The ‘real’ thing about the Port Mann Bridge.

“The thing about the Port Mann Bridge is people start using it–and they love it, because it saves so much of their time that they would otherwise be driving and they can spend with their family for example or get out and coach soccer. So they have some really good strategies I think to try and improve those numbers, but after speaking with them I’m confident they’re gonna find a way to manage through this.”

The Transportation Investment Corporation which operates the bridge for government has had to borrow money to fill the gap in revenue left by the shortfall.

The number of vehicles crossing the Port Mann declined every single month last year except for December, which saw a 3% increase. ~


Here’s the real thing about the Port Mann Bridge, Premier Clark.

It’s true that people love saving time on their commute so they can spend more time with their family, or get out with their friends….or get to their second,and sometimes third job.

You see Premier Clark, because the Vancouver area is too expensive for many average families and young couples starting out, Surrey,Langley and the Fraser Valley have provided somewhat affordable housing for all of us. We also have a very large population of  lower-income earners and pensioners, both groups of people who are often barely making ends meet.

Those who used the old crossing were excited to hear an end to the gridlock down Highway 1 was in sight, but in the years since the bridge began construction, a lot more has changed in this province than just premiers.

Life’s become more expensive for just about everyone from college kids to seniors. 

The federal government is taking more money off paycheques in the form of higher EI and CPP deductions. ICBC is going up, BC hydro rates are going up, MSP premiums have gone up again.

Tuition rates have risen,hitting college students and parents in the pocket-book hard.

BC ferries has gone up over the years, for those who can still afford a vacation. Even with the fuel surcharge gone for now, it’s a budget breaking trip for many.

Food prices have skyrocketed, something we have discussed at length here on this blog. When people are worried about the soon to expire discount disappearing you know things are worse than it seems at first glance.

In Surrey, property taxes were just hiked and that didn’t just impact property owners, but renters as well as landlords happily passed part of that burden on to tenants.

Even the ability to go camping-historically a low-cost alternative vacation for families that was affordable with a tent tossed in the back and some gear – is increasingly out of reach as your government announced today a fee increase for usage.

It all adds up Premier Clark. And when it does, there isn’t much left over- certainly not enough in many cases to cover a months worth of tolls if you use the bridge twice a day, five days a week to get to and from work or school. It actually does make a very big difference to many people’s budgets.

So here’s the thing about the Port Mann bridge Premier Clark, that gets to the heart of the matter.

It could have turned out like a Field of Dreams, where if you build it, they will come.

But after being nickeled and dimed at every opportunity, drivers are sending a very clear message to your government about the Port Mann Bridge. The question is, are you listening?








*please note it states ‘going to’ – not ‘gonna’.

Vaughn Palmer: On mega-projects, not much balance in B.C. Liberal claims of ‘on budget’

I was happy to see Vaughn Palmers column today, because his readership far exceeds mine and this story really needs to be read by all British Columbians. He also gives a tip of the hat to a December 21st blog post I did right before Christmas when the SFPR opened, to which I’ve already thanked him for.  It’s a good read, as he takes a look at how the BC Liberals claims of on budget often mean anything but.

Here is an excerpt:

“VICTORIA — When the provincial and federal governments cut the ribbon on the new $1.264-billion South Fraser Perimeter Road just before Christmas, the accompanying press release declared “SFPR opens on time and on budget.”

It was neither, according to earlier press releases from those same two governments.

Jan. 12, 2009. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and then-premier Gordon Campbell met at Fraser Surrey Docks to announce the official start of construction on a 40-kilometre, four-lane highway linking Deltaport and Tsawwassen with the Trans-Canada at the Port Mann Bridge.

The accompanying press release described it as “the $1-billion South Fraser Perimeter Road project.” In calling for bids to build the road, the provincial government had earlier announced: “Construction will begin in 2009 with completion in 2012.”

On that basis, it strikes me that it would be more accurate to say that the road was opened a year late and almost $300 million over-budget. But regular readers of this space will be familiar with the more flexible approach that the B.C. Liberals have taken toward the concept of being on time and on budget….”

Read the rest of Vaughn’s column, here:

And here is my blog post from Dec 21st – note the right before Christmas, under the radar grand opening. And Christy while Christy was no where in sight on this one, a host of other local and provincial politicians cashed in on the photo op…..


*Also coming soon:  the story of the intentional closure of New Jersey bridge lanes to create an intentional gridlock is one that’s very interesting to me, for several reasons… and the clue is right in this link…

I’ll have more on that once I pull out some information that was passed onto me by a trusted source last fall.

