We have poor provincial leadership

Brian Peckford

09/30 - A press report on the CKNW website is revealing and shows the lack of leadership in both the two largest political parties in the Province of BC.

Note the new Premier now blames the former Liberal Government for his Government’s slowness in introducing new legislation. Hogwash! The Premier and his many Ministers and hundreds of bureaucrats have had lots of time to get his legislative agenda together. Plus all that time in Opposition getting ready . What, not up to the job, Mr. Horgan? Citing the problems at ICBC and Site C as reasons? Any resident of the Province knew months , if not years ago , that these two issues were problems!

As far as the disorganized Liberals are concerned , they did not even have anyone available for a comment. Here is the Press report:

‘The  B.C.’s premier believes the BC Liberals left the government with a lot of garbage to clean up, preventing the NDP-Green coalition from moving faster on its promises made during the election campaign.

John Horgan says he’d like to move more quickly on passing legislation but claims he was handed the keys to a messy house 

“Other issues that we had not anticipated; The ICBC debacle, the situation left to us by the BC Liberals in a whole number of areas was not anticipated. You take people at their word when they say the situation is ‘X’ and when you arrive and it’s ‘Y’ that’s an opportunity to reflect and make sure you make the right choices. And that’s what we’ve been doing.”

The NDP government has put several reviews in place including the BC Utilities Commission report on the Site C dam and a review of anti-money laundering policies in casinos.The BC Liberals have yet to respond to CKNW’s request for comment.’
With files from Emily Lazatin

More strange happenings at Nanaimo city hall

By Brian Peckford

0923 - We all know the City Council here in Nanaimo has had its problems. So I guess it doesn't come as any surprise that the mayor was unaware that the person who was the Communications Director for the City is no longer in that position. 

 
According to a Nanaimo News Bulletin report and I quote:

 'The announcement was a surprise to Mayor Bill McKay, who heard it through the rumour mill. He couldn’t speak on the issue of whether it was by mutual agreement, resignation or termination because he said he doesn’t have that information, but he does want to know ultimately what will be done for a replacement.'
 
I just looked up the Community Charter and found the following:
 
Responsibilities of mayor

116  (1) The mayor is the head and chief executive officer of the municipality.

(2) In addition to the mayor's responsibilities as a member of council, the mayor has the following responsibilities:

(a) to provide leadership to the council, including by recommending bylaws, resolutions and other measures that, in the mayor's opinion, may assist the peace, order and good government of the municipality;

(b) to communicate information to the council;

(c) to preside at council meetings when in attendance;

(d) to provide, on behalf of the council, general direction to municipal officers respecting implementation of municipal policies, programs and other directions of the council;

(e) to establish standing committees in accordance with section 141;

(f) to suspend municipal officers and employees in accordance with section 151;

(g) to reflect the will of council and to carry out other duties on behalf of the council;

(h) to carry out other duties assigned by or under this or any other Act.

Unless the Charter does not apply to the city, this is another of the many stange happening that seem to dominate the governance of this place.

CLICK HERE TO COMMENT news@nanaimonet.com

 

 

Utilities Commission's First Site C Report–Many Questions

By Brian Peckford

0921- On schedule the Commission delivered its first report to the Provincial Government and the Public. Many  questions remain that will have to be answered for the Commission's final report on November 1. 

 This study was ordered  by the new Government to inquire into the status of the Site C project and whether it should continue or be terminated. 
 
The Commission raises a host of questions:
 
1. The project seems to be on time but the timing of the critical river diversion for 2019 is being questioned .
 
2. The project seems on budget but there are questions about amount spent to date and the the high drawdown on the contingency fund .
 
3. There is variance between the costs from BC Hydro and the Deloitte study on suspending project now and restarting later .
 
4. Load forecasts vary from BC Hydro's projections and the Deloitte study and that of other submissions received .
 
5. The possible LNG needs are difficult to assess.
 
6. GDP and forecast drivers . There is a lot of differences of opinion on this from various experts from what BC Hydro has proposed. 
 
7. Much more data on biomass, geothermal, and wind projects is necessary in order to assess the viability of alternate forms of energy.
 
These are some of the issues addressed and the answers are important for an effective assessment of what to do next. 
 
The full report can be found at www.sitecinquiry.com
 
A public hearing will be held in Nanaimo on October 11. 

 

Budget Update–More Taxes, More Spending

By Brian Peckford

0912 - The curtain is lifted. The NDP  have revealed their true selves– the tax and spend party is alive and well – some would ask was their any doubt? At least that is what the latest budget update reveals. 

This amendment to the budget shows :

1. An increase of debt of $930million. That is almost one billion increase in the debt from what it was a few short months Ago. Yet you hear more talk of surplus than debt by local commentators. 

2. Taxes up on those earning more than $150,000 a year.

3. Taxes up on corporations. 

4. Increase in carbon tax 

And we know that higher electricity taxes are coming and higher auto insurance premiums. 

Rather than show restraint and do some cutting to pay for a 50-per-cent reduction in the medical services costs to individuals and families the Government just taxes some more to do it.

This is the start of an 'increase in the rate of increase in the debt.' – a further erosion of Government responsibility in managing  our financing.

I heard Premier John Horgan on radio yesterday mouth phrases like attracting private investment while in the budget he approved shows tax increases on the very  people and institutions that would be doing the investing. 

The ever-cautious BC Business Council showed a little concern by saying:
“These cumulative economic and cost impacts have been rising over the last three years and are added to in this budget through higher corporate and carbon taxes that, when added to higher electricity prices, the return of the PST, increased and more complex regulatory requirements and other trends, have added over $3 billion to the cost of doing business in BC,” stated Jock Finlayson, Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Offer of the Business Council. “This comes at a time when the province is already challenged to attract investment in the natural resource, manufacturing and other industry sectors.”

The 'Left ' Coast is alive and well. 

The NDP performance – so far

By Brian Peckford

0906 - Well, they are trying to stop the Trans Mountain Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion as promised. It remains to be seen whether this is for show or really serious. But the fact that the Government now has intervenor status at the Court hearing is important and we will see by their statements just how serious they are  in opposing  the project. This is obviously negative to investment in the Province

 Site C Utilities Commission Hearing . This was another election promise and it has been kept. This  could become very interesting since given the UBC Study showing that there is not a need for all that Site C power now, it is likely that a proposal can realistically be made to show that geo thermal power could replace Site C and be cheaper and cleaner. Wouldn't that be a revelation? Geo thermal is not a new electricity source. Many countries are generating electricity that way including the USA, Mexico, New Zealand to name a few.
 
Minimum wage. The decision to place this before a Board is positive. It breaks their election promise and some supporters may not like it but it is more realistic. Government laws like this show just how much government controls just about everything. Funny, isn't it that Switzerland, one of the most successful economies in the world, does not have a minimum wage law. 
 
