Politically connected individuals took advantage of citizens’ desire for clean, renewable energy and the Liberals wrote contracts with “lucky firms” that bore no relationship to market prices, guaranteed massive private profits and ensured all financial risks stayed with the public. The contracts in British Columbia last as long as sixty years and allow prices that are as much as 5x market value. In addition, the contracts have annual inflation escalators, a privilege allowed no other commercial segment. All taxpayers get is more power to sell at a loss.
BC Hydro sold less electricity to this province’s residential, commercial and industrial customers in 2018 than in 2005. The total of 50,472 gigawatt hours in 2018 was also a decline from 2017. Despite buying less in 2018 than in 2005, consumers paid BC Hydro 85% more, an extra $2.2 billion.
Canada’s remaining non-renewable energy resources are being sold off in an environment of low prices with minimal and declining returns to governments.
In early 2014, BC Hydro awarded SNC-Lavalin a contract to design, build, finance and maintain the John Hart Generating Station Replacement Project on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.
In-Sights reader Hugh asked my opinion of a Tom Fletcher article. In it, the former head of the Legislative Press Gallery belittles the analyst who correctly estimated consumer losses from BC Hydro’s private power acquisitions are costing many billions of dollars. The Liberal ally and right-wing advocate complains BC’s NDP Government is moving away from previous energy policies…
After the Ken Davidson report to government about BC Hydro’s purchases of private power, David Beers’ wrote, “Somewhere up there Rafe Mair is smacking clouds together to make them thunder: “I told you so!”
Charlie Smith of the Georgia Straight identified a root cause of corruption in British Columbia. It is in his February 10 article linked here…
Retired economist Erik Andersen presented a paper about contractual obligations to the legislative budget committee 2 years running and was met with stony silence from all MLA committee members.
Darryl Plecas reported on many incidents and the suspended officers of the Legislative Assembly are due to provide response on February 7. An anonymous source leaked an incomplete list of the initial defences to be raised by Messrs. James and Lenz…
“Government watchdogs are supposed to have teeth, not wear muzzles,” said IntegrityBC executive director Dermod Travis. “It’s difficult to imagine that any successor to John Doyle will not read the writing that was written on the wall with this decision: if you want to be reappointed don’t do the job of Auditor General too well.”
Site C did not proceed through ignorance and stupidity. It was a mean spirited and carefully designed choice to favour special economic and political interests above all others. Residential and small business ratepayers were viewed as powerless consumers who, with sufficient advertising and mistruths, could be convinced to believe Site C was appropriate and inevitable, even a wise choice. The net effect is to remove money from many pockets and deposit it into the pockets of a few.
Following Liberal defeat in the Nanaimo byelection, Global TV reporter Sarah MacDonald talked to Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson for the 11pm newscast. Breathlessly, she asked what is probably the worst question in the history of BC political reporting…
Ms. Bellringer is another highly paid failure. She did not protect taxpayers by examining for fraud when warning signals had been issued. Auditors have access that citizen watchdogs do not. She had a responsibility to thoroughly investigate deceptive practices. Having failed, she complains that Darryl Plecas didn’t ask her to redo her work with more diligence.
If the Horgan Government and the LAMC allows Auditor General Bellringer to direct a re-examination of the Legislative Assembly’s financial records, that is a clear sign, they’ve made a choice to sweep yet more scandalous behaviour under the carpet.
Integrity and putting interests of the public and the public service above personal interest seem to have been forgotten. Yet, it was not only James, Lenz and Speakers Linda Reid and Bill Barisoff who dismissed those promises. In fiscal year 2018, Deputy Clerk Kate Ryan-Lloyd was paid $251,925 (up 121% since 2009) and Executive Finance Officer Hilary Woodward received $198,380 (up 74% since 2014). Yet neither sounded an alarm of financial mismanagement.
This years-long financial scandal at the Legislature would have been impossible if BC had sunshine laws ensuring full transparency of government spending.
Fossil fuel promoters had either not read the FCA judgment, or reject it for their own reasons. Many of these people applauded when a court jailed opponents of Trans Mountain expansion but judge the courts wrong when they disagree with a decision.
The BC Government has no business case for Site C. Unfortunately, they also don’t have the courage to terminate this expensive white elephant.
The reported number of BC’s overdose deaths in 2015 was 44 per month. That number seemed appalling but now, with the death rate almost three times higher, the situation in BC has deteriorated.
Wasting money on destructive energy projects makes zero sense when there are better alternatives. British Columbia is spending billions on Site C. It could suspend the project today and have less harmful and cheaper sources of clean power operational by the time more electricity is needed.