Friday, September 30, 2016

This Friday In Clarkland...The Snubbering.


So, why, exactly did the Haida tell our fine premier to stay home today?

Some problem with that cheque for a study for a school that is not hers to build?

Worried about another mega-project that would turn out to be equivalent of eating iron filings?

Well, actually, as Richard Zussman of the MoCo tells us, it was something much bigger:

After a week of trailing the royal couple, B.C. Premier Christy Clark was asked by the Haida Nation not to come to Friday's event.

The community is opposed to the controversial Pacific NorthWest LNG project that received approval from the federal government this week.

"We have some outstanding issues with the premier in regards to a lot of issues. We believe the respectful thing to do would be to resolve those issues before coming in on the heels of the Royals," said Peter Lantin, president of the Haida Nation.

"If you want to deal with the real issues, deal with them in real time and not on a day that is so important to us."...

And how did our fine Premier respond?

Well, pretty much just as you might have expected:

...The premier's office said Clark called Lantin on Wednesday and told him she was not going to be able to come to Haida Gwaii because of her gruelling schedule, not because she was asked not to come....

Imagine that!


This Day In Lotusland...What's a BC/Fed Lib Tag Team Approval Really Worth?


Well, well, well....

Looks like that big approval announcement by the Clarklandians and the Feds, no doubt brokered, at least in part, by Marky Mark and the KloutKlub, was just what the fine folks from Petronas were waiting for according to Reuters:

Malaysian state oil firm Petroliam Nasional Bhd is considering selling its majority stake in a $27-billion Canadian liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant, three people familiar with the matter said this week...


Who are the real rubes now?

Thanks to reader SH for the heads-up.


These Days In Clarkland...Who's Dusting Now?



According to Mikey Mike of The Province, our fine Premier has said that the still to be birthed deal with Petronas is done like dinner.

Or the dusting.

Or the finest of the fine dust of the angels.

Or some such thing:

...“We have signed the agreement,” Clark said. “It is set. It is done and dusted.”...

Which sure does sound good and emphatically done.

But then Mikey Mike, catching up with the idiots blogging in their PJ's, noted what Big Rich had to say before he donned his Darth Vader mask for the day:

...Coleman was recently quoted in a Business in Vancouver magazine article as saying he would “quite likely” meet with the project’s backers to “restart our discussions in and around our project development agreement.”

Why would Coleman reopen a deal that critics had already said was too sweet for the companies?

“Because the price of gas in Asia right now is so cheap,” he said. “The numbers have really got to be tightened down.”...

Now, in the 'credit where credit' is due department, that is column writing well done.

And if it had ended right there Mikey would have gotten a gold star.

Too bad he then wrote this:

...Whether the Clark government does a taxation limbo dance just to deliver at least one LNG project remains to be seen.

For now, Clark is clearly thrilled that she at least has one approved project to show for all her promises in the last election, with another election quickly approaching...

Why does this bug me?

Because past performance indicates what is very likely really going to happen, not to mention the fact that Mr. Smyth is tacitly admitting that, around here at least, flack-hackery beats substance every time.

Now, why is that I wonder?

And, of course, I'm pretty sure somebody, maybe somebody really obvious who is not Harvey O, will soon let us know how big a political win this all is for the Clarklandian wizardry and their KloutKlub-assisted federal enablers even though not long ago they also wrote that the complete lack of real actual sparkle ponies in our midst despite all the promises last time doesn't really matter because of the booming economy....errrrr...real estate bubble.


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

This Week In Clarkland: The Iron Boo Bird.


The Royals came to town.

And the locals booed one of their own.

Personally, I do not think of the Monarchist League as being stuffed to the gills with rabid Dipper lovers and the poors.


What would Ms. Thatcher think?

"...I had the privilege of seeing Margaret Thatcher in action when I lived in Britain, as a student for a year. She is a woman who endured the most withering kinds of criticism any woman, anyone, in politics in the last 50 years has endured. But she never ever waivered. She stuck to her guns, every single day. She pulled that country back from the brink, I would argue, by sheer of will. Everyone. Around the world knew what Margaret Thatcher stood for..."


That payback thing, especially when it is larded up with academic tourism sauce and rancid political expediency chutney, sure is something, eh?


This Day In Clarkland: How Many More Farms...

...Will Big Rich Sell?

Grant G. has the real story behind the latest  developments down at the Sparkle Pony Farm:

...Coleman said it is “quite likely” that he would meet in October with the president of Petronas in Malaysia and the presidents of the four minority partners to “restart our discussions in and around our project development agreement (PDA).”...


Someone needs to ask Rich Coleman what the hell is going on, ask him how you restart talks on a PDA enshrined by legislation....ask Rich Coleman when will the BC Liberal sellout government bring forth a new PDA?..I won't hold my breath waiting for Keith Baldrey or Michael Smyth to ask to tough questions...

Lastly....I said it many many times..."The only way Petronas will build an LNG plant is if we pay them to take the gas"...


And did you see how much the Feds have downgraded Big Rich's most sparkly 'jobs numbers' with their pay-to-play announcement yesterday?



Monday, September 26, 2016

The Real Ones To Watch Tonight.



I won't really be watching what Mr. Trump and Ms. Clinton do or say because we already pretty much know what that will go (i.e. bombast vs. policy).

Instead, I will be watching the proMedia afterwards.


Well, how about we let Krugzilla explain...

"...If the media report on the debates the way they did in 2000 – if substance is replaced by descriptions of Clinton’s facial expressions, her sighs, or how she “comes across,” while downplaying Trump’s raw lies, say hello to the Trump White House. And history will not forgive the people who made it possible..."


