Monday, February 27, 2012

BC Government's Open Information website only needs an "OpenRoad" to find this

Looking for selective information in the BC Government's haystack is like trying to find that needle.

For instance, its far easier to search for one magical word, but just what is it?   Multiple of words used in Google works just fine, but in the Open Information format, forget it.. eg "other supplies for the fiscal year ended march 31" results in ONE hit.  In all the data, that is ours' to look at, "other supplies" shows up once under Christy Clark's steady hand...... or rather Kevin Falcon's steady hand.

I went for OpenRoad because they stated quite clearly on their website who they have worked for.  The result is four hits, I went with the last one:

[text/plain] "Other Supplies for the Fiscal Year Ended March 31, 2011" ...
... LTD.,"557,896.00", OPEN SOURCE SOLUTIONS,"115,880.00", OPEN TEXT

There are 4968 lines in the Excel Spread Sheet that total $7,625,997,652.00 for one Fiscal year

Other Supplies????  What's squirreled away that Covers just SUPPLIES!

I decided to sort the above Excel info via the MOST expensive bills that Finance Minister Kevin Falcon spent on our behalf for the Fiscal Year Ended March 31, 2011.  Can't really lay the blame for all this spending at the feet of former Finance Minister Colin Hansen because we know that his answer would be...."Not on my Radar".

Under the former Finance Minister control though, Colin Hansen constantly stood up in the Legislature and crowed about how the Sea to Sky Highway was only going to cost taxpayers $600 million, and then in this Fiscal Year Ended March 31, 2011 the public gets nailed with a $63 MILLION dollar bill, AND we will get nailed $63 Million dollars every year, for the next Twenty-Five years, until the total cost ...... sounds like another one of those DEFERRAL bookkeeping accounts.... that the BC Liberals like to use all of the time, to make their accounts look OH-SO Good.

I could have used any "Supplier" to search the database, but I'd never really considered other phrases like    RIGHT OF WAY COMPENSATION or SEA TO SKY HIGHWAY INVESTMENT LIMITED PARTNERSHIP or SEVERANCE SETTLEMENTS as being listed, or simply typing in FUNERAL.

Or about this one   PUBLIC DEBT SERVICING COSTS..... over $2 Billion.   The Severance Settlements during Gordon Campbell's watch.... over $18 Million.   Christy Clark takes over and her tally for a new regime of foot soldiers to tend to her needs $2.4 Millon and climbing almost monthly with the loss of Chris Olsen and replaced with two from the Conservative Government.

As to Right of Way Compensation, is that for the lucky property owners that stood in the way of the new South Fraser Connector?

Premier Christy Clark constantly talks that under her watch taxes will not go up.  Just who does she think has been paying the taxes during the past year while Victoria is burning through our tax dollars?

The end of the next Fiscal years is just over a Month away........ will it take till JUST before the next Provincial election to discover just how badly the BC Liberals have been working AND will it be even more difficult to discover?

Laila Yuile last year gave us the heads up on the Shadow Toll on the Sea to Sky Highway. Now we know its costing us over $63 million per year. The Road Counters embedded in the road are not visible to British Columbians, but every other highway is....... and now we know why.
Post Script:  For the Fiscal Year ending 2010


The debt servicing costs has gone UP in 2011 by close to $18 million

To access this Excel file you need to have the latest in software.... its almost like the BC Government really want Families First  to spend their hard earned monies not on keeping tabs on the BC Liberals.



Compare the above to this Earlier Post of mine.

 BC Government has (future) Contractual Obligations on the Sea to Sky Highway. We were told it wasn't a penny more than $600 million, but its actually $1.016 Billion and counting!

  Public Accounts 2008/2009 stated that 2010 would cost British Columbians $76 million, 2011 = $51 million, 2012 = $ 52 million

The numbers are way out of whack and if Teachers and other Public Sector contracts are supposed to be held at Net Zero why are private contractors, the pet projects of the BC Liberals P3 agreements not hindered by the same iron fisted rule?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Michael Smyth's column on "Recognition Cupboard" is on a BC Liberal Government website, open to the public

The finance ministry has a website called “The Online Recognition Cupboard” (UPDATED 2017-06-28) stocked with presents, and employees don’t need formal permission to use it, according to the “Frequently Asked Questions” section on the site.
Question: “Do I need my manager’s approval to recognize someone with the Recognition Cupboard items?”  - Vancouver Province - Michael Smyth

BC Government Website:   Look for   WHAT WE OFFER column in the link below

The BC Public Service Online Store gives our employees quick access to great gear and giftware, discounts on computer merchandise, fitness memberships and more.

