Spending on B.C. public schools up despite dwindling enrolment

Per-student spending is up, flying in the face of claims that education funding has been slashed or that B.C. schools are starved for resources

Spending on B.C. public schools up despite dwindling enrolmentBy Angela MacLeod and Joel Emes The Fraser Institute Back to school is an expensive time of year for B.C. families. Whether it’s new shoes, school supplies, a bus pass or a new computer, families often take a closer look at their budgets to account for the extra spending. It’s also a good time to take…

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,…

Another Trudeau turns on Western Canada

Justin risks a similar fate to his father's if he also allows the radical wing of his party to undermine the economy

Another Trudeau turns on Western CanadaThe 2015 federal election campaign may be fading from our memory but we can't forget that in that pivotal campaign the Liberals painted a balanced and attractive picture of Canada's future. Led by the unproven but photogenic Justin Trudeau, the Liberals promised to be more aggressive in protecting the environment and advancing the interests of…

B.C. government: public transit too risky for children

By sending his children to school on public transit in Vancouver, Adrian Cook ran afoul of the provincial government's nanny state mentality

Adrian Crook is a single dad living in downtown Vancouver. His oldest kids – aged seven, eight, nine and 11 – were taught to take public transit to school every day. So successful were they in their independence that a fellow bus passenger who found the dad on Instagram, recognizing him on a bus with…

B.C.’s new business as usual: political and economic uncertainty

NDP election win prompts waves of uncertainty that threaten investment and economic growth in B.C.

B.C.’s new business as usual: political and economic uncertaintyA shadow hangs over British Columbia’s political and economic future. Last spring, B.C. went through one of its most tumultuous and uncertain elections in years. No party received the majority of seats in the May 9 election, creating a hung legislature and political uncertainty. And there was the uncertainty regarding who the Green Party would…

The unintended, and painful, consequences of a $15 minimum wage

A government-mandated increase in the price of low-skilled labour tends to lead employers to reduce their labour force

The unintended, and painful, consequences of a $15 minimum wageBy Charles Lammam and Hugh MacIntyre The Fraser Institute It seems obvious: if you want to give low-wage workers a raise, increase the minimum wage. But raising minimum wage produces unintended consequences that hurt many of the people it’s supposed to help. B.C.’s new government recently promised to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2021,…

The search for Trans Mountain’s 15,000 construction jobs

Why would elected officials promote a construction jobs figure six times Kinder Morgan’s actual number?

The search for Trans Mountain’s 15,000 construction jobsWhen Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, he said it “will create 15,000 new, middle class jobs – the majority of them in the trades.” Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr repeatedly points to this figure to justify the federal government’s approval. He says, “the project is expected to…

Should equalization really grow forever?

A rule requiring payments to grow – no matter what the circumstances – can only exacerbate regional friction

Should equalization really grow forever?By Ben Eisen and Joel Emes The Fraser Institute The relative economic strength of Canada’s provinces has shifted in recent years, as former powerhouses struggle while former laggards improve. The nation’s equalization program is not equipped to respond fairly to these developments. In the past two fiscal years, Quebec has collected more revenue from natural resources…

Putting a price on the movement of people and goods

Introducing tolls on roads and bridges to help pay for transportation upgrades is an equitable solution to a vexing urban problem

Putting a price on the movement of people and goodsRoad rage has almost become a defining characteristic of life in and around our cities. In the best of circumstances, it’s frustrating and time consuming to drive anywhere. Throw in bad weather, construction or an accident, and it becomes nearly impossible. Why can’t something be done so we can drive unimpeded on our roads? The…

The joyful Zen of a well-tended, bountiful garden

Having a garden has enriched our diet, our appreciation of the natural world, and our relationships with family, neighbours and guests

The joyful Zen of a well-tended, bountiful gardenIt’s funny what people who don’t grow their own vegetables and flowers think about those who do. Five years ago, when we cleared a patch of brambles and created our deer-fenced garden at Skelhp, visiting friends and family from the city were unanimous in their comments. “Wow – that’ll keep you busy!” “Will you get…

B.C.’s Sunshine Coast gets a taste of the raging wildfires

70 years of Smokey the Bear and aggressive wildfire suppression efforts filled the forests with a tinder load just waiting to blow

B.C.’s Sunshine Coast gets a taste of the raging wildfiresThis past week has been a record breaker for B.C.’s Sunshine Coast. People started to notice what at first was euphemistically called ‘haze’ on Tuesday. By Friday the view south from Skelhp, roughly two- thirds up the coast, was a series of increasingly brown clouds that completely hid Texada Island, and covered half of Nelson…

Do immigrants work harder?

With limited resources to fall back on and failure not an option, newcomers buckle down and make the most of their new life

Do immigrants work harder?When Henry Novak and his brothers arrived in Canada in 1967 to escape a lack of opportunity in their native Slovenia, they had no option but to work hard. They came without money or English. They hoped to get a job with their brother Tony, who preceded them ito Canada and was working as a…

The prohibitive cost of living in Metro Vancouver

The extraordinary run-up in real estate prices like the one experienced in the Lower Mainland raises the odds of a painful market correction

The prohibitive cost of living in Metro VancouverHow can people afford to live in Vancouver? That question came to mind as I struggled to catch up with the latest torrent of media stories on the Lower Mainland’s seemingly inexhaustible housing boom. Metro Vancouver has long been the most expensive place in the country to purchase (or rent) a home. Indeed, relative to…

B.C. government’s pipeline paranoia putting safety at risk

Real world data shows that oil can be moved safely and less expensively by pipeline, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions

B.C. government’s pipeline paranoia putting safety at riskPipeline opponents are lining up again in British Columbia, but their case is off-point and exaggerates pipeline risks. The last several weeks have seen new, if somewhat contradictory, developments on the Trans Mountain pipeline file. Kinder Morgan received approval last year to twin the existing Trans Mountain pipeline, which runs from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C.…

Drawn once again by the siren of politics and service

I first ran for public office as a provincial Liberal candidate in 2007. Ten years later, almost to the day, it’s happening again

Drawn once again by the siren of politics and serviceIt was the afternoon of July 2, 2007, when they walked into my office at the Glenbow Museum. The Calgary Stampede parade had just finished and they were both dressed in high-end cowboy duds, complete with big smiles and white Stetsons. Kevin Taft and Dr. David Swann, the leader of the Alberta Liberals and Calgary’s…