The big thing with the NDP is that they are strong on spending and in the short term this is popular. In the longer term one has to look at the revenue side and see if sufficient revenue will be generated to cover the extra spending. Given that the Liberals increased the debt while in power it is difficult to see how the NDP will do different. Rather, the rate of debt increase is likely to be greater. 

B.C. ups the ante on the Kinder Morgan pipeline

By Brian Peckford

 The New BC Government today has showed its hand and delivered on its promise to use all means to stop the Kinder Morgan Pipeline expansion. Whether they are successful is another matter.

But make no mistake this is a negative for a smooth movement to construction of the pipeline.
 
First: The BC Government says Kinder Morgan has not met the conditions of its environmental certificate . Of eight reports necessary under the certificate , only three have been accepted by the Environmental Assessment Office. Hence , construction cannot proceed on public land( much of the pipeline right a way)  until the conditions of the certificate are met.
 
Second: The Government has hired Thomas G. Burger to be their primary legal advisor on this file. He is to advise on the two legal cases (one presently Provincial and the other Federal )  ongoing that oppose the Pipeline approvals provided to the Company. 
 
That is , the Provincial Government is to attempt to get involved in both cases. 
 
The Provincial Government agrees with the Squamish First Nation that appropriate consultation was not conducted by the company and perhaps the previous Provincial Government .
 
What will now be interesting to see is the reaction of the Federal Government and Kinder Morgan. 
 
The very immediate situation important to me is whether the Provincial Environmental Certificate conditions which the Province says have not been met are sufficient to stop the project. On first blush it seems that this might be sufficient grounds for project delay unless some joint environmental review approval can negate this . And this itself might take some further litigation. 

 

The Province ignores trouble at municipal level

By Brian Peckford

Some years ago when I was living in another municipality , I had occasion to review the Municipal Legislation across Canada. This was necessitated by what I saw as real problems with governance where I then resided. I had some knowledge of the matter  having been a Municipal Affairs Minister and serving as the Provinces' representative on a Tri Partite panel with Federal and Municipal representatives.  

My review involved looking at the Municipal Legislation in one of the Atlantic Provinces , Ontario, one Prairie Province and British Columbia. 
 
The conclusion I reached was that BC had devolved more power to municipalities than had the other Provinces  studied. 
 
Looking at the Province of BC's latest reaction to the problems at the Nanaimo City Council , that is , a hands off approach, I am not surprised given my earlier review. 
 
Almost any other Province with governance problems so evident as they are in the Nanaimo City Government would have caused The Province to become involved, at least to some degree. 
 
Not in BC. Too bad!

 

Christy Clark's legacy as premier is mixed at best

By Brian Peckford

0727 - Premier of British Columbia 2011 to 2017

British Columbia's former Premier, Christy Clark has announced that she will resign as leader of the Provincial Liberal Party and leave politics on August 4. 
 
Some have expressed surprise and shock at this announcement. But anyone watching this provincial scene for a few years knew that Christy was not cut out for Opposition benches. She lost the Government in the recent election and clung to power, unceremoniously, for way too long, demonstrating the nasty side of her personality. 
 
It was clear that her time was up. No doubt Liberal insiders made this known to her if in fact she refused to see it herself. 
 
While she was forceful and optimistic she often overplayed her hand. For example, her advancement of the LNG opportunity was naive and her administration fumbled the file badly to the point that of the great promise of prosperity for all, only one small project is under way and the highly touted Prince Rupert Petronas Project was just cancelled. Similarly, her anti-Canadian stance on oil pipelines from Alberta and anti-American rhetoric on the softwood lumber issue were counter productive.
 
One area in which I was an especially harsh critic was in her administration's claim of balanced budgets when in fact the net debt continued to rise. In 2011 when she took over the net debt of the Province was $36 billion. If one believed the Government's statements since that time the net debt, one would think, is still $36 billion. It is not. It is $42 Billion. So a $6-billion increase in six years . 
 
The refusal of her Government to have the Site C Hydro Project be subject to scrutiny by the Utilities Commission, as recommended by the Joint Environmental Panel, is another glaring error.
 
On the social side, increased spending was lost in the breaking of the teachers' contract, confirmed unanimously by the Supreme Court of Canada and the mysterious firing of Health Care public servants.
 
As image and public relations go, Clark succeeded – and that, it seems, counts for a lot in today's celebrity driven age. 
 
But on the ground on real issues, a positive record is indeed questionable. 

New Premier is making all the right moves

By Brian Peckford

I don't agree with the NDP Program or that of the Greens, but from a process point of view, Premier John Horgan has made all the right first moves, I submit. At least, so far.  

He was quick off the mark by raising rates for the disabled, very much an NDP social policy priority. 
 
But I think his decision to get an early meeting with the Prime Minister in Ottawa and then to travel to Washington are also smart moves on the new Premier's part. Given the wild fire situation, the opioid crisis, and the softwood lumber impasse, these quick early moves signal a First Minister with a firm public relations understanding of his new job. 
 
Of course, delivering is another thing . 
 
We will wait in great anticipation!

Predicted American exodus to Canada is in reverse gear

0719 - Who would have believed it?

 Sure the tidal wave of Americans coming to Canada after the Trump victory was to be overwhelming. Hollywood would be a ghost town. Properties would be flying off the shelves, so to speak.
 
Curious then that it is Canadians and the Chinese who are driving residential sales to foreigners in the U.S. to record heights. It's called self interest. Why buy in over-priced Vancouver and Toronto when you can get a comparable residence at lower price next door? I guess Trump must not be much of a factor. Note an excerpt from an article in the Wall Street Journal:
 
"The recent surge in foreign buying was driven largely by Canadians flocking south to escape their own overheated real-estate markets. U.S. home prices are starting to look like a bargain compared with Vancouver and Toronto, where prices rose nearly 30% in the year ended in March. The gains slowed to a 6% year-over-year increase in June."
 

“There’s the flashing red exit sign going ‘It’s time to get out now,’” said Brent Leathwood, a broker in Florida who said he is seeing an uptick in Canadian buying.

The real-estate boom up north also helps give Canadians the cash to invest in vacation properties to the south. Mr. Leathwood said he recently worked with a couple who flew down from Vancouver. 

“They’re shocked at what $300,000 or $400,000 will buy them,” he said. In Florida they can get a detached single-family house in that price range, while in Canada even an 800-square-foot condo is roughly twice that much, he said.’

The 12 months ending in March saw $153 billion of foreign buying in residential properties in the US , a record. The previous record was $105 billion. China is first , but Canada is second—all this notwithstanding all that negativity emanating from the mainstream press about the US.

Canadians may think they like our politically correct, selfie-obsessed Junior PM but when it comes to the pocket book and recent real estate purchases, Trump’s America gets their money.

What should we expect from city council?

By Brian Peckford

Nanaimo voters have a wide choice for this by election. We should be proud of this . But as Merv Unger says on his website it is now up to the voter to get out and vote. 
 
