Bc Government

B.C. Affordable Housing Plan Barely Passes For Band-Aid Solution

Dermod Travis | Posted 12.01.2016 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

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.

B.C.'s Supreme Court Loss Its Latest In A Long Line Of Blowouts

Dermod Travis | Posted 11.21.2016 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

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?

The Pricey Cost Of B.C. Liberals' Secrets

Dermod Travis | Posted 11.07.2016 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

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.

Pre-Approving Suppliers Won't Solve B.C.'s Transparency Problem

Dermod Travis | Posted 10.28.2016 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

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.

No Escaping B.C. Governments' Pre-Election Political Programming

Dermod Travis | Posted 10.18.2016 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

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.

Knee-Jerk Policies Will Not Cool B.C.'s Red-Hot Housing Market

Dermod Travis | Posted 08.15.2016 | Canada Politics
Dermod Travis

For months the government had been in denial over the issue: overblown, isolated to a few neighbourhoods, it said. Since then its approach has gone from "the market will correct itself," to a "bold action plan," to legislating a retroactive 15 per cent tax on foreign ownership.

B.C. Officials Racked Up $49.8 Million In Credit Card Charges

Dermod Travis | Posted 08.02.2016 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

In a $46.3-billion budget, $49.8 million is chump change, but the B.C. government's 84,346 credit card charges in 2015-16 do offer some insights into how the B.C. government spends on the run. While the number of charges is down from 102,418 in 2014-15, the dollar value is up from $45.1 million.

B.C. Liberals' Long-Shot LNG Deal Was Fantasy After All

Dermod Travis | Posted 07.25.2016 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

B.C. may still see an LNG plant, but as for that $1 trillion in economic activity and $100 billion prosperity fund the only step left is to call time of death. There's an upside for the government. The public never bought the hype in the first place.

Put Brakes On Proposed Massey Tunnel Replacement Bridge

Dermod Travis | Posted 07.04.2016 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

With news last week that all but one of Metro Vancouver's mayors have given a firm thumbs down to the B.C. government's proposal for a 10-lane, three-kilometre bridge to replace the George Massey Tunnel, it's a good opportunity to take a step back and give this idea more than a quick once-over.

The Figures Behind B.C. Hydro's Site C Dam

Dermod Travis | Posted 06.24.2016 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

The B.C. government has placed two bets over the Site C project: one that B.C. Hydro can keep construction costs to $8.8 billion, and, two, that it can find customers for the power. Left to cover the ante? Taxpayers.

B.C. Government Scandals Hint At Systemic Misconduct

Dermod Travis | Posted 05.05.2016 | Canada Politics
Dermod Travis

Last July, whistleblower Alana James made a startling claim in an interview with the Vancouver Sun about allegations of corruption leveled at the B.C. Ministry of Health: "This was not about one ministry and less than a dozen individuals."

Have Donations To B.C. Liberals And NDP Crossed The Line?

Dermod Travis | Posted 04.11.2016 | Canada Politics
Dermod Travis

The 2015 political donations were out this week and they contained some numbers that should cause a bit of unease. It's not just the 2015 amounts that are of interest, it's the running totals as well. Since 2005, the B.C. Liberal party has raised more than $107.8 million -- $70.2 million of that from businesses and corporations.

Local Governments Have A Problem With Transparency

Dermod Travis | Posted 04.01.2016 | Canada Politics
Dermod Travis

When most communities in B.C. have more in-camera meetings than the City of Toronto, there's a problem. In Ontario, councils are entitled to go in-camera to consider six specific matters. There are four reasons that councils must go in camera and over a dozen reasons why they "may" close a meeting. The nuance between "may" and "must" seems to have been lost on a few.

B.C. Liberals Have Mastered The Art Of Returning Donors' Favours

Dermod Travis | Posted 03.16.2016 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

Just thumb through the party's 2009 donor list for a sense of how widespread the practice of awarding contracts to friends has become. Back then, someone must have woke up on New Year's Day with one hell of a hangover -- not from the night before -- but from the bank balance in the B.C. Liberal party's account.

