Bc Government

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 11.25.2015 | 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 10.29.2015 | 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 10.13.2015 | 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.

Take A Stick And Whack B.C. Carrot Rewards

Jordan Bateman | Posted 09.06.2016 | Canada British Columbia
Jordan Bateman

What long-term health benefits would occur if government built $7.5 million in school playgrounds? Or spent $7.5 million cutting waitlists for surgery? Or made sure people had timely access to family physicians? Or improved rural or aboriginal drinking water quality to reduce the dozens of boil water advisories in effect across B.C. right now? Or any of a hundred other ideas.

B.C. Government Continues to Attack Mom Rather Than Fix Their Broken System

Sarah Miller | Posted 08.14.2016 | Canada British Columbia
Sarah Miller

What do you do, and who do you turn to when the people charged with protecting children end up causing far more emotional and physical trauma then you could ever imagine?

Meet B.C.'s New LNG Dance Partner, Malaysia

Dermod Travis | Posted 08.14.2016 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

To put it in a local context: the B.C. government is providing unprecedented tax breaks to what is effectively a foreign Crown corporation, where the prime minister is suspected of siphoning off US$700 million from one of its other Crown corporations to his personal bank accounts. Doesn't inspire confidence.

B.C. Government's Credit Card Charges Are Enlightening

Dermod Travis | Posted 08.03.2016 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

While the charges themselves are a drop in the bucket of a $44.4 billion budget, sometimes they offer a peak at a ministry's attitudes or priorities.

Who Else Was Involved in the B.C. Health Ministry Firings?

Dermod Travis | Posted 06.18.2016 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

Three years out and the public outrage over the 2012 health ministry firings shows no signs of abating and may be intensifying over recent disclosures that the government misled the public on the RCMP investigation that never was.