BC Pre May 14, 2013 Election Call

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NDP MLA Jenny Kwan (left) and leader Adrian Dix (right) were on hand for Frank Yunrong Huang’s introduction. Martin van den Hemel photo

- from the Richmond Review


At some point someone should think about starting a BC Election 2013 prediction thread.

I think this is a Cons website.

Election Prediction – March 4, 2013

NDP - 70 seats

Libs - 9 seats


Previous prediction - Jan 16, 2013

BC NDP – 60

BC Liberal – 21




BC Liberal Organizers on Government Payroll

Component 8: "Hire three ethnic organizers on a six-month trial basis to contact targeted ethnic groups around the swings to build robust contact lists with email, names, phone, cell and addresses - as well as notes about likely support to be updated regularly.

There are a lot of grey areas with respect to what is appropriate and what is not for political party staff, caucus staff and political staff in government (ministerial assistants and the like who are appointed by order-in-council). All of the people working in those three distinct categories are partisans who on their own time are likely to attend political conventions and events, but there is nothing grey about putting party organizers on the government payroll for the purpose of collecting voter identification information for the BC Liberal party's election database.

It probably surprises no one that governments try to build support in ethnic communities by catering to their media, issuing documents in multiple languages and attempting to learn about their unique concerns. That can be not only smart politics but also good public policy.

The Liberal "Multicultural Strategic Outreach Plan" was so secret the political staff behind it, headed by the Premier's Deputy Chief of Staff, used their private email accounts on services like Shaw, Telus and gmail rather than using government accounts. Despite those attempts to hide the plan, it leaked and was disclosed by the NDP in question period on February 27th. Global TV reporter Jas Johal obtained further information which he reported exclusively on Global's 6:00 pm news, including the names of the organizers who were hired and instructions given to them on how to report the data they collected on ethnic voters.

John Yap, Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism, was nominally the head of the strategy, but the documents are clear it originated in the Premier's Office. After question period Yap claimed the documents only discussed an old plan; however, the report by Global's Johal debunked that claim when it showed the list of organizers who were hired.

Premier Clark should denounce what happened and immediately fire all the staff who were involved. Putting party organizers on the public payroll for the purpose of doing party work is theft.




Jerks, but just more of the BC Liberal antics and their day of reckoning is fast approaching.

Vancouver's mayor left off the invite list for Grey Cup announcement




This article could use a bit more substance.

B.C. Politics Has All The Drama!



Or Dyble could think smart, and recognize that if he is able to prove he is as non-partisan as his job is supposed to be, he will stand some chance of Dix actually letting him keep his job.


Anyone who writes Christy Clark off is a fool.

She will come back next week after her buddy Dyble's bullshit exoneration of her with both guns blazin'. If he does that though he should be the first to go if the NDP take power. He should never have accepted the job.

Her ego is bigger than most anyone else in politics.

Clark's reign raises a host of questions

times columnist column



The stench from the Liberal sleaze is unbelievable.


B.C. Liberals adrift in conflicting standards

At the crux of this controversy, however, is the allegation that Mr. Bell made a promise to these businessmen that if Mr. McLaren assembled land in downtown Prince George, he’d get Mr. Fehr on the short list to build the wood centre. And that he’d get the specifications of the bid changed to favour construction of the project on the site Mr. McLaren had purchased with the money from the loan.

Ms. Clark has said that B.C.’s fairness commissioner, who oversees public-sector tendering, looked at the process connected to the wood centre and concluded it was conducted fairly. That report is expected to be released in a couple of weeks. But some believe that all it proves is that the commissioner found the bid proceeded according to the rules and that specs were never changed to assist a particular proponent. It’s unlikely, however, that she would have looked at whether there were any attempts made by Mr. Bell to have the terms of the bid altered – which is at the heart of this mess.

This is what is upsetting several members of the Liberal caucus, who want this issue properly investigated. It’s believed by most that Mr. Bell has played a more significant role in this matter than Ms. Bond. In fact, at a recent caucus meeting, Liberal backbencher Randy Hawes asked Mr. Bell to step aside until he’d been cleared of wrongdoing by an independent overseer. Mr. Bell flatly rejected the proposition. Mr. Hawes’s request was also scoffed at by fellow backbencher Kevin Krueger, who made a noisy show of protest.

