Insight BC

Insight and Discussion Concerning What’s Important in BC

Category: Economy

Was 2017 the ‘Tipping Point’?

Historians will look back on 2017 as a year of unprecedented political upheaval, intrigue and exposure.

Thankfully, the power of the Internet, including Twitter, has pulled the ideological teeth of the MSM (Main Stream Media) who can no longer exclusively control what hoi polloi, you and I, the average Canadians are able to see, hear and ultimately determine as factual reality.

If an individual is committed to seeking out the truth, the tools are in virtually all our hands.  Only lazy, misguided or uneducated individuals will continue to rely on the MSM as their only source of filtered information and distorted reality.

As I am writing this, Twitter is uploading literally hundreds of video feeds from Iran that clearly indicate that the spark of a revolution is underway in that totalitarian regime.  Alarmingly, the biased and polarized editorial boards of virtually all MSM opinion networks (I won’t even call them news networks anymore) are either not covering this momentous event or ‘hedging their bets’ by downplaying the breaking news since the MSM apparently doesn’t want to offend anyone – unless it is the political ‘small c’ conservative or republican.

That is truly the watershed story of 2017.  The Emperor Has No Clothes.  The Main Stream Media has exposed itself as largely a corrupt propagandist conglomerate of socialists and globalists who have an agenda to continue to modify and influence the mindsets of rationale, thinking individuals.

Thankfully, there are exceptions.  Even more thankfully, the ability of individuals to convey their own thoughts and opinions, including transparent, open, candid uncensored dialogue is available to anyone through tools and vehicles accessible to almost anyone with a cell phone, tablet or computer.  No high speed Internet?  No problem.  Find your way down to the nearest public library, coffee shop or Internet Hot Spot.

People of like mind can now find each other, offer opinions, rebut, rebuke, support, augment – or even ignore.  We now have choices never really previously available to us in a meaningful way.

The individual spearheading this vanguard of ‘direct’, not ‘fake’ news?  The infamous Donald Trump.

I watched a Fox News broadcast of Hannity just after Christmas as he replayed a collage of MSM broadcasts that dealt with the legitimate and legal election of President Trump in 2016.  Any rationale human being would have been alarmed at the vitriol, the condescension, the political bias being exhibited by individuals and networks that purport to be disseminators of news and factual coverage.  Instead, a steady procession of ‘frothing at the mouth’ commentators offered their incredibly biased and propagandized  opinions concerning how the US was about to implode.

It was embarrassing then.  It is embarrassing now.  It is even more alarming now as the polarization of the ‘Fake News’ leftist media becomes even more entrenched and dogmatic in their refusal to provide balanced news coverage.  Back in the 1950’s and 1960’s, those selfsame MSM sources decried the blatant propagandized output from Pravda and government controlled news agencies behind the Iron Curtain.

It is now a reality that that same form of ideological propaganda has infiltrated into our Western Democracies through polarized Main Stream Media, controlled now by special interest groups and political parties who have somehow bought or hijacked what was once the only way that most individuals were able to see beyond the confines of our own backyards.

The Main Stream Media is now largely illegitimate – and it has de-legitimized itself. Perhaps Marshall McLuhan was prophetic but not in a desirable or acceptable way.

The Medium is the Message.  If the Medium is Corrupt, the Message is Corrupt.

Main Street Media.  CNN (at the top of the list).  CBC (top of the list in Canada).  MSNBC.  NBC.  CBS.  ABC.  CTV (in Canada).  Global (in Canada).  Even BBC and PBS have lost touch with their original mandate and purpose.

That purpose was (and is) to gather, distribute and publish news – factual news, not polarized opinions.

As a result, I will no longer be referring to you as MSM (Main Stream  Media).  Instead, let’s be honest.  You are actually MSO (Main Stream Opinions).

You are opinion networks, not news networks – and you have been opinion networks for a very long time.  It was a subtle and protracted abrogation of your Fourth Estate mandate and responsibility.  We should have caught on when you started to replace actual political participants with pollsters and/or individuals from special interest groups who provided opinions commentary instead of allowing us to assess facts and draw our own conclusions.  Somehow, the MSO networks fancied themselves globalists and ‘smarter than their audience’ and like a herd of trusting sheep, we acquiesced and declined the opportunity to demand accountability, transparency, balance and journalistic integrity.

We allowed radio and television talk shows to proliferate so we could become lazy and listen to, sometimes watch, for hours ad nauseum, the opinions of individuals who we fancied because they were ‘celebrities’ – and we were just ‘common folk’.  We allowed the anchors of major news networks to become ‘media stars’ in their own right – when in actuality they are merely ordinary people with ordinary intellects (to be overly charitable in many instances) who do nothing more than read from teleprompters and look or sound good on camera or microphone.

