BC's gift to the world- Premier Christy Clark

Rafe: Liberals’ true economic record is appalling…that won’t stop them from winning with it

BC's gift to the world- Premier Christy Clark
Premier Christy Clark at a recent conference, working hard to build an LNG industry for BC (Flickr CC Licence / BC Govt)

Richard Zussman is B.C. provincial affairs reporter for the CBC based in Victoria, and he’s predicted that Premier Clark will win the election in a years time. For what it’s worth, I think he’s right and readers will know I’ve been saying that for sometime, although certainly without any enthusiasm.

The economy and nothing else

Mike McDonald, Liberal campaign chairman in 2009, says, “The strategy for us has never really changed. The program of the government is building a strong economy to ensure we have the resources to deliver, health care, education, social programs. We always put economic discipline as a high priority. We have to make it front and centre and not lose our focus”.

The Liberals won’t be talking about things like missing and redacted emails, freedom of information, scandals and death in the Health ministry, incompetence, death and despair in Children and Families, neglect sufficient for a decent minister to resign in the Ministry of Energy and Mines, economic policy built around a non-existent LNG market which has become a worldwide embarrassment, an environmental policy which takes us back to the 1890s, the premier’s own corrupt ethics, or any other matters. She and her government will simply tell all who will listen that they have handled the economy brilliantly and that British Columbia is prospering because of that.

This is where you cover-up this article from all but mature eyes because that statement is pure unadulterated horseshit.

How they make the sausage

Why BC Hydro always overestimates future power demand- Economist
Under the Campbell and Clark governments, behind BC Hydro’s shiny facade is nothing but a pile of debt

It is not difficult to understand. Take your own family budget. Now remove your mortgage from that budget – call it a self-liquidating asset or some such nonsense – and, poof! –  now see your budget balance!

That’s just what the BC government does. Essentially, they run a budget that is minus BC Hydro, the equivalent, and then some, of your family mortgage. They would like to call it a “self-liquidating asset” but unfortunately, due to unbelievable negligence, starting with Gordon Campbell, BC Hydro is in an ever-worsening financial wreck and one can only shudder in horror when one thinks of adding $9-10 billion for Site C (or likely much more than that).

The bottom line according to economist and CSC contributor Erik Andersen?

[quote]Customers of BC Hydro have not needed any additional electricity for more than a decade yet all the while customer rates increased by 30% and the debt from corporation has been increased by 1,170%, from $6 billion in 2005 to $70 billion in 2015. (RM: In fact that number has been adjusted to $76 billion!)[/quote]

Back to your budget. To make it more like Christy’s, you put the house and mortgage into a separate company, run it to the ground, double your debt and you have it about right.

Now go, to your banker, the equivalent of the taxpayer. When he’s recovered from shock he says, “Here’s where you stand: Where, before 2001, when you ran your household prudently and paid your debts – leaving a bit in the bank – now, you’re bankrupt and even your house is worse than worthless. If you didn’t have that generous uncle who lets you pick his pocket at will, you’d be on the street.”

The old “balanced budget” trick

Ah, but, you have succeeded in a phoney way. Since you’ve removed all the costly nasties from it, you do balance your budget each year. You’re stony-assed broke, hugely in debt and you’d better pray that you can go on picking old Uncle Charlie’s pocket for a very long time – but by Billy Bowlegs, you balanced the budget.

Into the foregoing, the government throws lots of long words and meaningless phrases but, sad to say, it’s the big lie technique and wouldn’t survive 30 seconds of cross-examination by anyone with half a brain. The good news for Christy is that there’s no opposition around with half a brain. To knock down this fiscal sham would be a slam dunk for any opposition leader who knew anything about his job, and, while it may still happen, it’s pretty late in the game for leader of the opposition to start criticizing an obvious con game that’s gone on since 2001 without him apparently noticing.

“Opposition” enabling government

This puts into perspective the jam the NDP is in. It should not be they who are fighting their way out of a corner but the government. Yet while Campbell and Clark have been demolishing our finances and ruining BC Hydro, our crown jewel, the NDP has been helping! Because of John Horgan’s amazing doctrine that he can’t be against everything, he’s not been against anything of any consequence.

