Sometimes the source of a question just as interesting as it's answer. Such was the case on Wednesday, when Finance Minister Colin Hansen spoke to a post-budget luncheon hosted by the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce. Among those posing questions at the luncheon: Rental Owners and Managers Association of British Columbia chief executive officer Al Kemp, who told us in 2006 he'd had "informal conversations or coffee conversations over the last five or six years" with provincial cabinet minister Rich Coleman. Mr. Kemp wanted to know whether the government's growing debt will impact its credit rating. The answer: according to Minister Hansen, British Columbia's debt-to-GDP ratio is expected to increase to 18.1 percent from a low of 13.3 percent.
"So yes, that's a big impact," he acknowledged. "But to directly answer your question about the bond rating agencies, in terms of where we received some of the biggest upgrades from the bond rating agency is when we got our debt-to-GDP ratio down to about that 18 percent range. So we've talked to the bond rating agencies. They were actually favourably impressed with the budget numbers. Nobody likes to see those kind of deficits. But, in our five-year plan, they actually recognize we will get back to a debt reduction phase."