BC Liberals pat themselves on the back over SFPR ‘highway’ opening a year late and $464 million over budget

I’ll give the BC Liberals this: they sure know how to crank out a photo-op and they know how to spin a deuce into silk and make it look like they invented it.

Case in point, the grand opening the of much heralded… and criticized… South Fraser Perimeter Road -aka Highway 17 ( the old highway 17 is renamed 17A).

Spin, rinse, repeat.

Yes indeed all the politicians came out to glad hand and pat backs, including Rich Coleman, Peter Fassbender, Barinder Rasode, Todd Stone, Nina Grewal and Kerry-Lynne Findlay.

Remarkably enough, they even managed to tie this project that is over a year late in completion, to Christy Clarks biggest failure to date, the BC Jobs Plan:

“Completing the SFPR was a key goal in the province’s Pacific Gateway Transportation Strategy, which supports the ‘The BC Jobs Plan’ to expand markets for B.C. products and strengthen infrastructure to get goods to market, ensuring B.C is North America’s gateway for Asia-Pacific trade.

The SFPR will generate economic and business opportunities and lead to 7,000 long-term jobs in Delta and Surrey through improved industrial development opportunities along the corridor.”

But what is more ridiculous than claiming that the South Fraser Perimeter Road will lead to 7,000 jobs ( how the Liberals get these numbers no one really knows) , is this this little gem on the press release:


On-time and On-budget?

Some of you will have caught this… and will be laughing, scoffing or otherwise shaking your head in disbelief, but for those of you not privy to the joke, the punchline is “ SFPR opens on-time and on-budget.” This is a Liberal patented tag-line, and is a complete fabrication. They count on very few reporters knowing the full history of this project that was plagued with problems from day 1.

In July  of 2008 when the project was announced and the Requests for Qualifications went out,the press release with it stated construction would start in 2009 and completion was 2012.

In early 2009, the short list of consortiums were issued the Request for Proposals and again, the completion date was stated as 2012.

However, something went wrong between April 2009 and May 2o10, the date of the next press release that announced who the successful bidder was: not only had a major change had been made in the corporate makeup of the winning bidder, but the completion date had suddenly been delayed for an entire year, with no explanation given!

BC Liberal Claim number 1 -South Fraser Perimeter Road on time?  False.

Let’s talk budget now.

In 2006, the  construction budget in future dollars for the SFPR was estimated at approx.  $700 million dollars.

However, rising costs of land expropriations drove that cost far higher ( a very disgusting but routine story in itself when it comes to Ministry of Transportation projects, see my end links for how the MOT conducts its land deals…), and the Liberals announced that an additional ‘contingency’ was set for $300,000. ( what budget doesn’t include a contingency, I don’t know..but that’s how the Libs work)

In fact, in August of 2010, it was announced that the ministry had increased the budget by $37 million found in savings to other capital projects… never saying where those savings had come from:

*Total cost of construction upon announcement: $700-800 million dollars (  it depends on which press release you look at- it changes)

*Total cost being heralded by politicians today? $1.26 billion dollars. ( this figure also varies depending on past press reports)

*Total actual cost overruns according to my calculations ?  approx. $264 million – or around a 40-45% increase

BC Liberal Claim number 2- South Fraser Perimeter Road on Budget? False

What else the BC Liberals press release didn’t tell the public

Beyond the fallacy that this project was on time and on budget, the press release failed to mention a number of other items. The project was plagued by controversy from the beginning:

-Even losing bidders win, when it comes to the BC Government… who hands out million dollar stipends to losing bidders to compensate them for their time and expense. SFPR included.

-Despite the fact it was pushed as a nonstop freeway route where trucks did not have to stop and idle, and despite the massive cost overruns, the project was still downgraded significantly from a highway with no stops, to a highway with lighted intersections… intersections that would not only result in congestion on opening day ( hence the Saturday before Christmas opening), but intersections that will result in safety issues as well.

Now, not only will trucks to the port have to stop and idle, they will be mingling with cars and minvans since the province is now pushing this route as  not only the only free alternative to the tolled Port Mann bridge, but a fast way to the ferries. Unfortunately a lack of clear signage has already resulted in lost motorists, prior to the opening.

– Nor will the Liberals tell you about the Railgate connection to all of it…which is huge. It is not something that has been talked about other than a side story, but is very significant of itself.

– And they certainly left out about how absolutely vital the SFPR is to the shadow plan to industrialize and build homes on the ALR land south of the Fraser…which might explain all the smiley faces in the photo above. This is a must read.