Bizarrely, we have watched as these ‘Heroes of their Editorial Board Ideologies’ have been paid literally millions of dollars per annum and have amassed huge staffs of sycophants to allow them to further their ego driven status.

What has happened to common sense?  Why has no one publicly considered the actual significance of this devolution into a 1984 style of media control and bias?

Just follow the money.  As usual, these high paid ‘actors’ are merely conveying the intended editorial board policy of boards of directors, CEO’s and their ilk who have committed to driving their agenda into the mainstream.  Often, by the same principle as Chinese Water Torture.

The MSO follows the theory that ‘if you say the same thing over and over again, enough times’, it will somehow become relevant and true – even if it is not.  It is propaganda in its purest, and most alarming, form.

I watch, with increasing horror, as Justin Trudeau, the incompetent self-serving Prime Minister of Canada conducts interview after interview denying that has has broken any ethical laws – even after he has been convicted by the Ethics Commissioner.  He truly believes (or his handlers believe) that by continuing to deny the truth, the truth will somehow metamorphosize into the Liberal Party bastardization of the truth.

I watch, again with horror, as the Democratic Party in the US continues to deny the mounting evidence that any collusion in the 2016 Presidential campaign involving the Russians actually involved the Democrats far more than the Republicans or President Trump.  I watch Democratic pundit after Democratic Senator after Democratic Congressman ‘stick to the talking points’ even as Congress is ready to serve the corrupt Department of Justice and the FBI with contempts of Congress citations for their obstinate refusal to comply with the oversight of duly elected representatives of the US people.

Somehow, the matter of Hillary Clinton deliberately flaunting laws concerning top secret confidentiality, deliberate destruction of thousands (33,000 more or less) emails that might potentially implicate her in further corruption, the multi-millions of dollars that flowed into the coffers of the Clinton Foundation from Russian and Middle East sources that are supposedly the enemies of the US together with the complicit support of ‘bad actors’ in the Deep State Department of Justice and FBI who exceeded their legal authority as well as their pledge of impartiality to further the Democratic Party interests has remained an opaque factual wall behind which the MSO is hiding.

In spite of the complicity of the Main Stream Opinion networks, slowly and inexorably, facts are being exposed thanks to the focused and determined efforts of groups such as the Judicial Watch who have routinely sued the US Department of Justice and the FBI in order to have incriminating evidence (albeit heavily redacted) exposed to the public.

Trump himself has left his mark by continuously exposing and ridiculing the ‘Fake News’ networks and the inconsistencies and the often totally incorrect coverages that persist, now into 2018.  Twitter has unfortunately become a necessary tool in the fight to maintain balanced coverage in the political sphere and it is a truism to note that the same form of special interest group bias has polarized social, economic, cultural and even intellectual matters.

Almost single handedly, Trump has taken on the Main Stream Opinionators and to their utter dismay, he is winning the media war hands down.   Why?  Because he is honest, open and transparent – and they are not.  Neither can the Main Stream Opinionators and their financial sources stomach the reality that Trump cannot be bought.  As a result, he cannot be controlled or unduly influenced by them.

I enjoy watching the immature pettiness and barely concealed rage as the Main Stream Opinionators hurl vitriol and partisan invectives at a duly elected President who really and truly doesn’t care what the MSO thinks.  Trump has turned the focus on an industry that lost its integrity, moral compass and impartiality decades past.  We hoi polloi have paid attention and now a majority of viewers and listeners do not trust the MSO networks.  Savvy, intelligent individuals are balancing news and opinions from different sources and perspectives.   And that is the way it should be. No single news source should be trusted implicitly.   All have biases and agendas.

It is up to the US Congress and Senate to restore the public confidence in the US system of government.  This is a public confidence that has been severely and rightly shaken as a result of some of the major stories and events in 2017 that the Main Stream Opinion networks have consistently and abjectly refused to make public.  The Main Stream Media is dying a deserved death.  The Main Stream Opinion networks will be confined to propaganda that appeals to their base while the rest of the common folk resort to the emerging tools of direct communication through the Internet to achieve the desired goal of timely, factual coverage of real news – not filtered and biased opinion.

Here, in Canada, I don’t know what we can do to fix the similar problem of ridiculously biased and sycophantic media coverage concerning the agendae of certain political parties, special interest groups and their disciples.

What I do know is that those of us with the necessary ideas, resources and political will must remain vigilant and counter the inaccuracies and deliberate distortions of the truth whenever, and wherever, we find them.

I don’t see any other way that we can continue to ‘hold the fort’ until the new generation of Millennials decides to take matters into their own hands and resolutely restore some semblance of balance and accountability into the Canadian model – or the US or European model, for that matter.

The deliberate and concerted efforts of many individuals will be required to purge a cancerous growth of media bias and unaccountability that has taken some Western societies to the brink of economic, political, cultural and intellectual disaster.

