One of the most important graphs and the two most important posts, you will ever read about BC’s coming debt load.


Our good friends over at Blog Borg Collective has a very important post up this morning that clearly show the amount of debt the province is carrying – without including crown corps etc. The chart  above is from one he has embedded in his post today….. and all I can say is a big thank you to the BC Liberals for accumulating so much debt that they have to avoid having a fall session so they wont be held accountable.

What the hell did they think would happen when they reduced  all corporate and personal taxes to some of the lowest points ever ? Without generating new revenue streams as replacements? Natural gas prices are down, China is heading into some rough economic times and our government is putting everything they have into exports to China and Asia……Well, good luck with that and good luck to the incoming government after our election next year, trying to wade out of this one. Don’t expect miracles. Now go, read the post and weep.

When you are done that, come on back and read this post explaining how this all came to be. The best explanation of how the BC Liberals created their own crisis to introduce P3’s to the province. Looking back at the last 10 years, I think it’s bang on.

“Official truths are often powerful illusions” ~ John Pilger

” Hi Laila…Remember the Principle of Parsimony, aka Occam’s Razor that says: “simpler explanations are, other things being equal, generally better than more complex ones.”  The illusion of a fixed price contract is great optics even though its an illusion.  As you quite rightly point out there are escape clauses in the agreement that do in fact provide for modifications to the price.  However, builders do build in as much room as possible in their fixed price bids to cover minor price fluctuations and minor delays.  The downfall for these big projects though is that non-expert political masters interfere with the design and order changes along the way.  That was the case with the fast ferries, and with BC Place roof and with the Port Mann.  This interference triggers the modification to the original terms and conditions.   But politically speaking, ‘they’ trumpet the fixed price nature of the contract – even though the “Fixed” nature of the price is tenuous to say the least.  Just look at the history of the stadium roof! “~ unnamed source

John Pilger is a renowned investigative journalist and documentary film-maker whose work is very provocative. He has well-known for meticulously picking apart and revealing  the well crafted illusions that several governments have worked hard to pass as “official truths” – a description so befitting to our situation here in British Columbia.

There have been many official truths promoted by the governing BC Liberals over the last 10 years, and many illusions revealed as well.

Official truths like there is no toll on the Sea to Sky highway, when in fact there is- a shadow toll. ( you can read the full series on my Best Of page above- there are shadow tolls on several large projects in BC we must pay for years to come – ALL of us.)

Official truths like the HST wasn’t on our radar, when it fact is was and had been for some time. And that plays into todays story with the Port Mann as well,believe it or not.

Official truths like ” We must not go back to those dark, horrible days of when the NDP ran this province into the ground.” Again… not so true when you look at the numbers.

Official truths like the Port Mann bridge is a fixed price contract where the builder takes all the risk, when – as my source confirms above -there are in fact many allowances built into the agreement for changes in cost, design and circumstance. Indeed, this contract has the potential to be another BC Place stadium roof!

 Also concerning, is reference within the Statement of Financial Information, to multiple indemnities given by Transportation Investment Corporation( to be referred to as TIC from this point) under the design build contract with Kiewiet/Flatiron, as well as other agreements and contracts. TIC is the crown corporation in charge of the Port Mann/Highway 1 project. (click on the image to see full size)

It is the many clauses in the contract between TIC  and Kiewit/Flatiron that have me strongly questioning the governments repeated assertions that this project is on budget….and should have the opposition calling for an immediate reveal of any resulting changes in cost and design to date.

Recently back in the news because of a gantry collapse that dropped a massive, pre-fab  concrete portion of the new bridge deck into the Fraser River, I once again wondered how the builder could continually absorb these kind of costs on such a massive project that has experienced ongoing challenges since the beginning, even factoring in contingencies for rising supply costs etc. 

 The gantry is custom made, specifically for this project and the damage sustained was not insignificant to those who know the equipment. The pre-fab concrete portion may potentially be unusable and there are questions to what, if any structural damage the bridge deck under construction sustained as a result of the impact of the gantry collapse. Not to mention the very real potential for a delay, all of which adds up to $$$$.

Max Logan, current PR man for the project and TIC, immediately stated to the press this is a fixed price contract, no cost to the province. But is that really the case? I immediately went back to the disc I received after a lengthy FOI process from Transportation Investment Corporation that contained a redacted copy of the Port Mann design build agreement, the interface agreement and over 30 additional schedules and references that is now also available on the project site.

