Tax cuts + ensuing loss of revenue = a deliberate financial crisis…and a reason to introduce the P3 method of building

I  have never seen more senators express discontent with their jobs. … I think the major cause is that, deep down in our hearts, we have been accomplices to doing something terrible and unforgivable to this wonderful country.

Deep down in our hearts, we know that we have bankrupted America(British Columbia-l.y.) and that we have given our children a legacy of bankruptcy. … We have defrauded our country to get ourselves elected. ~ John C. Danforth.

A powerful quote by yet another American politician, because I can’t seem to ever find anything as good that a Canadian politician has ever said. ( should we be concerned?)

To me, it merely takes a quick swap of the words British Columbia for America and MLA for senator, and you have a very good perception of where 10 years of Liberal policy have brought us.

In all of the examination of the P3 projects I have been investigating, I have yet to take the time to sit and determine how it was the conditions became ripe to introduce the contentious idea of inviting private partners into public projects.

British Columbia has long been a province of labour driven markets, union built and strongly possessive of that. P3’s are one of the top threats to unions, because the private partners building and financing them here are for the most part, foreign offshore companies that hold massive portions of their respective markets.

Peter Kiewit and Sons- American, Macquarie- Australian( although the appear to own a good portion of BC assets), Bilfinger-Berger- German, ACS infrastructure/Dragados-Spanish.

How did we get to a point in this province when the major builders of our largest public assets are under direct administration of non-Canadian corporate interests? Why are our tax dollars hard at work padding the pockets of these companies while our smaller Canadian contractors are relegated to the lowly sub-contractor status?

A bit of research put the pieces together in short order – pieces that indicate a calculated and dedicate strategy of privatization of nearly all of British Columbia’s infrastructure -now and in the future.

Let’s begin… and take a jaunt back to 2001,when Campbell first stepped into the captain’s chair:

In May 2001, the voters of  British Columbia, went to the polls and swept away a decade of social democratic public policies instituted by the New Democratic Party. The Liberals won virtually every seat in the provincial legislature (seventy-seven of seventy-nine), as well as a strong majority of the votes in every region of the province.

The new government, which emphasized its leadership capabilities, quickly settled down to a short-term agenda of increasing business confidence by implementing, among other reforms, an across-the-board twenty-five-per-cent cut in personal income tax (the provincial government’s single largest revenue source).

The resulting financial crisis was then used as a driver to not only cut government activity but to encourage a re-thinking of what the responsibilities of the provincial state should be and how the public sector should go about meeting these responsibilities. 

It was within the context of a majority government enjoying strong popular legitimacy and determined to make the province more business-friendly, a financial crisis, and a deeper drive to “re-invent government” that public-private partnerships (P3s) were introduced into British Columbia as an important option for executing large infrastructure projects.

Aha. Bingo. It makes one look at all the tax cuts to income tax Campbell has brought in, in an entirely new light. Sure, they  tell us that it give us more money to spend, in theory anyways, but certainly they also cut revenue from the governments bottom line.

Hence, the public began to see other ways to increase the government coffers, such as increase in user fees, msp premiums, university tuitions… But I digress, let’s go back to how the government forged ahead with its plan to thrust P3’s into play when building public projects, and how far they went to make sure they happened – no matter what.

The Government of British Columbia ran into substantial difficulty in developing P3s. This was at least in part due to failure in the early days of the initiative of moving beyond transactional leadership.

As a result of the government’s failure to provide transformational leadership on this issue, there was confusion as to whether the government’s interest in P3s was a product of a sincere desire to re-invent the role of the state along New Public Management lines or whether it was merely an attempt to deal with the fiscal crisis it had invented for itself.

This was problematic: saving money is not generally something P3s can do for government, other than over the very short-term.  

Yet, as we will see, for many it became the key reason to either engage in P3s or not to engage in them. Meanwhile, other critics began to question whether the government’s embrace of P3s had more to do with ideology than a sincere commitment to better public-sector management. 

In the second section of this article, I will look at two early flagship projects that ran into trouble: the Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre (Abbotsford Hospital), with an approximate public-sector cost of $1.6 billion, and the Richmond-Airport-Vancouver rapid transit, transportation system designed to allow passenger travel within or throughout an urban area, usually employing surface, elevated, or underground railway systems or some combination of these.  Line (RAV Line), with an approximate public-sector cost of $1.5 billion.

Difficulties were only overcome when the government undertook extraordinary efforts to intervene in the decision-making processes of local officials.

This author is right on the money – literally.

The P3 projects undertaken in our province will not, I repeat, will not, save the government or taxpayer any money.

