Integritybc

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.

Bad Blood, Seething Passions Corrode Some B.C. Town Councils

Dermod Travis | Posted 07.22.2015 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

Sadly, the civic mayhem isn't limited to staffing, it's cross-contaminated a few council chambers, sometimes making the Hatfield and McCoy feud seem like an episode of the Brady Bunch.

B.C.'s Housing Escalators: One Goes Up, One Goes Down

Dermod Travis | Posted 07.02.2015 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

While everyone's been furiously pointing fingers at each other over Vancouver's skyrocketing house prices, little attention has been paid to the other side of most real estate transactions: the pay stub.

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

Dermod Travis | Posted 06.18.2015 | 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.

Fallout From Local B.C. Elections Is Like A Comedy Skit

Dermod Travis | Posted 06.21.2015 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

Politicians aren't boy scouts. The honour code isn't going to work. One agency needs to step up and enforce the law.

Whether You Voted (Or Not) In B.C. May No Longer Be A Secret

Dermod Travis | Posted 06.02.2015 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

Last September's proposal by the four parties isn't about engaging voters, it's about tracking voters in an era of data mining.

B.C. Finance Ministry Fact Sheet Pulls Classic Bait And Switch

Dermod Travis | Posted 05.14.2015 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

B.C. may very well have some of the lowest personal income tax rates in Canada, but that doesn't mean the lowest tax bill. So doing that "lowest personal income tax" thing is a cute trick, but at the end of the day it's a trick. And not a particularly empathetic one.

Vancouve Campaign Spending Contagion Spreading Fast

Dermod Travis | Posted 04.29.2015 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

The returns are in and some of the 2014 local election campaign spending in B.C. isn't pretty. How the parties spent their moolah also says something about their campaign approach.

B.C. Budget 2015 Pushes Dream Of White Picket Fence Further Out Of Reach

Dermod Travis | Posted 04.21.2015 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

But what's really killing off the economic hopes of most British Columbians is the incessant nickel-and-diming by a government that lacks the political will to set personal income tax rates at a level where the tax burden is shared fairly among everyone in B.C.

B.C. Open Government Went From 'Key Priority' To 'What's That?'

Dermod Travis | Posted 04.07.2015 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

It would seem -- somewhere along the way -- the government decided doing something to British Columbians was easier than working for them.