Crony capitalism, part duh…

I don’t know that I will bother writing about the detail that I’ve accumulated in examining convention centre projects in North America and abroad. Regular readers can probably guess accurately at what I might say but I’ll show this graph and let readers ponder if it is significant, or not.

BC Liberal trolls will no doubt be sending messages complaining that I’m not accounting for all the innovations used on Vancouver’s waterfront. Like, for example, the thousands of rooftop plants and grasses that might completely offset carbon emissions produced by six billion dollars worth of coal we ship across the sea each year. Or, the extensive use of local materials, including Douglas Fir and Hemlock lumber, from trees that otherwise might have had to be shipped to China, thereby contributing to inflationary pressures in that overheated economy.

So, for the extravagant spending, did Vancouver gain a convention centre of extraordinary size?

Categories: Pavco

41 replies »

  1. Again,this is how the government gives it friends and supporters taxpayer's monies, without fear of police investigation, simply by over engineering a mega-project (transit, public buildings, roads and dams) and building them. This is vertical corruption, extending to all professional groups involved, including consultants, engineers, architects, designers, the auditor general office, etc.

    This sad state of affairs is entirely legal and BC wastes or should I say, pays its friends and insiders tens of billions more than they should by building and financing grossly over engineered projects.

    This sort of deliberate rape of the public coffers by government has left BC in a third world, banana republic status, where government has become organized crime.


  2. And somehow, scotty, that is supposed to make us feel better?
    A comment my 40 something kids might say, as they just don't get it.

    Really did Laugh Out Loud at your feisty comment to the Libtrolls, Norm.


  3. Norm, when you come back, you do it with a flourish! Your research is well presented and easy to understand.

    And in spite of what a few naysayers (Lieberal trolls??) have to say, your comments and graphs are factually based and do not show a right vs. left bias.

    Rather, your exposition usually indicates a clear right vs. wrong issue.

    Glad to see you back. Your work continues to be appreciated.

    Hope those peepers are working the way they should!


  4. North would you please explain why those are in opposition to what you write sometimes are labelled trolls?? There is such a thing as debate which means some are not 100% in favour of what is written.

    Does this mean the NDP Opposition as a collective in the Legislature are trolls because they oppose everything the BC Liberals do?

    This labelling of those who are opposed to statements as being trolls is wearing a bit thin. Not everyone is going to agree with what you write 100% of the time.

    What happened to free speech, or is it just selective?


  5. Disagree. Many apples and orange type comparisons. Differences in size and designs of the centres, structure, facilties within, when they were built, cost of construction

    It's like taking the same sized office space and comparing it to downtown, Langley, Surrey, Kamloops etc. Sure the cost would be much lower than downtown but there are other aspects not included in such a simple comparison.

    A bit simplistic. But remember the NDP has taken advantage of the new facility having had
    a leadership event in the new convention centre.


  6. Ha! Norm, If I didn't laugh I'd cry.

    Speaking of trolls, I've never seen anything like it on the CBC story about the Portland Society managers resigning, they came on like gang-bangers this afternoon. Most names were new. I wonder how much that cost. You can buy twitter followers, so I wonder if this was a 100 mile diet troll for hire fest, or an offshore one?

    The updated (most recent) story about Jenny Kwan was obviously timed for maximum damage. Spin away from the spinners.
    Scrolll down for …managers resign, under the Kwan story.
    July Morning


  7. Norn;
    How do I avoid being “anonymous” without being fully exposed?

    Anonymous “apples and oranges” guy;
    You help make Norm’s point, very nicely.
    Why, in BC, do taxpayers have to pay for structures as though we were in Dubai?



  8. Seems there is trouble here, caused by Jenny Kwan. If she had taken advantage of tainted money, it is her responsibility to tell the public why a public figure such as her did that.

    it is very curious that she ran off and left Shane Simpson to do the explaining. Not good optics.

    So if it's against the NDP or anything on the left, people are trolls, and if it's against the BC Liberals, people are great advocates, are they?