But many in the Liberal ranks maintain serious doubts about this issue and the role Mr. Bell is purported to have played in it. Now Ms. Bond has been dragged into the picture in a serious way as well. More generally, several Liberal MLAs have expressed concern that the government has lost its moral compass and that the Premier’s refusal to have the ministers step aside until this case can be investigated thoroughly is another example of that.

This past week, Multiculturalism Minister John Yap was asked to step aside in the ethnic-vote scandal, even though there was no evidence that he had any role to play in it. Certainly he faced nothing like the allegations now swirling around ministers Bond and Bell in the wood-centre affair. There seems to be one set of standards for certain ministers and another for others, depending on your place in cabinet and your association with the Premier.

If there is nothing to this story, as Ms. Bond and Mr. Bell insist, it would take a respected arbiter little time to get to the bottom of it. But until that is done, the ministers and their government remain under a cloud.






Some good trivia here such as the name of the Bennett Dam before it was renamed the Bennett Dam. 


Scandal And BC Politics Make For Great Bed Fellows But The Loving Ain’t Easy!



Coat of paint won't cut it at tunnel, Liberals tell NDP First salvo of provincial campaign fired as governing party reiterates its support for another river crossing




Now for the big news events.

Such a class act these Liberals 

Christy Clark liberally shares the credit, touts the benefits as Lions, Vancouver get set to host Grey Cup 2014 While city to get its second CFL championship game in four years, no city officials to be seen at news conference



Christy has it in the bag now with this kind of endorsement Wink

Preston Manning still backs Christy Clark as torchbearer for small-c Conservatives





Now we can wait for Trudeau the next endorses Clark and the right of centre union is complete. Kiss


Christy Clark apologizes for smallpox, Head Tax, seagulls



How quickly we forget?

This current situation is not unique to Christy Clark, as she just learned well from her predecessor Gordon Campbell.

Liberals are Liberals whether they be in office, or out of office, in federal politics or in provincial politics.

Destruction of e-mail records puts heat on B.C. Premier



Sign of desperation perhaps.

Could a 3rd party overtake the Liberals?

Can it happen again? Certainly, the B.C. Liberals seem to be teetering on the brink of a nervous breakdown. Beset by internal problems plaguing the premier's leadership, and suggestions the caucus may break into different camps when it comes to dealing with those problems, the party could fall apart at any time.

Throw in the fact the polls show the party's credibility and popularity is deeply eroded with the public, and the stage is set for a mass departure from the party of people who supported it in the past.

The polls show about a third of the party's supporters in 2009 has already done just that. But that exodus could turn into a stampede, leaving the B.C. Liberals utterly spent as a political force.

The question, though, is where could those voters go? Some would undoubtedly turn to the NDP, but a good many would look elsewhere.

I speculated in this space a few weeks back that a handful of independent, Green and B.C. Conservative candidates could have an impact in the election, some to the point of even getting elected.

But if the B.C. Liberals completely fall apart and are deserted by a large chunk of the electorate, we're talking about more than a handful of third-party alternatives coming into play.

Many voters will want to find a way to keep an NDP government honest and in check, and if the B.C. Liberals don't look like a valid way to do that, they'll go looking for another vehicle to register their view. If that's the case, traditional election necessities for political parties such as funding and organizational ability go out the window.

In 1991, some B.C. Liberal candidates were elected even though they didn't actually campaign. Fred Gingell won in Delta South and filed election expenses totalling less than $100, while Doug Symons won in Richmond despite the lack of any semblance of a campaign (he went to bed on election night without even knowing he had won).

As the 1991 campaign demonstrated, the fall of a ruling dynasty can be swift and dramatic, with results unimagined a relatively short time before the campaign began.

Of course, there's still a chance the B.C. Liberals can pull themselves together and regain some lost ground with the public, to the point of winning enough seats to form a viable Opposition.

In fact, that's the best scenario the ruling party can hope for right now. But the worst-case scenario would be suffering the same fate that befell the B.C.

