Horgan, John

Delusion, deception, inertia

Faced with a choice between respecting Supreme Court confirmed indigenous governance and serving foreign financial interests (Shell, Petronas, and PetroChina), BC NDP joined with the land polluters, not the land protectors.

The Horgan Government had opportunity to further reconciliation of historically oppressed people and honour the wishes of Wet’Suwet’en leaders, titleholders responsible for lands upon which Coastal GasLink pipeline is to be imposed.

Somehow, the Premier and his minions believe this in not in conflict with their much ballyhooed CleanBC program.

Following in the Liberal tradition of never missing an opportunity to reward friends and party members with patronage opportunities, NDP appointed 18 people to the province’s Climate Solutions Council. I presume the provincial treasury has ways of lessening any feelings of hypocrisy.

Coastal GasLink is a financial disaster in the making. At NEB hearings, Kinder Morgan said the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion would cost $5.4 billion. Now the estimate is $12.6 billion and counting. Add to that $4.5 billion Ottawa paid KM and more than $17 billion is committed to a project the private sector wouldn’t build.

Like Kinder Morgan, Calgary based TC Energy Corporation bailed on the Coastal GasLink Dawson Creek-Kitimat project, selling 65% to Alberta’s public pension plan manager AIMCo, which is in partnership with the National Pension Service of Korea.

When the final cost escalates and operating losses need coverage, we can bet it won’t be private investors who pay additional amounts. Conservatives like Jason Kenney, who claim to despise socialism, seem always ready to use public funds to protect private interests.

If wondering about appropriateness of investing more than $30 billion (including built-for-gas Site C) in fossil fuel expansion, consider the academic paper Causes and Cures of Poor Megaproject Performance. It suggest certainty there will be more to pay.

A few highlights:

Megaprojects are the delivery model used to produce large-scale, complex, and one-off capital investments in a variety of public and private sectors. With a total capital cost of US$1 billion or more, megaprojects are extremely risky ventures, notoriously difficult to manage, and often fail to achieve their original objectives.

[The paper] rejects technical explanations as the main reason for inadequate forecasting and discusses poor performance as a result of psychological and behavioral reasons and how those affect decision making.

The three most predominant concepts in this theme are:

(1) optimism bias (delusion): executives are overly optimistic and thus overestimate benefits and underestimate costs;

(2) strategic misrepresentation (deception): executives strategically misrepresent the truth and seek to satisfy their own interests; and

(3) escalating commitment (inertia): executives continue to follow the pattern of behavior leading to unsuccessful outcomes rather than follow an alternative course of action.

The main cause of poor performance associated with optimism bias is biased judgment and advice provided by experts in their fields who tend to create an optimistic scenario and circumvent known risks and unforeseeable uncertainties. This is an unconscious phenomenon that psychologists classify as the planning fallacy, leading executives to underestimate costs in several areas of complex projects.

The leading cause related to strategic misrepresentation refers to diverse pressures (political, organizational, and individual) forcing the decision maker to manipulate the situation by usually under-estimating costs and ignoring risks.

Early estimates and forecasts are used deceptively to inform decision making and achieve the necessary alignment and support from stakeholders (including the taxpayer) to proceed with that preferred project.

The primary cause connected to escalating commitment is the overall perception, which mostly works as a norm, that, once started, a megaproject is too big to fail and too costly to stop. Managers allocate resources in order to complete the project, even when subsequent assessments and audits indicate a decision in another direction, where the final benefits are no longer superior to the necessary investment.

14 replies »

  1. I remember being horrified that Christy Clark was going to get Site C past the point of no return and avoid the examination of the process that a BCUC vetting would involve. Not only is the Horgan government repeating and reinforcing the whole Site C/LNG boondoggle/giveaway, it’s ramming through the gas pipeline in a de facto repudiation of its own UNDRIP legislation with the idea that they’ll get it done before the bottom falls out of the market and ALL the principal operators decided that there just isn’t enough money to be made.

    With Clark, it all seemed just too true to form. With Horgan, it’s something of a reversal from expectations (having only words in opposition as a guide) and doubly disappointing. It’s a process steeped in cynicism and lays bare the lack of real choice in choosing representatives who will lead us in a constructive direction through the multiple and intertwined crises we face.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Reversal of Horgan for sure. He has put a pretty darn good government at risk over this gas pipeline issue. Horgan and Trudeau are white liberals whose actions are conflicting with their previous words of empathy for the indigenous situation. Hate to see the Liberals back in BC because of the NDP baldly dropping this ball.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The cost escalation in the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is deja vu and unfortunately the Canadian taxpayer will be on the hook. Alberta is the only province desperate to get this thing built. Any chance the federal government would consider gifting the pipeline, as is, to Alberta and letting them absorb the cost of building out the expansion. I fail to see why the rest of Canada should be asked to pony up for another megaproject boondoggle.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I was just wondering. How come nobody is commenting on our whole monetary/economic system seems to be based on lies and deception. The US is trillions in debt; but it’s OK cuzz the economy is doing great (according to Trump). Provincial and the Federal Governments give the oil and gas industry approx. $43 Billion a year (according to the IMF.) Just hear what Jason Kenny has to say about the Teck Frontier project to the Federal Government (sure sounds like extortion to me). Jason Kenny is so far up the oil and gas industry’s butt he’ll need a surgeon to remove himself ( and Horgan is there too with the gas industry). Folks, our whole economic system is one big lie (according to George Carlin). My kids and their generation see it but us baby-boomers don’t.

    Liked by 2 people

    • This boomer knows it. Unfortunately, with our corrupt media and the onslaught of :”yellow journalism”, the boomers are “comfortably numb”. As long as they can winter in Mexico or Arizona and ski in Whistler and thrill in the vast pyramid scheme that is the global economy, they will continue being comfortably numb.

