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Fraser Institute News Release: Political and policy uncertainty in B.C. threatens investment and economic prosperity


Date issue: August 29, 2017
Time in: 8:00 AM e


VANCOUVER, BC –(Marketwired – August 29, 2017) – The tenuous nature of the recent election in British Columbia has increased political and policy uncertainty to the highest levels since 2009, which could drive away business investment and slow the economy, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

“Heightened uncertainty surrounding who will govern, and what policies the government will implement, act as a drag on business and the economy,” said Lydia Miljan, an associate professor of political science at the University of Windsor, Fraser Institute senior fellow and author of Measuring the Impact of the 2017 Election on Uncertainty in British Columbia.

The study measures the volume of news stories about uncertainty to gauge changes in uncertainty levels over time.

It finds that B.C.’s 2017 provincial election prompted the highest number of newspaper stories that included the term “uncertain” (in the context of B.C. politics and policy), based on an analysis of national and provincial newspaper from 2009 to July 2017.

In April of this year, the term appeared in just eight newspaper stories, but that number jumped to 31 in the month of May when B.C.’s election occurred. In June, as the political wrangling continued over what party would form government, the term appeared in 26 stories. (The previous peak over the eight-year period was 26 stories in May 2013 during the previous election.)

But whereas spikes in stories about uncertainty receded quickly following the 2009 and 2013 elections — the number dropped down to just three stories in both July 2009 and July 2013 — uncertainty levels remain high with 12 such stories appearing in July 2017.

In particular, the issues most associated with uncertainty — apart from the actual 2017 election results and who will form government, which accounted for 31 per cent of news stories — were energy and pipeline policies (24 per cent), taxation (17 per cent) and the economy generally (15 per cent).

Crucially, policy uncertainty stemming from the NDP and Green Party commitments to increase personal income, business and carbon tax rates, stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline, further review the Site C hydroelectric dam already under construction, and raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, could deter business investment and slow economic growth.

In fact, previous research has shown political and policy uncertainty — which is amplified under minority governments — can drive down business investment by between six and 10.5 per cent.

“In a global economy, where jurisdictions jostle for investment, heightened levels of policy uncertainty signal to investors that B.C. is not as attractive a place to do business as it once was,” Miljan said.

Lydia Miljan, Senior Fellow Fraser Institute

To arrange media interviews or for more information, please contact:
Bryn Weese, Media Relations Specialist, Fraser Institute
(604) 688-0221 ext. 589

The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the Institute’s independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit

– END RELEASE – 29/08/2017

For further information:

Bryn Weese
Media Relations Specialist
Fraser Institute
(604) 688-0221 ext. 589


INDUSTRY: Energy and Utilities – Oil and Gas, Energy and Utilities – Pipelines, Financial Services – Commercial and Investment Banking, Financial Services – Personal Finance, Government – Local, Government – National, Professional Services – Accounting, Audit and Tax, Professional Services – Associations

RELEASE ID: 20170829CC008

Press Release from Marketwired 1-866-736-3779

All press releases are written by the client and have NO affiliation with the news copy written by The Canadian Press. Any questions that arise due to the content or information provided in the press release should be directed to the company/organization issuing the release, not to The Canadian Press.

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