  9. Interesting now that the spotlight is on one of the NDP MLAs. So here we go with the “big bad media” line once again.


  10. Bill Gloat on the top of the hour on the Hedge, places Jenny Kwan at the center of a couple of Portland Hotel Society expenditures.

    Where is the audit on Christy and her government?

    David Schreck ‏@StrategicThghts · 16h
    @billgood980 Possible that @mikefarnworthbc & @jjhorgan could rise 2 occasion & demonstrate what they're made of. Early challenge #bcndp

    Bill Good ‏@billgood980 · 16h
    Is it too late for #NDP Farnworth and Horgan to change their minds?
    Bad day for@ NDP

    July Morning


  11. if Bill Good thinks he is going to have a good time with this and taking a run at Farnworth and Horgan, he needs to find something else to do. If we want to get into tit for tat, gee lets talk about Christy's expenses while in china; the bonuses to PAVCO execs., bonuses to all sorts of lieberal organizations within government, i.e. B.C. Ferries. Oh and don't forget the B.C. Rail scandal.
    Poor Bill he really doesn't understand just because you belong to an organization doesn't mean you are responsible for anyone else's partner, within the organization.
    If we follow Bill's line of thinking, the next time a spouse of any member of anything does anything wrong, the whole organization is responsible. Sounds a tad like North Korea which eliminates 3 generations of a family.


  12. The longer the posting, the less information of merit will be contained therein
    The longer the posting, the less useful information will be contained therein

    Dan’s corollary:
    “The length of the post is diametrically opposed to the amount of useful information contained therein.”


  13. e. a. f.
    The events surrounding Allison Retford the past couple of weeks should make Christy very nervous. It is only a matter of time before she is called out.

    Hawgwash .


  14. WOW! Just how uncomprehending are you? You were precisely the kind of troll that Norm was warning against. Apparently you failed to comprehend.

    I can see that there may be reasons why the VCC may be more expensive / sf than some other projects, but 4 to 6 times more? Seriously, man, you are like the scarecrow. Go see the wizard.


  15. I disagree. Trolls are usually very brief. Their comments are designed just to spit in your eye. They have nothing valuable to contribute and couldn't compose a longer post as that would require something substantive that could actually be subjected to analysis. The post of a troll is designed to be incapable of any intelligent response, as it is itself unintelligent.

    As Dilbert said (I believe):

    Never argue with an idiot.
    They just drag you down to their own level.
    Then beat you with experience.



  16. I have several issues here.

    1) No doubt the Housing Society is doing some good work. But why is the provincial government giving them $25 million a year without any accounting? I know the government doesn't do a good job accounting for its own expenses, but I thought they held everyone else to a higher standard.

    2) Jenny Kwan, as far I can tell, had no involvement with the Housing Society — other than being married to someone who was. I have no tolerance for grifters who use their position to fleece the public trough, but my sense was that JK was genuinely devastated by this revelation. Unless you can show me otherwise, I take her at face value. Her husband “paid” for the trips. Why would she question that? I do all sorts of things for my family. No one asks where the money came from (mostly incurring extra debt).

    3) At least JK had the character to apologize (for something she didn't do), recognizing that it impacted her credibility regardless of whether she was in any way culpable. And she is no longer married to the culprit to boot (wonder what that was all about?? Enquiring minds want to know 🙂 ). And pay back the money that she was not responsible to do (taking her at face value). Those actions speak to a character that is far more laudable than the behaviour of an awful lot of other politicians caught with THEIR hand in the cookie jar.



  17. e.a.f, it's a bit naive. Jenny's ex: and Jenny herself have been embedded into PHS for a very long time. The PHS was found to be wrong on those excess spending amounts. That's well known despite some people's denials. If Jenny's Ex: was smart he would have asked questiions as to why they were given PHS paid for trips to Disneyland and Europe when said money was supposed to go to help the poor. In jact Jenny herself should not have accepted it from the PHS given her position as a prominent NDP MLA. She was wrong to accept it.

