Dermod Travis
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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.

Entries by Dermod Travis

Why B.C. Government's Purchase Card Records Are So Illuminating

(0) Comments | Posted July 23, 2014 | 8:04 PM

Call it the Orange Juice Syndrome. Bev Oda, former federal minister responsible for the Canadian International Development Agency, knows it well. Her $16 glass of orange juice at the Savoy Hotel in London in 2011 was the tipping point that precipitated her downfall as a cabinet minister and an MP.

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Troubling Isn't The Word For It, Minister De Jong

(0) Comments | Posted July 15, 2014 | 4:29 PM

If cabinet ministers had theme songs, B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong's would likely be "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen," because when there's a misstep in government it's a safe bet he'll be troubled by it.

In 2010, as solicitor general, Mr. de Jong was troubled...

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Meet B.C.'s Ford Nation

(2) Comments | Posted July 9, 2014 | 4:52 PM

In a recent Huffington Post commentary (More Canadians Should Act Like the Shirtless Jogger), Danielle S. McLaughlin writes that "Like it or not, our elected leaders should expect to be asked hard questions -- and they should be ready to answer those questions, because in a democracy, we...

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It's Time To Call Tech Support For The Elections BC Database

(0) Comments | Posted June 30, 2014 | 5:37 PM

Companies rarely complain when you underestimate their political donations, particularly if the amounts already look bad. But when you miss their donations to a party altogether it can cause some grief, particularly if it's an association of strong-minded individuals from across the political spectrum.

Which is why - if you...

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Why B.C.'s Murky Political Lobbying Industry Is So Troubling

(3) Comments | Posted June 19, 2014 | 6:31 PM

Last year, 12,281 registered lobbyists roamed the corridors of power in Washington, D.C. -- a city that sees itself as the most powerful in the world.

Comparatively, one would imagine that British Columbia might have a few hundred or so at most. Yet, astonishingly, there were...

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Financial Reporting Season Opens At City Halls Across B.C.

(0) Comments | Posted June 10, 2014 | 5:54 PM

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.

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Is Anyone Really Listening To B.C. Government Consultations?

(0) Comments | Posted June 2, 2014 | 3:17 PM

On one hand you can't fault the B.C. government for trying, but on the other hand their enthusiasm for consulting British Columbians on public policy and pending legislation seems a little wanting. Gung-ho it's not.

In the last year, there have been government white papers, discussion papers, no papers but...

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

(0) Comments | Posted May 25, 2014 | 12:11 AM

In 2012, local governments across B.C. spent more than $8 billion and it's a pretty safe bet that a good chunk of it was spent on infrastructure projects.

Most of the projects flew under the provincial radar. Out of sight, out of mind. Cost overruns rarely made...

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

(2) Comments | Posted May 15, 2014 | 2:31 AM

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...

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Odd, Outlandish And Over-The-Top Donations To B.C. Political Parties

(1) Comments | Posted April 23, 2014 | 2:56 PM

So what do a Conservative party senator from Ontario, the Toronto Blue Jays, an Ontario public sector union and a part-owner of the Calgary Flames all have in common? If their chequebook is any indication, they have a keen interest in B.C. politics.

Ontario Senator Nancy Ruth...

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B.C. Liberals Have No Time To Debate 'Serious Issues'

(3) Comments | Posted April 14, 2014 | 5:54 PM

"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...

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B.C. Government Math: When 1 Million May Actually Mean 210,000

(1) Comments | Posted March 12, 2014 | 12:34 AM

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It would be tough to miss the ad, particularly if you're trying to watch anything online. The one where WorkBC tells us that: "B.C.'s growing economy will lead to one million job openings by 2020."

Since it was uploaded to YouTube in February, it's had more than a million views, the bulk of them paid for by the very people it's trying to influence -- B.C. taxpayers. Rarely does it come with YouTube's version of the mute button: the opportunity to skip the ad after five seconds. Even Enbridge's Northern Gateway ads give you that choice.

Funny what the ad doesn't mention though. It doesn't say that those million jobs come by counting all the job openings in B.C. starting from 2010. More than four years of openings have come and gone, but the ad's overall total was never reduced to take those jobs into account.

Heck with that logic, any number is possible. It's almost as bad as saying there will be more than 2.3 million job openings in B.C., by starting the count from when W.A.C. Bennett was premier.

The B.C. ministry responsible for jobs says the province has been clear on its job numbers. Yeah, clear as mud.