Monday afternoon update...Bloomberg says it is going to fact-check on-screen...I think I just found my network of real time choicyness...


Sunday, September 25, 2016

If We Had Yearly Elections Would We Have A Dipper Government Run By The BC Liberals?


First, there was the sloppily enacted Dipper-driven housing policy.

And now, as force-fed both-siderist Mikey-Mike of The Province notes, it's education and schools 'n stuff:

...Last week, B.C. Education Minister Mike Bernier said the government would drop a controversial 95-per-cent school-occupancy target before approving costly seismic upgrades.

“Student safety is our top priority,” Bernier said, while repeating that the Liberal government is committed to “upgrading or replacing all high-risk schools.”...

All of which seems great and all.

Except, of course, all of the Clarklandians announcements are little more than limited hangouts designed to generate media deflector spike-spin rather than actually fix a problem created by longstanding BC Liberal party policy.


As noted by Dermod Travis of Integrity BC and Norm Farrell of In-Sights, the 'Cronification of Everything' continues unabated.



Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Felice Brothers Are (Still) Coming!

Simply put, this might be one of the most powerful bits of aural melancholia that I have ever heard.

And, if I hadn't stumbled across this recently, I might be a little worried for all that seems to flow right through young Ian into his fingers and voice, unadorned and unfiltered.

The Brothers Felice and friends, including Tom Sniderincandationish Aaron Lee Tasjan, are coming to Lotusland Friday Oct 14th at the Cobalt.


Friday, September 23, 2016

Something Important Is About To Happen Above Site C That Nobody Knows About


Alison of Creekside has the story.

Here is her lede:

In two days, the deadline for public input into BC Hydro's request to log crown land slated for Provincial Park status above the Site C dam will close.

So why are you only just now hearing about this on a blog? Good question...

Go read it all and act if you feel that due process still matters around here.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Boss, He Be Coming In Longform Linear Type.


The autobiography, all 500 pages of it, will be released next Tuesday, just in time for a certain birthday if any of my kids are paying attention.

And the early reviews are strong.

Me, I particularly like the following passage from Richard Ford in The Times:

...It helps that Springsteen can write — not just life-­imprinting song lyrics but good, solid prose that travels all the way to the right margin. I mean, you’d think a guy who wrote “Spanish Johnny drove in from the underworld last night / With bruised arms and broken rhythm and a beat-up old Buick . . .” could navigate his way around a complete and creditable American sentence. And you’d be right. Oh, there are a few gassy bits here and there, a jot too much couch-inspired hooey about the “terrain inside my own head.” A tad more rock ’n’ roll highfalutin than this reader really needs — though the Bruce enthusiasts down in Sea-Clift won’t agree with me. No way. But nothing in “Born to Run” rings to me as unmeant or punch-pulling. If anything, Springsteen wants credit for telling it the way it really is and was. And like a fabled Springsteen concert — always notable for its deck-clearing thoroughness — “Born to Run” achieves the sensation that all the relevant questions have been answered by the time the lights are turned out. He delivers the story of Bruce — in digestibly short chapters — via an informally steadfast Jersey plainspeak that’s worked and deftly detailed and intimate with its readers — cleareyed enough to say what it means when it has hard stories to tell, yet supple enough to rise to occasions requiring eloquence — sometimes rather pleasingly subsiding into the syntax and rhythms of a Bruce Springsteen song: “So we all made do,” he writes about his parents’ abrupt move from Freehold to California, in 1969, leaving him behind. “My sister vanished into ‘Cowtown’ — the South Jersey hinterlands — and I pretended none of it really mattered. You were on your own — now and forever. This sealed it. Plus, a part of me was truly glad for them, for my dad. Get out, Pops! Out of this [expletive] dump.”...

And from that, the making of the following which is, maybe I guess, the flipside of Jungleland:

Oh, and just so you know...The review by David Brooks in The Atlantic is as just as unctuous and atrocious as you would predict it to be...You have been warned. 


An Important Message From Left Blogistan, Southern Division.


One of the last of the single shingle bloggers from the original American Left Blogistan, and a spawn of the late, great Steve Gilliard, Driftglass, has something important to say about where he and his fellow liberals are 12 years after the re-election of post-Iraq invasionist, Bush the Younger:

...(T)welve years later, we who have been right about the Right all along have no need to apologize or explain ourselves to anyone. We have earned our Bachelor's and PhD's in "Dead Wrong All Along" Wingnut studies the hard way, grinding it out, doing our homework, reading and writing day after day, year after year. And we know from bitter experience that it is not enough for the Republican candidate to be profoundly unqualified, or for him to sh*t himself in public over and over again. We know that the Right really are a basket of deplorables who are beyond the power to reason or civic redemption. We know from bitter experience that the media -- who should have been reporting the Right's descent into madness with escalating alarm every day over the last twelve years -- have abandoned their posts and sold us out for money and ratings.

Once again we find the only thing we can count on is each other. Getting the unregistered to get registered. Getting the souls to the polls.

Once again, it falls to the dirty hippies to help protect America from its worst impulses and ugliest demagogues...

And if we Canuckistanians of a certain persuasion think were are safe from this scourge and/or the good Mr. O'Leary for now and forever in the wake of our temporary rush to the center to elect Trudeau the Younger, do not forget that his reign (like that of that other pseudo-centrist Barry O) will someday end.



