Tuesday, April 14, 2009

BC Liberals worst economic managers in provincial history! And other headlines you won't see but are true

Campbell Era Economy Nothing to Brag About

NDP saw higher growth. Now BC jobs are crashing.

By Bill Tieleman

Published: April 14, 2009 by 24 hours newspaper & TheTyee.ca

Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.

-Aaron Levenstein

Here are three screaming front page newspaper headlines that you should see -- but likely won't -- in British Columbia before the May 12 provincial election:

  1. Premier Gordon Campbell's B.C. Liberals worst economic managers in province's history!
  2. British Columbia job losses lead all Canada in recession!
  3. B.C. 2009 budget deficit phoney as $3 bill!

What, you say? How can this be true?

First, look at the cold, hard facts about B.C.'s economy.

Growth was higher under NDP

Start from 2001, when the B.C. Liberals took power, and use private-sector estimates through 2009 -- even though they are rosy and likely to be far worse -- and the results are stunning.

During the B.C. Liberal government reign, the average annual rate of economic growth was 2.6 per cent.

But what was the average annual growth when the New Democratic Party was in power from 1991 to 2001 -- the so-called "dismal decade," to quote Campbell and a host of B.C. Liberal business donors who are sponsoring ads attacking the NDP, like the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association?

Try annual growth of 2.8 per cent -- a better record than the B.C. Liberals.NDP saw more job growth, too

Can't believe it? Think it's a trick? Look at employment growth then.

During the NDP's decade, employment grew by 22 per cent, or 344,100 jobs. Between 2001 and 2008, the B.C. Liberals have seen 20 per cent growth, or 392,700 jobs, for a lower percentage increase.

But wait! From January through March, B.C. has lost a staggering 63,000 jobs -- 35,000 in January, 5,000 in February and 23,000 in March, the month that led all of Canada.

Overall, Statistics Canada says B.C. lost 69,000 jobs since October 2008, a three per cent drop.

That means B.C. Liberal job growth is actually only 323,700 jobs from 2001 to April 2009 -- far less than the NDP.

And as Statistics Canada notes, B.C. had Canada's highest increase in Employment Insurance beneficiaries between January 2008 and 2009 -- a two per cent jump in the unemployment rate.

(The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives' Marc Lee compiled some of these statistics on their B.C. election blog -- The Lead Up.)

Is that modest deficit for real?

Then there's the BC Liberal budget, which predicts a $495 million deficit this year, a number that is simply unbelievable.

Helmut Pastrick -- the respected chief economist of Central 1 Credit Union (formerly B.C. Central Credit Union) has said the B.C. Liberal government's numbers were way off -- he thought the deficit this year should be $1 billion to $1.5 billion.

"A deficit of $1 to $1.5 billion or 0.6 per cent of GDP in 2009-10 is the more likely outcome due to revenue shortfalls," said Central 1 Credit Union's report on the budget. "Revenue in 2009-10 is not likely to be realized, particularly in the personal income, social service and property transfer lines."

And writing in The Tyee, Will McMartin called it a "toxic fudge budget" because the numbers were so cooked and sweet.

"It's the same old pre-election, budgetary sleight-of-hand British Columbians have seen many times in the past, but of a scale and breadth never seen before. Expenditures have been artificially dampened, revenues boosted heavenward and a fiscal shock-absorber eliminated, all to create the illusion of a fiscal shortfall that is probably just one-quarter to one-fifth of its actual size,"

McMartin, a former Social Credit government aide, wrote in February.And all that was before B.C.'s disastrous unemployment numbers came in.

What does Alberta know that we don't?

Then, last week, oil-rich Alberta tabled a $4.7 billion deficit for the year ahead -- almost 10 times larger than B.C.'s, and projected a four-year, $10.3 billion deficit.

Alberta's government is planning for a full two per cent drop in GDP this year and expects a $1.4 billion deficit for the year that just ended, when all the numbers are in.

And Alberta did better than B.C. on unemployment last month -- a still substantial 15,000 job losses -- but far less than this province's 23,000.

But B.C. will have a balanced budget in just two years? I smell fudge.

Now, where are all those newspaper headlines denouncing the B.C. Liberals?

A shorter version of this column was printed in 24 Hours newspaper on Tuesday, April 14, 2009.

Related Tyee stories:This Budget Is Toxic Fudge
BC's government is in denial about the economic realities we face.