One point that I think that is getting lost in many municipal elections in BC in recent times is that the first obligation of a municipal council is to provide good public services . That is what is emphasized in the Community  Charter and the Local Government Act. It is alright to become eloquent about economic development , but the provision of good reliable public services should be the first priority of any new councillor. Equally, providing good governance , something that we all know has been lacking, should be a priority.  
 
When a municipality provides good services, fair taxation and good governance you would be surprised just how many businesses and how much economic development will follow. You can promote all you like but if there is not good , efficient services, fair taxation and a fair process of approval for business investment all the promotion in the world will be in vain. 
 
Perhaps it is something the successful candidate should keep in mind. 

Liberal exit from government was a disgrace

By Brian Peckford

Christy Clark , leader of British Columbia's Liberals,  should resign.

Witnessing the final gasp of the Liberals here in BC this evening was painful. The Liberals were hanging on by their fingernails to the bitter end. 
 
No class or grace here. 
 
I served 17 years in a Provincial Legislature. I was not impressed with what I saw today watching the Legislative proceedings on the Provincial Legislature channel or what I saw on two of the TV channels later. 
 
The Election was on May 9. Taking this long to come to a conclusion was a democratic disgrace. And the Liberals and Clark  are to blame . 
 
Today?
 
1. The speaker did not seem to know what he was doing.
 
2. The veteran Liberal legislators looked out of place and  any thing but seasoned in their roles . Almost nervous.
 
3. Many gave off a sense of entitlement,  as if they had a monopoly on how the Province should be run.
 
4. Clarke's 90 minutes with the Lieutenant Governor was over the top. Some press are reporting that she asked for the House to be dissolved and an election called. Whatever she said it was all too long. And to advise such a procedure flies  in the face of constitutional convention and the fact that a majority of members had an written agreement to co-operate. 
 
5. This action alone means Clark should resign.
 
6. Global TV and CTV were pathetic. They had many weeks to get this right. But their reporters and commentators acted as if this place could flaunt all British Parliamentary constitutional practice and convention. Their experts were weak and although they pointed out what was the appropriate procedure they did it feebly and without conviction.
 
Thankfully, the Lt. Governor, with proper constitutional advice from other than former Premier Clark, acted on that advice and constitutional integrity is maintained. 
 
Whether the NDP/Green coalition will last etc is, of course, another question.

Liberals' economic and fiscal update is not real

By Brian Peckford

June 28, 2017 - Silly, Crass, Irresponsible! Canada you say? Yes. British Columbia !

 
There was a recent election in this left Coast Province. West of The Rockies -----as in different!
 
The reigning Liberals got 43 seats. The Opposition parties got 44 seats. 
 
The Opposition Parties signed an agreement to co-operate.
 
Notwithstanding, The Liberals, not understanding basic arithmetic, or common sense and courtesy, are still clinging to power weeks later.
 
They finally called the Legislature, produced and delivered a Throne Speech. It was full of promises of things they had sworn only weeks before they would never do. Hundreds  of millions of dollars worth!
 
Now today, the Minister of Finance produces an economic and fiscal update, a few short months after the Budget . 
 
Presto! A surplus of $ 2.7 billion not $1.3 billion. 
 
But the Minister was forced, no doubt by fiscal agents and rating agencies, to include two important words :
 
'Anticipated and Audit as in Subject to Audit.'
 
In other words this so called update is not real, it is what a desperate party wants you to believe will happen. 
 
They are hoping that tomorrow their likely defeat on non confidence produces a Government that won't last and they will use theses numbers in the election campaign.
 
Of course, for those of us who live here, this is nothing new .
 
The Liberals have been parading an operating surplus as if it was a budgetary surplus for years as the debt continued to increase. 

Strong federal leadership required now on B.C. pipeline

By Brian Peckford

0603 - The next several weeks will be very important for Canada . 

 Two political parties that are likely to form the Government of the province have committed in writing to use every means at their disposal once in Government to stop the expansion of the Kinder Morgan Pipeline. This project involves the twinning of an existing pipeline from Edmonton , Alberta to Burnaby , British Columbia . This project has gone through the necessary National Energy Board process and was approved . With the election of a new Government in Ottawa the project was put through an additional process and approval provided again.
 
The construction and operation of inter- provincial  pipelines comes under Federal Jurisdction according to the Constitution of Canada. 
 
Section 91(2) provides the Federal Government with powers over Trade and Commerce and Section 91(10) power over Navigation and Shipping . And this Project involves Trade and Commerce and Navigation and Shipping. 
 
And more particularly in the Constitution Under Provincial Powers Section 92(10) , there are exceptions where Provincial Power does not apply: 
 
  • 10. 
    Local Works and Undertakings other than such as are of the following Classes:
    • (a
      Lines of Steam or other Ships, Railways, Canals, Telegraphs, and other Works and Undertakings connecting the Province with any other or others of the Provinces, or extending beyond the Limits of the Province:
    • (b
      Lines of Steam Ships between the Province and any British or Foreign Country:
    • (c
      Such Works as, although wholly situate within the Province, are before or after their Execution declared by the Parliament of Canada to be for the general Advantage of Canada or for the Advantage of Two or more of the Provinces.
       
Clearly, then, the Trans Mountain Pipeline extension comes under Federal Jurisdiction .
 
The Prime Minister of this Country must not just mouth that this project is under Federal Jurisdiction but loudly proclaim it . He needs to initiate a full court press to make it clear to British Columbia that this is a project that is in the national Interest and that it must and will proceed and that the Province should cease and desist from any action injurious to the project. 
 
This is important in its own right but it also very important for the future . We all know about precedents and how in later day jurisprudence , courts are looking more and more to what has happened recently to guide them in interpretation of laws and the Constitution. Many judges these days are not originalists in their interpretation of the Constitution but view the Constitution as a living, evolving document . This is very true here in Canada,  with this view seeming to be the dominant one. 
 
Therefore , the stance of the federal Government on this Trans Mountain Project could have a bearing on future inter Provincial pipelines and other such undertakings . If the Federal  Government is weak or vacillates on this project , it would embolden opponents of such future projects , including other provinces , and render the nation trapped in a local , regional disputes that would weaken the very foundation of our federation. It could make Court Interpretation of any challenges ambiguous and hinder efficient and timely execution of future projects, something that this country does not need in an every competitive world.  
 
I am sure the Prime Minister could easily involve many Premiers , Alberta and Saskatchewan come readily to mind, and many National Organizations ,Business leaders and Academics to support a vigorous acclamation of the validity of Federal Jurisdiction on this particular project , and further support the Trans Mountain Project as being in the national interest and oppose unconstitutional measures  by British Columbia to stop it. 
 
This should be the Prime Minister's top priority right now. 

Carbon Double Speak - the NDP/Green Agreement

By Brian Peckford

0601 - The NDP/Green Agreement as it relates to fossil resource development is a classic example of 'carbon ' double speak. 
 
Section 3, 2 a(1) says:
 
'Implement an increase of the carbon tax by $5 per tonne per year, beginning April 1, 2018 and expand the tax to fugitive emissions and to slash-pile burning.'
 
