BC Investment

Falcon, Clark and Libs phony as three-dollar bill

Highly regarded writer Will McMartin uses a fine brush to paint a picture of Kevin Falcon’s duplicity. The result is another part in The Tyee series on leadership candidates Do not miss it. This is from part 2, beginning with a quote from Falcon:

“One of the things I’m most proud of is the fact that we’re actually investing in transportation the way our grandparents used to — that is, we’re paying as we go,” he said in the legislature on Feb. 16, 2004, just three weeks after being named minister of transportation.

“We’re not doing it the old NDP way where you borrow money you don’t have and you have your grandchildren paying the costs. We’re doing it pay as you go.”

A wonderful sentiment. Imagine: British Columbians today can spend billions of dollars on roads, bridges, tunnels, ferries and public transit, and pay for it out of current revenues — without leaving a burdensome debt for future generations! Golly.

Except, Falcon didn’t have a clue of what he was talking about. . .

Laila Yuile offers further evidence with a piece about Falcon adding billions to transportation debt and billions more in contractual obligations.

I see Kevin Falcon and Christy Clark as Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee. Neither one feels obliged to tell the truth. Both simply assure that the same ruinous policies of Gordon Campbell will continue. And, if you think that George Abbot offers something different, remember that when the lobbying duo of Patrick Kinsella and Mark Jiles leave the Progessive Group offices, Kinsella heads to Clark’s camp and Jiles to Abbot’s campaign office. The key influence peddlers have got all the bases covered in the BC Liberal game.

This week Pot reproaches kettle for looking black, again was a reminder that the very people saying public services are no longer affordable are filling their own pockets with money extracted from taxpayers. Sometimes it is taken through no-bid contracts and sometimes through secret payments as in shadow tolls. Other times through arrangements hidden within complex business deals where private companies use vast capital investment resources of public agencies such as the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCIMC) and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB).

Gwyn Morgan, Chairman of SNC-Lavalin, convinced Christy Clark that healthcare expenditures must be cut because taxpayers cannot sustain present service levels. Similarly, neighborhood and village schools must close because it is more efficient to transport school children elsewhere. And, our BC Hydro rates must escalate so the utility can pay companies like General Electric for private power generated by public rivers that BC Hydro must purchase but may or may not need. We must cut healthcare, but raise medical fees, so that we can eliminate corporate incomes taxes and pay “exploration” tax credits to locate gas already found. Social services are not affordable because business gets back $2 billion a year it used to pay in provincial sales tax. Ferry fares must go up, again, so that taxpayers can pay shadow tolls for skiers driving to Whistler on the Sea to Sky Highway.

Morgan does not want money wasted on healthcare and other things because his company SNC-Lavalin relies on taxpayers to pay for something else. Their profits. The company has already geared up to participate in the wonderful world of Public-Private Partnerships. This is the new style of business, what Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz calls ersatz capitalism, in which losses are socialized and profits privatized.

For example, SNC-Lavalin built and operates the Bennett Bridge in Kelowna. For that it is paid amounts, including shadow tolls, that are hidden from public disclosure. Its financing source is also not disclosed but this is the kind of long term infrastructure project in which pension funds invest. Pension funds such as the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation, which administer $80 billion in various equities issued by companies like SNC-Lavalin.

We have created a situation where public funds can be invested with private companies who then invest the funds in public projects. This is called economic efficiency. Or, it is called a boondoggle, aimed at creating private fortunes from public funds, with almost no audit trail.

2 replies »

  1. One of the big financial scandals is the Canada Line, where the P-3 process has hidden the real cost of the metro. The mainstream media fawns over the metro and always touts how successful the subway is, yet in the real world, its meager ridership would be a scandal.

    100,000 boardings a day seems a lot in this part of the world, but not in the real world where a metro is expected to have at least 300,000 boardings a day upon opening.

    Then we must factor out previous bus customers, now forced to take the Canada Line (30,000 or so which equals 60,000 boardings as commuters go in and they come out of the city); up to 5,000 $1 a day U-Pass students (who may use the Canada line up to 8 times a day or put another way 1 U-Pass may account for up to 8 boardings!); the 3000 or so YVR employees who drive to the employee parking lots on Sea island and take the Canada Line for free to their destination (the Canada line is free on Sea Island). At best, the Canada Line has attracted about 10,000 new customers, which is on par with what the equally expensive Seattle hybrid light metro/rail has done!

    According to Susan Heyes, who did much due diligence research on the Canada line for her court case, the real cost of the metro could be as high as $2.8 billion!

    Yet the Canada line is a P-3 and no complete independent audit is allowed, but that little fact is never reported by the MSM.

    Like the NDP's Millennium Line, one can draw a direct line from the Canada line to school and hospital closures in the province, the funding has to come from somewhere, yet everyone one wears rose coloured glasses when it comes to the Canada line!


  2. Well, Campbell did say at his resignation, he would be around for a while. He said, he would continue on with his work. We knew it would be dirty, behind our backs work. China owns a huge chunk, of the dirty Alberta tar sands, which we all knew. So of course, we knew Campbell would force the dirty pipeline through. Only thing, I think it is Kinder Morgan, building the pipeline, rather than Enbridge. After all, Campbell is building, site C dam to give the water to the dirty tar sands. He is also pushing, dumping toxic mine waste into Fish Lake. Out of the blue, Clark and Falcon, said they would fight the Federal government, to do so. Harper and Campbell, are also pushing to, drill oil and gas wells, off BC's coast. Even though, there was a 6.1 earthquake in the Queen Charlotte's. A long time ago, I said, Campbell has caused, the financial ruin of this province. I said, he would turn BC into a polluted wasteland. None of the money, will help the BC citizens. It all goes to, Harper's Global governance plot, as did our HST. It has been said, Campbell will stick around and be an adviser to the BC Liberal government. We can already see him, steering Clark and Falcon, regarding poisoning Fish Lake. The Federal government said, the dumping toxic waste into Fish Lake, could be re-applied for. Some say, Harper will take Campbell east, to work directly for him. We always knew, Campbell works for Harper, the HST scam, was one of their plots. Others say, he will work for the Bilderberg Group, which is Global government. What we do know, the HST has killed this province. With the BC Liberals in office, this province is as good as dead.


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