What I found is evidence that there is more than enough room for the cost of this bridge to rise, thanks to a few artfully crafted clauses and schedules within the design build contract.

This is the 1209 page document, in PDF format:

These clauses and schedules  allow for several different kinds of changes in compensation and cost, and can be triggered by a number of events and circumstances.

First, if the province makes a material change to the design, supplies- whatever- that will cost more than estimated by contract purposes, the builder can be compensated for this by the terms of the contract.

As confirmed by my source at the beginning,the contract does indeed hold the builder liable for the cost of minor changes and costs -this is part of the ‘fixed-price’ nature of the contract the politicians like to remind us of every time something happens. 

However, what they don’t tell us about is that if the cost increase in supply, construction or design is found to be above a set, predetermined amount, the builder can apply for compensation as long he can show that all attempts were made to mitigate that increase and maximize savings.

For example, let’s imagine  that the local source for gravel that was initially chosen to supply the Port Mann construction of the bridge because of it’s location, is lost and the builder now has to truck it in from Chilliwack rather than Langley. Clearly,as the cost of that material is going to be higher than estimated due to increased trucking distance, the builder looks to several sources but none are as close as the original. Although the builder attempted to mitigate this occurrence, the increase is unavoidable.

 If that increase in cost can be shown to be far above and beyond what was estimated for contract purposes as a ‘minor change’, this triggers the approval of a change in cost and subsequent payments to the builder. 

In laymen terms, although the builder is prudent in making sure his fixed price has room for minor changes and ensuing costs, he still covers his financial ass via these escape and condition clauses in the contract – what smart business person wouldn’t, in particular in a time of global economic instability.

The interface agreement, ( schedule 18)  which is the  supplementary agreement that binds all parties in this massive venture, states that the constructor is bound by Part 7 (page 52) and Schedule 11 of the design build contract, both of which cover the above conditions, as well as Part 8(pg 54) and section 4.10, Mitigation by Constructor.(pg. 21)

It’s all there in the contract,it’s been there all this time, and while Falcon, Campbell and all the PR people in between have often lauded, ” It’s a fixed-price contract!”,they’ve been handily patting themselves on the back the entire time.Now you  might understand that statement from a very knowledgable source even better:

“The illusion of a fixed price contract is great optics even though its an illusion.  As you quite rightly point out there are escape clauses in the agreement that do in fact provide for modifications to the price.  However, builders do build in as much room as possible in their fixed price bids to cover minor price fluctuations and minor delays.  The downfall for these big projects though is that non-expert political masters interfere with the design and order changes along the way.  That was the case with the fast ferries, and with BC Place roof and with the Port Mann.  This interference triggers the modification to the original terms and conditions.   But politically speaking, ‘they’ trumpet the fixed price nature of the contract – even though the “Fixed” nature of the price is tenuous to say the least.  Just look at the history of the stadium roof! ” ( this was also a fixed-price contract)

It is nothing but an illusion to take the heat off the province and give the talking heads a standard three word line to fend off the press. 

Retaining wall fails?  ” Fixed price contract!”

Skyrocketing supply and material costs? “Fixed-price contract!”

Geotechnical problems on the north end approach? ” Fixed-price contract!”

Sure Kevin….

I will state clearly, that it is in the builders best interest to make sure the costs are kept as low as possible to maximize their profit, but there lies the inherent danger with a fixed price contract. Strict cost-cutting measures by the builder can, and do, dangerously impact quality of construction and safety as they race to meet stringent construction deadlines and  the lucrative performance bonuses that come with them.

(Can anyone say “The failed retaining wall on Lougheed that did not meet provincial building standards” ? ) Which brings us to the current gantry collapse and possibility of delay in the project.

A provision of the design build contract with Kiewit/Flatiron General Partnership requires the payment of an early completion bonus if the tolling operations commence prior to December 1, 2012. How much is that bonus, and how hard would Kiewit push to reach that deadline?

There are more gems among the documents available, including the estimated cost for demolishing the old Port Mann once the new bridge is complete.

As recently as two weeks ago, Max Logan, PR man for the project, was still telling the press that the province had not assigned a dollar figure for the demolition.

