Integritybc

B.C. Government Masters The Art Of Political Spin

Dermod Travis | Posted 05.18.2016 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

Canadians have come to expect that politicians will take a few liberties with facts as they spin issues to suit their purpose. A master practitioner of the art form is the B.C. government, with spin that can be light in the accuracy department.

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."

Meet The Scandalous Companies Working For BC Hydro

Dermod Travis | Posted 04.20.2016 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

Left out of its December release -- announcing the awarding of the $1.75 billion contract -- was any mention of collusion and bid-rigging by Korean-based Samsung C&T; the ongoing investigation by a Spanish magistrate and anti-corruption prosecutors into "allegations of misappropriation of public funds, falsifying documents and money laundering" at Acciona; and liquidity issues at Petrowest.

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 Christy Clark's Travel Expenses Soaring Sky-High?

Dermod Travis | Posted 03.03.2016 | Canada Politics
Dermod Travis

News that Premier Christy Clark has spent $500,000 on private jets since assuming office has -- not surprisingly -- raised a few eyebrows. It's a story that has as much to do with the symbolism as it does with the dollars. A political condition that the government seems increasingly tone deaf to as of late.

Balancing The B.C. Budget

Dermod Travis | Posted 02.23.2016 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

Petty. One word that springs to mind after last week's B.C. budget. At best, it's a lip service budget. Tweak here, tweak there, but devoid of any ...

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.

Lobbying Is A Profession In Need Of A Makeover

Dermod Travis | Posted 02.04.2016 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there does seem to be a future for the industry. In fact, if we're not careful, B.C. could be overrun by lobbyists. Last year, there were 2,502 in-house and consultant lobbyists registered in the province, up from 1,451 four years ago. Whoever said the B.C. Jobs Plan wasn't working?

B.C. Health Ministry Review Still Bogged Down, Four Years In

Dermod Travis | Posted 01.22.2016 | Canada Politics
Dermod Travis

Proving it's easier to announce an action plan than implement one, parts of the B.C. health ministry's 2011 plan "to strengthen physician hiring and oversight and enhance public confidence" remain bogged down to this day in consultations.

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.

5 Resolutions B.C. MLAs Should Ponder For The New Year

Dermod Travis | Posted 12.29.2015 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

It's that time of year when many of us consider making a few resolutions for self-improvement. In the spirit of the season, it only seems fitting to suggest five resolutions for the British Columbia's MLAs.

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. Politics Has A 'Dark Money' Problem

Dermod Travis | Posted 12.09.2015 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

Trade associations -- Many are known to donate generously to political parties, particularly when they want to curry favour. In the U.S. it's called "dark money," a way to spend big bucks on politics and remain relatively anonymous. It doesn't have the same bad rap in B.C. yet, but it's problematic.

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.

City Hall Bullies Need A Time Out

Dermod Travis | Posted 11.20.2015 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

There's something about local government that brings out the worst in some people. Staff get spat on. Mayors and councillors are often the victims of what can only be described as cyberbullying. In some towns, process servers would be well-advised to offer volume discounts to local governments.

The B.C. Government's 7 Stages Of Damage Control

Dermod Travis | Posted 11.04.2015 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

health ministry firings, multicultural outreach strategy and what some are calling deletegate -- they demand finesse and there's a definite pattern to how the government goes about it. Its damage control manual seems to come with instructions: mix and match to fit, use sparingly and only as required.

Patronage Heaven, Keeping It In The Family

Dermod Travis | Posted 10.15.2015 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

Lip service to local autonomy.

Forget The Bonus, The Real Money Is In Severance Pay

Dermod Travis | Posted 09.30.2015 | 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.

The Flip Side of B.C.'s Infrastructure Coin

Dermod Travis | Posted 09.24.2015 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

There are those who execute contracts and those who award them.

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

Dermod Travis | Posted 09.18.2015 | 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.

UBC Feud Casts Light On Who Sits On University, Agency Boards

Dermod Travis | Posted 08.31.2015 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

When so many agencies that most see as local or regional are, in fact, controlled by the B.C. government it puts the very idea of local autonomy into doubt.

Auditor General For Local Government: Designed To Fail Or Left To Implode?

Dermod Travis | Posted 08.18.2015 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

Pile-ons are easier when the opponent seems down for the count. There is something puzzling about the report. You're left with the impression that this whole auditor general idea happened in a vacuum.

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

Dermod Travis | Posted 08.14.2015 | 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.