Liberals' political predecessor back in 1991. Given the government's penchant for creating scandals and self-inflicted wounds, that scenario cannot be easily dismissed.



Press Pass: Is Christy Clark hitting below the belt?



In case you were concerned, don't worry, the Christy Clark apologists are alive and well. Laughing


Nothing wrong with ethnic-wooing




Christy Clark admits to 'underdog' status as B.C. gears up for election

But, as the scheduled May 14 election approaches, Clark indicated her resolve is strong.   


“There’s nothing the matter with being the underdog,” Clark said. “I think that’s not a bad way to go into a campaign, to be undeerestimated





North Report wrote:

Could a 3rd party overtake the Liberals?

IMO, the best scenario for the NDP would be the Libs and Cons electing 5 to 10 seats each with leadership that have egos that prevent them at least in the short to medium term from uniting against the NDP. Although this is unlikely, it would put the NDP in the driver's seat in terms of staying in power. 


B.C. Liberals need to stop limping and call an election

Can the B.C. Liberal Party really salvage anything out of the next 10 weeks?

The party is currently reeling from the leak of an ethnic outreach plan. The controversial memo identified apologizing for historical atrocities as “quick wins” at the ballot box, and was probably crafted by taxpayer-funded government staffers instead of political party employees. On Tuesday, the fact that the 2013 budget passed was hailed as a sign of a united caucus only because there wasn’t open revolt and the government didn’t fall.

Click here to read the original story from The Ubyssey

The 2013 election has been looming over the Liberals ever since the beginning of Premier Christy Clark’s term, but it’s now smothering the party. To save themselves, they have to drop the writ and call a snap election.

There can be no positive results from waiting any longer. Any positive news like funding announcements or policy changes will be criticized — correctly — as stealth campaigning and more “quick wins.”

If there are any long-term decisions made, expect to see more people trot out this quote, unearthed by Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer, from then-opposition Liberal leader Gordon Campbell in the dying days of the NDP government before the 2001 election: “Let me be clear: This government has no mandate to govern. This government is illegitimate in the eyes of the public today. They have no moral right to govern. This government has no mandate to pass legislation, no mandate to make appointments, no mandate to pass a budget.”

There can only be more scandal, more discord and more speculation. This memo was kicking around for a full year before it was unearthed. The remaining 10 weeks are research time for the opposition parties to come up with more of those headlines.




kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

The backlash and the certainty that they would be reduced to a handful of seats at best.  Clark hanging on till the bitter end was a sore point for most BC'ers who were not partisan supporters of either party.


Reading the tea leaves, pondering the end of the Liberal dynasty

The key word is "language." She said it twice. It was not an apology for government workers breaking the rule that prohibits doing party work on government time (see the evidence here). It was not an apology for trying to hide that work from the public, by using private email addresses that can't be searched under the Freedom of Information law. It was for the "language" in the memo, evidently crafted by the March 1-resigned deputy chief of staff Kim Haakstad. 

Make no mistake, Clark and the Liberals are absolutely demoralized. The key BC Liberal playbook for the 2013 election is exposed, out in the public domain, after it was leaked to the NDP and tabled on Feb. 27.   

"If not done correctly, we will appear opportunist," are the ominous words contained in the document.   

The Quick Wins memo discussed the use of video greetings, translated name tags, giving equal time and effort to the ethnic media, attempting to match and exceed NDP ethnic campaign efforts, and to "Identify and advance government initiatives and projects that would be resonant in ethnic communities… Identify and correct 'historical wrongs,' ie Komagata Maru apology in the House.” (More on Komagata Maru in a moment). It mentioned "anecdotal reports suggest that some ethnic communities, particularly Chinese, feel that they are ignored by government between elections."