No… the BC Liberals won’t tell you any of that in their feel good, lets all hold hands and sing Kumbaya together press opp. They don’t want you to know they are going to have to rebuild all those intersection a few years from now, and that they could have saved taxpayers a ton of money by doing it now. They don’t want you to know that the safety of the road was questioned before it was completed, as linked to above.

They just want you to drive on the damn road so they have enough road count numbers to justify the construction of the items they chose not to do as costs escalated. They just want to share the momentary joy of having completed one portion of the plan to remove much of the ALR south of the Fraser, to share the momentary joy of getting truck to the port before the expanded Panama Canal takes a portion of our shipping container traffic away.

Fiscal responsibility went out the window long ago. Don’t be surprised when the traffic jams start being reported on the news every day… this new road/aka highway was destined to be a dud before it even opened.

Merry Christmas Todd. I know it’s not the mess you created, but you certainly stepped into it.

The definition… of desperation.


 “John Doyle, the tough Auditor-general who has taken the B.C. Liberal government to task on everything from access to documents related to the Basi-Virk political corruption case to B.C. Hydro’s highly controversial use of deferral accounts, appears to have been denied in his bid for a second term.

On Saturday, a legislative committee charged with deciding if Doyle’s five-year term should be renewed, ran a series of newspaper advertisements seeking a new candidate for the job, a clear sign they have decided to find a new Auditor-general for B.C.

The committee gave applicants until January 25 to apply.

Members of the five-person bipartisan committee are bound to secrecy, but New Democratic Party caucus chair Shane Simpson pointed the finger directly at the B.C. Liberals.

“We’re very disappointed. We think it was petty and vindictive on the part of the Liberals,” he said in an interview, adding he strongly believes it was the committee’s Liberal members who were responsible for the decision.

Simpson said he cannot speak to the two NDP members of the committee — Bruce Ralston and Kathy Corrigan – about what happened, but said the two were “well aware” the NDP caucus strongly supported Doyle’s reappointment.

He added the advertisements are a clear sign the committee has rejected reappointment and has moved on to an external search.

“I don’t know specifically what they did but I expect they represented our caucus’ interests,” he said, adding it would have taken a unanimous vote for the committee to re-appoint Doyle.”

The top post of 2012 on “How money and corruption are ruining the land.” originally posted June 19th, 2012

Corruption in government has been on many readers minds this year, backed up by this story, first posted here back in June, which received a whopping number of unique views, catching the attention of readers and governments alike, around the world.

As a precursor to coming stories, I urge you to read this post, and the report, and think about the less sensational side of corruption, the side we don’t often see.

And think about, why most people in B.C. who were approached during the investigation leading to this report…. refused to even talk about it.

“Money and corruption are ruining the land…”

Posted on June 19, 2012by

“…crooked politicians betray the working man, pocketing the profits, treating us like sheep, and we’re tired of hearing promises that we know they’ll never keep.” ~ Ray Davies

Here on this site, I have revealed many breaking news stories of secret deals,evidence of corruption, collusion and a number of other shameful instances of how ‘money and corruption’ are ruining the land – our land here in British Columbia.

Sea to Sky Highway Shadow Tolls and the insidious relationship between the BC Liberals and long time, private partner Macquarie. The same partner that oddly, still managed to keep a position as advisor to the Port Mann project after a failed P3 bid, the terms of which remain secret to this day.

Canada Line construction and the ongoing, equally insidious relationship between SNC Lavalin and the BC Liberals.

Tercon vs British Columbia, a landmark case where the Ministry of Transportation and several high level government employees altered documents and hid details to purposely rig a bid and give a large contract to another ‘ preferred’ bidder.

You name it, there is not a P3 deal, nor a major transportation project that I have not examined,with confidential documents or hard sourced evidence, that does not give rise to an extensive list of questions about the governments ad hoc policies, and the lack of integrity in the bidding process. ( For newer readers, each can be read in detail, on the Best Of page up top)

Throughout these stories, there remained a dark undercurrent that repeats itself time and time again. In many stories, there are what I would consider clear indications of unethical and questionable behavior that lean towards collusion and influence of officials, both crimes in Canada under the competition bureau and of which I have previously written.

Yet we see no investigations.

Business continues as usual, from Gordon Campbell  onto yet an even more disastrous leader, Christy Clark, who has openly discussed her relationship with a powerful man who remained on the Board of Directors for SNC Lavelin – while the company has ongoing contracts and new bids outstanding.

