Let’s face it, the provincial election race has already started.
The governing B.C. Liberals have already loosened the treasure chest and have been spending money like it is going out of style.
The amounts haven’t been huge by any stretch of the imagination, but there are groups out there that have been screaming for financial help for years and now some of them are getting it.
It is typical of any run up to an election, the government of the day just happens to find a little bit of money it can toss out to groups and organizations and big-ticket operations, like health, education, social services and the like.
Cynics would be forgiven if they think this is just a way of paving the way to an election.
After all, the main goal for any government wanting to get re-elected is to find a way to smooth out the feathers of groups they have ruffled during their time in office.
This is especially true for governments that have had to go through a period of austerity because of the economic downturn.
The B.C. Liberals certainly had to pinch pennies in the beginning of their most recent term in office and tough decisions were being made.
This resulted in a lot of unhappy campers.
Fingers were being pointed at Premier Christy Clark’s promise of thousands of jobs and the great economic boom from the liquefied natural gas projects the provincial government was going to bring to British Columbia.
It didn’t pan out the way the Premier had hoped.
However, the province’s economic picture is definitely rosier now, which has been good news for the BC Liberals as they get ready for next year’s provincial election.
Most recently, there was the federal government’s approval of the Pacific Northwest LNG project – with its 190 conditions.
Even with the conditions, which everyone agrees there is a need to ensure the environment is protected, it is a positive signal to Premier Clark and her party.
It lifted the weight off her shoulder at a time when the government already admitted it looked like the LNG program was going to be delayed for quite some time.
Now, the B.C. Liberals have a new mindset – it’s no longer a matter of if, but, rather, it’s a matter of when.
There is no doubt she can lead the party into the coming election with the banner stating the B.C. Liberals can take care of the economy.
That is a very big trump card Premier Clark can wield.
The economy is something she can talk about and it’s a big stick she can use to hold off the opposition.
It will be interesting to see how the Greens and the NDP are going to attempt to whittle that club down.