BC Hydro

Performance short of promise

During the 2013 BC election, Liberals talked frequently of “Debt-Free B.C.” The party platform included this:

No conscious person will be surprised when I state the performance has fallen short of the promise. It’s a liberal shortage. Consider the actual numbers versus the promise displayed above:

Liberals and their allies from the world of crony-capitalism claim the government party provides superior financial management. That may well be true for those in the business of extracting metals, minerals and fossil fuels, selling electricity to the province at multiples of its market value or running consulting and public relations operations. It is not true for ordinary citizens who struggle to survive in a decade of reducing incomes. A couple of examples:

Rates for 2015-2017 are for increases implemented and announced.

Categories: BC Hydro, Debt, Edwards. Murray

25 replies »

  1. Oh well, you can't expect them to get EVERYTHING right.
    On the other hand, shouldn't they be able to do SOMETHING right?

    Thanks for all your hard work Norm. I'm off to Australia for a couple of months to see if its any better down there.


  2. BC Government's strategy for dealing with debt and deficits is to grow the GDP, since debt is measured by debt/GDP.
    So they are desperate for anything they think will grow the GDP, so they can maintain that ratio. Same thing for Federal Govt.
    That explains why they are so hot for LNG export. The problem is that LNG export doesn't make any economic or environmental sense.


  3. Christy Clark read your post early this morning & has reacted by extending tax credits to the Mining industry. It doesn't matter that public services like hospitals & schools are hurting….. Christy said I'll teach that Norm Farrell by giving away more tax dollars to the likes of HD Mining.

    Guy in Victoria


  4. They really do treat the population of BC as stupid. The press release at the government's “newsroom” says the next budget will commit funds to replace the contingency funds that have been used during the last four years for administration of mine permits. It says they will increase geotechnical staff (that some unknown party had decreased).

    If they cared about honesty, they would have announced:
    “We terminated employment of experts within government and relied on mining companies, whether good or bad, to regulate themselves. That was good for company profits and it allowed government to spend money on other things, like Bollywood parties and advertising to help people understand how good we are.

    “Unfortunately, we've been politically embarrassed by Mount Polley tailings pond dam failings and we know there are more private works also at risk of failure. Therefore, we must pretend to be doing something new without admitting that our previous policies were absolute failures. We allowed the pendulum to swing too far and it punched us in the face.”

    Happily, their Press Gallery puppies will ignore the truth. The Vancouver Sun might run pictures of the 1965 Hope Slide and tell us that the NDP might have been responsible because Opposition Leader Bob Strachan – who might have been Glen Clark's mentor – had created a climate of uncertainty throughout the province.


  5. Ever thought of putting up old articles from those newspapers (freaking out about the ndp) and comparing them to all the softballs about the Liberals?


  6. Who did the mayor of Sannich piss off, He has had more negative press in the mainstream media in the last month then the Liberals have had in ten years and that's including Gordon Campbells impaired driving charge, his affair with Lara who he hired at a 6 figure salary which was NEVER reported and the FACT that THE MAJORITYOF THE PROMISES THE LIBERALS HAVE SAID THE LAST TEN YEARS HAS BEEN LIES, and as you state Christy ran around the province the last election with debt free BC written all over her bus and was NEVER CHALLENGED about the fact they {the liberals} had racked up more debt in BC then anyone else in the history of BC.


  7. I've thought about it but it would be a little like doing research to prove the earth is not flat. Time is limited and I'm spending much of it examining 25 years of BC Hydro operations. For almost a decade at the utility, self-interests have trumped the public interest. It will cost citizens tens of billions of dollars over time. Political scandal #1, IMO.


  8. Norm, I worked at Hydro for more than 35years, thankfully that is now over.
    A once great company eviscerated by the Liberals for personal gain and the pursuit of a flawed dogma.
    Hundreds of exceptional senior employees pushed aside to be replaced by those more than willing to fudge and bend and to “make grey” what is a black and white business.
    It hurts me greatly to say that you can believe absolutely NOTHING that Hydro has said since 2001 to be honest or truthful. Lazy and stunted ex-politicos now spew the PR from multiple ivory towers while close to 20% of the employees just keep their heads down hoping to come close to their pension dates.
    If you don't drink the Kool Aid – you are gone.
    This province was set for generations to reap the rewards of a truly world class electrical utility that provided reliable and inexpensive power to everyone.
    Now we will have yearly close to double digit increases while the “friends of the Liberals” have become billionaires.
    Sad, very very sad….


  9. I know little of the Saanich situation beyond what Paul Willcocks has written:

    Saanich, Atwell, online noise and big issues being ignored

    It is astounding that an elected mayor has a key-logger and other invasive software put on his computer by individuals employed by the municipality. It is not just a personal attack on one man, it is an affront to democracy. Heads should roll.

    Imagine the police activity that would result if unknown persons had surreptitiously tapped the telephones and computers of Christy Clark or Stephen Harper because they disagreed with the politics pursued by the leaders. There are indications of ugly and illegal behaviour and it should be the subject of much reporting.


  10. @ Anonymous 1:21 PM

    I'm interested in talking to you face to face (and any other people with detailed knowledge of Hydro operations).

