monthly supporters and join Tyee Builders today.
We’re looking for 650 new monthly supporters to fund our newsroom – are you one of them?

Small independent news media are having a moment – we’re gaining supporters, winning awards, and publishing more impactful journalism than ever. We’re starting to see glimmers of a hopeful future for independent journalism in Canada.

The Tyee works for our readers, because we are funded by you. We don’t lock our articles behind a paywall, and we focus all of our energy into publishing original, in-depth journalism that you won’t read anywhere else. It’s our full-time job because readers pay us to do it.

Over the last two years, we’ve been able to double our staff team and publish more than ever. We’re gearing up for another year and we need to know how much we are working with. Thousands of Tyee readers have signed up to support our independent newsroom through our Tyee Builders program, and we’re inviting you to join.

From now until Dec. 31, we’re aiming to bring aboard 650 new monthly supporters to The Tyee to help us do even more in 2022.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Help us hit our year-end target of 650 new monthly supporters and join Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
We're reader supported.
Get our newsletter free.
Help pay for our reporting.

Campbell Era Economy Nothing to Brag About

NDP saw higher growth. Now BC jobs are crashing.

By Bill Tieleman 14 Apr 2009 | TheTyee.ca

Bill Tieleman is a 24 hours columnist and regular Tyee contributor. Hear Bill Tieleman Mondays at 10 a.m. on CKNW AM 980's Bill Good Show. E-mail: weststar@telus.net Website: http://billtieleman.blogspot.com/

image atom
Deep cuts: B.C. leads Canada in job losses.

Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital. --Aaron Levenstein

Here are three screaming front page newspaper headlines that you should see -- but likely won't -- in British Columbia before the May 12 provincial election:

  1. Premier Gordon Campbell's B.C. Liberals worst economic managers in province's history!
  2. British Columbia job losses lead all Canada in recession!
  3. B.C. 2009 budget deficit phoney as $3 bill!

What, you say? How can this be true?

First, look at the cold, hard facts about B.C.'s economy.

Growth was higher under NDP

Start from 2001, when the B.C. Liberals took power, and use private-sector estimates through 2009 -- even though they are rosy and likely to be far worse -- and the results are stunning.

During the B.C. Liberal government reign, the average annual rate of economic growth was 2.6 per cent.

But what was the average annual growth when the New Democratic Party was in power from 1991 to 2001 -- the so-called "dismal decade," to quote Campbell and a host of B.C. Liberal business donors who are sponsoring ads attacking the NDP, like the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association?

Try annual growth of 2.8 per cent -- a better record than the B.C. Liberals.

NDP saw more job growth, too

Can't believe it? Think it's a trick? Look at employment growth then.

During the NDP's decade, employment grew by 22 per cent, or 344,100 jobs. Between 2001 and 2008, the B.C. Liberals have seen 20 per cent growth, or 392,700 jobs, for a lower percentage increase.

But wait! From January through March, B.C. has lost a staggering 63,000 jobs -- 35,000 in January, 5,000 in February and 23,000 in March, the month that led all of Canada.

Overall, Statistics Canada says B.C. lost 69,000 jobs since October 2008, a three per cent drop.

That means B.C. Liberal job growth is actually only 323,700 jobs from 2001 to April 2009 -- far less than the NDP.

And as Statistics Canada notes, B.C. had Canada's highest increase in Employment Insurance beneficiaries between January 2008 and 2009 -- a two per cent jump in the unemployment rate.

(The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives' Marc Lee compiled some of these statistics on their B.C. election blog -- The Lead Up.)

Is that modest deficit for real?

Then there's the BC Liberal budget, which predicts a $495 million deficit this year, a number that is simply unbelievable.

Helmut Pastrick -- the respected chief economist of Central 1 Credit Union (formerly B.C. Central Credit Union) has said the B.C. Liberal government's numbers were way off -- he thought the deficit this year should be $1 billion to $1.5 billion.

"A deficit of $1 to $1.5 billion or 0.6 per cent of GDP in 2009-10 is the more likely outcome due to revenue shortfalls," said Central 1 Credit Union's report on the budget. "Revenue in 2009-10 is not likely to be realized, particularly in the personal income, social service and property transfer lines."

And writing in The Tyee, Will McMartin called it a "toxic fudge budget" because the numbers were so cooked and sweet.

"It's the same old pre-election, budgetary sleight-of-hand British Columbians have seen many times in the past, but of a scale and breadth never seen before. Expenditures have been artificially dampened, revenues boosted heavenward and a fiscal shock-absorber eliminated, all to create the illusion of a fiscal shortfall that is probably just one-quarter to one-fifth of its actual size," McMartin, a former Social Credit government aide, wrote in February.

And all that was before B.C.'s disastrous unemployment numbers came in.

What does Alberta know that we don't?

Then, last week, oil-rich Alberta tabled a $4.7 billion deficit for the year ahead -- almost 10 times larger than B.C.'s, and projected a four-year, $10.3 billion deficit.

Alberta's government is planning for a full two per cent drop in GDP this year and expects a $1.4 billion deficit for the year that just ended, when all the numbers are in.

And Alberta did better than B.C. on unemployment last month -- a still substantial 15,000 job losses -- but far less than this province's 23,000.

But B.C. will have a balanced budget in just two years? I smell fudge.

Now, where are all those newspaper headlines denouncing the B.C. Liberals?

A shorter version of this column was printed in 24 Hours newspaper on Tuesday, April 14, 2009.

Related Tyee stories:


Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free


The Barometer

Tyee Poll: Are You Preparing for the Next Climate Disaster?

Take this week's poll