Loan forgiveness

Dedicate a portion of your career to the BC Public Service after graduation and we'll show our commitment to you by forgiving your BC Student Loan at the rate of one-third of the total per year. That means after three years of service your total BC Student Loan will be forgiven. This also applies to current full-time or part-time regular employees who have a BC Student Loan in good standing.

Gee, if only ALL BC students loans were treated in this fashion, there would be monies left over to put a down payment on a HOME.    Now that would truly be a Recognition Cupboard for the masses instead of the few government employees. ..... Out of curiousity, this "forgiving", was it applied to David Basi and Bobby Virk?  Is there some sort of rider on the student loan, that if someone pleads guilty in a criminal case of Breach of Trust, say the BC Rail Trial, then there should be an onus on the part of the Special Prosecutors, and the Defense Counsel, to negotiate the repayment of the original past forgivenesses..........? Just a little incentive here to act as a niggling reminder to public servants and OIC appointees.   How much money are we talking about?   Would it start to put a dent in the $6 million?

More Perks

Finance Minister Kevin Falcon agrees with rewarding his employees..... "Finance Minister Kevin Falcon pointed out the program has been in place for many years, having been introduced by the NDP in 1999." - Victoria Times Colonist -

Falcon defends government reward program

Finance minister says the $1.5-million Online Recognition Cupboard ‘is entirely appropriate’

Since 1999, and up to the next two years, the NDP Recognition program didn't have to suffer through a CORE review done on it when the BC Liberals had their landslide victory at the polls in 2001.   For the past 10 years the Finance Department under various BC Liberals Ministers have been pumping Recognition monies into rewarding their employees, not just on the one day of reaching retirement, but incrementally "20, 25, 30 years or longer" and that was just half of the Recognition package cost.  The other half was "to a number of special events each year, including long-service awards dinners and a dinner to celebrate exceptional innovations in civil service. “It’s not people just firing around gifts to each other for fun,” Falcon said."    "firing"?   Not for "fun"

I've seen some RoadRunner magazines where awards were made for the work of the employees of the BC  Government, is this one example of Special Events?  Fact is the Minister of Highways, who is now the Minister of Finance was a huge booster of the Recognition program as outlined in this particular RoadRunner magazine, the "Special Edition":

Road Runner Special Edition


“People aren’t looking for
remuneration as much
as they are looking for
simple acknowledgement.
Recognition not only
has a great impact on
employee mental health,
it also encourages
the investment that
employees make in their
work. Recognition must be
part of an on-going,
long-term process.”

– Jean-Pierre Brun, Ph.D.
Chair in Occupational
Health and Safety
Université Laval

For mor information of past editions on the Road Runner Employee Newsletter
(indexed) from 1999 to November 2011

Saturday, February 11, 2012

1945 Comparing Apples with Oranges Hydro rates in North America to 2010

1947 Comparative Prices for Electricity in North America (VPL newspaper clippings)

 The above is "cents per kilowatt hour sold in 1942" during WORLD WAR II
The information is gathered from 56 US of A and Canadian Provinces (Newfoundland not included)

We have some world unrest, not economics alone, taking place two years after this study was done.

2010 Comparative index for Electricity in North America (Quebec Hydro)


Manitoba Hydro.... Manitoba has a Hydro

Friday, February 10, 2012

1949 West Coast Transmission came into existence and by 1955 the naturual gas "big pipeline" started

Rummaging around the VPL newspaper clippings yesterday I came across a "bonus" system that was offered to those along the Big Pipeline back in 1955.  I thought that it was the Westcoast Transmission Company but it turned out to be a different company altogether, something called Pacific Northern Gas, which as of December 31, 2011 was bought out by a company called AltaGas Ltd.

The title of the newspaper article was "Peter Pays Paul" the idea being that consumers, locally, on Canadian soil, would be paying the shot.  But now that Christy Clark has made it a Job One for her government to get the LNG plants up and running for OVERSEAS customers, its they who should be "paying the shot" for the benefit of those Northern BC communities effected by the disruption of a Natural Gas pipeline.