    I'm learning much from document reviews and I suspect a case will be made for a full-on Royal Commission that has power to compel testimony and subpoena records. It won't be the Liberals that appoint a powerful review; they are at the heart of corruption.


  11. Of course. Christy Clark is going to do the “poor me” thing? And she has the temerity to tell people that there is still going to be a “boom”? Or is the “boom going to be BC's economy catastrophicaly tanking? Just wondering about that. Thanks, Blake Newton.


  12. This one party received 795,946 votes in the 2013 election, which represented 21% of BC's population, aged 18+. The most important job in the future is to engage voters. If we don't, small economic elites will simply buy the government they desire.


  13. I just wonder what happens when this whole house of cards falls. B.C. has a huge debt load, no A plan for the economy–LNG was never going to fly, there is no B. plan–mills aren't in B.C. anymore, we just export logs. B.C. has the lowest corporate rates in Canada and that is bad because Canada has amongst the lowest corporate rates in the G-20, average B.C. citizens can't afford to keep having to pay all the extra fees and tolls. Where does this all end?

    when will the B.C. Liberals actually figure out their is an air head at the head of the political company and it could well go bankrupt and not all the smiles in the world is going to fix that.

    Vancouver has been rated as the second most unaffordable city in the world. The rest of the Greater Vancouver isn't much better.

    There isn't even enough money to move people off of city streets in Surrey. its starting to look a little like Calcutta, back in the day. People may complain the people living on the streets are drug addicts, well if I were living on the streets, like they do, I just might be doing drugs also. Like they say, if you aren't mentally when you start living on the street, you will be after a year.

    couldn't stop laughing when Christy clark told people to “come home to B.c. and help us build the province. What the fuck is there to build? there is no money. The province is in hock up to its eye balls. Oh, well, lets see Detroit did file for brankruptcy. Perhaps B.C. ought to do the same and have an accounting firm come in and run the province for awhile because the B.C. Lieberals certainly aren't up to the job.

    About the only things doing business in B.C. are the casinos with money laundrying, gangs selling sex and drugs, and food banks. Well it is one model for economic growth, but it doesn't usually turn out so well. Just check some other countries which have used the model


  14. Interesting comments in this installment, thanks for all the hard work Norm. Yes the dumbing down of the electorate, the increasing reliance of propaganda to vent the Liberal version of the truth, and ultimately the smoke and mirror machine that constantly rewrites their version of reality.
    Industry, and the corporate world in the Liberal heart of BC is fine thank you, but cracks are forming in BC hydro, LNG and what's left of our Forestry business.
    How can we get rid of these governing clowns?
    Sure, blogs like this educate and provide an intelligent forum, but beyond that what can be done.
    Feel free to jump in folks. Research and education is important, but some way must be found to get rid of the gong show and hopefully come up with something far better…


  15. Re Mt Polley, from:

    “The engineering company that designed the tailings pond had warned that Imperial Metals was operating potentially beyond capacity, and in 2011 pulled out of the mine operation without saying why.[8] Also in 2011, a report commissioned by two First Nations groups said “the tailings pond was being expanded too rapidly”.[8] Since 2012 BC’s Ministry of Environment had issued five notices of violation, including one in May 2014 for allowing waste to build up past capacity.[8]

    The controlling shareholder of Imperial Metals is Billionaire N. Murray Edwards. He donated half a million dollars in campaign contributions to the B.C. Liberal party since 2005 and helped organize a $1-million fundraiser for B.C. Premier Christy Clark’s re-election.[19]”


  16. I'm sure Mr. Edwards appreciated the “red-tape reduction” that allowed his Mount Polley operation to be relieved of certain obligations but we cannot say his contributions to BC Liberals made any difference. Nor would his contributions have affected the government's decision to spend $800 million on the NW Transmission Line, which is necessary to power Imperial's new Red Chris Mine. And of course, those payments to the Liberal Party would have had nothing to do with the decision to sell public power delivered through NWTL at rates less than what BC Hydro pays to purchase electricity from IPPs.


  17. Reports seem to blame the design of the tailings pond. Built in the 90's, that would mean it's the NDP's fault.
    Seems there was also something about overloading the pond.


  18. No mention of Knight Piesold in the report.

    Nor the malfunctioning, 40% = 92 piezometers that were found in the 2010 inspection and replaced with 23 new instruments in 2011.

    A short list for dam inspectors would be to start with Minex Contractors Ltd. which includes Mount Polley tailings dam raising for Imperial Mines

    2000 to 2006

    Numerous contracts for Elk Valley Coal, including pond cleanouts, tailings pond raises, coal haul, haul road construction
    Two contracts with Mount Polley Mining Corporation (Imperial Metals) for tailings dam raise, and supply of drill & blast crews
    Two contracts with Fairbanks Gold Mining at Fort Knox Mine, Alaska, for a tailings dam raise and production drilling services
    Two contracts with Diavik Diamond Mines for installation of site pipelines, pump stations, and supply of crews and fusion equipment for
    Site development and airstrip construction for Cumberland Resources Ltd. at Meadowbank Mine, Nunavut


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