Though Vaughn Palmer is not as obnoxious or snide as others in BC’s Senate-track press corp, his refusal to be honest about our debt is maddening. The central problem is that the BC Liberals have gone on a spending binge since 2005, but most of it is not counted as debt. The Liberals have been able to keep tens of billions of dollars in P3 developments and BC Hydro contractual obligations off the official books, even though we as taxpayers are ultimately responsible for this spending. By some estimates, the hidden P3/Hydro debt is over 100 billion dollars, and makes a mockery of the claim that the Liberals are competent economic managers. Here are two articles that nicely explain the problem:
So where is BC’s corporate press in all of this? If the NDP were in power we would no doubt hear howls of outrage about phony fudge-it budgets. But what do we currently get? Well, we get timid, mealy-mouthed phrases like “debt promises far from being delivered”. Or, even worse, “mission accomplished“. Nothing about contractual obligations and nothing about P3 accounting tricks. In fact, we don’t even hear that the official debt has grown much more under the Liberals compared to the NDP, even without all the hidden debt. No wonder so many people in BC believe that Glen Clark, rather than Gordon Campbell, was the premier convicted of a crime.