Municipalities

Off the Highway by Mette Bach: politics and memoir

Jun 8, 2010
Another suggestion for summer reading: brand new from local publisher New Star Books: Off the Highway by Mette Bach, a short (about 80 pages) memoir of her childhood and adolescence in North Delta. Bach weaves together personal recollections, history and social commentary to create a quirky, funny, depressing picture of a little-known Vancouver suburb. Regular… View Article

Victoria’s billion dollar P3 decision

Mar 16, 2010
On March 24th the Victoria area’s Capital Regional District (CRD) is going to make a billion dollar decision.  The province has ordered the CRD to end its controversial practice of pumping raw sewage into the ocean.  But it has also ordered the CRD to consider using a public private partnership (P3) for the project. Regardless… View Article

Corporations are people too

Jan 31, 2010
Advocates of democratic electoral reform are really out of step. Ideas like proportional representation and advertising spending limits are so retro, so 2004. The fashionable electoral reform idea this year is to give corporations a real say. It’s time for individual citizens to share their electoral democracy with corporations to give meaning to those old… 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

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

Property taxes: are major industries suffering?

Nov 3, 2009
Businesses across Canada have been complaining about what they pay in property taxes, well, since there were property taxes.  But the issue in BC came into sharper definition in July when Catalyst Paper hand-delivered cheques to four municipalities that only covered 25% of their property tax bill.  Timberwest, Celgar and West Fraser Timber joined Catalyst… View Article

Happy April fools day. Welcome TILMA

Apr 1, 2009
As of April 1st, the people elected to run our municipalities and school boards had better think twice before they make a decision that might affect the profits of a corporation. On April 1st the Trade Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) between Alberta and British Columbia comes into full force. Its implications are far… View Article

Food as a right of citizenship

Mar 19, 2009
I came across an interesting piece in YES! Magazine about a city in Brazil that took an innovative approach to poverty reduction and practically ended hunger by adopting a food-as-a-right policy. Belo Horizonte, the fourth largest city in Brazil, has a population of 2.5 million people, slightly larger than the Lower Mainland. The city grappled… View Article