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…

On wings and dorsal fins: how fall arrives on the West Coast

As the local orca family hunts sea lions, the resident bald eagles leave for a pre-winter feast of salmon

On wings and dorsal fins: how fall arrives on the West CoastWhen you live in the coastal rainforest, you learn the natural indicators that presage seasonal change. The mornings are getting darker, the days are becoming shorter and the evenings are definitely cooler. We swam on Sept. 3 but the ocean was noticeably colder. And we spent less time out front going through our exercise routines…

Smoke gets in your eyes – and spoils your plans

The summer of 2018’s last trip into Desolation Sound ended abruptly, and not because the weather changed

Smoke gets in your eyes – and spoils your plansOn the morning of Sept. 2, we decided to take a last trip in our boat into Desolation Sound, the world-class boating destination that lies a mere half hour from our Westview Marina berth in Powell River. All summer we’ve been popping in and out of this destination, taking advantage of blue skies and 30C…

Local player makes top prospects list

Offensive lineman Derek Walde of Kindersley is in his final season in the Canadian Junior Football League

Local player makes top prospects listKenneth Brown of The Clarion Derek Walde of Kindersley is in his final season in the Canadian Junior Football League, and he has been recognized as one of the league’s top prospects. The 21-year-old offensive lineman plays with the Kamloops Broncos of the league’s British Columbia Conference. Walde is in his fifth and final season…

Trans Mountain pipeline hurdles never end

The long, convoluted path to rejection demonstrates an approval process that is fundamentally flawed on so many levels

Trans Mountain pipeline hurdles never end“The current state of affairs in Canada is such that building a pipeline to tidewater is practically impossible,” says Alberta Premier Rachel Notley. Truer words were rarely spoken. These ones were spoken at an Aug. 30 press conference as the courts set back the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. The hurdles, it seems, never end. The…

A tale of two cities and their wildly different spending habits

Vancouver taxes and spends far more than neighbouring Surrey. But do Vancouverites get value for their greater investment?

A tale of two cities and their wildly different spending habitsBy Josef Filipowicz and Charles Lammam The Fraser Institute With three levels of government delivering a wide array of services to British Columbians – paid for by an equally wide array of taxes, fees and transfers – it can be difficult for citizens to understand and assess government taxation and spending – especially at city…

LNG Canada a win for consumers, workers, business, environment

Canada has been late to fully capitalize on the potential, based on high export prices and the desperate demand for clean fuel

LNG Canada a win for consumers, workers, business, environmentCanada’s planned liquefied natural gas export project is a huge boost for the economy and the environment. The consortium of large multinational firms (Shell, PetroChina, Petronas of Malaysia, Korea Gas, Mitsubishi) that owns part of the LNG Canada project to be built on the northwest coast of British Columbia recently announced that contracts have been…