The government’s flim-flam should have been the subject of ongoing opposition outrage on behalf of taxpayers. That’s what we elect an opposition to do. In fact, the principal job of a parliament remains the supervision of Her Majesty’s purse and, given their failed duty, the NDP should thank God that the queen is Elizabeth II not Elizabeth I.

Public has come around on environment

Many British Columbians have been increasingly hoping that the Green Party would make a difference, perhaps with a balance of power in the legislature. In the last decade, the public around the world and no less in BC, has had a sea change in attitude towards the environment. This is an area where I’ve had some experience over the last 40 years and I can tell you firsthand that the differences are extraordinary. People who were called terrorists, like Paul Watson, are now rightfully seen as heroes. Pipelines are looked at in the light of horrible spills as in Kalamazoo rather than a few temporary construction jobs. Developers are no longer believed, nor are the politicians they own. Climate change is accepted by everyone, except the Flat Earth Society, as a very real worldwide danger. Although Canada is lagging badly, the Paris Conference couldn’t have happened even five years ago, let alone when I was Environment minister in the late 70s. My community of Howe Sound, a pretty “conservative” place, is preparing for civil disobedience to stop an LNG plant in Squamish. I could go on but I think readers will agree that the changes are here, public attitudes are hugely different, and people want leadership.

While leadership is coming from Elizabeth May on the national scene, it’s been non existent in British Columbia.

BC Green leader backs private power

Rafe- Weaver, BC Greens should quit supporting private river power sham
Dr. Andrew Weaver, leader of the BC Green Party, has long supported IPPs

Unfortunately, the Green Party leader, Dr. Andrew Weaver, has an Achilles Heel – since 2009, he’s supported the Liberal party’s Rivers policy allowing independent power producers (IPPs) to destroy rivers and get paid more than double the value of the power from BC Hydro, which must take, need it or not – leaving environmental devastation and financial ruination. How the devil can any decent leader of an environmental party support such a policy, especially after it’s been proved a disaster? Surely, protection of the environment must be his default position. Dr. Weaver, in supporting the Liberals’ disastrous Rivers policy, like the clock that strikes 13, simply can’t expect to be trusted.

Looking good for Christy

This is the paltry opposition faced by Christy Clark in a year’s time. Neither of the two opposition leaders have the “common touch”, of which Ms. Clark has an abundance. Neither of them are particularly persuasive speakers, which, notwithstanding the fact she has nothing sensible to say, Ms. Clark is. Politics is not about virtue but making people believe you’ll bring it to government. Always remember Mair’s immutable Axiom II: “You don’t have to be a 10 in politics, you can be a 3 if everyone else is a 2.”

Is it all over?

Of course not, for, as has been fairly stated, six weeks is an eternity in politics. Obviously, a lot can happen in a year.

I must say, however, that, absent a major scandal in the Liberal party at the leadership or near-leadership level, my shilling is on Christy Clark.


About Rafe Mair

Rafe Mair, LL.B, LL.D (Hon) a B.C. MLA 1975 to 1981, was Minister of Environment from late 1978 through 1979. In 1981 he left politics for Talk Radio becoming recognized as one of B.C.'s pre-eminent journalists. An avid fly fisherman, he took a special interest in Atlantic salmon farms and private power projects as environmental calamities and became a powerful voice in opposition to them. Rafe is the co-founder of The Common Sense Canadian and writes a regular blog at rafeonline.com.

39 thoughts on “Rafe: Liberals’ true economic record is appalling…that won’t stop them from winning with it

  1. How much does Christy pay you Bud gorbtrolling? You are as bad as the so called news outlets thst constantly bring up history. As a former commentor said the NDP have not governed this province as often as the Socreds(who are still the current gov- just renamed) so are you clairvoyant that you see how new people will govern. You are the one here who’s head is up their you know what. The people in this province are not stupid and they are becoming smarter every day because there are independent news sources who actually tell the truth. So your days as a troll for Clark are numbered!

    1. There is that “Snappy Comeback For Socialists” from page 33 of the Little Red Book Of Snappy Comebacks again. With that kind of rejoinder and baseless accusations, it is small wonder only other socialists think the NDP is viable. Lets face it, with that sort of rhetoric, one simply cannot believe you are any brighter than a 2 watt bulb in a brownout.

