NFOI – no freedom of information

We’ve seen that organizations make political contributions directly and through lobbyists. We know they use subsidiaries, affiliates and nominees but EBC makes little effort to report connections. In a report by Corporate Mapping Project, Teck Resources seems to have contributed $1.5 million to BC Liberals. However, a more complete listing provides a much larger number: $2.8 million. Even that is incomplete. It is important to know the benefits flowing from Teck to the Liberal Party but we must keep in mind the benefits flowing to Teck. That company was reportedly responsible for $743 million of a $1.2 billion unfunded liability for mine cleanups.

Liberal estimates and guesstimates

A brisk building boom of hydropower mega-dams is underway from China to Brazil. Whether benefits of new dams will outweigh costs remains unresolved despite contentious debates. …We find overwhelming evidence that budgets are systematically biased below actual costs of large hydropower dams — excluding inflation, substantial debt servicing, environmental, and social costs. …The outside view suggests that in most countries large hydropower dams will be too costly in absolute terms and take too long to build to deliver a positive risk-adjusted return

Surprise is surprising – UPDATED

$101 billion in contractual obligations is breathtaking? What is really surprising is that Toronto Globe and Mail’s BC political reporter didn’t notice before February of 2017. On one hand, I applaud Ms. Hunter for daring to mention the subject now. On the other hand, I wonder why she previously avoided this huge issue and did not report it fully in her newspaper?

Blunders, haste and waste – UPDATED

We know the Premier vowed to get Site C dam past the “point of no return” before the May 2017 provincial election. Clark’s Liberals have their own reasons for Site C haste and these eventually will be revealed, perhaps by a postmortem report of an inquiry into the economic destruction of BC Hydro. However, we do know that incautiously pushing a project forward can be costly. Unfortunately, the cost of error will fall not on decision makers but on taxpayers not wealthy enough to hide their income elsewhere.

“Bullshit is everywhere”

For eight years now, I’ve been posting words on the Internet. I was influenced in the beginning by my first two grandsons, now pushing 11 years of age. I looked at these youngsters, and the ones that followed, and concluded that I owed a duty to agitate for a better world. I want all children to have best possible opportunities for education and opportunity, to live in a society that is fair and respectful to people and values the environmental riches of our land.

I’m happy to have been involved in this commitment but I hope the May election will be a turning point. It will be a time to decide whether or not the powerful self-interests of privileged people are insurmountable.

Assets up, production down

In the real world, if a company grew its assets by $18 billion (138%) but reduced its production by 8%, heads would roll. In Premier Clark’s La La Land, party favours roll instead. Good Liberal CEO Jessica McDonald is secure in her job, at least until until May 9.

Liespotting

BC Hydro will lose hundreds of million of dollars per year on Site C dam output, according to a Vancouver Sun article by economist Marvin Shaffer. Facing an installation cost double that of power from utility-scale solar or gas fired turbines, additional hydro-electricity is unneeded and unaffordable. However, in the face of an election, the board of BC Hydro, loaded with Liberal patronage appointees, is not about to correct its faulty course.

Pull down the veil of lies

BC Liberals released the 2017 Budget and Fiscal Plan. The government elected by promising a “DEBT-FREE BC” forecasts total provincial debt will grow $11 billion to a total of $78 billion in next three years. Under Christy Clark as Premier, provincial debt will have increased $33 billion, which was the total debt accumulated in the 130 years after British Columbia became Canada’s sixth province. That $78 billion does not include the debt portion of contractual obligations, which total $100 billion but are not mentioned anywhere in 149 pages of the Budget and Fiscal Plan. The PR strategy is to never admit these exist or have impact. This is egregious dishonesty.

Falsehood flies, truth comes limping after it

A message to BC Hydro: “Figure out what you are supposed to be doing, then do it.
W.A.C. Bennett established this vital crown corporation to provide reliable, affordable power to British Columbians. That’s what it should be doing.
Instead, it is forcing citizens to pay much higher prices to provide financial benefits to foreign owned companies and a band of me-first IPP slicksters and a group of political contributors gaining returns on their liberal investments by sitting in the boardroom of BC Hydro.

Borrow-and-spend politics

The 10-year increase, 2006-2016, in contractual obligations was $67 billion, while the regular provincial debt rose by $31 billion. That’s almost $10 billion a year increase in financial commitments by a government that claims they are creating “debt-free BC.”

The Boren effect

If the liabilities owing producers were recorded routinely, provincial natural gas revenue would be less than zero in two of the last four years. In current dollars, BC’s gas income, including rights sales, declined by more than $2.5 billion, comparing 2016 to 2001. Of course, the volume of production was much higher in 2016.

Mumbling and fuzzifying

It cannot be taken for granted that PPPs are more efficient than public investment and government supply of services. One particular concern is that PPPs can be used mainly to bypass spending controls, and to move public investment off budget and debt off the government balance sheet, while the government still bears most of the risk involved and faces potentially large fiscal costs.

Breaking news broken

Government forecasts that four year natural gas royalties total, 2017 through 2020, may be $926 million but that doesn’t deduct any growth in production tax credits that industry is accruing but government is not recording. In the past four years, the liability to producers increased by $1,158 million. If the liability for unrecorded credits – amounts that can be deducted from future royalties – continues to grow at the rate of the past four years, BC will receive no net gas royalties, provided that a more honest government begins to record the liability. There is already $2+ billion owed to producers.

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