Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Marks. Rubes. Suckers. Chumps. Hicks. BC Liberals screw up bigtime on Mackenzie pulp mill and Port Mann P3 fiascos!

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Column

Tuesday February 3, 2009

B.C. government blind to its own bad deals


"I wanted to puke in my corns flakes over this."

- Mackenzie pulp mill worker Carl Bernasky on toxic danger

Marks. Rubes. Suckers. Chumps. Hicks.

That's what the flim-flam men call people who are too slow, too dumb and too unsophisticated to figure out an obvious bad deal.

But in this province we call them the B.C. Liberal government.

Take two sterling examples.

First, the Mackenzie pulp mill holding 15 tonnes of deadly chlorine dioxide that had to be taken over by the government from a former convicted money-launderer whose company wasn't paying the few workers left there.

They kept the chemical tanks from freezing and rupturing, potentially killing 5,000 people.

The clean-up costs could be $30 to $50 million - all charged to taxpayers because the company that bought the mill, Worthington Mackenzie, isn't doing its job and has a single director living in Slovenia!

All big news to the B.C. Liberals.

Second, the Port Mann Bridge twinning project. B.C. Liberal Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon always sings the praises of public-private partnerships.

"With respect to the twinning of the Port Mann Bridge, there will be no federal or provincial dollars involved in the construction of that project," Falcon promised in April 2008.

But now B.C. is on the hook for one-third of the financing - about $750 million - because the vaunted P3 banks weren't willing to fund it.

Hello B.C. taxpayer! Can you spell "bailout?"

But Falcon is "thrilled" with the new taxpayer-financed deal because it "makes sense."

Let's see - Falcon said P3s are a good idea because the private sector takes the risk instead of taxpayers - but now taxpayers will pay for both the project, through tolls of $3 per trip, and also lend the risk-takers the money we didn't want to risk by doing it ourselves?

Talk about marks and suckers - with this kind of business acumen we can expect a lot more desperate P3 bankers to head for B.C.!

Back to the Mackenzie mill, where the B.C. government completely failed to protect the community or the jobs.

While a skeleton crew of workers have to be paid by taxpayers to keep the mill from freezing up, across the province the B.C. government has let 55 sawmills and pulp mills close in the last few years, throwing 25,000 workers out of work.

Ironically, the only time they've lifted a finger to save jobs was when forced to by a potential environmental catastrophe.

When the mill was bought, Forests Minister Pat Bell - whose riding it's located in - told the media: "So far, so good."

Not good enough for taxpayers - not by far.

These marks, rubes, suckers, chumps and hicks have a lot to answer for in throwing away our money.

UPDATE: You simply can't make things like this up - from tonight's online Vancouver Sun - I rest my case after just one day!

Port Mann price tag could hit $3 billion

The Port Mann Bridge and Highway 1 expansion project could cost as much as $3 billion, double the announced cost of $1.5 billion in 2006, Premier Gordon Campbell said Tuesday.

In a speech at the B.C. Economic Summit, Campbell said the Port Mann Bridge will be a “$2- to $3-billion project.”

When announced by Campbell in January 2006, the project was estimated to cost $1.5 billion. Accounting for general inflation, that would now be between $1.6 and $1.7 billion, although there were industry estimates as early as 2006 that construction costs would go up by 50 per cent or more by 2010.

Campbell, who was scheduled to officially unveil a design for the new bridge today in Surrey, did not elaborate Tuesday on any reasons for the change.....


Anonymous said...

liberals screw up big time and we end up paying.When is all this going to end you see stonewally on a news cast about the courts and fees ,and nothing else is mentioned about it if these rubes have work to do why dont they go back to victoria and get on with it?they must think were just as stupid as they are i know all these blogs make for good reading dou you think those media monitors can keep up?i know that they monitor everything,and report back to el capo maybe these people should be redirected to the due dilligence dept.andstop spieing we live in canada not cuba!thats exactly what they are bill rubes,flops,easy marks .

Anonymous said...

There's more to that Mackenzie pulpmill issue, I think.

For one thing: the old BC Rail line which used to serve that town ... that service was cancelled during the Pope & Talbot bankruptcy ... then reinstated in 2007.

Meantime, there is no fibre available to haul to the pulpmill and no pulp being produced for shipment out ... so is that section of the old BCRailway still operating? I bet not.

Therefore ... doesn't this mean that the line will be considered "abandoned", therefore becoming available for purchase by CN at the princely sum of ... $1.?

And I suppose CN could sell it ... like they sold the Rocky Mountaineer ... and why do I think that?

