Thursday, March 26, 2015

Enough said...

Please, take time to scroll through my writings on education.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

From outside the Liberal spin machine - RERUN

The following first published July 21, 2014:

Does it surprise you to learn that British Columbia earned a net of only $61 million in gas royalties in the last two fiscal years?

Revenue statements report $534 M in royalties from April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2014 but in footnotes to the province's audited financial statements, we learn that credits owed gas producers grew in the two fiscal years by $476 M, to a total of $1,250 M. BC Liberals choose not to record this liability although it will reduce future royalty payments. This is but one example of accounting flimflammery that distorts the province's true financial state. It also indicates that expectations of riches to come from massive public investments in LNG plants are sheer fantasy.

Last March, the government MLA for one of Canada's wealthiest municipalities rose in the Legislature to speak about natural gas. Jason Sturdy said,
"our government's deep-well royalty credit and infrastructure royalty credit program will also help to increase the competitiveness of our province's natural gas sector and support the long-term prospects of the industry."
The credit programs Sturdy describes are tax expenditures, which are described by a business dictionary as,
"Revenue a government foregoes through the provisions of tax laws that allow (1) deductions, exclusions, or exemptions from the taxpayers' taxable expenditure, income, or investment, (2) deferral of tax liability, or (3) preferential tax rates."
Politicians often use tax expenditures when they don't want to draw attention to transfers of wealth from public to private hands. The BC Government's objective is to reward natural gas producers billions of dollars while citizens — like disabled people in their seventh year of a benefits freeze — are told cupboards are bare. Liberals prefer little discussion or comment not processed by their spin machine. In this case, Robin Austin, opposition critic for natural gas development, did not provide the rest of the story. Instead, he stood after Mr. Sturdy and applauded the government's gas strategy. That, I believe, is opposition that is too loyal.

I am prepared to wager that not one in twenty carbon tax paying British Columbians — perhaps including MLA Austin — know the amount taxpayers subsidize fossil fuel development. Since handout beneficiaries are among their funders, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation does not rate as important the billions in tax expenditures encouraging fossil fuels. Today, one of Jordan Bateman's complaints is about $77.82 the Ministry of Finance spent at an online Disney store. Gas subsidies have not been on Bateman's list of subjects fit for examination.

Search Google for BC natural gas subsidies and you will find the corporate press has almost no coverage. It is discussed at sites like this and by The Dogwood Initiative and the Common Sense Canadian. Otherwise, the subject is considered not something taxpayers need to know. God knows it is material, but that's matters not to corporate media.

The following is extracted from documents published by the Ministry of Finance, including audited financial statements of British Columbia.

LNG updates at The Straight Goods.

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Words paint revealing picture...

Written by Jessica Kiang of The Playlist, a phrase describing a new film resonated with me about a subject I examine almost every day:
A [ ____________ ] that hides its actual badness under a tarpaulin of mediocrity so thick and heavy it's difficult to even lift a corner to peek beneath...
Regular readers will know how I would fill in that blank.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

NF with Ian Jessop, CFAX1070, March 24, 2015

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Don't miss...

BC Legislative Press Gallery searches for news
The account of a one small Alaskan newspaper holding a BC Minister to account for his misstatements of fact:
The Bleatings Of Bill Bennett...Not Just For Domestic Consumption Anymore
Now ask why BC journalists don't ask the same questions...and why this takedown has generally been ignored by BC media properties that see themselves as partners with resource companies.

From Blog Borg Collective:
If Bennett had just kept his cool and ignored Juneau Empire Editor he could have kept British Columbian failed mining statistics on tailing pond practices to himself, thereby keeping the public in the dark, Americans too...

50+ years of pollution, Tulsequah Chief Mine

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Join me on CFAX1070 with Ian Jessop, Tuesday, 1 PM

I'll be in Victoria Monday and Tuesday and will be on CFAX1070 with Ian Jessop, 1 PM Tuesday, March 24.

Join us live or listen to the podcast available at the CFAX1070 website.
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Monday, March 23, 2015

Pavco pain

What happens when you've got a stadium that cost taxpayers more per seat than almost any sports arena in the world has cost the public and it's only needed a few days a year? If you're a BC Liberal, you trust your friends in the mainstream media will stay quiet, except perhaps to remind citizens of the PacifiCat ferries. Here is a list of stadium events in the last two fiscal years. The ones shown in red are events where paid attendance soared over 2/3 capacity.

You will find additional mentions of BC Place by scrolling through items linked here.

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

"Very, very irresponsible..."

Dr. Norman Spector, is a highly educated individual with experience at the highest levels of government service. After serving as Deputy Minister for BC Premier Bill Bennett, he was Secretary to the federal cabinet for Federal-Provincial Relations and then Chief of Staff for Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. Following a period of diplomatic service, he worked in journalism and, a resident of Victoria, he is a frequent media commentator about matters political. This is from December 2013.

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

LNG in Howe Sound - Dr. Eoin Finn

Eoin (Owen) Finn B.Sc.,Ph.D., MBA, a 30 year resident of Bowyer Island, Howe Sound, retired KPMG consultant.

