By numerous measures—affordability, inequality, protection of provincial assets, harm to public services and rapid expansion of debt and obligations—BC Liberals are colossal failures. Most BC residents are unaware because the major accomplishment of this government is its mastery of disinformation as political strategy.
With a breathtakingly large crew of contractors, communication managers and social media engineers, along with political officers and spinmasters throughout the public service, taxpayers pay most of the costs. But the industrial and commercial beneficiaries of Liberal policies fund other elements of the disinformation machine.
These include business associations and astroturfing “citizens” groups created in PR offices. For business, there is no net cost; expenditures are investments returned through friendly policies, corporate welfare and tax breaks.
Thoroughly compromised political pundits employed by corporate media barely pretend to be outside the government orbit. They do little independent reporting of note, preferring to echo talking points and press releases. Punches are pulled and rewards gathered.
We live in a province where patronage and privilege has become government’s purpose. Services to citizens interest Liberals only if there are major contracts to be awarded to loyal old friends or new friends with adequate generosity. BC Hydro, a utility that was established to provide decades of low cost power to businesses and residents, was seen as an asset pool to be sucked dry.
When Ministry of Finance experts work on the provincial budget, financial information is created that politicians treat as inconsequential beyond how it will affect their communications strategies. A good example of this assertion arises from private power policies, Here is a record of Ministry estimates of electricity values in the Pacific Northwest:
So, while the experts had a decent handle on the downward trends in electricity prices, Liberal politicians were determined to do business with private power producers, even if it meant billions in losses were to be suffered by BC Hydro customers.
I reviewed average market prices along with various reports of prices paid to independent power producers. The quality of information from BC Hydro is poor and average prices paid for private power are manipulated by factors not fully disclosed. I think it is impossible for a person outside the industry to create an accurate picture of average prices but we do know the upper range of prices.
These are reflected in the following graph. It is also clear that, as private power has come on stream, the overriding BC Liberal principle has been, “Buy high, sell higher to BC’s small consumers.”
Can anyone looking at these numbers think for a moment that honest and ethical management of public assets is intended in British Columbia? Don’t assume the Legislative Press Gallery will be looking closely at this situation. They have places to go, people to see and money to find.