It now remains to be seen whether the events of 2017 will become the tipping point and allow us to start moving again in a direction where the sanctity of individual rights including freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, freedom of thought, freedom of expression are held to a higher standard.

There is an undeniable social contract that goes with the responsibility of maintaining our individual rights and the ideals of freedom from want and freedom from fear must also be considered as we move forward, in line with universal inalienable human values.

There are those who believe that we must also support ‘freedom from conflict’.

Individuals who support that totalitarian idea could not be more wrong.  Conflict, and the skills we have gained, as humankind, from managing conflict (albeit poorly at times) has moved us forward into civilization – and a working relationship with the world in which we all dwell, for our ‘three score and ten’.

The secret is in how we acknowledge conflict going forward, managing and using conflict as a means to make our world better for future generations.

Will the Main Stream Opinion networks come on board in 2018, learning the lesson that their dropping ratings, popularity and influence is a direct result of their polarizing bias or will we merely see more of the same?

Only time will tell but we are all fortunate that alternatives are now available to disseminate, discuss and debate the truth.  The Internet has an immense power to ensure integrity, accountability and transparency.  The Internet also has the ability to pervert and distort- just as the Main Stream Media (Opinionists) have perverted and distorted.

For those of you who are not yet regular subscribers to Twitter, give it a close look.  Twitter is as close to instant unbiased, unfiltered reality as most of us are going to get.

We cannot allow Twitter to become propagandized and special interest group driven the same way that the MSO (Main Stream Opinion) networks have become politicized.

Fortunately, if Twitter ever does become blatantly politicized, someone will just have to roll up his or her sleeves and develop a new (and better) Twitter equivalent.

The truth will out.

That’s just how we hoi polloi want it to be.

Happy New Year and may you have good memories of 2017.

 

A Rogue Wave of Political Accountability Impacts BC

The attached article is a blog post from Alan Forseth of Kamloops, BC who writes about (and challenges) conventional political thought under his blogsite “A Curious Look at Politics in BC”.  We have, with permission, reprinted the substance of that blog, and very soon will be discussing a new political concept and movement that has already resonated with hundreds (thousands?) of BC residents and voters.

Posted: 24 Sep 2016 08:33 AM PDT Alan Forseth ‘A Curious Look at Politics in BC)

“The negatives of that apparent strength, is that they serve only those in positions of power, the business elite, those with the money to bankroll their election campaigns
A couple of days ago a fellow former BC Conservative posed a question(s) to me regarding the organizational strengths and weaknesses of each of the four political parties in BC … the Liberals, the Greens, the NDP, and the BC Conservatives. He wasn’t looking for a deep in-depth analysis, just a quick summary.

Interesting”, said I, upon which I replied back with the following before I had a chance to over-think my responses. I just thought I would take a moment a share them with you. Here goes:

In your opinion what are the organizational strengths of the BC Liberals?

Honestly I think it is simply that it ‘appears’ to be the only game in town. It can draw from across the political landscape of municipal and Regional District leaders and politicians …leaders of community groups … businessmen and women and the like.

What are their organizational weaknesses?

The negatives of that apparent strength, is that they serve only those in positions of power, the business elite, those with the money to bankroll their election campaigns, etc. Everyday people feel a bigger and bigger disconnect from having any say in government plans and operations that affect their everyday life.

In your opinion what are the organizational strengths of the BC NDP?

Union donations and labour expertise to help in campaigns and getting the vote out.

What are their organizational weaknesses?

While they can identify and get committed voters out, like the BC Liberals I believe there is a disconnect with everyday British Columbians as well.

The BC Liberals have done an effective job in painting them as the party of “No”, however at the same time they (the Liberals) have taken no steps to show who technical, trades, and others can benefit from getting projects off the ground. The BC Reform Party nearly succeeded in 1996 by drawing people in from both the centre right,, and centre left, however they failed to realize that they could not run a full provincial campaign their first time out.

Any new party MUST build its core, find its best riding for electing MLA’s, and THEN and ONLY then show what it can do to attract broad support province wide.

In your opinion what are the organizational strengths of the BC Greens?

A very defined support base.

What are their organizational weaknesses?

A very defined support base that leaves little room to cross into mainstream

In your opinion what are the organizational strengths of the BC Conservatives?
There are none … nearly all who had any skills have left / fled the party.

What are their organizational weaknesses?

Infighting … lack of planning … no financial resources … no expertise in government and policy … no ‘positive’ social media presence … no connect with the media … a lack of professional and management advisors … a perceived / real closed shop clique of do it my way or else individuals.

Again, this wasn’t intended to be an in-depth analysis, just quick observations.