  2. I am appalled by the ignorant asses who condemn the NDP and would vote for the wicked witch of the west again. She is the worst premier that this province has ever had. Her over spending, her big budget construction projects, site C, the Port Man, the convention centre, BC place, the inadequate protection of children under government care, the steady increases of insurance premiums, MSP and misuse of a private plane and I could go on for a few more pages and how dare you use ancient declarations of the CCF to label the NDP of today! The party has been bashed by Post Media and we know they are in bed with Big Oil and Christy’s save all BC’s LNG which she literally gave away to the crook from Petronas. You old coots should wake the hell up and stop supporting a mealy mouthed bitch who can’t survive on 200 thousand a year. I would vote for anyone but a right wing nut case like her and her goons. Just wait until you have to wait a year to see a specialist because of shortages in our health coverage that we pay more & more for!

  3. I have to assume that Bud is indeed my old friend and campaign manager. His problem is that he’s talking about Bill Bennett Days which were well managed and overlooks Vander Zalm and Johnston. By simply assuming by reason of his own prejudices that the NDP are evil this somehow proges the Liberals have provided good government? That any rightwing government, however rotten is better than one of the left? Why doesn’t Bud, just for a second, set aside his hatred of the NDP and take my criticisms of the Clark government, one by one? And I add one Bud – you and I were both good friends of Bill Bennett. Surely you must have been as appalled, and indeed embarrassed as I was when at Bill’s service, Christy had Bill authoring Campbell’s Site C project with her valiantly carrying on his program past the point of no return! But you said nothing. And you haven’t uttered a peep about the Campbell/Clark Energy Plan that has ripped up some 70 rivers, egregiously bribed the Favoured Independent Power Projects and put BCH on the financial ropes. Just so my neighbours will recognize you better, you are a big supporter of Resource Works who, partnered with the Vancouver Province are supporting Woodfibre LNG with such outrageous lies we scarcely have to deal with them.
    Good to have you joining us and to see, as Tallyrand said upon the restoration of the Bourbons, “you have learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.

    1. Rafe I am delighted to disabuse you of your assumption. Having both morals and ethics I could not possibly be your “old friend and campaign manager”.

      I overlook nothing. All governments are corrupt even your beloved Bill Bennet’s reign had it warts.

      I agree with you completely about Christy’s stupid remarks at Bennet’s funeral. She is nothing more and nothing less than a female Vanderzalm who will say and do anything for personal and or political advancement. As for the river projects, wasn’t it the NDP who started those? Wasn’t it also the NDP who initiated the robbing of ICBC and Hydro to fill the public coffers? No credit to the Libs that they continue the practice which is essentially just another form of taxation.

      Nor am I a supporter of Resource Works, but are you surprised the chap you accuse me of being is a supporter? His history should not leave you with any delusions as to where his loyalties lie. $$

      I have never suggested the current government has provided good government, but I do note we have the most energetic economy in the country. I credit that not to the Liberals, but to the fact they are not the NDP more than anything else.


      Not That Bud. 😉

      1. Big win! You feel better! Bud Smith feels better! I feel better!

        Bud, this government only looks like an energetic economy until, as I did, you examine the books a liitle more closely than Christy and de Jong want you to. What happens if, just to look at the bigger picture, you toss BCH into the budget? I know its not tradtionally been there but it’s never been so badly fucked up either, not by a long shot! Now toss in Site C at, shall we conservatively say $10 Billion. How does that energetic economy look now?
        Next look at the social side of the ledger – the continuing MSP payments, appalling state of Children and Familiex, Health, housing.
        Apparent financial successes take a bit of time to collapse especially when the government spends so much energy papering over the cracks.
        I know how hard it is to be a social minister. It takes a lot of effort, cajoling and even occasionally a bit of chicanery makinng $1.00 do the work of $1.25 but that’s what you do. And in my case at least, I had premier who tried to help.
        Bud, I’m appalled at the utter lack of a “government-in-waiting” but think there are good people on the left who could get their act together if they get their asses in gear. Will they provide good government? Highly unlikely but that scarcely makes the current bunch a better option.
        I just suggestion that you open up the options and not let ancient prejudices, some well founded, some not, foreclose new ideas and options.
        There, ’nuff said! Let’s put the gloves back on and get in the ring and see if, out of the crucible of debate, something good might emerge for the orovince we all love so much.
        And cheers to you too!