Browsing results matching Commissioner Inquiry on British Columbia's Requirements, Supply and Surplus of Natural Gas and Natural Gas Liquids : submission of Pacific Northern Gas Ltd. --

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Dagenais/Mentuck test bc rail trial

Dagenais/Mentuck test bc rail trial

  1. R. v. Sipes, issue of access by media to exhibits entered at a trial ...
    12 Jul 2011 – IN THE SUPREME COURT OF BRITISH COLUMBIA .... The Dagenais/Mentuck test is applicable at every stage of the judicial process but must ...
  2. Sangha v. - BCJustice/Court cases/British Columbia/Supreme Court ...
    26 Jan 2012 – British Columbia, 2010 BCCA 169, 4 B.C.L.R. (5th) 22, the Court applied the Dagenais/Mentuck test in the context of an appeal from the ...
  3. ACCESS PERMITTED - R. v. Basi, Ruling on Application for ...
    2 Jun 2011 – [4] The trial of this matter ended in October 2010 when Dave Basi and Bobby ... The Dagenais/Mentuck test is applicable at every stage of the ...

Dagenais v. Canadian Broadcasting Corp., [1994] 3 S.C.R. 835, and R. v. Mentuck, 2001 SCC 76

Update March 15, 2012

[application/pdf] (I.)/~(fu1.Q(J11lfl{1~jL-
... From: Lowther, Brett GCPE:EX To: Brazier, Heather M JTI:EX; cc: Blewett, Tyann
M SG:EX; Subject: Times colonist article Date: Friday, May 7, 2010 ...

Page 5

Big questions 

The Supreme Court of Canada has clearly recognized the principle of openness in the court system in Dagenais v. Canadian Broadcasting Corp., [1994] 3 S.C.R. 835; R. v. Mentuck, [2001] 3 S.C.R. 442 and more recently in R. v. Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. 2005 SCC 41.

The Court has also recognized that there are exceptions to this principle.

The general principles are as follows:

1. Every court has a supervisory and protecting power over its own records.
2. The presumption is in favor of public access and the burden of contrary proof lies upon the person who would deny the exercise of the right.
3. Access can be denied when the ends of justice would be subverted by disclosure or the judicial documents might be used for an improper purpose. Curtailment of public accessibility can only be justified where there is present the need to protect social values of superordinate importance. One of these is the protection of the innocent.
A.G. (Nova Scotia) v. MacIntyre, [1982] 1 S.C.R. 175, at 186-189.

In summary, the public interest in open trials and in the ability of the press to provide
complete reports of what takes place in the courtroom is rooted in the need:

(1) to maintain an effective evidentiary process;
(2) to ensure a judiciary and juries that behave fairly and that are sensitive to values espoused by society;
(3) to promote a shared sense that our courts operate with integrity and dispense justice; and 

(4) to provide an ongoing opportunity for the community to learn how the justice system operates and how the law being applied daily in the courts affects them. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

? Did you know... Birkeland Bros. Wool will be closing as of March 1, 2012 UPDATE: Rejuventation October 2014

 Birkeland Bros. Wool 

Has Moved

 north of #1 Highway, 33739 Essendene Ave, Abbotsford BC.

Updated June 17, 2012

Additional Info on Did You Know sidebar

Moving Accomplished 

In the Province financial Help ($18,100) is needed:

.................. About 80 per cent of Canadian wool goes to China where it is bleached and processed using cheap labour, he continued. If local farmers want to get their wool processed elsewhere, the closest place is Alberta, but shipping is very costly.

“We want to set up our business to support local sheep producers,” he said.

On October 17, a few days shy of the Kickstarter deadline, Birkeland accomplished its goal, thanks to the help of loyal customers, local spinners and weavers guilds and an international social media site called Ravelry, which brings together knitters and crocheters. Donations are still being accepted through the Birkeland’s website at


Though this space is hosted by Birkeland Bros. Wool, all content is provided by the Guild.


Small business makes up 98 per cent of all businesses in the B.C., and last year, there were approximately 391,700 small businesses operating in the province, employing over a million British Columbians.
In North Vancouver, Garden Works store in Edgemont Village has had to close its doors, suddenly, in late December (2011) because of the property becoming too valuable to be a .... Garden.  Maybe that's one example of over simplification of why our neighbourhoods are changing but if 98% of small businesses make up all businesses in BC does that then mean we are getting mighty close to that same "99%" versus the "1%" factor here where the Vancouver Art Gallery northern steps were a focal point?

Did you know that Birkeland Bros. on Main Street in Vancouver, will be closing as of March 1, 2012?