I’m happy to let Metro Vancouver mayors know that as of March 2011, the province had a contractual obligation to Kiewit/Flatiron to decommission the old bridge in the amount of $39 million dollars. The old bridge will not be saved without a tremendous amount of expense, because the contract would also have a termination clause if the province bowed out at any point, and Kiewit would walk away laughing. ( click on image to view in full)

So, the question is, what, or whom, do we believe- and why? The page from TIC’s financial information statement is clear that number is a contractual obligation, yet Max Logan is telling the press, not once, but at least twice, that no number has been alloted for demolition yet.

 Did he get left out of the loop or is the cost of that dollar value of the contract going to be different as well and deflection is his game?

The chart above also reveals the total contractual obligation to Kiewit/Flatiron for the Port Mann bridge new construction to be $1.27 billion dollars. This is significant because in a recent article with the Journal of Commerce criticizing the decision to build an entirely new bridge rather than twin the old one, the province would not reveal specific costs for the new bridge, instead giving a roundabout number of $820 millon.

Again, the province is not forthcoming with specifics, sticking to the fixed-price contract line. ( the link in this segment is a must read angle)

The Port Mann project has been steeped in controversy from it’s humble beginnings as a plan to twin the existing bridge at a cost of $1.5 billion which seemed to be both prudent and economical.

Suddenly, taxpayers are told the province is going to build an entirely new bridge, at the cost of $3.3 billion, in a P3 deal with the private partners shouldering the risk. Of course, the private partners were long time Liberal friends, Macquarie and Kiewit of Sea to Sky highway fame, of whom I have written extensively.Turns out the bidders felt the cost of upgrading the old bridge was cost prohibitive and building an entirely new bridge would be a better deal for taxpayers… ( ??)

But then,Falcon announced that the province was going to fund one third of the project, and soon after when the world economy was so unstable that even Macquarie, the Liberals best offshore advisors, could not secure finace terms that suited Partnerships BC, the P3 deal was called off.

 Falcon, who had earlier announced the P3 model was best for this project and taxpayers, then turned tail and announced that a traditional design build contract was best for taxpayers and the government was paying for the whole project via a fixed price contract…With Kiewit/Flatiron as builders and Macquarie being kept on as ‘financial advisors’.

The design build contract was never put back out to tender, a move decried by many in the industry as unfair and irregular.

Yes indeed… its a good thing, people, Falcon assured us, in the best interests of taxpayers and the best value for our money…

Again, sure Kevin. Time for a full reveal and disclosure on this project, and the actual costs to date. I suspect there is a lot more to be discovered on this project,some of which we may not know until the bridge is done.

 And before I forget, it was also somewhat ironic, as the government currently stalls the demise of the HST, to find that there are specific sections in this contract – signed in March of 2009 – specifically on how a change in the PST law and the GST law will impact the contract…( page 90 & 91) Clearly, although we have long known the Liberals lied about the HST all along, the contract shows Falcon and Campbell were in the loop at that early date.

“Truth:  Outlawed by governments everywhere.” ~ John Gilmore.

Falcon’s “dire” financial estimates of HST reversal misleading – but “more effective if one were looking to lay the blame for provincial fiscal challenges onto the referendum results.”

I’m playing catch-up this weekend and next week after some new information came forward on an old story Friday, taking my attention away from more current news. However, before I leave you this morning, I wanted you to take a look at something I think is very important for British Columbians to read, and consider, in the face of Falcons gloom and doom announcement last week on the impact of reversing the HST.

This government continues to have no shame. Even spinning his version of the numbers was a practice designed solely to make everyone regret their decision, and not once did he address the bigger picture, instead trying to paint himself St. Falcon, protector of health and education… (pardon me a moment while I swallow the bile rising in my throat…cough,cough.)

Iglika Ivanova,  holds an MA in Economics from the University of British Columbia and a BA in Economics from Simon Fraser University. She recently posted a telling article which is easily read for those not inclined to numbers and financial terms, that gives the real picture of the impact of reversing the HST. 


The real impact of HST’s defeat on provincial finances

September 9th, 2011 · · No Comments · Economy, Provincial budget & finance, Taxes, Transparency & accountability

On Sept 8, Finance Minister Kevin Falcon released a much anticipated update on provincial finances.

The Minster’s presentation focused on highlighting the cost of the move back to PST/GST, providing some large numbers for the media headlines, instead of looking at the big picture.

