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

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