From Vancouver Observer

From the Spring 2014 edition of Rising Tide, a newsletter of Living Oceans:
We found it interesting to note how that same government reacted to a U.S. proposal for a tanker route passing through Canadian waters in Passamaquoddy Bay, New Brunswick. Downeast LNG is a proposed export terminal in Maine. Their preferred tanker route bypasses critical habitat for North Atlantic right whales and would see the tankers navigating a narrow channel with a bend. Sound familiar? But in New Brunswick, Conservative MP Greg Thompson leapt to the assistance of project opponents. Soon, the entire Cabinet was explaining Canada’s vehement opposition to the project.

Gary Doer, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., stated, “Canada continues to have serious concerns with the proposal to construct an LNG terminal on the Maine side of Passamaquoddy Bay. These concerns relate to the environmental, navigational and safety risks as well as the adverse economic consequences arising from the passage of LNG tankers through Head Harbour Passage, New Brunswick, which the Government of Canada opposes.”

Maxime Bernier, Canada’s new minister of foreign affairs, assured a citizens’ group that “Canada is strongly opposed to the prospect of LNG supertankers navigating the treacherous waters that lead into Passamaquoddy Bay between Maine and New Brunswick.”

In 2006, Stephen Harper said, “… there are well-founded concerns about the construction and operation of LNG terminals in ecologically-sensitive areas like Passamaquoddy Bay.”

Japan Feb LNG spot price falls a quarter to $7.60/mmBtu, Reuters, March 10, 2015
...demand from other major buyers South Korea and China has disappointed, reflecting weak overall Asian demand.

Spot LNG contracted in February for delivery to Japan averaged $7.60 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), down from $10.20 per mmBtu a month earlier, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) said.

Spot cargoes booked earlier and arriving last month averaged $10.70 per mmBtu, down 23 percent from $13.90 in January.

Asian spot liquefied natural gas prices LNG-AS for April delivery fell below $7 per mmBtu last month, trading at a discount to Europe's benchmark UK gas hub prices,
as ample stocks, a mild winter and slowing economic growth have dampened demand in parts of Asia.

Goldman Sachs forecast last week that Asian LNG prices would dip to $6.25 per mmBtu in the third quarter of 2015, before rising to $7.00 per mmBtu in 2016...
From a letter in the Bowen Island Undercurrent by Anton van Walraven:
...the people of BC will see very little benefit and most likely will be paying foreign investors to take BC’s LNG. In a nutshell, BC’s royalties on LNG are not paid on units of gas but rather on the net-profits of the LNG producer/exporter. In other words, if there is no profit, BC will get zero royalty income. Norway, on the other hand, claims royalties by the unit of North Sea oil. It now has a trillion dollar heritage fund. Compare this to Alberta. Like BC, it claims a tax on the net-profits and its heritage fund is… empty! On top of that, add the subsidies and tax breaks offered by the Provincial and Federal government and the balance is pushed right into the red.

...the price for LNG has plummeted. For BC, the projection is now that it will take up to 15 years, after the first project starts up, before we see any royalties coming in.

The foreign owners of Woodfibre LNG are in it to make profit... they won’t pay taxes until all their start-up costs have been absorbed. When profits are made, will they ever pay any taxes? Maybe, maybe not. The profits can always be booked to the parent company Woodfibre LNG Pte. Ltd. based in Singapore, which has very low taxes for LNG firms. And Canada has an agreement with Singapore not to double tax when a firm is already taxed in one of the states.

Taking this all in, you might wonder why Councilors [Alison] Morse and [Gary] Ander show support for the Woodfibre LNG project, when the economic benefits for BC and Canada will be non-existent. Their support becomes stranger when we consider the negative impacts on the environment of Howe Sound and the impact daily trips of LNG supertankers through Howe Sound will have on the local tourism economies and real estate values.

It leaves me wondering how long someone can remain loyal to an ideology that is so counterproductive to our economy, health, environment and quality of life.
Washington LNG Blast Spotlights Natural Gas Safety, Reuters, April 2014
An unexplained blast this week at a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility in rural Washington state, which injured workers, forced an evacuation and raised alarm about a potentially large second explosion, could focus attention on the risk of storing massive gas supplies near population centers...

Early Monday, a “processing vessel” at the Williams facility near the small town of Plymouth, Washington, exploded, spraying chunks of shrapnel as heavy as 250 pounds as far as 300 yards, according to local emergency responders.

The flying debris pierced the double walls of a 134-foot LNG tank on site, causing leaks. Five workers were injured, and local responders warned that vapors from the leaks could trigger a more devastating, second explosion. A county fire department spokesman said authorities were concerned a second blast could level a 0.75 mile “lethal zone” around the plant.

Everyone within a two-mile radius of the site was evacuated, and a bomb-squad robot was deployed to snap photos of the damaged tank to avoid putting workers at further risk. Some who did approach were reportedly sickened by fumes...

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