In case you missed the media coverage, the provincial coffers are projected to suffer a loss of $2.8 billion over the next 3 years, relative to the estimates presented in February’s Budget 2011. The Ministry estimates that $2.3 billion of the loss is brought about by the HST defeat and the move back to the PST/GST system.

The Minister argued the impact of the HST defeat is manageable, but warned that:

“We’re going to be very tough on operating expenditures and people need to understand it is going to be a government that is going to be run very, very tightly from a fiscal point of view.”

However, closer look at the numbers reveal that the provincial financial situation is not nearly as dire as it may seem. And that returning to PST/GST is not all that costly, when compared with how much it would have cost to keep the “fixed” HST.

Firstly, comparing the costs of repealing the HST to the February budget estimates is misleading. Budget 2011 numbers did not include the cost of the last minute HST “fix” that Premier Clark announced this summer. Keeping the HST would have involved a significant budget loss relative to the numbers announced in February, as Seth Klein pointed out here. This is why the impact of reverting to PST/GST should be compared to the impact of keeping the “fixed” HST.

The cost of the one time rebates of $175 per child regardless of family income and for low- and modest- income seniors were estimated at $200 million. The government’s news release announced that these checks would go out before the end of the year, so they should be considered as expenses in 2011/12.

In addition, the HST was slated to be reduced to 11% in July 2012, which would have cost the government around $638 million in 2012/13 — 3/4 of the annual cost of a 1 percentage point reduction (estimated at $850 million). In 2013/14 the government would have given up $850 million. And this isn’t even considering that in July 2014, the tax was going to be reduced to 10%, giving up a total of $1.7 billion in revenues every year. At that rate, the government’s actually going to be collecting more revenue with the PST/GST than otherwise.

Some of these extra costs would have been offset by the increase in the corporate income tax to 12% (from the current 10%) in January 2012 and by postponing the small business tax cut slated for April 2012. These would have generated an additional $100 mil  in 2011/12 (1/4 of the annual revenue gain, estimated at $400 mil) and just over $400 million each in 2012/13 and 2013/14.

Thus, the real comparison of the costs of repealing the HST looks more like this:

My analysis shows that the provincial treasury would have faced a shortfall of $800 million even if the HST had survived the referendum. The real net costs of reverting to PST/GST are $1.5 billion, not $2.3 billion.

Of course, using the bigger number is more effective if one were looking to lay the blame for provincial fiscal challenges onto the referendum results.

Now, let’s turn to the total provincial fiscal position. Many analysts/commentators seem to have forgotten that the fiscal plan features unusually large contingencies and forecast allowances over the next 3 years. These total $2.5 billion over the 3 years and thus entirely cover the costs of the HST reversal.

If the HST defeat is not an unexpected event worth dipping into the contingency funds for, I don’t know what is.

As for the forecast allowance, the government has already built a lot of prudence into the budget projections by using economic growth forecasts that are considerably lower than the private sector consensus forecast (2% vs 2.8% growth for 2011 and 2.3% vs 2.8% growth in 2012).

In other words, the BC government has a real fiscal gap of only about $300 million over 3 years relative to Budget 2011, not $2.8 billion. This is a lot more manageable and hardly requires the kind of tight-fisted approach advocated by Minister Falcon.

Some of the media commentary around the fiscal update, such as Vaughn Palmer’s piece in the Sun are suggesting that the BC government is using the current fiscal challenges as an opportunity to punish British Columbians for exercising their rights in the HST referendum. This would be a great mistake. Not only would it go against our country’s respect for democracy, but it would also put a drag on the already fragile recovery (latest job numbers released today show BC is shedding jobs, full-time jobs in particular).

A message from Christy Clark to her supporters: ” I have a Great Job Plan, Dix is evil, please give me money!”

Ok, ok, so I paraphrase, but this is essentially what Christy Clark told her supporters via an email update this evening, here for your reading pleasure after making its way to me from a former supporter. Please ensure you do not take a drink as you read this, or you risk spitting all over your computer.

Update on Election Timing and Defending & Creating Jobs for BC Families

Dear Supporter,

Tonight, I announced that we will not be having an election this fall and I wanted to take a second to share this news with you, as well as the thinking behind it.

Since becoming Premier five months ago, I have devoted my time to listening to British Columbians and they have been loud and clear — we need to keep our eye on the ball with the provincial economy, especially in these globally uncertain times. 

