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.

B.C. Clinical Trials Oversight Shows Need For Health Sheriffs

Dermod Travis | Posted 04.01.2015 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

Until Health Canada chooses to honour its commitment to the auditor general, the FDA and OHRP may be the only health sheriffs in town.

Rejecting TransLink Referendum Won't Make Problems Disappear

Dermod Travis | Posted 03.24.2015 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

The Yes side may have great intellectual arguments, but the No side has one big emotional one. It's spelled T-r-a-n-s-L-i-n-k. And at the end of the day it may be the only one that counts.

5 New Year's Resolutions For B.C.'s Politicians

Dermod Travis | Posted 02.21.2015 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

In the spirit of giving, here are five ideas for B.C.'s politicians to consider as they set their resolutions for 2015.

Dear Santa: Here Is What B.C. Wants For Christmas

Dermod Travis | Posted 02.07.2015 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

Dear Santa: You probably don't get Christmas letters from an entire province, but this year we hope you'll think of adding B.C. to your magical journey.

When It Comes To B.C. Local Elections, Standing Out Isn't A Good Thing

Dermod Travis | Posted 01.31.2015 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

For the last six weeks, deep in the B.C. legislature, eight MLAs have been toiling away at trying to set spending limits for municipal parties and their candidates in 2018, as well as third parties. It's been an oddly quiet discussion, given that their recommendations might restore a modicum of faith in local democracy. Might.

B.C. Muncipal Elections: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

Dermod Travis | Posted 01.17.2015 | Canada British Columbia
Dermod Travis

Saturday was a good day for local democracy in B.C. As one person noted online: "First time in my life I've had to wait to vote in a local election....What the hell is going on?" What was going on was that voters were coming out of the woodwork by the thousands in towns and cities across B.C. and it seems that those who skipped 2011 had one thing on their mind this time.