Platforms are for campaigning, not for governing

I remember reading Gordon Campbell’s platform in 2001. Based on the promises, I concluded Liberals were the logical choice for government. The trouble was, Gordon Campbell and the BC Liberals barely meant a word contained in the document A New Era for British Columbia. Despite Liberals not living up to their promises, they were reelected three times. John Horgan learned a lesson. Platforms are for campaigning, not for governing…

2020 election

A close observer of BC politics recently asked if I expected John Horgan to call an election before the scheduled date 13 months from now. My quick response was yes, Horgan will soon ask for a new mandate. The reasons…

Energy policy undermined by special interests

Difficulty justifying billions of dollars spent to meet a need that has not existed is no real problem for people who benefit from the expenditures. After years of arguing falsely that more electricity has been needed to serve population growth, now they contend that vastly more capacity is required for electric vehicles…

Good advice ignored

More than ten years ago, economist Erik Andersen and famed commentator Rafe Mair warned that BC Liberals had planted seeds of destruction in the bowels of BC Hydro. Indeed, the seeds germinated, spread invasively and debilitated the once proud utility. Citing five vectors, Andersen concluded the financial position of BC Hydro was headed dangerously downward…

Errors and alternatives

Three years ago, John Horgan’s Government promised the $10.7 billion budget for Site C would be firm, final and effectively managed. Three years before that, Liberal Energy Minister Bill Bennett provided assurance that the $7.9 billion dam budget had been fully reviewed by the world’s top experts. With an overly generous contingency, he said It was final, with nothing left to chance.

In 2020, BC Hydro admits it is uncertain how the dam can be made safe from catastrophe. Consequently, the amount of money needed to complete Site is unknown…

Absent watchdogs

Most journalists, particularly ones occupying the BC Press Gallery, have spent little or no time examining Site C, the costliest public project in BC history. In contrast, I remember daily headlines and aroused commentary when Premier Glen Clark’s government thought ferry construction would invigorate BC’s shipbuilding industry. In financial terms, the bungled fast ferry project was 1/20 the size of Site C, destroyed no valuable farmlands and disrupted no cultural sites…

Site C losses will be massive

With domestic demand in 2020 below that of 2005, the lies of BC Hydro’s spin doctors about demand growth are exposed by the company’s audited sales numbers. Site C power seems promised to natural gas producers and processors at less than 6¢ per KWh, which would result in operating losses at Site C approaching $500 million a year. Those could double if BC’s surplus power is dumped in export markets that are taking advantage of low-cost solar and wind power. With certainty of billions to be lost by completing Site C, the obvious choice is to suspend the project immediately. It would be the least-cost option…

Private profits but public risks – Updated

Commercialization of small-scale nuclear power has turned out to be far more difficult than investors expected a decade ago. Even one of the world’s richest entrepreneurs cannot finance a multi-billion-dollar program with an uncertain future. Nuclear may play a role in the 2030s but solar, wind and geothermal are viable power sources today…

Self-interest or public interest?

People promoting continuation of “energy self-sufficiency” are really saying that British Columbia should continue giving a unique and costly advantage to one particular industry, a sector that has grown used to taking in close to a billion dollars a year in above-market payments…