In-Sights: When regulators don’t believe in regulation

When a new government takes office, there is often a significant change at senior levels of the civil service and among OIC political appointments. One person still employed by the Horgan government may surprise more than a few people. Accordingly, I dug this out of the archives. By Order in Council dated September 15, 2015, ...

In-Sights: LNG facilities: siting, safety, regulation

An August 19 fire and gas leak at the Tilbury Island LNG facility reminds of the fuel’s inherent dangers. Luckily, Delta’s Firehall No. 7 is only 1,500 meters from the Fortis property and the situation resulted in minimal damages and injuries. However, consider what might result if the proposed Woodfibre LNG plant suffered a fire ...

In-Sights: Socialized losses, privatized gains

Postmedia’s Michael Smyth came to Gordon Wilson’s defense after the LNG advocate was relieved of vague but costly responsibilities for gas industry promotion. But, did the political commentator make even a small effort to examine BC Liberal ambitions for this “generational opportunity”? Given Postmedia’s partnership with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), perhaps Smyth has ...

In-Sights: Huge cost, high risk, low government revenue, few permanent jobs, better choices

When thinking about the Petronas LNG project (PNW LNG), we should consider which supporting claims for it were believable. For example, proponents have routinely misrepresented the value and benefits of the project. The Star Online explains how the capital cost was calculated: Adding values of the export terminal and TransCanada’s troubled Prince Rupert Gas Transmission pipeline, ...

In-Sights: Behind the ostensible government

An item previously published, with  minor updates: I studied political science at university long, long ago. In those days, I was naive and idealistic and a member of the Liberal Party. Because I did not stay naive, I did not remain a Liberal. Yet, the theory of party politics makes sense. The system should enable ...

In-Sights: Gas sales in new fiscal year begin on a sour note

Premier Clark and friends are organizing demonstrations, trying to keep the LNG fantasy alive with voters, at least for another year. BC Liberals won’t admit economic reality but producers have already passed judgment on the future of the BC gas industry. Looking at monthly sales of gas rights, we find the six worst-ever sale results ...

In-Sights: Gas sales in new fiscal year begin on a sour note

Stephen Hume Premier Clark and friends are organizing demonstrations, trying to keep the LNG fantasy alive with voters, at least for another year. BC Liberals won’t admit economic reality but producers have already passed judgment on the future of the BC gas industry. Looking at monthly sales of gas rights, we find the six worst-ever ...

In-Sights: Gas sales in new fiscal year begin on a sour note

Stephen Hume Premier Clark and friends are organizing demonstrations, trying to keep the LNG fantasy alive with voters, at least for another year. BC Liberals won’t admit economic reality but producers have already passed judgment on the future of the BC gas industry. Looking at monthly sales of gas rights, we find the six worst-ever ...

In-Sights: What’s good for the BC Liberals may not be good for BC Hydro

An article by Dermod Travis of Integrity BC. First published February 15, 2016, repeated here with permission. One of the last things anyone would ever imagine the B.C. government doing is adopting an old NDP program, but that’s exactly what Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett did this month when he announced a five-year, $300 ...

In-Sights: What’s good for the BC Liberals may not be good for BC Hydro

An article by Dermod Travis of Integrity BC. First published February 15, 2016, repeated here with permission. One of the last things anyone would ever imagine the B.C. government doing is adopting an old NDP program, but that’s exactly what Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett did this month when he announced a five-year, $300 ...

In-Sights: What’s good for the BC Liberals may not be good for BC Hydro

An article by Dermod Travis of Integrity BC. First published February 15, 2016, repeated here with permission. One of the last things anyone would ever imagine the B.C. government doing is adopting an old NDP program, but that’s exactly what Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett did this month when he announced a five-year, $300 ...

In-Sights: BC Liberals’ special partners

Again, another contribution from an In-Sights reader who is closely following the situation in Malaysia and asking why British Columbia wants to trust part of its economic future to these people. On Friday an Australian Broadcasting Corporation news story – written by Linton Besser, Jaya Balendra, Elise Worthington – was published in Malaysia. WORLD BLOCKBUSTER: ...

