One of these things looks a lot like the other

Earlier this month, Tourism, Sports and the Arts Minister Stan Hagen let slip the price tag for the Vancouver Convention Centre Expansion Project was now "in the low 800 (million dollar) range." That means the project is at least 62 percent over its initial $495 million budget - something the New Democrats have raised a justifiable hue and cry about. But the project isn't a fast ferries fiasco quite yet. In the November/December 2005 edition of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation's magazine, then British Columbia communications director Sara MacIntyre assembled a list of some of the most egregious examples of government cost overruns in the country - including the PacifiCats, which came in 120 percent over budget. Other examples included Manitoba's Esplanade Riel pedestrian bridge (47 percent), Alberta's Louise McKinney River Front Park (71 percent) and renovations to the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa (218 percent). The following is a complete copy of that list.

British Columbia
Fast Ferries
Budget $210 million
Final price tag $463 million
Increase 120 percent

Louise McKinney River Front Park
Budget $12 million
Final price tag $20.5 million
Increase 71 percent

Information Services Corp.
Budget $20 million
Final price tag $100 million
Increase 400 percent

La Esplanade Riel
Budget $15 million
Final price tag $22 million
Increase 47 percent

Budget $150 million
Final price tag $608.9 million
Increase 306 percent

Parliament Hill Renovation
Budget $440 million
Final price tag $1.4 billion
Increase 218 percent


But the project isn’t a fast ferries fiasco quite yet.

Perhaps the operative work is "yet"?

If the Federal Liberals had agreed to build the Convention Centre in the late 1990s when Glen Clark was Premier the project would likely have been completed long before the boom in China pushed up construction materials prices world wide. And BC's own construction industry was in slack conditions then as spec home building had fallen to only 15,000 units per year. So it would have been an ideal time to build a major project for the bid cost and provide some economic stimulus at the same time.

But the Liberals wouldn't agree to terms because they were conducting an all-out war on the NDP in order to engratiate themselves to the BC business community. Gross political considerations came first, and sound public administration not at all.

That's part of the legacy of David Anderson's stint as "Regional Minister" for B.C., and as has been pointed out by Bill Tieleman, almost all of the current crop of Marissen related Liberal strategists and operatives who patrol both federal and provincial political landscapes all have career resumes that can be traced back to the main Liberal "Godfather" of the 1990s, ... the very same David Anderson. Thanks a million, David... 300 times over!


You mean the boom in China has caused all of the construction material prices to skyrocket ? And here I thought it was all Ken Dobell’s doing.

I seem to recall Glen Clark flirting with the idea of the convention centre, mind you pretty tough to get money out of the Fed’s when your too busy bashing them. Remember the Nanoose Bay fiasco? Glen Clark had the same problem that the NDP still have today.

The NDP seem to think you can kick sand at whoever you choose and forget there will be consequences for doing that.

Had the fast ferries actually worked and other regions placed orders as no doubt Clark had intended the massive overruns would have been viewed as an investment…the Convention Centre by comparison seems to be already attracting the business it was intended too, something the fast ferries clearly lacked.

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