Author Archives

Norm Farrell

Gwen and I raised three adult children in North Vancouver. Each lives in our community with seven grandchildren, 12 years and younger. I have worked in accounting and financial management and publish IN-SIGHTS.CA with news and commentary about public issuesv.

Good old days

Politicians, not too long ago, feared the press. Much has changed, not because corporate media owners are suffering financially, since most are not. Good journalism is available, much of it from new media that survives on the knife edge between survival and insolvency, ever in need of financial support. Tenuous job security ensures that few real characters survive in today’s mainstream media. It was not always so…

Oilberta – updated Dec 07/2019

Alberta has long been a puppet of the oil and gas business but Kenney’s compulsion to deliver benefits to this private sector is unprecedented. It is as if Alberta’s right wing government looked at what Norway has been doing and decided to do the exact opposite. In the first 13 weeks of the 2019-20 fiscal year, Alberta’s Heritage Savings Trust Fund declined by $156 million to $18 billion. In the last eight weeks, Norway’s wealth fund increased by C$55 billion, a rise of 4% to C$1.46 trillion.

Steady as she goes

The 40% demand growth over 20 years is a fantasy spun for so long that it is baked into BC Hydro’s DNA. No surprise. Not spending billions of dollars to expand a system with stable demand would leave more than a handful of affluent folks looking for work.

Democratic delusion

“Politics has become so expensive that it takes a lot of money even to be defeated.” Even with contribution limits, generous as they are, government remains biased toward serving interests of prosperous citizens…

Not on time, not on budget

Since actual annual payments are almost 3x the contractual obligation, it looks like the $400 million Sea to Sky Highway improvement project will involve payments to the private partner of $1.5 billion. And remember, the province financed one third of the project’s construction cost while the P3 financed two thirds…

Questions asked

Available evidence demonstrates that, despite the province’s financial affairs being in good order, the NDP Government is satisfied to keep school teacher salaries close to the lowest paid of any Canadian province.

Politics outranks good policy

After banking large contributions from taxi owners, governing BC Liberals had declined to change provincial rules to allow ride hailing. They also failed to ensure adequate expansion of fleet sizes. Decades of government protection of the taxi industry resulted in value of a Vancouver taxi license being worth up to $1 million. Now in opposition, Wilkinson’s Liberals, supported by BC Greens, are keen to open the market to Uber and Lyft. In my view, the non-governing parties are mistaken. In most cases, facilitating the gig economy is not good public policy. Opening doors to Uber and Lyft means traffic congestion will worsen, transit use will lessen, large sums will flow to overseas tax havens, and government revenues will reduce…

Rubes with pockets to be picked

Salaries have risen dramatically for years at BCi, the province’s public pension funds manager. Current and future pension beneficiaries are treated as rubes with pockets to be picked. The amount paid the company’s CEO increased 430% since 2007. But others have done well too…