Clearing the hurdles — sports brands and worker rights

Jan 15, 2010
As we prepare to host the Olympics, it’s worth thinking about how high (or low) the bar is set by the major companies that make sportswear. Despite some progress in recent years, substantial violations of worker rights and poverty wages are still the norm for workers in the sportswear industry. In response, Play Fair and… View Article

Child Poverty in BC — taking a look back

Jan 15, 2010
In response to the provincial government’s efforts to explain away child poverty stats, First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition (which produces the annual BC child poverty report card) has started to produce monthly fact sheets to set the record straight. The first of these short reports was posted to their website this week…. View Article

First the party, next the hangover

Jan 12, 2010
It’s shocking to think that the 2010 Winter Games are now exactly one month away. Yes, the banners are dropping down the side of downtown buildings; huge tents are being erected anywhere there is open space; advertising from any but the Olympic sponsors has all but disappeared (I hereby challenge any Olympic athlete to eat… View Article

Bankers and cleaners

Jan 11, 2010
So who is worth more to society: someone who cleans hospitals for a living or someone who runs a bank? The answer to that question might seem subjective.  Someone flat on their back in a hospital room might have pretty strong opinions. But Britain’s New Economics Forum (NEF) has produced some pretty thought provoking work… View Article

The business elite’s parking tax backlash

Jan 8, 2010
The media is reporting a “backlash” against the new parking tax in Vancouver.  The Vancouver Sun reports it is a “slickly organized” backlash being run by Vancouver’s business elite.  This is apparently a 30 member business coalition including the Board of Trade. This is not the first time Vancouver’s business elite has gotten organized around… View Article

New Brunswick Plans for a $10 Minimum Wage

Jan 6, 2010
On January 5, New Brunswick’s provincial government announced plans to increase their minimum wage from the current $8.25 per hour to $10 over the next two years. The move has gotten surprisingly little coverage in the mainstream media out West so far, but I urge you to check out this excellent article on the Times… View Article

Housing Solutions

Jan 2, 2010
Just wanted to give our blog readers a plug for an excellent collection on housing solutions. Some of you have likely been following the Tyee’s excellent series of articles on housing and homelessness, written by Monte Paulsen. Now the Tyee has put that whole series together in a single pdf collection. You can find it… View Article

Scrooge is alive and well

Dec 29, 2009
In a Vancouver Sun article (Market wages would make a difference to city’s taxes, December 28, 2009) Philip Hochstein argues Vancouver civic workers who make a living wage should be made to suffer the fate of those in the private sector whose employers get away with paying under $15 an hour for labouring, or $10-15 an hour… View Article

When $300,000 isn’t enough

Dec 21, 2009
I heard today that the Fraser Health Authority is giving its CEO Nigel Murray a $30,000 bonus on top of his $300,000 annual salary.  Put that up against the cuts the Authority is making to services for addicted youth and seniors, among others.   Remember that hospital housekeeping workers, who are the first line of defense… View Article

Ho Ho Ho. Help!

Dec 18, 2009
Are you worried about a last minute gift for one of your progressive friends?  Me too.  So I have a proposal that might help both of us.  I am going to suggest a new book you might find interesting in the hopes that you will take advantage of the comment section at the end of… View Article

Healthy eating put out of reach for the poor

Dec 16, 2009
Remember the Premier’s “Great Golden Goal” (G3?) about healthy eating? True, we don’t  hear so much about it these days. But it was a laudable goal. Eating a healthy diet is important if we are to improve the overall health of the population, and thereby help to slow rising health care costs. And it’s particularly… View Article

HST And Family Budgets

Dec 15, 2009
A recent report from the CCPA national office analyzed the impact of tax harmonization on family budgets in Ontario.  Not a Tax Grab After All: A Second Look at Ontario’s HST made a splash with its finding that the introduction of HST will be largely a wash for Ontario families, as most households would be… View Article

Copenhagen and carbon budgets

Dec 14, 2009
As Copenhagen heads into week two, most of the talk has shifted to targets and timelines, typically something like X% of emissions by 2020 or 2050, relative to 1990 levels. This dating is a legacy of the German delegation in the lead-up to the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, who wanted a base year of 1990… View Article

AG’s office changes policy

Dec 9, 2009
BC’s Auditor General has made an important change in the way his office does its work that will help guarantee the independence of his office. In the past, part of the money that paid for the operation of the AG’s Office came from providing contracted services to organizations like crown corporations and other agencies outside… View Article

Poverty and BC’s high cost of housing

Dec 7, 2009
BC Stats put out a release on poverty lines as they relate to BC, with an important finding: BC’s dubious position as having the highest poverty rates in Canada may in fact be worse than the statistics show. This finding is buried in the piece and the title, “Low Income Cut-Offs a Poor Measure of… View Article

Every revolution is about power

Dec 3, 2009
So what does a sustainable economy really look like, and how do we get there? Climate change essentially means a huge mitigation effort on greenhouse gases culminating in something close to zero emissions by mid-century at the latest. This means phasing out fossil fuels entirely; or minimally, if it comes out of the ground emissions… View Article

Vancouver City Budget Woes: Are the Cuts Really Necessary?

Dec 3, 2009
In this round of municipal budgeting, the city of Vancouver finds itself in exactly the same predicament as the federal and provincial governments faced earlier in the year – projected revenues would not be sufficient to meet their rising expenditures. The big difference is that municipal governments are prohibited by law from running a deficit…. View Article

Technology and the future of public health care

Dec 2, 2009
A couple years ago I put out a report for the CCPA that crunched the numbers on health care sustainability (BC version here). The main finding was that public health care was basically sustainable in that it could handle projected increases in population, aging and inflation as long as GDP continued to grow at a… View Article

How high should the minimum wage be?

Dec 1, 2009
At the BC NDP convention over the weekend, Carole James reiterated calls for a $10 an hour minimum wage. While $10 an hour would certainly be better than the current $8 an hour (lowest in the country), I’m concerned that this campaign is stuck on a round number not what is adequate for improving the… View Article

And the Question is???

Nov 23, 2009
The recently announced Green Energy Task Force reminds me of a story that soft energy path guru Amory Lovins liked to tell. It was about this billboard  pronouncing, in giant, biblically bold print, that Jesus is the Answer. Someone, a shameless heathen no doubt, innocently scrawled underneath: but what is the question? So it is… View Article