Richard Zussman is B.C. provincial affairs reporter for the CBC based in Victoria, and he’s predicted that Premier Clark will win the election in a year’s time. For what it’s worth, I think he’s right and readers will know I’ve been saying that for sometime, although certainly without any enthusiasm.
The economy and nothing else
Mike McDonald, Liberal campaign chairman in 2009, says, “The strategy for us has never really changed. The program of the government is building a strong economy to ensure we have the resources to deliver, health care, education, social programs. We always put economic discipline as a high priority. We have to make it front and centre and not lose our focus”.
The Liberals won’t be talking about things like missing and redacted emails, freedom of information, scandals and death in the Health ministry, incompetence, death and despair in Children and Families, neglect sufficient for a decent minister to resign in the Ministry of Energy and Mines, economic policy built around a non-existent LNG market which has become a worldwide embarrassment, an environmental policy which takes us back to the 1890’s, the premier’s own corrupt ethics, or any other matters. She and her government will simply tell all who will listen that they have handled the economy brilliantly and that British Columbia is prospering because of that.
This is where you cover-up this article from all but mature eyes because that statement is pure unadulterated horseshit.
How they make the sausage
It is not difficult to understand. Take your own family budget. Now remove your mortgage from that budget – call it a self-liquidating asset or some such nonsense – and, poof! – now see your budget balance!
That’s just what the BC government does. Essentially, they run a budget that is minus BC Hydro, the equivalent, and then some, of your family mortgage. They would like to call it a “self-liquidating asset” but unfortunately, due to unbelievable negligence, starting with Gordon Campbell, BC Hydro is in an ever-worsening financial wreck and one can only shudder in horror when one thinks of adding $9-10 billion for Site C (or likely much more than that).
The bottom line according to economist and CSC contributor Erik Andersen?
Customers of BC Hydro have not needed any additional electricity for more than a decade yet all the while customer rates increased by 30% and the debt from corporation has been increased by 1,170%, from $6 billion in 2005 to $70 billion in 2015. (RM: In fact that number has been adjusted to $76 billion!)
Back to your budget. To make it more like Christy’s, you put the house and mortgage into a separate company, run it to the ground, double your debt and you have it about right.
Now go, to your banker, the equivalent of the taxpayer. When he’s recovered from shock he says, “Here’s where you stand: Where, before 2001, when you ran your household prudently and paid your debts – leaving a bit in the bank – now, you’re bankrupt and even your house is worse than worthless. If you didn’t have that generous uncle who lets you pick his pocket at will, you’d be on the street.”
The old “balanced budget” trick
Ah, but, you have succeeded in a phoney way. Since you’ve removed all the costly nasties from it, you do balance your budget each year. You’re stony-assed broke, hugely in debt and you’d better pray that you can go on picking old Uncle Charlie’s pocket for a very long time – but by Billy Bowlegs, you balanced the budget.
Into the foregoing, the government throws lots of long words and meaningless phrases but, sad to say, it’s the big lie technique and wouldn’t survive 30 seconds of cross-examination by anyone with half a brain. The good news for Christy is that there’s no opposition around with half a brain. To knock down this fiscal sham would be a slam dunk for any opposition leader who knew anything about his job, and, while it may still happen, it’s pretty late in the game for leader of the opposition to start criticizing an obvious con game that’s gone on since 2001 without him apparently noticing.
“Opposition” enabling government
This puts into perspective the jam the NDP is in. It should not be they who are fighting their way out of a corner but the government. Yet while Campbell and Clark have been demolishing our finances and ruining BC Hydro, our crown jewel, the NDP has been helping! Because of John Horgan’s amazing doctrine that he can’t be against everything, he’s not been against anything of any consequence.
The government’s flim-flam should have been the subject of ongoing opposition outrage on behalf of taxpayers. That’s what we elect an opposition to do. In fact, the principal job of a parliament remains the supervision of Her Majesty’s purse and, given their failed duty, the NDP should thank God that the queen is Elizabeth II not Elizabeth I.
Public has come around on environment
Many British Columbians have been increasingly hoping that the Green Party would make a difference, perhaps with a balance of power in the legislature. In the last decade, the public around the world and no less in BC, has had a sea change in attitude towards the environment. This is an area where I’ve had some experience over the last 40 years and I can tell you firsthand that the differences are extraordinary. People who were called terrorists, like Paul Watson, are now rightfully seen as heroes. Pipelines are looked at in the light of horrible spills as in Kalamazoo rather than a few temporary construction jobs. Developers are no longer believed, nor are the politicians they own. Climate change is accepted by everyone, except the Flat Earth Society, as a very real worldwide danger. Although Canada is lagging badly, the Paris Conference couldn’t have happened even five years ago, let alone when I was Environment minister in the late 70s. My community of Howe Sound, a pretty “conservative” place, is preparing for civil disobedience to stop an LNG plant in Squamish. I could go on but I think readers will agree that the changes are here, public attitudes are hugely different, and people want leadership.
While leadership is coming from Elizabeth May on the national scene, it’s been non existent in British Columbia.
BC Green leader backs private power
Unfortunately, the Green Party leader, Dr. Andrew Weaver, has an Achilles Heel – since 2009, he’s supported the Liberal party’s Rivers policy allowing independent power producers (IPPs) to destroy rivers and get paid more than double the value of the power from BC Hydro, which must take, need it or not – leaving environmental devastation and financial ruination. How the devil can any decent leader of an environmental party support such a policy, especially after it’s been proved a disaster? Surely, protection of the environment must be his default position. Dr. Weaver, in supporting the Liberals’ disastrous Rivers policy, like the clock that strikes 13, simply can’t expect to be trusted.
Looking good for Christy
This is the paltry opposition faced by Christy Clark in a year’s time. Neither of the two opposition leaders have the “common touch”, of which Ms. Clark has an abundance. Neither of them are particularly persuasive speakers, which, notwithstanding the fact she has nothing sensible to say, Ms. Clark is. Politics is not about virtue but making people believe you’ll bring it to government. Always remember Mair’s immutable Axiom II: “You don’t have to be a 10 in politics, you can be a 3 if everyone else is a 2.”
Is it all over?
Of course not, for, as has been fairly stated, six weeks is an eternity in politics. Obviously, a lot can happen in a year.
I must say, however, that, absent a major scandal in the Liberal party at the leadership or near-leadership level, my shilling is on Christy Clark.