Alaskan campaign could kill B.C. cruise industry

The state wants non-U.S. cruise ships to be allowed to go straight from continental U.S. ports to Alaska, cutting out B.C. entirely

Alaskan campaign could kill B.C. cruise industryYou may think British Columbia has a cruise ship industry because of our great location, marvellous climate and amazing attractions, natural or otherwise. You would be wrong. We have a cruise industry here because of actions by the United States 100 years ago to put America first. The U.S. wanted to ensure that it had…

How to safely – and gainfully – prepare for the end of the pandemic

We'll likely be able to celebrate a more normal December holiday season in 2021. The hard part's getting there

How to safely – and gainfully – prepare for the end of the pandemicWe’ve just marked (I won’t say celebrated) the first anniversary of the pandemic. And we have a long way to go – but we need to stay diligent. A year ago, when it was just starting, most of us expected that the resulting fear, uncertainties and restrictions would be over in a few weeks. As…

Why a federal election doesn’t make sense right now

In calling an election, the Liberal government would be putting politics before the well-being of voters

Why a federal election doesn’t make sense right nowHere are some good reasons why we shouldn’t be considering a federal election now. I offer them with some trepidation. Just prior to the last British Columbia provincial election call, I was writing down some reasons why I thought a B.C. election wasn’t a good idea at the time. Alas, the writ was dropped even…

Put Canadian doctor shortages to rest once and for all

Here’s what needs to be done

Put Canadian doctor shortages to rest once and for allThe pandemic has presented us with many new difficulties that we’re struggling to manage. It has also pushed to the forefront some long-standing challenges that we’ve not dealt with in the past and have become even more problematic in the time of COVID-19. One ongoing problem that the pandemic has made much more serious and…

Market diversity will save Canada from international bullying

Reducing our dependence on any one particular market or supplier makes us much less vulnerable to arbitrary and unfair treatment

Market diversity will save Canada from international bullying“It’s not fair!” How often have parents heard this loud, angry declaration from young children at any real or perceived injustice? Children have an innate sense of fairness that demands to be respected. Hence the practice of asking one child to divide a piece of cake and the other to choose first. Fairness has become…

How to tone down the rhetoric and improve understanding

All political parties major contributors to the current situation of confrontation and violence

How to tone down the rhetoric and improve understandingPolitics and the COVID-19 pandemic have led to continuing confrontations and unprecedented uncertainties in the United States. The U.S. is still important enough that these events are reflected beyond its borders, leaving many longing for a return to a more stable situation and for the peace, order and good government, which are Canada’s ideals. Demonstrations,…

What Canadians can expect in the coming year

The good news? Pandemic under control. The bad news? Very slow growth, high debt, higher taxes, high unemployment

What Canadians can expect in the coming yearThe future is imaginary, said philosopher Baruch Spinoza. We don’t and can’t know what will happen in the future and last year certainly demonstrated that. Nevertheless, the desire to see what the new year will bring always overcomes the future’s inherent mystery. We peer into our crystal balls and bravely prognosticate, knowing full well that…

The congested logic behind congestion taxes

Vancouver is considering a tax on vehicles entering the downtown. It may well reduce pollution, but at what cost?

The congested logic behind congestion taxesOne definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. Another definition might be to do something different and not expect any changes. We all have a tendency to do this. For example, we get married and wonder why we no longer have the same services we had in our…

Getting through a COVID-19 winter, one joke at a time

Hugs would be best, but we’re not there yet. So make someone smile

Getting through a COVID-19 winter, one joke at a timeHope is on the horizon. Soon at least one anti-COVID-19 vaccine is likely to be available and we can start to put the pandemic and its problems behind us. However, between then and now, we face an isolated holiday season and a locked down winter. In the face of that, what can we do to…

Investing in human capital will pay huge dividends

Investing in human capital will pay huge dividendsHuman capital enables us to develop or make use of all other forms of capital. There are several kinds of capital. Mentioned most often are investments in buildings, machinery, equipment and infrastructure that enable us to be productive, and the financial assets that represent them. Natural capital is now getting more attention – that’s the…

Getting through a COVID-19 winter

A better future awaits if we use this period of uncertainty to work on our mental, physical and career well-being

Getting through a COVID-19 winterDread isn’t too strong a word to describe the feelings many have about the winter about to start. The COVID-19 virus is reason enough to worry. There’s not much individuals can do about that except follow all the good advice about staying safe. However, there are two other major depressing impacts of COVID-19 that we…

It’s time Canada stopped protecting its dairy industry

Governments tend to forget about consumers when managing supply. Open trade to more cheese and challenge our farmers

It’s time Canada stopped protecting its dairy industryCheese heads – it’s what Canadians are called in many of the United States border regions. It’s because when many Canadians visit their American neighbours, they head straight to the nearest supermarket and buy cheese – and milk and eggs. Dairy and eggs are much more expensive in Canada than in the U.S., even when…

Creation of a common market first step to economic recovery

If the European Union with 27 very diverse countries and several languages can do it, why can't Canada?