In-Sights: Industry as policy maker or welfare bum

Many people believe that BC Hydro’s current job #1 is enabling the delivery of water and cheap power to northeast gas fields. If true, that serves as proof that government policy is being dictated by one favoured industry – an industry that presently employs only a tiny proportion of the province’s workforce. In the current ...

In-Sights: Favoured friends

After the Campbell Liberals were  elected in 2001, influences of special business interests grew rapidly. Under Christina Clark’s leadership, non-renewable resource companies wield great political power and they use it to minimize regulations and taxation and maximize subsidies. In fiscal year 2016, mining companies and gas producers contribute a small fraction of the provincial budget. ...

In-Sights: Takin’ care of business, part x

As consumers, we are told that Canadian retail prices must be set above American because the costs of operation are higher north of the 49th parallel. For that reason, cars manufactured in Ontario have larger price tags in British Columbia than in California. Similarly, Korean cars transported to New Westminster are more expensive than similar ...

In-Sights: Truth found in numbers, lies found in words

I am reading budget documents and will soon be writing more about the provincial government’s financial smoke and mirrors but I have initial comments. Natural Gas BC Liberals, particularly Premier Clark, are proving to be a fine investment for British Columbia’s natural gas producers. Today’s budget predicts gas royalties will be $151 million for the ...

In-Sights: Vanishing revenues

With land developers, the largest funders of the BC Liberal Party are natural resource companies. They’ve contributed millions of dollars to encourage government sympathetic to their needs. No administration in the province’s history has been as sympathetic to natural gas producers as the present one and benefits to them measure in the billions. I offer ...

In-Sights: Gas production ↑ 85%, public revenue ↓ 90%

To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity. – Douglas AdamsDays ago, Premier Clark averred that meeting needs of children in government care is dependent on new funding from new industrial and commercial activities in British Columbia: “We don’t have the ...

In-Sights: Rich lands, poor people

GDP measures income, but not equality, it measures growth, but not destruction, and it ignores values like social cohesion and the environment. – OECDIf a province allows extraction of natural resources and takes back little or no share of produced value, its gross domestic product (GDP) may rise on paper but its citizens become poorer ...

In-Sights: Distortions and half-truths but mostly outright lies

February 13, 2013, Premier Christy Clark announced: …the new British Columbia Prosperity Fund to ensure communities, First Nations and all British Columbians benefit from the development of a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry… LNG development is poised to trigger approximately $1 trillion in cumulative GDP within British Columbia over the next 30 years and ...

In-Sights: When industry buys a government…

Who knew that Christy Clark would make Gordon Campbell look like an effective, if somewhat dishonest, Premier. #bcpoli — Norm Farrell (@Norm_Farrell) December 4, 2015 Did gas industry get a good deal when they bought a government? You betcha! #bcpoli #cdnpoli (rights & royalties) pic.twitter.com/5mRrAdRWH1 — Norm Farrell (@Norm_Farrell) December 4, 2015 In last 5 ...

In-Sights: Ahem, indeed

A while back, I complained on Twitter that corporate media types were failing to report on the near complete disappearance of revenues from this year’s monthly sales of petroleum and natural gas rights. Northern reporter Jonny Wakefield had a quick one-word response that had me pedaling backward: @Norm_Farrell ahem — Jonny Wakefield (@jonnywakefield) November 8, ...

In-Sights: Trusted editorial content may not be trusted

Postmedia is a company in trouble. It cannot sustain crippling debt to American debt holders with revenues from traditional advertising, circulation and digital paywalls. One of its responses is Postmedia Content Solutions, which aims to elicit cash in controversial ways. Part of their sales pitch: We’ve learned that advertisers receive increased engagement when pairing their ...

In-Sights: Avoidance / Evasion: often a fine line

The price isn’t right, Corporate profit-shifting has become big business, The Economist: DURING THE TAX-EVASION trial of Leona Helmsley, a flamboyant hotelier, a former housekeeper testified that she heard her employer say: “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.” These days, multinational companies stand accused of taking a similarly haughty attitude to ...

In-Sights: Huge cost, high risk, low government revenue, few permanent jobs, better choices

LNG and Employment in BC, Marc Lee, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Juy 28, 2015: This brief examines the BC government’s claim that 100,000 jobs will be created from liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in this province. We find that this claim is not credible and that potential employment impacts have been grossly overstated. In ...