Will 2023 be the year BC farmworkers finally receive basic minimum wage protections?

Jan 26, 2023
The majority of BC households are stressed because of debt and inflation. It’s even worse for one group of farmworkers who, legally, may earn less than minimum wage. While British Columbians rang in the New Year, the provincial government quietly increased the minimum piece rate wage for farmworkers by a pitiful 2.8 per cent—their first… View Article

Counting the Costs and Contradictions of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion

Jan 23, 2023
Canada’s uneasy relationship between climate change and fossil fuel development was illustrated in November 2021 when seven atmospheric rivers hit southern BC. The “big one” starting on Nov. 13 led to massive flooding and landslides that crippled infrastructure and isolated the south coast from the rest of Canada.  Among the shutdowns was the Trans Mountain… View Article

Running on Empty

Jan 18, 2023
Closure of Prince George pulp mill all about running out of forest   The pending closure of a pulp mill in Prince George and the loss of 300 high-paying jobs in the community is just the beginning of what promises to be a new and painful chapter in the province’s beleaguered forest industry, which has already… View Article

David Eby’s chance to change the game on housing

Jan 12, 2023
With a new premier at the helm, the BC government has an opportunity to shift its housing policy into high gear. One of the most effective approaches the province could take would be to massively increase public investment in non-market housing. Whether Premier Eby, along with new housing minister Ravi Kahlon, seizes this opportunity will… View Article
Climate justice now sign

The End of This World: online book launch event

Jan 4, 2023
By
The climate crisis is here, and the end of this world—a world built on land theft, resource extraction, and colonial genocide—is on the horizon. The authors of the newly released book The End of This World: Climate Justice in So-Called Canada (pre-order the book here) envision a near future where oil and gas stay in… View Article

Swimming against the tide

Dec 7, 2022
The challenge of higher interest rates and high household debt  The run-up of interest rates since March, led by the Bank of Canada in a bid to tame inflation, represents a substantial economic shock, one that is now pushing the country towards a recession. The bank’s overnight, or policy, interest rate is now at 4.25… View Article

Severe climate events cost BC economy billions more than reported estimates

Nov 30, 2022
Caroline and Paul Mosterman have seen their share of unusual weather in four-plus decades of farming. But nothing comes remotely close to what they experienced in November 2021 when their Sumas Prairie farm was inundated by floodwater. Because the couple farmed on a floodplain, they had no flood insurance. So, when their farm buildings, blueberry… View Article

Living wage increases highlight urgent need to expand government efforts on housing affordability

Nov 17, 2022
Affordability has long been a concern for residents of Metro Vancouver—a region notorious for stratospheric housing costs—but with inflation shooting up to a 40-year high this year, the cost of living has become a much more pressing worry for many. Sticker shock at ever-rising grocery prices is now an all-too-familiar experience, but as prices soar… View Article

Soft rock and a soft touch

Nov 16, 2022
Trove of FOI documents sheds new light on lax regulation of troubled Site C dam It was the bureaucratic equivalent of waiting for a box of Timbits and a Double-Double at the Tim Hortons’ drive thru.  In the space of just hours on a single day in June 2020, the provincial government office in charge… View Article

BC is flush. It’s time for more robust investment in the common good.

Nov 2, 2022
Can BC afford to make major new public investments to address crises in housing, climate change, health care, child care and toxic drugs, among others? The simple answer is yes, can we ever.  A new report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ national office shows that despite dire predictions that the pandemic would be… View Article
Burning wood pellets

A burning question

Oct 19, 2022
BC government needs to say how many trees are falling to wood pellet industry Recently, two respected news organizations aired investigative documentaries showing how trees in BC’s drastically over-cut primary forests are chopped down only to be turned into wood pellets that are burned by the millions of tons to make electricity in the United… View Article

BC private schools to collect $491 million in public funding this year

Sep 21, 2022
Private schools will collect nearly half a billion dollars in public funding from the provincial government during this school year in British Columbia. This is in addition to further public subsidies to private schools—including elite prep schools—in the form of various tax exemptions and credits.  Provincial operating subsidies to the private school system will rise… View Article
"Housing now" protest

Five reasons supply matters to the housing crisis

Sep 14, 2022
The housing crisis in BC is a multi-headed beast, requiring an all-hands-on-deck effort to make homes affordable and available to everyone as a human right.  Most of my work on housing policy to date has focused on financing a massive expansion of public and non-market housing, using progressive taxes to tamp down on speculation and… View Article

Will Drax’s claim that burning Canadian wood pellets is green go up in smoke?

Aug 30, 2022
OECD investigates UK power company’s sustainability claims as Drax becomes the largest pellet-maker in Canada In April 2021, the United Kingdom’s Drax Group purchased Pinnacle Renewable Energy, becoming the largest wood pellet-maker in British Columbia and Canada.  The acquisition gave Drax control of the majority of pellet mills in the province, locking up a vital… View Article
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The concerning rise of corporate medicine: Public contracts with private clinics top $393 million over last six years

Aug 26, 2022
Private surgeries and medical imaging are big business in BC. Over the last two decades, this for-profit sector has benefited from increased outsourcing of publicly funded procedures and unlawful patient extra-billing. These private businesses are flourishing in part because the BC government has been awarding them millions of dollars in contracts to provide services while… View Article
"Denial is not a policy" protest sign

Capping oil and gas emissions: Production declines must be central to discussion

Aug 3, 2022
New federal proposals for an emissions cap on the oil and gas industry have begun a difficult and uncomfortable conversation, but one that finally gets to the heart of climate and energy policy in Canada. This post looks at the new proposals and how we got here: the evolution of Canadian climate policy since the… View Article

Reconciliation in action?

Jul 13, 2022
Far from it, says chief of holdout First Nation over deal with province on Site C In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was tasked with informing all Canadians about what happened to Indigenous Peoples in residential schools, defined the word reconciliation as a process of “establishing and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship between… View Article

Shortchanging public sector workers is bad for BC

Jun 27, 2022
Public sector workers are in the midst of difficult contract negotiations with the BC government. The workers are reportedly asking for wages to keep up with inflation, but the government hasn’t been willing to come to the table with an offer that reflects the rising cost of living. Public sector workers who have been keeping… View Article

Our recommendations for the 2023 BC budget

Jun 23, 2022
The BC government is holding its annual public consultation on Budget 2023 this June, inviting British Columbians to share their priorities for government investment next year.  On June 14, I presented CCPA-BC’s recommendations to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services. Via the BC Legislative Assembly website, you can hear my presentation as… View Article

The sound of silence

Jun 21, 2022
Weeks stretch to months, months to years as BC government clamps down on information  When debate on the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Amendment Act began last fall Stephanie Cadieux, then Liberal MLA for Surrey-Cloverdale, was among many to note how British Columbians are waiting longer and longer to obtain information from government… View Article