There’s a point in a government’s self destruction where the average person can’t distinguish announcements from hallucinations, where the day to day turn of events appear to be outtakes from Scream 4.
The recent BC Liberal throne speech and it’s focus on LNG is one of those moments.
Yes there is potential for a very healthy and welcome LNG industry in BC – emphasis on ‘potential’ – but the numbers the government is throwing around remind me of the kind of dream bubbles I had in hospital, high as a kite on a morphine drip.
Forget the whole “counting the chickens before they hatch”, the chickens the government is counting are themselves pure fiction.
“$1 trillion in cumulative GDP growth over 30 yrs” – that’s three times the share of GDP raised by all of BC’s natural resources sector over a similar period of time. Does the government actually believe that the LNG industry will, on its own, generate three times the economic activity generated by other natural resource industry put together?
“39,000 new full time jobs, on average, will be created during a 9 year construction period.” – This time last year the government claimed LNG projects would create “as many as 9,000 new construction jobs.” Where are the extra 30,000 construction jobs coming from?
“Over 75,000 new annual full time jobs.” – Again, last year the government claimed the projects would create only “about 800 long-term jobs” and “thousands of potential spin-off jobs.”
By my calculations the new 75,000 jobs number means throne speech writers see an average of 92 tellers, waitresses and other assorted spin-offs for every single industrial worker making $75K a year. Good luck with that.
It goes on and on. But the big one is the Prosperity Fund itself – the name they’ve given the new river of money that the Liberals believe will flow into their new fund, money that will grow and grow from nothing until, 30 years from now, it equals $100 billion.
There’s so much that can be done with that. Pay off the debt. Eliminate the sales tax. Cure cancer. Buy everyone a Coke and teach the world to sing.
But reality interrupts the fantasy. According to a Conference Board of Canada study released this past December the $100 billion figure is three times the cumulative additional tax haul BC can expect by 2035 from all natural gas related development, not just LNG.
Maybe the hole will be filled by the huge new tax the government argued amongst itself about immediately after the speech.
Of course they can’t disclose what they are really thinking about the tax because they are negotiating.
Negotiating through throne speech and with each other in the halls after the speech. That sounds to me like they’re aren’t thinking or negotiating. They’re wishing.
Wishing and hoping.
It reminds me of a kid planning to buy a house the day she first applies for a job. She hasn’t landed the job yet but in her head she’s already got the kitchen, foyer, party room and dressing room all laid out.
Then the job doesn’t pan out.
It can be sad/cute when it’s a fifteen year old dreaming of a life to come. But not so much when it’s the Premier via the Lieutenant Governor talking about what should be.