From outside the Liberal spin machine – RERUN

The following first published July 21, 2014:

Does it surprise you to learn that British Columbia earned a net of only $61 million in gas royalties in the last two fiscal years?

Revenue statements report $534 M in royalties from April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2014 but in footnotes to the province’s audited financial statements, we learn that credits owed gas producers grew in the two fiscal years by $476 M, to a total of $1,250 M. BC Liberals choose not to record this liability although it will reduce future royalty payments. This is but one example of accounting flimflammery that distorts the province’s true financial state. It also indicates that expectations of riches to come from massive public investments in LNG plants are sheer fantasy.


Last March, the government MLA for one of Canada’s wealthiest municipalities rose in the Legislature to speak about natural gas. Jason Sturdy said:

…our government’s deep-well royalty credit and infrastructure royalty credit program will also help to increase the competitiveness of our province’s natural gas sector and support the long-term prospects of the industry.

The credit programs Sturdy describes are tax expenditures, which are described by a business dictionary as:

Revenue a government foregoes through the provisions of tax laws that allow (1) deductions, exclusions, or exemptions from the taxpayers’ taxable expenditure, income, or investment, (2) deferral of tax liability, or (3) preferential tax rates.

Politicians often use tax expenditures when they don’t want to draw attention to transfers of wealth from public to private hands. The BC Government’s objective is to reward natural gas producers billions of dollars while citizens — like disabled people in their seventh year of a benefits freeze — are told cupboards are bare. Liberals prefer little discussion or comment not processed by their spin machine. In this case, Robin Austin, opposition critic for natural gas development, did not provide the rest of the story. Instead, he stood after Mr. Sturdy and applauded the government’s gas strategy. That, I believe, is opposition that is too loyal.

I am prepared to wager that not one in twenty carbon tax paying British Columbians — perhaps including MLA Austin — know the amount taxpayers subsidize fossil fuel development. Since handout beneficiaries are among their funders, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation does not rate as important the billions in tax expenditures encouraging fossil fuels. Today, one of Jordan Bateman’s complaints is about $77.82 the Ministry of Finance spent at an online Disney store. Gas subsidies have not been on Bateman’s list of subjects fit for examination.


Search Google for BC natural gas subsidies and you will find the corporate press has almost no coverage. It is discussed at sites like this and by The Dogwood Initiative and the Common Sense Canadian. Otherwise, the subject is considered not something taxpayers need to know. God knows it is material, but that’s matters not to corporate media.

The following is extracted from documents published by the Ministry of Finance, including audited financial statements of British Columbia.


LNG updates at The Straight Goods.


15 replies »

  1. Oh, we can survive, but that is it, survive, not live and thrive.

    Bateman and his Taxpayer group only go for the “little” stuff which makes good headlines. The real stuff, not so much. I don't recall Bateman and the Taxpayer's group saying all that much about the new ferries being built in Poland, it is our tax dollars. don't see bateman and his batties having a look at the premier's expense account. We don't see Bateman and his batties investigating anything but what makes them look like they are doing something, while actually doing nothing. Its a nice trick and a nice job, which he has.

    Ever since the Lieberals came to office this province has been going downhill and the coffers are empty. They refill them by raising hydro rates, medical premiums, the things corporations don't have to pay all that much. what corporations get paid by the province is quite another thing. Makes you wonder what the Lieberals are getting out of all of this.

    Too bad the MSM doesn't report on any of this. Thank you again Norm for all the hard work you do.


  2. how does the falling price of NG factor into this? I was citing your data to my MLA and he fired back with this. I was unable to respond


  3. Spin as in tornado, hurricane or black hole.?like a FOI BC request prob black hole cause all goes in but not a lot comes our .plus you have to pay to get it.


  4. Next step: perhaps Norm can show a graph of declining royalties against the declining price of NG. (He may have already.)

    I doubt that there is a 1:1 correspondence, as the MLA suggests.


  5. FYI Jordan Baterman is the President of the Langley Liberals for Rich Colman's riding. Funny that no one (or not so funny) in the MSM ever mention that little fact. Why would he bit the hand that feeds him?


  6. Who's turn is it now?

    G. Farrell-Collins: How would I characterize the government's continued comments on the bright future of British Columbia's economy? I suppose, when you're at the bottom of a valley, anywhere upslope looks higher than where you are at the present time.

    TUESDAY, JUNE 1, 1999

    C. Clark: If the minister would start listening, she'd hear what the child advocate has to say. That's that it's time to stop studying, it's time to stop reorganizing, it's time to stop adding bureaucrats, and it's time to act to start protecting children in British Columbia. The child advocate points to 14 reports and over 1,000 recommendations — and still this ministry is in chaos. When will this minister recognize that it is time to stop wasting money on endless administration and endless reorganization, get her priorities straight and start protecting children?



  7. 90% of the politicians give the other 10% a bad name. – Kissinger
    The power of government and the corruption of government are directly proportional. – Will Spencer
    Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem. – Ronald Reagan


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