Oilberta – updated Nov 13

Alberta has long been a puppet of the oil and gas business but Kenney’s compulsion to deliver benefits to this private sector is unprecedented. It is as if Alberta’s right wing government looked at what Norway has been doing and decided to do the exact opposite. In the first 13 weeks of the 2019-20 fiscal year, Alberta’s Heritage Savings Trust Fund declined by $156 million to $18 billion. In the last eight weeks, Norway’s wealth fund increased by C$55 billion, a rise of 4% to C$1.46 trillion.

Democratic delusion

“Politics has become so expensive that it takes a lot of money even to be defeated.” Even with contribution limits, generous as they are, government remains biased toward serving interests of prosperous citizens…

Not on time, not on budget

Since actual annual payments are almost 3x the contractual obligation, it looks like the $400 million Sea to Sky Highway improvement project will involve payments to the private partner of $1.5 billion. And remember, the province financed one third of the project’s construction cost while the P3 financed two thirds…

Questions asked

Available evidence demonstrates that, despite the province’s financial affairs being in good order, the NDP Government is satisfied to keep school teacher salaries close to the lowest paid of any Canadian province.

Politics outranks good policy

After banking large contributions from taxi owners, governing BC Liberals had declined to change provincial rules to allow ride hailing. They also failed to ensure adequate expansion of fleet sizes. Decades of government protection of the taxi industry resulted in value of a Vancouver taxi license being worth up to $1 million. Now in opposition, Wilkinson’s Liberals, supported by BC Greens, are keen to open the market to Uber and Lyft. In my view, the non-governing parties are mistaken. In most cases, facilitating the gig economy is not good public policy. Opening doors to Uber and Lyft means traffic congestion will worsen, transit use will lessen, large sums will flow to overseas tax havens, and government revenues will reduce…

Rubes with pockets to be picked

Salaries have risen dramatically for years at BCi, the province’s public pension funds manager. Current and future pension beneficiaries are treated as rubes with pockets to be picked. The amount paid the company’s CEO increased 430% since 2007. But others have done well too…

Unattractive risk

Every young person is taught that willingness to fail is empowering and roads to success are built atop failures. Such precepts are generally true but it is also accurate to say death-dealing disasters are usually reckless failures from which nothing good comes. Italian engineers were incautious when they chose to build a dam where the slopes of Monte Toc were unstable. Two thousand people died in the disaster that followed…

Open for business, at any price

Billions of dollars in the accounts of vested interests instead of the pockets of residents and SMEs. That’s will be the outcome after Clark Liberals and Horgan’s NDP greenlighted Site C, a $12 billion dam, which BC residential and SME consumers do not and will not need.

Same old, same old, part x

Political and power industry insiders dictated terms for the original IPP schemes but corporate inertia keeps them alive. BC NDP enjoyed the short-lasting attention paid Ken Davidson’s ZAPPED report since it highlighted BC Liberal incompetence or malfeasance. But, the expose was quickly put into storage. Business continues largely as before. It’s only the public’s money…

Natural gas is not a bridge fuel

Cornell University scientists, including Professors Robert Howarth and Anthony Ingraffea, have been credited with raising scientific and public awareness of fracking and its dangers. As a result, the fossil fuel industry has funded academics and PR groups to attack both the scientists and their science…