The Shuswap Economy

More creative economic development ideas

The multiple economic benefits that could be achieved by paying better attention to changing demographics was the focus of the last column and this strategy has been at the center of University of Toronto economics professor David Foot’s work. His series of books, “Boom, Bust and Echo,” demonstrate the power of demographics to help understand the past and predict the future. In a 2008 article, Foot explained how small towns will benefit as many Boomers will seek a slower paced life upon retirement where they can enjoy nature, culture and a lower cost lifestyle.

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An economic development plan for Salmon Arm

Graphs courtesy of Footwork Consulting (David Foot)

There is no doubt that a great deal of effort went into producing the Salmon Arm Economic Development Society’s (SAEDS) 5-year Economic Development Plan. However the plan misses some key opportunities that mesh with one of the main drivers of our local economy. The consultants that prepared the plan, Miller, Dickenson and Blais, reviewed data, interviewed local businesses and held planning sessions with city staff and politicians. The resulting plan does provide a blueprint for many key actions that would help to boost our local economy.
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Canada’s growing democratic deficit

Our democracy is going down the tube in Canada as best evidenced by the fact that the polls show two thirds of Canadians are progressive, yet we are now being ruled with an iron fist by the Conservatives who likely stole the election in part through the use of robo-calls. Our elected representatives do not represent their constituents, but rather vote along party lines, as do the non-elected senators.

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Environmental and Economic Ideas to transform British Columbia

Environmental and Economic Ideas to transform British Columbia

A speech to the NDP Regional Conference, May 12, 2012

I appreciate this opportunity to provide these thoughts about the future of our province in respect to environmental and economic sustainability, It is refreshing that you have thrown caution to the wind by inviting me to speak as we are now living in a McCarthy-like era where environmentalists like myself have been branded radicals and enemies of the Canada by the Harper regime.

Read the entire speech by downloading the pdf here:

May 12th speech on environment and the economy

Occupy the Shuswap

December 16, 2011

It is likely that only a minority of Shuswap residents empathizes or even fully understands the Occupy Wall Street movement, and this is understandable given that the protests have primarily been focused on the increasing amount of greed, corruption and inequality in the United States. However, Canada like most other countries is not immune to the problems created largely by the one percent who control the biggest corporations and strongly influence government policies. Recently, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development released the latest economic data that shows how inequality has increased significantly in Canada in the last few years. The ratio of income by the top 10 percent compared to the bottom 10 percent has increased from 8 to 1 in the 1990s to 10 to 1 now.

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Too pre-occupied to occupy

[Published in the January, 2012 Watershed Sentinel]

As British Columbians we should all be proud that the Occupy Wall Street protests originated from the Vancouver based Adbusters Magazine, edited by Kalle Lasn. However, it is likely that only a minority of Canadians empathizes or even fully understands the Occupy Wall Street movement, and this is understandable given that the protests have primarily been focused on the increasing amount of greed, corruption and inequality in the United States.  In addition, most people are too pre-occupied with work and play to give the movement much attention and yet in order for the movement to grow it must capture the imagination of the majority.

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Shuswap Economy Prequel

Two of the Shuswap’s most renowned summer residents were known in Canada for their contributions to history. Philip and Helen Akrigg published numerous books on British Columbia history, including British Columbia Chronicles and a number of editions of British Columbia Place Names. And as self-publishing pioneers, they were the first recipients of B.C.’s Heritage Award. I was fortunate to work with them when I co-edited the first few editions of the Shuswap Chronicles. And they were solid supporters for Shuswap environmental causes.

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How best to boost the Shuswap economy

In these days of economic turmoil, it is difficult to devise initiatives that would help boost our local economy. Certainly, the efforts of Salmon Arm and the CSRD economic development agencies to promote our region as a wonderful place to live and work can help to attract new businesses. However, there just are not that many businesses these days that are looking for a new community to build a manufacturing facility or set up a new office. Something else is needed that is different from what other communities are doing.

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What drives the Shuswap economy?

From the worldwide debt crisis, to the growing Occupy Wall Street protests, to the contentious proposed developments here; the economy is the current hot topic for most people. At the most recent public hearing for a high density development in Scotch Creek, the mantra of the development supporters was that without new development, the local economy would wither and die. Is it true that local economies depend on continued development? Just what does make the Shuswap economy tick?

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