In fact, it would be in publics best interest for the auditor general to call an immediate halt to the P3 method of building right now, and for him to undertake a meticulous audit of every single project that has been built-in this manner.

There is a far bigger story here than the shadow tolls, which are just part of the secrecy involved in not telling the public the whole story. The real issue is the total cost of the project, however paid.

And of course the fact that the cost of the project is not recorded entirely as part of the provincial debt as such, is lost on most of the public. Because the government doesn’t have to finance the job, the billions of dollars of P3 debt needn’t be carried on the books as debt – at least that is how the BC government sees it. They call this debt a contractual obligation and keep track of it separately.

There is no doubt that the government could have continued its efforts to introduce P3s without alteration. Holding all but two seats in the legislature, it could have easily bulldozed several into place, regardless of opposition.

However, such an effort would have undermined its efforts to re-invent government along the lines and patterns associated with the New Public Management.

If P3s were going to be accepted in British Columbia as more than an ideological project or a piece of financial sleight-of-hand, a different approach was required both for P3s and other forms of alternative service delivery, one that shifted leadership on the issue from a transactional to a transformative basis.

Much of this new approach was codified  in a collection of documents released roughly around the government’s first anniversary in office, the Capital Asset Management Framework, or CAMF .

At the same time, the government also created Partnerships BC.  This agency has several functions. It acts as a champion for the P3 model within government and as a consulting agency and adviser

Ah yes, Partnerships BC,that government created entity that is not only in charge of promoting and facilitating the growth of the Public-Private partnership in BC, they conveniently are the ones in charge of evaluating those same projects – using  faulty and many would call, highly deceptive accounting methods to ensure each project gets a passing grade on their Value for Cost reports.

These reports are ridiculous at best and would not pass muster in any legitimate business practice outside of the P3 industry because of the sleight of hand manner in which they are crafted.

Time to get back to the origins of P3’s in British Columbia. Clearly, there had to be a first, and Abbotsford Hospital was forced to be the first project on the books. Some might say forced is a strong word,but the facts support that description:

According to those interviewed, members of the Fraser Health Authority board–some of whom had substantial expertise in private-sector finance and real-estate development–found problems with the consultant’s report and the arguments made in favour of a DBFO P3.

One interviewee indicated that the FHA board instead preferred a design-build contract, with more traditional public financing and operation. In addition to their scepticism regarding the consultant’s work, members of the FHA board were also seriously concerned that the savings usually achieved through competitive bidding would not be realized.

 The FHA board felt that the facility being contemplated would be too small to generate returns on a scale sufficient to attract widespread interest among firms with expertise to execute such contracts, given the risks and costs involved in bidding. At this point, the provincial government ordered the board to accept the project as a P3 or face removal.

Either way, the province had lost confidence in the ability of the FHA board to lead the project and transferred some FHA staff members and responsibility for executing the project to Partnerships BC.

Subsequently, an operating company  was set up to manage the relationship with the successful proponent, which would be at arm’s length from both the FHA and the Provincial Health Services Authority.
Some insight into why the government made the decision to override the Fraser Health Authority can perhaps be gained in an interview given to a trade journal by then-finance minister Gary Collins regarding the Abbotsford Hospital.

He said that the project was not only important as an individual health facility but also for the future of the P3 model in British Columbia. Some projects had to be first, and the Abbotsford Hospital was seen as a good candidate. This was not only because of its attributes but also because of the strong support that voters in the area had shown for the government.

He told the reporter that this reduced the political risks involved, since there was little likelihood that voters would change allegiances if the project were to turn out badly. In other words, the new Abbotsford Hospital would be built as a P3 because it was feasible both economically and politically, not necessarily because it was the best way to build this particular hospital.

In the end, the fears expressed by the FHA board did come to pass when one of the two finalist consortiums declined to submit a bid, leaving Partnerships BC with an uncontested “best and final offer” stage of the proposal process.

Since 2001–when the present attempt to build a hospital in Abbotsford was set in motion–costs have increased substantially to the present $424 million up front, plus total lease payments of $1.2 billion over thirty years, excluding various adjustments.(2008 $$)

You may recall, there were issues to be worked out with the RAV line as well, in which the project was nearly stalled several times. It took a great deal of negotiation, debate and financial inducements to sweeten the deal -all of which I won’t rehash for the sake of space,but can be read by clicking on the link at the end of this post. Clearly, there are more than a few issues with P3 projects in this province, and I am not the first to harp about it by far, but I may perhaps end up being the one who won’t let it go. Read on:

The government’s inability to offer a clear answer to the question of why it decided to undertake each of these projects as a P3 helps to explain why these two projects (Abbotsford Hospital and RAV line ) became so controversial and were a symptom of its failure to demonstrate transformational leadership on the issue.