Any policy, program or photo opportunity that has involved or will involve a multicultural issue by the Liberals can (and should) be viewed skeptically through the lens of the "Quick Wins" memo.  
Consider some of the milestones since January 2012: 

  • March 24, 2012: John Yap sworn-in as Advanced Education and Multiculturalism Minister in private ceremony at the Chinese Cultural Centre. No advance notice was given, but a video of the rare Saturday ceremony was released afterward. 
  • June 3, 2012: Clark declares “In my heart, I'm Filipina” at the Philippine Independence Day picnic.
  • Sept. 10, 2012: Clark meets for tea with Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing during a trade mission to Hong Kong, Tianjin and Beijing. 
  • Jan. 16, 2013: Liberals announce CHMB AM 1320 CEO Teresa Wat is named Richmond-Centre candidate and Richmond School Trustee Grace Tsang, who wanted to run, was instead named co-chair of the Premier’s Chinese Advisory Committee. 
  • Jan. 22, 2013: Clark announces the Times of India Film Awards for B.C. Place Stadium on April 6, to celebrate Bollywood cinema, to be underwritten with $12 million B.C. tax dollars.
  • Feb. 7, 2013: Clark, Wat, MLAs Rob Howard, Blair Lekstrom, Colin Hansen, Dave Hayer, Jane Thornthwaite, Richard Lee, John Yap, Ida Chong and Ralph Sultan appear at feast at Chinatown’s Floata restaurant to celebrate the upcoming Lunar New Year, the Year of the Snake. Clark reminds the crowd she was a 1965-born Year of the Snake baby. A sign on the podium (see above) displays her name in Chinese characters, Jian Hui Zhi (jan-WHAY-juh). Hui’s English equivalent is “smart.”
  • Feb. 11, 2013: B.C.’s first Family Day occurs a week before statutory holidays in neighbouring Alberta (Family Day) and Washington state (Presidents’ Day), but the day after the Chinese Lunar New Year was marked. The B.C. government effectively (and cleverly) created a Chinese New Year Long weekend during election year! 

Back on the Komagata Maru incident apology.   
It was made in the Legislature on May 23, 2008. Today's BC Liberal Finance Minister Mike de Jong was the minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation then, and tabled Motion 62.

"Be it resolved that this Legislature apologizes for the events of May 23, 1914, when 376 passengers of the Komagata Maru, stationed off Vancouver harbour, were denied entry by Canada. The House deeply regrets that the passengers, who sought refuge in our country and our province, were turned away without benefit of the fair and impartial treatment befitting a society where people of all cultures are welcomed and accepted." 

The Liberals admit an apology for the Chinese Head Tax is coming, but won’t say when or in what form.   
Consider this interesting historical trivia: The Chinese Head Tax's successor, the Chinese Exclusion Act, was finally repealed federally after the efforts of veteran Toronto Jewish civil rights lawyer Irving Himel and Vancouver-born lawyer Kew Dock Yip. Yip was Canada’s first lawyer of Asian descent, who was admitted to the Ontario bar in 1945.   
Yip was the second youngest son of Vancouver Chinatown’s patriarch, Yip Sang. Yip Sang lived at what is now the Wing Sang Building, which was renovated into offices and an art gallery by real estate marketer Bob Rennie. Rennie supported Clark in her leadership bid and was appointed to the board of directors for the B.C. Housing Crown corporation.  
What was the date that Himel and Yip made history, when the racist head tax was repealed?   
That was May 14, 1947 -- exactly 66 years before the date of B.C.'s 2013 provincial election.



So who would have leaked the "quick win" Liberal stragegy for the ethnic community document?


Suspicious Prince George Dealings: New Liberal Woes


You know you’re having a bad day in politics when your opponents capture the headlines and public attention raising doubts about the integrity of your dealings.

Well imagine how bad it is when the allegations, doubts, suspicions go on and one for days, weeks … even back a year … and the ones alleging wrongdoing and improper handling of public business are YOUR OWN supporters and financial backers!!!!!


But that’s exactly what the BC Liberal government is now facing: accusations of unfairness, deception and letdown from two Prince George businessmen who, together, have reportedly donated more than $120,000 to the governing party over the past six years.

If that’s whats now coming from the Liberals’ “friends” … they truly have more to be concerned about than the Opposition only nine weeks before Election Day.

The latest drama surrounds plans to build a $25 Million Wood Innovation and Design Centre in Prince George.

Liberal backer Brian Fehr  alleged local Prince George MLA Pat Bell (Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training) had assured him that his company would make the short list for design of the building and had paid Dan McLaren’s company a $150,000 deposit for land assembled during the bid process.

