British Medical Journal links social spending cuts to increased mortality

Jun 29, 2010
An article and an editorial in this week’s British Medical Journal outline the very high cost of cutting social programs. The article’s authors look at social spending in the OECD and find changes in social spending directly related to changes in mortality.  Even more, they find the impact of social spending on health to be… View Article

The HST and BC family budgets

Jun 24, 2010
That the HST will take a bite out of family budgets is clear to everyone. The main question right now is just how big of a bite. Two studies released earlier this week asked this exact question but came to very different conclusions. On Monday, the Fraser Institute released a paper arguing that lower and… View Article

If the Taxpayers Federation gets its way, we can be just like California

Jun 21, 2010
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation’s Maureen Bader is inciting a tax revolt for municipal taxpayers.  If she gets her way, maybe we can be just like California. Last Friday the Globe and Mail published an article in their business section outlining how Los Angeles area apartment owners in the mid 1970s financed a campaign against municipal… View Article

New BC generic drug plan could save millions – but maybe not for everybody

Jun 18, 2010
Very, very quietly, the BC provincial government is negotiating new arrangements for the purchase of generic drugs that could save the province hundreds of millions of dollars.  Done right, all BC taxpayers will win as more money becomes available for other health services.  Done wrong, much of the savings for the province’s PharmaCare program will… View Article

A new era for measuring poverty in Canada

Jun 18, 2010
Last Thursday’s Statistics Canada release of individual and household income data for 2008 marks a new era in the study of poverty in Canada. Instead of reporting only on the Low Income Cut Offs (LICO), as they used to, Statistics Canada reported on three of the most common measures of low income in the same… View Article

Quebec Auditor General slams P3s in hospital project

Jun 11, 2010
Quebec’s Auditor General has issued yet one more report slamming the use of public private partnerships (P3s).  With P3s, private corporations finance and operate public facilities and services.  The money they invest is more costly than money borrowed publicly.  It is paid back to them, along with profits for the corporation, by governments over multi-decade contracts…. View Article

Poverty reduction: What other provinces are doing

Jun 8, 2010
BC has much to learn from other provinces when it comes to poverty reduction. Six provinces now have poverty reduction plans, although most are still fairly new, and therefore we don’t yet have data to tell us what kind of success they are meeting with, the exceptions being Quebec and Newfoundland. What their plans and… View Article

Off the Highway by Mette Bach: politics and memoir

Jun 8, 2010
Another suggestion for summer reading: brand new from local publisher New Star Books: Off the Highway by Mette Bach, a short (about 80 pages) memoir of her childhood and adolescence in North Delta. Bach weaves together personal recollections, history and social commentary to create a quirky, funny, depressing picture of a little-known Vancouver suburb. Regular… View Article

Some issues arising from the special advisor’s report on the Vancouver School Board

Jun 6, 2010
The special advisor appointed by the provincial government to look at the finances of the Vancouver School Board reported on Friday and a number of issues arise from the report.  Before discussing these, however, people should be aware that in my day job I am a researcher for the Canadian Union of Public Employees which… View Article

‘Green’ Summer Reading

Jun 3, 2010
As I was wandering through the airport this spring I succumbed to my one true addiction: books.  Yes, I know that a good environmentalist uses the local library, but I’m working on it….. Anyway, as always, I try to pick up something that I’ve read a review on or something that just jumps out at… View Article