When it could not produce a coherent answer rooted in its desires to reform and improve public management, the quality of public projects and other such beneficial aims linked to values, the government fell back on the stock answer that employing the DBFO P3 model would save money. However, this is a difficult claim to justify.

As an example, the government found itself stumbling for answers when a report prepared by a prominent accounting firm questioned whether undertaking the Abbotsford Hospital as a P3 would produce any savings over the lifetime of the anticipated contract (the goal traditional procurements are meant to emphasize).

When confronted with the opinion of the accountants–who had to piece their evidence together using forensic techniques because of the government’s lack of disclosure–the province’s health minister admitted the case in favour of building the Abbotsford Hospital as a P3 was not fully established.

The situation provoked the following rebuke from Vaughn Palmer, British Columbia’s most widely read political columnist:

“The Liberals have articulated only the vaguest notions about public-private partnerships. And they have deliberately, systematically withheld key information about the Abbotsford P3…. Now we have the spectacle of one of B.C.’s most respected accounting firms being forced to rely on cloak-and-dagger methods to try to get some measure of the project…. The case for a P3 to build the hospital in Abbotsford is “not proven,” to quote the health minister. Until the case is proven, the Liberals should not be risking tax dollars on this adventure. “
( from Vaughn Palmer, no less! ~LY)

This shouldn’t be surprising, since it is very difficult to reduce costs simply by converting a proposed project into a P3. This is why proponents have to delve into attaching values to “risks” transferred to private parties in order to justify such projects on a cost-to-the-taxpayer basis. Such valuations are highly subjective and opaque.

They also hide at least one important fallacy: while it is theoretically possible to successfully transfer the risks related to a project to one private partner and allow the state to save money, it is probably impossible for the state to do so over the long term if it wishes to undertake more than one project.

This is because such transactions only save money if the private partners mis-calculate the costs of the risks they have assumed (in other words, the private partners accept a greater risk than they are being paid to take).

It stretches credulity to believe that the powerful pension funds and transnational financial institutions that finance P3s will not learn from such mistakes and re-price their services to both re-coup their losses and improve the profitability when subsequent projects are developed. At some point, enough cycles of the game are completed that the province will end up paying exactly the same amount as if it did not transfer risks, but it will be out of pocket for the higher tendering costs associated with a P3.

The theoretical difficulties involved in saving money through the use of risk-transferring P3s (especially in the hospital sector) are matched by the concrete evidence from the United Kingdom, noted above.

That the province’s motivation for using P3 models was at best, unclear, bred suspicion among stakeholders.

 There is always a risk that a government will use the P3 model to “Enronize” its books: in other words, turn capital costs (which count as debt) into lease payments (which don’t count as debt) in order to claim it is reducing deficits and debts when in fact it is not doing so. This possibility was raised by consultants hired by unions opposing the RAV Line P3 after they reviewed some important correspondence between the premier’s top public servant and the CEO.

Preventing this requires a great deal of vigilance on the part of accountants and other watchdogs, such as credit-rating agencies. The suspicion of unions and other civil society stakeholders was only compounded by the government’s use of the term P3 in association with transactions that were clearly privatizations.

These included the sale of BC Rail (through a ninety-nine-year renewable lease) and a similar scheme that would have involved the Coquihalla Highway in the interior of the province. This latter deal was scrapped due to near-unanimous protests from communities along the highway. Meanwhile, trade unions in British Columbia came to see P3s as a threat and something to be opposed on principle.

This suspicion was further strengthened by provincial legislation (now ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada that abrogated a number of clauses in union contracts so as to facilitate the contracting-out of support services, such as would occur through the construction of a P3 hospital.

Even some prominent investors were unclear as to why the provincial government wanted to embark on the construction of infrastructure using P3 models and proved hesitant to commit capital to the province.

This all came from a  2008 report written by Daniel Cohn  in which he clearly answers some of the many questions I, and others, have had.

The Liberals have since completed the Sea to Sky highway, the Golden Ears Bridge, and started the South Fraser Perimeter Road. The Port Mann, of course, tanked as a P3. From  research and investigation, and from what I can see of the few documents made public in these projects, the Liberal government has definitely “Enronized” the books in a manner befitting a full audit of all the p3 projects in the province, every single one of them.