It also might be interesting to note that the person that posed the question(s) to me, earlier this Spring, also said to me, “I’m frustrated with the argument that we (BC Liberals) are conservative, because we balance budgets by raising taxes, and we pay for things by continual rate increases.” Which perhaps leaves credence to my statement that the perception is there that the BC Liberals are the only game in town?

In Kamloops, I’m Alan Forseth. You’ve heard from me … do you agree or disagree?”

Look for an imminent post on this site (and elsewhere) that will identify a new political movement that is possibly a ‘solution to what ails the BC political landscape’.

Litmus Test for BC Voters

The recent announcement of two provincial by-elections by the BC Premier has provided an opportunity for all parties to test the chemistry of the political waters little more than a year in advance of the upcoming 2017 provincial election.

Previously, the writer provided the BC Libs with a report card grading the Libs cornerstone commitments to jobs, families and a balanced budget. (You can read that article dated November 29th under the headings Economy and/or Politics).

Let’s take a look at the contenders and the pretenders hoping to upset the Libs and form the next government.

BC NDP

Currently the official opposition with 34 of the available 85 seats, the NDP surprised and disappointed political pundits in 2013 by fumbling away what appeared to be a majority government ‘sure thing’ – according to polls which are proving to be increasingly irrelevant based on recent election results.

NDP considers itself the Social Democratic Party in BC with an articulate and engaging newly elected leader in John Horgan.  Horgan’s ability to represent and motivate the political left may provide Christy Clark’s Libs with another genuine challenge in 2017.  While Horgan is a vast improvement over the pedantic and ungainly Adrian Dix who inexplicably became the NDP leader in spite of a checkered political past, the question remains whether the SpeNDP policies and predisposition for generating large debt burdens for taxpayers is acceptable to the savvy voter who wants a fiscally responsible government.  Horgan, interestingly enough, manages a research and consulting company which sounds suspiciously private sector, meaning that Horgan may actually have more financial savvy and accountability than most NDP candidates.

The NDP will always hold on to its union and socially left of center base but it is no longer clear that it’s Pollyanna all-embracing, ‘the cost is no object’ largess at the public expense will attract the undecided voter who may choose to look first into the wallet and bank account before taking another chance on the NDP.

BC Green Party

Andrew Weaver is the sole MLA representing the BC provincial Greens and is the newly acclaimed leader.  A climate change proponent and professor at University of Victoria, Weaver has parlayed his academic background as a mathematician into a self-proclaimed expertise concerning the perils of climate change, based on the suspect mathematical modelling that continues to drive the climate change debate.

Weaver is solid in his home riding of Oak Bay – Gordon Head on the island but it is a real stretch to believe that the Greens can make any significant impact either in the two available by-elections or in the forthcoming 2017 provincial election.  Weaver appears generally supportive of the status quo as he has tended to vote in support of many mainstream BC Lib initiatives and budgets.  Weaver, of course, resonates with the starry-eyed saviors of Mother Gaia and will continue to shine as a ‘one trick pony’ but hardly has the organizational support to be a major factor in the foreseeable future.

For many disenchanted voters disgusted with the current political environment, a vote for the Greens appears to be an attractive protest vote alternative to merely sitting at home and abstaining from the political process.  The BC Green Party received 8.13% of the popular vote in the 2013 election and will probably hold its percentage of popular support from the environmental movement and its media resonant message.

Of course, in the neighbouring province of Alberta, the protest vote probably caused the ruling Conservatives to fall from grace for the first time in over 40 years.  Perhaps it is possible to cast too many protest votes.

BC Conservative Party

Sadly, the BCCP brings up the rear because – it truly brings up the rear.  If ever there was an enigma in recent BC politics, the BC Conservative Party is it.  An indication of how far from grace the BCCP has fallen is epitomized in the almost inexplicable fact that the BCCP doesn’t even get a mention in Wikipedia as a political alternative in BC.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Columbia_general_election,_2013

The BCCP appears to have abrogated its normally expected role as the small ‘c’ fiscally conservative and small government, ‘laissez faire’ alternative for right centrist voters in favour of party infighting and an inexplicable lemming-like desire to either collectively jump over a cliff or to make itself invisible, ostrich-like, to both the media and the BC voter.

The most recent leader, Dan Brooks, has resigned after almost two years of utter ineffectiveness.  To quote the Georgia Straight, “Dan Who?”  I am certain that most media reporters would want to hold a microphone in front of the mouth of a political leader and record more than just heavy breathing.

With little more than a year until the imminent 2017 provincial election, the BC Conservative Party has not taken a public position on any issue of consequence, nor has it fielded candidates in recent or upcoming by-elections or even once has it attempted to force its way back into the media spotlight and the public discussion.