Why Anyone Who Cares About Democracy Should Be Listening To Cathy O'Neil


From Ms. O'Neil's recent interview with Jacobin about her book 'Weapons Of Math Destruction, How Big Data Increases Inequality And Threaten's Democracy':

"...I wrote the book because I think there is considerable harm being done by destructive algorithms, and as a mathematician I’m in a unique position to explain those harms. I worked as a hedge fund quant during the 2008 financial crisis and as a data scientist at the height of the big data revolution. So I have been living behind the scenes, and I know how this stuff works.

At the same time, I’m an occupier. I joined Occupy in October 2011, forming and facilitating the alternative banking group, which has met weekly at Columbia University since then. Our weekly discussions have established a lens through which I’ve learned to examine the world, especially as it connects to money and power.

So now when I come across an automated decision-making system, I always wonder who is benefiting from that system, and who is suffering. And the conclusion I keep coming to when considering systems that rely on algorithms, is that poor people, black and brown people, and the mentally ill are consistently being shut out by these algorithmic black-box structures..."

Ms. O'Neil's thoughts regularly appear over on left side-bar under the title of her blog 'Math Babe'. 

It's stuff well worth paying attention to.

And, just in case you missed it, Ms. O'Neil's book is a best-seller with a bullet in....Canada.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Harvey And Barry O Both Go Full Metal Union.


From Mr. Oberfeld's blog:

...I found Obama was at his intellectual best (during his speech to the UN General Assembly) in recognizing and dissecting a bigger world-wide problem … the growing dissatisfaction by workers in MANY developed nations with globalization of trade … and the growing gap between the rich and the rest of us...


...“I do believe there’s another path — one that fuels growth and innovation, and offers the clearest route to individual opportunity and national success. It does not require succumbing to a soulless capitalism that benefits only the few, but rather recognizes that economies are more successful when we close the gap between rich and poor, and growth is broadly based.

“And that means respecting the rights of workers so they can organize into independent unions and earn a living wage. It means investing in our people — their skills, their education, their capacity to take an idea and turn it into a business. It means strengthening the safety net that protects our people from hardship and allows them to take more risks — to look for a new job, or start a new venture.”...

Imagine that!


Monday, September 19, 2016

This Election Year In Clarkland...The Double Gouge.


On the weekend we noted that the egregious gouging of the British Columbian citizenry via the regressive MSP premium will account for direct revenues of 2.5 billion dollars this fiscal year.

Which, of course, is more than the entire BCLiberal 'surplus'.

Which is bad enough given how regressively this money is collected from the citizenry, even with the so-called recent 'fixes'.

But then an Anon-O-Mouse chimed in with the following in the comments:

...$2.5 billion does not represent the total take of the government resulting from charging MSP premiums. Regardless of whether that $2.5 billion is paid by individuals or by their business or employer, that represents real dollars into the treasury.

This is an assumption:

If 50 percent of individuals have their MSP premiums paid by their business or employer, 50 percent of the $2.5 billion appears as a taxable benefit on their T4-slips. The amounts appearing on T4-slips equals $1.25 billion.

Now MSP premiums paid on behalf of an individual is a taxable benefit and income tax is paid at the highest marginal tax rate by that individual. Assuming an average British Columbia marginal tax on net income for affected individuals as 15 percent, 15% of $1.25 billion is paid as income tax to the provincial government. That equals $187 million in additional government revenue totaling $2.6875 billion. I doubt the income tax generated from MSP as a taxable benefit is segregated as MSP revenue. For affected individuals, this is double taxation...

Gosh,  that extra $187 million further gouged out of the backs of the citizenry sure does sound 'complicated', does it not?

Well, given that...

Where did I hear our fine Premier tell us how it is so very difficult to scrap the regressive MSP premium because everything associated with it is just so darned 'complicated'?

Ah, yes, I remember now.

It was in a conversation Ms. Clark had with the Dean of the Legislative Press Gallery back in ancient times as far as BCLiberal party policy goes (i.e. it was in August of this year):

...“The things that I said (before about MSP premiums), I still believe them,” she told me during an interview on Voice of B.C. on Shaw TV Thursday. “It’s not progressive. It’s complicated. And it’s another burden that we put on families.”

Then the caveat: “Unfortunately, it’s turned out to be a very complicated thing to try and change, which I guess is why no government has ever done it or never really tried.”...


Leaving aside that Clarklandian guess about why no 'government' (without the term 'BC Liberal' in front of it) has done anything either fair or equitable, what, exactly, is that 'complicated' stuff all about, anyway?

Shall we head back to the Dean's chambers to see if our fine Premier can give us a word salad-addled hint:

...(A)s Clark noted, one of the challenges here in B.C. is that many working people don’t actually pay them. Rather, premiums are paid by their employers as part of labour contracts or other terms of employment, albeit as a taxable benefit.

“This is one of the complications,” said the premier. “You’re talking about large employers. If we were to roll all of it into the tax system, none of those large employers would pay anymore.”...

Oh boy.

Even when she almost kinda/sorta tells the truth the good Ms. Clark can't quite bring herself to say (or see?) that it is the average Joe and/or Jill that is really getting screwed.

Families first!

And how much might the double gouge cost the average Jack or Jill?...Norm Farrell chimed in with the following in the comments: "For people who have employers paying half the cost of family medical coverage, the result may be up to $432 a year in extra income tax."


Sunday, September 18, 2016

This Sunday In Clarkland...The Factinator.


Looks like our fine Premier, who is scared to get her clock cleaned, again, by David Eby in Vancouver Point Grey next May, has decided to play fast and loose with the latest developments in Real Estate Bubble Town.

