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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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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
Castanet

Civility in Local Council Fiefdoms? Yeah Right.

Small-town B.C. may be facing a plague of what disgraced former U.S. vice president Spiro Agnew called the "nattering nabobs of negativity" -- or at least that's what a number of B.C. mayors and their supporters would have you believe. One B.C. mayor went so far as to criticize citizens for contacting the media and provinvial watchdog groups (including IntegrityBC), claiming that no one in his administration would ever stoop to such a dastardly deed.
08/07/2013 11:10 EDT
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Fat City Hall Paycheques Leave Taxpayers in the Lurch

At least 30 officials in the communities that make up Metro Vancouver earn a minimum six-figure salary that puts them among the top one per cent of all income earners in Canada. It takes a lot of kahunas for some of these same civic officials to claim that their cupboards are bare when the cookie jar is overflowing for themselves.
07/02/2013 09:37 EDT
CP

A Landslide Shouldn't Blind Christy Clark to the Voters She Lost

According to an Ipsos Reid exit poll poll of 1,400 British Columbians, the top issue influencing voters was open and honest government. On this issue voters chose the BC NDP by a 10 per cent margin (47 to 37 per cent).The fourth issue was trust in a particular leader or party. The Liberals lost those voters by five per cent. It's easy for political operatives to sweep such inconvenient truths under the rug when they've just pulled-off a miracle, but Liberals do need to take note: they've lost the trust of a significant block of voters.
06/06/2013 01:29 EDT
CP

The NDP's Problem Is Bigger Than Adrian Dix

Over 35 years, the NDP has seen its share of the popular vote decline and its actual vote stall, despite an electorate that has nearly doubled in size over the same period. Parties that don't grow their base lose and risk withering away. The message for the NDP in all these numbers is ominous and it's not just about Adrian Dix. It may have more to do with the brand.
05/23/2013 11:28 EDT
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Why B.C. Doesn't Bother To Vote

Over the past three decades, the percentage of British Columbians who actually vote has steadily fallen, from more than 70 per cent to a little over half last time out, when nearly one out of every two voters seemingly slept the day away and never bothered to cast a ballot. In fact, B.C. has the dubious distinction of having some of the lowest voter turnouts in the country, which says a lot when you consider that some of those other provinces don't have much to boast about either.
05/06/2013 12:40 EDT
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When It Comes To Fundraising, The BC Liberals Are Hypocrites

Last year, the BC Liberal party was required to return $20,355 in prohibited donations it had collected, including $12,633 from Simon Fraser University, $300 from Vancouver-False Creek Liberal candidate Sam Sullivan's Global Civic Policy Society, and $850 from the Prince George Airport Authority. The NDP didn't report any donation returns in 2012. From 2006 to 2011, the Liberals had to return 22 prohibited donations it received from charities, while the NDP returned two. Such donations are prohibited under both the B.C. Election Act and federal legislation. The Liberals also reported remitting $4,920 to Elections BC in membership fees the party had collected in its 2011 filing, the same year Christy Clark was elected leader. It's an amount that represents an estimated 492 incomplete membership applications.
04/23/2013 12:27 EDT
CP

BC Election 2013: The Confidence Gap

The phoney campaign has finally given way to the real thing. The writ is dropped, the legislature is dissolved and politicians are out on the hustings. And as voters know well, that means big, glitzy promises. But imagine promises that wouldn't need sod-turnings or ribbon cuttings? Meaningful promises that every party can sign-on to, because they're about good government, not party ideology.
04/18/2013 12:07 EDT
Alamy

B.C. Election 2013: Greasing The Party-Political Wheels

British Columbians shouldn't need to pull out their chequebook to talk to their government. Between them, the B.C. Liberals and NDP brought in more than $17 million. The Liberals alone raised $10.15 million, nearly $4 million dollars more than their Ontario cousins did in 2011 and half of what the Conservative party spent in the 2011 federal election campaign.
04/08/2013 05:51 EDT
CP

B.C. Election Campaigns Don't Come Cheap

Party leaders will say all the right things to deny the obvious: we're campaigning for the votes of all British Columbians, we don't take any vote for granted, or we're running to win in all 85 ridings. But after all that voter ID, statistical analysis and polling, strategists know very well that there's likely less than 250,000 voters living in less than half of B.C.'s 85 ridings who will actually count on May 14. And the two main parties will fish where the fish are.
02/22/2013 06:06 EST
Shutterstock

Mortgaging B.C. One Deal At A Time

Legislative oversight is fundamental to good government. And with less and less of it, the government does more and more by decree. B.C. isn't well-served by that. In 2012, the B.C. legislature sat for 47 days. Among its numerous legislative duties: to debate and approve a $44-billion budget. Forty-seven days is simply insufficient to do that and everything else well.
01/24/2013 04:46 EST
Flickr: rick

How The B.C. Government Is Picking Our Pockets

Governments can and do cut income tax rates for a variety of political reasons, while simultaneously raising fees on a dizzying array of other services to offset those cuts. Somehow they can do both at the same time with a straight face. A toll here, a casino there and the B.C. government is doing its best to find more-and-more imaginative ways of picking our pockets without hiking income tax rates.
01/17/2013 07:43 EST
Flickr: rick

B.C. Fiscal Tsunami Comes From Creative Accounting

B.C.'s budgets are chalk full of household terms like "Notional Allocations to Contingencies." What they are not is an exercise in clarity or brevity. The B.C. government's 2012 budget came in at a mind-numbing 64,000 words — or one-third the length of the Old Testament.
01/11/2013 01:17 EST
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B.C. Liberal Party Expenses Out Of Whack

Sometimes when you want to know how prudent a political party will be with the taxpayer's dime, it doesn't hurt to consider how prudent they are when it comes to spending their own dime at party headquarters. Compared to their counterparts in other provinces, the B.C. Liberal party spends like there's no tomorrow. And it's spending that increasingly points to something ominous: election campaigns that never end.
12/04/2012 12:27 EST
Alamy

Who Holds Keys To City Hall: Fear Of Nudge Nudge, Wink Wink Relations

If voters were under the impression that it's only provincially in B.C. where corporate and union bucks talk tough, think again. Consider how much each candidate running for a mayor's chair in various Lower Mainland municipalities had to raise for their campaign in last year's local elections.
11/14/2012 07:02 EST
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Dismal B.C. Voter Turnout In Various Races

B.C. Liberal party director Mike McDonald made an interesting point on Sunday. Not one to miss an opportunity for a partisan shot given the nature of his political post, McDonald tweeted: "Shocked at low NDP turnout in Fairview. Huge media, high profile candidates, less than 400 voted. NDP support not deep." Despite the dig, McDonald is on to something. But what he's on to isn't pretty and regrettably it ails all political parties in B.C.
10/22/2012 01:52 EDT
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B.C. Election Act: Time To Start From Scratch

When the B.C. Court of Appeal struck down the government's not-so-subtle attempt to stifle citizens with its ill-advised "gag" law this month, it was only a partial victory. Regrettably, the court never had the chance to consider the multitude of contradictions and loopholes that exist in the B.C. Election Act, most of which are the result of shoddy legislative maintenance
10/17/2012 07:39 EDT