Auditor General

Have they lied to you before?

George Orwell: Politics and the English Language (1946)

Political language …is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

Recently, I participated with Dermod Travis of Integrity BC and others in a Twitter exchange about British Columbia’s provincial debt.

To most of us, particularly when we sit before an inquiring banker, the concept of personal indebtedness is uncomplicated. However, when a BC Liberal speaks of debt, refer to George Orwell’s statement shown above.

The Auditor General adds taxpayer-supported debt and self-supported debt and the total is called Total Provincial Debt. In addition, the A-G reports “the minimum amounts required to satisfy the contractual obligations, for contractual obligations that are greater than $50 million, by sector, by year.” The amounts are for multiyear contracts for services and construction of assets.

British Columbia’s public accounts only began reporting contractual obligation in the 2005-2006 fiscal year, which is about when government became serious about financing projects through public-private partnerships and BC Hydro was signing massive IPP contracts.

Proving Orwell correct, Christy Clark’s team talks not about a massive growth in public debt and debt-like obligations, it says what it did in the Throne Speech on February 14:

…your government is on track to be free of any operating debt by 2021. For the first time in 40 years, children born that year will no longer be asked to pay for the burdens that our generation has placed upon them…

I won’t bore readers with an accountant’s discussion of what is and what is not debt but I will present two charts, created from information disclosed by the Auditor General and with estimates for fiscal years 2017-2019 from the province’s most recent Budget and Fiscal Plan.


16 replies »

  1. It boils down to this – how the hell could we give these incompetent hslf wits yet another 4 years of their businesd oriented minds annd gribby little fingers working on our public assets again?

    Then listen to Christy lie and lie and lie agaih?

    Are we stark raving mad?

    And I ask again, where in hell is the Attorney-General and the police?

    Have we not had enough yet?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rafe, as lawyer and former MLA, you know the system better than most of us.

      What would be necessary for and the mechanics of, filing a formal complaint with the RCMP?

      Fraud comes to mind.

      Or maybe a citizens arrest. Now wouldn’t that catch some attention.


      • First, the balanced budget is a mathematical trick. DIY by forming a compsny and have it own your house and car so it’s responsible for your mortgage and car payments and presto! You have a balanced budget! Now, try and whizz that one past your banker! The government simply does the same with Hydro and other big losers but because rhey’re a government their bank doesn’t care.

        Re charges – i’m a little rusty on this but i don’t think you can lay a private charge any more but you can start with a # of people petitioning the AG in the ordinaty way and at least get her in the game. i’m wracking my brain to find a way to sue her civilly but BAKER, i’m going to suggest that with this we ask for a current barrister to advise us. I haven’t practiced for over 40 years!

        Is a lawyer in the house who’ll come to our aid?


  2. From the 2017 BC Throne speech:

    “B.C. has Canada’s best fiscal record, with a triple-A credit rating and four consecutive balanced budgets, with a fifth coming next week.”

    The Govt says the budget is balanced, yet debt and contractual obligations are growing rapidly.

    They now total almost $170 billion, which is $100 billion greater than what is was in 2006.

    About $56 billion of the BC Contractual Obligations is for BC Hydro IPP power purchases going into the future.

    From spending that massive amount of money, BC Hydro will get no new power infrastructure.

    Unlike, for example, if BC Hydro were to invest money in an upgrade to an existing plant.


  3. Just heard CBC’s political panel with the Liberals bragging about BC’s so-called “strong” economy and no operating debt.

    What a load of crap. We don’t have a strong economy, we have a real estate bubble economy which is pricing our kids and grandkids out of the province. A real estate bubble economy with affordable rents disappearing. A real estate bubble economy taking farmland out of production.

    And our provincial debt has skyrocketed around the Liberals, BC Hydro is teetering on bankruptcy.


    • O-T-R, You obviously weren’t listening to the ‘facts’. That your ‘opinion’, or shall we say ‘alternate fact’ does not align with those of the BC Liberal party is of no consequence. Just read the message on the bus: “Debt free BC”


  4. California has found a reason to stop building electric power plants. They are teaching consumers how to conserve. Something that the BC Liberals will never do.

    “Overall, the cost of these schemes averages out to $0.028 for every kilowatt hour saved—just over a quarter of the cost of the electricity itself. And that’s going off the price of electricity generated by existing plants.

    Apart from sparing utility companies from having to invest in new infrastructure, these efficiency programs also save consumers money. In California, $12 billion was lopped off utility bills from 2003 to 2013 thanks to ramped-up energy saving programs.”

    Announcements Disguised As Gifts

    Christy is handing out bribes knowing it is her final term as premier. It’s “Christy’s leap-year Christmas” falling on May 9th of this year.

    The taxpayer’s credit card is “maxed” and the books, manipulated. BC Hydro’s debt for the Site C Dam is a land mine waiting for the next occupants of the house.

    The mean-spirited cutbacks are now referred to as “givebacks”. The spending pledges are as empty as a “politician’s promise” in a brothel. A pathetically sad, empty gesture.

    She is the master of deception. There is no surplus, except for electrical power that is being sold at a fraction of the cost of production.

    It’s an embarrassing performance of “Budget Pimping” where the premier dresses as Santa’s Helper.

    Christy Clark claims five balanced budgets yet she is responsible for doubling BC’s debt. The addition of the Hydro contract obligations takes BC’s debt to $150 Billion. This is not fiscal responsibility – just cooked books with no happy ending.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: BC Debt Graphs

Leave a reply but be on topic and civil.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s