Thursday, January 31, 2013

This Day In Snookland...We Don't Need No Stinkin' Auditor General!


There's a budget comin' down.

And there's an election coming too.

Which might have a few of the Wizards of Snooklandia just a wee bit worried, given that there have been concerns in the past about the veracity of the BC Liberal Government's budget projections pre- vs post-....


Luckily, though, we still have a demonstrably independent Auditor General around (at least for the time being) who can have a look at things and tell us what's what before we vote, right?


Here's the press release straight from the Belly of the PAB-Bot-Beasts itself that strongly suggests they are going to do their best that this does not, in point of fact, happen:

VICTORIA - The B.C. government has appointed nationally respected economist Dr. Tim O'Neill to review and assess the economic and revenue projections contained in the upcoming provincial budget, Finance Minister Michael de Jong announced today.

A former chief economist and executive vice-president for the Bank of Montreal, O'Neill will review the work undertaken by finance ministry staff as Budget 2013 is finalized, with a specific focus on the underlying methodologies, processes and material assumptions the government has used in preparing its economic and revenue forecasts.

O'Neill will have the opportunity to review and evaluate all material supporting the Province's economic and revenue forecasts for the 2012-13 through 2015-16 fiscal years, and he will have complete access to Finance ministry staff as needed.

O'Neill will provide the Minister of Finance with a written assessment of the minister's economic and revenue forecasts. He will also be available on budget day to speak about this review...

{snippety doo-dah}

...Finance Minister Michael de Jong -

"Given the ongoing economic uncertainty both in Canada and around the world over the past few years, I believe an external review of our economic and revenue forecasts makes sense at this time. It will also provide British Columbians with added assurance that Budget 2013 is based on sound revenue and economic forecasts."...

Look, no offense to Mr. O'Neill who seems to do this kind of thing for a living, but a group being reviewed does NOT bring in the reviewer itself and call that independent, which is how they are trumpeting this in the public prints.

In addition, this codswallop about how the reviewer will be there to explain the budget projections on budget day itself, at a time when it is Mr. de Jong's duty to explain said projections himself as a representative of the government, is egregious in the extreme.

Therefore, given that, it is my opinion that this is little more than PR cover-publicity/deflector spin stunt.

Which, once again demonstrates that Ms. Clark, her Wizards, and her Ministerial Minions have absolutely no intention of actually governing.

Instead, it really and truly appears that their only intent is to obfuscate just long enough to win an election.

I mean, seriously, can you imagine this bunch unleashed, once again, for four more years?

How much would we owe to IPP's by then...$100 billion? $500 billion? A cool trillion?




Grant G said...

Tim Oneill, from the CD Howe institute, the price..


Actually Ross..This ploy will make matters worse, they are so stupid(liberals)..


It`s obvious that Mike De Jong knows his revenue projections will be sketchy, doubtful, hoping beyond hope that LNG rises, lumber prices rise..

anyone with half-a-brain will realize that if the budget is truly balanced, and believable..

You wouldn`t need a spinner to soothe the masses.

And more..

De Jong is using the same crystal ball gazing economists Colin Hansen used in 2009.

One more thing, Mike De Jong will not just claim a balanced budget, he will be claiming a $600 million dollar surplus..

A birdie whispered in my ear.


Anonymous said...

This is almost as laughable as the "FAIRNESS COMMISSIONAIRE" when the shit hit the fan over the BC Rail give away, as far as im concerned if you have to have a fairness hack make a ruling, its gotta be suspect.

Bill said...

Christy and her hamsters just keep spinning, it would actually be quite entertaining if was not so damaging to our future. Totally agree with anon above and Grant.

The Auditor General has been doing an admiral job of accounting on the cooked books and many other highly questionable Liberal "practices". Typical that they now proudly announce wasting more of our money to cover/ deflect their misdeeds and attempt to further discredit Mr Doyle and the truth.

The circus continues.

Anonymous said...

I dissent on this one slightly. Finance Ministry revenue projections tend to be pretty conservative I believe. But I don't expect that issues with deferral accounts to go away.

But there is the spin: and what it shows to me is an admission that the public will not trust deJong on his own. It's a big admission, and it's quite correct. - Merv

RossK said...


But isn't that the thing....

That they are going to boost those conservative Finance Min projections in the hopes of bamboozling us into ignoring the deferrals, etc.


Anonymous said...

Agreed Ross! It's all about the politics now, and the hackery will have to be countered fairly and accurately with whatever folks have at their disposal (ie. not the Bill Good show :-) - Merv

North Van's Grumps said...

Explain this to me again Rossk.

We have An Auditor General, we're paying for an Auditor General, who's job description doesn't actually say that he CAN'T advise on the Budget before the money has been spent by the BC Liberals to get election...... and then find themselves deeper in debt than the electorate.

Why is it that the BC Liberals are not calling upon the AG's wealth of experience to advise them on how NOT to COOK the Books? Christy, instead, is calling someone who's reputation will be on the line to bolster sagging "popularity"

And if that someone fails to meet his suggestion, will they remember him or the crooks that cooks the books?

Maybe the Real plan of attack by the BC Liberals Budget of 2013/2014 is that their spending habits won't be made available to the AG until well AFTER he leaves in Two Years time?

Anonymous said...

Any Linkedin users?

Speaking of deferral accounts - a PhD in economics does not an accountant make.

Anonymous said...

Most of the BC Liberal Ministers, of Campbell's...Are still here with Christy. During Campbell's two election lies, most of them were there. The BCR wasn't for sale. The HST wasn't on Campbell's radar.