This is what we are working on with a jobs plan that focuses on expanding markets for our BC products, especially in Asia, making sure we have the infrastructure to get the products to market and ensuring that government is enabling private sector job creation, instead of standing in the way.  

The foundations underpinning our plan will be twofold — sticking with our fiscally responsible approach and making sure young people have the skills they need to succeed and prosper.

This plan will focus on defending the jobs we already have and creating new ones. Focusing on jobs is the most important thing we can do for BC families and we are going to be absolutely relentless. 

Adrian Dix will be relentless too — relentless in his negative attacks and, if he were to win the next election, relentless in driving up government spending, raising your taxes and helping his public sector union bosses at your expense.

We can’t let that happen. Despite the fact there won’t be an election this fall, we need to continue to raise money, organize and get our message out. It would be great if you could make a secure online donation today; sending $25, $50 or $100 today by clicking here will make a huge difference in ensuring that BC continues to have a free enterprise government in British Columbia.

Finally, I want to thank you for your input regarding election timing and for your continued support. 



P.S.  We really can’t let up in our efforts to renew our party. Please consider making a secure online donation today.

Authorized By Jim Pipe, Financial Agent BC Liberal Party.



Incongruity of HST fallout and “repercussions” signal new low for BC Liberals and media messengers alike.

Yes, I am still on vacation- some lovely photos on the way – but two things happened in the last 24 hours that made the bile rise in my throat, and I can no longer contain myself.

First bile raising incident: I had a brief discussion yesterday with someone who mentioned this whole HST thing was a big mistake because all that revenue could have gone to schools and now that the government has to pay it back we are going to have less money for those things than ever. I might add this statement came from a highly educated and smart person whom I respect highly, but I suspect like many people, has not taken the time to really look at the numbers or facts that fail to support this statement.

Second bile raising moment: Reading the CKNW ticker this morning heralding increased costs on goods and items shipped by trucks because of the 13% hit to trucking companies bottom line with the demise of the HST.

From the NW website: BC Trucking Association President Louis Yako says losing the input tax credits the HST provided will translate to a 13% hit to trucking companies bottom line.

 Yako says paying for the cost hikes will have to come from where it always comes from when it gets passed down to trucking customers and eventually to BC consumers.

 She adds when the costs trickle down it will be BC consumers who end up paying higher prices for goods requiring shipment via truck.

 Yako says trucking companies by design are very tightly run effecient outfits in order to be competitive and don’t absorb added costs easily.

 She says the trucking industry and other business sectors would like to work with the government on PST improvements to help soften the blow

Wow. Where to begin with all this misinformation and incorrect perceptions, that are ably being assisted by many in the media?

Let’s start with the truckers association predicting doom, gloom and higher prices passed onto the consumer as a result of losing the HST tax credits.   This story is one of the worst I have seen so far and the reporter on this did himself a huge discredit by not asking a couple of key questions of Ms. Yako.

First, the trucking companies were absolutely saving substantially with the increased tax credits under the HST, as were a lot of businesses. Great for them, but did those savings get passed onto the consumer ? Absolutely not, those savings were pocketed by the trucking companies and other businesses, which increased their bottom lines, or perhaps offset higher costs elsewhere. Either way, there was no trickle down consumer benefit, so why now that we are returning to the old PST/GST system truckers have been using forever, does the consumer need to be penalized ? Poppycock. There are a couple truckers in my family and I know a lot more, many of whom are readers. If the Louis Yako can provide me one example where the savings to truckers under the HST were passed onto the consumer, I will gladly support the price increase back. But she won’t be able to, and we all know it. It’s more fear-mongering.

As for all the HST revenue and the money we must now pay back that is going to take sooooo much out of our budget- or not, depending on who in the Liberals is speaking- that too is a massive pile of manure of the freshest quality.

This government spent a very long time, and a lot of taxpayers dollars, trying to convince us this tax was revenue neutral, which is a lie. It is a cash cow, and will continue to be a cash cow not only our province, but also the federal government for the 18 months required termination notice that must be given in writing to the federal government, as per the CITCA agreement.

Herein lies the catch. The agreement signed between the feds and the finance minster only allows for an 18 months notice of termination AFTER the 5 year anniversary date of the implementation date …or  18 months immediately upon a material breach of this agreement, which has obviously occurred with this referendum.

