Federal election: What’s in it for BC?

Oct 17, 2019
Let’s step back from the national big picture for a moment and take a look at some key issues that matter for BC. Many issues in our province need a response from the federal government whether due to jurisdiction or funding capacity. I point to where parties have so far made commitments, but in some… View Article

BC should think twice before opening its doors to multinational ride-hailing corporations

Oct 7, 2019
Last year, the BC government introduced legislation expected to bring ride-hailing to the province, but many questions remain about what that will look like in practice. One of the bodies responsible for working out the policy details is BC’s Passenger Transportation Board (PTB), an independent tribunal that has been handling passenger transport license applications from… View Article

Plotting a course to net zero? Climate and energy policy in the 2019 election

Oct 1, 2019
Canadians recently hit the streets in the middle of the federal election campaign to demand climate action. Many past Canadian governments have set emission targets, then failed to deliver meaningful policies to reach those targets, all the while patting themselves on the back for their leadership. The stakes are high, so where do the major… View Article

Housing platforms in the 2019 federal election

Sep 26, 2019
Across the country, the lack of affordable housing is a top of mind concern for most Canadians in 2019. The run-up in housing prices in recent years has pushed home ownership out of reach for many. And, the combination of households staying longer in rental housing—and little new rental housing being built—has led to low… View Article

Yep, it’s gouging: What we learned from the BCUC gas prices inquiry and what’s next

Sep 20, 2019
The BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) inquiry into gas prices delivered its bombshell final report on August 30. Among its key findings: at least 13 cents per litre of the higher gas prices at the pump over the past couple years is “unexplained” relative to what one would expect from a functioning competitive market. This is… View Article

This Labour Day, fruit pickers in BC may have been denied minimum wage

Sep 3, 2019
While many British Columbians and visitors may have enjoyed late summer produce like apples, peaches and plums this Labour Day weekend, the workers who pick these crops generally do not receive statutory holiday pay and many work for less than minimum wage. The laws that govern conditions for agricultural workers make them vulnerable and exploitable,… View Article

Who owns it? The democratic socialist debate Canada should be having this election

Aug 19, 2019
We live in an era of extreme inequality of wealth and power across much of the developed world, and Canada is no exception. Public confidence in political institutions and “political classes” in the West is in long-running decline. The failure of established institutions to grapple adequately with the crises we face is giving way to an… View Article

BC’s Oil and Gas Commission: A captured regulator

Aug 14, 2019
In June 2015 “in an effort to expedite” the building of a pipeline by Alliance Pipeline Ltd., a company called Synergy Land Services submitted falsified documents to British Columbia’s Oil and Gas Commission. The documents were deliberately altered to suggest that archaeological work was done at two sites when in fact it had only been… View Article

When it comes to climate action, the public is ahead of our politics: Analysis of national climate poll

Aug 12, 2019
Last month, as part of the research for a book I am writing on mobilizing Canada for the climate emergency, I commissioned an extensive national public opinion poll from Abacus Data.* The full results of the poll can be found on the Abacus website here. I share highlights and my analysis below. Big picture: the… View Article

Tailings dam collapses in the Americas: Lessons learned?

Aug 8, 2019
In fewer than five years, three major dam collapses have occurred in the Americas—the most recent of which killed more than 230 people, and likely killed up to 260; many of the dead have never been recovered from the toxic mining sludge in which they were buried. The disasters that unfolded in both British Columbia… View Article

The time to act is now: Fracking risks do not require further study

Jul 22, 2019
When British Columbia’s new government took office in July 2017, one thing was notably absent in the mandate letter delivered by Premier John Horgan to the province’s new energy minister. Hydraulic fracturing—or fracking—was mentioned not once. Nor did the letter acknowledge that months earlier the New Democratic Party had committed to appoint a scientific panel… View Article

How much do you have to earn to afford rent in Metro Vancouver?

Jul 18, 2019
Metro Vancouver home prices have been in the news in recent months, not due to bidding wars and double-digit price increases, but because we are seeing the housing market in reverse. The total number of sales for both detached homes and condos are at multi-decade lows, and  prices are falling. It’s still too early to… View Article

Building a universal child care system in BC means rethinking how we fund new spaces

Jul 9, 2019
Last year, the BC government made landmark investments in child care, reducing costs for tens of thousands of families. And, those in $10/day prototypes (2,500 spaces throughout the province) are finally experiencing truly affordable child care. However, too many families are still desperate for access to quality, licensed child care. Lower fees don’t help parents… View Article

Trans Mountain expansion project: Partisan pipeline politics versus Canadians’ best interests

Jun 26, 2019
The federal government’s latest approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project (TMX) produced a frenzy of rhetoric from politicians and industry vested interests. Unfortunately for Canadians, partisan and vested interests have overruled their best interests. Although Canada does have a pipeline bottleneck due to the 376 per cent growth in oil sands production since… View Article

How much is BC giving to natural gas companies?

Jun 24, 2019
All British Columbians have a stake in the pricing of natural resources. When trees are logged, when minerals are mined, when fossil fuels are drilled, the companies doing the extracting pay fees to the Province in recognition that the resources are publicly owned. It is therefore in everybody’s interest to know how the government prices… View Article

LNG’s big lie

Jun 17, 2019
The federal government is seeking to use a clause in the Paris Agreement on climate change to get emissions credits for exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Asian countries. This plan is nonsensical for a number of reasons, but at its heart is the “big lie” that LNG will help to reduce global emissions…. View Article

The roots of our housing crisis: Austerity, debt and extreme speculation

Jun 14, 2019
We’re now 10 years on from the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. Or, as our national mythology puts it, 10 years since Canada breathed a deep sigh of relief as the crisis mostly grazed our economy and financial system. Since 2008, we’ve had 10 years of congratulatory back-patting over our system of financial… View Article

What would a fossil fuel wind-down look like?

Jun 12, 2019
Canada has an uneasy history when it comes to fossil fuels and climate change. Our leaders have been great at setting far-off targets for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) or carbon emissions, then failing to meet them. As part of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, Canada committed to a 30-per-cent reduction in carbon emissions… View Article

Why are we letting corporate medicine take hold in Vancouver’s new urgent care centres?

May 23, 2019
The BC government has rolled out a flurry of impressive measures to strengthen our public health care system over the past two years. Flying below the radar, though, is a new effort by for-profit corporations to push their way into BC’s health care system — and the Vancouver Coastal Health authority seems to be waving… View Article

BC child care spending shows the power of good public policy. What’s next?

May 15, 2019
On May 1, the Living Wage for Families Campaign released new living wage rates for 12 BC communities. Even though costs are increasing steeply for rent and other basic necessities, the cost of living for families with children is lower this year thanks to the provincial government’s new child care policies. The living wage is… View Article