"Birkeland Bros. Wool would like to thank you for your patronage over the last 73 years. We have enjoyed helping, laughing, and sharing your wool dreams. You are not only our customers - many of you have also become our friends.

This decision has not come easily. My grandfather founded the business, and my father took over until his retirement due to illness. About 15 years ago, parallel to a nursing career, I started to expand Birkeland Bros. Wool into its current format of supplying a wide variety of products for crafts and fibre arts.

A wonderful community has formed around our business, and it has been much fun, and you as customers have contributed to 2011 being one of the most successful years in the history of Birkeland Bros. Wool.

Nevertheless, health reasons have forced me to re-assess my options and consider drastic changes. With pride about what my family, our staff, and you as a community have achieved, and with sadness that all good things will have to transform at some point in time, I have decided to close the doors of Birkeland Bros Wool, and focus on new horizons." SNIP

This may be a Small business on the outside, but it certainly has made a large footprint on whom they have served over its 73 year life span, within the community.

Monday, February 6, 2012

In 1912 there was a BC Royal Commission on municipal governments having an Inspector of Finances...

In 2011, Christy Clark came up with her NEW ERA idea of having an Auditor General of Municipalities.

Just where does she get these ideas, and Why doesn't existing laws regarding the finances of municipalities, from the Royal Commission of 1912, need tampering with, by the Provincial government of today?


Sections 222 and 223 of the" Municipal Act" authorize the Councils of municipalities to invest their sinking funds in a large number of excellent securities, but they also empower them to invest these funds upon the security of first mortgages on land. Experience has shown that investment in mortgage is, or in some cases may be, a dangerous form of investment for municipalities. Even when the security is good, there is often great difficulty in compelling an influential ratepayer to make prompt payment of interest. We were much pleased to find that but, few municipalities in the Province have availed themselves of this power. In our opinion, it would conduce very much to the safety of sinking funds if this power were taken away from municipalities. In this connection we might add that it might well be made the duty of a Government Inspector of Municipalities to report upon the investment of sinking funds. - (Page 9 of 18)

Would Vancouver City Council have found themselves in an Athlete Village problem, if the Royal Commission suggestions had been adhered to by the outgoing NPA?

On the bottom of page 7 of the same document, the possible conception, not the birth, of the BCUC.....


Several complaints were addressed to us regarding the arbitrary and unreasonable exercise by public service corporations of powers of entry upon public streets for the erection of poles, the laying of rails, pipes, etc., confet'red by the private Acts of incorporation of these companies. Several of these Acts are quite old and contain few and inadequate provisions for safeguarding public rights, as they were passed at a time when private bill legislation was not as carefully considet'ed from the point of view of the public as at present. It seems to us that the situation could be properly dealt with by a public Act authorizing the establishment of a commission with ample powers to enforce reasonabJe action in such cases, notwithstanding the powers conferred on these corporations by the private Acts already referred to. Such a tribunal might be either permanent or appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor from time to time to deal with such cases as they arise. Power might also be given to Buch a commission to compel such companies to give adequate service at reasonable rates. Such tribunals exist in Ontario and Manitoba, and are found to be of great benefit.

Who would have known way back then, that the BCUC would be wielding so much power at the slightest whim of a Natural Gas company that was once ours, until.... the BC Liberals came along.

Sinking Fund? Think along the lines of how the BC Liberal Government keeps dipping into BC Hydro to help the government maintain that "WE KNOW HOW TO RUN GOVERNMENT" attitude when in fact all that they've done is stolen from BC Hydro, monies that should have been used to keep our electricity rates low... and/or building new facilities AND not paying too much for IPPs....

The sinking fund was first used in Great Britain in the 18th century to reduce national debt. While used by Robert Walpole in 1716 and effectively in the 1720s and early 1730s, it originated in the commercial tax syndicates of the Italian peninsula of the 14th century to retire redeemable public debt of those cities.

The fund received whatever surplus occurred in the national Budget each year. However, the problem was that the fund was rarely given any priority in Government strategy. The result of this was that the funds were often raided by the Treasury when they needed funds quickly. eg. BC Liberals and BC Hydro

Here it is a day after this post and the Vancouver Sun comes out with the same topic that I just wrote on......... its well worth the read.  Link below

It’s either pay a bit more now or pay a lot more later. Our members – like BC Hydro’s customers – have an interest in a financially strong and stable electrical utility. We should not let cynical political manipulation by Victoria throw that away by bribing us with our own money … plus interest. - Vancouver Sun - Jim Quail