A look back at 2014
Tomorrow brings us another year, and we leave a very successful and fun 2014 behind us.
I hope you’ll watch our 2014 in Review BCL Roundup hosted by Pamela Martin for a look at the greatest accomplishments of the year. From start to finish, Today’s BC Liberals have been working around the clock to deliver on the promise of a strong economy for a secure tomorrow. Pamela’s highlights are spot on, but there are a few more I’d like to take you back to in more depth.
So in no particular order, let’s take a look back at the top ten favourite moments of 2014 for Today’s BC Liberals.
10. Balanced Budget 2014… yes, another one.
In February, government delivered its second consecutive balanced budget. In 2014, British Columbia was just one of the few jurisdictions to do that.
We achieved this despite challenging economic times by making tough, but necessary decisions to control government spending. That means careful review of how every public dollar is spent through the Core Review process, which has already saved taxpayers millions. And it has allowed us to keep taxes low while investing in priorities like health care, education, and infrastructure.
9. BC Jobs Plan & the launch of the Skills for Jobs Blueprint
In April, Ministers Peter Fassbender and Amrik Virk introduced the 10-year Skills for Jobs Blueprint – and just seven months later, we’ve made significant progress – creating more than 1,400 trades training seats in the last six months alone, and hosting Find Your Fit workshops to give people a hands-on, interactive glimpse into a career in the trades.
Click here to read Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training Shirley Bond’s review of 2014.
8. Updating BC’s antiquated liquor laws
2014 saw the return of the much-celebrated Happy Hour to British Columbian businesses. These updated liquor laws support our thriving craft beer and VQA wine sectors, allow families to dine together in neighbourhood pubs, and support the hospitality sector.
7. Addressed Historic Wrongs
Some issues transcend politics. To address historic wrongs, we reached across the aisle to bring all members of the legislature on board. 2014 saw a formal apology for historical wrongs against Chinese Canadians, and recognized the 100th anniversary of the Komagata Maru incident.
6. Convention in Christy Country
In May, British Columbians from across the province flocked to beautiful Kelowna – otherwise known as Christy Country.
The sold out event was full of unforgettable moments – from our first-ever Free Enterprise in Action tours, to an outstanding lineup of speakers, to some of our best social events ever (there was a mechanical bull – enough said).
You can watch all the Convention videos here.
5. Historic 6-year Negotiated Settlement with BC Teachers
By working together, we found a way to improve class composition, give teachers a fair wage increase, and for the first time ever, reach a six-year agreement to bring stability to B.C.’s world-leading education system – all without cutting services, going into deficit, or raising your taxes.
4. New relationships with BC First Nations
The Supreme Court decision on Aboriginal title created a new reality for all British Columbians – and an opportunity to build a new, fair, and inclusive relationship with B.C.’s First Nations, one based on equality, prosperity, and respect.
Click here to read Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation John Rustad’s review of 2014.
3. Premier-led trade mission to the Asia – Pacific
Increased trade with Asia-Pacific markets is already creating new opportunities for British Columbians. Our exports of lumber, minerals, agri-foods and other BC-made products have grown dramatically in the last few years, reducing our reliance on traditional markets like the United States. Every new dollar of goods sold overseas means more good jobs here at home.
That’s why Premier Christy Clark visited Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong: to establish new relationships with government and industry leaders, help BC companies identify trade opportunities, and send a clear message that BC is open for business.
b. …and India
The Premier and Minister of Advanced Education Amrik Virk also visited India, leading a delegation of over 70 companies and post-secondary institutions to reinforce B.C.’s economic and cultural ties with India, while promoting further investment in B.C. and expanding exports as part of the BC Jobs Plan.
2. Made-in-BC LNG framework
In a special fall session, Environment Minister Mary Polak and Finance Minister Mike de Jong introduced two new pieces of legislation that are the cornerstones of our made-in-BC LNG plan. The first ensures that BC will have the world’s cleanest LNG facilities, while the second creates an LNG Income Tax that gives certainty to businesses with a competitive tax structure, while ensuring British Columbia receives a fair share of the revenue.
Because of this framework, BC is open for business. As we move towards Final Investment Decisions – with companies already invested over $7 billion in B.C. – we’ve made significant progress on bringing home the opportunity of LNG this year.
1. Site C
After years of deliberation, research and consultation, government green-lit the Site C clean energy project, which will provide affordable, reliable, clean electricity and enable job creation, continued investment and a growing economy.
Inspired by an internship program in Ottawa, we decided it was time to bring on some bright-eyed folks ourselves for the summer.
Now, I know that summer interns in business are too often given deadly jobs such as filing and sorting, and are ignored much and taught little. But that wasn’t the case at our headquarters. Our 9 interns were thrown into the deep-end of practical politics, met with industry leaders and politicians, and learned about media.
Have a look at some of their favourite moments of the summer here, and meet our past army by watching this video. Oh – and if you know someone who’s passionate about politics and who wants to enhance their education and gain valuable work experience in politics, you can tell them to apply for 2015 here.
Todd Stone deep frying a turkey
….enough said. Just watch.
John Horgan’s Greatest Hits of the 90’s
Listen to this retro album produced by our fantastic team of BC Young Liberals who handed out copies at John Horgan’s Vancouver inauguration. John Horgan’s 90s Greatest Hits is an excellent album of throwback favourites like “Runaway Train”, “Closing Time”, and my personal favourite – “Bills, Bills, Bills,” paired with dismal economic statistics from the decade of decline which Mr. Horgan helped to instigate as a key figure in the BC NDP.
Premiers Darrell Pasloski of Yukon, Christy Clark of British Columbia and Nunavut’s Peter Taptuna getting a nice chill for a good cause? Literally, pretty cool.
Watch as they wrap up Council of the Federation meetings in Charlottetown by enduring a shower of icy water for the ice bucket challenge, which raised millions of dollars for ALS research.
Overall, 2014 was a very successful year for Today’s BC Liberals. And the next is proving to be just as promising.
Together, our province, party and government enter the New Year strong and ready for the exciting opportunities that 2015 will bring. With your support, we’ll use next year to carry on the hard work we’ve started, and drive forward with new commitments to make B.C. even stronger.
With that, I wish you and your family a safe and fun holiday season, and a very happy New Year! See you in 2015.