Vaughn Palmer thinks readers should be reminded of past NDP sins so he offers Gordon Campbell’s words from 2001:
“Under the New Democratic Party, BC Hydro has been viewed as little more than a cash cow for the government,” declared Opposition leader and soon-to-be premier Gordon Campbell on the eve of the 2001 election campaign.
“Since the NDP was elected, it has siphoned almost $2.5 billion out of BC Hydro into general revenue. This is $2.5 billion that could have gone to reducing the debt of BC Hydro, into the construction of new generation facilities, or been left in the pockets of customers.”
Shocking, isn’t it. Kudos to Vaughn Palmer for providing key facts.
He gives this additional information:
Turns out Hydro has paid $5.4 billion in dividends to the province since 1992, of which 60 per cent — or $3.2 billion — had to be borrowed.
Presuming Hydro had been able to use that money to offset its own borrowing needs, the Crown corporation’s current debt ($15.4 billion and counting) would be that much smaller and the upward pressure on rates from interest payments would be reduced as well.
However, that turns out to be a rewording of government press notes and it is not entirely accurate. Since 2001, BC Hydro payments to government total almost $10 billion and it does not take a graduate degree in finance to know, had that money not been paid out, the crown corporation’s borrowings would be reduced by the same amount. It is an illogical fiction to pretend that only $3.2 billion had to be borrowed to make payments to government during the past 23 years.
Mind you Palmer could also have reported that when Glen Clark became Premier, BC Hydro’s long-term debt was $7.496 billion and, when he left the office three years later, it was $7.474 billion. When Christy Clark became Premier, the utility’s debt was $11.712 billion. According to the September 2014 financial statements, the debt was $16.588 billion, not the lesser amount from ten months ago noted on the BC Liberal’s press notes.
That’s a 42% increase in long-term debt of BC Hydro, but the amount is chump change compared to borrowings planned in the next few years and the over $50 billion increase in contractual commitments to private power producers, which were non-existent during the days of Glen Clark’s profligacy.
Another illustration of the different approaches to debt and spending during different times follows. It should be noted that quarterly statements of BC Hydro in the current fiscal year show long-term debt rising at a monthly rate of $171.5 million. That is the fastest ever rate of growth in BC Hydro debt.
Liberal policies aim to eliminate elements of a progressive tax system to impose the financial burden of government on lower and middle income citizens. Had BC Hydro been able to use the “dividends” and water rentals extracted from it by government, the utility could have eliminated the tier-1 residential rate for the first 1,350 kWh used over an average two-month billing period. Instead, residents are hit with increases well above the rate of inflation. This is reflected graphically but not show is the 28% rate increase announced in 2014. 9% took effect April 2014, which will cause another upward move when the numbers for fiscal year 2015 are added.
Dropping the irony, I can say this Palmer article leaves me thinking the newspaper’s masthead could accurately describe the Vancouver Sun purpose to be,
Comfort the comfortable and afflict the afflicted.
Maybe I’ll suggest it to Vaughn if I see him entertaining Liberals at some corporate speaking engagement or encounter him resting in a quiet pasture.
|H/T Rob S.|
|Den Tandt: Muclair cannot count|
So, what will our next federal government look like? Today is the last day of the year 2014, and most commentators have hidden their heads in the sand rather than venture a public guess.
In an article in the National Post he forecasts a minority government for Stephen Harper, without any attempt by the two opposition parties – which combined will have more MPs than the Tory minority government – to vote him out in a no-confidence vote.
“The reason is simply that the current crop of New Democrats and Liberals viscerally dislike and mistrust each other … Given his druthers, Mr. Mulcair will be inclined to keep Mr. Harper in power, with concessions, rather than allow Mr. Trudeau to road-test himself as prime minister.”
Mulcair only has to look to what happened with the LibDems in the UK, and with Horwath’s NDP in Ontario, to have second thoughts about supporting Harper for a mess of pottage.
|Mulcair: The man who would bring democracy to Canada|
Thomas Mulcair, that very capable MP who is leader of the NDP, has publicly committed himself to remedy our democratic deficit, as this post indicates.
|Big Brother is watching …|
There is a clear fault line between the two opposition parties, and PM Stephen Harper’s policies with regard to how to combat ISIS.
The Conservatives favour actual fighting (planes dropping bombs etc.), while the opposition parties are against this.
The NDP is further from the government’s position, while the Liberal Party would have Canadian armed forces join the anti-ISIS coalition led by the US and help its efforts (including transporting goods for the coalition), but short of Canadian planes dropping bombs on ISIS targets.
Does that mean Canada’s counter-terrorism policy contains fatal flaws? Or did the two lone-wolf attackers slip through a net that can be made only so tight — without unacceptable curbs on freedom?
Experts and advocates said Thursday there may be cause to draw that net a little tauter, even if it does mean some further limits on civil liberties…
“Apparently we can do a good job of detecting them, apparently we can do a good job of doing surveillance on them, we can do a good job of removing their passports,” he said.
“But somehow we can’t put them in jail and keep the public safe. That’s the hard question.”
In fact, a Canadian law passed last year allows police to temporarily detain suspected, would-be terrorists under what are known as preventive arrests. Police seem reluctant to use the power, however, likely because they fear judges would require ironclad proof the individuals would otherwise commit terrorist acts, said Prof. Leuprecht.
The Conservatives are understood to be considering new legislation that would make it an offence to condone terrorist acts online.
There is frustration in government, and among law enforcement agencies, that the authorities can’t detain or arrest people who express sympathy for atrocities committed overseas and who may pose a threat to public safety, one Conservative MP said. “Do we need new offences? If so which?”Sources suggest the government is likely to bring in new hate speech legislation that would make it illegal to claim terrorist acts are justified online.The Prime Minister told the House of Commons on Thursday that Canada’s law and policing powers need to be strengthened in the areas of surveillance, detention and arrest. He said work is already under way to provide law enforcement agencies with “additional tools” and that work will now be expedited…
The Criminal Code already prohibits “hate propaganda” and it is not clear how any new legislation would dovetail with existing provisions.The new legislation is likely to prove controversial with the opposition parties and shatter the harmony that emerged in the House Thursday, after the terror attack on Parliament Hill.
Among measures announced:
- Legislation will be drawn up to give the police statutory powers to confiscate the passports of suspect terrorists at UK borders
- The UK will challenge any attempt by the courts to water down these powers
- Plans to block suspected British terrorists from returning to the UK will be drawn up on a “cross-party basis”
- Terrorism prevention and investigation measures (Tpims) will be extended, to include the power to relocate suspects
- Terrorists will be required to undergo de-radicalisation programmes
- Airlines will be forced to hand over more information about passengers travelling to and from conflict zonesThe home secretary already has executive powers to seize the passports of those travelling abroad in certain cases but Mr Cameron said the police needed greater discretion to act where needed.
We clearly have a problem with the use of the Internet to spread terrorist propaganda, which raises the question of what legitimate limits we can put on the use of the Internet in the public interest.
We also have a problem with potential terrorists whose behaviour gives our security forces cause for concern.
Coupled with the reduction of the deficit and the cutting of government costs, he could run a two-pronged campaign (best choice to manage the economy, and best choice to keep Canadians safe from terrorism), during a very short election (say, 4 weeks, with election day in late November).
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