Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The Church Of The Sacred Bleeding RailGate....

(click red box, above, to enlarge)

The part I find most egregious?

After first telling us that we are on the hook for $550 million to CN Rail, we, the citizenry of British Columbia are then patted on the head and told the following:

"...Management believes it is unlikely that the province or the BC Rail Corporation will ultimately be held liable for any amounts under commercial and tax indemnities..."


It's important to remember just who that 'Management' was when that sentence was written in the Spring of 2009.

And once you have done that, I think you will agree with me when I call, as loudly as possible....


The image at the top of the post was taken directly from page 71 of the official 'Public Accounts' summary for 2008/2009 from the Province of British Columbia that was published last spring(careful, large pdf; this year's summary has not, to the best of my knowledge, been published yet).
Oh, and I should mention that, while he did not use that precise word, essentially Vaughn Palmer also called codswallop on this matter this time last year, back when the amount owed was 'only' $505 million.



kootcoot said...

"essentially Vaughn Palmer also called codswallop on this matter this time last year"

Vaughn Palmer CALLED codswallop? I thought he just WROTE codswallop!

RossK said...


The ability to do both is not necessarily mutually exclusive.

(am actually very familiar with this dastardly duality myself)

Norm Farrell said...

We have never seen all the documents respecting the sale of BC Rail but obviously CN was guaranteed that the announced price paid for BCR would be reduced by hundreds of millions. They would gain that money through tax savings or, if that failed, by direct payment with accrued interest.

The contingent liability for BC rose to $560 million in the last fiscal year. It will have increased to about $610 million at March/2010 and rises by about $4 million a month.

Presumably, if CN is able to realize the special income tax savings, that would reduce the contingent liability. If they are unable to get those savings, BC will have to pay them in cash.

Eventually, the BCR related tax reductions that interested CN will be realized or they will expire and trigger BC's payment. Either way, CN gains and taxpayers lose. If they save income taxes, at least the federal government loses the most cash. However, that eventuality will be considered when the feds and the province negotiate cash transfers for whatever reasons so Ottawa may get the refunded tax back from BC but we'll never know it because those trade-offs happen behind closed doors.

People don't have to worry too much about the mechanics of CN getting the money. It is enough to understand that the $1 billion sale price for the railway was wholly fiction. Palmer used that number again in his blog. I commented but it didn't get posted.

Is it possible that the lowly Liberal backbenchers have been too dumb to see the reality of what Campbell and his coterie have accomplished with this former public asset?

RossK said...

Excellent synopsis Norman - thanks too.

I too have posted comments to Mr. Palmer's blogs which point out major inconsistencies in his recent stories with what he has written in the past (see my response to koot above)....Those comments, like yours rarely see the light of day and/or pixel dust after I hit send.

Regarding your question about the possible....I'd say it is most likely definite (and not just with backbenchers - see, for example, two of the fine longterm MLAs from the Prince George area.