We don't normally expect a lot from any throne speech that timing dictates must be a key piece of a pre-election gambit.
Fortunately, it means we are rarely disappointed. And so we weren't as disappointed as we might have been last Tuesday-almost exactly three months ahead of the next provincial election-by Premier Christy Clark's rather optimistic missive, the central theme of which appeared to be that B.C.'s economy is solely dependent on natural gas.
Certainly, the premier's plan to create a new reserve fund-the British Columbia Prosperity Fund-sounds like a fine idea, particularly if the intent is to operate as the Alberta Heritage Fund was created in the 1970s by former premier Peter Lougheed to capitalize on revenues generated by his province's oil reserves.
But Premier Clark's stated purpose for the B.C. fund sounds more like it'll just be a separate bank account to collect anticipated natural gas revenues, and then used like any other government tax or royalty revenue to service the province's prodigious debt and help pay for government operations and services. It leaves us scratching our heads, wondering why the fuss with fancy names.
And while the premier's projections of $100 billion in natural gas revenue and "10s of thousands" of jobs over the next 30 years have us all gasping in amazement, that needs to be tempered with a realization that 30 years is a long, long time, particularly in the light of an energy economy with a volatility that has been almost as amazing as the hopes for giant natural gas windfalls.
The premier's apparent reliance on that natural gas revenue was disappointing, even for a pre-election throne speech.
There didn't seem to be much else, other than a few vague promises about legislation to help children and abused seniors.
It didn't offer much hope for those hit by B.C.'s relatively poor job-creation performance. Indeed, a promise for more realistic government advertising on that score would have been welcome.
It was all mostly just gas.
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