Are B.C. Liberals And B.C. Hydro In Opposition?

Dermod Travis | Posted 02.16.2016 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

Make no mistake, there's a price to pay when B.C. Hydro becomes a political arm of government. The intertwining of self-interests gets complicated, while the interests of ratepayers can take a backseat to political interests.

B.C.'s Protracted Peer Review Promise Bears A Closer Look

Dermod Travis | Posted 01.19.2016 | Canada Politics
Dermod Travis

Buried among a spate of bad news announcements that the B.C. government released over the Christmas holidays was an update on a province-wide system for peer reviews of medical scans. The system was to have been operational by 2014, but still isn't in place at three of five health authorities and won't be until mid-2016 at the earliest.

B.C.'s Economy Doesn't Stack Up To The Rest Of Canada

Dermod Travis | Posted 12.22.2015 | Canada Business
Dermod Travis

Take a gander at the government's economic report cards and one thing becomes readily apparent: an almost virtual absence of inter-provincial comparisons. There's a good reason for that. Compared to Alberta, Ontario and Quebec, B.C. doesn't always stack up so well.

B.C. Pre-Budget Holds Good, Bad And Ugly Ideas For Taxpayers

Jordan Bateman | Posted 12.17.2015 | Canada British Columbia
Jordan Bateman

The bipartisan legislative committee was asked by Finance Minister Michael de Jong to travel the province and make recommendations for the 2016-17 B.C. budget. Unfortunately, the committee fell into the usual trap of recommending billions in new spending requests put in by dozens of special interest groups.

B.C. Trade Missions Fail To Deliver The Bang For The Buck

Dermod Travis | Posted 11.25.2016 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

For those not counting, there have been eight B.C. trade missions to China alone in the last 18 months. Forests minister Steve Thomson is set to leave on a ninth mission this Friday. Trade missions aren't cheap, they set the B.C. government back $767,000 in 2014 and that doesn't include the bill for local governments, universities and other agencies.

The Reckless Rush to Sign the Port Mann Bridge Deal

Dermod Travis | Posted 10.29.2016 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

You would think Ben Franklin was working in public procurement when he coined the phrase "take time for all things: great haste makes great waste." It's one possible explanation for why the Port Mann Bridge/Highway 1 improvement project more than doubled in price from its original estimate of $1.5 billion to $3.2 billion.

Rape Kit Inaccessibility Blocking Justice For Victims

CP | Laura Kane, The Canadian Press | Posted 10.13.2016 | Canada British Columbia

Squamish, B.C. councillor Susan Chapelle is devoting herself to removing hurdles in the justice system for sexual assault victims.

Forget The Bonus, The Real Money Is In Severance Pay

Dermod Travis | Posted 09.29.2016 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

Former chief administrator Penny Ballem, 65, will receive $556,000 as a parting gift for the hastily arranged exit. News that undoubtedly warmed the cockles of the hearts of residents across Vancouver when they learned of it.

Parents Are The Ones Actually Funding Public Schools

Sarah Miller | Posted 09.23.2016 | Canada British Columbia
Sarah Miller

Parent advisory councils are now expected to cover everything from sex ed, earthquake supplies, recess/sports/music/gym equipment, classroom supplies, technology, sound systems for assemblies, library books, year end activities, field trips, playgrounds and more.

Bridge Or Highway Considered To Replace Sunshine Coast Ferries

CP | Posted 09.18.2016 | Canada British Columbia

The current ferry trip is 45 kilometres.

Cost Overruns Don't Prevent B.C. Gov't From Hiring Same Companies

Dermod Travis | Posted 09.17.2016 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

Something is amiss when infrastructure projects routinely overshoot their original estimates by millions -- and sometimes -- billions of dollars in B.C.