Partnerships BC is in a clear and substantiated conflict of interest in its designated roles of promoting and furthering P3’s development in BC, as well as monitoring, advising and fairly evaluating those same projects. The so-called independent fairness advisors have previous relationships with the government, which calls into question how independent they really are. Campbell decreed every project over a certain amount must be considered as a P3 first and foremost.How much do you want to bet he ends up on the board of directors of perhaps one or more of the companies involved in these deals?

Like Enron, the Liberal government has used accounting loopholes, special purpose entities( Partnerships BC, Transportation Investment Corporation) and poor financial reporting to hide billions of dollars of debt as a result of these projects.  And also like Enron, at some point it’s all going to come crashing down around Kevin Falcon, Shirley Bond, and the rest of the Liberal team in the finance department.

I just hope Campbell is still around when it happens.

 

36 thoughts on “Tax cuts + ensuing loss of revenue = a deliberate financial crisis…and a reason to introduce the P3 method of building

  1. John's Aghast

    Holy Cow! That was a tough reading assignment. But somebody is finally telling it like it is. (Take my word for it, if you can’t be bothered reading it all.)
    I remember when the Abbotsford Hospital was being proposed, and when the number of proponents dwindled to ONE. I remember asking how you knew you had a competetive price when there was only one bidder. The answer was ‘that it met our estimate’. WTF do ‘they’ know about the cost of building a specialty unit such as that? I’ve been in this business long enough (50+yrs) to know that when there is only ONE bidder, your ‘cost’ increases appreciably. Triple P’s are a desparate way to hide the true costs of construction from the general public. How many of you can price the cost of the Port Mann project? I can, but I can’t tell if you (taxpayer) are getting value for your money, BECAUSE I, AND YOU, HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT IS COSTING! Sorry for yelling, but I’m totally convinced that this is the WRONG way to procure the infrastructure that we require.

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  2. John's Aghast

    Sorry if I started to spit at the end of my diatribe, but this is a very serious issue. British Columbia has any number of experienced contractors that are capable of performing most of this work, and the intelligence to source somebody that is for that which they aren’t.. Triple P’s have not only limited the growth of our domestic industry (read German Ferryboats) but the domestic industry was never given the chance to prove they were competetive! Its quite likely, but unprovable, that we could have built any, or all, of these projects ‘in house’. It would have been proved by an open tendering process which we used to enjoy.

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  3. "BillY"

    Yousef, on that you are very close, Closer inspection will tell on who`s behalf Campbell is doing it for

    John’s Aghast, no apology necessary to my mind I view upper case as the emphasis not available by other means

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  4. anonymous

    Smart girl.You’ve opened a very big can of worms for the men in that photo,a very very big can.As a corporate auditor,I support your statement that the government has Enron-ized their financial statements,and the auditor general’s professional reputation is at stake here as well if he does not swiftly act on this.Any good accountant would say the same thing.I am impressed at your grasp of these difficult matters,rarely seen in laypeople.

    Well done.

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  5. Walt

    Well crap on my pants! I kinda figured that first big tax cut didnt make much sense considering the timing,but I kinda figured the ass was just trying to make nice with the voters who just asked him to be premier.What a scam.

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  6. kootcoot

    An awesome piece Laila, when do you find time to, you know, SLEEP?

    Anyway anyone, interested in this tactic of right wingers of either creating crises or just taking advantage of natural disasters, who hasn’t read Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein should rectify the omission.

    Campbell didn’t invent this back door method of alienating the public common and serving the elite.
    I agree Billy that CAPS used for emphasis are not impolite at all – used 100% they lose any meaning and just look stupid. But, there is another way to get emphasis on most comment threads (since they are displayed in browsers and therefore parse HTML). If this is BOLD then bold tags work here and if the title of Naomi Klein’s book is italicized they work here as well – what tags work where depends on the blog/comment thread program being used by the site.

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  7. workforfun

    For anyone interested in contacting the auditor general to make a complaint, here is the website:

    http://www.bcauditor.com/

    They also have a section for emails as well as giving the actual office street address.

    Hope some of you take the time to write and say something – I have and hope you guys do too.

    Cheers

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  8. Leah

    The foreign issues surrounding P3’s should concern all of us far more than it does I think.

    Right now Canada is in the third round of negotiations with the Euro Union to create what some have termed a “super NAFTA” referred to as CETA. When you take the demands of the EU, and couple it with the TILMA that Campbell ever so quietly slipped into existence (on April Fools day no less)…you’ll see that the days of hiring our own people first, are over. And there is nothing we can do about it. Campbell won’t discuss this anvil he hung around our necks – and the NDP don’t have a clue what it is I don’t think! I know they sure wouldn’t discuss it before the last election.

