Where did Resource Works come from?

Answer

The Resource Works project is inspired in part by the findings of a 2013 appraisal of British Columbia's economic future initiated by the Business Council of British Columbia and the British Columbia Chamber of Commerce. (Resource Works is independent of these two organizations.)

Called the Shared Prosperity project, the appraisal began with a diverse group of community leaders — from academia, business, non-governmental organizations, entrepreneurs and labour — who consulted across the province about the concerns of BC families, many of whom have accumulated higher levels of debt and feel themselves to be under increasing financial pressure in their day-to-day lives. 

caroletaylor.jpgThe group, chaired by former provincial finance minister and Simon Fraser University chancellor Carole Taylor, supervised seven regional workshops to ensure regional voices were heard. They came back with a number of findings, organized around three themes: 

1. Creating prosperity

A broad consensus emerged around the importance of creating new economic opportunities in order to ensure continued prosperity. This involves adapting to new economic conditions, moving boldly to capture emerging opportunities that support companies and governments to make smart investments to strengthen the province’s long-term productivity and competitiveness.

2. Participating in prosperity

There was also widespread agreement that simply generating prosperity is insufficient; BC must also ensure that its benefits are shared in an appropriate manner. Understandably, there are conflicting ideas about how this might best be done, particularly concerning how far the government should go to redistribute wealth.

3. Improving the public discourse

Throughout the agenda process, there was strong agreement about the need to improve the state of public discourse in BC. This is a multi-faceted challenge that places considerable demands on government to find the balance between dialogue and action that occurs in a timely fashion. And for groups advocating on specific public issues, there is a need to base arguments in fact, respectful dialogue, distinguishing between vested interests and broad interests, and engaging in a manner that seeks resolution, not endless confrontation.

In a province like BC where three-quarters of goods exports consist of resource commodities, there can be no question that the issues raised by the Shared Prosperity project are intimately linked to our relationships with natural resources. This is how the Shared Prosperity findings found a place in the founding concept for Resource Works.

In Fall 2013, author and journalist Stewart Muir began to develop a strategy for a research, communications and networking organization that would make the connection between the resource economy and the needs and concerns of British Columbia residents. This became Resource Works. With his background in British Columbia culture, conservation and communications, Stewart was the ideal person to spearhead the project.

The most important initial component of Resource Works was the coalition of interests represented by the Advisory Council. The shared values, broad vision, and non-partisan nature of the project are reflected in the composition and activities of the Council.

Resource Works was registered as a society in March 2014. The next month, Resource Works was launched with a news conference where its first economic study was released.