There is clearly a large elephant in the room that no one in the BCCP seems courageous enough to confront.  Just what is the BC Conservative Party and what does it represent?  How is it possible that the federal Conservatives have chosen to throw their support behind BC Liberals and how is it possible that Christy Clark can raise more than $3 Million in Liberal fundraising in oil rich Calgary over the past 10 years while the BC Conservatives don’t even get a sniff?

Strangely, the very fact that the BC Conservatives have self-imploded presents a great opportunity –  if enough dedicated and committed small ‘C’ conservatives are prepared to act.  There will always be a place for fiscal conservatism and a ‘private sector friendly’ party in BC politics.

The BC Conservative Party will be holding its AGM in Richmond on February 20th and there is a real opportunity for members and prospective members to rebuild the BCCP from the ground up.  The BC Conservatives have a proud heritage and were a formidable force at the very inception of BC itself.

Improbable as it may seems, there appears to be a shrinking window for the BC Conservative Party to divest itself of all of the negativity and deadwood that it has accumulated over the past few years and to renew itself – as a vital, meaningful and relevant alternative to the BC voter.

In order to accomplish that, the BCCP needs new leadership and direction.  The current inept and inconsequential BCCP executive members (btw, self-appointed and never ratified by the general membership with only one exception) have to follow the lead of Dan Brooks – and make way for individuals, policies and initiatives that will truly make the BCCP a realistic and supportable alternative on the BC political landscape.  The defeat of many qualified and credible federal MP’s and their supporters should provide a fresh supply of talent and innovative energy.

It is time for all good men and women to come to the aid of the party.

Summary

While there are other political alternatives in BC, we choose to sink no lower than the BCCP.

It appears that the two upcoming lower mainland by-elections will be hotly contested by the Liberals and the NDP, with the Greens making a courtesy appearance.  The BCCP does not appear to have the resources to mount even a token challenge.   Clearly, the Liberals have chosen the timing of the by-elections to test the current political climate and to give Christy Clark time to reposition the Liberals in the year that remains before the general election.

The NDP under John Horgan will see this as an opportunity to continue the momentum that has been generated as a result of their recent leadership change.

The BC Green Party will use the by-elections as a reminder that it is not too late to save the planet.

The BC Conservative Party will – who knows what the BC Conservative Party will do?  They don’t know, themselves – and that is a sad commentary on a pathetic political reality.  Or is this the opportunity for a political phoenix to rise up out of the ashes?  Only time will tell.

 

BC Liberals Campaign Promise Report Card 2015

B.C. Jobs Plan, Families First and a so-called Balanced Budget.  Those were the slogans on which the BC Liberals campaigned in the 2013 provincial election.  Now that the BC legislature has adjourned its fall 2015 sitting, and with the next election on the horizon in 2017, it appears to be a good time to evaluate the performance of the government – and the pretenders to the throne of power.

B.C. Jobs Plan

…despite mixed employment indicators… Firm domestic demand prevailed despite employment in the province hitting a slow patch so far this year. Private-sector hiring took a step back in the first eight months of 2015; however, we still expect the labour market to gain traction in 2015, as hiring in health care and social assistance helps to keep employment above year-ago levels. These gains have been insufficient to move the needle downward on the unemployment rate, however. Entrants to the labour force outpaced job growth so far this year despite population growth losing some steam. The net increase in the number of immigrants from abroad fell to the lowest number since records began in 1991 and was led by a sharp decline in the number of non-permanent residents locating to the province.  (RBC Economics | Research September 2015)

To Recap

Private sector lost jobs.  Public sector bloat grew.  More health care and social assistance costs to be funded by taxpayers. Unemployment rate  rises (marginally), to be fair).  Unemployment up 6.4% comparing year over year October 2014 to October 2015.  Source: statcan.gov.ca

Jobs available for emerging work force (supply) not being met by the important full-time, permanent jobs available (demand).

Non-permanent residents locating to BC declines (partially due to the unavailability of jobs)

Let’s look back at the pre-2013 BC Election campaign wherein Christy Clark and her BC Liberals spent immense amounts of taxpayer dollars fearlessly trumpeting the ‘success’ of the BC Jobs Plan.  The results speak for themselves.

Political propaganda at the BC taxpayer expense?  Of course.  Is the once flaunted LNG industry money making and job creation scheme having any impact?  Of course not.

An aside to Christy Clark:  If you are afraid to throw support behind pipeline projects and tankers on the West Coast, just how did you plan to get your LNG to foreign markets other than the US?

Just another example of the blind electorate being led by the blind politicians and bureaucrats?

Grade:  C minus (that could turn into a D very easily if the overall Canadian GNP continues to decline or if there is a catastrophic drop in housing prices in BC that would dry up consumer confidence and spending.

Families First

Peter Lang says he received a letter from the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) warning that his son’s privacy rights were breached by Peter speaking out about his son’s case.  Source: globalnews.ca October 15, 2015

Grieving parents are being advised by a government ministry that they are not allowed to discuss the horrific tragedy of a child who died while in the care of the province of BC.