Forestry recommendations won't add jobs, say critics NDP platform full of shortfalls, bad for industry: BC Liberals

Bill Tieleman is a 24 hours columnist and regular Tyee contributor. Hear Bill Tieleman Mondays at 10 a.m. on CKNW AM 980's Bill Good Show.


4 eyes said...

Good article Bill,

Now, where are those headlines?

You just know that, Billy Goody the slow pitch Con and the, Hard ball right wing nut Adler, well jump all over this one.

I got to hand it to you,
Billy sets up the questions so Norman has the final.
Good of old Spector to point out that you’re not crazy all the time.

Keep up the good work man,

Bill Holtom
West Kelowna.

Jeff Barkley said...

Great article as always Bill.

Gordon Campbell and his so-called Liberal cohorts have never represented the people of BC when it has come to economics. All they have is a hate and disrespect for all working people, especially the few who are strong enough and committed enough to organize. If he were a CEO of a corporation, he would have been fired and charged with theft of company assets. A CEO would be expected to ALWAYS place the corporation ahead of any other consideration and Gordon Campbell has proven over and over that he does not care what is the best economic policy for the bottom line of the BC Provincial Budget. He is shifting company/provincial assets out the back door into his waiting friends pockets. He is a cheap thief, no more.

All of the PPP projects have hidden budgets and the people of BC are not allowed to see the agreements, much like the hiding of the BC Rail sales agreement. What the heck is that all about? We, the people, are not allowed to see agreements signed in our name by a "democratic" government!!!???

When these agreements are eventually released under FOI or are leaked by someone with the backbone to stand up to a bully, the people will see what economic devastation the Campbell Liberals have wrought upon BC. Billions upon billions of taxpayers dollars simply given to greedy Liberal insiders and friends. Think Patrick Kinsella multiplied by thousands. The people of BC on the hook for the rest of our lives for deals that we are not even allowed to read!! The AIG executives have nothing on the BC Liberals, helped by an amazing animal with no spine, bred in the corporate backrooms of Canwest, called the Vancouver Sun/Province/Global etc.

As much as CanWest and their ilk have lied for Gordon Campbell, they have lied even more about the record of the NDP. The stories about deficits are completely without substance, as pointed out by the Auditor General.

I guess its up to Blogs to provide REAL news and facts. If I worked at CanWest I would be ashamed of the job I do. I hope you continue with your great posts, Bill. We need every hand on deck to try to survive in the media lie capital of the world here in BC. You would have to search long and hard to find a place with a media so compliant to one political party....maybe Russia...hmm, no, I believe Pravda is probably more neutral...

DPL said...

Gordo was doing his best today telling us that just one day could cause all the great things he has been doing, to fail, if folks voted NDP. He didn't mention the very small article in the local paper about how the unemployment numbers are continuing to rise here in BC. he was on the TV on every news program we have over here in the little town of Victoria. He is good, NDP is bad.

Anonymous said...

One hopes that the judgement in Susan Heyes lawsuit against TransLink, the province, and the city comes down during the election. There maybe some big bombshells that may sink Campbell's ship and silence all mention of P-3's!

Anonymous said...

Why does the 5th Etate allow the government to spread malicious untruths?
How can we stop it?
We have to keep on trying, but it's a tough campaign.
Keep it up with my thanks.

Anonymous said...

The truth doesn't matter. The Libs siphon the best of our journalism schools, for party appartchuks with the Public Affairs Bureau.

Further, they still have Canwest to advance their agenda. We all know that Global's "Keith" gets family income from his wife's key job with the Libs. Not that he isn't a human repository of impartiality and objectivity.

Canwest bankruptcy has been postponed by a time extension on repayment of interest on their nearly $4 billion in debt. But how can they possibly make it with advertising revenues falling at the big dailies and broadcast news? Apparently, the federal Conservatives want to subsidize Canwest by means of government advertising, even as Canwest campaigns for less government and against nasty socialists.

I witnessed a PAB set up last week at Robson Street courthouse. I counted 7 set up personnel and handlers. They used their own lighting so Stonewally and Nuraney's faces were "aged" properly. I am sure they do that in North Korea too.

Watch Global for under the chin and dim filming of Carol James, so that she appears sullen and sickly. They need to be closely monitored and attacked.

Anonymous said...