Either way, the province is required to pay back the transition money. Now, if I were in our befuddled premiers shoes,( have you watched her performance in these CBC videos?)  I would go right to Harper, hand him the official written notice and lay it on the line that he would do well to forgive the debt owed by the province in consideration of the extensive revenues the feds have already received, and will continue to received until the PST/GST is reinstated. After all, Harper was as much behind this deception as the Liberals were and that should never be forgotten.

Time to get back to how the loss of the HST revenue and the debt to the feds would have gone to education etc etc….

Give me a break. This government has been ignoring the crisis in Surrey schools now for years. In my neighbourhood alone, several hundred new homes were built over the spring and summer, just in time for new families to move into a school catchment with a school that is grossly overloaded at only a few years old. A 4 classroom addition had to be built to accommodate last years extra students- on top of the portables already brought in the year earlier-  with no accounting for these several hundred new homes built since that time, and the first day of school  next week at one particular school will again, be a joke, with students bearing the brunt.

Why is that?

Because the BC liberals have refused to fork over desperately needed funds to accommodate the only rapidly growing school district in the province, for years. Years ! Surrey has not seen an increase in capital funding since 2005, so this is clearly not an HST revenue issue, this is a government priority issue.

 And although Falcon promised more money would be coming back in June, now he isn’t returning phone calls. I guess it takes a certain kind of person to lie to kids, doesn’t it? 

wfalconandstudents.jpg  Image from

But hey, who am I to judge the priorities of the premier who loves watching MANSWERS in order to find out how big boobs have to be to actually crush a beer can?

After the years of Campbell and crew rampant tax cuts that looked good to voters but gutted the provinces revenues, I think fellow blogger RossK came up with the best solution of all in my comments section.

”  Lisa P.’s comment, way above, is the reason I am willing to pay more income tax, tomorrow.


Because while I cannot afford a $55,000 luxury car, I can afford to pay a little more so those who don’t have as much (as I also once did not) can make a go of it.

Thanks Laila, et al. for looking out for the folks like Lisa that really and truly do need those PST exemptions. “

I agree. Low income families, singles and seniors pay very little personal income taxes, if any. But there are many, many people in BC who can afford to pay a little more and did pay a lot more before Campbell came in and decimated the provincial tax revenue base with repeated and excessive cuts  designed to create a contrived financial crisis. ( this link is a must read for those still believing the Campbell years were so golden) Raising personal income taxes for higher income earners and raising corporate taxes is a very real, and very feasible solution and simply reverses those cuts made in the Campbell era. And that solution does not hurt those who can’t afford to pay anymore.

The lies, the threats and the misinformation coming from this clearly not families first government must end, and the media must do their job by asking the hard questions of people like Louis Yako who tells us truckers must pass on the costs of losing the HST to consumers – even though the savings never were.

They must question why there is money for trips to China and travelling photo opportunities all over the province, and no money for new schools to ensure our children are learning well, in safe environments without crushing populations.

And you must all start by helping to educate those around us who may not know the truth behind this governments media assisted facade. I would suggest a start with a pointed commentary written by fellow blogger and retired journalist, Harvey Oberfeld. And be sure to click on his home page for his latest post, then follow that with a jaunt over to RossK for his take on the ” collective punishment” being meted out as well.

{ A heartfelt thank you to my faithful readers today, old and new, as we celebrate a remarkable milestone with this post, which is the 1000th post published on . May we carry on for another thousand! }

Surely this must be a violation of the Elections Act…

Forwarded Message —–
From: Kevin Falcon <>
Sent: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 7:37:04 PM
Subject: Down to the wire


Down to the wire

Dear Friends:As we enter the final days before voting ends on the HST referendum I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on the status of our effort on the ‘NO’ side to keep the HST. Our efforts to engage with British Columbians and get their input into how to improve the HST are paying dividends. Since announcing the reduction of the HST to 10 per cent and ensure families come out ahead, we have closed the margins significantly and we are within reach of a slim victory. In fact, some polling suggests we are in a statistical tie when you factor in the margin of error. With a race as close as this has become, I am asking that each and every one of you commit to a final push in your riding to try and identify every last possible vote and move us across the goal posts to deliver a victory for British Columbians.It’s undeniable that implementing the HST has caused us some political pain but the fact remains we can, and will, get past this difficult issue and get back to what we should be focused on – building support for the only truly free enterprise party in BC and providing British Columbians with strong, effective governance and leadership. 

