Now is not the time to panic over the federal debt

Sep 22, 2020
Public policy in Canada remains haunted by large deficits that prevailed in the 1980s and early 1990s. With COVID-19 economic response pushing the federal deficit to an estimated $343 billion in 2020/21, some pundits are starting to beat the deficit panic drum again.  Don’t let big numbers scare you. Here’s why we shouldn’t be worried. … View Article

Canadian billionaires’ wealth skyrocketing amid the pandemic

Sep 16, 2020
When you add up the total wealth growth of Canada’s richest 20 billionaires since the March 2020 COVID-19 lockdown, their wealth has ballooned by $37 billion. Data from Forbes’ annual billionaires list and their “real-time billionaires” listing shows that Canada’s top 20 billionaires have amassed an average of just under $2 billion in wealth gains… View Article

Site C’s radical makeover: What the ‘L’ is going on at problem-plagued dam construction project where costs keep piling up and completion remains years away?

Sep 11, 2020
BC Hydro knew 30 years before it started building the Site C dam that its chosen location for the most expensive publicly funded infrastructure project in British Columbia’s history had big problems.  In fact, by the 1980s, BC Hydro had done tests showing that the ground at Site C had serious flaws “due to the… View Article

Massive public investment, not austerity, is the answer

Aug 18, 2020
A depression is still around the corner if the Canadian government does not continue to radically intervene in the economy. We have all encountered the dark outlines of the crisis facing us by now. Everywhere there are warnings of mass unemployment unseen in decades, already vulnerable workers—young, racialized, women—hit hardest, entire industries at risk, a… View Article

BC LNG: Economic bonanza or environmental and economic nightmare?

Aug 17, 2020
Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) has been embraced by British Columbia’s government as a budding engine of growth for the provincial economy. Claims by industry lobby groups of tens of thousands of jobs and billions in government revenue make headlines. Is it true there really is a free lunch? As a scientist who spent a career… View Article

A Big Fracking Mess: As Site C dam construction bogs down in geotechnical problems, thousands of earthquakes triggered by fracking operations occur nearby

Aug 12, 2020
Earthquakes triggered by natural gas industry fracking operations near BC Hydro’s troubled Site C dam construction project are far greater in number than previously thought, raising troubling questions about whether they are adding to the already formidable geotechnical challenges at the site. Not only are more earthquakes occurring in proximity to the costliest public infrastructure… View Article

After the rush: Fort Nelson needs firm government commitments to reclaim lands abandoned by fossil fuel industry

Jul 30, 2020
In the face of the economic fallout from COVID-19, it’s easy to forget that some communities in British Columbia were in deep fiscal distress long before the pandemic began. Fort Nelson is a good example, and a textbook case of why senior levels of government need to be mindful when they roll out recovery plans… View Article

BC’s housing crisis during the pandemic: A snapshot

Jul 28, 2020
BC has long been in a housing crisis, and the pandemic economy we are currently living in has further put the squeeze on renters in particular. To shed light on the housing situation during this crisis, we draw on new data from a comprehensive survey of 2,289 residents across the province, conducted online by McAllister… View Article

How are British Columbians doing: COVID-19 economic security & government supports

Jul 28, 2020
The economic impact of the shutdown of large parts of BC’s economy in response to COVID-19 has reflected a sharp recession: a massive and rapid increase in involuntary unemployment, including layoffs, job losses and reduced hours; reduced household and business income and expenditure; closures (whether mandated or not) or greatly reduced capacity of many retail… View Article

Mind the gap: Losses in international student tuition shouldn’t lead to teacher layoffs

Jul 23, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended public education around the world, touching every facet of school life. In British Columbia, while some students cautiously returned to classrooms in June, many international students instead returned to their home countries. As school districts across the province anxiously watch international tuition revenues shrink, many are contemplating or even implementing… View Article

British Columbians approve of province’s COVID-19 response & want more equitable, sustainable economy post recovery—regardless of party affiliation

Jul 20, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has put governments and societies around the world to the test as they confront what is both a public health and economic crisis—one that clearly is not going away anytime soon. BC has fared well to date in containing the spread of the virus, and stands out among Canadian provinces with a… View Article

When the impossible becomes possible: COVID-19, the climate crisis and lessons from the Second World War

Jul 10, 2020
“Canada hasn’t seen this type of civic mobilization since the Second World War. These are the biggest economic measures in our lifetimes, to defeat a threat to our health… We all need to answer the call.”—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, April 1, 2020, during one of his daily pandemic briefings outside his home.   As Canada seeks… View Article

Eight charts that show highly unequal impact of the COVID-19 on BC workers

Jun 26, 2020
The COVID-19 crisis has caused unprecedented job losses across Canada and BC has not been spared. Between February and May nearly 590,000 BC workers lost their jobs or the majority of their hours—23 per cent of all workers employed in February—with that number reaching its peak of 645,000 in April.  Despite a slight recovery of… View Article
Photo of Japanese Canadian elementary school students at Pine Crescent Elementary School, Bay Farm, BC. The BC Government refused to pay for the education of these students.

The Racism behind Japanese Canadian Internment Can’t Be Forgotten

Jun 25, 2020
When John Horgan talked about BC’s historic racism, he failed to mention Japanese Canadians. Here’s why it matters. Premier John Horgan began a media conference on June 3 with a statement about racism and the “blemishes” on BC’s history. Horgan mentioned the head tax used to restrict immigration from China and the Komagata Maru incident that highlighted Canada’s discriminatory… View Article

British Columbia’s largest raw log exporters make pitch to deregulate

Jun 25, 2020
Federal government would do well to resist call by Mosaic Forest Management, before opportunities to process wood in province are further compromised British Columbia’s forest industry was in trouble long before anyone had heard the name of the virus now seared into our brains.  Months before COVID-19 appeared, forest companies had curtailed operations in response… View Article

State of Play: COVID-19, carbon and energy

Jun 23, 2020
2020 has been a year like no other in the political economy of energy and climate change. As the new year broke, wildfires spiked by higher temperatures scorched Australia. In Canada, a different fire took hold as a BC gas pipeline sparked a cross-country Indigenous-led uprising. By mid-March, economies around the world were shutting down… View Article

Under-regulated, under-researched and largely privatized: Assisted living seniors’ care in BC

Jun 17, 2020
COVID-19 has shone a light on serious problems in our seniors’ care system resulting from years of underfunding, privatization and precarious working conditions. These problems are not isolated to long-term care, however. New research published today looks specifically at the state of assisted living here in BC, and concludes a review by the province’s Seniors… View Article

Why has UBC divested from fossil fuels but UVic has not? The high cost of industry influence

Jun 16, 2020
The death and disruption wrought by COVID-19 is calamitous. The bad news is that climate change will be worse. It is easy to forget that 2020 began with Australia burning in a brutal wildfire season. Like the current pandemic, Australia’s disaster was predicted years in advance by ecological science. As we slowly emerge from the… View Article

A wealth tax on the super rich is within reach

Jun 15, 2020
If anything is clear in this pandemic, Canada needs a wealth tax on the super rich to rein in extreme inequality and contribute to crucial public investments in the wake of COVID-19. A wealth tax is economically and technically feasible, but it requires breaking with a status quo that often too narrowly serves Bay Street… View Article

Time to push back against short-term rentals to help balance Vancouver’s rental market

Jun 10, 2020
COVID-19 has decimated tourism and business travel, posing huge costs onto workers in those industries, but a fascinating side effect has been a more balanced rental market for Vancouver’s long-term renters. Asking rents for vacated units in Vancouver fell by 9 per cent in April compared to a year earlier, and 7 per cent drop… View Article