Good on Adrian Dix for belling the cat that is BC Place as currently run by the BC Liberals.
BC Place is the end repository of hundreds of millions of tax dollars that provide little or no public benefit and it is time somebody asked the simple question: Why?
Why is the BC government running a stadium? The BC Liberal government is clearly doing a very bad job of it. Overpromising; $365 million for a roof and not a dime of public money, and under-delivering; $514 million, big deficits and not a dime of private money.
And, for that matter, what about the Convention Centre? A 100% overrun to build it and no one will say how many empty days, except the deficit seems to keep growing.
It’s a damn good thing BC Place stadium and the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre will finally be forced to justify their existence as the final resting place for these large government subsidies – tens of millions yearly.
The truth of the matter is that there is probably little reason for the provincial government to be in the business of running Vancouver’s two biggest circuses. The public benefits are highly debateable and there certainly are greater needs for the scarce public dollars that currently go to the subsidy.
Still, Christy Clark went out of her way to trash the idea the second it came out of Dix’s mouth.
“It’s not leadership and it’s not responsible to decide you’re going to pull numbers out of thin air and say that you want to privatize government assets that first of all, aren’t surplus and second for which you don’t even have a buyer,” Clark said, from a campaign stop in Sicamous.
But isn’t that exactly what Clark’s government did when it declared it was going to sell off an undisclosed list of public assets for the purpose of raising $800 million for it’s ‘not quite balanced’ budget.
One very real reason Clark’s against Dix’s idea is more likely the long list of dirty tricks BC Place is hiding in PavCo’s corporate books.
Another is the fact that Dix’s announcement is one that we’d expect from a party friendly to the private sector, a party that’s willing to get government out of businesses that it should not be running. Dix is making the kind of arguments the BC Liberals are supposed to be making.
With this and Clark’s foolish response, Dix ends up looking like the guy who knows what the business of government is and isn’t.
Or in other words, Dix ends up looking like a Premier, Clark like the confused wannabe.