Real Estate Panel: Post-Election Forecast

The provincial legislature.

NAIOP’s panel discusses the outcome of the provincial election and its impact on the business community and major infrastructure projects in the province

The NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Association held a moderated panel discussion on the provincial election and the impact it will have on B.C.’s business environment over the next four years.

Moderated by Darlene Hyde, executive director of NAIOP Vancouver, the panel featured Vaughan Palmer, a political columnist with the Vancouver Sun and Eric Carlson, CEO of Anthem Properties, as well as a bonus guest: former B.C. finance minister and deputy premier Kevin Falcon, who recently joined Anthem as an executive vice-president.

First, the panel gave an analysis of the outcome of the election.

“I haven’t sleep for two days, I’m so giddy,” opened Carlson, comparing the Liberals’ victory to the 1983 election, when Bill Bennet’s centre-right coalition was reelected to a majority in an upset that bucked both the polls and popular sentiment, the results of which were embraced by B.C.’s business community at the time.

How will the results affect B.C.’s economic forecast? 

“The good thing about all this, I don’t expect a lot of change,” said Carlson, “this is a benign outcome from an industry perspective.”

“We’re the tiny little hamlet out here on the west coast of Canada,” said Carlson. “The provincial government  doesn’t have a huge impact on what happens to us from day to day, what they can do is hurt us or leave us alone.”

“Moody’s has put us on negative outlook on the credit watch, not because the provincial finances are badly managed but because gas prices are down, a big source of resource revenue,” said Palmer. 

“We need to figure out how to get enough growth out of the economy to pay the bills,” said Palmer.

As for speculation on Christy Clark’s new cabinet, Vaughan Palmer noted that half of the Liberal caucus is new, including many veterans of municipal politics. “They’ve got 15 top people to choose from,” said Carlson.

However, Elections BC will not finish tallying absentee ballots until May 27, which will affect the outcomes of some races, and therefore who is eligible for a cabinet position.