News reports described, however, that Fehr’s company was excluded from the short list and McLaren’s land location was not specified in the project request for proposals. (The Vancouver Sun and Globe and Mail have done some very good digging/reporting on the complex details involved).

Now both businessmen have filed official complaints that they were misled by Bell.

This from Liberal supporters (McLaren had even sought the Liberal nomination in Prince George) and donors!  Double Ugh!! … for the government.




New Leader is Liberals ONLY Hope

It’s about power.  Make no mistake in thinking elections are about policies, principles or platforms: that’s just the public profile of the political pursuit.

It’s about power … and the people who can deliver that power to a party so it can THEN push its agenda,  putting its policies, principles and platform into practice.

But FIRST and FOREMOST they must achieve power.

And Christy Clark clearly is incapable of producing that for the Liberals May 14.

Clark HAS to go if the Liberals are to have ANY chance of pulling off a victory.

Right from the start, Clark has bungled the process:  she SHOULD have called an early election while fresh in the job as new Liberal leader, fairly popular with many voters province-wide and able to put forward the promise of new principles, new standards and new respect for the voters.

She did none of that.

Instead, Clark seized power as premier without seeking public endorsement or asking for a mandate for any platform or policies.

“We don’t need no stinking elections” seemed to be her new philosophy … quite different from her previous public persona.

Well, she got the “stinking” part right … delivering a whole series of failures, foul-ups and fiascos to BC voters.  And not even time and experience made things better … her “government” careening from one disaster to another, each latest scandal surpassing the previous.

And not even hilarious diversions like the recent Throne Speech or Budget could hide the odour from the record of incompetence, and worse … a seeming disrespect for the electorate’s intelligence.

And then came Ethnic-gate: a formula for vote-getting by patronizing British Columbians based on race, culture, religion … ANYTHING that divides more than unites … and throwing all kinds of platitudes, promises and public funds their way if they’ll just give the Liberals their vote.

And as if that’s not bad enough … the “plan” would involve PUBLIC SERVANTS,  working in the premier’s own office, to do partisan work as part of the desperate attempt to survive the May 14.





Leaks from strong and competent governments, whatever the party or ideology, are much fewer. Leaks become endemic with the smell of blood and imminent death. And this one was a year ago. (correct ?)


Dear Premier Clark,

You knew about "Ethnicgate" from the beginning. You had to.

I was there, Ms. Clark, and know how government works - especially when the civil service is involved in politics. With a program this size - in the hands of your senior adviser; with the complexity involved, meaning the number of people in the know; and given the channels through which this sort of plan (or should I say plot) must pass, even if you had not wanted to know, you still would be have been informed.

That’s what Premiers are all about.

If – and I say this couldn’t happen – you didn’t hear or say anything, then your incompetence is beyond belief (actually, come to think of it, there’s plenty of other evidence on that point). If this is the case, then you must resign.

If, on the other hand, you knew what was happening, Premier, then you must also resign.

You make the point that “nothing crossed your desk”. But we know from the Privacy Commissioner that your government puts nothing of importance in writing.

Out of a lengthy cabinet meeting, one minister, John Yap, ran onto his sword as a sacrificial lamb. That’s a little like throwing people off the sled to the howling wolves so they will be content before they reach the driver. It is not going to work.

Even within the pitiful media, which has given the Liberal Government a free pass for 11 years, this matter will not go away.

Kash Heed is right. An examination by your own deputy minister is laughable and I wonder at why he took the task. He should have refused to get into a political matter which also involved his colleagues or offered his resignation. Only an outside person of repute, like Ted Hughes, can approach the matter with the clean hands and clear vision required.

Madam Premier, you should personally do what you would have demanded of an NDP minister in similar circumstances: RESIGN!

Your party is in danger of a wipe out like the one you inflicted on the NDP in 2001. This means that your party could in itself be in danger of collapse, for in heavy rejection by the voters, the cabinet ministers are often the first to go.