Someone asks if the judgement in the Susan Heyes suit may be brought down during the election. Hardly, Don Brenner (Chief Justice of the Supreme Court) has attended 2 public sessions with Stonewally.

Brenner's abuse of the Motions court system has led Court Masters - responsible only to him - to reduce Supreme Court trials to only 425 per year. Government parties are winning nearly 100% of Motions. We all saw the Queen of the North debacle.

For those who are unaware: the UK has 1000 Barristers, with 15 times the population of BC. Under Brenner, BC has 9000. Hundreds of millions of dollars are wasted on the Masters hearing circuses, that defeat justice. The NDP has been negligent in challenging this usurpation of the rule of law and subsidy to a litigation industry that does not exist for private claimants, especially where they challenge government.

Media: does the fact that injunctive relief is now avaiable ONLY to government parties, not raise red-flags with you? Common sense is out of season.

Anonymous said...

"Lies, damn lies, and statistics."

Listen Bill, when you selectively report certain favorable statistics and then concoct a one in million combination to find a damning statistic, then you are beyond lies.

Any wonder why 60% of BC doesn't care for the NDP? Because they lie through their teeth by selective statistics. Just go and listen to Shane Simpson on his lies about the environment.

Give me a bucket of statistics, and I can always pick and choose the bad ones to smear my opponent. This shows more about me than the opponent.

Fact is that during the NDP years, BC was driven into the ground when the rest of Canada was flying high. There is no way for you to lie out of this fact.

And then Carole's Cap & Trade carbon tax will hit certain industries massively causing layoffs and price rises for certain products that makes them uncompetitive. So they become more dependent on the government, in a strategy of creeping nationalisation and creeping socialism.

Have you heard that before Bill? Nationalism and Socialism? Do you wish for me to refresh your memory?

DPL said...

Hi there anon 11.19. Can you spell Asian meltdown? Happened in the late 90's. And the government of the day in BC didn't cut many services, and as the Auditor General said, the last two NDP budgets were SURPLUSES. Schools, courhouses and hospitals stayed open.

Gordos' first was the highest defecit in BC history. So maybe your statements are sort of selective. Wonder how many people who respond in blogs exist? Pick a name and stick to it

Campbellwearsatutu said...

Looks like the PAB is getting a little testy,must be those "internal polls" are freking them out!

ANON 11.19 forgot to mention that our BC debt has gone from 31 billion in 2001 to 53 billion by 2011/2012.....

And those aren`t statistics,those are facts!

Campbell a good manager...LOL...The worst fiscal manager in BC history

DPL said...

I recommend the doubters check out V. Palmer's blog regarding which leaders have the best handle on business stuff. He points us to a article written by Francis Bula which is priceless. That awful fellow G. Clark ex NDP Premier was mentioned as well. Jimmy Patterson has Glen running large sections of Patterson's enterprises. and Jimmy sure has a big company, actually lots of companies

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:19:

You are hilarious. Are you that "Jordan" dude from Langley? Could be.

Have you not been reading that our American friends have been bailing out companies since last October? During the Bush bubble - caused by profiteering on non-viable sub-prime loans - Canadian firms did indeed produce lower profits than did American. Now the reverse has happened. Why? Generally, the Left has always been there to promote balanced development in Canada. Convict Gord has little more to offer than the zero regulation pipe dream.

Good regulation didn't produce the Queen of the North, Cambie Street, Vancouver construction collapse, BCIGTF wheel spinning on organized crime, Supreme Court sandbag, environmental deregulation, general traffic, prison stuffing with non-violent criminals, drug hysteria, ad nauseum fiascos and scandals.

Frankly, Carol James would do a better job across the board. And where is the proof that investment would suffer if pseudo-experts like Stonewally and the Falcon, and Rich (Duddley Do-Wrong) Coleman, and the Point Grey brat - Convict Gord - were pushed out of their sandbox? At least WAC Bennett's right wingers operated on a plan.

Anonymous said...

Jeff Barkley:

Canwest mugs are indeed experts on deficits; the company owes $4,000,000,000, and they missed a pay off last week. I know that because Jim Patison's "24" isn't suppressing coverage of the Asper's problems. Maybe Global's "Keith" might have to rely on the wife's Liberal Party income.

