Big ideas on the supply side of housing affordability

Jul 14, 2021
The final report of the Canada-British Columbia Expert Panel on the Future of Housing Supply and Affordability, published in June 2021, contains 23 recommendations made primarily to the BC and federal governments. The Panel organized these under five broad calls to action:    Creating a planning framework that proactively encourages housing;   Reforming fees on… View Article

In a flawed survey, BC seeks input on changes to freedom of information and privacy

Jul 12, 2021
It is again time to review British Columbia’s Freedom of Information and Privacy Act. Every six years the legislature reviews the Act and the process has begun with the province placing a questionnaire online asking for people’s opinions. But before you go online to respond to the survey you might be interested in some background… View Article

BC’s reopening plans must address highly unequal pandemic impacts

Jul 7, 2021
As a successful vaccination campaign spurs broader reopening of BC’s economy, we are all feeling the excitement of a more relaxed summer. But in the rush to get back to a semblance of normal, it would be a huge mistake to return to the pre-pandemic status quo of undervaluing and underpaying the front-line caring and… View Article

More than intentions needed for BC forests

Jun 29, 2021
So, our provincial government “intends” to do something about the sorry state of our forests and forest industry. It intends to protect more old-growth forests. It intends to see more high-value wood products made in British Columbia. It intends to make rural communities more secure. And it intends to do all this while ending practices… View Article

Canada’s road to zero carbon emissions full of dangerous distractions

Jun 28, 2021
Net zero is increasingly used regarding emissions reduction targets. But what does it really mean?  With the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act (Bill C-12) Canada is joining many nations in setting a target of net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. Unfortunately, this conversation promises to be a dangerous distraction for Canadian policy makers,… View Article

Ottawa’s fixation with trees and climate: What exactly are we planting?

Jun 18, 2021
By two significant measures, last year’s effort to plant 300 million tree seedlings in Canada’s most forest-rich province was a remarkable achievement. Not only was it a record for a single year in British Columbia, but it was achieved in the early throes of the first lockdown associated with the then relatively new COVID-19 pandemic…. View Article

Canada’s Carbon Conundrum and the Difficult Path Forward

Jun 7, 2021
Since the first oil well was drilled in 1859 humans have been on a roll. Global population has increased more than six-fold and energy use per capita has grown more than nine-fold. Accompanying this explosive growth in energy use was unprecedented economic expansion—since 1965 global GDP has grown 6.8-fold and per capita GDP has increased… View Article

Priming the pump

May 26, 2021
Scientist warns cumulative effect of thousands of fracked gas wells means powerful earthquakes ahead for northeast BC Massive amounts of water pumped with brute force into the earth at thousands of fracking operations is priming the pump for potentially deadly earthquakes in British Columbia’s Montney basin, warns a former top scientist with BC’s Oil and… View Article

Out of water?

May 20, 2021
As deadline looms, thousands of BC groundwater users risk losing access to water, but not most water bottling, fracking and mining companies In February 2018, the head of a little-known Surrey-based company asked the BC government for a licence to withdraw 864 cubic metres of water per day from a well drilled deep into the… View Article

Indigenous resurgence in a province like no other

May 18, 2021
After 30 years of treaty talks, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission findings, and the adoption of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, First Nations still face racism on a systemic basis. Can Indigenous People ever find justice in this province? John Price and Nicholas XEMŦOLTW̱ Claxton, co-authors in the new book… View Article

Nothing ‘liberal’ about colonial policy prior to Confederation

May 14, 2021
After 30 years of treaty talks, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission findings, and the adoption of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, First Nations still face racism on a systemic basis in this province. Can Indigenous People ever find justice in this province? John Price and Nicholas XEMŦOLTW Claxton, co-authors of… View Article

From the colonial past to the racist present

May 11, 2021
The terms of union and the attempted erasure of Indigenous Peoples After 30 years of treaty talks, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission action agenda, and the adoption of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, First Nations still face racism on a systemic basis. Can Indigenous People ever find justice in this… View Article

Why the hold up on paid sick days? It’s about power.

May 3, 2021
Amid a raging pandemic, how do Canadian workers still not have paid sick days as a basic right of employment? It’s about power.  Real paid sick days, as a right of employment, are not rocket science. You tell your boss you’re sick, you stay home, and you get paid as usual. But a majority of… View Article

“Big five” Canadian banks provide big money to fossil fuel industry

Apr 29, 2021
Instead of playing a crucial role to help Canada achieve its Paris Agreement targets, Canada’s “Big Five” banks are actually hindering Canada’s progress on climate change. The Big Five  banks—RBC, TD Bank, Scotiabank, BMO and CIBC—are among the most powerful corporate entities in Canada, certainly among the largest and most profitable. They‘ve been called a… View Article

Social impact bonds are a wolf in sheep’s clothing

Apr 27, 2021
Earlier this year, Vancouver city council considered a motion encouraging the city to look into the issue of “social impact bonds” (and more broadly “social impact investing”), which is a warm and fuzzy sounding term that actually refers to a type of privatization. I spoke to city council to help demystify the rhetoric around social… View Article

BC Budget 2021: Stay-the-course budget misses the mark on key areas of urgency outside health

Apr 20, 2021
The BC government tabled a surprisingly stay-the-course budget today, making some improvements on the margins but missing the opportunity to shift BC towards a more inclusive and sustainable economy. While it appropriately includes large sums of time-limited spending relating to the pandemic (and indeed BC has led other provinces on pandemic spending), it is scarce… View Article

BC Budget 2021 could be the most important budget in a generation

Apr 15, 2021
BC Budget 2021 will be tabled on April 20th, in the middle of the COVID-19 third wave. It is an opportunity for the new provincial government to not only support people and businesses through this phase of the pandemic—but also to shape a transition to a more resilient, inclusive and sustainable economy.  The COVID-19 crisis… View Article

One year later: Canadian billionaire wealth up by $78 billion

Apr 14, 2021
One year into the COVID-19 pandemic that has upended the lives of millions of people in this country, Canadian billionaires have increased their wealth by $78 billion. Data from Forbes’ “real-time billionaires” listing on April 7 compared with a snapshot provided by their annual billionaires report last year shows this massive increase in wealth. Together,… View Article

Burning our way to a new climate?

Apr 7, 2021
As UK’s Drax makes play for BC’s wood pellet mills, questions grow about wood-fired electricity With its six massive 660-megawatt power units, the Drax power station in North Yorkshire is the United Kingdom’s largest thermal electricity plant. When it opened in the mid 1970s, the giant facility burned coal. Today, however, Drax burns something else:… View Article

Basic income panel calls for major reforms to income security in BC

Mar 29, 2021
When the final report of BC’s Basic Income Panel came out in January, the media coverage was largely reduced to a few dismissive headlines that the panel had rejected basic income. Behind the headlines, however, is a comprehensive and thoughtful analysis of the state of poverty in BC and the large number of existing programs,… View Article