Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Promise one thing, do another

In the Throne Speech delivered February 12, Premier Christy Clark promised that natural gas royalties could "exceed one hundred billion dollars over the next 30 years." She added, "This resource belongs to the people of British Columbia, both here today and those to follow."

That latter comment explains my discomfort with her government's gradual withdrawal from taxing natural resources. In fact, Liberals act as if those are the indivisible assets of companies given exploitation rights. Voters in the May election should judge Liberals resource taxation policies by their actions not by their promises.

In 2006, revenues from the resource sector were $4.5 billion and, in the current fiscal year ending March 31, the take is forecast to be $2.5 billion. $1.8 billion of that reduction relates to natural gas, despite the volume of produced gas rising by 24% between 2006 and 2012.

The current financial returns from the natural gas extraction industry are even worse than apparent in British Columbia's public accounts. Auditor General John Doyle qualified the 2012 financial statements, partly because of
"...the government’s failure to set up a provision or liability for the deep-well credits given to natural gas producers. ...Deep-well credits are actually an expense incurred by the government to promote the development of British Columbia’s natural gas resources, and should be recorded as a liability...

"The financial impact on the statements of not recording deep-well credits is as follows:

  • Natural resource and economic development expenses are understated by $702 million.
  • Accounts payable and accrued liabilities are understated by $702 million.
  • Deficit is understated by $702 million."
In fact, natural gas producers have been major contributors to the BC Liberal Party but not major contributors to the public treasury.

Clark talks of annual gas royalties flowing into treasury in amounts sufficient to payoff billions of provincial debt, eliminate sales taxes and invest in education and infrastructure. I suggest that Clark is as sincere in her plans for the BC Prosperity Fund as she was in this promise, made two years ago:
"In March 2011, government reaffirmed its commitment to Open Government and the goals of greater transparency and accountability, building public trust, and connecting people with government."
Under Clark, the Premier's office has been acting to lessen transparency and accountability by destroying and concealing written records of their actions. While publicly claiming commitment to openness, Liberals acted to cloak government business in secrecy. The same group now asks citizens to believe they are prepared to claim a fair share of future resource revenues from the province's gas producers. The record indicates that political promise would as be as hollow as the one pledging transparency and accountability.





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14 comments:

  1. This is what I find confusing: BC Hydro was apparently banned from using its natural gas-powered Burrard Thermal plant because of CO2 emissions.

    Now, a huge amount of renewable hydro power from BC Hydro may be used to produce LNG in Kitimat.

    That would require more renewable hydro power from BC Hydro, from Site C, which would cost BC Hydro $8 billion.

    That LNG would be shipped to Asia by tankers emitting CO2.

    Some of that LNG would be used in Asia to generate electricity.

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    Replies
    1. The way I understand it, Hugh, is the exclusion of the Burrard Thermal Plant's contribution to BC's total power production capacity was needed to rationalize Independent Power Producers (those "ruin of river" contracts that will bankrupt BC Hydro because it is forced to buy IPP electricity at several times the rate it can produce it for itself). When The BC Utilities Commission criticized the exclusion of the Burrard facility for this purpose, Campbell castrated it. This is the point when ordinary people finally started twigging in about BC Liberal perfidy.

      BC Liberal policy in this regard only makes sense if it is intended to bankrupt the public utility in order to sell it off at thrash price to insider friends. This intentional sabotage is a treasonous breach of trust.

      Although Christy continues Campbell's IPP policy, her desperate LNG fantasy doesn't fit logically, only criminally.

      Delete
    2. Giving away our resources has always been a hallmark of right wing governments in BC. The Socreds did it,and now the Liberals are doing it. No wonder right wing governments never balance the books,in spite of their much vaunted "expertise" in handling money. Of course when they do run into deficits their solution is fire sale of government assets,which are owned by the people of BC,and massive cutbacks in public services like health care and education.

      The solution is to raise to raise taxes and royalties. As the latest CCPA study notes,people are open to tax and royalty increases so long as they go to public services and not tax shifts for the wealthy.

      Delete
  2. Isn't that weird...if we got the proper % of natural gas royalties that we did in 2009, that we'd have another 1 billion dollars in the Provincial treasury. The Liberals would have a truly balanced budget, and they wouldn't have to sell government assets to make it happen.

    It's a bloody shame we don't hang people for treason anymore, because both Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark would have a date with a rope around their necks.

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  3. Excellent post! So, so good to have you back Norm!

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  4. you need to add a graph with the price of gas and a statement on how royalties are calculated

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  5. I'm sure if you looked at the forest industry it would be the same ,still takeing the same amount of timber but revenue going down...especialy if you take into account all of the job losses in milling and logging....why have 50-100 people ina camp when you can put the same amount of wood in the water with 12 people and a chopper.The fishing industry is gone too, thosands of people lost their jobs and Jimmi Pattison now takes any allocation with six seiners...it's a wonder he dosn't have chinese deck crew on them

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  6. Glad to have to back here Norm.... I, was looking for some info on the BC Liberal "Waste Buster Website" and came across a Globe and Mail column titled Welcome to B.C.'s brave, shaky world August 8, 2001 It's all about the smoke and mirrors that El Gordo (and Christy) sold to the majority of BC Voters.....

