Surely this is just a coincidence

Earlier this week, Premier Gordon Campbell received headlining coverage for giving tax incentives that will specifically benefit the biotech industry. But what was not mentioned at the time was the premier's personal and partisan connection to that industry. As we previously reported, the premier's friend Hector Mackay-Dunn, a member of the provincial Liberal's election planning committee, is a biotech lawyer and director with a number of organizations including BC Biotech. Of course, Public Eye has no reason to think such personal connections would influence public policy. But others may draw a different conclusion.

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On CFAX this morning Carol Taylor backtracked and said that the Government was only "considering" tax incentives for BioTech firms at this point.

Hector Mackay-Dunn is also Secretary and a director of Copper Fox Metals Inc. a small mining company will acquire an option to earn 100% of Teck Cominco's stake in the Shaft Creek copper-gold-molybdenum-silver deposit by spending $5 million by December 31, 2006 and another $10 million by December 31, 2011.

The property located at Shaft Creek BC. The companies success will according to a report be due to politics and mineral prices. I guess Hector is well connected on the political side of things.

Yeah! That's it. Campbell is suggesting tax credits for technology patents developed in British Columbia simply so he can help one guy who worked on his campaign once.

It can't have anything to do with keeping the technology we developed from being sold offshore, keeping thousands of jobs in the province.

No you're absolutely right. It's all a plot to help this one guy who has a connection to a technology business.

If it helps QLT, Angiotech, Carmanah Technologies, Xenon, Xillix, or any of the dozens of tech companies backed by David Levi, the Working Opportunities Fund, and the B.C. Federation of Labour, it's just an accident.

We get it, we'll draw our own conclusions. It's a plot to help BC Liberals. Thanks Public Eye!
It's good to see you're incorruptible, not venal and shallow like the rest of the media.

pundit

No one has stated Campbell has done this for just one guy. Second if Campbell were more open about his government then the "charge" you suggest he is doing favours could not be successful.

He promised the most open and accountable government in Canada. You would have to agree with cuts to legislative watch dogs budgets he leaves himself open to the charge.

That is Schaft Creek.

I would be highly surprised if they managed to spend that much money on the site - though the property is in the region of BC's hottest mineral exploration zone. GHalore Creek is to the southwest and Red Chris to the Northwest

Pundit,

At best biotech in this province is a zero sum business. Last time I checked, only a handful of the dozens of biotech firms located in BC were actually profitable. Most burn through tens of millions of investor dollars only to flame out because the business has such a low probability of success.

These losses eat away at money that could/would have been spent in other areas of the economy and reduce the revenue the Province receives from taxes and other spill-over.

I would think most biotech firms already receive SR&ED tax credits in addition to other forms of Government grants and subsidies.

This is a very slippery slope. If you start incentive biotech firms then why not software companies? I would think that it is far easier for a software company that has no labs or hard research assets to move offshore if they wanted. In addition, many of the software / IT shops are actually making lots of money and would benefit from a lower taxed jurisdiction.

Bystander,

Many software companies are already going overseas, mostly for cheap labor that apparently still has the skills to get the job done. India being a big benefactor of this. Targeted tax cuts can only achieve so much, they cannot overcome serious differences in labor and benefit costs.

UBC has been doing very well with it’s research labs working with private partners this means profitable. It only seems natural to build on this by providing targeted tax cuts to the bio-tech industry, and industry that is much more difficult to outsource offshore.

Still, you can have all the write-off’s in the world however they are redundant if you do not have the income to write it off against. It will be interesting if these incentives successfully generate some new industry. Better to try and fail than not to try at all in my books.

Well, I think that targeted tax cuts, such as those offered to industries like bio-tech and the film industry are subsidies to help out these industries compete in this so called "global economy."

And it's interesting to watch Campbell offer these subsidies, which pretty much fly in the face of his dogma from his previous 4 years in government. The NDP used subsidies in the case of the Western Star truck plant in Kelowna, and even enjoyed a slight income on their investment, prior to the plant shutting down and moving south.

But yes, there are other cases where government subsidies didn't work as well, so no it's not always a good thing. In the case of the above industries (bio tech and the film industry) I think it is. Besides, the revenue you'll receive from tax on sales of developed products and also savings in health care dollars down the road with bio tech developments and their assistance in keeping people healthier and out of hospitals, should eventually cancel out the tax cut currently being offered.

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