With a victory within our grasp, I am asking all of you to spend as much time as possible focused on getting the vote out in your community to ensure British Columbians are returning their ballots and marking them with a ‘NO’ to higher taxes and a 12 per cent PST plus GST.

Ballot packages must be received by Elections BC, a Service BC Centre, or an Elections BC Collection Centre before 4:30 pm, Friday, August 5, 2011.

British Columbians need this victory for a strong economic future. We are close and I’m convinced a final push by us all will be enough to secure the win and help get the province back on track.

Regards and good luck,

Hon. Kevin Falcon
Minister of Finance

Authorized By Jim Pipe, Financial Agent BC Liberal Party.

AND the new photo showing the front of Mayor Dianne Watts car after her 2010 accident  in which many media reported she was hit by the other car…)

For those of you who don’t read the Globe and Mail… you should.

And here are a  just a few reasons why- you won’t read any of this in the Sun or Province. Just like you won’t read about Dianne Watts lawsuit there either.

( and here is a beta form of those contracts for very easy reference, courtesy of NVG) 

Wow… National Public relations… who did a lot of work for the old premiers office… helping the ” independent advisory panel”  with advice and reviewing the draft report. So how independent was that panel when a

By none other than Sean Holman, of Public Eye Online ( which is on my sidebar). Thank you Sean!

 Now… scroll down for news on the Dianne Watts lawsuit, the HST agreement  that allows the Liberals to raise that tax as easily as they can lower it, and other stories… and how about we start adding some new reasons to the 1oo reasons the BC liberals should go – factual links to things that have happened since Christy Cluck Clark took over the reigns without being elected.




“Christy Clark demonstrating how she wishes she could get rid of reporters who ask hard questions.”

Letter from a new reader

 ” Message: Hi: I listened to you on John McComb’s program yesterday….after studying all the reports on the HST, we determined that if all the economists suggested it was good for the province, we should put our personal feelings against Christy Clark and the Liberals aside.

 We voted to keep the HST.

 After listening to you, we have had second thoughts and our old seething feelings of anger have risen once again.
> I wrote to elections BC this morning to ask how we can change our vote since we already mailed in the ballots. I also have written to Christy Clark to protest about the “retreat” she and her party members (along with some family members) took to Harrison last week. I got a generic response on the party line and was irritated to receive such a vague response. I have since written to request a complete breakdown of the expenses of this unnecessary expense to the taxpayers. What did it cost us to change from Gordon Campbell to Christy Clark – the hiring of her new staff and firing of his staff and their pensions, etc? And, translink now need to tax us more for the Evergreen Line – why don’t we get the money back from Basi and Virk? Thanks….maybe you could look into the excess “feeding from the public trough”. For many years I worked at a facility where politicians rented our meeting rooms and held their meetings….complete with breakfast, lunch, snacks…why do we have to
> pay to feed them? Most working people in BC have to pay for their own lunch!

I asked if I could publish this letter, since it speaks to so much of the frustration people feel about our new premier and the old players from Campbells era, and she replied with a Yes, and the following response:

 I read just today that Translink issued $5,000.00 worth of free transit passes to the ministers during the Minister’s Confernce last week…I have mixed feelings about that.  Wouldn’t it be nice if Translink issued free bus passes to all seniors in BC?  We just spent three weeks in Scotland and there seniors, from age 60, receive a free life-time pass.  A lovely way to thank and reward our seniors who hav paid into the tax system for so many years. 

Thank you.  I will continue to watch your fine work.
( name withheld upon request)  
ps: I have had no response from elections Canada or Christy Clark’s office.

Kevin Falcon admits with HST, not everyone is coming out on top

ON CBC tonight:

What gives? Falcon openly admits HST hurts some, not everyone is coming out on top but tells business owners ” we should overlook that for the overall benefits”

Sniff.. sniff… what’s that I smell?  Victory? In the offing…

Take note Falcon, Jagger, Winters and Clark. You can’t control democracy.

10% instead of 12% HST is goooood…. right? Not So Fast!!! Reality check from a reader.

Via email:

The Liberals are SPINNING!

