Vanishing revenues

There is too little public discussion of huge costs and questionable benefits of an industry that employs a tiny fraction of BC’s workers (0.4% in 2014 according to BC Stats).

With land developers, largest funders of the BC Liberal Party are natural resource companies. They’ve contributed millions of dollars to encourage government sympathetic to their needs. No administration in the province’s history has been as sympathetic to natural gas producers as the present one and benefits to the industry measure in the billions.

I offer information about payments made by natural gas producers to the province over the last ten years. The report is drawn from provincial documents and the numbers can be confirmed by anyone with diligence. These show only the natural resource revenue side, without affect of government accounting that spreads certain rights payments over time. That policy has a smoothing effect so that, in the current fiscal year, the province’s statement of operations will not directly reflect recent weakness in both royalties and sale of petroleum and natural gas rights.

Additionally, government is now spending unprecedented sums to promote the industry. In fiscal year 2016, despite the absence of associated revenues, the Natural Gas Development Ministry budget was up 11% to $444 million. In addition, BC Hydro is spending billions to deliver subsidized power to producers and fresh water is poisoned in stunning quantities for fracking.

Gas and other natural resource revenues are influenced by a number of factors. The pricing principles applied have more to do with profitability of resource companies than the intrinsic value of public goods produced by private enterprises. (Ask your landlord to use that principle for calculating your dwelling rent.)

I’d like readers to concentrate on the revenue changes since Gordon Campbell departed. There is a connection waiting to be revealed.





14 replies »

  1. I think this quote from Paul Craig Roberts says it all for what's happening in this province in spades.

    “Throughout history thoughtful people have understood that truth is the enemy of government.
    Most governments are privatized. They are controlled by small groups who use the
    government to pursue their private agendas. The notion that government serves the public interest is one of the great deceptions. “
    Paul Craig Roberts

    Robert from Richmond


  2. Norm, you supply step one (and nobody does it better). Step two is for people to simply ask themselves why the BC Liberals are doing what they're doing to BC Hydro: if there's no explanation other than they're willfully trying to bankrupt this venerable public enterprise (which was designed to, and, before the BC Liberals took power, actually did, provide broad and large benefit to BC's citizens and economy), we have arrived at the point when this question must be asked: why haven't the BC Liberals been changed and prosecuted for a massive breach of public trust?

    Times were when the perfidious BC Liberals would smirkingly produce books lovingly cooked with gourmet recipe in response to such a question, but, ever since the $800 million Smartmeter scam, they hardly even bother to hide their perfidy anymore: as if the IPP fiasco wasn't proof enough, Site-C has reached its designed absurdity with irrefutable, blatant unfeasibility. What the hell?

    There were also times when public officials could be sent up for this kind of sabotage of public infrastructure, let alone the crony-incentive system the BC Liberals have established for themselves and their financial contributors—an effective direct payment system that runs straight from BC citizens to the untendered mercies of completely uncompetitive crony contractors, and finally some portion of this unauthorized generosity ends up in BC Liberal party coffers. It's incredible none of this has been prosecuted, but, worse, now we seem to have trouble even getting injunction until such basic, basic, basic things as feasibility, accountability and public trust have been assured.

    I remain flummoxed. How can such obvious, blatant breach of public trust be allowed to survive and grow? If allowed to stand, then it hardly matters who runs the province, corruption and malfeasance will flourish with impunity, a constant, continual temptation to which no party is immune. Is this the triumph of the new right?


  3. Now I understand why disability support rates have been frozen for almost ten years, why medical services plan rates must rise well above inflation and why we must squeeze public schools to afford generous support for private schools.


  4. Economic subversion is alive and well in B.C. For those that still don't get it…folks your being ripped off by an organized group of individuals, under the guise of a political party, funded by “vested” interests, who believe they have a”right” to use your tax dollars anyway they choose. Its your money…what are you going to do about it?
    Breach of Trust, breach of fudicial responsibility..oath of office is a worthless pile of garbage…why is there no way to put these clowns where they belong? Behind bars!


  5. Right on the money, Scotty. Yes , how do we get these people removed from office? Is there no legal requirement, in Canadian governance statutes, that requiries a serving government to “act” in a manner of responsible fudicial accountability, when dealing with taxpayer dollars and or assets, such as BC hydro?
    Seriously, if we're going to be B.C. Inc., I would like to attend the next “shareholder” meeting and demand to know what's going on with tax dollars and the assets that are being bled blind from producing assets that we the public own, all the while being nickled and dimed to death, with fees? ( MSP, ICBC etc.)
    In the corporate world, heads would have rolled long ago.
    Where is the protection for taxpayers, when governance is taken over by organized crime, under the guise of a political party, serving as a government?


  6. “I'd like readers to concentrate on the revenue changes since Gordon Campbell departed. There is a connection waiting to be revealed.”

    I hope you mean that YOU are going to reveal it, Norm — and soon.

    In the absence of the truth, my mind can stir up too much fun…


  7. So the BC Govt is getting publicly-owned BC Hydro to build $billions worth of new infrastructure to provide clean electricity for natural gas fracking and LNG export. This is so they can say the LNG industry is “Green”.

    Except that when natural gas is exported which otherwise would have been used in the fracking and LNG production, it all gets burned and ends up in the atmosphere anyway.


  8. So BC's industrial GHG emissions are up 2.1%:

    The govt will need to make public schools and hospitals pay even more for carbon offsets, as the $16.5 million paid in 2014 for 662,091 carbon offsets is obviously not enough:


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