Integritybc

Set The Record Straight On B.C. Health Ministry Firings

Dermod Travis | Posted 04.20.2017 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

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.

Foreign Money Is Quite At Home In B.C. Politics

Dermod Travis | Posted 04.04.2017 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

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.

B.C. Liberals' Electoral Finance Reform Package Doesn't Amount To Much

Dermod Travis | Posted 03.22.2017 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

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.

One Simple Donation Rule And B.C. Liberals Still Broke It

Dermod Travis | Posted 03.14.2017 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

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.

Highs And Lows Of The 2017 B.C. Budget

Dermod Travis | Posted 03.02.2017 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

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."

B.C. General Election: Let The Liberal Mudslinging Commence

Dermod Travis | Posted 02.17.2017 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

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.

B.C. Liberal Party Donors Far From Being A Grassroots Crowd

Dermod Travis | Posted 01.27.2017 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

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.

Trudeau Cash-For-Access Scandal A Bargain Compared To Christy Clark

Dermod Travis | Posted 01.23.2017 | Canada Politics
Dermod Travis

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.

There's Some Seriously Unfinished Business In B.C.

Dermod Travis | Posted 01.10.2017 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

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.

New Year's Resolutions Every B.C. Politician Should Make

Dermod Travis | Posted 12.29.2016 | Canada Politics
Dermod Travis

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.

B.C.'s Propaganda Department Cranks Up Production

Dermod Travis | Posted 12.23.2016 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

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.

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.

B.C. Accelerates Past Point Of No Return On Megaproject Overruns

Dermod Travis | Posted 10.07.2016 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

One would be hard-pressed to find a single government forecast for the Sea-to-Sky highway project ($195 million over its first estimate), the Port Mann or the South Fraser Perimeter Road that has been met.

Why's The Private Sector Playing Taxpayers' Foreman In B.C.?

Dermod Travis | Posted 09.27.2016 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

How did B.C. end up in the peculiar situation of having to rely on the private sector to oversee private sector construction companies working on public sector infrastructure projects, potentially signing off on billions of tax dollars in cost overruns along the way?

Rising Costs And Stagnant Wages Leave B.C. Wallets In Sorry State

Dermod Travis | Posted 09.15.2016 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

According to the Canadian Payroll Association's survey of employed Canadians released in advance of this week's festivities, 53 per cent of British Columbians reported that "it would be difficult to meet their financial obligations if their pay cheque was delayed by even a single week."

Public Car Insurers Justify Jacking Up Rates With Fudged Facts

Dermod Travis | Posted 09.06.2016 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

ICBC applying for basic rate increase of 4.9 per cent. According to its release, the number of crashes across B.C. "jumped by 15 per cent in two years from 260,000 in 2013 to 300,000 in 2015." Why 2013 and not some other year, say 2007? The numbers wouldn't fit the narrative.

Here's An Idea – B.C. Should Disclose Direct Award Contracts Online

Dermod Travis | Posted 09.07.2016 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

In April, the Alaska Highway News filed an access to information request for a list of the direct award contracts signed during the first stages of the Site C dam construction. The contracts ranged in value from $30,373 to $900,000, but that's only for the awards the utility disclosed.

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.

Want A B.C. Government Appointment? Befriend The Liberals

Dermod Travis | Posted 07.14.2016 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

Another vacancy in a public boardroom and another B.C. Liberal party supporter ready and willing to fill it. News that Frank Carson -- a partner at Victoria law firm Cox, Taylor -- was appointed chair of B.C. Transit's board of directors last week was met with the expected cynicism.