Gung Hoy Fat Chance

So it appears by the rightfully placed anger exuded by prominent members of the Asian communities that Clark won't be getting the lions share of their vote. What I find most interesting though is how bad will it really get? Does this controversy put the week-ago Liberal stronghold of Richmond in jeopardy? How bad is it exactly, and will that have something to do with whether or not Clark stays on as leader?
Where has the criticism been from Chinese members of caucus? So far I hear both Indo-Canadian MLA's denouncing the plan very strongly but nothing from Chinese candidates or MLA's even comes close to the strong and ongoing rebuke Hayer and Heed have consistently given (check out todays Heed interview with Leslie on CKNW) Why is that?
You can bet pollsters have been doing overtime since late last week and well into the weekend trying to give us greater insight on just how bad this scandal is. If the Liberals manage to stay at 30% or more in the next poll, look for Clark to stay on and if forced, to call a snap election. However if the numbers dip back down to summer2012 levels I say she is seriously in jeopardy of being ousted as early as this week. 
I hear conflicting reports of how many MLA's are ready to give her the boot, the low number is 4 and the high is 12 which means one of my best sources whom says 7 is probably right (always throw out the highest and lowest guesses). Once again though, should a new poll come out showing the liberals post-ethnic gate numbers still at 30% look for the number of dissidents to possibly shrink again. 
One thing is for certain regardless of whether Clark stays or goes: next week will be the most difficult in Clark's career. Two cabinet ministers have been implicated in the WDIC scandal, and the ethnic gate scandal looks to get even bigger. I can't help but  be fascinated and wonder what the strategy for Clark is in the coming week? Perhaps we see her suspend Bell from cabinet to try and deflect heat from the ethnic gate scandal? Strap in and hold on, it's going to be yet another wild week in BC politics.




100 reasons the BC Liberals must go.



NorthReport wrote:

What actually is to prevent the BC Liberals from changing the date of the election?


Those useless Independent MLAs would probably support the Liberals as they know their days as an MLA are probably numbered.



Hanging onto the end is usually an invitation to disaster a la Hadfield in New Brunswick in the 1980s and many others, although considering the many mistakes Christy has made so far, I wouldn't put it past her. 


What actually is to prevent the BC Liberals from changing the date of the election?


Those useless Independent MLAs would probably support the Liberals as they know their days as an MLA are probably numbered.









It doesn't matter what these right-wingers call themselves. We know who they are and what they represent.

Why don't they just be honest with the voters and call themselves the:


"Greed is Alive and Well in BC" Party.


BC Liberals to be replaced by new right-wing party after election? 

Work has begun to create new party to replace tainted BC Liberals





Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Is there still time before the election for the Right in B.C. to re-invent "the Coalition" one more time...perhaps by creating something that might just be called "The British Columbia Party" or something like that?

Can we assume that none of them are thinking it?


Ken Burch wrote:

Is there still time before the election for the Right in B.C. to re-invent "the Coalition" one more time...perhaps by creating something that might just be called "The British Columbia Party" or something like that?

Can we assume that none of them are thinking it?

What remains of the BC Conservatives are firmly under the control of John Cummins, an early Reformer, in the short-run. He has driven away those who challenged his leadership and those who wanted to unite with the BC Liberals. I cannot see a putsch succeeding in the nine weeks before election day and possibly not even afterwards depending on how they do. What is left are the purists. On the other hand, Cummins may well depart on his own anyway after the election as he is 71 on March 12th. 

After the election, it is possible that the corporations could fund a takeover of one or both corporate parties by a coalition builder. Afterall, they funded Campbell to take over the BC Liberals from Gordon Wilson, even though he had led them to their best results in 50 years. He simply wasn't right-wing enough for them. 

I suspect the corporations want someone less right-wing or at least less right-wing appearing and certainly more charismatic than Cummins in order to have a broader appeal to the electorate.


They are thinking about it, everything from changing the leader, changing the party name, and changing the date of the election, and they should never ever be underestimated or given an inch. Otherwise you will pay a heavy price.

But I respect the right-wing for that.

What did the left do when Glen Clark has his misfortune. Basically nothing. We sat on our ass, elected some useless NDP Leader to replace him, and we haven't held power since then, which is 12 long years.