Emily Lazatin of CKNW has the story about how Ms. Clark is Winnie-The-Pooh-Poohing the fact that Mr. Eby recently demonstrated that there are 'students' with big Canadian bank-backed mortgages who own multi-million dollar homes in Point Grey:

...“You know I also question the facts (Clark said), you (sic) got to question the source a little bit there. So, I don’t know if the fact (sic) are correct.”...

Oh ya?

And when, exactly, did Ms. Clark stop stiffing her West Kelowna sommelier?

If you get my drift.


As Bob Mackin points out on the Twittmachine, Mr. Eby's documentation-backed 'facts' came straight outta Ms. Clark's Compton (a.k.a.  the Land Title and Survey Authority)....Double sheesh.


Are Liar Loans Helping Inflate The Vancouver Real Estate Bubble?


A Joanne Lee-Young piece in Postmedia suggests that might be the case. Here is her lede:

The prospective buyers of a $2.46 million Richmond home put down a $120,000 deposit. When they were turned down at three major national banks for financing to complete the deal, an employee at RBC Royal Bank of Canada and a real estate agent at Richmond-based Metro Edge Realty advised them to exaggerate and/or fake assets in China in order to qualify for a mortgage here, according to a notice of civil claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court. None of the allegations in the claim have been proven in court...

The real estate company concerned has denied each and every allegation.

The bank concerned has declined comment.

It will be most interesting to find out what comes out in court.


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Stop The Presses...The Felice Brothers Are Coming!

They're in Toronto tonight at the Horseshoe.

And they'll be in Lotusland Friday night Oct 14th.

Get your tickets now!

And the bonus when they get to the Cobalt in Vancouver?....The opener is Aaron Lee Tasjan...Me thinks the stars just may be aligning for thee and me.


This Fiscal Year In Clarkland: You've Got To Pick A Pocket Or Two...

...To Bring In $2.5 Billion Dollars.

Never mind that 4 percent MSP increase removal for 2017 thingy that the Clarklandians have bamboozled the Lotuslandian proMedia into focussing on over the past few news cycles (Ooooooh! Look! Shiny!!!)...

Because Dermod Travis of Integrity BC has instead noted the fee-for service gouging that has been going on during the entirety of the years of Clarklandia:

Moving out from individuals to the entirety of the British Columbian citizenry, the prediction by Cookie Dough Mike and his minions is that MSP will bring in a collectively regressive $2,549,000,000 this fiscal year (see pg 127).


First: No other government in Canada hauls in money in this completely non-progressive way.

Second: Take away that $2.5B gouge/regressive pretend-it's-not-a-tax and Cookie Dough's new prediction of a $1.9B surplus is completely gone.

Assuming, of course, I still know how to do the new anti-Clarklandian math which is based on fee-for-service subtraction.


Given all that, should we be surprised that the good Ms. Clark is suddenly running around (again) saying that she is going to reform things (for absolute sure this time) because she says "I really don't like the way MSP works."

And, even more so, should we be surprised that proMedia organs like the CBC play this codswallop straight-up?


For those not from BC, those premiums above are monthly...Annual fees are $900 for individuals and $1,800 for families.


This Weekend In Clarkland...The Heartlessness Of Cookie Dough Mike.


The Clarklandian Finance Minister on why he and his leader (and, presumably, their patrons who pay for all that they do) forced the bus pass claw back on our fellow citizens who need our help most:

“They’re exercising a new-found freedom and choice that heretofore didn’t exist,” de Jong said. “So that was the whole purpose of the exercise: to give people choice.”

I mean, even the Tin Man...

 Tip-O-The-Toque to Laila Yuile on the Twittmachine.

And, I for one, couldn't help but note how the proMedia 'round here focused almost exclusively on the 10% of the folks who need our help chose food over their bus pass...Why?...Because that means that 90% made the 'choice' to do the opposite...Think about that flip-side for a minute.
Quote is from Bob Mackin's piece in BIV.


Friday, September 16, 2016

Who Might Be Helping To Fold All That The Vancouver Real Estate Laundry?


Following up on the discussion we had yesterday about who might benefit from any and all laundering 'round here, Sam Cooper of Postmedia has been good enough to delve into this a little more in his latest piece:

...In a new report, the Financial Action Task Force, a Paris-based intergovernmental group that makes recommendations for fighting money laundering, said Canada has improved standards since the agency’s last evaluation in 2007. But “law enforcement results are not commensurate with the money laundering risk, and asset recovery is low."...


...A major theme of the agency’s report is that compared to other countries, Canada is at significant risk for money laundering because in 2015 Canadian lawyers won a Supreme Court case exempting them from financial reporting rules that professionals such as bankers and realtors must follow. The constitutional challenge was launched by lawyers in B.C., using client confidentiality arguments.

The agency report suggests that money laundering in real estate and services provided by lawyers, such as creating investment vehicles that can shield true ownership of property, go hand-in-hand...


Say it ain't so Sam.

Say it ain't so.


This Day In Clarkland....Thirty-Six Dollars.


The following is lifted straight from Finance minister's latest bit of PAB-Botian puff-fluffery:

...Higher revenues also mean the B.C. government is cancelling the planned 4% increase to MSP premiums, and those eligible for Regular Premium Assistance will see a 4% reduction of their premium beyond what was announced with Budget 2016. Cancelling the January 2017 premium increase and keeping regular MSP premiums at 2016 levels will save adults up to $36 per year...


A temporary reduction on the already ridiculously egregious?


How did that Clarklandian gambit, pre-election 2013,  ultimately work out for the Rubes....errrr....fine upstanding citizens who are forced to use the ice-bomb bridge everyday, especially for those who are late with their 'payments'?


My Morning Ride...


Noticed this morning....