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  7. All that gas money ... comes with some other costs.. collateral damage, Hollywood calls it ..

    Don't lose sight of the fact that the current federal and provincial governments
    those busy ethical bees of prosperity, transparency, trade, goodness, altruism and common sense
    are dedicated to.. and will destroy the Pacific marine ecosystems.. among others.
    They have that job well in hand. Though I don't recall that as an election promise ..
    (I won't bother you with the sad case of the assault on the boreal forest
    and fresh water systems, wetlands of Alberta..
    or the connected species and ecosystems including humans)

    The oil, LNG and dilbit will join coal and lumber for export to China
    The two way transits (ship arrives, ship leaves) plus tug traffic for inbounds & exits
    from Port Moody, Vancouver, Kitimaat and Prince Rupert
    will scale up to approx 1,000 inbound trips plus 1,000 outbounds, very quickly
    So that's on top of existing lumber and coal shipping, thrashing in and out

    That's the hammer that will extinguish the wild salmon ..
    The anvil of course being infected open net farmed salmon .. 80% for export
    right smack dab there in the migration route of ocean bound salmon smolt
    And then you get weakened mature salmon mortality.. ie never reaching spawning grounds.

    All that pipeline network to collect ands transport raw resources from fracked wells,
    the various feeder lines to compressor stations.. all the bulldozing, clearing
    all those water pipelines sucking water from lakes and streams to the fracking pads and wells..
    Well, they help disturb or delete habitat or spawning grounds..
    as do the new roadways required to service the whole enterprise.

    Oopsy .. more sustained pressure on those salmon ...
    So you hit the smolts with virus and sea lice and pesticides as they head to sea
    and you get weakened mature salmon trying to get upstream to spawn.

    But hey... ! Now government wants to chase and harass or over-run
    the whales, orca, the porpoise and dolphin, and schooling fish with Chinese tankers !
    So, traffic, sonar blasts, discharges, leaks, noise, tugs, pilot craft
    and suddenly despite a tanker moratorium or ban (verbal only)
    you have Very Large Crude Carriers in the Salish Sea, Dixon Entrance
    Douglas Channel, Horseshoe Bay .. n aint it all wonderful.

    So when a keystone species like the wild salmon starts to fail
    the orca go away or disperse. The herring explode or die off, it really doesn't matter.
    By then the tankers will have driven the great whales off, or run them over..
    and once one key species fails, the cascade phenomena starts..
    the kelp dies off and so do the sea otters.
    As the salmon fade, so do the coastal bears and wolves .. eagles
    And uh .. those First Nations along the coast and waterways ... uh

    We have a Prime Minister and his anointed Minister of Environment
    that are either unwilling or unable to protect an endangered species called Sage Grouse
    Doing even worse at protecting the creature on our 25 cent coin.. the boreal caribou
    The Pacific salmon are way way over their heads... way too complicated
    Its easier for them to think in terms of quick wins with voters, robocalls
    ariel surveillance .. and resource royalties .. expert panels, China ..

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  8. Welcome back Norm...

    The biggest news is that the BC Libs are still doing their damndest to create more and more scandals.

    Over at AGT's site the whole lid, is about to blow off the PG Wooden building fiasco. The hits just keep on coming. Yes, the Libs have left a "scorched earth", financial mess for the next government, and the Libs think their invincible, almost beleiving that they will be re-elceted. Incredibly deluded!

    Makes one wonder about where integrity, responsibility and accountability went...what consequence is there for this huge mess? Reputations, and resignations do not cut it, their have to be far more serious penalties...

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  9. These charts should be on the front page of every newpaper, blog and anywhere else anyone can think of, just another perfect example how the lieberals are giving AWAY our province to the backroom string pulling POS that are really running the province!

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  10. Meanwhile Fazil Mihlar is incoherent, wherein he argues oil/coal export expansion - despite such expansion leading only to more regional jobs in the hundreds at most - will cause the median wage of Lower Mainlanders to rise and/or property values to fall. Or something. It's evidence free, per usual.

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  11. More on salamanders comment:I watched on the village of sayward web cam yesterday as marine harvest loaded (what I believe) 3 truck loads of diseased atlantic salmon smolts onto the Orca Chief and headed to the central coast.....right into the heart of the so called great bear rain forest.Last time i saw the vessel on marine traffic. com he was nearing Klemtu. I guess if you wipe out the salmon anything goes.......Dead silence?!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  12. As long as there are no punitive legal or monetary penalties for those in governance either as individuals or as parties...we will continue to see the kleptocratic malfeasance we have been putting up with.
    Party members must also be held responsible, in that they vote at conventions, for policies that become party platforms that form government policy when the party is elected to power.

    Governance is not about destruction of public assets or implementation of only "lobbyist" based agenda's. We have allowed this crap to occur.We the public have to take back "our" democracy.

    How this is to be done, is the next step....

    ReplyDelete

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