    The CETA and TILMA alone should make it so easy for average Joe and Jane to see how closely Campbell and Harper have worked together since taking over the reins, to the benefit of huge corporations and foreign countries. The EU has had the VAT tax for years, any bets our HST was ordered by a foreign country to bring us in line with their economic platforms? Bill C-36 now before the Senate will have a direct bearing on how healthy we’ll be in future…has anyone heard anything about it? No…and the EU is working behind the scenes on that one too.

    How desperately Canadian citizens needed to have been paying attention…but chose not to…instead believing that our “elected representatives” have our best interests at heart, so let’s trust them to do their jobs – we are after all – Canadian. That’s our way. Really, it’s well past time that everyone in this country was jolted wide awake to the facts behind each of our politicians. They are owned – bought and paid for – which is why they’re treating us the same way.

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  9. Ron B.

    I heard from a colleague today Christy Clark is going to go for the leadership of the Liberals,so I emailed NW and told them they should start getting you to fill in her spot while she’sout : ) Hahaha!

    Oh,what I would give to have some alternative views other than Jon M in the afternoon.

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  10. "BillY"

    some day I may learn how to actually write as well as our host Sigh
    “A powerful quote by yet another American politician, because I can’t seem to ever find anything as good that a Canadian politician has ever said. To me, it merely takes a quick swap of the words British Columbia for America and you have a good indicator of where 10 years of Liberal policy have gotten us.”
    Thank you Laila You point finding powerful Canadian quotes is another of my pet bugaboos that I unfortunately must put up with for the same reason as yours.

    Thank you! Beyond my capabilities at the moment and perhaps beyond.

    http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=Anderson+%C3%89ccenture+&btnG=Google+Search#sclient=psy&hl=en&q=andersen+accenture+British+Columbia&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=&pbx=1&fp=148a3b4614c8487c

    Auk! And triple Auk!!! Words of frustration due to my being unable to put into the written word in a clear/concise manner the information swirling around in my mind
    I apologise for the mulligan-stew of presentation and pray that it may spark memories from the readership. And I haven’t had my morning triple shot cappuccino

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  11. Roger Cooper

    Good one Laila. P3s are scams from the get-go. They are expensive, debt-laden, corruption-inviting frauds that transfer public assets into greedy corporate balance sheets.

    Stories like this should wake up Canadians to the threat they pose to our country.

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  12. zweisystem

    Here is what is happening with the RAV/Canada Line P-3. From what I can gather, TransLink must pay the metro concessionaire a percentage of the fares paid on the RAV Line. When ridership exceeds about 100,000 to 110,000 passengers a day, TransLink breaks even and doesn’t have to subsidize the fare paid to the concessionaire.

    We do not know the threshold of the paid fare that is paid to the concessionaire; is it $1, or $2 or what ever.

    Here is the problem, over 80% of the riders on RAV take the bus first to the metro, thus the fare is apportioned between bus and metro, thus the fare paid to the metro is one half of the fare paid. Thus a standard 3 – zone fare is $5.00 and after being apportioned the bus gets $2.50 and the metro gets $2.50, or less if another bus is used with that fare paid. The problem comes with concession fares and U-pass, where the apportioned fare is much less.

    With the U-Pass, the dollar a day transit fare is heavily subsidized by the taxpayer – twice, once for issuing the U-Pass and twice every time it is used on RAV! Things get very expensive for the taxpayer, when the U-pass is used 4 or 6 times in one day, where the apportioned fare paid is literally pennies!

    The joker is the Sea Island YVR branch of RAV, where ridership is free. There are several massive employee parking lots on Sea Island where travel is free on the short branch. The people who park ate the satellite parking lots then travel free to the main terminal or elsewhere on the island. They are counted as boardings, yet no income is derived from these people and if over 5,000 people use the YVR branch a day to travel from parking lot to place of work, this translates into over 10,000 boardings! – More if the workers travel back to their cars for any reason!

    As there is no device to apportion fares on RAV, TransLink has no real way of knowing who are revenue customers or freebies. The result is yes RAV has almost 100,000 boardings a day, but this may translate into only about 30,000 or so actual customers and even worse, less than 25,000 revenue customers, of which 5,000 or so maybe using the highly subsidized U-Pass!

    What this very complicated story tells is that is paying a the concessionaire a massive subsidy, while the RAV/Canada line metro is generating far less revenue than TransLink and the BC Liberals would have us think.

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  13. cosmicsync

    Just an off topic response to Koot’s suggestion to use bold and italic tags for emphasis … It is considered better practice to use the “strong” tag instead of the “b”(old) tag for bolded text, and the “em” tag in place of “i”(talicize) for italic text, as some screen readers used by people with disabilities work better with the former than they do with the latter.

