What?? You don’t say?? Are the Liberals once againover budget, and underfunded – before a project even starts? NOoooo…. say it ain’t so!!!!
A little birdie flew by my window tonight, and whispered some sweet nothings in my ear… oh so sweet… regarding that often protested and over-hyped South Fraser Perimeter Road( part of the Gateway project) we all love to hate. I swear, I nearly had a braingasm when I heard this.
Apparently, there have been several small configuration changes already to the plans, and rumour has it that even now, after the bids have been in for several weeks, the Liberals( Ministry of Transportation) are considering some ” scope changes ” . Which could mean there are “cash flow problems” that require a significant reduction in the magnitude of the project…..
Hmmm. Have the Liberals gone and distributed the pie before it was actually made and baked again? Because there was already a change to the structure of construction payments done, to reduce the need to raise financing to do the project….
Now. Between you, and I, (and all the Public Affairs Bureau employees who are no doubt in “code red” mode right now), this information set my bullsh*t detector off like you wouldn’t believe, partly because of the way the MOT rammed the Port Mann Bride through even after the winning bidder lost their financing. It would seem to me that the Liberals have a public procurement policy in place that seems to be rigid and besieged with rules, yet those same rules are able to be altered at a moments notice. Again- see that Port Mann link just above.
Again, as with most major transportation projects in BC, the shortlist of proponents is a who’s who of favorite BC Liberal bidders, and nary a truly Canadian company among the various consortiums. See what I mean:
Fraser Transportation Group – includes Iridium Concesiones de Infraestructuras, S.A. of Spain and Zachry American Infrastructure of Texas as equity partners and Dragados S.A. as the lead design build contractor.
South River Connector – includes Babcock & Brown Public Partnerships Limited Partnership and Bilfinger Berger Project Investments Inc. as equity partners, with Peter Kiewit Sons Co. and PCL Consultants Westcoast Inc. as the design build contractors.
The Riverway Partnership – includes the Spanish firm of Cintra Concesiones de Infraestructuras de Transporte, S.A. and the Canadian firm of SNC-Lavalin Inc. as equity partners, with Ferrovial Agromàn, S.A. of Spain and locally based SNC-Lavalin Constructors (Pacific) Inc. as design build contractors.
With the exception of SNC-Lavelin, it seems that as usual,BC money is flowing out of the province. Nothing new there. And of course, all the same names, in all the same places. SNC is not without some .. creative employees, if you recall.
But, here is the thing about all of this. It stinks. It doesn’t make sense! What if the BC liberals have hedged a bet on what they thought was a sure thing… but got it all horribly wrong ?
Charlie Smith, of the Georgia Straight, seems to be thinking the same thing. Here is an excerpt of an article I just found that will surely make you go ” Hmmmmm…”
The B.C. Liberal government has tried to position our province to be the beneficiary of growing transoceanic trade.
Part of this strategy is the Gateway Program, which is an unprecedented, multibillion-dollar road-building exercise that includes a new Port Mann Bridge, a widening of Highway 1, and a South Fraser Perimeter Road.
Agricultural land is being sacrificed for pavement and to create space for containers coming from China.
Metro Vancouver has previously reported the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure secured approximately 110 hectares of agricultural land for the South Fraser Perimeter Road and the Golden Ears Bridge projects.
According to the theory of comparative advantage, we can rely on people in other parts of the world to grow our food because they’re better at this than we are. We’ll just trade for more of it as we need it.
This weekend, China reported its first trade deficit in six years. According to Xinhua News Agency, the country posted a $7.24 billion trade deficit in March. This will come as no surprise to anyone who read Rubin’s 2009 book, Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller: Oil and the End of Globalization (Random House Canada).
China still has a trade surplus through the first three months of the year. And overall trade still grew, which will be cited by those who don’t see any economic transformation occurring as a result of diminishing oil supplies and climate change.
Here at home, Statistics Canada reported last month that the pace of Canadian exports slowed in January. Exports to the U.S. declined 0.6 percent and imports fell by 0.5 percent.
Exports to countries other than the U.S. rose 3.8 percent, whereas imports from countries other than the United States decreased 3.9 percent, led by a fall from the European Union.
For the past 25 years, the corporate sector in Canada has promoted trade as some sort of economic panacea. You’ll sometimes hear economists say that countries that trade don’t go to war.
But all might not be as well as it seems, particularly if oil prices continue rising. The current price of US $85 per barrel is relatively high on an inflation-adjusted basis.
As this chart indicates, oil prices have only surpassed this level on an inflation-adjusted basis three times before: 1980, 1981, and 2008.
The inflationary period in the early 1980s triggered the worst economic slowdown since the Second World War.
Everyone knows what happened to the world economy in 2008. International trade plummeted as a result.
It could happen again.
I’m beginning to wonder if the B.C. Liberal government and its cheerleaders in the media are looking in the rear-view mirror–and not to the future–when they promote policies like the HST that blindly assume that more international trade is inevitable.
Ahhh… I love Charlie, I really do. This is a great piece, once that should be read far and wide with the rest of this blog. Of course, I have a soft spot for Charlie since he did this wonderful bit that contains THE video Gordon Campbell would rather you not see.
Clearly, something is amiss in Lotusland this evening, and I’m not talking about the Canucks loss in OT. This HST petition is about so much more than the HST. It is about everything this man has done to BC in his alleged Golden Decade ( of delusion) and British Columbians have focussed all of that anger, on the HST
You all need to be asking some questions tonight. When we live in a supposedly free country, why is everything such a damn secret? Have the Liberals put themselves in a position of possible litigation again if they do not proceed with this project? Are they relying on this supposedly ” revenue neutral” tax to pay for overpriced projects deemed necessary far before the current world economic conditions existed?
It may be speculation at this point, but I have learned where there is smoke, there is usually fire. I suspect this latest news is the spark for something far bigger.
Time for Campbell to go.
**** Update to this post HERE – Sunday May 9th/2010 : http://lailayuile.wordpress.com/2010/05/09/fraser-transportation-group-chosen-as-preferred-bidder-for-south-fraser-perimeter-road/