While the punditocracy whipped itself into a justifiable if ritual lather over another Ottawa bailout of Bombardier, the $372-million loan is small change compared with the multi-billion-dollar green electric power fiascos across the country.
A rough tally of the ballooning financial plight of the electricity sectors in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Newfoundland quickly runs to more than $50 billion in new debt and imbedded costs for investments that threaten to be money-losing drags on growth and consumers — and the federal government —for years to come.
The looming disasters have two things in common. They are the work of government-controlled and politically manipulated Crown corporations. They are also the product of a deliberate push to produce clean, green and renewable carbon-free electricity. No fossil fuels allowed. Money is no object.
An $8.8-billion dam known as the Site C Clean Energy Project in northeastern B.C. has been described as a “white elephant” by a former hydro executive. Last month Moody’s warned that “BC Hydro posts some metrics that are among the weakest of Canadian provincial utilities.” The company’s debt is heading to $20 billion. Hydro, said Moody’s, has the “flexibility to increase utility rates to ensure that its own revenues will continue to support its operations and debt payments.”
Approval of Site C came in the context of the B.C. Green Energy Act, which mandates that 93 per cent of the province’s electricity must come from “clean and renewable resources.”
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