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Vancouver Sun, Don Cayo: Civility in public discourse is worth pursuing

The concept that the angriest voice wins is a perversion of democracy. The idea that self-serving, selfappointed loudmouths have a greater claim to speak for the majority than duly elected representatives is, when you think about it, absurd and repugnant. But so is smarmy backroom wheeling and dealing by those with money and/or influence.

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Vancouver Sun: First Nations need to share in B.C.'s future resource boom

Last Wednesday, the BC Business Council produced a report called BC Agenda for Shared Prosperity. In it, they argue that new levels of collaboration and more equitable sharing of the benefits of resource development are necessary if B.C. is to prosper. While they do not single out First Nations, they certainly mention them as one of the groups of people who are failing to get their fair share of the benefit of economic activity.

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Global BC, Keith Baldrey: Discord among British Columbians is harming province’s economy

British Columbia has long been known as a polarized province, where public debate and discourse is characterized by everyone seemingly having opposite views on many things. But a new study by two major business groups suggests that continued approach will spell disaster for the provincial economy, and that the two solitudes had better start listening to each other if we want the province to prosper. The report, entitled “The B.C. Agenda for Shared Prosperity,” was completed after a year of study by the Business Council of B.C. and the B.C. Chamber of Commerce. It contains 60 recommendations on how to improve the economy, but its central theme is that groups that are normally locked in combat have to start working together.

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Vancouver Sun: Moving beyond resource exports

Emerging economies, especially those on B.C.'s doorstep in the Asia-Pacific, represent potentially the most earth-shaking development in capitalism's history, say analysts. But can Canada be a player or will we sit on the sidelines? Can Vancouver, as one prominent analyst suggests, be the natural location-of-choice for many of the emerging Chinese, Indian and southeast Asian corporate giants looking for North American headquarters?

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Vancouver Sun, Editorial: Collaboration will help BC prosper

It is time for diverse groups within B.C. society to kiss and make up and work to find common ground on economic development. Too often public debate in B.C. is polarized, pitting environmentalists, labour and the corporate community against one another.

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Vancouver Sun, Barbara Yaffe: Business appeals for efforts to close gap between rich and poor

B.C.'s business community is appealing to government and the community to start collaborating to address the province's biggest economic challenges. "If we don't start collaborating, we're going to fail as an economy," declares Greg D'Avignon, president and CEO of the Business Council of B.C. The unusual outreach follows a $471,000 year-long study by the council and the B.C. Chamber of Commerce.

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News 1130: Business groups calling for minimum wage increases: They want the wage tied to inflation

Support is growing in the business sector for those of you earning minimum wage to start getting regular pay hikes. The concept has been endorsed by a couple of business groups in our province.

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Vancouver Sun, Barbara Yaffe: Chamber of Commerce seeks new alternative to PST

B.C.' s chamber of commerce is calling for broadbased public discussion on adopting a value-added tax to replace the provincial sales tax. The Clark government reinstated the PST/GST system last April, after public opposition forced it to scrap the HST.

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Vancouver Sun: Construction sector: Good jobs, but vulnerable to demand shifts

Construction and other development-related jobs are an important part of the Lower Mainland economy, but they rely on other businesses and industries to drive demand for residential and business space. Construction jobs alone doubled from 53,000 jobs in the year 2000 to more than 100,000 jobs by 2008, when the recession hit, said Jock Finlayson, executive vice-president and chief policy officer at the Business Council of British Columbia.

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Vancouver Sun, Barbara Yaffe: 'B.C. needs to up its export game'

British Columbians need to get a lot more enthusiastic about their province's trade relationship with Asia. A recent survey showing British Columbians and other Canadians are less than gung-ho about developing closer economic ties with Asia is generating a reaction from the business community.

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Vancouver Sun, Barbara Yaffe: BC needs to up its export game

British Columbians need to get a lot more enthusiastic about their province’s trade relationship with Asia.

A recent survey showing British Columbians and other Canadians are less than gung-ho about developing closer economic ties with Asia is generating reaction from the business community.

The Business Council of B.C. notes more than 40 per cent of the province’s merchandise exports last year were Asia-bound — up from 23 per cent just a decade ago. And, within the next five years, the tally could grow to 50 per cent.

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Globe and Mail: State of the unions: can the labour movement make a comeback?

