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BC NDP orders fiscal review of major Crown corporations

Finance Minister Carole James has ordered the review she says will give the province fiscal certainty in planning for the years ahead.
Finance Minister Carole James has ordered the review she says will give the province fiscal certainty in planning for the years ahead. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

B.C.’s NDP government is kicking off a fiscal review of a number of the province’s key Crown corporations.

The Ministry of Finance says the review is being done to “help inform the development” of the 2018 budget.

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The review, which will be led by former deputy finance minister Chris Trumpy, will take a second look at the “the quality of financial information built into the baseline assumptions in the budget development process,” according to a government news release.

Some of the province’s biggest Crown corporations, including BC Hydro, ICBC, the BC Lottery Corporation, the Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) and the BC Housing Management Commission will all get a closer look.

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ICBC’s finances have become a major concern for the provincial government, while BC Hydro’s forecasting has come under added scrutiny amid a regulatory review of the proposed Site C Dam.

The NDP has also previously raised questions about the LDB’s bookkeeping, releasing a report in May that found prices at government liquor stores had risen significantly at the same time as the province unveiled a new liquor pricing model.

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In a written statement, Minister Carole James said the process will assess the financial risks and forecasts for each entity “so that we foster long-term fiscal sustainability in planning and developing our budgets and decisions.”

Trumpy is bringing in Dan Perrin, a long-time civil servant, to complete the work.

Under the previous BC Liberal government, Trumpy was hired to review former auditor general Basia Ruta’s office prior to her termination.

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