    This has nothing to do with Christy Clark and PAVCO. What Kwan did was wrong. If there was an equivalent set of events involving a BC Liberal MLA, the Left would be screaming so loud the noise could be heard from Manitoba and Arizona

    There's also nothing wrong with taking a run on Farnworth and Horgan since both want to be leader and if the NDP gets its act together, either one could be Premier. So why not ask the hard questions? Why are hard questions asked of the BC Liberals and not the NDP who want to be government?


  18. She accepted the trip. The line that she didn't do anything is false. She has a long history of being attached to the PHS, it goes back to her council days with Jim Green.

    She should resign in disgrace. If there was another MLA on the BC Liberal side that did
    the same equivalent thing, she would be on her feet daily in question period.

    She should have questioned the trip. She knew obviously why there was this trip that she herself did not have to pay for out of her own money. If she didn't know why the trip existed, she's pretty naive.


  19. Situations like PHS and Jenny Kwan's benefits were exposed because an intensive audit was conducted and the report made public. There remain hundreds, probably thousands, of publicly funded institutions that have not come under similar scrutiny. Who is investigating the expense accounts at BC Investment Management Corporation (where a part-time VP earns close to $1m a year) or BC Hydro or the “private” public agencies established to evade FOI and Auditor General scrutiny?

    Focus on PHS and Jenny Kwan but remember they're not the only ones scooping from public and quasi public funds. The only solution is to rip away screens of privacy and make the spending of every public dollar subject to easy examination.


  20. According to Michael Campbell this morning PHS, or their forerunner DERA, was found to have been having spending irregularities in an audit conducted in 2002. Any rational thinking person would assume that the person(s) doling out the government funding to them would have been keeping very close tabs on how this money was being spent. Obviously this did not occur. It makes one wonder how many other government funded entities are playing footloose and fancy free with the monies our various levels of government are extracting from our wallets.

    As for MS. Kwan I think that she has no choice but to resign her seat. I suspect that most families know how much each spouse earns and if one or the other all of a sudden comes up with unexplained cash for anything out of the ordinary, most of us would question the source of the new found lucre. Her explanation just doesn't pass the smell test.

    Another thing that really burns my butt is the idea that if a politician gets caught taking money from the taxpayer's cookie jar, repayment of said funds absolves them of any wrong doing. This tactic sure doesn't work with any entity you or I may wrong.


  21. Norm, there are periodic audits on many organizations. So how is that this one had excess and lavish spending? PHS received public money (and donations from the public). The BC Investment Mgmt Corp is quite different. It's not a charity and as you forgot to read, the kind of people who manage the $100 b. in funds for retirement and insurance benefit funds. It's quite different than the PHS which is basically a large part of the DTES in delivery of services. There was no need for the trips to Disneyland on part of Jenny Kwan and her family given to her by PHS. She should have rejected the trips plain and simple.

    Seems to be another attempt at deflection here. Charities are subject to periodic audits as are public institutions. The PHS got caught with its hand in the cookie jar. and Jeeny Kwan was holding a cookie with a bite taken out of it.


  22. You don't understand the nature of auditing nor the ethics required of managers. Typically, if expenditures are authorized by officials of the subject, they are not examined in any detail by an organization's auditors. This audit was unusual, commissioned by funders not managers, it was investigating “value for money,” which examines the efficiency of expenditures. The need for efficiency is similar, regardless of an organization being private, quasi-public or public.

    Remember that auditors are usually hired by the subjects of their work. That affects willingness to inquire into various aspects of an operation. Accountants will not freely admit that fact, but it is true.

    Anyone who believes that auditors ensure ethical and appropriate behaviour of managers had better look at history. It is filled with examples of misconduct.

    I speak from experience in accounting and auditing, in the public, private and charitable sectors. PHS is uncommon because it stands exposed, not because it did wrong.


  23. I believe there should be audits done on any organization/company/person/business who receive government funds. There is far too much waste and expenditures not being reported.