    As Koot said, though, not all tags are supported by blog software like WordPress. And since we also can’t preview posts here, I’ll do the same experiment Koot did: if this is bold and this is italicized, the strong and em tags work. If not … well, never mind.

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  14. Laila

    – Yousef, voters often forget is that prior to being premier, Campbell was a businessman, real estate, pure and simple. It was all about the money from day 1.

    He has campaigned repeatedly on changing the way government works, keeping BC strong, and now that I have really figured out how all this works, it sickens me to no end to think of how his strategy, and those of other Liberals, has counted on the blind acceptance and relatively unacknowledged voters.

    Imagine it. Personal income tax cuts sound wonderful to voters who hate paying anything more to the government than we have to. So, they never really question where the government is going to make up that revenue, because in actual fact, they must!

    Campbells first act was to do this 25% cut, based on the premise that the NDP had driven our province into the ground, which was not true based on actual facts, if you take the time to go back and look at the books for the last two years they were in power.

    He cuts the personal tax, and also lowers the corporate tax… we are all happy, none the wiser that in also cutting the corporate tax, he has set the scene for corporates to come to BC to do business. He then tells us, Hey, we have no money, the NDP ran us adrift, so the only way we can do the deal is through this P3 business model….. yes, that is it, we have no other way of doing it, no money in the coffers, and we can do this now, the NDP never did it the entire time they were in power…

    The rest is history. Using the contrived financial crisis that was concocted by these tax cuts, he set the stage for private enterprise to ride in on white horses and save BC. Read the above link at the end carefully.because it is very clear that the only way money could have been saved on the Abbotsford Hospital is if everything had been privatized, which was fought over and wasn’t going to happen.

    – John’s agahst, I try hard…lol.. you won’t be disappointed with what I have coming next. Be patient ,and good things take time to do it right. Each nail must be perfect before hammered into place. ( everyone needs to listen well to John, he knows well of what he speaks! )

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  15. May Mickelow

    I agree with John’s agahst, most people in this province probably couldn’t cost a large project like that, BUT there are some people who can, and there are some people who can learn to do so or know enough to know that they need to hire someone who can properly cost a project. When I was in business, I knew that I didn’t know, I hired people who did know and I paid them to do the first few and I made the time to learn from them, to do it for myself, and when I first started doing my own, I paid someone to oversee my work so that I didn’t make any mistakes. That is how people start out, they start small and learn as they go along. The bigger corporations in BC were not given the opportunity to partake in the process, the government didn’t want that to begin with, they were afraid that if some BCers were given that chance, they would have perhaps blown the whistle on them and we would have known about this before it was too late. Can we get out of these messes, I doubt it, there are some peculiar laws in Merchant Law that most people are not aware of. And given the fact that the Legal systems, including the courts in BC operate to protect the government intent to abuse and breach people’s legal rights and freedoms, , well…..I highly doubt that any attempt to bring these politicians to justice would succeed. Most of us do not have the wherewith all to take these matters to the Supreme Court of Canada which incidentally has made noise about how the Courts in BC are seen to be abusing the people of BC

    Keep up the good work, I may along with some of the people not fully be able to understand everything that you are printing, but I intend to continue to learn and pass the information along to others so that more people become aware of what is going on right under our noses.

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  16. zweisystem

    Rereading what I wrote, for the uninitiated, it is very confusing. Most of the information I have gathered have come from ‘secure’ sources who rather remain anonymous.

    Suffice to say, the RAV/ Canada line is the only metro in the world, as built, has less design capacity than a light rail line costing one third less!

    Susan Heyes, who has done more study on RAV finances than anyone else, has put the cost to date of the truncated metro at about $2.8 billion! The cost to increase capacity of the RAV Line to carry more than a light rail line, about $1.5 billion more.

    The sad fact about the RAV Line, that for all the hype, it is utterly useless for Richmond residents to use the line for travel within Richmond, unless they want to go to Casino Junction to gamble at the River Rock Casino and even then it would be faster and cheaper to drive. RAV will never be extended and will be a transit curiosity for decades to come.

    Another interesting item – the RAV Line and SkyTrain are incompatible to operate with each other and there can be never be through running on the two lines. This means TransLink must order two sets of cars for each system and any possibility of a seamless (no transfer journey) for those traveling on both lines an impossibility.

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  17. Laila

    Ok, back again. I hate leaving you all hang sometimes, but that’s the nature of how it is!

