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.
It was a pretty safe bet going into election night that regardless of how the vote broke that there were four words from Premier Christy Clark's 2013 victory speech which would be left unsaid this year: "Well, that was easy."
Earlier this month the 2016 donation numbers for B.C.'s political parties were filed with Elections B.C. and, not unexpectedly, it was another bumper crop for the B.C. Liberals. The party raised $13.1 million, more than any other provincial party in Canada and $4.8 million more than the federal NDP and Green Party combined.
It's the missed opportunities over the 2012 health ministry firings that will forever haunt the B.C. government. Instead of seizing opportunities to set the record straight, Ombudsperson Jay Chalke's report pointed to a pattern of falsehood piled upon falsehood.
B.C. politics already has its dark money donations that are difficult to trace back to an actual donor. But the free for all when it comes to political fundraising in the province has given rise to another murky practice: raising campaign cash from some dark corners of the world.
Using the B.C. government's proposed real-time disclosure of political donations bill as a prop, Clark announced that if re-elected her government will move to establish an independent panel to review B.C.'s Elections Act and come up with recommendations for the legislature's consideration.
This past weekend the Globe and Mail reported that lobbyists in the province have been making political donations on behalf of their clients, effectively camouflaging the identity of the real donors and breaking B.C.'s Elections Act in the process.
If last year's provincial budget could be described as "petty" after Finance Minister Mike de Jong doled out an increase in assistance rates for those living with disabilities -- only to claw most of it back by ending the subsidized bus pass program -- this year's budget could best be described as "petulant."
Splat. It would seem British Columbia's 41st general election is well underway. News that someone may have hacked the B.C. Liberal party's website caused quite the uproar. Charges, counter-charges, flurries of tweets, threats of lawsuits, privacy investigations, possible police investigations, it had it all.
The stipend affair has not been one of Clark's shining moments. It was sad that a premier who once boasted she was going to put families first didn't appreciate the optics of accepting a semi-secret, five-figure top-up that was more than most British Columbians make in a year.
Mere hours before the New York Times went to press with its look at the B.C. Liberal party's ethical scorecard, the party chose to get its 2016 fundraising results out ahead of the storm. One last chance at political counter-spin and what a marvel of spin it was. U.S. Republican party strategist Karl Rove would have been proud.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has embarked on a cross-Canada tour, ostensibly to reconnect with Canadians -- or at least those that can't afford $1,525 to bend his ear in private. At three times his going rate, the prime minister would still be a bargain compared to Christy Clark.
Premier Christy Clark has already taken off the table the one thing that leaves Canada's three other public auto insurers in decent financial shape: no-fault insurance. Makes one wonder who is so strongly opposed to the idea? Likely, a group that does well with the current regime. Lawyers spring to mind.
The year is almost a wrap and - safe to say - 2016 was one for the books. In keeping with the spirit of the season, it's time again for a few New Year's resolutions for B.C.'s political parties and politicians to consider in their on-going quest for self-improvement.
It's official. After hitting send to more than 2,680 news releases this year, the B.C. government's Communications and Public Engagement Office is now scraping the bottom of the barrel for an excuse -- any excuse -- to trumpet the government's prowess.
Hate to be one of those folk that B.C. Housing Minister Rich Coleman believes has nothing better to do than get up and whine every day, but the B.C. government's affordable housing plan announced last week falls short. Sorry, someone had to say it.
If winning cases before the Supreme Court of Canada could be likened to the National Hockey League, the B.C. government would be the Toronto Maple Leafs of litigants. Perhaps the government is getting bad legal advice? Perhaps it's not listening to good legal advice?
Just how far is the B.C. government willing to go to guard its secrets? A great distance, if the 2012 health ministry firings are any indication. Four million documents linked to the firings have mysteriously materialized out of thin air for the latest investigation into the scandal, this one by B.C. ombudsperson Jay Chalke.
News that's guaranteed to cheer the hearts of a small number of B.C. companies is word that they've been added to a list of pre-qualified suppliers to the B.C. government. The lists are intended to offer all the appearances of open and transparent procurement. They can be anything but.
The B.C. government is in the midst of saturating television shows and social media news feeds in the province with a multimillion-dollar back-patting advertising campaign in advance of the 2017 election. The B.C. Liberal party -- who clearly have money to burn -- is getting in on the act as well with mood-setting political ads.