Like most BC residents, I am appalled and disgusted with the insensitivity of overpaid, cold-blooded mercenary bureaucrats and politicians who think that the state cannot be faulted for its inappropriate actions in this case.  Rational, normal human beings know that parents are the best resource and loving environment for their children, in the vast preponderance of cases.

What manner of cold-blooded reptilian bureaucracy has the temerity to censure a grief-stricken parent who wishes the facts to be brought forward?  There are literally no words to describe my revulsion for the BC government’s actions in this horrific case.

There is little sense in discussing any of the other multitudinous failures of the BC government concerning Families First.

Grade: F

Balanced Budget

CURRENT STATE Finance Minister Michael de Jong’s description that B.C.’s budget is “balanced on a knife edge,” is wholly accurate. Last year’s surplus came in at less than 1 % of the total budget. If government had not kept spending in check, B.C. could have easily dipped into the red. The year-end statements for 2013-14 showed revenue was several hundred million dollars less than expected, meaning budgeted spending had to be cut as well.

LOWEST INCOME TAXES IN THE COUNTRY: NO LONGER Like any business, governments are usually careful to make sure their taxation schemes are competitive with neighbouring jurisdictions. Virtually every government, at every level, compares themselves to their peers to ensure they are not driving out taxpayers with unnecessary higher rates. The B.C. government is no different. Buried in the back of every provincial budget document is Table A3, comparing six tax scenarios for families, individuals and seniors in every province in Canada. Not too long ago, these charts showed B.C. had the lowest personal income taxes in the country. Unfortunately for taxpayers, that is no longer true. In four of the six scenarios listed in the budget document, B.C. now trails other provinces.  Source:  Canadian Taxpayers Association 2015

BC’s economy is indeed ‘balanced on a knife’s edge’.  If:

Canada’s economy falters in any significant way after the policies of the federal Liberals are implemented,

the access to foreign markets is impacted as a result of the BC Liberals refusal to take a necessary stand on the need to enlarge (not contract) BC’s unique position as the western port of entry and egress for primary and manufactured goods and resources (through expanded pipelines, rail service and tanker traffic),

the inability of the emerging educated BC youth to find meaningful employment in  the permanent, viable job market continues to grow,

the much vaunted LNG industry windfall does not materialize (as it certainly will not) and most importantly,

the BC Housing Bubble bursts, with a commensurate decline in consumer confidence and spending (that is currently at an almost unprecedented level),

then the BC economy will certainly decline with potential disastrous consequences to BC and its residents.

Grade: B- (bordering on C or worse based on any of the aforementioned economic scenarios)

Stay tuned for an analysis of the platform promises, policies and the prospective impact on life in BC relating to the other political parties who are currently ‘Pretenders to the Throne’.

Be careful what you wish for.

Be careful what you wish for.

‘Splendor sine occasu’.  Splendour without diminishment.  The motto of  British Columbia, Canada.  For more facts about BC, click on ‘about’ above for a quick overview.

The principle economic engine for British Columbia has traditionally been resource based, primarily logging, mining and to a lesser degree farming, both on land and aquatic (fishing).

More recently, that economic driver has changed.

2013 BC GDP by Sector

(Click above to view Statistics Canada pie chart source)

As the 2013 BC government report on Gross Domestic Product indicates, the largest contributors (in dollar terms) to the BC economy are:

 Real Estate, Rental and Leasing    –    17.4%

Wholesale and Retail Trade            –    10.0%

Construction                                      –      8.1%

Manufacturing                                  –      7.2%

Natural Resources                            –      7.1%

Health Care, Social Assistance      –      7.1%

Public Administration                     –     6.1%

Transportation & Warehousing    –     5.7%

Finance & Insurance                       –     5.7%

Professional, Scientific, Research –    5.4 %

Education                                          –     5.5%

All other sectors                               –   14.7%

The BC government report further goes on to note that:

“BC has a mature, diversified economy. In 2012, services-producing industries accounted for 75.6 per cent of BC’s real GDP and goods-producing industries accounted for 24.4 per cent”.

The service sector (economists call it the tertiary sector) is sometimes defined as follows (Source:  Wikipedia)

“The service sector consists of the “soft” parts of the economy, i.e. activities where people offer their knowledge and time to improve productivity, performance, potential, and sustainability, which is termed as affective labor. The basic characteristic of this sector is the production of services instead of end products.”

To this point, we have provided a quantity of numbers and statistics.

So what does this have to do with the title of this article?  Why do we have to “be careful what we wish for?”

For the simple reason that the service sector (the tertiary, meaning third order, sector) is called the soft part of the economy for a good reason.  It is also considered tertiary or third in line for the same good reason.