      Today’s kids have all but given up, no prospect of a home, little prospect of a future, have turned to nihilism as we see with their games and pastimes.

      Today it is a rent a mob of about 100 in Vancouver that blocks roads and railways; with the right leader, 20,000 or 30,000 will march for change.

      Remember, one Adolph Hitler, con man, third rate artist and a man with a funny mustache, was such a leader who came at the right time and looked what happened.

      In the USA the very same, but with orange hair instead of a mustache, is repeating Germany’s 30’s.

      I see history repeating itself in the 2020’s.


  4. It as lot of money some people want to spend. The news on CHEK TV –the old channel 6 of Victoria is reporting this evening local volunteers in Duncan are cleaning up needles, garbage and other debris in their town. They dump out the needles for the camera and that sure was a lot. the news showed people living in tents on the side walk. The report finished with a mental health worker and clean up detail person saying they need supportive housing in Duncan.

    What is comes down, is all those billions which really, private industry benefits most from, could be used locally, like building supportive and affordable housing all over the province. The people who would be working on the pipeline could be building necessary housing locally. Some might be interested in re training to work with people with addictions, etc. Makes more sense to me.

    Now as to the issue of the Hereditary Chiefs and their “dispute” with governments, seems like they have a case. CBC did a nice job a while ago having a reporter explain it all. The Hereditary Chiefs still represent the traditional lands and the elected chiefs,who were created by the Federal Government a very long time ago, their authority resides within the reserves. In the end that pipeline will move tar from Alberta to ships on our coast and one of those ships is going to have an accident and wind up on the bottom of the Salish Sea. Not in favour of that.

    The MSM is having a lot of “fun” with a variety of politicians and a variety of people, who want the federal government to “move” the protestors. Translation: don’t care if they live or die, just get them out of the way so we can forget about it. What is interesting is the rail lines in Ontario are the most disrupted. “The Mohawk People may be supporting people in B.C. but if you’re out protesting in such cold weather, you’re committed to something so some one is really pissed about something. This may simply be Indigenous People of Canada have had it with the usual “b.s.” from corporations and government.

    If they build that pipe line and there is any short fall, lets make sure we the taxpayers don’t ail out any of these companies. We ought to eliminate the $43B the oil/gas gets in welfare payments each year also. it would be better spend on real welfare/financial support for the children in this country and cleaning up Grassy Narrows.

    The protests in the east seem to be about the RCMP being at the land here in B.C. Move the RCMP and see what happens. Its not like they can’t return them if they want to.

    Jason is never going to like Trudeau and neither are the Albertans so fuck’em and forget the pipeline. No one in Canada seemed to care much when B.C.’s lumber industry collapsed and we didn’t get bailed out. Some one might want to tell the queen of Alberta the drama is over, get to work turning around the Alberta economy and stop the foot stomping or go to your room.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. the crooked corrupt federal govt under trudeaus watch issued the federal permits to start site c to appease his crooked corrupt snc-lavalin-that was a shoo-in for sure as crooked corrupt snc-lavalin is the prime engineering firm on site c-the crooked corrupt bc govt of the day was also in on this scam from day one along with crooked corrupt bc hydro-no one would get involved with a project so big as site c without guarentees knowing the project would carry on unhindered–crooked corruption at its finest here in bc–all involved should be held crimminally accountable for the needless destruction of the peace river valley and its wildlife habitat and be jailed—–we dont need a ny pipelines to the west coast either—we need to refine every last drop of canadas oil here and get the 1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th-6th generation products out of that oil gasoline-diesel fuel-fertilizer for our ranches and farms-rubber-asphalt-cetane -propane-butane-polypropolene beads for making plastics and make milk jugs jerry cans-car dashes and everything in between instead of shipping a raw product elsewhere and buy it back for 100 times the price-the job base is huge-the tax base is huge-the royalty base should be huge—-the bc govt has given away all the oil-gas -electricity and water for nothing-no dollars in bc coffers—we are broke-broke-broke due to bc politicians kneeling down to the crooked corrupt multinations and sucking up to whatever they want at the bc tax payers expense—dont think there is anything left in bc to give away -all involved should be held crimminally accountable and jailed for treason against bc–mark meiers–charlie lk bc


    • Crooked corrupt multinationals involved in abuse’s and crimes against humanity, human rights, and the environment. Their track record is something else around the world and I wish more people would see that, and what our slimy politicians give into and let operate in Canada. There is so much info out there on these scummy international outfits that it has my head shaking sometimes why the lack of conversation on the subject. I do agree with your anger about our politicians dealing with this kind of devil. Sometimes raw bluntness such as the way you put it Mark is necessary, because i feel it doesn’t seem to get talked about enough.


  6. omg, the Global 11 p.m. news was a hoot! If I didn’t “know better” I’d think they were trying to panic the population into thinking they’ll be without food, medicine and gas with the blockades. Not only did they show ships waiting in the harbour, they had some business representative and decorator talking about how difficult things were in business, in this declining economy, etc……..

    Price of gas could be if not going up, allocations–rationing of gas could happen by weeks end. You’d think Global with their breathless reporter and all that inflammatory language was trying to create something the country doesn’t need. One could reasonably conclude they really don’t like Trudeau and are predicting disaster if those “peskie” Indigenous types aren’t dealt with.

    That was the one interesting thing they didn’t mention was the Indigenous people and what they need and what they want and what they have the right to. No it was all about “us” and our first world privilege. Global doesn’t seem to understand there is the no small matter of unsettled land claims in this country and the Hereditary Chiefs rights and the rights of Indigenous People and their right to protest in a peaceful manner, which they’re doing. My take on it is some of those news outlets would like nothing better than a few dead bodies lying around so they could have some thing to report on.

    Liked by 1 person

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