Section 3, 2 a (3) says:
 

Implement a climate action strategy to meet our targets. 

 
Section 3, 2(c) says:

'Immediately employ every tool available to the new government to stop the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, the seven-fold increase in tanker traffic on our coast, and the transportation of raw bitumen through our province. '

Yet there is not a reference to 'fracking' for natural gas or the many proposed LNG plants and pipelines.  Last time I looked, natural gas was a fossil fuel. And the fact that BC natural gas passes by pipeline through two Provinces: Alberta and Saskatchewan and four states: North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and into Illinois. Imagine if one of these jurisdictions took the same approach on natural gas transmission as BC is taking on Alberta's oil?  

And no mention of the coal mines in the interior!  Isn't coal a fossil fuel? Often described as the worst of the fossil fuels. Over the last 20 years, BC has exported 20 to 30 million metric tons annually, according to the BC Governments figures. We see it on the coast as a hugh pile at the Delta Port. 

Now, I support all this resource development.

But I reject the hypocrisy of those who pretend environmental purity by promoting excessive environmental regulation, increasing carbon taxes, rejecting a neighbouring Province's ability to prosper through oil transmission, all the while ignoring their own coal production and transmission by rail and ship,  and their own natural gas production and fracking with pipelines carrying it through two Provinces and four states.

 

Some serious concerns about LNG policy in B.C.

By Hon. Brian Peckford

Sent to Premier Clark, Minister and Media 

The present process for BC ‘s LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) development is one that strictly involves the BC Government and its agencies and the proponent. This is true of the recently-signed Pacific North West/BC Government Project Development Agreement for the LNG Development on Lulu Island near Prince Rupert. The agreement is before the legislature for approval. And further LNG agreements ( billion dollar agreements) will not need legislative approval as I understand it. I trust I am wrong on this. 

Concern One

There is no arms-length review of this present agreement (especially its technical aspects) or the many other strands that make up the totality of this project and apparently this will also be the modus operandi of other future LNG projects. The legislators cannot possibly have the expertise needed on the technical engineering or complex tax measures. 

I think this is a real concern.

There are many elements besides the Project Agreement, some being: the royalty agreement, the various tax agreements (carbon tax, LNG tax, natural gas credit, Green House Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act) and exemptions, the skills and training agreements, the protocol with First Nations, co-ordination with the oil and gas commission, with municipalities, co-ordination with the Federal Government on the environment and other matters,, and the obligation for infrastructure by the Government etc. 

This present Project Agreement is 140 pages long with the first 34 pages being the main body, the remaining pages being agreements with each of the nine corporate entities that make up the various entities of the Consortium or Proponent. 

In the Provinces of Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador there is an arms-length professional look at what the proponent is proposing on energy projects. In the former it is the Alberta Energy Regulator, overseeing proposals from all energy projects and in the latter, all offshore oil and gas projects go through Canada Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board. Public review is most often involved by the appointment of a commissioner to professionally review,with other qualified people, the proposal. In Newfoundland all major projects have gone through the public review process specified to be no more than 270 days from application. Of course, Governments determine royalty and tax issues. 

Concern Two

In the Project Agreement there is little detail of the actual project itself. It is mainly definitions, the nature of terminations etc. For example, I don’t see any construction and engineering milestones and reviews of progress. And where there is something it is very general. To give an example of just one provision I noticed. I quote section 10.3.

Progress Reporting

The Proponent will provide to the Province (upon request and periodically) reasonable briefings on the progress, engineering, construction, and operation of the project. ‘

This is a very weak undertaking on such a hugh project involving the people’s resource for which concessions have been made. One would have thought that something along these lines would have been negotiated.

The proponent undertakes to provide regular progress reports to the province (through a special technical committee formed for this purpose by the Province); one such report every six months detailing costs incurred, construction, engineering milestones met, and any unforeseen problems with cost and schedule.

I suspect a professional review would find other such deficiencies or omissions.

The headings in the Agreement are definitions and interpretations, term, adverse change event, force majeure, confidentiality, termination, representations and warranties, notice and general provisions. All very legalistic and most of which protect the proponent in various circumstances. Needed, I suspect, but nothing on the project itself.

People may fail to appreciate the size of the opportunity, given how long this has been in the public domain.

This one Pacific North West Project is projected now to cost $45 billion Canadian.

This makes it the largest energy project in Canada’s history! There are two other likely projects over time each in the tens of billions of dollar range. 

Concern Three

One has to ask what the Province will get from this agreement. I have not seen any independent analysis of the project. Is the royalty system similar to the four Australian LNG projects now up and running? Does the overall project provide returns to the Province comparable to other such projects in other jurisdictions? The Province had claimed 39,000 jobs annually over nine years based on five projects up and running by 2021. We all know this will not happen and was a fantasy from the start.

Now this project, it is claimed by the Government, is to generate royalties over 23 years of $7 billion. Given the enormity of the project, the amount of gas produced and transported and sold, is this a fair return? Of course, one has to consider the amount that the Province is spending on this project now and over its life including infrastructure costs and those costs would have to be subtracted from that $7billion. 

Concern Four

I did not see anything that ensures that BC business will be given equal opportunity to bid on various aspects of the project. It is assumed, I guess, that this will automatically happen. I recognize that the Province is aggressively moving on a an LNG Buy BC tool, yet some reference in the major document would have been helpful. Similarly, I see no R and D reference or commitment.

Conclusion

It is acknowledged that this Government has made great efforts to get this industry going and that it is its signature policy ; but because it is, there is perhaps a rush to make it happen. This may have caused a more sober professional arms length process to be circumvented and additionally abrogated some analysis on just what the Province is getting from the development compared to other similar developments in other jurisdictions.

Finally, if through the present legislation all future LNG projects just need Ministerial and Cabinet involvement, I think this would be an unfortunate happening. 

Honourable A. Brian Peckford PC

 

 

Getting rid of Shakespeare? Are they crazy?

By Brian Peckford

The political correct crowd have won again. This time in Ontario's Kent District School Board schools. It seems , according to a report by Joseph Brean in the National Post newspaper, that the Board is replacing Shakespeare with indigenous writers. No , not adding to the English curriculum for Grade Eleven by including indigenous writers as well as accomplished English writers , but replacing the English writers like Shakespeare for that year's study. 

Now what is even worse , if that is possible , is the comments of  school board officials . For example, the superintendent of education Mark Sherman said : 'Hey,  I love the Lord of the Flies , I love Shakespeare , but we are talking about 15th century Veronese landlords ( Romero and Juliet) or something like that. ' 
 
Mr Sherman obviously does not know excellence ----how very sad. And he heads up 'Formal Education ' in a part of this country?
 
Now,  I am all for incorporating Canadian and Canadian Indigenous literature into the curriculum , but not at the expense of some of the best English literature ever written. Yes , the students should be provided with perspective as Mr. Sherman says , but you do not gain that by eliminating one and introducing the other. That is not perspective --that is stupidity. 
 