Riley Park sure is looking park-like these days.

30th and Ontario, across the street from Nat Bailey and Hillcrest pool. 


Thursday, September 15, 2016

When You Do A Whole Lot Of Laundry Aren't You Going To Make Bubbles?


Regarding the Lotuslandian RealEstate situation, it sure is amazing what a little concerted shining of light into the corners of a real story by the proMedia can do, eh?

And three of the carriers of the biggest flashlights have been Ian Young of the SCMP, Kathy Tomlinson of the Globe and Sam Cooper of Postmedia.

Yesterday, in the wake of the latest revelations, Mr. Cooper had this to say on the Twittmachine:

Now that is some bombshell if Mr. Cooper has the documentary evidence to back it up (and so far, he always has had the goods).

But then, downthread, in response to a conversation with a guy that is not me, Mr. Cooper went one step further:


I guess the real question is...

If this is really the case, why has no one been held to account?

Or, put another way...

Who benefits from such a lack of accounting?

And, just to be clear, it's not just proMedia members who have been carrying the high wattage flashlights...


HydroVille...Can Those IPP Contracts Be Canned?


In the wake of Norm Farrell's excellent Tyee piece on Hydro and his follow-up visit with Jon McComb on CKNW, we've had a bit of discussion around here about whether or not we can dump those most egregious IPP contracts that are costing us billions.

As a result, a sharp Anon-O-Mouse had this to say:

...Yes the "throwing out of signed contracts" can easily be done, as was done then. Indeed the use of "orders in council" to remove what can be deemed as unreasonable or questionable contracts, in terms of taxpayers ability to fund and or pay for them, could be used. The legal ramifications? Not many, if at all. While the bluff factor may be employed by the IPP's, I believe the risk they took initially, probably takes this into account...

A most interesting POV don't you think?


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

This Day In Clarkland...Where Are The Data Mr. De Jong?



Just where are those foreign buyer numbers Cookie Dough Mike promised us?

After a speedy start, it seems it’s taking much longer for the province to release new data on homes being bought by foreign nationals than it has in the past.

New numbers haven’t been released since mid-July, even though the finance minister had agreed to produce the data monthly...


Why are Canadian Banks furiously pumping helium into the Lotuslandian Real Estate Bubble?

First linked story from Jill Drews of CKWX 1130.
Second linked story from Kathy Tomlinson of the Globe....Ron of all obviousness has a follow-up...Here.


My Morning Ride...


What's with the pre-8:00am traffic jams on Blenheim, anyway?

I mean, I know Lotusland is becoming a North-South kind of place, but this getting ridiculous.


Has the Westside suddenly developed some sort of (notreallythat) early morning work ethic-type thing?


Monday, September 12, 2016

Where Everybody Knows His Name...



Writing on BC Hydro in The Tyee.

Here is Mr. Farrell's kicker:

...BC Hydro came into existence because private enterprise failed to meet power needs and a premier stood up for citizens who faced electricity prices set at punishing levels.

Now, badly managed BC Hydro is trending toward failure unless electricity prices are raised to punishing levels. Unlike W.A.C. Bennett, B.C.’s current premier is not standing up for citizens and small businesses.

With more than $50 billion in contractual obligations to private power producers, billions committed to Site C construction and billions in deferred expenses that will have to be covered in the future, BC Hydro faces a crippling financial crisis.

Special interests and private companies are benefiting. And the public will pick up the bill...

If you haven't already, go read it all.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Bloggodome Files.


What with summer holidays and all, I fell a little behind in my reading of the best of the local long form blogs over the past month or so.

And the best of those just may be Paul Ramsey's 'Clever Elephant'. A few weeks ago Paul gave us an in-depth breakdown of our New Era government's latest expenditures on IT outsourcing:

...(I)n this year’s analysis of IT outsourcing we have a surprise result: total spending on IT contractors by the BC central government actually fell in the 2015/16 budget year.

The fall-off is almost entirely the result of a collapse of billings to the central government by IBM, though Deloitte had a small fall-off also.

Other IT contractors continued to bill heartily, including massive category leader HP Advanced Systems (HPAS) who billed a very respectable $163,499,787. For comparison, that’s more than was spent on the Ministries of Energy & Mines, Agriculture, Small Business, and International Trade, combined...


...The fall-off is almost entirely the result of a collapse of billings to the central government by IBM, though Deloitte had a small fall-off also.

Since 2010, IBM’s billings to central government have fallen in four of the last six years, which leads me to a question: what’s the matter with Big Blue?

After further research, the answer is this: nothing at all. Big Blue is doing just fine. It turns out that the fall off in IBM billing to central government has been more than offset by a massive increase in IBM billing to the Provincial Health Authorities...


...When Health Authority spending is taken into acount, IBM revenue from the BC government has not fallen at all. It has instead been on an almost unbroken tear upwards, taking total government IT outsourcing spending to just under $700 million dollars in 2014/15...

Paul also chronicles how underwhelming the spending has been for locally-sourced IT companies.

'Cause that's where the real jobs for real British Columbians isn't, right?


And speaking of real jobs for real British Columbians in the Clark government portion of the Golden Era (i.e. the entire five years, not just the last bubble-driven year which the Klout Club loves to trumpet, even as those numbers, too, are now starting to fall off), Dermod Travis of Integrity BC has the direct comparisons with the other big four provinces:

Mr. Travis, who is indefatigable, is also breaking through regularly into the proMedia, which is a good thing.


And, of course, regardless your employment and/or bus pass situation, in British Columbia that tax shift away from the de-regulated money piles of the cronies onto the backs of the citizenry just keeps on keepin' on, which got Harvey O hopping uppity recently:

...The Liberals LOVE to tell you … and the investment world … how LOW our TAXES are.