The service sector grows and builds as a result of an expanding economy, with a growing population that has sufficient purchasing power to avail itself of those services.  If there is no purchasing power available, no matter the size of the population, the service sector is vulnerable.  Similarly, if the population base recedes, instead of growing, the service sector must inevitably shrink over time.

We will continue to pay for those things that are necessities to life and we will sacrifice the luxuries, those things not necessary to sustain life and the well-being of ourselves and our loved ones.

Those familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs can readily identify with the challenge.

 maslows-hierarchy-of-needs

The production of ‘goods’, not ‘services’, provides the bulk of the physiological and safety requirements of individuals.  Food, clothing, shelter, tools, medicine, weapons to safeguard one’s own self, family and property (for those would argue that safety requires policing which is a service) and most elemental requirements are based on production of goods, not services.  Only when the base level needs have been satisfied do we turn our attention to the higher tier requirements which, for the most part, are going to be ‘service’ based, not goods based.

Government bureaucracy is a ‘service’ component, not a ‘goods’ component, even by the BC government’s definition.

Why introduce all this psychological baffle-gab?

We introduce it because the health, sustainability and viability of the British Columbia economy, as is the case with all economies, is based on the ability of individuals  and corporations to produce sufficient disposable income to keep paying for the ever-growing ‘service’ sector which is far outstripping the growth of the ‘goods’ sector.

Service sector spending is much more discretionary and less ‘elastic’ (in economic terms) compared to the production of goods.   The production of goods follows a very simple, time tested and inviolate principle.  Over a long period of time, the ‘supply’ of goods cannot exceed the ‘demand’ for goods.  The principle of elasticity dictates that a reduction in demand for goods will invariably result in a commensurate reduction in supply of goods – thus the goods sector is highly elastic.

Because more of the ‘service’ sector is discretionary and based sometimes on government policy decisions, the supply of ‘service’ based factors is much more ‘inelastic’ and the supply of services will not necessarily reduce as fast, or as fully, as the apparent reduction in the ‘demand’ for those services.  In other words, the ‘supply’ of services is not necessarily based on the ‘demand’ for those services. Services, whether justifiable and affordable or not, are often based on government policies and political choices.  In many cases, an economic case is not made for the service.  Instead, a nebulous ‘social’ or ‘politically expedient’ case is made for the provision of the service with little thought to the matter of affordability and sustainability.

So what, you may ask?  This whole academic argument seems kind of boring.

The fact of the matter is that it is not boring and it is of great importance because the over-provision of services, whether warranted or not, is a huge, and growing, cost to most economies, including that of the Province of British Columbia.  At some point in time, this excess of service based production will become financially and economically unsustainable.

Why is there an over-provision of ‘services’ and why is the ‘service sector’ a continually growing percentage of BC’s Gross Domestic Product?

Some of the major components of the growing ‘service’ sector of the BC economy are ‘speculation’ based, rather than based on current economic realities and indicators.  The growth of the real estate, rental and leasing sector (currently the largest contributor to GNP in 2013) is based on expectations of a healthy, sustainable economy, as an example.

Any major downturn in the economy will cause this sector to self-destruct, as has happened historically and elsewhere in a multitude of  jurisdictions, most notably the USA commencing in 2007.

From 2007 to 2009, the value of household real estate in the US fell by over 6 Trillion Dollars – yes that is trillion with a ‘t’.  At the same time, and partially as a result, the expenditures by consumers fell by more than 8%, plunging the US into a major recession.

The ripple effect, including the crash of the stock markets in the US and elsewhere, as well as plunging economies and recessions elsewhere in the Western World caused a financial crisis unparalleled since the Great Depression of the 1930’s.

Almost miraculously, because of some economic realities and some blind luck, Canada (particularly BC) was shielded from much of that economic carnage.

The economic reality that helped Canada and British Columbia weather the storm was the relative strength of the resource sector.  In the northern hemisphere, climatic and geographic conditions dictate that the consumption of energy fuel sources is a reality.

Homes have to be heated, vehicles need to transport goods and people across comparatively large distances and manufacturing as well as agriculture is based on the conversion of energy into products and goods vital to the human existence.

The relative strength of the much misaligned Oil and Gas industries helped Canada through an incredibly difficult time in the recent history of the industrial world as the wealth generated from that sector was distributed throughout Canada and elsewhere through Canada’s provincial equalization formula and through the creation of jobs and employment.

In British Columbia, the effect of the global recession was mitigated by real estate speculation that has driven up the price (not necessarily value) of real estate, particularly in the lower mainland, to incredibly high, and probably unsustainable, levels.  Much of that real estate speculation comes from Asian investors who see Canada and British Columbia as one of the safest havens for investment, at least on a comparative basis.  But for how much longer, given the prevailing political decision making process?

