Natural Resources

Subsidies for some, higher fees for others

Replay of article first published in November 2013.

 Despite claims that natural gas will last almost forever and drop massive wealth into BC’s treasury, I’ve demonstrated here, with numbers taken from finance ministry documents, that natural gas production contributes little to BC’s public treasury through royalties.

The amount that might otherwise be payable for current production is reduced by credits allowed gas companies; credits that amount to public subsidies of the fossil fuel industry. At the end of fiscal year 2013, $934 million of credits that will reduce future natural gas royalties remain outstanding. Despite previous complaints of Auditor General John Doyle, government has not recorded this amount as a liability of the province.

In an odd conflict of goals and strategies, the credits outstanding in 2013, by which government encourages production of fossil fuel, amount to 84% of the carbon tax collected in 2013, by which government discourages consumption of fossil fuel.

According to page 113 of the Three Year Fiscal Plan, the amount of program credits will exceed royalties in 2016 by $43 million. As the chart below demonstrates, despite Christy Clark’s chatter, the natural gas industry is an expensive friend to have.

Of course, since the BC Liberals are foregoing revenue from gas producers and other resource companies, they turn elsewhere for sources of revenue. This is but one example.

12 replies »

  1. corporate offloading to the consumer

    like having a min wage job and having to get ,because of below cost of living wage,corporate welfare food stamps in some other countries to get by.


  2. When does this crap end? In a third world country this would lead to serious political problems, what's wrong with Canadians, indeed the folks in BC? How long does this go on before something gives and real problems begin?


  3. It will end when enough citizens of British Columbia decide it should end. Most don't know because the corporate media doesn't care to analyze financial information and report the facts. It's so much easier to reword government press releases.

    As a Vancouver Sun business reporter said to me recently,
    “I don’t have the expert understanding of provincial finances that you appear to have. I am a reporter, not a bureaucrat or an accountant.”

    However, that doesn't stop him from reporting on provincial finances.

    If you think the information discussed here is important, share it with others and ask mainstream media editors why they don't cover these issues.



  4. Did your figures come from a freedom of info request, Norm? If so, AGT says that Christy is working on shutting those down.

    Your quote from the business reporter is depressing — but not surprising.


  5. No, this is from the June Budget Update – 2013/14 to 2015/16 readily available online. However, much financial information is not published and that makes sector by sector analysis near impossible without expenditure of large sums. Delays and excessive censorship have made FOI ever more difficult. Now, we're hearing the Liberals want to further handicap researchers, particularly bloggers who refuse to sing a song of allegiance.


  6. Life is still too easy. The shopping malls are still open, we still have non stop credit. Most of us have jobs that can pay the bills…

    I say we are 10 to 15 years out before things start to burn.


  7. Maybe longer, but, without a change in direction, we will end up where we are headed. Inequality grown worse over 20 years continues until what – civil disaster?

    IMO, trend lines are vital and we ignore them at our peril.


  8. Definitions:

    1) Confidence trickster: A person who sets out to defraud or deceive people by persuading them to believe something that is not true: “his dad was a confidence trickster—spent a lot of time inside.”

    2) Fraud: Wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain. “she was convicted of fraud”

    3) Flim·flam: Nonsensical or insincere talk. “I suppose that you suspect me of flimflam”.

    4) Cheat: Act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage, especially in a game or examination. “She always cheats at cards”

    5) Ponzi scheme: A form of fraud in which belief in the success of a nonexistent enterprise is fostered by the payment of quick returns to the first investors from money invested by later investors.

    Good terms to know when one deals with Premier “Photo-op” and her gang of sleaze artists.


  9. I see Vaughn Palmer is actually touching this topic and even with the slightest hint of skepticism. I do though think he left the heavy lifting to you and just may have lightly lifted some of your details.

    A start, I guess, but he will likely be spoken to when the treadmill starts up after this holiday Monday.


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