A new wave of B.C. small-town cultural renaissance

Let's be honest, most of B.C.’s artistic community has always lived on the Gulf Islands, on Vancouver Island, up the Sunshine Coast, in Haida Gwaii rather than in Vancouver

A new wave of B.C. small-town cultural renaissanceMy grandfather arrived in Vancouver from England, via the Empress of Canada and the fledgling Canadian Pacific Railway in September 1909. At a goodbye dinner in London, he had been advised by a family friend to “Stay out of the towns – find your fortune in the countryside.” He took that advice literally and found…

Using student job funding to silence critics

The Liberals’ latest decision means summer employment is now a testing ground for ideological adhesion, obedience and purity

Using student job funding to silence criticsIt’s tough work to imagine two groups more radically different than the Canadian Council of Christian Charities and the gays rights network LGBTory. So when both join the rising chorus opposing changes to what should be among Ottawa’s most innocuous programs, it’s a signal something significant is going on. The Four Cs, as the council…

Beyak should not be punished for demanding a broader perspective

The bad experiences at residential schools have been well documented. But we can't forget that there were good experiences as well

Beyak should not be punished for demanding a broader perspectiveSen. Lynn Beyak was finally expelled from the Conservative Party caucus because “she allowed” racist posts to be placed on her website. More significantly, she refused to remove the offending material when ordered to do so by the Conservative leader. I’m one of the people with an email message posted on her website. In the…

First Nations spending accountability is essential

Forward-looking Indigenous governments realize that transparency is the only way to improved social and economic conditions

First Nations spending accountability is essentialIt’s distressing that Indigenous activist Harrison Thunderchild has been forced to go to court to make leaders of Saskatchewan’s Thunderchild First Nation disclose expenditures. Parliament passed the First Nations Financial Transparency Act in 2013, when the Conservatives were in power. The law made chief and band council salaries and benefits public information, as well as…

Just who’s the bully when it comes to minimum wage hikes?

Government generally has little or no understanding of franchising, how food distribution forces play out or even simply how small businesses operate

Just who’s the bully when it comes to minimum wage hikes?Dramatically increasing minimum wages in the food industry is irresponsible and even reckless. On Jan. 1, Ontario’s minimum wage increased by 22 per cent, to $14 an hour. It will go to $15 on Jan. 1, 2019. That’s almost a 32 per cent increase in 12 months. Other provinces, such as Alberta and B.C., will follow…

Why did Justin Trudeau rush into a photo-op with Joshua Boyle?

No political spin doctor or Liberal-friendly talking head can ever make Trudeau’s inexplicable meeting with the Boyle family go away

Why did Justin Trudeau rush into a photo-op with Joshua Boyle?Joshua Boyle’s story has never smelled right. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his senior advisers surely knew this, so it boggles the mind why they proceeded with a meeting with the former Afghanistan hostage. The son of a federal tax court judge, Boyle grew up in Breslau, Ont. He graduated from the University of Waterloo…

Is it time for major tax reform in Canada?

It would be more prudent to make ongoing in-depth analysis of various facets of the tax system a full-time activity of the Department of Finance

Is it time for major tax reform in Canada?On the same day that Finance Minister Bill Morneau clarified the federal government’s proposals to limit “income sprinkling” as a way for high-income owners of private companies to reduce their taxes, the Senate finance committee released its report recommending that all his tax changes should be scrapped.  Instead, the committee recommended the government undertake an…

Finding enlightenment in the dark

Twenty years after Montreal's devastating ice storm, some life lessons remain indelibly carved in a survivor’s psyche

Finding enlightenment in the darkClose your eyes and imagine a modern city that magically exists underneath the surface of the earth. Further imagine that the surface above it is frozen and crusted over with ice. Now, picture what would happen if, through some force of nature – or the special effects of a science fiction movie – that city…

The American dream is moving north to Canada

Great uncertainty faces Canada and the United States, but Canada seems better equipped to adapt and flourish

The American dream is moving north to CanadaSo how did you like last year? Did it advance your favourite causes? Did it fatten your assets? Did it leave you feeling like the world travelled a few metres forward on the roads that counted? Would it be enough if the 2017 trajectory simply continues for the next 12 months? Not from the perspective…

The most irrational, damaging or downright dumb beliefs of 2017

A look back at 2017 shows far too many instances in Canada where we got it all wrong

The most irrational, damaging or downright dumb beliefs of 2017For my first column of the New Year, I’ve dipped into my collection of irrational, damaging or downright dumb happenings in 2017. The year saw major breakthroughs in the use of genetically-modified human cells to treat diseases, including retinal dystrophy and blood cancer. Human genetic re-engineering is an emerging science but there has been little…