Unfortunately, you can’t get that deal … if you live here … without buying the rest of the package.

And adding those extra costs on to your “low” provincial income taxes will cost you plenty … MUCH more than they advertise!

Just this week, ICBC announced yet another price hike for MANDATORY basic coverage: 4.9% … on top of another 5.5% increase last year … and, if you drive, no way to avoid it.

I don’t know about you …but I surmise whether you are employed or on pension ..YOUR income has NOT come close to rising that much over the past two years!

ICBC blames rising costs related to accidents, injuries, claims.

But don’t forget: the BC government … like an organized crime syndicate … has also shaken down ICBC for more than HALF A BILLION DOLLARS since 2012 in ”dividends”. Vito Corleone would have smiled at that!

Let’s face it, that “dividend” is just another tax.

This year …nothing to do with the coming election, I’m sure … the BC government says it will forego its $160 million “dividend” from ICBC. Are we really supposed to be grateful? I wonder if re-elected, they’ll make up for that next year …and the year after …and the year after?...

And then, of course, there's that small matter of Hydro rates and MSP premiums which Mr. Oberfeld also goes into.


Speaking of Hydro, to digress from the chronicling of the blogs themselves (but not necessarily blog writers) for a moment...


Somehow I do not think that Norm Farrell and/or the actual consumption numbers support the good Ms. McDonald's claims.


Speaking of Site C, Laila Yuile had Roger Bryenton of the BC Hydro Ratepayers Association explain the magnitude of the 'mistake' over at her blog recently.

Turns out it's not the just cost of the dam that will keep us paying and paying and paying...

And paying some more, despite what the Ol' Turdstormer said back on April Fools day:

..The “numbers” for the cost of power from Site C, delivered to the lower mainland and Vancouver Island, locations of most of the power users, is $145/MWh, based on Eoin Finn and Erik Andersen’s numbers we have developed. This is in sharp contrast to the Minister’s email from April 1st, stating that the cost would be $64/MWh. Either he is badly informed or he is lying. The $145 is also much greater than the IPP’s have been criticized for selling to BCH, at $100/MWh...

And, as Norm Farrell has explained ad nauseum, the ridiculous 'contracted' prices of IPP electricity is already costing us dearly.


Merv Adey, the blogger who elicited the comment from the BC Hydro CEO above, ended his summer with an excellent post on the 'weathervane' governance practices of the Clark government:

...The BC Liberals in their approach to public education have long since abandoned any pretense to a realistic appraisal of needs in the system, though their own finance committee has repeatedly recommended raising public education spending after a decade and more of cuts vs inflation.

Likewise, the philosophy of deregulation in real estate has reached a predictable and absurd end in which a culture of criminality has permeated a most important industry to government revenues, and the government has decided it’s time to take a bigger slice of the pie, while nibbling at the margins of the real problems driving housing unaffordability throughout the lower mainland and southern Vancouver Island...


Changing gears, but only a wee bit...

In the wake of a NaPo story which noted that the private Cambie Surgery Centre provides care for worker's compensation board clients, the notorious NVG had this to say:

...(Cambie Surgery Centre's) Dr. Day is funding his legal challenge to privatize the health care of all Canadians using funds 'earned' from the BC Provincial Government coffers...

 Imagine that!


And finally, local philosopher king Mr. Beer 'N Hockey, who has an important post up today about root causes, also had this to say about those lemmings without a cliff who have been mindlessly partaking in the summer's already fading fast fad:

...Sonja and I went for a picnic. More of a wine-nic really. Eventually I had to water my horse so I walked over to the sh*thouse while Sonja kept an eye on the wine.

There were a lot strange looking motherf*ckers in the vicinity of the sh*thouse. They appeared to be lost. As if their smartphones were all acting up or something.

I asked one of them, "Pokemon?"

He nodded.

Motherf*cking morons...

Ol' Turdstormer?....Well...You know.


Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Money Shot From The Latest Vancouver Real Estate Piece By Kathy Tomlinson.


From Ms. Tomlinson's piece this morning in the Globe:

...The papers that (whistleblower) Mr. (Demetre) Lazos provided The Globe paint a fascinating picture, revealing a network of players – local and foreign – who are parking money in Canadian real estate. They also show how loopholes and lax oversight make it easy for the speculators to play the system – and profit tax-free – by obscuring their ownership and earnings, all the while treating the properties as commodities, not homes...

The point?

This is entirely OUR (and our elected representatives') doing.

Not to mention 'our' banks.


Friday, September 09, 2016

Welcome To The (End Of) The Working Week...


The day the work week started it sure seemed like summer, from a weather point of view of least, ended also.

And, just as suddenly, there were kids everywhere at the place I work.

Kids that, at least in part, it is my job to teach a thing or three.

Which always scares the bejeebuz out of me for the first few days or so.


When I finally got back to the non-teaching stuff near week's end, I found myself staring at the word 'forgot' as I was writing an Email to a colleague.

Because it just didn't look right.

That word, I mean.

And, given one of my New (School) Year's resolutions, this time I eschewed the Google and instead reached for my wee little pocket Oxford dictionary.

Which, when I stuck my thumb in it opened directl to the page above.


Do you think the non-digital parallel universe of real things was trying to tell me something?

Earworm from the header?....Try...This!
And, ya, I stayed away from the Loverboy on purpose, especially given the fact that I was recently informed that even the cowbell might not be real on the original track.


This Day In Clarkland...How Do They Get Away With It?