  24. Since you speak from experience, any auditor will be able to find discrepancies. Which is exactly what the auditor did with PHS. Outside auditors look within.

    As a former manager myself, I most certainly do know the ethics of running an organization. I was Vice President of three community based organizations and none of them certainly got into the mess that PHS did.

    The auditors were hired by BC Housing, not PHS.

    PHS was both exposed and did wrong. That has been proven. So we gather from this that lavish spending on Disneyland and European trips was a good thing? Norm even you wouldn't approve of such a thing if you were in the PHS Financial Management team.

    It's apparent that there's deflection here simply because it's another perceived left vs. right issue, which it isn't The issue is lavish spending which should never have taken place.


  25. The only deflection has be the departure from Norm’s original topic; the convention centre cost per square foot; Vancouver vs four other cities. Now your comment about lavish spending has brought us full circle. That Vancouver cost more than double the other four combined just might suggest some very lavish spending.


  26. I find Rich Coleman’s comments very suspect. “No criminal investigation because there is no evidence of fraud.”
    How could that be known without a criminal investigation, Rich?

    And Rich, you’re an ex cop, you should know fraud is not defined in the Criminal Code of Canada. The basic definition requires elements of “dishonesty” and “deprivation”. If you would like to have a refresher, take a look at CCC 380.1 and think about the words deceit and falsehood as they might apply to this matter. I have heard enough from Mark Townsend and Jenny Kwan the past few days to tell me there was probably some element of deceit and falsehood. If nowhere else than with Jenny’s ex. Robert Small.

    And while we’re at it Rich, why are you soft on Jenny? Any other time you would be stoning her in front of Gassy Jack’s statue. Are you hoping this whole thing will go away quietly? Too close for comfort, maybe?



  27. First, I think Jenny Kwan should resign as an MLA because I don't believe her claim she didn't know the non-profit was paying her vacation expenses. Not good enough to repay ill gotten gains once you're caught.

    But there is no media outrage over billions that are wasted in this province through sweet-heart deals in the resources industries – written about on this blog. Or the smart meter program and the private power deals forced on BC Hydro consumers. How about BC Ferries (with 20 directors enjoying fruits of patronage), Pavco, Pacific Carbon Trust, Virtual School Society of BC and other public businesses used to enrich F.O.G. (friends of government).


  28. Further and more importantly we had an Auditor General that cited the present government for inappropriate spending and accounting measures; the same government that wastes millions is now pointing the finger at another entity of wasting thousands.

    A highly hypocritical position to come from.

    I am struggling to understand what BC Housing would know about running an entity such as PHS.

    BC Housing has knowledge of the balance sheet and nothing more.


  29. Nice retort there. Did you ever consider the fact that the VCC was built when there was a shortage of steel? The facility is actually being used quite a bit, that it does attract many major conventions (forget TED)? That even the NDP decided they liked it enough to use it for their National Convention?

    The label troll is a bit worn out Never rely on selective reporting. Look at the big picture.
    and think of the fact that the Left does have its own trolls too. I've read obvously Left leaning trolls here in Northern Insights. Some other Left locations are infested with left leaning trolls.

    Ever heard freedom of speech, or is it just selective (left wing people have free speech only)?


  30. PHS receives support from BC Housing. It is interesting that a PHS audit was done in 2011, and a small discrepancy was found and fixed. So what happened to set off this excess and lavish spending?


  31. And the cycle of corruption is almost complete – more resignations, too much dirt under the carpet and it is slimming out. AGT showed me the way here. Now a regular visitor. I liked the conference center graphs.


  32. Absolutely. Any recipient of government funds should be subjected to a proper audit. Those with ministerial headings should get an extra intensive audit. (every penny, every scrap of paper) I include the Ministery of Social Development, The Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Children and Family Development. All done each fiscal year with none of the “selective budgeting” this government is so fond of.
    Blake Newton


  33. Hawgwash, One of the reasons that the Liberals haven't screamed and hollered about this is the similarity with this and Linda Reid's trip expenses. One outcry would deserve another.

    Blake Newton


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