Leave our electoral system alone

British Columbians are being asked, for the third time, to vote on drastic electoral changes. It would be a mistake

Leave our electoral system aloneAmericans look upon their government to ensure them life, liberty and the chance to pursue happiness. In Canada, peace, order and good government are what we expect from our leaders. For the last 150 years that is what we have received. Canada is one of the best countries in the world to live because we…

Like water flowing down hill, investment flows to areas of lower tax

Canada is losing the business tug of war with the United States, and it's not just about higher tax rates

Like water flowing down hill, investment flows to areas of lower tax“I want to pay more,” said no one ever. So says a sign at a discount grocery store and few would argue. Grocery stores have to be competitive to survive and prices are a big factor. Whether we like it or not, countries and provinces also have to be competitive to attract investment and jobs.…

Here’s how sad grads can adapt to the modern job market

Don’t ask them for a job. Ask them if they have any projects or problems that someone with your abilities could help them with on a contract basis

Here’s how sad grads can adapt to the modern job marketWe’ve all heard of them, probably met them and maybe even live with one or two: the sad grads. These are the young people who did everything expected of them. They did their high school homework and matriculated with good grades. They put together a resume of part-time work, community work and references almost before…

#TimesUp supplants #MeToo as a movement of positive action

#TimesUp has already raised more than $20 million, acquired legal support and reached out to help harassment victims

#TimesUp supplants #MeToo as a movement of positive actionIt is not always obvious what policies and practices our political leaders support. In Canada, however, our prime minister has made very clear that the removal of gender discrimination is a major focus that he’s already taken steps to implement. A major component of gender discrimination and one that should have been eliminated long ago…

The dangerous rebirth of mercantilism

Donald Trump wants to make American great again. But his trade protectionism will hurt Americans and trade partners alike

The dangerous rebirth of mercantilismHow do you make a country great? We in the enlightened West generally agree that a liberal democracy with free markets works best. Look at the United States in the 20th century – the richest and most powerful country. Its political power and military might were eclipsed only by the high and rising standard of…

Feel-good budget is fine, but don’t forget economic essentials

There are limits on what removing discrimination can do: fair taxation, fewer regulations and infrastructure should be the focus of the next federal budget

Feel-good budget is fine, but don’t forget economic essentialsI am a woman and I have faced discrimination. After I got my first degree, leading my university class in economics, I was told that a woman could never be considered for a man’s job. The job was market research. Quietly, confidentially, one on one, I was reminded that I was a married woman with…

Stuck in traffic: why won’t Vancouver embrace Uber?

The benefits of ride-hailing services are many, for both individuals and communities. So what's the holdup in B.C.?

Stuck in traffic: why won’t Vancouver embrace Uber?In a well-functioning city, we’ve long taken certain things for granted. We expect law and order, and a reasonable degree of safety. Drinkable water should flow from the taps. A reliable supply of electricity should ensure the lights stay on. Traffic should move. Recently, this list of basic requirements has expanded. We expect cellphones to…

Nothing in life is simple any more

Your life used to be fairly predictable: get a job, get married, have kids, retire. Today's uncertain world requires a whole different set of skills

Nothing in life is simple any moreI just learned a new acronym: VUCA, which stands for volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. I guess I’m behind the times since the term has been around since 1998, when it was introduced in the U.S. military to describe the situation in Afghanistan, replacing some less printable alternatives. Unfortunately, today VUCA describes far more than…

Are university professors obsolete?

Students of the future won’t be limited to a local institution or faculty member. And much more learning will be less formal and structured

Are university professors obsolete?What future awaits university professors? Do you remember telephone operators, mostly women who worked at switchboards connecting and disconnecting phone calls? Operators have long been replaced by automation and the various voicemail mazes we all struggle through. Did you see that wonderful film Hidden Figures, where “coloured computers” – very smart black women – did,…

New Year’s resolutions that will boost your business

In the gig economy, more and more of us will be out on our own. That means we need to hone new skills to help our enterprises succeed

New Year’s resolutions that will boost your businessAs 2017 morphs into 2018, more than numbers on the calendar are changing. Technology, communications, media, weather – even the way we work and earn our livings – aren’t what they used to be. It used to be jobs, jobs, jobs. That’s what we wanted for ourselves, our partners, our kids; it's what politicians promised…

Mastering the fine art of marketing for the betterment of your business

The best marketing plans make offers that benefit customers and give the businesses involved tangible boosts

Mastering the fine art of marketing for the betterment of your businessBusinesses go all out during the holiday season to get us to spend our carefully-collected coins in exchange for glittering goods and services. Every form of media jingles and jangles with inducements for us to get to an establishment or website and partake of the delights offered. No wonder we become jaded. And no wonder…

Imagining the worst, getting the best out of your business

The exchange rate could shift, interest rates could rise, NAFTA could be rewritten or buried. Do you have strategies to deal with such changes?

Imagining the worst, getting the best out of your businessOptimism in business is good, but business operators would do much better in the long run if they looked more closely at the down side and imagined the worst. Why would you go into business unless you were an optimist, really believing you’ll beat the odds and gain the freedom, flexibility and potential for great…

Serving up an unpalatable business model

Restaurants are struggling to find staff and keep profit margins healthy. But automation and careful management can help

Serving up an unpalatable business modelIf you’re going to a restaurant, don’t go hungry. Just about every coffee shop and eating establishment in and around Vancouver has a Help Wanted sign. They could be short of servers, which means it will be a while before anyone even takes your order. The kitchen could also be understaffed, so your meal isn’t…

Aging population upending current interest rate policy

With the number of seniors living off retirement income rising, increasing interest rates no longer a precursor to a cooling economy

Aging population upending current interest rate policyCanadians are constantly reminded that we’ve let ourselves get too deeply into debt and if the cost of that debt – interest rates – increases, we’ll be in deep yogurt. To the extent that such debt is mortgage-based and the average price of homes has been rising, this debt should be manageable. I don’t expect…

B.C.’s new government heads for a familiar debt trap

The New Democrats offer up a significant and impressive list of expenditures, with no clear plan how it will pay for them

B.C.’s new government heads for a familiar debt trapBritish Columbia’s NDP government has just treated residents to its first throne speech, followed by an interim budget to carry it through until February, which is the usual month for annual budgets. Looking at all the good things being promised, the budget makes one think of Christmas in September. The new government is being bountiful,…