Climate change and the duty of professional engineers and geoscientists: A call to action

Sep 13, 2018
There has been a great deal of recent media coverage both for and against the planned Trans Mountain pipeline expansion (TMX). Much of it is political, but of utmost importance are the ramifications for the planet. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stated that the expansion’s approval was based on science, and he is convinced of… View Article

Paved with good intentions: A guide to evolving climate policies in BC

Sep 12, 2018
The road to hell is paved with good intentions, an economics professor of mine used to say back in the late 1980s. Concerned about the federal government’s inability to reign in fiscal deficits, hell back then was hitting a “financial wall” where the markets would no longer lend or would only do so at catastrophically… View Article

The new school year begins with more affordable child care and better education funding for all ages — but challenges remain in the education sector

Sep 10, 2018
It’s back-to-school season and this September, BC students of all ages are returning to schools facing a very different funding environment. That’s because in its first year in power, BC’s new provincial government made a major shift in direction in education policy, significantly increasing education investments for students of all ages. The largest and perhaps… View Article

Land wealth is a massive source of inequality in BC

Sep 4, 2018
Many of us worry about income inequality in BC, and so we should. But here’s the thing—bad as income inequality is, wealth inequality is worse. And in our province, that wealth inequality is driven in large part by real estate—who owns it, and who doesn’t. The ownership of real estate wealth in BC is highly… View Article

Mount Polley four years after the tailings dam breach: business as usual

Aug 28, 2018
“If you asked me two weeks ago if this could have happened, I would have said it couldn’t.” Imperial Metals president Brian Kynoch, spoke these words at a news conference on August 5, 2014, the day after the devastating collapse of a tailings dam at one of Imperial’s operations, the Mount Polley copper and gold… View Article

Three ways BC can make it easier for precarious workers to unionize

Aug 22, 2018
The BC Labour Relations Code is being reviewed for the first time in over 15 years. Since the last comprehensive review, which took place in 2003, workers’ rights under the Code have been continuously eroded. The current review presents an important opportunity to reverse this trend by improving access to unionization for workers across the… View Article

The case for electoral reform

Aug 20, 2018
Debunking the claims of proportional representation naysayers This is the fourth post in a series explaining the benefits of proportional representation and debunking myths from the ‘No’ side of BC’s 2018 electoral reform referendum. More from the series is available at Let’s cut right to the chase: British Columbia needs proportional representation (pro rep)…. View Article

Math is hard: The Fraser Institute’s “Consumer Tax Index” is a mess

Aug 17, 2018
As surely as the seasons pass, each year the Fraser Institute reissues its paint-by-numbers “Consumer Tax Index.” As usual, the latest release tries to create the impression that taxes in Canada are out of control (taxes on the average family are supposedly up 2,112% since 1961, if you can believe it!). This methodological mess of… View Article

How BC is short-changing schools and how we can fix it

Aug 16, 2018
Students using 30-year-old textbooks, teachers buying basic supplies, schools permanently on edge of closing—this is the all too common face of public education in British Columbia in 2018. This is despite the past school year seeing the first meaningful injection of funds into BC schools in over a decade. The new money is paying for… View Article

Community Benefits Agreements add value to public infrastructure projects

Aug 14, 2018
The BC government recently announced that major new public infrastructure projects, such as the Pattullo Bridge, will be subject to a “Community Benefits Agreement.” The agreement requires that public benefits flow not only from the outcome of a project, but also from the process of building it. The move was immediately criticized by some industry… View Article

The Petro State Lackey: How BC’s zest for natural gas fuels Alberta’s oil sands

Aug 8, 2018
In the past year, an energy dispute for the ages has played out in Canada, culminating in the federal government announcing that it will buy an aging oil pipeline for $4.5 billion and then twin it with a new high-capacity pipeline that would move massive amounts of diluted bitumen from Alberta to tidewater in British… View Article

The problem with BC’s “clean growth” climate rhetoric

Aug 2, 2018
The BC government recently released three “intentions papers” on climate policy—transportation, buildings and industry—all wrapped in the term “clean growth.” In fact, the term “clean” appears more than 70 times in just the introduction to the exercise, Towards a Clean Growth Future in BC. Clean growth is not a commonly used term, nor is it… View Article

How electoral reform enhances local representation

Jul 24, 2018
Debunking the claims of proportional representation naysayers This is the third post in a series explaining the benefits of proportional representation and debunking myths from the ‘No’ side of BC’s 2018 electoral reform referendum. More from the series is available at Local representation in our democracy matters to a great many people, and so it… View Article

Electoral reform will not enable the far right: Debunking a red herring

Jul 16, 2018
Debunking the claims of proportional representation naysayers This is the second post of a series explaining the benefits of proportional representation and debunking myths from the ‘No’ side of BC’s 2018 electoral reform referendum. More from the series is available at It is now clear that a core assertion of the ‘No’ side in… View Article

LNG is incompatible with BC’s climate obligations

Jul 11, 2018
Now that we are in a sunny lull between the end of flooding season and the start of fire season, it’s time we had a talk about fossil fuels and climate change in BC. The BC government deserves praise for standing up to Alberta and the federal government over the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX),… View Article

Why I am excited to be appointed to the Emerging Economy Task Force

Jul 10, 2018
This morning, the BC government launched its new Emerging Economy Task Force. The 14 experts who make up the task force—including myself—have been asked to provide analysis and advice on emerging trends that will shape BC’s economy and society over the coming decades. This is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to participate in… View Article

Urgent action needed to control rent increases: Submission to the BC Rental Housing Task Force

Jul 6, 2018
On July 3rd, we shared our recommendations regarding BC’s Residential Tenancy Act and controlling rental costs in British Columbia with the BC Rental Housing Task Force. This is our submission. As we noted in our March submission to the BC government’s poverty reduction consultation, we believe that bold action to control rental costs must be… View Article

Tax breaks and subsidies for BC LNG

Jul 5, 2018
At the height of LNG-mania in 2013/14, high prices in Asia fueled a gold rush mentality in BC—based on shipping cheap BC gas to Asia for mega-profits. But those high prices proved only temporary, and by 2015 the economic case for LNG (liquified natural gas) turned on its head. The subsequent Asian price for gas… View Article

Mobility pricing: What happened? What’s next?

Jun 27, 2018
The final report of the Mobility Pricing Independent Commission (MPIC) was delivered to the Mayors’ Council and TransLink Board on May 24. The report was officially received and then referred to staff for further research and public consultation as there are many outstanding questions not to mention political hurdles ahead. If you are unfamiliar with… View Article

BC public pensions fuel climate change crisis

Jun 25, 2018
If you have a public pension in BC, your retirement savings are likely fuelling the climate change crisis. The pensions of over half a million British Columbians are administered by the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI), formerly known as the bcIMC. It’s the fourth largest pension fund manager in Canada and controls one of… View Article