REALITY CHECK: $30 million hit to taxpayers just the latest consequence of B.C. Liberal economic bungling

Posted in: , ,

A settlement finalized this week between the B.C. Liberal government and Boss Power will hit taxpayers with a $30 million bill, serving as a stark reminder of how costly Liberal economic mismanagement has been for taxpayers.

The B.C. Liberal government agreed to give Boss Power a $30 million award for interfering inappropriately with a mining application, despite a court-appointed industry expert determining that a more fair evaluation would be $8.7 million. If the Liberals hadn’t botched the application in the first place, there wouldn’t even need to be a settlement.

This isn’t the only example of recent B.C. Liberal bungling when it comes to the economy. Here are just a few more:

Environmental assessment exemption for gas plants

The B.C. Liberals were forced to reverse their exemption of some natural gas processing plants and ski resorts from environmental assessments, having failed to consult with First Nations, damaging relationships that will be central to building an LNG industry.

LNG tax framework

The Liberals have failed to meet their own deadlines for an LNG tax framework. In the meantime, China and Russia entered into a $400 billion deal to supply natural gas, and the premier has hinted that the tax framework may have to be even lower if we are still going to be able to compete.

Mining tax

The B.C. Liberals were also forced to backtrack on their surprise post-election mining permit fees which could have caused many junior miners and prospectors to go out of business.

Denying jobs for B.C. workers

When entering into a deal with HD Mining for an underground mine in B.C., the company made it clear they intended to supply their own workers for the mine over hundreds of British Columbians looking for work. A briefing note showed the B.C. Liberals weren’t concerned about creating jobs for British Columbians at the mine. B.C. has nearly a quarter of Canada’s temporary foreign workers but only 13 per cent of the national population.

HST

The economic wizardry of the B.C. Liberals behind the HST is well documented. They deceived voters by promising not to bring in the tax, and then snuck it in, costing families and small businesses more. B.C. businesses have had to grapple with multiple rule-changes and uncertainty.

Failure to deliver jobs

The premier spent $17 million of taxpayers’ money on ads promoting her grandiose job promises. But B.C. is sitting third from the bottom in Canada for private sector job growth. Nearly 12,000 people have left B.C. over the last two years, looking for job opportunities elsewhere.

Raiding a dividend on hydro profits that don’t exist

Economics 101 will tell you that a dividend is when you collect a share of a profit. The B.C. Liberal government raids more than $400 million in dividends each year from BC Hydro, despite the fact no profit actually exists. The B.C. Liberals do this by hiding billions of dollars in debt at BC Hydro in deferral accounts, or as the Auditor General of B.C. says, “Creating the illusion of profitability where there is none.”