Strong firms and entrepreneurs are essential to a robust economy, but British Columbia has struggled to draw and keep them. These issues have gotten worse because of increased government regulations that make it more difficult for companies to prosper, which eventually lowers living standards. With over 200 First Nations, who make up 94% of British Columbia, the government is now discreetly working toward co-managing Crown property. Investment in the province may be significantly impacted by this.

From 2010 to 2019, private investment per worker in British Columbia fell short of the national average and trailed behind neighboring provinces, including Alberta and Saskatchewan. As a result, B.C.’s per-worker investment is just 62% of what it is in the US, continuing the current trend.

Incomes have decreased as a result of this lack of investment; several communities in British Columbia rank poorly when it comes to median employment income when compared to places in Western Canada and the western United States. Particularly Vancouver placed poorly among commercial centers, indicating impending economic difficulties.

Businesses in British Columbia face significant challenges due to unfavorable government regulations. For instance, our company taxes are the highest in the nation. According to a University of Calgary research, British Columbia’s overall corporate tax rate in 2020 was 25.6%, which was much higher than both the national average and the neighboring province of Alberta.

Also, in surveys from 2022 and 2023, mining and petroleum companies said B.C. wasn’t a good place to invest because of risks like land claims, protected areas, and environmental rules. These risks hurt our economy. The B.C. government says their rules to reduce greenhouse gases will cost $28 billion by 2030. That means each person in B.C. will be $4,600 poorer by the end of the decade because of these rules.

Let’s now discuss the government’s proposal to manage all Crown land in collaboration with more than 200 First Nations. By spring, they hope to have this “shared decision-making” process underway. This implies that the government and First Nations will jointly determine how to use public lands in around four months.

British Columbia will be significantly impacted by this move.

Currently, ultimate decisions about public lands are made by the provincial government, which is chosen by the people of British Columbia. The Land Act is used by the government to determine the locations of highways, farms, tourist attractions, mines, and communication towers. It also affects future projects like hydroelectric dams, as lakes, rivers, and the seashore are covered.

Essentially, First Nations will co-own more than 90% of British Columbia if the government moves through with its intention to amend the Land Act to allow for co-management. This implies that they will be able to reject any choice made by residents of British Columbia.

Given the current concerns around land claims and regulations, these reforms have the potential to severely deter investors from investing in British Columbia. It may be too dangerous for many enterprises that rely on Crown lands or water to invest in British Columbia. British Columbians should give these initiatives greater thought since they are important. Regarding such a significant legal change, the government need to take its time and be more transparent. Regarding the impact these changes will have on the economy, nothing has been stated.

The government need to at least hold off on implementing these measures and allow more time for discussion. However, in all honesty, British Columbians ought to make such consequential decisions by casting their votes in referendums or elections. That’s how big a deal it is to change who owns most of our province’s land.