Surprised? Shocked?… Why ?

This is how it works in British Columbia, not unlike how it works in Quebec. We just seem to have perfected the ability to fly under that radar.

This is the preferred way of doing business that most bureacrats with the provincial government, have no problem with…. and one that spans all ministries – none have been exempt from scandal or inference of preferred bidders.

People like myself rely on close sources and data-mining to acquire evidence and documentation of contract and project details kept hidden from the public, since most FOI requests result in pages of useless redacted information.

Earlier this year, CBC did a brief story online, on a study conducted by the ministry of Public Safety into corruption in the construction industry in B.C. and in Quebec. The only real details given to the press on this report,which was not released, were that very few wanted to talk about the issue of  construction corruption in B.C. , despite the fact that the construction industry overall, was at a medium to high risk of corruption in this province.

Imagine that.

So few of the people or organizations contacted wanted to talk about this issue of corruption in commercial construction – and by association of public sector projects, the government –  that it made it difficult to get a firm vision of what exactly is going on.

In fact, the report relied on many anonymous sources in some instances to get the information needed to make an assessment.In spite of this aura of reluctance and opposition to prying questions, the report did manage to uncover some revealing ways our public projects are at risk for corruption… and the way our government makes this possible.

The report in question was released informally to me by the federal government recently following an FOI request, and confirms much of what I have reported here in many stories over the last few years. I recommend a read of the entire report, for the insight it offers into the problems facing large public projects here in B.C.

Here are some highlights:

  • Investigators found that the most vulnerable aspect of the commercial construction process, including public projects, was the procurement process ( bid process) and project management. Sources indicated officials responsible for procurement were often uninformed about the cost of construction project costs and the lack of accountability and transparency in the bidding process across Canada was noted.
  • Investigators found many factors that contributed to an environment where bribery and fraud flourished and were nearly impossible to detect,including the large scale of public projects,the uniqueness and complexity of projects,the concealment of some items of work by others, the lack of transparency in the industry and the extent of government involvement.
  • Situations that facilitate the formation of construction cartels and bribery, included the size of the project. Some projects like dams, power plants and highways that are extremely large in nature and costly,making it easier to hide bribes and over inflated  claims. It was also noted these larger projects often have a limited number of bidders, and those bidders are often well known to public officials and other bidders, again facilitating bribes and cartels.
  • Lack of transparency – costs are often kept secret even when public money is being spent. Commercial confidentiality takes precedent over public interest, and publication of financial information and routine inspection of books and records which could uncover irregularities or prevent them, does not take place. ( in the case of the Sea to Sky highway project, companies participating in the project had to sign confidentiality agreements preventing them from talking about their involvement in the project in some cases, for up to 7 years, as you can read in the Sea to Sky shadow toll series on the Best Of page at the top of my site – Laila)
  • The extent of government involvement– There is significant government involvement in public projects. Even private sector projects require government approval at different levels. The power wielded by government officials in every stage of the construction process,when combined with the structural and financial complexity of these projects, makes it quite easy for unscrupulous government officials to extract large bribes from those undertaking the projects.
  • The impact of corruption in projects goes beyond bribes and fraud, to poor-quality construction and low funding for maintenance. Because much of the infrastructure is hidden behind concrete or brick, builders can cut costs, bribe inspectors to approve sub-standard construction leading to poor quality construction.

( In Quebec, years of this kind of construction on public infrastructure is creating a problem for the province, with crumbling bridges and overpasses that need extensive rehabilitation. Will we see the same thing happen here in British Columbia with some of our major transportation and infrastructure projects? Certainly many projects have already shown evidence of substandard quality, via the expansion joints on the William R Bennett bridge in Kelowna, and the ever collapsing retaining wall on Lougheed, part of the Port Mann project. – Laila)

  • Sources in British Columbia indicated that government officials responsible for the procurement process ( tender and bidding process) lack the required experience in relation to the commercial construction process.

Many who did have the experience retired or moved onto the private sector. Government officials often failed to follow their own procurement policies. ( I have explored this in detail on a previous post, where a source revealed to me that often, the officials in charge of a project will rely on employees of a bidding company for direction, via hiring them as a consultant in the process. Fairness reviewers deemed with examining the bid process for fairness, are often seen as being in a perceived conflict via work with the government on other projects- Laila)

It is simply not acceptable, nor is it in the publics interest, to allow often incompetent, and more often unethical business practices to continue within the B.C. government. It absolutely must stop.