        1. I am pleased you and BS feel better, I never felt bad.

          I agree with you on Site C, BCH and very likely many other matters.

          Perhaps Christy thinks she is a modern day Wacky Bennett and possibly thinks site c will provide her with a similar legacy. But those days are long gone and her legacy, I suspect, will be something less enduring. Less endearing.

          The economy is doing quite well despite the government in my view. I am certain however, that with a Socialist government, the economy would not continue to do well despite the government.

          I feel we need capitalist governance if the province and the country, are to continue thriving.

          In defense of this I refer you to the Regina Manifesto, the founding document of the CCF and I direct your attention to the final paragraph of that far less than august document; ” No C.C.F. Government will rest content until it has eradicated capitalism and Put into operation the full programme of socialized planning which will lead to the establishment in Canada of the Cooperative Commonwealth.”

          From talking to, listening to and observing comments reported in the media by socialists over a good many years, It is my contention entirely too many NDP supporters and those in the power core, knowingly or not, still cling to this attitude.

          Without capitalism, there would be no cushy union jobs, no social programmes, no taxation and the socialists would finally realize their basic dream of having everyone starve to death at the same rate. Except the “leaders” of course.

          The ancient prejudices maintain their hold in the absence of anything from the left to dislodge them and I leave you with the words of George Santyana; “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”


          1. The ONLY reason the BC “budget” appears to be doing well is due to Real Estate sales and the construction of the self same.
            47% of tax dollars are directly attributed to that grotesquely overpriced ponzi scheme that will implode like all other overpriced real estate everywhere on the planet.
            And who are the top ten contributors to either Christy or the Liberal campaign slush fund?
            Realtors and Construction companies.
            There’s a surprise.
            My ONLY wish is the real estate ponzi will implode this Fall about 6 months before Cheshire Grin Christy goes to the polls.
            Thus alienating even the greedy fools that thought that “it always goes up” will join the “Dont have a Million” voters in booting her corrupt, incompetant, overly fed, derriere from office.

        2. Hi Rafe.

          I’ve been a long time NDP supporter (would probably vote green with proportional representation).

          I almost would rather see the Liberals get elected again in 2017 and hopefully see the whole house of cards collapse on them. At some point the climbing debt and contractual obligations will become too costly to service.

          If the NDP wins, which looks doubtful at this point in time) and the provincial debt and fragile economy (25% of GDP is construction and real estate sales) becomes public knowledge – guess who will be blamed for it. The NDP of course. The mainstream media will see to that!

            1. Reaching back to the Regina Manifesto is quite a stretch. Today’s NDP bears little if any resemblance to the CCF or the NDP up to and including Ed Broadbent’s time.

              Of course David is right, and truth be told it is the right of wing governments that have plundered and engaged in wealth transfer to their corporate masters leaving a trail of debt and decaying infrastructure.

              The NDP’s biggest problem is that they concern themselves with what their opponents and the corporate media think of them.

              Bernie Sanders is our best NDP’er today and the response is scaring the hell out of the Wall Street bankers, and other corporate welfare bums.

              1. I agree with Richard. We hearken back to meetings and declarations literally when by now they are symbolic – important, but not to be taken literally.
                I disagree – we are very old, in every sense of the word – friends, in that the NDP has not been able to see this. For some time I’ve been trying to get rabble.ca to move from the same old singers singing the same old songs over and bloody over over with nothing fresh.
                Although far too modest to admit it, Richard has been doing a good job such in his blog that people like me, not born with pink nappies, feel comfortable to say our piece as part of a new “left” spawned by the social evils of today very much including the ones leading to an ever growing environmentalism.
                Capitalism won’t die until greed dies and not all greed is evil – such as the greed you and I have for a better life, more money, that exotic trip, and a measure of comfort in our antiquity.
                The Voice of Conscience and Fair Play, the voice for the needy, the unlucky, the less skilled, the discriminated against – the losers – won’t die either, thank God.
                It’s best that everyone speak to everyone from their soul, but also in language of today that all can understand.

