LETTER: Evaluating the BC Liberal government

Past performance of provincial Liberals analyzed by writer

This analysis deals not with the platform but with the more instructive past performance. If I vote Liberal on May 14 it will be for the following reasons.

Major Reasons:

* In 1992, when the NDP was elected, BC’s GDP per capita was 8% above the Canadian average. By 2001, when the NDP was defeated, it was 8% below. Now it’s again above the average. In 2013 Moody’s awarded BC its highest possible rating – Triple A. Moody’s praised “the province’s track record of prudent fiscal planning and of managing fiscal pressures effectively.”

* BC has the lowest income tax rate in Canada for those earning less than $120,000. The small business tax rate is now half what it was under the NDP.

* With the Port Mann Bridge and freeway widening the Liberals remedied this bottleneck.

* The rebuilt BC Place Stadium is spectacular.

* The new Convention Centre is magnificent.

* An example of many major projects is Rio Tinto’s scheduled $3.3 billion upgrade to its Kitimat aluminum smelter creating 2,500 construction and 1,000 long-term jobs.

* In 2002 the Civil Service FTE (full-time equivalent) was 42,029; in 2012 it was 31,574.

 

Secondary Reasons:

* The minimum wage was increased to $10.25.

* The Canadian Federation of Independent Business awarded BC an “A” for leading all provinces in red tape reduction.

* Since June, 2012 welfare recipients can earn up to $200 a month without clawback.

* With Liberal support, “BC is now a world leader in clean tech with over 200 clean tech firms generating an estimated $2.5 billion in revenue in 2011.” Todd Stone

* The Liberals distributed many grants ranging from $172,000 for Abbotsford’s Warm Zone centre to $500 million for St. Paul’s Hospital.

* A 10-point, $2 million anti-bullying strategy was implemented.

* An Independent Investigations Office was established to investigate serious cases involving police officers.

 

If I don’t vote Liberal it will be for the following reasons.

Major Reasons:

* The costly HST fiasco.

* The reprehensible plan to use government resources for partisan gain among ethnics.

*  Breaking an agreement by cancelling the $6 million legal defence loan despite the fact that senior Liberal staffers Dave Basi and Bob Virk were convicted of crimes in the BC Rail case.

* When the Liberals were elected in 2001, BC’s debt, including the guaranteed agencies’ debt, was $33.6 billion. When Christy Clark took over it was $45 billion. Now it is $56 billion.

* In 2011 Auditor General John Doyle stated that “For a government that strives for transparency and accountability this is unacceptable.”

* In 2011-12 the government’s Pacific Carbon Trust, which sells carbon credits, collected about 97% of its carbon payments from public institutions. The project  is failing.

* At 6.7 cents per litre this tax penalizes consumers but does not reduce pollution.

* The new convention centre was to cost $495 million; it cost $883 million. Reconstructing BC Place Stadium was to cost $150 million; it cost $458 million.

* One in seven BC children lives in poverty; the second worst provincial reality.

* In 2006 the government rejected the “Missing Women Report”. Many lives might have been saved. It broke its promise not to sell BC Rail. The government’s incredible mishandling of Boss Power’s uranium mine application cost BC taxpayers $30 million. In 2012 the government lost $35 million by rejecting a tentative deal with Telus to rename BC Place Stadium.

 

Secondary Reasons:

* British Columbians pay more than twice what Ontarians do for generic drugs.

* Instead of lowering rates, the Liberals’ 2010 budget transferred $778 million of ICBC surplus funds to general revenue.

* $780,000 was spent on a pro-HST mailer that was never mailed.

* $100,000 was spent improving the Coquihalla Toll Plaza a few months before tolls were abolished and it was removed.

* After its big sale to CN in 2003, BC Rail was left with 40 kilometres of track and 30 employees. CEO Kevin Mahoney reportedly continued to be paid $500,000 a year.

* BC has one healthcare bureaucrat for about 1,400 residents. Germany, which spends less per capita and has virtually no waiting lists, has one for about 15,000.

* Numerous high salaries and severances are unconscionable.  In 2010 almost 99% of BC Hydro’s 6,000 employees received bonuses totalling $42.3 million. Almost 40%, 2,371, earned more than $100,000. Despite the fiscal crisis the salary of David Hahn, BC Ferries CEO, was more than $1 million. When Premier Christy Clark released aide Allan Seckel, his severance was $549,776.

* The first Family Day holiday cost the average small business $1,135. BC’s economy lost at least $200 million.

* With rising prices the Land Transfer Tax is unfair.

* BC’s justice system is in crisis. Because of incredible delays, serious offenders go free.

I have studied the issues and have decided how I will vote. I urge all eligible voters to do likewise.

John H. Redekop Ph.D.

Adjunct Professor, Trinity Western University