In 2010, in following final ruling of the decade long Tercon vs. British Columbia court case, I said the following:

“.. What is needed is a full and independent inquiry into the actions of the government then, and now, to reveal the truth of what is going on in that portfolio. If the government intends to stand by its claim of administering an honest and open government with integrity, let it start with the Basi-Virk trial upon our doorstep, and end with the Tercon Judgement. The integrity of the entire bidding process, the future of local industry in our province, and what little faith we may have remaining in our elected officials, depends on it.”

That was 2010. As we know, the Basi-Virk trial was shut down faster than a bear trap snaps its victim, and while Vaughn Palmer picked up the Tercon story, the government denied and ignored any lingering questions.

Two years later, we find ourselves with a premier who campaigned on bringing open government to the people and then quickly revealed herself as being more secretive than Campbell ever was. A premier who mandates transparency and accountability to ensure tax dollars are being spent wisely to give British Columbians a better quality of life… but applies that mandate selectively, targeting her foes and protecting her friends.

I say now, that this report bolsters and supports my repeated calls for a full investigation  and public inquiry into the public procurement process within all ministries of the government of British Columbia, and the sooner the better.

To do anything other, is to condone corruption within government by our elected officials -a concept which should have never been tolerable in the first place.

Public Safety Construction Corruption Report PDF format ( I will be happy to email you a copy of this report upon request)

One picture is worth a thousand words, but several might tell a different story.

Methinks that Bill Tieleman might be bang on with his recent story  about the motivation and connections behind the warring factions in the BC Conservative Party. These photos are from a magazine advertisement in Metanoia Magazine, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Mountainview Group, the business of Allison Patton( and her husband Caleb Ng). Featured photos include Mike De Jong, former premier Gordon Campbell, finance minister Kevin Falcon, Stephen Harper and of course the BC Conservative executive.

How inconvenient to be caught lauding notorious shark fin eater Alice Wong.. but all certainly give additional food for thought. No pun intended.


In another issue of the same magazine published by Allison Patton, a most telling two page spread that really is worth a thousand words..

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.

A B.C. Government For The People…Not At The Expense Of The People.

Today I couldn’t help but wonder… at what point in a politician’s life does spewing hypocritical crap become so second nature that they fail to smell the aroma of the barnyard they’re sitting in?

It was a mere two weeks ago when the story broke of excessive and frivolous spending in government, not only by the premier, but by all ministries.

The premier justified her spending, saying it was a once in a career instance as host of several events, but failed to comment on the excessive and very questionable spending in other ministries, which included everything from Lululemon clothing to liquor and wine. Oyster dinners in the thousands? Cases of wine from vineyards? Yes! Simply the cost of doing business!

Despite substantial evidence to the contrary, the premier just released her second quarter infomercial this week in which she claims that her government has done a great job of ” keeping government spending down to keep taxes low for you.” I could barely keep the bile from rising in my throat! Seriously Ms. Clark? What planet are you on? Perhaps Mars with the rover mission, and suffering from oxygen deprivation? We all read the lists of items charged to government cards! What’s wrong with you?

Another example of hypocrisy in action came last week. Finance Minister Kevin Falcon was crowing foul over the excessive spending on managers and perks over at ICBC, claiming the rest of the B.C. government has cut back, and so must ICBC.


The only problem is that one, it isn’t true the government has cut back spending, as I have just shown you, and two, documents released Tuesday by Integrity BC show anything but fiscal restraint.

As the result of a Freedom of Information Act request by the non-partisan organization Integrity BC, it was revealed that former chief electoral officer Craig James, spent more than $40,000 in four months. Those expenses included a trip to Nairobi, which included his wife.

When confronted by reporters, James defended the expenses, including his wife’s ticket, stating that all spending was in line with the policy of the day.

What stinks even more than his excessive travel expenses, was that James himself approved this policy when he took over the position. His successor reverted it back to the previous, more appropriate protocal. Yes that’s right, James himself made it possible to take spouses on government business when it was not required to do so — a policy change completely at odds with the rest of government.

What could possibly lead these politicians to make such claims of fiscal austerity when the evidence is all over the news to indicate otherwise? They must either think we are all completely daff, dumb and blind, or simply not give a damn.

I’ve written much about the air of entitlement this government has come to display, an attitude which sets an example from the top of government for all the levels below. How can one expect any government executive or bureacrat to display restraint when those in charge demonstrate a proclivity for excess?