              2. I think Richard is on the defensive over the Regina Manifesto. As I mentioned in my earlier post, one need only talk to union leaders and some NDP types or listen to their rhetoric in the media to see there is a very current and direct link to that final paragraph exhibited in the modern…oops, almost said modern day socialist and of course socialism is living in a past long since past.

                You rightly point out the NDP either fails or refuses to see what is as obvious to others as a wart on their nose. It is interesting to note however that some of the private sector unions seem to be graduating to the modern age and abandoning their support for the NDP which continues to live and think in the 17th century.

                Better for all I think, would be abandonment of the party system. At the moment governance is far more focused on maintaining the power and ideology of the party than it is in what is best for the economy and the taxpayers.

                Perhaps electing MP’s and MLA’s at large might work. Then folks could vote for whom they think would do the most sincere job rather than the colour of their undershorts. The members would then have to form brief coalitions to form and pass legislation and that process might then be largely free of ideological concerns.

                But I also think there is little appetite for anything so rational.


  4. The economy must grow every year, infinitely. Good luck with that on a planet with limited air, water, etc.

    Infinite GDP growth is how the Govt thinks it can manage the massive debt load, since debt is measured as the ratio of debt to GDP.

    Since the debt is growing, the GDP must grow too, in order to maintain a constant debt to GDP ratio.

    It’s insane, but it’s how these people think.

  5. Nothing will change until people pull their heads out of you know where…I am amazed at the ignorance of so many in this province. they have no clue..

  6. Thanks Rafe. To Horgan’s credit, he’s performed well in the Legislature. Unfortunately Ms. Clark is allowed to not answer his pointed questions. At every opportunity she repeats her “forces of yes” routine. She mocks the opposition. She refuses to take ownership of the real Lieberal track record.

    She’s also learned that the passage of time heals all wounds, no matter how pungent the scandals and there have been plenty of them. I agree, she’s headed for another acceptance speech.

    1. Question Period is a joke. 3 year old children in the sandbox behave better. Horgan is another joke, just another in a long series for the NDP.

      Performed well? How? Had he somehow managed to elicit a single answer (as opposed to response) from the slippery Clark, perhaps that claim could be made.

      With the private sector unions abandoning the NDP idiotology in favour of jobs to feed their families, the future is not any brighter for the NDamnableP than it has ever been.

  7. First of all let me say I’ve always respected your research and opinions that go into your articles. However now I’m a bit confused. According to your article today, the Liberals are liars and will ( or have ) bankrupt this great Province. You criticize the NDP because you feel they only support the Liberals and the Greens, well they’re showing it’s true colours by supporting private IPP projects.
    It seems there is no one left. I will agree the Liberals should not be re-elected and the arrogance alone of the current Premier is something the good people of BC should be screaming about and call for her resignation. The Greens will never form government because if they follow it’s own mandate then they are truly the party of “No”.
    I’m willing to wait a bit longer to assess the NDP party because I truly believe they deserve an opportunity to govern. So instead of criticizing, may I suggest that you take your wealth of knowledge and offer a sit down with John Horgan to share your expertise. The Liberals and it’s wealthy supporters are raking in the cash at the expense of taxpayers who in most cases just don’t get it because they’re too busy looking for work or trying to make ends meet. The NDP need someone like you on their side and if the NDP ever rejected your offer then they deserve whatever the outcome will be next year. People like you, Norm Farrell, Ross K etc. deserve a lot of credit for what you do. I just hope somehow that expertise can be shared.

    Guy in Victoria

    1. Guy if you believe the NDP deserve a chance to govern then you display an appalling lack of knowledge of the history of that party of losers. I call them a “party” for shorthand because they are nothing more or less than a failed social movement.

      Provincially, Horgan is a failure because no one in the NDP wanted the job and he had to be dragooned into it. Where then is his motivation to succeed? This question assumes (very likely wrongly) he had such ambition to begin with, which is doubtful since he had to take the position at metaphorical gunpoint.