    – anonymous, thank you for your support, and I’m glad to hear I am on the right track. I’ve had some conversations with a few people I used to know when locating evidence for supreme court actions, and they are of the same mind as you and I. The debt is not on the books as ‘debt’,it’s even reported in the financial reports how they are accounting for it, so it isn’t hidden.The Auditor General has a report coming out on this sort of stuff, in December I am told. They call all of it ‘contractual obligations’. It’s only considered debt for the payments in any year that comes due. So this years payments are this years debt… but the rest is recorded as future contractual obligations

    – work for fun, thanks for posting that link, very thoughtful of you! Certainly I hope that the auditor general takes this seriously. I am quite concerned at the silence of the NDP, however. Perhaps some might consider contacting their MLA’s and asking what their position is on this current information? Do they support the notion of shadow tolls, and where is their action on all of this?

    – Ron B…well thank you for your vote of confidence, God help us all should Christy run. She’s another Campbell in a skirt, and she’s been known for casting those adoring eyes at him in hero worship

    And as for NW, I was told once that if they wanted another Rafe Mair on that station, they would have never gotten rid of him in the first place….

    Couldnt have said it better myself.

    – Zweisystem, thank you for all this fantastic information! The RAV line is yet another famous joke in the industry, for the reasons above, yet that side of it is never remembered. We only hear about the awards, the accolades, the supposed massive success of it… never the little inconvenient details of the finances etc, that make this project one that will likely hamper our future ability to make a good economy a reality.

    cosmicsync- thank you for that note, never off topic , and something I wouldnt have thought about! I appreciate that, and please, if there is anything I can do to make the site more accesible for people, please let me know and email me, ok?

    May, Your comments are always thought provoking and encouraging!

    It’s kind of funny that people think this is all about the NDP, or the Liberals, or any other party, when this issue of P3’s and the onerous practices of the Ministry of Transportation and it’s industry, is about poor policy, poor accountability and deceptive business practices. I intend to get this all out in the open, and I will not be dissuaded.

    I do try to make it as understandable as I can, and I know if you are not used to this terminology it is more than a bit dry, but I applaud you, and every other reader, for trying to understand why this is so damn important. One thing to keep in mind at all times. Most of the projects I have looked at so far are completed, and the need for confidentiality and secrecy surrounding the bid terms is no longer pertinent. So….. why, after all this time,am I forced into- as Vaughn Palmer referred to – cloak and dagger methods of finding the details of the agreement?

    Hmmm ? Contrary to what some would say,I don’t believe there is a conspiracy behind every door. However, I do believe with the Liberals, there is a hell of a lot of deception…..

    Like

  18. John's Aghast

    workforfun
    Interesting link, but in my humble opinion CUPE just wasted their money. I only spent an hour reading the report, but until someone can tell me on what basis the Public Sector Commparator was generated all the rest of the gobbledegook is meaningless. And as I mentioned elsewhere, the basic contract amount is almost insignificant compared to add-ons such as maintenance, shadow tolls and whatever other obfuscations add to the total price. The financing, whatever it amounts to, is assuredly more expensive to the private sector than to the government. And as someone sagely observed, the private sector is charged with making a profit – not so the government. Well, that’s debatable too.

    Like

    1. Laila

      Hallelulah. The NDP have spoken on P3’s. Sort of. You be the judge. From their website.

      http://www.bcndp.ca/newsroom/real-bc-liberal-record-accountability-access-information

      ” SECRETIVE P3 CONTRACTS
      The B.C. Liberal government has refused to answer the public’s questions about secretive public-private partnership agreements that end up costing taxpayers more in the long run, keeping secret the key details of these agreements which provide steep profits to many long-time Liberal donors. ”

      Well,technically speaking, they can now say that they spoke on the issue. I’m underwhelmed.

      Like

  19. Rick

    When you are working this hard to uncover and share the truth,in your spare time,and this is what the NDP come up with, what is their purpose right now as opposition?

    I say we run you for leader.The NDP should be banging down your door for help.

    Like

    1. Laila

      That is a big HA! Rick. I don’t think the NDP will be knocking on my door anytime soon. I just think that they need to be more vocal, calling press conferances on these issues, demanding specific answers of the government. Not to mention I used to be in receipt of all their emailed releases and notices, and since I have publically denounced any support for Moe Sihota and lack of faith in Carol James, I seem to have become persona non grata. They are going to have to work hard if they keep alienating independent media and are continually ignored by the MSM.

      I found this on the BC liberal site about P3’s, and specififcally the Abbotsford hospital project among others:

      “The Success of Public-Private Partnerships

      NDP CLAIM: The Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre, the William R. Bennett Bridge, and the Sea to Sky Highway all had cost “overruns.”