The truth is the average person is British Columbia just doesn’t even listen to any of this bizarre hypocrisy anymore. The average person in this province is still struggling to make ends meet, evidenced by the amount of debt we carry. Whether or not it’s the most basic of needs such as food and shelter, or meeting mortgage and car payments, most people in this province are far removed from the reality of luxurious “vacations” oops I mean, conferences in Nairobi.

Falcon announced Wednesday he won’t be running in the next election, not a surprising move for many like myself who have followed his actions in government for years. While he claimed loyalty to former premier Gordon Campbell and our currently, still un-elected Premier Christy Clark, we all know he could see the writing on the wall.

The Liberal ship is sinking and not running again is his only life raft capable of keeping a future political career afloat provincially or federally. With that decision, he effectively buttered his bread on both sides, in one stroke.

I think I speak for many when we say that we want a government of the people, for the people. Not a government for themselves, at the expense of the people. To accept anything less is to condone the bizarre hypocrisy of the B.C. government and make a mockery of what little democracy we have left.


BC government strangles Auditor Generals office while government credit card spending runs amok.

With the recent and ongoing revelations over messy accounting in the legislature, excessive and highly questionable purchases on government credit cards – and the ensuing public outrage – it shouldn’t surprise you to discover that despite being asked for a one time vital increase to the Auditors budget this year,  the government actually cut his offices funding back to last years.. and that’s not all.

A travesty in light of the still unelected premiers campaign for bringing an open and accountable government to B.C. How accountable can it be when they intentionally cut the purse-strings of the only man capable, and willing of ensuring her promise is kept?

Dermod Travis, executive director of IntegrityBC, has the shocking details in this timely editorial. ( originally posted July 25th, at )

B.C.’s Auditor General short changed by government

It’s time to give B.C.’s Auditor General the necessary financial resources and tools to do the job, according to figures released by IntegrityBC today which compared the budget of B.C.’s Auditor General with that of his counterpart in Alberta.

For the fiscal year 2012-13, B.C.’s Auditor General has an annual budget of $15.75 million, compared to Alberta’s Auditor General with a budget of $25.65 million.

Despite this $10 million difference, B.C.’s Auditor General oversees a comparable government operating budget of $43.1 billion in projected revenue for the current fiscal year and expenses of $43.9 billion; while Alberta’s Auditor General oversees projected revenue of $40.3 billion and spending of $41.1 billion.

In fact, in its February budget, the B.C. government cut the Auditor General’s previously approved appropriation for 2012-13 to its 2011-12 level of $15.75 million, even though the Auditor General had requested a “one-time” funding increase of $643,000 to train staff in new accounting and auditing standards, to address office space deficiencies and to enhance the office’s online Audit Learning Network.

IntegrityBC noted that major audits and projects currently underway in the Auditor General’s office have further eroded his budget. One such file is the Auditor General’s court fight with the B.C. government over documents related to the government’s settlement with Dave Basi and Bob Virk over $6 million in legal fees related to their B.C. Rail trial where both men ultimately pleaded guilty.

“No one is well-served – neither B.C. taxpayers nor MLAs – when the Auditor General is kept on a tight fiscal leash,” said IntegrityBC executive director Dermod Travis. “As Auditor General John Doyle noted in his 2011-12 annual report to the Legislature: “We are a public-sector entity and, therefore, the amount of work we can produce is constrained by the funding we receive.”

“As an independent officer of the Legislature, the B.C. government should heed the Auditor General’s advise regarding his office’s funding needs,” said Travis.

IntegrityBC made its call for increased funding for the Auditor General, in the wake of yesterday’s decision by the Speaker of the Legislature Bill Barisoff to not immediately release an audit of MLA expenses submitted by the Auditor General John Doyle.

IntegrityBC has posted the Auditor General Act for both B.C. and Alberta to its website in PDF formats.

IntegrityBC is a non-partisan voice championing accountability and integrity in BC politics. By empowering British Columbians, IntegrityBC hopes to changes politics in BC and allow citizens to regain trust in our government.

 Isn’t that just rich?

This government refuses to cooperate with the auditor generals office, refuses to allow him access to information about finances, spending, the Bas-Virk deal, make him have to go so far as to actually take them to court in his quest for information… and then cut him off at the financial knees while he’s spending his budget trying to get them to just be accountable. Unfathomable even today, as we hear Falcon crowing loudly to justify government expenditures…

A good friend recently mentioned we should get rid of Clark, get rid of Dix and turn B.C. into the Republic of Doyle.

I’m starting to think that’s not such a bad idea after all.