How do they get away with things like this ferry switcheroo thing, I mean?

More specifically, how do they keep getting away with first creating problems of massive proportions and then subsequently claiming that they've created a brand new victorious solution that had nothing to do with the original problem they created when they reverse course years down the road?

Well, Les Leyne of the VTC, thinks they do it because of 'gall':

...It takes a certain amount of gall to disguise a complete capitulation and about-face on a transportation initiative as a major forward step, but that’s what the B.C. Liberals are trying to pull off.

Even the slightest rueful expression of regret was missing from Tuesday’s announcement that they’ve given up trying to make do with the pathetic stand-in service that was concocted three summers ago when they decided the ferry service to Bella Coola was too expensive. In fact, they didn’t even acknowledge the original reduction. Instead, the planned restoration of service to some kind of respectable level was pitched as an exciting, brand-new idea...

Personally, I think a big driver in the Clarklandian calculation here is the knowledge that they will get away with it.




Because, despite the initial piece by Mikey-Mike and the follow-ups by Mr. Leyne and the Dean, the Clarklandians know that our fine local proMedia will now move on as if nothing has happened.

And when it happens again they (the local proMedia) will act surprised and pretend that this business of using past self-created pain for future faux feel-good photo-ops is NOT the Clarklandian way.


With that in mind, is anybody willing to give me long odds on the (very likely) fact that there is a small gaggle of wizards holed-up somewhere trying to figure out the photo-op sequence of events that could be used to roll out a fake reverse bus clawback strate(r)gy?

Meanwhile, the CEO of BC Hydro has the 'gall' to go on the Twittmachine to tell Merv Adey that, in fact, Site C power is actually needed by actual British Columbians...


Thursday, September 08, 2016

This Day In NOT Clarkland...


Just in case you missed it, given the ensuing (manufactured?) flap over his pipeline comment, yesterday opposition leader John Horgan spoke to British Columbians like they are adults about the Lotuslandian real estate situation through his open letter to our fine premier.

Here is a good chunk of that letter:

...Unfortunately while you and your colleagues were denying the very existence of a problem in the Lower Mainland real estate market, conditions worsened. Moreover, in the month since your government passed the hastily written Bill 28, we have seen numerous reports about the many ways in which your tax on foreign nationals is both failing to address the real problems facing Lower Mainland residents and creating significant unintended consequences.

During debate on Bill 28, my colleague David Eby proposed several amendments to the tax that we believe will have a meaningful impact on affordability in the Lower Mainland. While you rejected those amendments out of hand, subsequent developments have both validated those concerns and underscored the need for significant improvements.

First, we proposed amending Section 3 of the bill to define foreign national as an individual who has not paid his or her worldwide income tax in British Columbia for the most recent complete taxation year. It is now clear that such a change would significantly extend the reach of the tax to individuals who may have residency status in British Columbia, but who derive their primary income from foreign jurisdictions. This amendment would make the tax more effective and ensure that its effect was focused on individuals income sources rather than on their nationalities.

Second, we proposed that the Bill be amended in section 3 by redefining foreign national to exempt individuals who hold federal or provincial work permits. It is now clear that your tax on foreign nationals has effectively penalized individuals who are working and paying taxes in British Columbia but who continue to hold foreign passports. This measure is both discriminatory and counterproductive in that it effectively punishes people with unique skills such as visiting university professors and international researchers who are critical to building an educated workforce. Worse still, your Bill makes it even harder for growing BC companies to recruit international talent to the Lower Mainland.

Third, we proposed that the Bill be amended in section 3 to remove the loophole that allows foreign capital to use bare trusts to avoid the current or amended property transfer tax. We can only assume that you chose to leave this well-known loophole in place in an effort to encourage the sale of commercial and multi-unit residential properties to international buyers. However given the crisis in the Lower Mainland rental market, this measure makes little sense and creates an uneven playing field for those who have the financial wherewithal to establish and administer bare trusts...

I mean, honestly...

Can you imagine having a government that actually thought, hard, about what it was doing before it did it?


Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Sometimes At The End Of The Day...

...You've Just Got To Let Things Go.

A while back, somewhere in the comments, I let it slip that I've been freaking out a little bit recently because a whole bunch of labs have jumped, feet first, into a small field that we pretty much started awhile back.

For all kinds of reasons, including the fact that, in the science geek business at least, there are no prizes (or grant money) for those who publish second.

But, on the flipside, I'm learning that there is heckuva lot of satisfaction in seeing the stuff you've been working on take-off, world wide (albeit to a very selective, narrow-casted audience).


I have no idea if world wide recognition on a grand scale is what Jason Isbell was looking for when he got upset about the fact that Dierks Bentley had ripped off the melody from a tune of his called 'Razor Town' and then overlaid it with some of the most insipid lyrical hogwash ever.

But that was back in the days before Isbell cleaned himself up and realized that he didn't want to end up dying in a Super-8 motel for no good reason at all... 

One of my favourite bits of Isbellisiniariam on the YouTubes is this riveting exposition on songwriting. 


This Day In Clarkland....Are The Quicksters Still Winning?



Look which former 'public office holder' just registered as a lobbyist in British Columbia:

Now, if I'm not mistaken, wasn't Ms. Haakstad's boss in three of those 'public office' positions our fine Premier?


Who, precisely, has the good Ms. Haakstad registered to lobby?


Tip O' The Toque to uncle Bob Mackin on the Twittmachine.
What's it really all about Alfie (the quick winning part, I mean)?....Well....You know.


Tuesday, September 06, 2016

This Day In Clarkland...The Reverse Sparkle Pony.


