Budget 2004 -- Government of British Columbia.
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Legislative Assembly Signature.

January 26, 2004

Honourable John Les
Minister of Small Business and Economic Development

Since June 2001, our government has been working to implement our New Era vision to revitalize the economy, restore sound fiscal management, and put patients and students first.

Our New Era platform contained 201 specific commitments that our government would undertake on behalf of British Columbians. These included a commitment to "establish service plans that include measurable performance standards and targets for all programs that are annually audited and published, for all taxpayers to see."

On June 25, 2001 I sent your predecessor a letter of instruction setting out the key priorities for your Ministry, including a list of the New Era commitments assigned to your Ministry. These commitments were also included in the Government Strategic Plan and Ministry Service Plans that were tabled in the Legislature in February 2002, covering fiscal years 2002/03 through 2004/05.

The Service Plan you are tabling today represents the final year of the first three-year plans. And it shows that we have made significant progress toward honouring our commitments. Specifically, of the nine New Era commitments that involved your ministry, the province has now completed or begun work on eight of these. Accomplishments in your Ministry over the past two-and-a-half years include:

  • Committed funding under the $800 million Canada-British Columbia Infrastructure Program for a total of 204 infrastructure projects with a value of nearly $655 million.
  • Continued development of an expanded Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre with the land purchase for the site to improve the province's ability to compete for visitors from around the world.
  • Led government's strategy to contribute $27.5 million to Genome B.C. to ensure that world class research at Genome B.C. can continue and will lead to advances in health care that will benefit all British Columbians.

In the coming year, the province will continue to work on a number of priorities to honour the commitments that we have made. These are detailed in your ministry service plan, and include:

  • Continue to implement the Heartlands Economic Strategy to promote economic growth and diversification of British Columbia's economic base.
  • Continue work to develop and implement a strategy to enhance British Columbia's tourism industry and maximize tourism investment throughout the province.
  • Allocate staff and resources to work at the local and regional level to identify economic opportunities, work to eliminate barriers to investment and delivery services and information that entrepreneurs need to succeed.

It is important to note that all the province's achievements to date, and our priorities for the year ahead, will be accomplished while balancing the budget in 2004/05, and having significantly increased funding for health care and education.

Clearly, we will do more if we can, as new resources are available, to build on the funding priorities detailed in this Service Plan - in a way that is consistent with our balanced budget commitment.

As our measures to revitalize the economy continue to create new jobs, growth and investment, this will allow us to continue strengthening public services for the benefit of British Columbians. Opportunities like the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games will showcase British Columbia to the world and generate economic benefits all across our province. Future service plans will further demonstrate those benefits.

I know that you will continue to build on the progress your Ministry has made. Let me conclude by thanking you for your commitment to serving the best interests of all British Columbians.

Yours sincerely,

Honourable Gordon Campbell

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Province of British Columbia
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Box 9041 Stn Prov Govt.
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V8W 9E1


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