And we have too much of it in Education today at all levels. Sherman's comments demonstrate that our education system failed him but yet he gets to be Superintendent. 
 
As Japanese and Chinese students and students from all over the world will tell you , great writers like Shakespeare expose them  to universal truths and exceptional writing in its own right. It is not a question of era or location ; it is what is being written, how it is being written , the diction, metaphor , allegory,   the plot , character, and lessons to be learned in the interaction of the plot and character in real life situations  . The exercise of power, the envy and jealousy of people  , love and hate , war and peace are all described and lived through good art . And Shakespeare by any measure is good art; no not good art but exceptional art. 
 
I am not surprised that many parents are happy. We have become lazy. With a click of a button or touch of screen we gain instant access and supposed solution. But little , sadly, in depth understanding or context. 
 
The way to good art or good anything is not always an easy road at first. But that is the nature of our society today--find the easy way. 
 
I introduced Shakespeare to grade seven students in Springdale , Newfoundland in 1969\/70 . And they loved it. Beginning with plays like Midsummer Nights Dream ,  Two Gentlemen of Verona, All's Well That Ends Well, where simple plots and simple dialogue pervades, to later in the higher grades moving to As You Like It , Twelfth night , Merchant of Venice where more subtle diction and plot, and characterization occurred , to the Histories ( Falstaff is a universal figure) , Julius Caesar ( power and intrigue, friendship and its destruction ) to the powerful depiction of the human condition in Tragedies of Othello, Macbeth, Hamlet and King Lear.  Oh, and by the way, Mr, Sherman , some history, sociology , psychology is learned along the way, rather important for the perspective to which you allege you aspire. 
 
Like they say the thin edge of the wedge. What Excellence will fall next ?
 
Of course, there are universities today where the Western Tradition  is bring turned on its head and rejected as some white ugly prejudice-----denying students the history , art and understanding of earlier times.
 
The very tradition that is being denied and denigrated is the one that gives the students the money, transportation and technology they possess. 
 
No civilization has been as prosperous , as healthy as this one ; that beginning in the late Middle Ages it rejected dogma , embraced reason , and unleashed an economic miracle that is still with us today. And along the way , resurrected the Greek and Roman masters who wrote ,discovered and invented  in almost all fields of endeavour, and we have added and complimented that work all the way to today's iPad. 
 
Thankfully,  no one can take my Shakespeare or others , even if they took all my books and technology. It is indelibly in my mind:
 
 
MACBETH
     'She should have died hereafter.
There would have been a time for such a word.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.'
 
Or this 
 
CASSIUS
'Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about
To find ourselves dishonorable graves.
Men at some time are masters of their fates.
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
Brutus and Caesar—what should be in that “Caesar”?
Why should that name be sounded more than yours?
Write them together, yours is as fair a name.
Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well.
Weigh them, it is as heavy. Conjure with 'em,'-------'
 
Or
 
Tennyson 
 
'---How dull it is to pause 
To make an end
To rust unburnished 
Not to shine in use
As though to breath were life--'
 
And Gentle Wordsworth 
 
'Nor less, I trust, To them I may have owed another gift, 
 Of
 aspect more sublime; that blessed mood, 
 In which the burthen of the mystery, 
 In which the heavy and the weary weight Of all this unintelligible world Is lightened:--
that serene and blessed mood, In
 which the affections gently lead us on,-- 
 Until, the breath of this corporeal frame And even the motion of our human blood  
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep In body, and become a living soul: 
 While
 with an eye made quiet by the power Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,  
We see into the life of things.'
 
Mr. Sherman and his ilk should be reminded of another long past master who no doubt he thinks is no longer relevant --Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626). Bacon described four idols of the mind. One that is particularly relevant here :
 
'Idols of the Theater are those which are due to sophistry and false learning. These idols are built up in the field of theology, philosophy, and science, and because they are defended by learned groups are accepted without question by the masses. When false philosophies have been cultivated and have attained a wide sphere of dominion in the world of the intellect they are no longer questioned. False superstructures are raised on false foundations, and in the end systems barren of merit parade their grandeur on the stage of the world.'

B.C. election – a period ofinstability lies ahead

Brian Peckford

Well, the votes are in and the people have spoken. And in total one could say the majority of people do not want the Liberals. If one takes the combination of  votes of the two 'opposition ' parties in the election one has over 56% of those who voted, voted for one of the two main opposition parties. 

This, then, is a rejection of the platform of the Liberals, especially their high profile projects : Site C Hydro Project and the extension of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, and LNG. 

Of course, I guess, some would read that it is more to do with a rejection of the style  of the Liberal Government, their increasing arrogance, their fudging of the budget numbers, the violation  of the teachers' contract and the stench surrounding the firing of health care professionals . And this no doubt is true. But it is difficult to not also think that the three major resource projects were also factors in this election. 

 According to the rules, if the Liberals overturn the close Courtenay Comox result, when all the votes are in, then they will have 44 seats, the NDP 40 and the Greens 3, hence a majority for the Liberals. But a very slim one. And there has to be a Speaker elected by the Legislature. 

The Liberals think this is possible given the less than ten vote difference and since their Candidate in the Courtenay/ Comox riding is a former base commander at the local airforce base and many base employees may have voted while on leave etc and that the likelihood is that the majority of these would vote for their former boss. 

But even this majority is, as I said, razor thin and it may be difficult to govern long in this precarious position.

If on the other hand, the Courtenay Comox seat is confined for the NDP it sets up an interesting horse trading scenario. And we will see just how principled these NDP and Greens really are. 

Reading the Green Platform and their desire to see the Site C project cancelled it is hard to see them support the Liberals.  

Then again just how would a coalition of the NDP and Greens really work given their lack of Government experience. 

And you would still have a razor thin majority, only other parties. 

So brace yourself for some instability. Obviously, this is not good for the economy and investment – but the people have spoken. 

Of course, the Greens could surprise, reject all they stand for, and side with the Liberals. They have already singled that corporate or union donors for political parties would be a deal breaker,  but significantly did not mention any other issues.

Christy Clark's coal tax idea won't wash

By Brian Peckford

The election campaign is getting heated alright. Coal heated.   

The Provincial Liberals'  polls must show they are in some trouble. Why else would Premier Clark make such a crazy policy announcement. From the reaction of Alberta's NDP Premier, she was blindsided. Nice touch Christy! That's how you treat your Canadian neighbour. 
 
Premier Clark is threatening this, if her request to the Prime Minister to ban thermal coal shipments from BC  is rebuked.  
 
Well, can a Province impose such an export tax. Highly unlikely! The Constitutional Provision is Section 92A. 
 
Most constitutional commentators believe that a production tax on coal produced in the Province is constitutional even if it is then exported. But a tax on coal produced outside the Province and then exported through the Province is not constitutional. 
 