Richmond's new message to the BC Liberals: "Bye, Bye!" 

B.C. Liberals struggling to contain controversy over leaked multicultural strategy

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark's Liberals appear to have conceded in a leaked document that they are failing to win over ethnic voters and must do more to attract them.


British Columbia Premier Christy Clark's Liberals appear to have conceded in a leaked document that they are failing to win over ethnic voters and must do more to attract them.

The issue of ethnicity has become a major one for the governing B.C. Liberals, who have been trying to stem the controversy over a leaked multicultural strategy the premier’s deputy chief of staff sent out.







And so the week begins.

This time with the continuing problem for Premier Clark and her Labour Minister Pat Bell. Will someone please get the two of them to resign, and put them out of their misery, as the rest of us are getting really tired of watching their sleazy antics.

Clark overstepped fiscal bounds with failed plan for tallest wood building: former finance minister

Former B.C. finance minister Kevin Falcon is pictured in August, 2012. He says the political storm over a collapsed deal to build a palace for B.C. wood products in Prince George was triggered when Premier Christy Clark overstepped the bounds of what the provincial treasury was willing to pay. (DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS)




So what did Pat Bell do as Labour Minister that was helpful to BC workers again? 

I must haver missed it.


How BC measures its debt

BC segments its debt into categories to provide a semblance of segmentation and to confuse the media into believing that the debt is smaller than it actually is. They segment their debt into “Taxpayer-supported” and “Self-Supporting” categories. Within the Taxpayer-supported category they have provincial government direct operating debt, and then other tax-payer supported debt for things such as schools, post-secondary, health, transportation, social housing, etc. Within the Self-Supporting category is mostly BC Hydro debt and the Transportation Investment Corp (Port Mann project), and a few other minor line items.

The other way the BC government tries to confuse the debt situation is quoting debt-to-GDP statistics and then referencing other countries’ debt-to-GDP figures, which is a completely inappropriate analogy. BC does not operate a country with federal obligations (e.g. maintaining a military is something we don’t concern ourselves with in BC). Anytime politicians talk about provincial debt-to-GDP in context of other countries, one can instantly conclude they have no idea what they’re talking about.

The “interest bite” is a somewhat more valid statistic, and measures how many dollars of interest expenses are spent in relation to overall revenues. This will be 4.7% in 2013/2014 versus 4.5% four years ago. The growth in interest bite has been muted considerably over the past three years simply because the global interest rate environment has decreased interest rates for all credible sovereign nations. Political spinners like to talk about the credit rating, but in BC’s case, it had little to do with this – BC’s interest expense is mostly a function of how much the federal government can borrow money for and with a small interest spread on top of this. This will not make much difference if the province’s credit rating is AA-, AA, AA+ or AAA.

The number which I believe provides the most intuitive implication of the debt we are accumulating is the debt-per-capita statistic – pretending the province is a strata council, this is the special levy per person that is required to pay off the entire debt. In 2012/2013, this was $12,138 per British Columbian (and recall that federally, your share of the federal debt is about $18,000). In 2013/2014 the per-capita share of the BC debt increased to $13,426. For those of you that would be uncomfortable taking another $1,288 loan, rest assured, the BC Government has done it on your behalf. At least they are getting a very low interest rate on that loan, but loans do need to be paid back!

Politically, there is a subconscious notion that the government should be balancing the budget, but little attention is paid to the details behind it. Today’s fiscal environment of reported surpluses but drastically increasing debt is a reflection of the public’s fixation on the income statement (the deficit/surplus figure) versus the balance sheet (assets and liabilities). I doubt that gross debt levels are going to be a concern of the public this upcoming election – with low interest rates, it simply is not an issue that has traction with people’s everyday lives.





Thursday, Premier Clark read a statement in the Ledge about how gung-ho she was about Black's 25 billion dollar oil refinery in Kitimat, saying it was going to create 6,000 jobs, and pay for health care and schooling in BC.

But over the weekend, not so much, as it appears she has had a change of heart according to an article on the front page of today's Globe and Mail.



Had a hunch this dumb comment for a Premier to make at a public meeting would come back to haunt her.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark criticized for joke about her ex-husband