Saturday, June 20, 2015

A million here, a million there...

...pretty soon you're talking real money.

North Van's Grumps at Blog Borg Collective scours provincial files, searching for meaningful data chunks. Usually, he finds indicators of underlying stories that are worthy of attention but, paying attention is never a simple task. These are generally situations where the government has come out on the losing end of a court case. Total costs to taxpayers will be substantially higher because noted payments only represent a portion of government's costs in disputes.

The clear indication from these reports is that Christy Clark's government relies on non-strategic decision making, with little analysis and even less public consultation and debate. Ad hockery produces unsound decisions, some of which lead to lawsuits that cost taxpayers millions.

Sadly, those are the decision making skills at play in the province's LNG negotiations.



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11 comments:

  1. So many stories, but no one in the mainstream media care to report on such judgments and court cases, instead continue the pablum of what they pretend is news.

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  2. Pretty disgusting isn't it! I didn't have any idea how much 'extra' money we had. Could have paid for another round of LNG ads.

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  3. Ever wonder where the lawyers get their money to donate to the BC Liberal Party?

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    Replies
    1. The amounts referred to here don't include the government's own legal costs. When they hire outside litigators, they pay from hundreds to thousands for each hour of service. Those sums are not broken out in detailed payments reports in Public Accounts. The payments into court shown here are only part of the public's cost. Additionally, many claims are settled before the legal processes begin.

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  4. This is a good beginning but it's still only a preliminary short-term snapshot of a huge issue, kind of like an iceberg.
    It's difficult to draw conclusions because the timing is so variable, should Christy be blamed for settling a fiasco created by Gordo? And one incident like Boss Power with a big-ticket $30-million payout could skew a trend. Some lawsuits last many years and overlap regimes, like the California lawsuit against Powerex settled (debatably?) for $750 million.
    But overall yes there does need to be more light on outstanding lawsuits, which for decades have been hidden in a small-print footnote in B.C.'s Public Accounts books even though they involve many millions or even billions of dollars!

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  5. Whether the government wins or loses in these disputes (Are there any government wins?), the constant winner is the legal industry. The more disputes the better for them, and the longer they last, better yet. An airliner doesn’t make money sitting on the ground, and lawyers don’t bring home the bacon if everyone is getting along and following the rules. An arrogant government picking fights and flouting the rules is pure gravy. Throw incompetence into the mix and it becomes a gravy train. That’s the government the legal profession wants to support.

    And the past few years, support it they do. Fasken Martineau? Over $340,000. Bull Houser and Tupper? Over $100,000. Farris, Vaughan, Wills and Murphy? Over $100,000. Boughton? Over $50,000. McCarthy Tetrault? Over $50,000. And on and on. Public accounts for 2013/14 show the financial relationship isn’t a one-way proposition by any means. The gravy flows fast and thick both ways.

    Is the Boss Power payoff skewing the trend, or is it part of the trend? Politicians ignored legal advice and directed a bureaucrat to ignore legal obligations, and when that individual wouldn’t do it, brought in someone who would. When they were sued as a result, they settled out of court for around $20 million over what their own consultants said would be the likely court award.

    In the Basi/Virk debacle, the government brought in outside legal help that provided very expensive “no comment” cover on the real scandal for seven years by dragging the little fish through the courts using every delay tactic in the books. Then when the outside help couldn’t get the job done by itself when the real nut-cutting started, the government had to step in secretly through the back door and help out by writing off more of our money to ensure the cover continued. That one isn’t finished yet, and will ultimately cost us more money in legal fees.

    We’re now watching the health ministry firings unravel and everyone and their pet cat is lawyering up in advance of the main event. Most, if not all, of the legal fees and all of the settlement money will come from our treasury.

    Guess who’s cheering?

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  6. I have a real problem, with a political party that's in governance, using public money to defend "its" members, in positions of authority, who screw up. The government "should not be paying"for the "nonsense" and political malfeasance of the so called party in power.
    The health care firings illustrate in the worst possible way, how our political system can be manipulated.
    At the very least the minister in charge should have been removed. The police were stonewalled.
    Although from where I stand at this point it looks more like obstruction of justice.
    The moment the involvement where a connection between the pharmaceutical industry and government insiders became clear, should have generated an enquiry, not still waiting 3 years later.
    At this point, key cabinet members and staff involved have to testify under oath. The premier should just resign now, why waste time with the obvious.
    Someone is accountable. There is no integrity in this government. Fire "them" now.
    As for the legal bills...bill the party and the individuals involved, as a taxpayer I resent paying for the screw ups of a political party involved in this level of malfeasance and quite possibly corruption.

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  7. I see at the top of the list, the $2 million payment to the BCTF. Nice to have confirmation that it actually was paid.

    It didn't last long, though, as the payment was overturned by the (curious) Court of Appeals ruling earlier this year. If they've gotten it back from the TF, they should keep it handy, as they may be giving it back, if the Supreme Court of Canada hears the teachers' appeal.

    I also wonder about the Dec. 2012 payment of $930,000 to Gibson's Pass Resort, of Manning Park. From 2009, it was under receivership and by March of 2013, it was announced that the resort would be closing for good. Businessman Kevin Demers, of Popkum BC (look it up!) made a shoe-string catch in the spring of 2013 to save the resort from being dismantled and carried off.

    I'm wondering who pocketed the nearly $1 million just before deciding to pull the plug? I guess it could have simply been creditors banging on the door. The timing is curious, though. If the government's payment had come after Demers bought the resort… would HE have profited?

    Lawyers would know — but I'm not going to pay the fee to find out.

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  8. Ya but maybe we could do yoga on a bridge

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  9. Money is no object unless it's detrimental to the liberals. They can blow left right and centre, pay legal bills of criminals (BCRail) but they won't allow a full investigation into the wrongdoing of the individuals in the link. (Just don't allow Wally or any liberal "friend" chair it. Bring in someone from the outside, even outside BC.

    http://www.news1130.com/2015/06/25/bc-looking-for-something-more-affordable-than-public-inquiry-into-health-firings-scandal/

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    Replies
    1. A public inquiry would be completely unnecessary if Christy Clark, John Dyble, Terry Lake, Mike de Jong, Margaret MacDiarmid, Lynda Tarras, Richard Fyfe, Wendy Taylor, Graham Whitmarsh, Marcia McNeil were willing to tell the entire truth about the matter.

      Of course, one of the reasons Liberals don't want an inquiry is that the people listed above and others would be embarrassed if truth were revealed.

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