“The government paid for a report on what it will be taking in, not on what it will be paying out. A report on revenue only tells half the story.” ~ Bob Mackin,investigative journalist

That headline, my friends, is the most important thought to keep in your minds when you hear anything to do with this ” independent economist” who was paid, very well in fact, to produce a report for the Liberals who have managed to get this province into a debt spiral that will be felt by generations to come. 

(Hmmm.. which makes me wonder if…. an ‘ independent economist’ is the same thing as and ‘ independent fairness advisor.’ ? )

From Bob Mackin:

“The Sept. 1, 2009 headline in The Tyee said it all: “B.C. budget includes record $2.8 billion deficit, cuts, optimism.”

British Columbia will have a record deficit of $2.8 billion, according to a budget update Finance Minister Colin Hansen presented today. That’s five times greater than the $495 million projected in February and insisted upon by Premier Gordon Campbell during the election campaign.

Back to de Jong and 2013.

The Liberals are trying to make it look like they’re more fiscally responsible than the 1988 Socreds, 1996 NDP and 2009 Liberals. They even hired an expert! Tim O’Neill, a former BMO economist from the Maritimes! He’s independent! Shhh, don’t pay attention to the $25,000 he’s pocketing for less than a month’s work that resulted in a 22-page report, B.C. Budget 2013: Economic & Revenue Forecasts — Review and Assessment. Don’t dare suggest it’s just spin. Gosh, no. The government would never do that. Perish that thought!

Well, it’s 20 pages after the title page and disclaimer. The first and last pages are half each, so that’s really 19. The margins are wide and the print is big. The word count is 4,520. Hey, that’s better than $5.50 per word. Not a bad gig, eh?

The word expenditure is mentioned just once. The word expense is nowhere to be found.

The government paid for a report on what it will be taking in, not on what it will be paying out. A report on revenue only tells half the story.

Surprise, surprise, O’Neill has nothing really bad to say, except, perhaps the government is too bullish on natural gas. (A degree isn’t necessary to arrive at that conclusion; one need only have watched the throne speech).

“I have concluded that there are no glaring problems or inadequacies that need to be addressed,” wrote O’Neill. “There is ample evidence of professional competence, analytical rigour and appropriate caution applied in the work that goes into producing the revenue projections.”

There you have it. Voters beware! “


Weekend roundup for your reading pleasure!

With this stunning and somewhat rare West Coast Sunshine, we should all be outside enjoying the weather before it returns to nasty rain again!  However, I know a lot of people down with flu and colds now, and so I’ve compiled a few items of interest I found that I think you might want to check out!

1) Katherine Blaze Carlsons column in the National Post: ” Long Before Milf Interview, Christy’frickin’ Clark laughed her way through Questions on Her Looks andstunnedchristy Nudity In This Radio Chat ”    

Well, it’s about time you got on board, Katherine, but better late than never! The CFOX appearance was just part of the argument behind my December 27th post here and on the Huffington Post BC, but a crucial one, because as I wrote then, and stand by now, it set the standard for what was acceptable topic of conversation with the premier on that kind of station.  Don’t forget, you heard it here first, linked to within the comments section below the first post.  By the way, the earth opened up and nearly swallowed me live on Friday when I arrived home to an onslaught of messages about Bill Good.. gasp.. agreeing with my points in an earlier interview with Mike Smyth. Cue up the Audio Vault for 9 am Friday the 11th to hear firsthand.

2) Why is Christy Clark deleting messages of concern from movie industry workers, from her Facebook page?

Good friend and BC actor, Adrian Hough mentioned to me recently that Christy Clarks team had deleted dozens of message from her Facebook page, from members of the film and movie industry in BC… read on my friends!

The  countless messages  from both actors and actresses, and film/movie industry workers were left on her Facebook page in response to the news that the BC government could not make a case for any added emphasis in the BC Jobs Plan for film, television or video game industries.

Bob Mackin has the story : http://www.timescolonist.com/film-tv-gaming-left-out-of-bc-jobs-plan-1.44327

Interesting… Clark claims to have an open government that wants to communicate with the people, she states again and again she would rather talk to people than sit in the legislature… but when people want to talk to her… she ( her team) deletes their comments from her Facebook page?  Not exactly indicative of a leader who wants to hear from the people, if you ask me!

Luckily, one smart cookie took screen shots and posted them for posterity :http://www.ninja12.com/cc/

moneyNow, to me, the only reason she, or her staff would delete them all – and they were all civil – was so that no one else in the province saw the disappointment of a major industry being left out in the cold.  I find this compelling, because there is definite pressure on other sectors that have traditionally brought in revenue to provincial coffers, so why wouldn’t the government be interested in promoting and expanding that? And what will the impact be for BC film industry workers?  I asked Adrian for his take on this, and this is what he had to say:

BC actor Adrian Hough with Christian Slater” The film industry  has contributed something in the realm of 2 billion dollars to the province or more, but has been losing production like crazy, as well as talent to the East…which means that someone like me, who makes a living on frequent roles in production, Vancouver based, will have less opportunity.  Crews are being hit the hardest however.

I love living in BC, but if production leaves here, I might also be forced to.  My kids are here. I love BC.  The mountains, the ocean, the fresh air.  I like the community I have developed in the industry, and in my adopted hometown of Nanaimo. 