Section 92A(4) of the Constitution states
 
 '(4) In each province, the legislature may make laws in relation to the raising of money by any mode or system of taxation in respect of
  • (anon-renewable natural resources and forestry resources in the province and the primary production therefrom, and

  • (b) sites and facilities in the province for the generation of electrical energy and the production therefrom,---------' 

    There is no provision which provides authority for a Province to levy an export tax on resources not produced in the Province but exported through the Province . 

    Section 91(2) gives the Federal  Government authority to 'regulate trade and commerce ' and section 91(3) gives the Federal Government authority to ' The raising of Money by any Mode or System of Taxation.'

    And as section 92 makes clear any ambiguity between the two orders of Government and the Federal power takes precedence. 

    But there is really no ambiguity here as I read the provisions.  The Province can levy taxes on natural resources produced in the Province  and which may be exported. But the Province does not have the Constitutional power to levy an export tax on resources produced outside the province and exported through ports in the Province. 

     

Debt addiction infects all three major parties

By Brian Peckford

0119 - The Provincial Election is under way. Sadly, little is said on the debt. 

We know where the Liberals stand. Their budget is there for all to see. And they have a record. 
 
Part of that record is that they have increased the total debt of the Province by almost thirty billion dollars ($30 billion), from 35 billion dollars ($35 billion) to 65 billion dollars ($65 billion) over the past 14 years. The evidence is the Public Accounts of the Province for March 31, 2002 and the Public Accounts for March 31 , 2016. That is an average of two billion dollars ($2 billion) a year. And their latest budget shows that they intend to keep increasing the total debt over the next three years, from $66,666 Billion to $77,688 Billion, found on page 8 of their Fiscal Plan. 
 
What about the NDP? Well, they intend to keep on doing the same as the Liberals. Isn't it hilarious that the NDP keep preaching they are different and then they take the last Liberal Budget and swallow it hook, line and sinker. On page 103, of their 118-page platform, they make it clear that they will continue the capital program of the Liberals at over 8 billion ($8 billion) dollars a year for the next three years. And, like the liberals, they separate the capital account from the current or operating account. But, of course, they do not tell you that a lot of that capital is borrowed. 
 
What about the Greens?  If you can believe it, so far their platform has not dealt with the fiscal aspect. So I guess that tells you how important they think it is. Oh, they have dealt with many other things which involves spending money but no fiscal framework. No doubt they will produce something on it. We are told to keep checking back at their website. Oh, the suspense!
 
The Greens core principles they say are; Participatory Democracy, Sustainability, Social Justice, Respect for Diversity, Ecological Wisdom, and Non-Violence. Not a peep on fiscal responsibility.
 
Given that the Conservatives lack a leader, and are so low in the polls (three per cent in the last Mainstreet/Postmedia poll) that forming a government or official opposition is remote, I do not consider their policies for this commentary although they do mention the words fiscal responsibility on their website, although there is little meat put on that bone that I can see. 
 
So, pray tell, what is one suppose to do on Election Day if you believe in balanced budgets, and fiscal responsibility? 

Legislative gymnastics on balanced budgets

By Brian Peckford

0415 - Those who have followed my blog (peckford42.wordpress.com) are aware of my objections against the manner in which Canadian Provincial Governments account for their financial dealings; Especially the British Columbia Government, this being the Province in which I presently reside.

Simply put the Government of BC continually exclaims brags, about the fact that it balances its budget.

Here is what they say on their website this year about their budget:

'Balanced Budget
B.C.’s 5th-consecutive balanced budget delivers the dividend of a strong economy.' 

It is not balanced I continue to maintain. 

What the Government does is separate operating account from capital account. In the last several years it has balanced its current account and says therefore it has balanced its budget. It does not say it balanced only its current account 

As any reasonable person knows a budget consists of all the money coming in and all the money going out. Paying the heat and light and mortgage etc --that is current account AND BUYING A NEW CAR is CAPITAL BUT is all a part of your budget.

I did not realize until no, after investigating the Auditor General's website, and then going to Legislation, that the BC Government has 'legalized' a new definition of balanced budget. In other words they can argue that they a,re correct when they say they have balanced the budget.

The Auditor General actually says this in introducing her examination of the nature of the BC Budget. She explains that in our own life capital and current are all a part of our budget, but as it relates to the Province, it is different, in that legislation provides a different definition.

What is startling to me is that the AG provides no opinion on this new way of defining a balanced budget. Here is her actual words :

'Budget forecasting in government, the private sector and one’s own household involves essentially the same components: a forecast of how much money is coming in the door (revenue), how much is going out for day-to-day costs (operating expenses) and major purchases (capital spending), and, if what comes in does not cover what goes out, how much will have to be borrowed (debt) to pay the bills.

One key difference, however, is the role of legislation in government budget forecasting. The balanced budget legislation prohibiting government from forecasting a deficit in the main Estimates ( that is current account, my words) for the fiscal year affects operating expense forecasts.those forecasts cannot be higher than revenue forecasts for the fiscal year. '


She, the AG, must know that when the ordinary citizen hears a balanced budget being announced by the Provicial Government that he or she automatically concludes that the Province is taking in enough revenues to cover all the money that is going out.

Of course, in this BC case that is not true, most of the Capital Account is borrowed,adding to the debt. Figures both by the Auditor General and the Government's own fiscal update confirm this. The debt has been growing every year.

The latest Budget has on its Fiscal Update section, page 12, the total debt growing from $66 Billion this year to $77Billion by 2019/20. So how can one say 'balanced? Change the legislation. 

Now, the relevant legislation centres around two Acts: The Balanced Budget and Ministerial Accountability Act and The Budget Transparency and Accountability Act.

But, of course, like many things in Government these days, it is made very complicated.

There is really nothing in the first Act that explicitly defines balanced budget. It talks of deficit this way

'The main estimates for a fiscal year must not contain a forecast of a deficit for that fiscal year.'

But it says in this first Act that the definition and word meanings are in the other Act:

'In this Act, words and expressions have the same meanings as in the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act.'

So on to this Act. Well, 
'

Estimates content

'5 (1) The main estimates for a fiscal year must be prepared in accordance with this section and with the accounting policies as established by Treasury Board.

(2) The main estimates for a fiscal year must include the following:
(a) for the government, the proposed Supply Act appropriations for the fiscal year.'

Main estimates are not defined although it usually relates to the numbers for the different departments and agencies of the Government.

But where it becomes clear is that this Act has a separate section dealing with Capital Account. The headline below tells it all :


'. 'Major capital project information to be presented with the estimates

8 (1) Subject to section 19 (5) [exception if disclosure would be harmful], for any project where the government reporting entity, directly or indirectly,

(a) has made commitments, or

(b) anticipates making commitments
that will, in total, exceed $50 million towards the capital cost of the project, the minister must present to the Legislative Assembly, at the same time that the main estimates are presented, a statement of the current and anticipated total cost to the entity in relation to the capital cost of the project.'

So if you are still with me --THE ESTIMATES ARE THE BUDGET AND THE CAPITAL ACCOUNT A BIT OF AN ADD ON.

