The compelling arguments against electoral reform in B.C.

Former NDP Premiers Glen Clark and Ujjal Dosanjh may be against electoral reform, but retired lawyer Ian MacLeod expresses his opposition best

The compelling arguments against electoral reform in B.C.We’re in the midst of a mail-in referendum in British Columbia that could dramatically change – and not for the better – how democracy does or doesn’t work in the province. We should really suspect that something is wrong with the proposed changes when people from both major political parties are opposed to the initiative,…

We’ll be warm for the winter, thanks to the Wood Camp boys

The camaraderie of splitting and stacking your winter wood with pals, and the payoff through the cold months

We’ll be warm for the winter, thanks to the Wood Camp boysDo you still burn wood in a fireplace? For most of us, fireplaces are becoming ornamental. We heat homes with natural gas flares emitted from faux metal logs, or carefully machined wood pellets bought in bags at Canadian Tire or plastic-wrapped bundles of kindling and fire logs purchased at gas stations for $9.99. The whole…

Put an end to the use of seclusion rooms for children

We need a national conversation about how Canadian schools can better deal with issues that lead to the use of such rooms

Put an end to the use of seclusion rooms for childrenI’ve often wondered why there’s very little public outcry when the media reports on the cruel use of seclusion rooms for kids with developmental disabilities and delays in schools across Canada. I’ve worked with kids born with developmental disabilities since I was 16 years old. I started out as a respite worker for families through…

Putting Columbia River salmon restoration at risk

Including Indigenous voices in U.S.-Canada water agreement discussions would give the environment a leading role

Putting Columbia River salmon restoration at riskSalmon used to swim all the way up the Columbia River from the Pacific Ocean near Astoria, Ore., to the Canadian Rocky Mountains at the river’s headwaters in Canal Flats, B.C. It was an astounding journey of 2,000 kilometres upstream that cut through a landscape of lush forest, dry desert and high peaks. But since…

A food service pioneer keeps growing

OPA! of Greece marks its 20th year with the same commitment to quality, healthy choices and variety

A food service pioneer keeps growingTheodore “Dorrie” Karras is president and CEO of  OPA! of Greece. Can you explain the history of OPA! and how it started? Karras: Opa! started 20 years ago in 1998. Founders Nick Tiginagas and Don Gebauer opened the first location in Market Mall in Calgary. At the time, Greek food was not prevalent in food…

John A. Macdonald’s mistake

Tearing down statues and decrying historic decisions in no way takes the measure of a great man, or his flaws when it comes to the Indigenous

John A. Macdonald’s mistakeLooking for a bargain statue of Sir John A. Macdonald? Victoria city council has removed just such a statue from City Hall, where it has stood for as long as anyone can remember. The intent is to promote reconciliation with Indigenous people. This is but the latest of a series of attacks on Canadian historical…

Municipal governments should do less and spend less

The surest way to trim the bloated costs of municipal services is to privatize them. Competition drives costs down and quality up

Municipal governments should do less and spend lessMunicipal spending in British Columbia is rising far too fast. According to a report from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, the cost of running municipal governments – even after accounting for price inflation and population growth – rose by an average of 28 per cent across the province from 2006 to 2016. The business…

Halifax and Vancouver the gateways to a nation

A comparison of east and west portals to the Canadian adventure, then and now

Halifax and Vancouver the gateways to a nationI spent most of a recent week in Halifax. It was my first real exposure to the Maritime’s major portal of immigration to North America. Its 400-year story from Mi’kmaq homeland to contemporary cosmopolitan city in some respects parallels Vancouver’s much shorter role as western portal to Canada (about 160 years). It’s hard to know…

Alberta, B.C. to lead Canadian economic growth, again

Scotiabank report says Alberta will have employment gains of 1.8% this year, 1.2% in 2019 and 1.2% in 2020

Alberta, B.C. to lead Canadian economic growth, againAlberta and British Columbia have been the country’s economic growth leaders since 2000 and will continue to be so this year, says a new report released on Monday by Scotiabank Economics. The bank’s latest Provincial Outlook said both western provinces will see economic growth of 2.4 per cent this year, eclipsing the Canadian average of…

Trans Mountain mired in hopeless consultations and useless studies

The court decision against the pipeline veered away from objective legal analysis into opinions designed to justify preconceived biases

Trans Mountain mired in hopeless consultations and useless studiesFor the second time in two years, three judges with the Federal Court of Appeal struck down a crucially important oil export pipeline project that had undergone years of regulatory review. The approval of Northern Gateway by the former federal government of Conservative Stephen Harper was struck down in 2016. That was after Enbridge spent…

Proportional representation a perfect example of loser take all

Replacing the existing system with proportional representation will result in a government of chaos

Proportional representation a perfect example of loser take allThe B.C. referendum on how citizens elect those who govern them is fast approaching. The current system has given us viable government for a long time. But like most things in the real world, it’s not perfect. Those who live in a riding that’s considered safe for a party other than the one they choose…

Inside ‘a tap on the back’ that ruined a 40-year policing career

B.C.’s Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner is a watchdog that barks public interest but whose bite is about self-interest

Inside ‘a tap on the back’ that ruined a 40-year policing careerThe Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC) was created to provide independent civilian oversight over municipal police forces in British Columbia. But a string of recent cases shows the OPCC is more about overreach than oversight. I know. I was one of the cases. This summer, after 40 years of unblemished service with the…

There’s nothing ‘affordable’ about B.C. tax increases

Higher carbon, personal income, payroll, business and residential property taxes will hit B.C. families and make the province less attractive for business

There’s nothing ‘affordable’ about B.C. tax increasesBy Niels Veldhuis and Milagros Palacios The Fraser Institute “Making your life more affordable” has been a dominant rhetorical theme of British Columbia’s government – so much so that its 2018 budget uses the word “affordable” 76 times. Finance Minister Carole James mentioned “affordable” 26 times in her latest budget speech. While making life more affordable…

Swinging and sipping in the South Okanagan

In the Osoyoos region, there’s an authentic, unpretentious aura that’s impossible not to appreciate

Swinging and sipping in the South OkanaganThe sting of a messy double-bogey on the first hole at the Osoyoos Golf Club doesn't last long. After traipsing up to the second tee, I grab my big bad driver and survey the scene. Below me a sweet, serpentine fairway careens toward a beautiful sand-guarded green that hangs high above the lake. In all…

Proportional representation breeds unstable governments

B.C.’s electoral reform referendum could lead to more shaky coalitions and less effective government

Proportional representation breeds unstable governmentsSome see the upcoming B.C. referendum on electoral reform – whether the province should switch to a proportional representation (PR) voting system – as a blatant attempt by the B.C. Green Party to secure more power. While it’s clear that under any form of PR, the Greens could increase their seat share, there would also…
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