By Economist Erik Andersen
It is unfortunate that the government exploits the public’s ignorance of finances. We know that BC Hydro abuses the privilege of using regulatory accounting. Carrying $6 billion of uncollected expenses as a asset is an insult and the former Auditor General more or less told them so. Prior to 2003 the NDP had BC Hydro clear off all unpaid/collected expenses each year with rate changes. Back in 2005 I had occasion to talk with a BC Finance Ministry retiree. She confirmed my suspicion that they were under heavy orders to capitalize as much as was possible. That order must have kept hundreds of millions out of the current year accounting records and now shows up as long-term liabilities and “Contingencies and contractual obligations”.
The so-called balanced budget has only been achieved by delay, spending suppression or hiding contractual liabilities. This is a form of Enron off-balance sheet accounting, that for the first time ever, caused the independent auditor to title their opinion with a new term. BC Hydro did not deliver an annual “audited” report. Continue Reading »
Rafe’s appearance on Febuary 22, 2017, as a guest on The Goddard Report. Topics include the BC budget, BC Hydro, independence of radio journalism, refugees, and Trump (specifically, bad-mouthing judges).
Click here to listen.
Rafe’s appearance on Febuary 9, 2017, as a guest on The Goddard Report. Topics include the Trudeau-Trump meeting, the upcoming provincial election, affordability of prescription drugs, and Conservative Party leadership.
Click here to listen.
MLA candidate for Nanaimo-North Cowichan Lia Versaevel (photo: BC Green Party)
This coming election, May 9, is the most unsatisfactory one I can remember since, perhaps, 1952, when the old Coalition broke up. Most people I talk to throw up their hands, saying such a terrible choice – a corrupt, cheating, lying, government and an opposition that hasn’t shown any leadership at all and gives no confidence they’ll be any better the last NDP bunch.
I tend to agree.
At first, I wasn’t going to do any election interviews, mainly because I knew that neither leader would be much interested and I could see no advantage to the reader in hearing from most of the candidates, David Eby of the NDP being probably the one exception.
My own political persuasion is Green but I am not a member of the party and while I support Elizabeth May federally, I think that Dr. Weaver is a distinct liability to the BC party. His views on IPPs and BC Hydro, propounded by him since 2009, are so thoroughly discredited that his continuing to hold them surely disqualifies him as leader of any party that cares anything about the environment and fiscal responsibility. Continue Reading »
BCNDP Leader John Horgan (Flickr/BC NDP) and Premier Christy Clark (Flickr/Province of BC)
It’s not easy to write an article on politics in the quiet backwater of British Columbia in light of the tragedy in Quebec. I’m going to make this, then, a doubleheader.
This past weekend, the initial story, of course, was all President Trump as he found new ways to prod anti-Muslims by pretending to be concerned about national security. At the same time, there was a story out of Austria that they plan to ban the niqab. To say that there is no connection between those and similar stories and the tragedy in Quebec is to be blindly naïve. This is not, of course, to say that Trump or the Austrian government are directly responsible for Sunday’s dead and wounded but it is to say that when leaders talk the same language as the bigot, it encourages the imbalanced, for whom very little encouragement is needed. Continue Reading »
Rafe’s appearance on January 25, 2017, as a guest on The Goddard Report. Topics include the worldwide women’s marches, the first few days of the Trump presidency, George Orwell, good manners, and the provincial election. Click here to listen.
Rafe’s appearance on January 11, 2017, as a guest on The Goddard Report. Topics include the next BC election and LNG, the Federal cabinet shuffle, and the Trump inauguration. Click here to listen.
Christy Clark (Province of BC/Flickr) and John Horgan (BCNDP/Flickr)
The election is sufficiently near to develop a few axioms to carry us through the sea of a largely imponderable mass of horse buns that we’ll have to face. I suggest that the following are good starts to our defence mechanisms as our eyes and ears become mercilessly assaulted by heaps of political bullshit, endemic to all campaigns, this one having a master, or should I say mistress, of it?
We can assume the following:
NDP Leader John Horgan probably won’t know what the hell he’s talking about most of the time but he will honestly believe that it’s appropriate and accurate.
Premier Christy Clark, though it is highly unlikely, may know what she’s talking about on some occasions but no matter what she says, where or when, she’s most certainly lying through her teeth.
In the days and weeks to come, I’ll be examining the Liberal record and Ms. Clark’s role in it with some care. That’s reasonable enough because she has been our elected premier for 3 1/2 years (My God, is that all it is?!) and the Liberals seem to have been in power forever. Let me take a look first at the John Horgan and the NDP. Continue Reading »
Justin Trudeau hasn’t learned much about BC in the time he lived here and from visits like this one to the central coast in 2014 (Flickr/Justin Trudeau)
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,
Allow me to introduce myself. I am a lifelong, pretty old British Columbian who loves his province with the same passion I’m sure people in Trois Rivières love theirs. Your inferential calling BC’s patriotism into question because we will vigorously oppose your approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline demonstrates clearly that you’re quite unable to understand this, your connections to BC notwithstanding.
There’s a sense that British Columbians think that because they’re different that “different” means “better”. That simply isn’t so. What we cherish is our distinctness (a word I use advisedly). When BC is included in the term “The West”, we bristle because we are indeed a very separate region but also because it does a great disservice to our neighbours to meld them into a fictional, however convenient, sameness as us.
Let me tell you a personal anecdote. I’m a writer who’s written 11 books and God only knows how many columns. For many years I wrote for the Financial Post and during that time, perhaps 20 years ago, I was offered a column with the Toronto Globe and Mail to be called “The View From The West”. Continue Reading »
BC First Nations Chiefs Roland Wilson, Liz Logan and Stewart Phillip took their anti-Site C message to Ottawa – to no avail (Liz Logan/ Twitter)
This week I said I would talk about Site C but little did I know what I had taken on. I spent nearly a day and a half with stuff that wouldn’t likely be in the article but knew I needed to read.
After devouring an enormous pile of material which I’d rather not have, I came to the firm conclusion that Site C is a terrible idea, founded on a professed need for energy in BC based upon highly suspect, self-serving research by Hydro, which has a long history of deliberately overestimating costs and with no reasonably certain market except a very dubious LNG industry. The price tag, likely well in excess of $10 billion, will guarantee the bankruptcy of BC Hydro, which I suspect was the plan all along. Continue Reading »