CCPA Policy Note

What is the “right amount” for local governments to spend?

October 23rd, 2014 · · Municipalities, Taxes, Transparency & accountability

Just how much money should a local government spend? If you ask the Fraser Institute, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) or the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) you will always get the same answer: they should spend less.  Oddly, taxpayers sometimes disagree. The Fraser Institute produced a report this week titled Comparing Municipal Government […]

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A BC framework for LNG, part two: the LNG income tax

October 21st, 2014 · · Energy, Provincial budget & finance, Taxes

Well, we saw this coming but it’s still sobering to see it in black and white. The BC government’s decision to cut its proposed LNG Income Tax in half (from 7% to 3.5%) is simply a cave in to industry. It’s massive giveaway of a public resource to global corporations by a desperate government who put […]

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A BC framework for LNG, part one: the carbon benchmark

October 21st, 2014 · · Climate change, Energy, Environment, resources & sustainability

The BC government’s proposed carbon pollution benchmarks for LNG plants leave much to be desired. The package is an impressive display of cognitive dissonance: thanks to BC’s inconvenient law, the 2007 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act, along with its carbon tax, the BC government has cultivated a reputation for being a climate action leader; there’s even […]

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Solidarity and Persistence in the Welfare Food Challenge

October 21st, 2014 · · Economy, Health care, Poverty, inequality & welfare

My clinical, community, and research work revolves around the relationship between poverty and health. I am privileged to hear the stories of patients who are struggling. I get it, I think to myself, and I’m committed to making a change. Do I need to do the welfare food challenge to help me do this? Probably […]

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Let’s Not Go There Again

October 17th, 2014 · · Energy, Environment, resources & sustainability

You would think that the fiasco of the government forcing BC Hydro in recent years to buy run-of-river and other IPP supply that it didn’t need, resulting in losses of hundreds of millions of dollars per year, would have put that unfortunate policy on the back burner for a long time. Not so. Clean Energy […]

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Density, condos and housing affordability

October 16th, 2014 · · Housing & homelessness

How is it that we have seen a non-stop construction boom in Vancouver over the past decade-plus and yet we still have huge homelessness and affordable housing problems? In the Figure, based on data from the BC Economic Accounts, it’s pretty clear that as a society we spend a lot building new housing. It varies cyclically but over the […]

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Competitiveness vs public benefits: the LNG tax and regulatory regime

October 7th, 2014 · · Energy, Environment, resources & sustainability, Taxes

This Fall’s legislative sitting will be an important one for shaping the future of LNG in BC. Will one or more companies make final investment decisions? And if they do will there be any public benefits? One of the key questions is whether the BC government will cave on its proposed 7% LNG income tax rate. Industry has […]

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How public services strengthen the economy

September 22nd, 2014 · · Uncategorized

With teachers and students now going back to school, much of the province seems to be breathing a sigh of relief. But I’m not convinced we’ve made any substantial ground when it comes to understanding the important role education and other public services play towards both social and economic wellbeing in this province. The Premier’s […]

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Feds and provinces push billions in costs down on to towns and cities

September 18th, 2014 · · Economy, Environment, resources & sustainability, Municipalities, Provincial budget & finance

It is all too easy to get lost in “today’s issue” when we look at things without realizing they are part of a larger pattern that affects our lives. Desperately needed public transit in the Lower Mainland becomes a political football with competing interests and imposed referendums. In the Capital Regional District plans for sewage […]

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If the political will is there, the money is too to settle teachers’ dispute

September 13th, 2014 · · Children & youth, Education, Provincial budget & finance

I’ve submitted the following Letter to the Editor to the Vancouver Sun. Hoping they publish it in the next couple days: Enough with the pleas of a bare cupboard from the Premier, Finance Minister and Education Minister. If the political will is there, there is plenty of money to settle the teachers’ dispute, hire more […]

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