Forty-five years ago, Jack Munro led a strike for the ages. More than 3,000 lumber workers went without pay for 224 days in the heart of the B.C. Interior, walking picket lines through the winter to win wage parity with union members on the coast.

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Vancouver Sun, Don Cayo: BC wages drop further behind the rest of Canada

Average wages in B.C. have trailed the rest of Canada for a year or more, and now they’re falling even further behind.

This is the bad news emerging from Tuesday’s superficially upbeat release from Statistics Canada on the latest national and provincial average wage figures. 

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Vancouver Sun, Barbara Yafffe: Transport, BC's business, a top generator of greenhouse gases

B.C.’s status as a transportation hub is making the task of achieving legislated provincial targets for greenhouse gas reductions problematic.

That message was delivered by the Business Council of B.C. in its latest environment and energy bulletin.

Transportation, notes the council, generates one quarter of all GHG emissions in Canada. But in this province, it generates nearly 40 per cent of emissions.

While it would be easy to blame all nasty greenhouse gases on big industrial enterprises with belching smokestacks, in fact much of B.C.’s GHG generation comes from plain old transportation.

To be sure, transportation, in all its forms, makes the world go around. But it’s a focus of particular concern in an age of climate change.

B.C.’s government introduced a revenue-neutral carbon tax back in 2008, the same year it optimistically legislated targeted GHG reductions of 33 per cent of 2007 levels by 2020, and 80 per cent by 2050.

But the options for reducing all those transport-linked emissions are “challenging and limited,” according to Denise Dalmer, environment and sustainability director at the business council who, with Jonathan Arnold, co-wrote the recent bulletin.

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Vancouver Sun, Barbara Yaffe: BC retailers squeezed from all sides

Nadia Toto is a Montreal designer whose clothing is featured at a fashionable shop on South Granville — which is where I spotted and tried on the perfect little-black-dress sporting a price tag that said Ouch!

Later, with a Google search, the identical dress showed up on the website of a Quebec online boutique offering free shipping. The cost: one third less, for a saving of $158. How could I resist?

This phenomenon, whereby a consumer sees something in a store, touches it, tries it on, checks it out, but subsequently opts to make the purchase online, has grown so common it has a label: “Showrooming.”

And those selling exclusively online, like the Quebec online boutique, are known as “e-tailers.”

The world has changed, and traditional B.C. retailers are feeling squeezed.

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Vancouver Sun: British Columbia boasts job opportunity bright spots


How good or bad employment prospects are around the province depends on how much the various regions are exposed to B.C.’s better-performing resource industries, or if they are suffering the general post-recession malaise.

Prince George’s low unemployment rate has a big influence on the region’s overall unemployment rate of 5.5 per cent.

“That’s consistent with what we’ve been hearing for quite some time,” economist Ken Peacock said of recruiting difficulties in Prince George. “Population growth hasn’t been strong in the northern parts of the province and seems to be the lure of attraction of the Lower Mainland and other larger urban centres, that’ll be part of the story as well.”

Generally, however, said Peacock, chief economist for the Business Council of B.C., job growth in the province has averaged out at a sluggish 0.1 per cent since the start of the year compared with a national average of 1.5 per cent, which isn’t strong in itself.

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Troy Media: BC Retailers hit hard by cross border shopping

Troy media published the Business Council of British Columbia's recent Policy Perspectives, Surge in Cross-Border Shopping Weighs on Retail Sales in BC. 

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Bellingham Herald: Crossborder shopping craze hampering BC retail growth

A new report indicates the increased number of British Columbians shopping in Northwest Washington is dampening retail growth in the province. The Business Council of British Columbia estimates that B.C. residents spent $1 billion to $1.6 billion in retail while on short-term cross-border shopping trips to the U.S. in 2012.

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BC CTV: British Colubians spending billions at US stores: report

British Columbian businesses say they’re losing out on billions of dollars to stores south of the border as the number of U.S.-bound shoppers continues its sharp growth – more than doubling in the last few years. The Business Council of British Columbia estimates that B.C. residents spent between $1 billion and $1.6-billion on short-term cross-border shopping trips to the United States last year, while increasing their annual trips to the U.S. over the past few years from 2.3 million to nearly 5.7 million.

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Vancouver Sun: Cross-border shoppers cost BC economy billions each year: study

Cross-border shopping cost British Columbia’s retail sector as much as $2.6 billion in the last year, according to a new report from the Business Council of British Columbia.

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