Apropos of yesterday, Travis Lupick has a good comparator up of the various BC political party's plans for the minimum wage up in the GStraight.

The NDP have called for raising it to $15 per hour by 2021, the end of their first mandate, which is the same schedule as Seattle.

As per their usual modus operandi (government by press release not policy) the Clarklandians are pretending to be progressive on this issue but the miniscule increase announced for later this month will put us on a path to $15 by 2034.


Aren't we supposed to have a trillion dollar LNG windfall by then (as opposed to a $15 billion dollar Site C debt)?

Interestingly, this is what he who is the progressive vote splitter that the Clarklandians are counting on had to say about the $15 dollar minimum wage issue:

...The B.C. Greens don’t yet have an official position on the minimum wage. In a telephone interview, Green leader and Oak Bay–Gordon Head MLA Andrew Weaver dismissed the Liberals’ minimum wage as “unacceptable”, and he also criticized the NDP for its position.

“How do you know that $15 is the right minimum wage?” he asked. “It’s just a number that’s round.”...

Not to folks that are living below the poverty line it isn't.

Of course, if the proMedia press herd turns on them (which it likely won't), the Clarklandian wizards and their Klout Klub sycophants are sure to set the surrogates screaming about how Horgan's plan will destroy the economy...Which is why Seattle's being a wee bit out front is helpful in the extreme for those that care about actual reality (not that the herd will pay much attention to that, either).


Monday, September 05, 2016

Labour Day Jukebox...1913 Massacre.


The miners of Calumet Michigan had been on strike since July of 1913.

One of the things the striking workers wanted was support beams in the mines. The copper bosses said no. After all, dead miners in cave-ins cost them nothing.

That Christmas the Women's Auxiliary held a big party in the town hall for the miners' kids to make sure they had some cheer that miserable, penniless winter.

Tragedy ensued and Woody Guthrie wrote a song about it in 1941.

This is a cover of his son Arlo's version, mostly because our Dad brought the album home for Christmas 1972...

Of course, 1972 was a very good year for working people in British Columbia...


Sunday, September 04, 2016

Still Looking For Labour Day Songs To Cover...


...Sent out the call on the Twittmachine earlier today.

Suggestion so far are:

Joe Hill (Trad)
John Henry (Trad and JIsbell/DBT)
Power In A Union (BBragg)
Cumberland Blues (GDead)
1913 Massacre (WGuthrie)
Ginger Goodwin (GCarter; Local Story)

(I'm betting scotty on denman has about a million)

Monday Night Update...scotty and all kinds of folks come through in the comments...


Who Has Benefited Most From The Lotuslandian Real Estate Bubble?


It's a question that came up on the threads to a recent post.


Let's see.

Is it possible that that the main beneficiaries just might be the fine folks that have given the most to a particular provincial political party that did all it possibly could over the last fifteen years to inflate said bubble.

From a Douglas Todd VSun piece published in June of this year:

"...In the decade up to 2016, the B.C. Liberals took in $70 million in large corporate and business donations (while the NDP accepted $11 million from unions).

Roughly $12 million of the Liberals’ corporate donations came from the real estate industry, more than double the rate of contributions from the next biggest donor sectors, mining and forestry..."

What's that thing you are supposed to follow again when you are trying to figure out what is really going on?

SubHeader got your ear worm turning?...This!


Saturday, September 03, 2016

The Real New Year Is Coming...


One of the things I really like about my real job is that I get to hang around a bunch of sharp young kids who keep me up to date with all the latest goings on in the real (i.e. non-academic) world.

But the other day, after a lab meeting where we discussed what we had to do to analyze our latest set of CRISPR clones,  for some reason I got to blabbing about what it was like back in the old days when we first moved back to Vancouver.

Which led me to tell the story about how the offshore owner of the little house we were renting in McKenzie Heights/almost Dunbar offered to sell it to us for $255,000 dollars back in 1997.

Then I told them how I told said owner that I wasn't crazy enough to spend a quarter of a million dollars for a little patch of dirt and a bungalow that was, essentially, a tear down.

At that point, of course, the kids started to speculate about what that patch of dirt would be worth today, after which it got real quiet.

And that's when I realized I had been an idiot old, 'when I was young we lived in shoe box'-type guy.

Because I'd set all those kids around the table to thinking about how there was no way in heckfire that they were ever going to be able to buy any chunk of dirt of their own in this town.

What a dope I am.


Next week, the latest batch of young kids, most of whom are now younger than our oldest kid, shows up.

Happy New Year!


Friday, September 02, 2016

This Day In Clarkland...It Can Be Done.


Bob Mackin, with an FOI-assist, had the money quote in BIV earlier this week:

...(W)e can do this, however the crew to install the plaque has to travel from Edmonton to do the installation. They will have to travel over the [Victoria Day] long weekend to do this work so we will incur a cost premium, but it can be done..."

What's it all about this time Alfie?


This was someone in the Transport Ministry who actually does transportation-type stuff talking, by EMail, to someone who doesn't (i.e. a PAB-Botian-type communications person) about the installation of a plaque about nothing that would be installed in the middle of nowhere that would commemorate a meaningless anniversary for no good reason at all.

Except, of course, that it would have the name or our fine Premier, and the name of her Minister with the fluffy hair, on it.

The cost?

Sixty-five thousand dollars.

Which, if you are still keeping track, is 1,250 bus passes for the disabled.


EMail, you might be asking?....Hmmmm...Wonder if anyone has stomped the transport employee's phone to bits yet?...After all, it's not illegal as long as nobody lies to the ghost of flying Phil Gagliardi about it.