      Federally, Mulcair is a failed liberal and now a failed NDP. If he couldn’t make it in NDP lite (the Libs) whatever made him or the rank and file serfs think he had a chance?

      These and many other factors are what thankfully keep the NDP far away from the levers of power.

      There is no question the other parties are inept and corrupt, but they are still preferable to the ineptness and incompetence of the NDP…if only marginally so.

      1. And here I was hoping for an intelligent reply to my comment. Seems like the Liberal trolls are everywhere.

        Guy in Victoria

        1. Obviously you are incapable of recognizing an intelligent reply. Further, your reply is typical of a socialist drone. You assume anyone who doesn’t toe your ideological line is a liberal ( or a con) and of course, once again you are wrong.

          1. Intelligent? This is what you want? Your postings are nothing more than simply NDP bashing…
            Let’s look at some actual facts;
            About 115 years of politics in BC.
            9 of those years with an NDP government.
            Less than 10% of the time they have formed government. How about the other 104 years?
            If you actually would like to know who is responsible for the shit pile we find ourselves in the blame can hardly be placed upon the shoulders of a party than has formed government 3 times in 115 years.
            So who is ultimately responsible Bud?
            The Liberals? The Socreds? The Conservatives?
            Who’s nutbar economic policies have got us to where we are today?

  8. All lies all the time… you are giving us details on what many of us knew to start with. I remind people that the “service charges” alone on our debt is about 6.5 million PER DAY.
    all lies all the time. corruption like we were 3rd world military dictatorship… but ignorant, unbelievers still vote for more corruption and more debt. NDP is very similar to libs, Greens with Weaver are a complete bust, no cons anywhere…

  9. Hey there Mr. Mair…wish you still had the microphone at CKNW….British Columbia still needs to hear more from you….. Now about your foolish expenditure of “shillings”…. you know of course that the British currency you refer to is no longer in circulation!

    My take on the upcoming provincial election in May 2017 is that it is far too early for you to be spending your hard earned (out-of-circulation) “shillings” on this pony race. A lot can still happen in a year….Site C and foolish dreams about LNG only appeal to so many…(especially when these projects aren’t getting the full environmental consideration they should!)….what British Columbians need is a government that cares about the economy of small communities and jobs for their young people. It also needs a HOUSING PLAN!..more.

    I once had pleasure of having a private lunch with W.A.C. Bennett. When I asked him about his proudest accomplishment of his 20 years as Premier he gave me a somewhat different answer than the one I was expecting (that being the building of his hydro dams)…. He told me that he felt his greatest program was the “BC SECOND MORTGAGE” program that helped young families get into their own home. He thought of that as community building and he put a significant effort into that. Email me privately at jim.bennett@shaw.ca…more.

    The time to wager your “shilling” is after a political party announces a campaign platform that not only supports real jobs for people around our province…but one that also includes a boost for home ownership. — “You’re welcome for this free gambling advice”

  10. Problem is, the only alternative is worse. Don’t think about fast ferries, which were after all only a sop to the unions. Think about Nanaimo Charities being ripped off and I have never heard that the NDP ever paid them back. Perhaps they did. Think about the old folks at Glacier Greens in Comox, Thinks about a government so desperate for tax revenue thy brought in a tax on…wait for it…Road Kill! Fitting though, as they became road kill shortly after. What was it? Two seats? I wonder if they ever paid the tax on all their MLA’s who were run over? All governments are corrupt and always have been.

    1. so you are one of the IDIOTS who voted liberal. You support lies, corruption, anti-democratic behaviour, illegal practises, selling out the environment, and being controlled by donators… thanks… thank a lot

      1. You pretty much describe the NDP pal and only an ideologically blinded person would vote NDP. The libs are bad no question, but the NDP are far worse in every category.

        1. I voted for anyonebutChristy and if it was the NDP……. so be it.
          She’s poison.

          1. Yah, she’s no prize that is certain. In fact the only thing she has going for her is she is not NDP.

      1. I think is was 7%. If you hit a deer or found a recent road kill and took the carcass home you were supposed to report that to the local government agent and pay according to the weight. Do you think that occurred very often? The stupid Liberals kept the ridiculous tax, but dropped it to I think 4%. I doubt it brings in enough to cover what ever it costs.

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