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October 28, 2017 12:04 am

All the poor chicken puns you need

Thursday, February 25, 2016 @ 3:45 AM

OK, let’s get cracking.

City council chickened out Monday night.

The yoke’s on us.

Something’s scrambled over at city hall. Or maybe it’s some sort of shell game.

One this is certain, they’ve got egg on their face.

Doesn’t everyone on city council down a Rocky protein drink in the morning for their get up and go?

In case you haven’t figured out what I’m clucking about, city council, in a split vote Monday, turned down a request to look at allowing residents to keep up to six hens in their backyard.

The reason they turned it down? Well, nothing of too much substance, that’s for sure.

There were concerns over noise, over bylaw infractions, and oh, I don’t know, having fresh eggs for breakfast.

The objections voiced by the city councillors were valid, but far from unsurmountable. The political will to quell those concerns, however, was lacking.

It’s too bad. It would have been a nice change for the city to make. Will it stop people from moving here or force people to leave? No. So, in the scheme of things, it’s not a big issue, but it still would have been nice.

  • • •

The provincial budget was released last week and there are a couple of notable items. Firstly, we have a surplus budget, again. Yay. However, our overall debt will increase? Huh? How can that happen?

Smoke and mirrors, mostly.

The province separates its operating budget from long-term borrowing for major projects (i.e. the $9 billion for Site C). The operating budget covers the day-to-day running of the ministries. That’s the part of the budget that’s in a surplus.

The province is still borrowing money for large, long-term projects, hence the increase in the overall debt.

It sounds nice, but it’s a kind of creative bookkeeping.

It’s like going in to the bank for a loan and giving them all your financial information, except your mortgage payment. Your financials probably look pretty good without all that nasty long-term debt stuff fouling up the document.

The other goodie in the budget was the Prosperity Fund.

Premier Christy Clark apparently got tired of waiting for the knight-in-shining-LNG to come to our rescue, so she is going to pull from that operating surplus to create that $100 million fund. The public apparently forgot that when she announced the fund a couple of years ago, she promised that it would be funded completely by revenue from the liquefied natural gas industry. Since that hasn’t materialized, she gone ahead with the fund anyway.

Hey, there’s nothing wrong with creating such a fund. However, why don’t we start putting more money into social programs. Politicians always tell us that we have to wait until the economy is doing well before we can fund social programs. I would think that if we can sock away $100 million in a political slush fund, then the economy isn’t doing too badly.

Bill Phillips is a freelance columnist living in Prince George. He was the winner of the 2009 Best Editorial award at the British Columbia/Yukon Community Newspaper Association’s Ma Murray awards, in 2007 he won the association’s Best Columnist award. In 2004, he placed third in the Canadian Community Newspaper best columnist category and, in 2003, placed second. He can be reached at billphillips1@mac.com



If you thought you were funny there Bill, sorry you clucked up.

Ill peck on that for a wile.

he didn’t quack me up a bit

These puns are bit “eggs”agerated.

If the provincial government records an increasing debt for ‘large, long-term projects’, why does it not arrange its books like those of every other business? Where the public can see the increase in the financial value of those ASSETS as well as that of the increased Liabilities that funded them? In a private, profit making business, the bottom line on the Profit and Loss Statement is always finalised on the Balance Sheet as an increase or decrease in Assets over Liabilities, depending on whether there’s been a profit or a loss on the year’s workings. Governments are not supposed to be in business for the express purpose of trying to generate a profit, but still if these major capital projects are to be worthwhile there must be a rise in financial values long term over and above what they cost. Otherwise they wouldn’t be worth doing, would they? (Unless we just want to ‘make work’, that is, which we could far more easily do by just giving anyone looking for it a piece of bare earth and a pick and shovel, and tell them to dig a hole and then fill it in again. Ad infinitum. But we’re smarter than that, aren’t we?) So if these projects are ever to ‘pay’ there should be some way of recording the excess value of them over what it cost to build them. In a business such an increase would be an accretion to the business’s Capital Account. From which periodic dividends could be paid. Where is the equivalent in government accounting? Or do we just account our Assets as Liabilities and pay oin them forever without any returns on investment ever accruing fully to us?

    Having had my own business I can understand the separation of operating costs from long term borrowing for major projects. Any time I bought a new machine, the amount I borrowed was usually more than my entire net income, yet I still showed a profit. Only the depreciated amount (30% of a declining balance) was considered against my income, not the whole debt. Even if the payments were more than the allowable depreciation, I couldn’t deduct more than that 30%.

    So by arranging it’s books that way, the government actually is doing it like every other business.

It wouldn’t have been a nice change in everyone’s opinion, Bill. Maybe for the people advocating for it.

But common sense says it would have pitted neighbour against neighbour especially when the self righteous chicken owner built the coop as far away from his own bedroom window and sundeck as he could – nearest his neighbour’s bedroom window / fence line etc so the poor neighbour trying to enjoy his backyard deck serenity after a long day of work would have that serenity serenaded by constant clucking and squawking. Not utopia in many people’s minds I’m sorry to inform you.

And advocates slapping at the argument about constant noise and clucking by saying chickens bed down and get quiet when it gets dark? May I remind you about the hours of daylight we get in the summer?

    Not to mention the savourily odour chickens produce. Not anything I could enjoy standing over my BBQ. Then the fight would be on to have the poop Koop cleaned. On and on it would go.

Just amazing that Christy can put away a 100 million of our tax dollars when the lineups for employment,welfare,food banks and EI are all getting longer. She needs to start putting this money into roads,infrastucture etc. Look at the long lineups we just had at the job fair ( circus). I see Christy is still spinning LNG.

    how about Victoria wanting a higher gas tax to pay for Victoria’s transit….and it looks like they want all of BC to pay for it.


    Victoria Regional Transit Commission wants higher gas tax to pay for more transit

The only time the province didn’t separate its operating budget from long-term borrowing for major projects was when the Bill Bennett Socreds were in power.

The operating budget covers the day-to-day running of the ministries. I would think it also covers the cost of servicing those long-term project debts. That’s the way it works in business.

    I think you mean when the WAC Bennett Socreds were in power. WAC Bennett used various Crown Corporations and Authorities to fund major projects through. This allowed the government to use the same kind of double-entry, accrual accounting that’s utilised by every other business. The Province at that time had no long term direct debt. Bennett ‘paid it off’ by downloading it into these agencies, who were then responsible for payments on it, and could use the same procedures you and everyone else who has a business is able to use. These ‘debts’ were then classified as ‘contingent liabilities’ on the government’s books. Same as if you co-signed a loan for someone who’s actually making the payments.

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