ITS ALL DONE IN A ROUND ABOUT WAY IN THE LEGISLATION BUT IN THE END IT REDEFINES THE BUDGET TO TECHNICALLY ALLOW THE GOVERNMENT TO PREACH THAT IT HAS BALANCED IT, If IT HAS BALANCED CURRENT ACCOUNT.

There was no easier way to explain this without leaving out parts of the legislation and then be accused of deliberately doing what I am accusing the Government of doing ---really.

Guess What?

The Federal Government's budget is both Current and Capital Account, unlike the deliberate separation done in BC. And the Federal Parliamentary Library in describing the budget process has a budget being current and capital account.

In summary then, The BC Government has changed by legislation the manner in which they present their budget which allows them to claim that their budget is balanced when in fact the total expenditures of government exceed the total revenues. 

Aid to various energy sectors is not in balance

By Brian Peckford

Robert Murphy of the Institute of Energy Research, a US Research Institute, testified before a Congressional Committee this past week.

“According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), in Fiscal Year 2013 direct federal financial interventions (a measure that includes, but is not limited to, tax expenditures) for electricity production, directed $5.9 billion to wind and $4.4 billion to solar, yet only $901 million for coal and $690 million for natural gas and petroleum electricity production.

The difference in federal support is even more striking when adjusted for the level of output: On a per-megawatt-hour basis, in FY 2013 solar received $231 of support and wind received $35, while natural gas and petroleum received 67 cents and coal received 57 cents.”

 

 

My disgust cup runneth over

By Brian Peckford

ONE : MOTION 103 TO BE VOTED ON TOMORROW–ANTI  EVERY RELIGION BESIDES ISLAM

TWO: $125,000 CHRISTMAS VACATION – THE PRINCELING'S BILL

THREE: PROPOSALS TO HAVE NO FRIDAY SITTING OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS

FOUR: : PROPOSALS TO SEE THAT PM ONLY HAS TO BE IN QUESTION PERIOD ONE DAY A WEEK

There you have it.

I was no sooner finished writing a short piece on the budget that is  to be brought down today than I was confronted with the news listed above.

ONE:

I have written about Motion 103 already . This is just to point out that those who thought this would not go anywhere are wrong The Government is serious about giving special attention to  studying discrimination against Islam over all other religious discrimination. The vote is tomorrow and short of any amendments the Government might offer, which at this point seems unlikely, the motion will go through as proposed . This is an affront to all those who believe in equal treatment and that all religious discrimination should be examined equally.

TWO:

And if jumping a free ride on his friend’s helicopter in the Caribbean wasn’t enough this past Christmas ,  our Princeling has now stuck us with the rest  of the Christmas bill—-$125,000. Of course, when you promise deficits and exceed them by three hundred per cent what ‘s a hundred thousand dollars and change.

THREE AND FOUR:

If this wasn’t enough to spoil your week , the Princeling ‘s Party is pushing proposals before the House Affairs and Proceedure Committee of the House of Commons to , among other things:

See to it that our overworked PM only has to face question period in the House one day a week.

And to see to it that our overworked MP’s do not have a House of Commons sitting on Fridays.

Does not your disgust cup runneth over?

One of the fundamental characteristics and requirements of the British Parliamentary System is that the Prime Minister and Cabinet sit in the Peoples’s House –The House of Commons .  Now, if these proposals go through the Leader of the Government will not be required to face the opposition and answer questions but one day a week when the House is in session.

If this is not a dimunition of responsible government I do not know what is!

Secondly, guess how the Government is spinning the Friday closing. A family friendly action for MP’s with kids!

Is this not the most galling, contemptible thing you ever heard ? Using the kids to justify time off.

On a Friday when school-aged kids will be in school and many other spouses , who are unlucky  enough to not be  a part of the House of Commons, will be working?  Family Friendly?

What have we done to deserve this craziness ?

 

The Princeling in Houston –‘Thou cast oneself on many waters‘

Brian Peckford

03-10 -Oh, how a few months have changed thee!

It wasn’t that long ago when thou blessed the banks of the Seine with your attendence at the Paris Environmental Conference. There you blessed the multitude with your dear pronouncements on the Environment, the evils of fossil fuels and even hinting at the day they would be no more. Thou cast many millions of dollars upon the troubling planet sprinkling our tax money far and wide.

And now thou art in the Lone Star State, in the big oil metropolis, blessing the fossil pipelines and dispensing your platitudes upon the oil barons of the world.

Paul on the Road to Damascus conversion pales in comparison to what thou hast wrought.

CBC and Canada hail thee! Bravo!

 

 

Why we don’t do well – it's a disgrace

By Brian Peckford

I did a blog on this a couple of days ago. It got little traction.

I was showing how scholars even propose a bunch of things that sound nice to make Canada more competitive but lack addressing the true basics like balanced budgets, lower taxes, efficient regulatory system, productivity —-FIRST!

Well, well, well, here are two more reasons , —exhibit A and B

Exhibit A - The Parliamentary Budget Office released a report a few days ago that shows that this wonderful Federal Government  will not spend $3 billion that is allocated to be spent this year. And of that $3 billion, one billion is the vaunted infrastructure money . 

We can’t even spend the money when it is available, sitting there waiting to be spent. 

Look up the parliamentary Budget office and read the depressing news.

Exhibit B - I just read a report by the Senate Finance Committee (they do some good work, if only the press would cover it more) on the Federal Infrastructure Program —well not program but programs. This is unbelievable :

As can be seen from the foregoing discussion, the Government of Canada has created a multitude of programs to support infrastructure, each with its own priorities, terms and conditions, timelines, and application and reporting processes. As the older programs continue when new ones are announced, the number of programs simply increases.

During the current fiscal year (2016–2017), Infrastructure Canada is managing fifteen infrastructure programs (see Figure 2 at page VII). To make matters even more complex, Budget 2016 expanded the concept of infrastructure to include green and social infrastructure, and provided funding to 30 programs, some of which are new and others that were pre-existing, managed by nine federal organizations and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (see Appendix C). 

From a municipal perspective, it can be bewildering. Christopher Stoney, Associate Professor of the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University, told the committee that, “Because of all the multiple levels of funding, some of the places we went to have over 300 sources of funding for infrastructure if you count provincial and federal.”22 He went on to state: “They enjoyed taking us into a back room office where all the books and computer programs were laid out to deal with this plethora of funding mechanisms, all with different conditions.

It could be spent on this; it had to be spent in that time; it can or cannot be banked. It’s an absolute nightmare. How a citizen can possibly hold anyone accountable based on this diverse funding is beyond me.”23

The committee agrees. In the current situation, it is very difficult to know how best to access federal infrastructure funds, especially in jurisdictions with limited resources. In some cases, one project can be eligible under several different funds. Additionally, municipalities would need to be in contact with ten different organizations for the various aspects of federal infrastructure funding.

You wonder why I get upset and take on scholars like the one the other day hypothesizing in fancy ideas that leave out money and budgets and regulations ?