Making a living from the arts is possible, and most performers, and film people are incredibly generous with their skills, and selves, and work unreasonable hours.  The stories we tell are seen all over the world, as well as at home.. I think it does something good to people to be able to look at a film or television series,  and see someplace or someone they know.  Or recognize as their own. 

As far as economics go, talent and skills and stories are a totally renewable and unending (and therefore sustainable) resource.   ( my emphasis there-ly.)

But we have to remain competitive with Ontario and Quebec and the Maritimes and as for the ‘money people’, ( I have spoken to quite a few of them) they say that if they can take a show somewhere else, and save money in production, they will.  And it is happening.”

Talk about shortsighted leadership. Times are changing and so must we as we work towards a shift from a resource based economy to other economic engines.  Adrian makes a very compelling argument for fostering growth in an industry that, in an entertainment hungry society, could very well contribute more to our economy than it does now.

But hey, I’m just a writer/blogger/columnist… what do I know?  : )

**Note, I just noticed Bob Mackin has the same story poste, albeit an hour earlier, and has embedded a link to the site above on his blog- check it out here – credit where credit is due!!! http://2010goldrush.blogspot.ca/2013/01/film-folks-furious-premier-photo-op.html

3)  Andrew Nikiforuk, of whom I am a very big fan of, has a must read series on fracking over at the Tyee. In the series, he “takes a look at four very big claims the industry uses to reassure the public”  that fracking is A-ok for the environment, people and our future. A must read if you share the same concerns over fracking in BC as I do.


4) Last but not least, Rob Shaw of the Time Colonist has a story out this weekend very relevent to the payoff payout of Basi-Virk legal fees..… of which I’m not unfamiliar with…. which lends even more credence (not that it is needed) to the theory that this was a deal made to keep them in silence, and prevent a trial from revealing the truth to the public. The timing is very interesting.. in particular because of Auditor General John Doyles strong attempts to get at the truth behind this deal… oh wait… arent the Liberals trying to fire him?…. hmmmm.


Of course, whether you are a reader  in the lower mainland, the UK, or in Europe, don’t forget to check back tomorrow night for a sneak peak at  my upcoming column in Mondays edition of 24 hours Vancouver, The Duel, with Kathryn Marshall!

Bob Mackin : Will the gendarmes guzzle in Green Timbers?

Never could figure out why the new (p3) E division headquarters in Surrey was costing so darn much, other than that fact P3’s always do gouge the taxpayer. Might it have something to do with an area within the new headquarters that has applied for a liquor license and will operate like a ” private club” for RCMP and guests? Hmmmm.

Will the Gendarmes guzzle in Green Timbers?  Bob Mackin brings the news to public light on his outstanding site, 2010 GoldRush, and the story is already being picked up elsewhere.

This Yahoo News blog by Andy Radia has this to say:

“Traditionally in Canada, police headquarters and even fire halls have been given liquor licenses to serve alcohol to their ‘off-duty’ officers.

According to the Northwest Territory liquor distribution branch, the purpose of a licensed mess/canteen is to allow those who work in public protection to enjoy an off-duty drink out of the public eye.

“Because of the nature of their jobs, these individuals are often unfairly expected to be “on-duty” at all times, their website notes.

“It is difficult for them to relax and enjoy a few drinks in a restaurant or bar without public scrutiny or public expectation of their services.”

But is this really appropriate in 2012?

More importantly, is this application really appropriate for a national police force that has been rocked by scandal after scandal over the past decade?

In November, the RCMP took another hit to its beleaguered reputation when two female officers went to the  media with complaints about a systemic problem of sexual harassment within RCMP ranks.

More recently, there was the case of Donald Ray, the ex-Alberta Mountie who was disciplined — but not fired — for sexual misconduct and drinking on the job.

Do we really want to introduce more alcohol into the RCMP ‘culture’?

Do we really need officers coiffing a few pints at work after a tough day on the job and then driving home?

During a period of time where the RCMP is trying to restore their reputation, applying for a liquor license is not a smart public relations move.

The Harper government has spent an endless amount of time and money getting ‘tough on crime’ — perhaps it’s about time they got tougher on the Mounties.”

I have to agree.

 Besides the fact that I  strongly object to what the long term costs of this facility are going to be for cities – I’ve shown time and time again, P3 projects are not in the best interest of the taxpayers, who end up paying far more to give the private investor an overinflated return – I don’t think having a liquor license in RCMP headquarters is ok.

No one knows you are a mountie if you go for a drink in a pub off-duty, and in your street clothes, so no one is watching you and no one is judging – I just don’t buy into the ‘needing a private place to toss one back without being judged’ argument.  I do however, think that if an off duty mountie is tossing one back in a pub,drives home, is stopped and blows over, then the people in the pub would or could be called as a witness to how much was served, what kind of behavior was exhibited etc..

However,if an off duty officer tosses a couple back in a private clublike facility in headquarters, drives home in street clothes, is stopped and blows over… will the staff at headquarters testify to how much he drank? Or if he drank at all ? I just don’t like the implications, considering how many repeated examples the public have seen of the RCMP covering up for their own.

I know several RCMP members and by no means paint them all with the same brush. They are great people, take their job seriously, and do their best. But let them drink at the pub, or at home, like the rest of us, and face the same consequences. There is no place for drinking in RCMP headquarters in this day and age.

Now go read Bob’s great story on this.