Tag Archives: Catch 22

The Evidence is Mounting; Did the BC Liberals Know About the Size of the Deficit?

When I was studying at SFU I took a course in American Literature. One of the assigned novels was Joseph Heller’s classic, Catch 22. At one point in that novel the narrator, John Yossarian has the task of censoring mail destined for anywhere outside Pianosa where their military base is located. Yossarian tells of censoring what really were innocent letters home to the point that they were unintelligible. Perhaps Yossarian is the person currently censoring the documents the New Democrats are getting via the Freedom of Information Act.

Ralston put in an FOI request for documents which indicate that an updated fiscal forecast analysis was done on the eve of the provincial election. However, the documents received are heavily censored and provide no details on that analysis.

“One page from a March 2009 presentation to the government treasury board titled “Updated fiscal forecast” has been so severely censored that only the title remains,” said Ralston. “It shows the government budget forecast was revised before the election, but voters were kept in the dark.

“The BC Liberals told voters the 2009 deficit would be $495 million ‘maximum’, but it turned out to be six times that amount,” said Ralston. “At first it wasn’t clear whether the BC Liberals lied or were just incompetent.

Ralston says the evidence is building to show that, “the BC Liberal claim of ignorance has slowly unraveled.”

Ralston said another page contains a March 31st email from an Energy and Mines ministry staffer to the deputy finance minister that flags a $134 million drop from just one natural gas revenue source. Other projections were severed in the document.

Perhaps the BC Liberals really did know that the deficit was going to be in the $2 billion range?

Remember the Kelowna group who tried to bring suit against the New Democratic government following the 1996 election? They claimed that the election was won by the NDP because of lies about the budget. Of course that suit was ultimately dismissed, but maybe those stalwart defenders of the democracy will once again come crawling out from under their rocks to bring a suit against the BC Liberals for what is looking more and more like an election won based on lies about the budget.