According to WorkBC's website: "Unemployment is expected to drop to 6.5 per cent by 2015 and 5.2 per cent by 2020, as more than one million new jobs open up across the province."

So which is it: "one million job openings" as the ad states or "one million new jobs" as the website states? Because they're not the same thing. According to mapyourcareer.org, a "new job" is a job that "did not previously exist."

B.C.'s Labour Market Outlook -- which WorkBC relied on for that one million jobs stat -- clearly states that "Over one million job openings are expected in B.C. from 2010 to 2020."

But something WorkBC's ad doesn't mention is that close to two-thirds of those openings "will be due to replacement demand as a result of retiring workers and deaths." Those jobs aren't the result of "B.C.'s growing economy."

Dig a little further into the report and you'll find that the other "one-third of job openings will be due to new jobs that result from economic growth." Again starting from 2010.

And who's going to fill a good chunk of these openings? The Market Outlook has some answers on that too: "The B.C. labour market is expected to rely increasingly on migrants for new labour supply over the outlook period. New migrants to B.C. are expected to fill one-third of job openings to 2020."

A fact not lost on the B.C. government. According to Michael Smyth in The Province: "The Ministry of Natural Gas Development has an 'action plan' to get the credentials of foreign workers quickly recognized and certified in B.C.," based on a request-for-proposal posted on a government website.

Oh, and the best years for job growth are pretty well behind us. According to the Market Outlook: "For 2010-2020, demand for workers is expected to grow by an average of 1.7 per cent in the first half, then by 0.9 per cent in the second half of the forecast."

The Ontario government forecasts that job creation in that province "is expected to strengthen over the medium term, with employment increasing by 1.4 per cent in 2014, and 1.5 per cent in both 2015 and 2016."

WorkBC was likely hoping few would go looking for the Labour Market Outlook from the ad's "findyourfit" vanity url to verify whether or not the one million job openings was true. And it would be tough to find, even if you wanted to from that landing page.

Given that four years of job openings from the one million estimate have come and gone, that demand for workers is going to slow in the remaining years, and that one-third of the openings are likely to be filled by new migrants one can only hope that the leftovers for British Columbians are well-paid, because a survey from The Economist released last week has Vancouver ranked as the 30th most expensive place to live on earth.

ALSO ON HUFF POST:
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B.C.'s Budgetary Sleight Of Hand

(0) Comments | Posted February 28, 2014 | 11:43 PM

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.

Case in point: most governments like to pat themselves on the back at budget time by highlighting...

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Too Many Struggling To Get By In A 'Have' Province

(0) Comments | Posted February 14, 2014 | 9:13 PM

Halifax or Vancouver? Ask most folk which city boasts the higher median family income and chances are they'll say Vancouver. They couldn't be more wrong.

The median income for a two-parent family living in Halifax was $87,430 in 2011. Vancouver wasn't even close at $74,510. In fact, family incomes...

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Time To Bite Bullet On Metro Vancouver Regional Police Force

(2) Comments | Posted January 29, 2014 | 1:56 PM

The headlines are becoming a little too common for Lower Mainland residents:

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B.C. Campaign Spending Limits Should Be Like Comparing Grocery Prices

(0) Comments | Posted January 20, 2014 | 4:11 PM

When you compare prices at the supermarket you usually look at comparable products, for instance you don't compare the price of a head of lettuce with a can of baked beans. It should be the same way with government consultations.

Case in point: when you're trying to figure out...

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B.C. Riding Changes Could Be Worse Than Gracie's Finger

(0) Comments | Posted January 6, 2014 | 8:26 AM

Long-time political watchers in B.C. will know what's meant by Gracie's finger. It was one of Canada's most blatant acts of political gerrymandering.

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...

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5 New Year's Resolutions For B.C.'s Politicians

(0) Comments | Posted December 30, 2013 | 6:46 PM

It's that time when many of us make resolutions for the new year. So, in the spirit of the season, here are five ideas for B.C.'s politicians to consider as they set their resolutions for 2014.

1. Stop trying to defy gravity

Voters aren't dummies. They can add, subtract, and...

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The TransLink Referendum Won't be Pretty

(0) Comments | Posted November 27, 2013 | 9:40 PM

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...

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Troubling Rumblings Around B.C.'s Agricultural Land Commission

(0) Comments | Posted November 22, 2013 | 5:33 PM

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...

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