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Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Posts Tagged ‘budget

BC Budget 2018

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You can read the whole thing on the BC Gov website or Justin McElroy on the CBC ‘s summary. Basically a commitment to increase necessary spending in the right areas which is being funded by increases in taxes on the corporations and the wealthy. So I am generally in favour.

But what is missing is a much needed correction of former BC Liberal policies which saw a giveaway of our natural resources. Once upon a time oil and gas revenues from leases and royalties made a significant contribution to our provincial budget. That is no longer the case, and ought to have been corrected by the new NDP (+ Green) government.

Two reasons leap out. Horgan retains Christy’s silly obsession with LNG, as well as Site C (which will increase GHG emissions) and, quite possibly, given the federal Liberals commitment the potential TMX pipeline expansion too. Our emissions are not going down even though it is quite clear from the state of the Arctic ice alone that this is a problem we are not tackling. Melting permafrost, with consequent releases of methane and mercury, are immediate threats, not something in the future.

But secondly the whole budget rests on a somewhat hopeful outcome of the ICBC debacle. I think the idea that somehow economic growth and a reasonable approach from personal injury lawyers is going to be enough is overly optimistic. We are going to need the revenues from oil and gas royalties and leases sooner rather than later.

But also, the whole fight with Alberta over the pipeline starts to look a bit different  when you consider how much diluting bitumen for pumping down the pipe depends on BC natural gas and its condensate. (For that thought I acknowledge the twitter feed of Eric Doherty.) The entire project is based on a falsehood, that there will be a market in Asia for dilbit at a higher price than the US refiners are currently willing to pay. It becomes less attractive to the US market (where nearly all of the exports go now) if the BC fuels it depends on have to pay some fairer share of the costs on our local environment and the fact that the resource is not renewable. There is a real reason to fear the loss of jobs at the Burnaby refinery if TMX is all about exports. We need to make sure that we are getting money for value. That isn’t case at the giveaway prices set by Clark.


Yeah, well there was something else that wasn’t in the budget. It would have been really welcome if the NDP had reversed some of Christy Clark cuts to the Public Service Pension. Of course, when these were announced they came with the message “these changes protect your pension” but what they actually meant was that the government was going to stop picking up the tab for some essential health services – so the pension paid out now has to pay for the things that are no longer covered. First up was MSP, of course, but at least that will be going if not immediately. Then there was extended health care, where coverage is now distinctly chintzy. A couple of fillings today cost me $200. And I will need either a denture (over $2,000 – some coverage) or an implant (near $7,000  – no coverage at all) soon. More of that would have been covered under the old plan.

And of course many Canadians have no dental coverage at all.

“As announced in September, starting on April 1 the carbon tax will rise by $5 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions. It will be the first of four annual increases and will bring the price on carbon to $50 per tonne of emissions in 2021.”

source: The Tyee

Written by Stephen Rees

February 21, 2018 at 3:58 pm

B.C. budget bites into green programs

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CBC, Globe % Mail and the Wilderness Committee press release

Whatever credibility this government thought it had as a result of its carbon tax and its program to expand “run of the river” power projects has now been completely lost. The impact on Translink is important to us regionally, as the current provincial sales tax on parking fees provides $15m each year for the agency – and they were expecting to be able to increase that significantly. The Live Smart program has already been cancelled – because it was “too popular” – and now HST is going to be applied to all appliances and retrofits that consumers could have used to reduce their energy consumption.

Actually the credibility is strained far beyond the environment since many people now think that the Liberals knew – or ought to have known – that their claims to be able to hold a budget deficit to around $500m  were being undermined by much poorer economic performance than they had assumed

“I think that the environment is off the table,” Green Party of B.C. Leader Jane Sterk said. “It’s not unusual when the economy goes down.”

Sterk also took the opportunity to point out that her party had predicted a $1.5-billion deficit in February, much closer than the B.C. Liberals’ $5-million prediction.

“Wonder why it is that the Green Party is able to see something that a minister, with all of his staff, was not able to see.

The waffling last night on the tv news from both Campbell and Hansen was I though quite unconvincing – but equally they hve no real need to worry since, as Ian Hanomansing pointed out, they have more than three years to ride this one out. They clearly think that by the time they get to the polls again, the economy will have turned around.

$15m may not seem a lot of money when compared to the overall size of Translink’s budget, but once again they are threatening service cuts and fewer buses on the road. Whether or not that particular sum is found from other sources, those will be happening anyway as there is simply not enough money in the system now to keep it going at its present level, and legislation already caps the existing funding sources at levels below those envisaged by the transit plan – whether that is the region’s or the province’s.  One third of this region’s greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation, and arguments about whether or not the seldom used Burrard Thermal generating station is decommissioned or not really are beside the point. The current direction is to expand freeways and the port. Add to that the strong probability of energy from burning garbage – as it cannot now be shipped to the south either – and the claims that the government likes to make about being green are hollow. Indeed, in its recent response to the BC Utilities Commission, the government finally admitted that the real intention of its private sector power expansion is simply for export. We do not actually need this new power at all.

Written by Stephen Rees

September 2, 2009 at 10:21 am

Posted in energy, Environment, Green Party, politics, transit

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