Be Careful What You Wish For.

Too many BC residents, and as a result the BC government, have collectively been lulled into a false sense of economic security.  Additionally, the promotion of sensationalized and often irrational special interest group considerations that have become ‘hot button’ mantras have  skewed ‘sober second thought’, ‘cost benefit analysis’, ‘fiscal responsibility’ and other traditional mechanisms that provide the checks and balances necessary to maintaining a healthy and sustainable economy.

It is vital that the trend of increased tertiary ‘service’ sector economic factors ultimately reverse in favor of ‘goods’ oriented production.

Goods produce wealth using other peoples’ money (through exports and a healthy balance of payments surplus with other economic jurisdictions).

 Services ‘consume’ wealth using our own money.

If the trend continues and we rely more heavily on ‘service’ industries to maintain the economy of BC rather than recognizing that manufacturing, development of resources (including raw materials and the growth of secondary and tertiary production), fishing, farming and goods related industries such as transportation are the true economic drivers of the BC economy, then we are on the precipice of an imminent financial disaster.

At some point, the ability of the BC government (or any government, for that matter), to extract more revenue from the taxpayer will be capped by the absolute inability of the taxpayer to fund any more government sponsored financial mistakes.

So, what is it that the average BC taxpayer appears to wish for?

  • Support for the Federal Government’s recently announced moratorium on the pipeline projects proposed for Northern BC, specifically the Northern Gateway Project.
  • Increased spending on social housing and related welfare programs for the ‘disadvantaged’  sector of the society.
  • Support for the Carbon Tax and the concept of ‘penalizing’ the use of hydrocarbons to heat even our provincial schools and municipal buildings.
  • Restrictions on the development of BC’s own natural resources based on land claims, speculation concerning potential unremediated environmental degradation, Climate Change speculation and political indecision .
  • Expansion of the BC civil service and the increasing cost thereof.
  • Acceptance of the apparent fact that there are different laws for bureaucrats and government officials compared to the remainder of the citizens of BC.  Computer hard drives are wiped, emails destroyed and evidence of these facts have been brought forward by the Privacy Commissioner in recent days.  Thus far, no strong condemnation or apology from the government including the Premier.
  • Mortgaging the lives of our children and grandchildren in favor of an ever increasing public debt which has already surpassed 65 Billion Dollars , that is $14,513 for every man, woman and child in the province. Note:  That is the Province of BC debt load.  (This does not include Federal and Municipal debt).  Anything other than a balanced budget creates even more debt – that eventually someone must pay for.  Politicians are generally short-sighted in this discussion.  Unethical, unaccountable politicians choose to maintain their political power through promises of providing more for less – and anyone who has to balance a household budget knows how ridiculous that argument becomes.  Whereas you or I have to convince a ‘hard-hearted banker’ that we have the capacity to repay our debts, governments have no such reality checks.  Witness the recent events in the US where every year (sometimes more often) Congress and the Senate have to pass increased debt ceiling legislation – required just to increase borrowings (adding debt) to make money available to pay for government employee salaries, pensions and loan interest.  When is it time to say that enough is enough?

So, residents and citizens of British Columbia, be careful what you wish for.

What you should wish for, in your own best interest as well as the best interests of future generations, is a resolve to gain more knowledge, to learn more facts, and to make a commitment to holding politicians and bureaucrats more accountable for their actions.

There is a legal requirement known as ‘fiduciary trust’.

By definition:

A fiduciary trust is a fiduciary relationship in which a trustee holds the title to assets for the beneficiary. The trust’s creator is called the grantor.

In the province of British Columbia, the trustee is the elected government including all of the civil servants and bureaucrats who manage the assets that by law belong to all of us who live and reside in British Columbia, almost without exception.

The assets are all of the land holdings, improvements, buildings, equipment, tax dollars et cetera that are publicly funded and owned, the resources of the land, under the land and on and under the sea.  These assets are the legacy that must be vigilantly and fiercely guarded and maintained by us so that they are sustained and available to future generations.

We are collectively the grantor of the fiduciary trust and it is up to the trustees to manage our assets to the absolute best of their ability.

It is our responsibility, our duty, to hold the trustees responsible and accountable and to remove them if they do not perform their duties in accordance with the trust bond that has been created between the voter and the government.

The creation of insightbc.org is intended to provide yet another vehicle to help facilitate the monitoring and the vigilance required of all of us, as residents and trustees in our own right with our children, grandchildren and future generations as the grantors.

Joseph de Maistre: “Every country has the government it deserves (Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite”)

Diogenes: “The foundation of every state is the education of its youth“.

If we are responsible and vigilant, then perhaps future generations will truly  have the opportunity of benefiting from the motto of the Province of British Columbia.

‘Splendor sine occasu’.  Splendour without diminishment.

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