The Campbell crowd – they don’t qualify to be called Liberals – is willing to chop programs and degrade services to people. However, they still enjoy spending, provided monumental schemes are involved. If Peter Kiewit Sons can construct it, BC Liberals will borrow to build it. Structures before people!
There are conflicting schemers at work in Victoria. Their compromise is to approve capital spending and refuse operating resources. We build hospitals but keep the rooms dark and empty.
The monumentalists want to hold extraordinary events and build lasting tokens of self-tribute. Thus, we get the Olympics, the Convention Centre, The Gateway Program, new Bennett and Golden Ears bridges, genesis of a private power industry, German ferries, Sea to Sky Highway, Canada Line, Evergreen Line, BC Place Stadium, Site C and other mega-projects.
Individualist libertarians want to dismantle government and privatize all that can be privatized. The rallying concept is, “Defund government.” So, we get tax cuts for the rich, layoffs and closed doors for the poor.
Given reduced tax rates on high incomes and continued capital spending, British Columbia’s government debt will increase $14.5 billion under the latest three year budget plan. Even that projection requires optimistic growth forecasts.
I asked a friend who works in public finance where this Campbell Government is taking us. His reply:
Although our credit rating is still triple A, that is also followed by a G, an H and three exclamation marks.