      WRONG: None of those projects experienced overruns. In fact, they were all not only completed on time and on budget, they produced either additional savings or additional benefits under these contracts. The prices wrongly cited by the NDP were actually restated accounting guidelines directed by the Auditor General requiring that both the capital costs and long-term operating expenses for P3s be presented. These are not additional capital costs, and Budget 2008 explicitly states that.

      Like

  20. "BillY"

    I will offer an opinion on Laila’s value.
    It is , to me placed exactly where it should be with respect to politics. Laila is of that almost mythical breed, the independent investigative reporter
    The woman is nothing short of amazing! My proof of that is found in here tolerating me LOL

    Like

    1. Laila

      You’ve got that right, Billy…lol.. at least the part about tolerating you!!! Just kidding. All are welcome here to speak and share. I’ve said it before and said it again, each of us is able to make our own minds with determination on what to read, what not to read, and what is truth or lie. Part of the fun is hearing from so many people, with so many different political, religious and economic backgrounds.

      Thank you for those very kind words,Billy.

      Like

  21. "BillY"

    to bethechangeyouwanttosee all of that and a lot more
    Rabbie Burns my birthday buddy and Welsh outo Scot Clan Campbell no less
    recalled this poem don’t ask why neurologists might say a short circuit in the synapse department

    Is there for honest Poverty
    That hings his head, an’ a’ that;
    The coward slave-we pass him by,
    We dare be poor for a’ that!
    For a’ that, an’ a’ that.
    Our toils obscure an’ a’ that,
    The rank is but the guinea’s stamp,
    The Man’s the gowd for a’ that.

    What though on hamely fare we dine,
    Wear hoddin grey, an’ a that;
    Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine;
    A Man’s a Man for a’ that:
    For a’ that, and a’ that,
    Their tinsel show, an’ a’ that;
    The honest man, tho’ e’er sae poor,
    Is king o’ men for a’ that.

    Ye see yon birkie, ca’d a lord,
    Wha struts, an’ stares, an’ a’ that;
    Tho’ hundreds worship at his word,
    He’s but a coof for a’ that:
    For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
    His ribband, star, an’ a’ that:
    The man o’ independent mind
    He looks an’ laughs at a’ that.

    A prince can mak a belted knight,
    A marquis, duke, an’ a’ that;
    But an honest man’s abon his might,
    Gude faith, he maunna fa’ that!
    For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
    Their dignities an’ a’ that;
    The pith o’ sense, an’ pride o’ worth,
    Are higher rank than a’ that.

    Then let us pray that come it may,
    (As come it will for a’ that,)
    That Sense and Worth, o’er a’ the earth,
    Shall bear the gree, an’ a’ that.
    For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
    It’s coming yet for a’ that,
    That Man to Man, the world o’er,
    Shall brothers be for a’ that.

    Like

  22. Agreed with Billy, better Laila remain an independent and reliable source, than one forced to comply with party policy.
    Great job Laila, much thanks for your hard work, and to all responders, great work in subsidizing and supporting the “real” side of the story with P3’s and our greedy “in it for themselves” LIEberals (and other politicians regardless of party affiliation).

    Like

    1. Laila

      Aw, thank you bud, for these kind words. There are a lot of people in BC who have spent time teaching me, listening patiently to my questions, informing me, and I have to thank all of them for being so patient. The ins and outs of the contracts and agreements are tough reading, thankfully my background prepped me well for that and it wasn’t a far reach to understand clearly what a horrific impact these arrangements have on our provincial bottom line.

      What still irks me to no end, is how these Liberals, Falcon in particular, are so smooth at fending off any questions on P3’s, and they get away with it, mainly because of the lack of understanding on how they work on the reporters part. Not that I can think of any reporter that has done the work on it, other than Mark Hume when he featured the shadow toll lies I caught the Ministry of Transportation in. I would love to have a series of talks on P3’s around the province, with people like Erik Anderson and a couple others joining me, so we could explain it to people face to face. Now that we have an Auditor General who is clearly and doggedly on top of these issues, we must take advantage of that and really inform the public. And that is an offer, if anyone wants to hear or host an evening about P3’s, I would work to set that up.

      Like

  23. Pingback: Legal Aid funds diverted by BC Government in excess of $100 million dollars. Legal? Yes. Moral or right? No. | No Strings Attached : Laila Yuile on politics and life in B.C.

  24. Pingback: There are some investments you can’t afford not to make…so why aren’t our governments doing so? | No Strings Attached : Laila Yuile on politics and life in B.C.

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