Tales of government waste make for excellent news headlines. Bev Oda's infamous $16 orange juice probably got more media attention than the $45 billion F35 procurement debacle. Part of the reason is that people understand the value and cost of orange juice. Rather than focusing on waste, analysts and the media should instead focus on getting more value for money from governments. We need to pay less attention to tens of dollars and more attention to billions.
Too often, these Economic Action Plan projects seemed like giant lottery tickets, bought with our money, and failing to pay off. Government -- federal, provincial and local -- should stay out of the way, and let investors take the risk on these "easy" money economic development schemes.
I don't like when tax dollars are wasted -- whether at the provincial level by relocating gas plants, or at City Hall by tearing up LRT contracts willy-nilly, or even by the federal government straight up losing $3.1 billion (whatever happened to that scandal, by the way?). And I get that times are tough. Saving pennies matters to a lot of people these days, and it should to our governments, too.
Can a company truly be considered a good corporate citizen while taking money from taxpayers through corporate welfare? Corporate welfare happens when a government makes a political decision to use tax dollars to favour one company over another. While all of us understand we need to pay taxes to fund societal benefits like hospitals, schools and infrastructure, most feel government should not use our money to pick winners and losers in business by handing out grants to specific companies.
Giving TransLink more tax dollars is like giving a pyromaniac a fresh box of matches. Both will eventually run out and keep coming back for more -- unless they change their ways. TransLink's executive vice-president Bob Paddon, he of the $307,857 annual pay, claims his operation is an "efficient and well-run organization." The facts prove otherwise. TransLink is a rat's nest of redundancy and waste.
B.C. has seen umpteen reviews of various government agencies and files. BC Hydro, ICBC, BC Ferries and TransLink have all been reviewed within the past two years. Reviews have been promised for the B.C. Lottery Corporation, B.C. Housing, the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission, B.C. Transit, and the Liquor Distribution Board. Pre-election, the NDP generated a list of 35 reviews had been promised by the government. One hesitates to remind government of these promised reviews, lest a review into the missing reviews also be promised.
What if a public company gave one set of sales numbers to its board of directors, another to its shareholders, and a third to its auditors? Would you feel comfortable entrusting the executive of this company with a $29.6 million investment? Incredibly, that's precisely what has happened with the Transit Police.