Because the aerial photos of the Mackenzie mill show a surprisingly beautiful waterfront set-up. Situated on the southern shore of Williston Lake with magnificent mountains nearby, with a healthy forest all around and a pleasant little town of about 5,000 people, that pulp mill looks smallish, square, manageable, almost like a small hotel. Google "Mackenzie BC" and it reads like a perfect wonderland of beauty: the Omineca Mountains, the Rockies ... teeming with wildlife ... fishing, boating, wholesome outdoor activities.

You can't help wondering ... what's going on at Mackenzie? and Vancouver?

Are we honestly expected to believe that no pulpmill in Canada has ever had to deal with those toxic bleaching chemicals before? and nobody knows how to safely dispose of them ... or use them?

Come on ...

BC Mary
The Legislature Raids


Seabeard said...

Don't forget the World Trade University in Chilliwack!

Anonymous said...

So the Vancouver Sun has changed its view on the costs being presented by the BC Liberals on the Port Mann Bridge.

"Some of the numbers simply don't add up, starting with the assurance that the same $3 toll that was to cover the entire cost of a $1.6 billion bridge over 35 years is now supposed to generate enough revenue to pay for a $3.3 billion bridge."


"We're not sure what kind of math one has to use to demonstrate that spending $350 million up front to save $180 million over 35 years is fiscally responsible."

I guess what the Liberals are leaving out of the equation is that TimberWest's decision today of using their forest lands to build a massive real estate development on Vancouver Island is being done to match that of the Guiness' family long term development of West Vancouver's British Properties.

Will the government now being of the mind to announce that the BC Ferries acting as a conduit to the island is a failure and that its time to build a "Confederation type Bridge" which cost PEI taxpayers and its PP3 conortium $1 billion..............? oh


Anonymous said...

I recently joined my son's class for a trip to the Port of Vancouver. We walked around and looked at a number of buildings.

The expansion to the Convention Centre looks nice, but not almost $900 million worth. How do these dough-brains (Liberals) get away with this horse manure?

I don't vote for them!

North Van's Grumps said...

Do we really need a new Pattullo Bridge?

The 10 year moratorium that TransLink has placed on the building of a new Pattullo Bridge, for a measely One billion dollars (not in 2009 dollars), might never be built now that the cost of the new ten lane Port Mann bridge is at $3.3 billion dollars, and climbing, with a forty-four year payback time by commuters to the PP3 group.

Urban planners should start now to consider a twinning of the Queensborough Bridge because it should be capable of matching the volume that currently goes across the Alex Fraser OR a new bridge that would extend Boundary road onto Lulu Island (Richmond).

Anonymous said...

Does this make any sense to you?

The BC Government is now in control of the MacKenzie pulp mill and Barry Penner, Environment Minister, is pleading with the Canadian Nuclear ...... not to remove 28 nuclear measuring devices from the mill, at a cost of $60,000, to Calgary for safekeeping until they can be shipped further east, to Chalk River, for their destruction.

Lets keep a cool head here folks... the devices contain "cesium 137 and cobalt 160 two radioactive materials that are extremely toxic in small amounts.

Cesium 137 was the principal contaminant in the Chernobyl disaster. The isotopes are useful in industry because of their strong radioactivity. The 28 devices contain two grams of the isotopes."

Oh, and the bad guys, the ones we call terrorists would just love to get their hands on the devices to make their own dirty nuclear bombs.

Now, think about all of pulp mills across BC that have had to shut down ..... and just who is keeping tabs on their nuclear measuring devices.....?

North Van's Grumps said...

While BC stews about not asking questions on Patrick Kinsella's involvement in the BC Rail, things have come to a boil on the MacKenzie pulp mill front where Worthington MacKenzie has had its head office (during a renovation) is hit by an arsonist in a vacant office down the hall.

Provincil Minister responsible for the file, Pat Bell, is concerned that the documents pertaining to the mill have been destroyed.

Arson suspected in city fire

"The B.C. government expressed concern Thursday that the fire might affect its efforts to recover costs in relation to a closed pulp and paper mill that was connected to Worthington Properties, the CBC reported.

The government is still trying to sort out who owns the mill in Mackenzie. B.C. Forest Minister Pat Bell this week expressed concern about the fire in Worthington's Edmonton headquarters.

"We're very concerned about the documents associated particularly with the Mackenzie Mill," the CBC reported him as saying. "We know a large number of those are still stored in Mackenzie. But certainly, if some of those were lost, there is a potential risk there so we're following this along closely and trying to get in touch with Worthington Properties."


Google Alerts are something to behold, put a question on the backburner and poof!!!!