Our beautiful landscape, outdoorsy way of life, and mild weather can only overcome a certain amount of taxes. People are already beginning to vote with their feet, leaving our province for greener pastures -- another spin that will continue to speed up if the BC Liberals do not reverse course.
One innovative plan that has been considered for about a decade, but has never been funded, is a system commonly used in Europe called "headway operations." This means buses depart at regular intervals keeping the headway (time between buses) even and avoiding bunching, instead of trying vainly to stay on a fixed schedule in widely varying conditions. This is how most rapid transit systems including SkyTrain operate.
Recent news stories detailing the number of teachers needed to be re-hired as a result of the finding of the legislative stripping of teachers' collective agreements as unconstitutional, is a stark picture of the duplicity and obfuscation characterizing this government's attitude toward public education since 2002. Their latest court appeal is not unexpected or even disappointing. After enduring the last dozen years, teachers have come to expect punitive attacks and deceit.
The best thing for B.C. is to join Saskatchewan and Manitoba and call for the abolition of the Senate. Premier Clark, deep down, knows this. In her 2011 leadership campaign, she was clear: "We don't really need a Senate." Since then, the Senate's reputation has only worsened, as new scandals and criminal charges tear away any credibility that once resided in the Upper Chamber.
At a time when it seems we're paying less attention than ever to political news, it's even more crucial for politicians to identify with voters on another level. Be honest -- how many of you watched either the federal budget speech or the B.C. throne speech online? How many of you, by contrast -- have been sneaking peaks at the live-streamed Olympics from your desk?
Small businesses that are already getting greener and cleaner could be responsible for thousands of dollars of fees that they must pass on to their customers. If you like to shop or eat in B.C., get ready to be walloped by new hidden taxes on everything from clothing to groceries.
Madame Justice Susan Griffin is known in the legal profession as a real straight shooter and one of B.C.'s most respected jurists, which makes the damning conclusions of her decision in the B.C. Teachers' Federation case all the more extraordinary. Judicial writing like this doesn't come along every day.
The facts of the case are clear: the rhetoric of the B.C. government of seeking labour peace and stability and of providing parents and students with flexibility and choice is duplicitous. The intention was to rob the system of the funding it needs and to use teachers as scapegoats in the quest to get re-elected.
This current core review is not about the best interests of agriculture; rather it is about freeing thousands of hectares of agricultural land from the Agricultural Land Commission, opening once preserved lands to non-agricultural development opportunities, especially natural gas development.
If the transit referendum was held at the same time as the municipal election, there is a real risk that people exercising their freedom of speech on one would be subject to severe penalties under the other. This is because the B.C. government has imposed draconian penalties (a year in jail, $10,000 fines) for those they define as "election advertising sponsors" in provincial election law.
By treating Chinese people as the only stakeholder in B.C.'s reconciliation, the premier not only reveals her ignorance on the subject but is pushing B.C. towards the abyss of false reconciliation, and our democratic system towards even less responsibility for its mistakes, both past and present.
According to our monthly Business Barometer survey, B.C. small business confidence grew substantially this year. In February, B.C. ranked in sixth place among Canada's 10 provinces -- but by the end of November, we were sitting solidly in second place. With the New Year almost upon us, it is worthwhile to take a moment to reflect upon 2013's high and low points for small business.
Premier Christy Clark set out five conditions for pipeline development in British Columbia. The Premier has been firm on these conditions and has repeated many times that pipeline projects will not be allowed in British Columbia if her conditions are not met. So, why is Kinder Morgan dilbit currently being transported through the Salish Sea? And why hasn't the provincial government stepped in to stop it?
It's an all-too-regular occurrence in this province. Government employees, whipped up by their union leaders, marching against whatever economic development opportunity is being proposed. Pipelines to the coast? Opposed. Gas exploration? Opposed. Companies creating investment revenue for pensions? Opposed. New mine? Opposed. Coal exports? Opposed. But what if government employees had a direct financial stake in the economy doing better than expected? Would they be more willing to consider ways to grow the economy? It's an interesting premise, and one the B.C. government will test in the next round of collective bargaining.
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 residents know full well how that initiative has been going as of late. It doesn't bode well for the vote.