The dirty work of PAB needs to enter the election lexicon. They are recruiting young journalists, straight out of college. That is a threat to freedom of speech. The Left has made nothing of Rich Coleman's use of BC Corrections database (CORNET) to exclude persons from residence at hotels and residences that his Ministry has purchased. Coleman is ex-RCMP. Cops already run the Firearms Registry, even as their lobbies oppose private ownership of firearms. And, they smear critics with Mental Health Act enforcement, so that they get on the RCMP's PROS database. Coleman encouraged cops - a Police Act oath can be administered after a paltry 65 days training - to produce a "risk assessment" on anyone. It would be tragic that Convict Campbell escapes systemic Defamatory Libel accusations, during an election campaign.

Anonymous said...

Are we serious? Start an article with a quote about how deceptive averaged statistics can be, and then base your whole argument on decade averaged statistics? Actually, they aren't ALL averages, you also use a handful of numbers from the worst global depression in 70 years to boost your point. Clearly Gordon Campbell's policies caused the global economic crash. He is entirely responsible for any changes the budget had to undergo in the last year, and an unemployment rate that jacked up. Obama's gonna have some strong words with Campbell, he really screwed up the world.

If you want to talk about statistics, get specific please, and try to avoid picking numbers from the very peak of bubbles or the very bottom of troughs. You know, like a real statistician would. In real statistics, you try to pick out trends.

Like that for 4 years, the Liberals gave BC its lowest unemployment rate in 30 years. That's a trend. Or that youth unemployment is at 8.4% now, even in a global depression. It was at 17.4% (peak at 20%) under the NDP.

Or we could talk about policy-specific statistics. I love James' plan to deal with poverty in BC by raising the minimum wage. I wonder if she's read the headlines that 48% of BC's poor are unemployed, and will see fewer jobs available with a higher minimum wage? Has she read the Federal Government's estimate that for every 10% you raise the minimum wage, youth unemployment goes up by 2.5%? Probably not, but raising minimum wage sounds really good to anyone else who hasn't read it.

While I admire James and the NDP's good intentions, we must remember how well paved the road to hell is, and look at results, rather than intent.

So here are the results that I've seen: the BC Liberals have been incredible for working British Columbians - average wage has increased by 24% since 2001, and low-income-earners now pay zero income tax. Real disposable income for ALL British Columbians has gone up 20% under Campbell's government.

When you talk about filing FOI requests, remember that it's the BC Liberals who increased the Privacy Commissioner's budget by 63% and grew the mandate of FOI requests by 65 provincial bodies so you could file that request and get it processed. When you complain on behalf of teachers, remember that the BC Liberals have increased per-pupil-spending in our schools by more than 33%, that they're responsible for the largest expansion of secondary and post-secondary facilities in BC history, that they've provided the highest special needs funding in BC history, and that they're the only government EVER to reach a negotiated settlement with the BCTF since province-wide bargaining began.

And while you remember those things, remember that Carol James voted against those improvements EVERY STEP OF THE WAY.

kootcoot said...

"Gordo was doing his best today telling us that just one day could cause all the great things he has been doing, to fail, if folks voted NDP."So, does this mean if we elect Carole James for "just one day" all the great things (read breach of public trust - and give away of the people's assets) will be corrected?

Elect Carole James on May 12 and by May 14 we'll have BC Rail back, Accenture fired as book keepers and skimmers of BC Hydro, our creeks taken back, fish farms regulated, schools, hospitals and courthouses re-opened. Well one can dream on occasion.

Gordo was waxing on about the sanctity of contracts at the Sun Run today, in regards to candidate Heed's seemingly un-necessary golden parachute. He's probably lucky some members of the HEU weren't within arms length, or within punching range!

I will not sell BC Rail, BTW, wasn't a contract, just a campaign promise, thus meaningless - like anything he may say today!

Anonymous said...

Bill, excellent reporting as usual, Here is another one for you to look at.

Check into the story about the BC Government (Liberals) buying up over 100 houses that back onto the contraversial Tsawwassan power line.
You know thats the one that the liberals said they would not be constructing prior to the last election and then ran it though right after they were elected.

Well the B.C. Government(Liberals) have bought the homes up an an inflated price,-estimated to be around 15 million dollars.
They will also pay all moving and property purchase tax plus they will be spenting about 70 grad a month to keep the property maintained.
all in the hopes of re electing Wally, but this cost is more expensive than actually diging the lines underground as previously hopped by the residents.

can you dig into this (sorry for the pun)