The Public Affairs Update is your weekly insight, perspective and analysis on politics in British Columbia and Canada. This newsletter is brought to you by the largest, and most broadly-based business organization in the province, the BC Chamber of Commerce - the Voice of Business in B.C.
|Chamber welcomes business-friendly changes to recycling regulation
The BC Chamber of Commerce has applauded the B.C. government for amending a recycling regulation that was causing substantial concern among businesses so that it will impact less that 1% of B.C.'s businesses.
"Thousands of B.C. businesses can now breathe easy, knowing they'll face no new costs or red tape under this recycling regulation," said John Winter, president and CEO of the BC Chamber.
The regulation targets packaging and printed paper (PPP) and is slated to go into force in May. On February 4, the B.C. government announced that it would enshrine in regulation an exemption for any B.C. business that meets any of the following criteria:
- annual revenues of less than $1 million;
- less than 1 tonne of packaging and printed paper produced annually; and/or
- a single point of retail sale (and not supplied by or operated as part of a franchise, chain or under a banner).
That means that less than 3,000 businesses in the province will be captured by the regulation, out of more than 385,000.
|LNG tax law pushed back to fall
This week, Minister of Finance Mike de Jong announced that legislation for a new tax regime for B.C.'s nascent LNG industry will be pushed back to the fall sitting of the legislature.
This is the second time the B.C. Government has delayed its LNG tax legislation. The provincial government originally indicated that the details would be released in 2013.
LNG proponents are waiting for details about a possible tax and other provincial measures as they work toward making final investment decisions regarding their respective projects.
While the tax legislation is delayed, de Jong said that the Province aims to produce a more attractive tax regime than Australia, the country identified as being B.C.'s prime competition for LNG investment.
|Province provides further details on transit referendum
Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone announced a transportation referendum for Metro Vancouver could happen as late as June 2015, and not necessarily during this year's municipal elections as the B.C. Government originally planned.
The move was part of a number of transit measures unveiled by Stone this week. Other items include a provincial commitment to pay for the referendum, and more authority for Metro Vancouver mayors over long-term infrastructure planning and funding.
Stone also confirmed the province will cover one-third of the capital costs for replacing the aging Patullo Bridge.
|Christy Clark pitches clean B.C. LNG to the California senate
Premier Christy Clark took her case for developing B.C. LNG to California last week. Last Thursday, Premier Clark addressed the state senate, telling senators that liquefied natural gas is the cleanest and fastest way to grow B.C.'s economy.
Clark told senators that B.C has grown the economy despite introducing a carbon tax. B.C. has a $30-a-tonne carbon tax - the highest in North America and one of the highest by international standards - yet the provincial economy has grown faster than the national average.
Clark predicted B.C. LNG will boost the economy while helping countries like China reduce their reliance on coal.
In last year's election campaign, Clark promised to freeze B.C.'s carbon tax for five years.
In addition to B.C., California, Oregon, and Washington State have also put a tax on carbon.