CCPA Policy Note

Why teachers are still striking

September 12th, 2014 · · Education, Employment & labour, Provincial budget & finance, Taxes

Speech to the Langley Teachers Association’s Public Forum on Education Delivered July 16, 2014. Check against delivery. I have a slightly different take because I don’t come from the labour movement or from the education sector – I come as an economist, so I’m going to talk a little bit about numbers. But before I […]

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BC’s Awkward Surplus

September 11th, 2014 · · Children & youth, Education, Provincial budget & finance, Taxes

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Finance reported results from the first quarter of 2014/15. While the news release stated “B.C.’s budget remains balanced in spite of extra costs,” there is a projected surplus of $266 million for the current fiscal year. In reality it will likely be much higher, due to the usual practice of using conservative planning […]

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Underneath the legal drama: The ethics of for-profit health care in BC

August 26th, 2014 · · Health care, Privatization, P3s & public services

One of the most important constitutional trials in Canadian history was set to begin on September 8, 2014 before the BC Supreme Court. Dr. Day, owner of the for-profit Cambie Surgical Centre says he is fighting for the freedom of patients who are victims of “medical enslavement”, while making generous and unlawful profits well above […]

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The dangers of deregulation extend beyond mining disasters

August 22nd, 2014 · · Economy, Environment, resources & sustainability, Privatization, P3s & public services, Provincial budget & finance, Transparency & accountability

The Mount Polley Mine disaster has raised important questions about the risks and costs of deregulation of the mining industry in BC. I spoke about this issue recently on CBC Vancouver’s Early Edition and CBC Kamloops’ Daybreak (if you missed it, there’s audio here, starts around 1:00:48). As a citizen and as a public interest […]

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Mount Polley Mine dam collapse compels us to review resource development regulations

August 20th, 2014 · · Economy, Environment, resources & sustainability, First Nations & Aboriginal, Privatization, P3s & public services, Provincial budget & finance, Transparency & accountability

At this point, we don’t know exactly what caused the collapse in the large dam holding mining wastewater and contaminated sediment – also known as tailings – at the Mount Polley Mine. This is why we need the inquiry which the BC government announced earlier this week. It remains to be seen if it was […]

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How have taxes changed over the last half century

August 12th, 2014 · · Taxes

The Fraser Institute’s annual Consumer Tax Index report generated some media buzz with its outlandish claims about just how much taxes have risen since 1961. Before you get worked up about this, consider that 1961 was over half a century ago, before the time of universal health care that we all benefit from, before the […]

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BC government using affordability excuses to underfund education and health

August 11th, 2014 · · Economy, Education, Privatization, P3s & public services, Provincial budget & finance

Affordability is becoming the new buzzword of the BC government. In the dispute with teachers, for example, the Minister of Education has repeatedly argued demands for lower class sizes and improved class composition, as well as fair wages, are unaffordable and unrealistic (see here). When parents and businesses make the case for more public funding […]

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Where’s the fanfare for tackling poverty effectively? Connecting the dots between three political moments over three months

July 30th, 2014 · · Poverty, inequality & welfare

The following op-ed was originally published in The Georgia Straight. On June 16, I attended the B.C. government’s Disability Summit, the culmination of a three-month public consultation process on disability in B.C. I watched Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation Don McRae lead the audience through the event. I felt the flurry of excitement […]

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Will offsets be the “indulgences” for our LNG sins?

July 18th, 2014 · · Climate change, Environment, resources & sustainability, Privatization, P3s & public services, Provincial budget & finance, Transparency & accountability

In June 2014, the BC government reported on its progress towards the 2007 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act, which calls for a one-third reduction by 2020 in GHG emissions (relative to 2007 levels) and an 80% reduction by 2050. The BC government claimed to have met a key milestone: an interim target of a 6% […]

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BC’s controversial contract obligations dwarf its debt

July 18th, 2014 · · Economy, Energy, Privatization, P3s & public services, Provincial budget & finance

Most of the discussion around the delivery of British Columbia’s public accounts this week has centred on debt (Marvin Shaffer makes excellent points in the previous post on why debt is not always bad) and on how BC got the money to balance its books. Something else worth looking at, however, is British Columbia’s non-debt […]

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