The BC citizens were forced to pay Campbell, for stealing from us. Basi/Virk were the fall guys, for the theft and corrupt sale of our BCR. De Jong thieved our tax dollars to pay their legal fees. No matter how hard, De Jong tries to pretty that up. BC citizens are very aware of BC's judicial system, from the trial of, the theft and sale of our BCR. The BC judicial system may support De Jong on this. However, the people of BC do not.

If De Jong needs another monkey, to do his job for him? Then he needs to resign. De Jong is a total waste of our tax dollars, AGAIN!!! I was never permitted to hire another monkey, to do my job for me, never in my entire life.

Anonymous said...

If this guy was "respected" he wouldn't be working for the Liebrels in the first place.
The graft and corruption party need to tell British Colombians who they plan on selling BC Hydro to if by some divine intervention they form the next government.
God, I need to wash my mouth out just at the thought.


Anonymous said...

You commenters all agree on one thing :The BC Liberals singularly and collectively are a bunch of crap!
I wonder what percentage of 'the people of BC' (Anonymous 10:40) are represented by those of us 'BC Citizens' who follow the blogs of(Ross K, Laila, Norm, Harvey, AGT, Ian).
We do well preaching to the choir, but how large is the choir?
Just asking.
John's Aghast

Chris said...

I guess it's just me who longs for the old days when reporters were required to have enough expertise to cover these things themselves.. And could deliver ... remember that? When they'd actually send a business/political reporter to cover a budget and then interview an independent selection of experts for comment?


Ok then, back to my rocking chair.

And my gin.

Scotty on Denman said...

BC's ideologically polarization looked unshakable. Voters consciously subscribed even against their best interests; the habit was strong. I agree with Merv and Ross that ethics has largely replaced ideology in this election. First check out the (far-from-exhaustive) ledger of lies-- beginning with the rise of Gordon Campbell-- after almost a century of left/right polarization:

The Glen Clark smear / BC Rail Lie phase (enter Campbell)
The BC Rail corruption Trial phase (Campbell maintains)
The HST Lie phase (Campbell falls, enter Christy)
The Early Election Lie phase (Christy begins slide...)
The Families First Lie phase ( Christy gains speed...)
The Pre-election Budget Lie phase ( ...too late to slow down).

It took Campbell just ten years of lies to finally to shake voters out of their habitual diametric polarization, Christy just a few months to prove the BC Liberals irredeemable and this final year to confirm this government's eye-ball rolling mendacity.

Though they'll try, it's too late to resubstitute ideology as the decisive factor. This election's about ethical integrity which the BC Liberals abused until the hundred year old fever of polarization finally broke. Now they're toast.

RossK said...

Sorry to be slow everybody...Was a busy day in sci-geekland..



$600 million on the plus side?


What are they going to cut out of expenditures?...Schools?...Parks?...Old people?



I agree...When in trouble go to 'blue ribbon' 'independents'...

The real issue here, however, will be, as Merv pointed out, the 'scope' of Mr. O'Neill's analysis.

(the same thing happened with the BC Rail Fairness Advisor...Remember, they didn't even talk directly to the complaining RailCo's...Thus, they concluded that everything was fine because everyone they talked to said that was the case)




They clearly do NOT want the already demonstrably independent and willing to wide range investigate AG going anywhere near this in, say, April.

(and note that the whisper smears have already begun...see post from yesterday reading stuff being floated on the Twittmobile)


I think the answers to your questions are actually in the questions themselves.



I have one of those three letter things and, while I work in the biomedical realm, I am not, by any means, a real doctor.

Anon-Down-Thread and CGHZD--

All hyperbole aside, I think this is the critical question regardless your ideological bent...Do you really want these folks unleashed, post-election to ratchet up their insanely destructive fiscal rampage?


Yours is great question that I (and other bloggers I know) think about a lot.

In my case I'm pretty sure I'm mostly preaching to the choir, but occasionally stuff that gets discussed here gets out to the wider world...In addition, there is stuff in the archives that is actually useful to various folks...For example, we have had a lot of hits the last few weeks coming in from all over using various BC Rail-associated search terms.

I'd guess most folks that visit Ian's site regularly also have a similar world view to him - but that's OK, because I think stuff of his kind is a tonic for the troops...Additionally, the stuff he has gotten out via FOI has gotten the attention of a wider audience that includes pols and pro-Journos (and the best freelancers)

However, in the case of Laila, AGT and Harvey O's blogs I think there are two important things to note...First I'm pretty sure they have a pretty big audience compared to a little F-troop place like mine..Second, I don't think they are preaching to the choir based on the wide-ranging POV's in the comments - and that is a good thing.

Finally, there are the diggers who I think do a fantastic job - and that includes NVG and Grant G (I know some folks don't always enjoy Grant's hyperbole, but he really does dig up a lot of interesting stuff).

And now that I've started down this road I really, really don't want to miss anybody...Kootcoot, for example, and his righteous indignation...Kim and her perspectives that are so similar to my own, but different enough that I often see something in a different way after reading something from her...and Karen's really positive, and life-affirming way of looking at things from a very different less 'Lotuslandian' place.

Finally, if you are not reading Mr. Beer 'N Hockey you are just plain missing out.

Crap - forgot about Paul Willcocks and Jody Paterson too - Jody had an interesting perspective piece on 'Dr.' (there's that Fudd again) Suzuki recently.

All those folks come up on the sidebar.


RossK said...



Beat writers are where it's really at.

Heckfire - I think we could use a good one or three to cover a particularly important and complex story of a maritime bent around here right now.


RossK said...

Helluva comment Scotty.


(btw - threads like this are one of the reasons I still enjoy the 'running-out-the-linear-type-as-much-you-want' aspect of macro-blogging...This kind of thoughtful discussion just doesn't come out on the Twittmobile, even between discussants with the best of intentions)