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Dermod Travis

Executive Director, IntegrityBC

Dermod Travis is the executive director of IntegrityBC, a non-profit group dedicated to restore a bond between citizens and their elected officials. He has been the executive director of the Canada Tibet Committee from 2007 to 2011, and is the founder of PIRA Communications.

Travis is a former member of Quebec’s Estates General on the Situation and the Future of the French Language and its Comité d’examen sur la langue d’enseignement. He's given guest lectures at the Université de Montréal, Columbia University, Concordia University, Carleton University and McGill University.
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Financial Reporting Season Opens At City Halls Across B.C.

It's that time of year again, when local governments across B.C. grit their teeth and post their annual statements of financial information for all and sundry. Depending upon your perspective, they're either a veritable treasure trove of news stories or a minefield of PR disasters waiting to happen.
06/10/2014 05:54 EDT
alexabboud/Flickr

Red Flags Raised Over Multi-Million Dollar Infrastructure Projects Near You

Most of the billions spent on B.C. infrastructure projects in 2012 flew under the provincial radar. Out of sight, out of mind. Cost overruns rarely made a media ripple outside of the affected community. Yet, through various cost sharing formulas, we're all on the hook for them one way or another, whether it's the Vancouver Convention Centre expansion or new roads in Campbell River.
05/25/2014 12:22 EDT
CP

It's Not A Conflict Of Interest If It Happens In B.C.

When conflict of interest legislation is drafted to go out of its way to ensure that it won't actually find any conflicts of interest, it shouldn't come as a surprise if it rarely does. And that pretty well sums up the legislative reach of B.C.'s declawed Members' Conflict of Interest Act.
05/15/2014 02:31 EDT
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B.C. Liberals Have No Time To Debate 'Serious Issues'

"Today's BC Liberals" may have taken a little inspiration during last year's election campaign from former Canadian prime minister Kim Campbell when she bluntly stated in 1993 that "an election is no time to discuss serious issues." It's why British Columbians could be forgiven for thinking that they missed something during the campaign after seeing some of the legislation introduced during the current legislative session.
04/14/2014 05:54 EDT
Shuttersock

B.C.'s Budgetary Sleight Of Hand

The funny thing about provincial budgets is that sometimes they tell you a lot more about a government's attitude than what the politicians might have intended when they first wrote the document.
03/01/2014 12:43 EST
Shutterstock

This Could Be Worse Than Gracie's Finger

In 1982, then Social Credit cabinet minister Grace McCarthy was suspected of using her influence to have her Little Mountain riding boundaries redrawn to include a sliver of a wealthy Vancouver neighbourhood. That sliver was forever known as Gracie's finger. Thirty-two years later, the B.C. government is proposing amendments that could make the controversy over Gracie's finger pale by comparison.
01/06/2014 02:24 EST
HuffPost B.C.

The TransLink Referendum Won't be Pretty

TransLink -- everyone's favourite whipping boy in the Lower Mainland -- is about to be put to the electoral test and it promises not to be pretty. The fate of TransLink's future funding will be decided in the midst of the introduction of the Compass card, and Lower Mainland residents know full well how that initiative has been going as of late. It doesn't bode well for the vote.
11/27/2013 07:40 EST
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Troubling Rumblings Around B.C.'s Agricultural Land Commission

Bill Bennett, minister responsible for the B.C. government's core review, is trying his darndest lately to reassure British Columbians that the government "has no plans to dismantle" the Agricultural Land Commission and that much of the speculation was simply the result of government "brainstorming." That's nice. Doesn't mean much in government-speak, but it sounds comforting. It's what comes next that should be of concern. In an interview with the Globe and Mail on Tuesday, Bennett confirmed that the Commission would, however, be subject to the government's core review.
11/22/2013 03:33 EST
City of Burnaby

Too many politicians in the municipal kitchen

Who knew? Count 'em all up and B.C. has 1,660 elected officials sitting on 250 local councils and school boards across the province. That works out to one for every 2,000 registered voters. It's also a lot of paycheques. Some of the lucky ones get to collect two paycheques, if they happen to be chosen to sit on a regional district. The two biggies of course being Metro Vancouver and the Capital Regional District.
11/12/2013 02:43 EST
Alamy

B.C.'s Local Election Reforms Do Nothing for Democracy

No matter how well-intentioned the B.C. government's first round of electoral reforms may be, they are -- for the most part -- cosmetic in nature when contrasted against the public's very real loss of confidence in local democracy. Without meaningful electoral finance reform including election spending and contribution limits, candidacy for local government will -- by and large -- remain the purview of the affluent and well-connected.
10/21/2013 01:19 EDT
PA

Not Capping Election Fundraising Leaves Us All Worse Off

If local campaign spending is obscene, it only follows that candidates need to fall back on contributors with obscenely large wallets to pay the bills. And fall back they did. In the 2011 elections, the single largest donation was $960,000 courtesy of local land developer Rob Macdonald to Vancouver's NPA. To put that sum into context, it's more than double what Naheed Nenshi spent on his way to winning the mayor's chair of Calgary in 2010. Calgary has nearly a quarter of a million more voters than Vancouver.
09/10/2013 01:33 EDT
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Why a Rush To Incinerate Garbage May Burn Metro Vancouver

Garbage -- or to use the more politically correct term, waste -- is big business. Really big. It can also be a messy business, particularly when politicians get involved. So no big surprise that the left hand doesn't seem to care what the right hand is doing at Metro Vancouver when it comes to regional waste management.
08/28/2013 11:22 EDT
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Vancouver is Pricey and it's About to Get a Whole Lot Pricier

A billion here, a billion there, it adds up. That's the problem with shopping lists. The municipalities that make up Metro Vancouver are facing the same predicament as they try to choose between the bare necessities, luxuries and how you're going to pay for it all. While some of these projects may be sold to the public as "self-supported" that's just political-speak for "you're still picking up the tab." Whether it's through tolls or tipping fees, they're just euphemisms for picking your pocket.
08/11/2013 04:02 EDT