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BC Politics

Please Advise! Why Does Libs' Gas-Powered Budget Stink?

Might be all those magic beans you're passing, Burgess tells BC money minister.

Steve Burgess 20 Feb

Steve Burgess writes about politics and culture every other week for The Tyee.

[Editor's note: Steve Burgess is an accredited spin doctor with a Ph.D in Centrifugal Rhetoric from the University of SASE, situated on the lovely campus of PO Box 7650, Cayman Islands. In this space he dispenses PR advice to politicians, the rich and famous, the troubled and well-heeled, the wealthy and gullible.]

Dear Dr. Steve,

The government of B.C. has delivered its economic plan. I call it the "Triple B" -- a boring, balanced budget. I forecast a surplus of $184 million for 2014-2015 unless, you know, stuff happens.

But I write to you today, Dr. Steve, on a personal matter. Regarding our Super Bowl bet: I guess I look pretty foolish for predicting a 2014 surplus for Peyton Manning and the Broncos. But don't worry, pal -- I'm good for it. I will pay my debt in full with liquefied natural gas, probably in the year 2021.

Your boring budget buddy,

BC Finance Minister Mike de Jong

Dear Mike,

How many Bs in bullshit, buddy? You can fool 44.14 per cent of the B.C. electorate, but you can't put one over on Dr. Steve. I want a little chunk of that real surplus cash. And if teacher salaries, class sizes, and the quality of B.C. education has to suffer, well, neither one of us gives a damn, am I right? Pay me.

But congrats on the budget. Catchy name, too -- "Triple B." Reminds me of a slot machine. Drop in a dollar, or $29 million, pull the lever, and watch those spinning dials. Three Bs, three cherries, three LNG plants -- jackpot! Or not. That's gambling.

That new Vancouver casino project has obviously inspired you and Premier Christy Clark. But you may be a little unclear on the concept -- the folks who get rich at casinos aren't usually the gamblers.

Or perhaps I have the "Triple B" thing wrong. Maybe the three Bs stand for beans -- magic beans. Once those LNG plants start to grow, our worries will be over. At present it appears that the state of LNG development in this province doesn't amount to beans, however, so you'd best get out the garden tools.

Magical thinking is not generally recommended as an accounting practice, but maybe that's just for those of us stuck down here in the trenches. You, on the other hand, have a talent for making things disappear -- notably the recent B.C. Supreme Court ruling that your government violated teacher bargaining rights and requiring the government to reinstate 1998 class sizes. You have said that this could cost $1 billion. To deal with this eventuality, your balanced budget has allocated beans.

But no matter. In the fabulous LNG future, every B.C. student will have a private tutor and probably a private jet. Shower taps will be labelled hot, cold and Champagne. There will be no more baldness. Call it our reward for not gambling on the risky, unproven strategies of Adrian Dix and the NDP.

That's the forecast, anyway. Of course, Vegas bookies favoured the Denver Broncos by two-and-a-half points. And there's a sour odour in the air these days -- like someone has been passing natural gas. It stinks. Might be time to cut back on the magic beans, Mike.


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