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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - September 5, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta The Lethbridge Herald Third Section Lethbridge, Alberta, Wednesday, September 5. 1973 Pages 33-42 Business, finance finally warming cautiously to B.C. NDP gov't VANCOUVER (CP) A year ago, British Columbians elected their first New Democratic Party government and the an- guished screams of big bvji- ness echoed across Canada. Today, business and financial leaders are cautiously warming to Premier Dave Barrett and his NDP administration, parti- cularly since he returned from a recent trip to New York and Europe. "Since that trip, he seems to have moved towards the mid- dle from the extreme non-busi- ness attitude he may have held says a financial anal- yst. "I think he has eliminated a. lot of doubts and negative feel- ings by his stated policy of de- veloping northwest B.C.." said another. "He's made mistakes but he seems to have taken a more reasonable view on natiinaliza- tion after Ms European trip, and is letting other companies re- turn to says a banker. "He gives the impression he can be pragmatic. He showed well at the Western Premiers' Economic Conference, on north- ern development, and in bank- ing." After the NDP was elected Aug. 30. 1972, Premier Barrett announced he would call a special fall session of the legis- lature. At that session and at the regular spring session this year, the government presented, and approved, some 90 bills, about 24 of them having a direct and important tearing on the pro- vincial business community. Latest figures from Ottawa appear to bolster the business- men's arguments that manufac- turing expansion on the prov- ince has slumped since the NDP's election. The mid-year outlook of Sta- tistics Canada says total inan- uTcctiling investment in Can- ada is expected to' run 19 psr cent above the 1972 level. This is a nine per cent increase from the January tally of investment intentions. This, however, is a two-psr-cent advance from the January tally of investment in- tentions. In B.C.. however, total manu- facturing investment is expect- ed to run nine per cent below last year. On the basis of capital spend- ing 'plans for all business groups, excluding housing but including utilities and transpor- tation, Canada's mid year spending estimate is five per cent higher than the January estimate and 19 per cent more than last year. B.C also is five per cent higher than the Janu- ary estimate and 11 per cant ahead of last year. In the trans-finance-commer- cial area, bolstered by hotel, office and store construction projects, Canada shows a 32 per cent gain over last year. B.C. spending plans are a healthy 24 per cent ahead of 3972. "N o t h i n g the government could do in one year could real- ly stop the B.C. economy from being swept along in the inter- national commodities boom." notes Michael Ryan, chairman of the Vancouver Stock Ex- change and president of Ryan Investments Ltd. "On the negative side, we're going to have a slower develop- ment of the mining industry. Mining companies with the choice are spending their capi- tal outside the province rather than inside it." On the other hand. Mr. Ryan says "The mining and forest products industries are starting to get good communication with the government. "We can even get opinions from deputy ministers. Com- munications are better than they were with the previous government." Lately, the mining industry's top executives have had little to say about the future, but one middle executive comments that "There is no doubt about it, the industry has not learned to communicate with Victoria ef- fectively although the oppor- tunity is there." A senior official in the de- partment of mines at Victoria comments that "Quite frankly we are beginning to think the industry, with a few exceptions, is getting paranoia about the whole business of speaking out on what issues they feel really affect them." Some mining executives are apparently convinced the gov- ernment plans to introduce ma- jor pieces of legislation affeo ing mining at this fall's ses- sion of the legislature. The Victoria official says "We will not introduce any startling pieces of legislation, except to introduce and clean up some technical aspects of the Min- eral Act." Patrick M. .Reynolds, presi- dent of Bethlehem Copper Corp. Ltd., says a year "is not long enough for us to see a little more clearly what liss ahead. we" still do not know the ground rules, we take some assurance from, the fact that the government is giving long and serious thought to mining's place in the economic and so- cial structure of the province." Mr. Reynolds says he is en- couraged by the action of Mines Minister Leo Nimsick to "ap- point an experienced mining man as his deputy. The appoint- ment could be interpreted as a sign that the government plans to adopt a practical approach to mining problems.'' On the credit side, business- men say Premier Barrett has: Improved appreciation of the complexities of business and finance: Shown indications of fair- ness, open-mindednsss, intelli- gence and strong dedication to developing all of the B.C. econo- my, not just favoring one side over the other; Had much better commu- nication recently" between gov- ernment and business, along with mutual consultation in some areas. On the debit side, among the problems cited were: land freeze and the Land Act which set up a com- mission to rezone all potential farm and agricultural land in the province; Tax increases such as the 0.1 per csnt tax on capital used by corporations; The Public Works Fair Employment Act, in which the government will deal with no one in public construction ex- cept those with union con- tracts The Insurance Act. which lets the government take over primarily automobile insur- ance; Premier Barrett's tenden- cy to "shoot from the or react and speak, then ask questions. Still undecided are the pro- posed B.C. Development Corp. and the transportation and re- source development of north- western B.C. Businessmen worry that the proposed corporation will be tempted to take unjustified risks. Some are excited about the prospects of northern de- velopment while others worry about high costs and labor turn- over. Rick Brook Hill, portfolio manager for Phillips, Hager and North, says it' difficult ''to say where it's going next." shows up in terms of attracting capital for industrial expansion. There hasn't been a significant new investment but we haven't seen the flight of it. either. "There's a standoff. "And we expect that standoff will continue until there's a clear Mr. Ryan, however, notes that "I couldn't vote for some of Premier Barrett's cabinet ministers, and they need strong opposition, but frankly I'd vote for this government in prefer- ence to the last one.'-' R5D.E 'EMr COWBOYJ And that's often the easiest part of it. Getting off after the ride can be a cowboy's big problem, as demonstrated by contestants at the "Little Britches" rodeo. The annual event at Longmont, Colo., draws boys AND girls ages 8 to 18 from throughout the West. (Photo by Sal Crisanti) .g costs may delay hog plant O I KEY REALTY SPECIAL 2609 13th AVE. H. OWNER TRANSFERRED ANXIOUS 1120 sq. ft. Immaculate condition Full bath and half Attractively landscaped Luxurious wall to wall carpet throughout Asking wanted M.L.S. CALL A KEY REALTOR Close to all amenities KEY REALTY and INSURANCE 1524 9th AVENUE SOUTH H. P. Berger 327-0307 Vorn Morgan 328-80S7 Fraser Baalim 328-6928 Trrvor Hanson 327-4180 Howard Yanosik 327-8030 Office 328-6671 REGJNA