With 2 or more kids it’s not hard to spend $1000 for back to school.
This summer when you shop for school supplies, computer items, clothes & shoes* ( based on purchases for kids under 16, in adult sizes, which are taxed ) consider what you used to pay in tax, what you currently pay in tax, and what you MIGHT get to pay in tax in 3 years.
Old System:  PST (7%) and GST (5%) 
Spend $1000 PAY 
$50.00 GST, no PST ( yay!- parents used to be able to sign a declaration adult sized clothing was for child under 16, right at the till)  

Current System 12% HST
Spend $1000 pay 
$120.00 HST 

Future System 10% HST (if they can be believed)
Spend $1000 pay 
$100.00 HST

 I think a good deal would be to go back to that $50  tax/$1000 spending in taxes I used to pay rather than hope they follow through with the reduction that would allow me to only pay twice as much  tax, at $100 HST/$1000 of spending.

 I am getting tired of hearing everyone tell me that reducing the HST by 2% means we will pay less.

 Just because it’s less than what we are paying now doesn’t mean it’s less than we were paying 2 years ago for many items we purchased!

Granted those items that were previously subject to both PST and HST will be lower IF they reduce in 3 years, But we first must believe they will AND then we must wait until 2014. 

 A one-time payment for some people with kids and low income seniors isn’t enough to pay back what I will spend.

Seems Cristy Clark and the Liberals AREN’T putting Families first after all!

BUT no worries, one of those places that has less tax now than before is some thrift stores —- we can all shop there!

* the tax amount scenario above applies to all items that used to be PST exempt under the old system that are now subject to HST such as:

Lease of Alternative Fuel Vehicle and Fuel Efficient Vehicle
Purchase of an Alternative Fuel Vehicle  and Fuel Efficient Vehicle
Motor Vehicle Parking
Admission to Professional Sporting Events (e.g., Hockey, Football and Soccer Games)
Movie Tickets
Golf Memberships
Driving Range Fees
Gym and Athletic Memberships
Ballet, Karate, Trampoline, Hockey, Soccer Lessons etc.
Tickets for Live Theatre
Admission to Museums and Art Galleries
Music Concerts
Ski Lift Passes
Camping Sites
Domestic Air, Rail and Bus Travel Originating in British Columbia
Snack Foods (e.g., Chips and Pop)
Restaurant Meals
Massage Therapy Services
Over-the-Counter Medications
Certain School Supplies
EnergyStar Windows
Thermal Insulation, Weather Stripping and Caulking
First Aid Kits
Smoke Detectors Valued Less Than $250 for Residential Use
Food Producing Plants and Trees (e.g., Tomato Plants, Plum Tree)
Household Moving Services
Safety Helmets for Sports (e.g., Hockey Helmets, Snowboard Helmets, Bike Helmets)
Adult Sized Ski Gloves for Children
Adult Sized Ski Boots for Children
Children’s Sized Ski Boots
Adult Sized Clothing for Children
Shoe Repair
Tailoring Services
Used Adult Clothing Purchased for Less Than $100
Domestic Air, Rail, and Bus Travel Originating in B.C.
Camping Sites
Basic Cable Television
Local Residential Phone
Repair to Certain Household Appliances (e.g., Stoves, Ovens, Refrigerators, Washers, and Dryers)
Repair, Maintenance or Renovation Services for Real Property (e.g., Plumbing Electrical Wiring)
Landscaping, Lawn-Care, Private Snow Removal and House Cleaning
Computer Software Repair Services (e.g., virus removal or software installation)
Funeral Services
Fitness Trainer
Hair Stylist/Barber
Esthetician Services (e.g., Manicures, Pedicures, Facials)
Accounting Services
Interior Design Services
Wedding Planning Services
Veterinarian Services
Dry Cleaning
Catering and Event Planning Services (e.g., planning, consulting, coordinating and organizing)
– ONLY those items that had both PST and HST before will see a reduction of 2%, but not until 2014 AND only if the Liberals stay true to their word.

VOTE YES to eliminate the HST  to go back to the old PST/GST System. 

(Funny that you have to vote YES when you really mean “NO – I don’t want to keep the tax!!!” )
If you decide to vote NO and keep the HST make sure you understand what it’s all about and aren’t just buying into SPIN!
Forward this to everyone in your mailbox from BC so they can make an informed choice — I did :)
** In case you are one of the few not following the comments on these two posts, check it out as Smart Tax Alliance co-chair Mike Jagger( whose company did work for Gordon Campbell)  and other Pro HST  individuals try to tell us over and over why the HST is good for business, and therefore everyone in BC… and check out the letter the Chamber of Commerce is suggesting for its members… to give information on the HST to their employees.