B.C. VIEWS: Asia-Pacific project marches on

After meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Premier Christy Clark delivered a luncheon speech to the Economic Club of Toronto. Her big talking point was the rise of the Asia-Pacific region.

Premier Christy Clark takes a Chevy Volt electric car for a spin in downtown Toronto last week.

VICTORIA – Here are a few items that didn’t make the daily news cycle as B.C. residents prepared for the long-awaited summer of 2011 to begin.

• After her meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa last week, Premier Christy Clark delivered a luncheon speech to the Economic Club of Toronto.

Her big talking point for the speech was the rise of the Asia-Pacific region, “the fastest-growing middle class in the history of humanity.” The theme ran through her pitch to the federal government for a share of Ottawa’s largest-ever shipbuilding contract, and her recent meeting with western premiers in Yellowknife.

No word on how Clark’s enthusiasm for the west as Canada’s economic engine of the future went over with the Bay Street crowd.

• After the speech, Clark took the wheel of a Chevy Volt electric car for a spin around Toronto with a GM Canada vice-president riding shotgun. She pronounced the car “fantastic technology.”

This is pertinent as B.C. residents get ready to pay the latest increase in B.C.’s carbon tax. Effective July 1, the tax on a litre of gasoline rises from 4.45 cents to 5.56, with comparable increases to other carbon fuels.

Clark has inherited Gordon Campbell’s aggressive climate change-clean energy agenda, and it’s not yet clear what will become of it. She has committed to the last consumer carbon tax increase in 2012 (up to 6.67 cents on a litre of gas), but the fate of the big hydroelectric push remains uncertain.

Those plug-in electric cars need to start selling before Campbell’s gamble of developing increasingly costly electricity starts to pay off. One potential competitor is natural gas-powered vehicles, taking advantage of huge new shale gas discoveries in B.C. and elsewhere.

• Campbell’s pending appointment as Canada’s high commissioner in the United Kingdom should warm the hearts of conspiracy theorists.

The story broke when Clark was in Ottawa, and when reporters asked for her take on the appointment, her first comment was that he’ll be a big help in negotiating a free trade agreement with the European Union.

Students of Bill Vander Zalm will know that he sees the harmonized sales tax and EU trade as an effort to impose world government and set B.C.’s sales tax rate in Europe.

Early in his goofy anti-HST campaign, Vander Zalm claimed this was plan B for world government after the conspirators failed to impose a global carbon tax.

If the HST is a conspiracy, it’s a mighty big one. Finance Minister Kevin Falcon never tires of reminding people that 140 countries already have value-added taxes, including China and those other Asia-Pacific tigers that are dominating the world economy.

• Douglas College in New Westminster and the Heilongjiang Institute of Science and Technology in Harbin, China have celebrated the graduation of 137 students in their dual-degree business administration program.

The program began in 2003, with an exchange of instructors. At the Harbin campus, students take 52 courses to qualify them as specialists in global financial markets and international banking.

• By last year, there were 94,000 international students in K-12, post-secondary and language schools in B.C. According to the advanced education ministry, if considered an export service, international education is B.C.’s fifth largest export, accounting for seven per cent of exports from the province.

Meanwhile in B.C., discussion of international trade still tends to revolve around lumber and logs. And according to a recent poll, Vander Zalm is still considered by many to be an authority on trade and taxes.

It’s time to join the world’s adult conversation.

Tom Fletcher is legislative reporter and columnist for Black Press and BCLocalnews.com

twitter.com/tomfletcherbc

Just Posted

Sushi, sake and silk kimono

“The Kimono of Ichimaru” opening night at Fernie Museum attracts sellout crowd

Mexico-bound Tour Divide riders complete first day, pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

Convicted B.C. child abductor Randall Hopley back in custody, 6 months since release

Correctional Services Canada could not provide further details due to privacy concerns

New society to spearhead ramp building project in Fernie

Gracie Lou Foundation launches to make Fernie more inclusive; ramp building event slated for June 22

GALLERY: Week-long Coal Miner Days a huge success

Skate jam set to become a permanent fixture of Coal Miner Days; other events well attended

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Elk Valley Bulls RFC reclaim Kootenay Cup

Elk Valley beats Cranbrook 7-5 to win Kootenay Cup; team off to provincials in September

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

LETTER: British Columbia’s forest industry crisis being made worse

Andrew Wilkinson warns of regulatory overload by John Horgan’s NDP

Bears have killed 17 people in B.C. since 1986

Number of bear complaints and bears killed rose sharply during same period

Most Read