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Expect Games gains: Board

British Columbia will top the country in economic growth next year inlarge part because of a gold-plated boost the province is getting fromhosting the Winter Olympics, the Conference Board of Canada says.

British Columbia will top the country in economic growth next year in large part because of a gold-plated boost the province is getting from hosting the Winter Olympics, the Conference Board of Canada says.

The Ottawa think tank’s provincial outlook released Thursday forecasts B.C.’s economy will leap forward by 4.2 per cent next year after being one of the provinces hardest hit by the recession.

Only Saskatchewan, a prairie province rich in energy, minerals and grains, will come close to B.C. for growth next year at 3.7 per cent, says the Conference Board.

“There’s going to be increased tourism activity and all the spending associated with the Olympics, and that will generate a lot of employment,” explained Marie-Christine Bernard, who authored the report. She said the Olympic effect alone will boost the economy by up to 0.8 per cent.

In a previously released forecast, the Conference Board had projected the Canadian economy as a whole would shrink by 2.1 per cent this year and grow by 2.9 per cent in 2010, an estimate that is about level with the Bank of Canada’s projections but more optimistic than most private economists. In its report, the Conference Board said the Canadian economy will keep expanding to 3.6 per cent growth in 2011, better than the 3.3 per cent the central bank has predicted.

 
 
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