Saturday, January 17, 2015

Palmer v. Farrell....Five Billion Here And Five Billion There Is Real Money.


Vaughn Palmer wrote a column last week (which is still easy to find on the VSun website, by the way) in which he concluded that a significant portion of the BC Hydro debt is all the NDP's fault.

Based on unimpeachable sources (eg. the statements of Gordon Campbell and current BC Liberal government press-type releases etc.), Mr. Palmer figures that the Dippers from way back when (i.e. starting in 1992) scooped $2.5 billion out of Hydro and dumped it into general revenue. The Dean of the Lotuslandian Legislative Press Gallery then goes on to surmise that that number has since risen kinda/sorta modestly to $5.4 billion under the BC Liberals which has led to a borrowing hole of $3.2 billion.

And Mr. Palmer's point?

Well, as near as I can figure it, it is designed to inform us, with all the established credibility (and top-drawer access of insider boweevel info) that he can muster that 'both sides do it' and that they always will.

Norm Farrell, who is crazy enough to eschew all that boweevil insider info business and actually comb through publicly accessible financial databases in detail has come to the conclusion that the good Mr. Palmer's numbers and conclusions are falsely equivalent in the extreme:

...Since 2001, BC Hydro payments to government total almost $10 billion and it does not take a graduate degree in finance to know, had that money not been paid out, the crown corporation's borrowings would be reduced by the same amount. It is an illogical fiction to pretend that only $3.2 billion had to be borrowed to make payments to government during the past 23 years...

And, for good measure, Mr. Farrell has the following to say about the Tale of Two Clarks chapter in this saga:

... (Mr.) Palmer could also have reported that when Glen Clark became Premier, BC Hydro's long-term debt was $7.496 billion and, when he left the office three years later, it was $7.474 billion. When Christy Clark became Premier, the utility's debt was $11.712 billion. According to the September 2014 financial statements, the debt was $16.588 billion, not the lesser amount from ten months ago noted on the BC Liberal's press notes...

It's really a superlative, fact-backed fisking by Norm and you should go read his entire post.


My take?

The real problem we have 'round here is NOT the boweevils who pump out all that insider access.

Instead, it is those that use rely on it to keep on keepin' on (and on and on and on).




Anonymous said...

Norm is getting close, BUT...

- His table only goes back to 2001 and it needs to back to 1993 like his chart does (1991 would be better).

- There needs to be a column that shows how much of the dividend was deficit debt financed each year.


While going through this I saw Mike Harcourt turned 72 on Jan. 6 (b. 1943) ... I remember him as a spry 50 something bounding about gladhanding.

RossK said...

Point very well taken Anon--

(and 72 is the new 51!)


Anonymous said...

Alberta losing money also
R3 resource royalties ripoff?

RossK said...


And didn't I read somewhere that Jimmy the P, he of the Albertalands, has recently been floating the idea of a sales tax?

The Horror!


Anonymous said...