WE CAN”T SPEND THE MONEY EVEN WHEN IT IS THERE CRYING TO BE SPENT!

AND THE NUMBER AND MULTIPLICITY OF PROGRAMS IS A NIGHTMARE !

And I have people telling me some theoretical gobbledegook about how to get our country moving?

How Events Centre won't raise our taxes

Hon, Brian Peckford

By Brian Peckford 

Mr. Peckford is a former Premier of Newfoundland-Labrador, now living in Nanaimo.

02/19 -Much has been written and said about the Council sponsored Project called the Events Centre. Allow me to ad my two cents. Some questions:

1. Is it necessary ? 

Given the facilities already available, it seems to me that a case has not been made for this new facility. The Council talks of attracting a Canadian Junior Hockey Franchise. One wonders if such a franchise is necessary for hockey to thrive in the city?  And such a franchise  is not a fact from anything I have seen or read.

So we will borrow tens of millions on a maybe???

2. What if a Franchise is secured ? 

Is this really viable? Well, recent court documents on Junior Hockey franchises in Canada  raise a lot of questions in that many of them seem to be very poorly managed. Additionally , the viability is always an issue in many places. 

Perhaps a good example is St. John's , Newfoundland . That city in 2011 had a population of 106,000. The metro area is 196,000. Nanaimo city had 83,000, metro 146,000. And St. John's is a Provincial capital city. 

An event center (Mile One Center, capacity 7000) was built years ago in St. John's with the main selling point being an American League franchise for the Toronto Maple Leafs. It subsequently left and a second one came. This time a Junior Hockey franchise. It left and a third came . This one , the American Hockey League team for the Montreal Canadians . It is leaving this year. The City Council has sought a new franchise . As of writing there are no takers. The Council there must now rely on music events, trade shows and skating. Obviously , the number of days and the revenue generated will be much less than that of a permanent tenant. 

 

 

BC Budget: The numbers just don't balance

Hon. Brian Peckford

By Brian Peckford

For many years now I have been writing journalists about Provincial budgeting, especially the BC budget. 

Over the last several years the BC Government has touted that they have a balanced budget and almost always the press carry that statement . They did it again: "$50 billion balanced budget."

This is untrue. 

The budget is composed of operating figures and capital figures. 

On the operating account the budget figures show a projected balanced budget with some surplus each year ---year 2016/17 --$1.4 billion, year 2017/18--$295 million , year 2018/19 --$244 million to year 2019/20 -$223 million. 

However , on the Capital Account it is almost all borrowed money seeing the Provincial Debt increase each of the four fiscal years from $66.6 billion this year 2016/7 to $69.7billion in 2017/18 to $73 .4 billion in year 2018/19 and to $$77.6 billion in year 2019/20. 

From $66 billion to $77 billion. 

This is found on page 12 of the Budget Fiscal Plan of the Government . 

What the Government should be saying (and the press ) is that they are projecting a balanced budget on their operation (current) account, but that on the budget as a whole because of borrowings on capital account they will be incurring a deficit, thereby increasing the overall debt of the Province.  

When one says 'balanced budget.' everyone thinks that THE GOVERNMENT IS BALANCING ALL ITS REVENUES AGAINST ALL OF ITS EXPENDITURES . And that is a logical conclusion. But it masks the facts ---Operating , yes balanced  , Capital , no, not balanced . Budget which is all , operating  and capital ( as defined by the Government itself)  therefore is not balanced . 

The Government is spending more money than it is taking in. 

Really, the Press should have some budget knowledgable people to correct the Government on their misleading statements. 

Judge in Seattle wants to play president

Hon. Brian Peckford

By Brian Peckford

02/24 - Montesquieu, the great political philospher, said in the 19th centure:

‘There is no crueller tyranny than that which is exerted under the shadow of the law and with the colors of justice.” in Chap. XIV of “Considérations sur les causes de la grandeur des Romains et de leur décadence”).

How else to interpret the outrageous ruling of Judge James L. Robert of the Federal  Court in Seattle , Washington.

The Judge effectively has made null and void the executive order issued by the new President on immigration. Since when did a judge have the authority to determine the level of security of the nation? All past judicial decisions on such matters were clear—it is the President’s authority that prevails.

Interestingly, a Federal Court in Massachusetts on this same issue  got it right :

‘Accordingly, this Court declines to encroach upon the “delicate policy judgment” inherent in immigration decisions…..’

Courts interpret law —they have no authority to make it . That ‘s the nub of the issue.

In recent years in both the United States and Canada , Courts have become very bold in poking their legal noses in areas beyond both their authority and competence.

Perhaps its good this has arisen so the courts can be put back to where they really belong. Like the acting Attorney General who got the boot , its time the people ruled in making policy and laws , and these upstarts are prevented from usurping the peoples’ authority as expressed recently through a duly elected President .

As the song says –‘I can see clearly now———‘ . The progressives and their apologists cannot accept the will of the people when it goes against their candidates and policies  as we have witnessed at a number of Universities already and now see fully manifested even from the judicial bench.

As Law Professor William Jacobson of Cornell University and founder of the website ‘Legal Insurrection’ has said:

‘Hopefully the government will be in front of the 9th Circuit quickly to obtain a stay of the TRO, and if that fails, the U.S. Supreme Court. In addition to the merits, there are serious issues of whether a state has “standing” to challenge the refusal of the federal government to allow entry into the U.S. of foreigners who themselves have no legitimate claims as to visa denials.

The issue is not whether the Executive Order is wise, it’s over who gets to make the decision on what constitutes necessary security procedures with regard to foreigners wanting to enter the U.S. That decision in the past always has been reserved to the executive branch.’

Trudeau and his Liberals are discriminating on religion

Hon. Brian Peckford

By Brian Peckford

02/22 - If you had any doubt about the nature of the Liberal Government in Ottawa you will have none now. They are pro Islamic. Oh, so many were maligned when this was raised last year by some commentators. Now the chickens have come home to roost.

A Federal Liberal MP put a motion on the order paper asking for a committee to look at Discrimination of Religions etc in our society.

But no, not all religions really. She singled out in the resolution Islamphobia in particular.  Why single out one when we all know the anti semitism on our campuses and other forms of religious discrimination. Why not look at it all equally?

The Conservative party introduced an amendment which talked about possible discrimination relating to all religions. This is what should be studied, they said.

This amendment was supported by the NDP, the Bloc Quebois, and Elizabeth May of the Green Party.

The Liberal Majority defeated the amendment .

In other words our Princeling and his Federal Liberal Government want to highlight any Islamphobia, and all other religions and possible discrimination against them comes second or not at all.

Ironic isn’t it that in bending over backwards on possible discrimination against one group you discriminate against all others.

This is the nature of this Government .

One wonders if some secret campaign promise is at work here.

The majority of Canadians,  if given the chance, would not support the Liberal Government on this offensive discrimatory position.

Mr. Peckford is a former Premier of Newfoundland Labrador, now living in Nanaimo