Creation of a common market first step to economic recoveryCOVID-19 is still running rampant in many countries, is accelerating in Quebec and Ontario and has recently hospitalized the president of the United States. But in British Columbia, we’re hoping we can avoid a second wave this winter. We’re starting to turn our attention from immediate medical issues to the longer term challenge that the…

We don’t need elections now, we need leadership

Elections will turn us away from dealing with the real issues. And we don't seem to have the means to conduct safe voting

We don’t need elections now, we need leadershipWe would really like to have many things right now, even though the prospect of getting them any time soon is rather low. A vaccine against COVID-19 is likely at the top of the list. A bit more certainty about our work and social prospects is probably a close second. Instead of dealing with the…

Spotting and tackling prejudice

Move away from false statements and over-generalizations and recognize everyone as individuals

Spotting and tackling prejudiceRacism exists in Vancouver. How much, how bad and how widespread it is we can debate. That there are other places where the situation is much worse we can agree. But we still have room to improve here. In case there’s any doubt, Fairchild TV has produced two videos (here and here) documenting expressions of…

Finding work in a pandemic

Offer to do what needs to be done on a contract basis. Since there’s no long-term commitment, it’s easier for the employer to agree

Finding work in a pandemicSummer ends, September approaches. Schools may be opening or closing or something in between – even though the ads for back-to-school sales have been conspicuously fewer than usual. As the days shorten, our thoughts reluctantly turn from beaches, picnics and holidays to getting back to work. Perhaps you, like so many others, are out of…

We can’t dodge deficits and debt forever

A government deficit is sometimes necessary but we need plans in place to eliminate it and reduce the debt

We can’t dodge deficits and debt foreverDeficits have become emotive hot buttons. A deficit arises when governments spend more than their income, which consists mainly of taxes. If the deficiency is not immediately covered, current deficits turn into long-term government debt. No one seems to be neutral about deficits and the resulting debt. Traditional economists argue against them, saying that spending…

Canada’s future brighter with broader trade

We are too dependent on two of our top three customers: the U.S. and China. And both of these are increasingly hostile

Canada’s future brighter with broader tradeCanada relies on exports. In any given year, about 45 per cent of our economy is in foreign trade. For much of the past, our exports have been mainly in the agriculture and resources sectors. These are still important, but services (think international education), manufactured goods (e.g. Lululemon clothing) and technology (e.g. the Canadarm robotic…

Loss of international students a blow to Canadian schools

Foreign students spent about $23.6 billion in Canada last year and much of that income will be lost as a result of COVID-19

Loss of international students a blow to Canadian schoolsSome industries are obvious victims of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic downturn. Everybody knows that businesses in the travel and hospitality sector, especially at the international level, have taken a serious if not lethal blow. Even with government aid, airlines, cruise ships, hotels and tourist attractions will have great difficulty rebuilding and even…

Invest in social infrastructure rather than handouts

It not only generates jobs in the short term, but results in greater productivity, employment and tax dollars in the future

Invest in social infrastructure rather than handoutsHow the economy will be rebuilt in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic is a major concern for us all. There are many unknowns, making the near future and the years ahead even murkier than usual. So uncertain is Canada’s federal government about economic and financial prospects that it’s not producing a budget, or even…

Learning in the post-pandemic world

Regardless of how COVID-19 plays out, post-secondary institutions won’t go back to full-frontal classroom instruction

Learning in the post-pandemic worldWe still don’t know much about how the pandemic will affect our lives through the rest of 2020 and into 2021. But some things, like the impact on post-secondary education, are certain. As new and continuing post-secondary students are already aware, their education in the 2020-21 academic year will be delivered mainly, if not entirely,…

Covid-19 has ended the era of single-source suppliers

Covid-19 has ended the era of single-source suppliersThe pendulum of public attention is beginning to swing from getting through the pandemic to economic recovery. But recovery is not a simple process. Governments and health authorities are planning or actually beginning to implement the gradual and much-awaited loosening of lockdown restrictions. COVID-19 is nowhere near being vanquished and it will still be a…

Some doctors forced to sit on sidelines during pandemic

For too long, Canada has failed to embrace many foreign-trained physicians. COVID-19 has exposed serious flaws in the system

Some doctors forced to sit on sidelines during pandemicA corner has been turned in the COVID-19 pandemic, even if serious questions linger. Although we still don’t know how long the pandemic will last, we’re beginning to see more ideas on what the world will look like once we’ve put this behind us. When that will be or how we will get there is…

Will the economy ever recover?

The economy will bounce back, even if some businesses don’t. But don’t expect a rapid recovery after COVID-19 recedes

Will the economy ever recover?What will happen to the economy once we get through this pandemic? We’re coping day to day with social isolation and, for those of us lucky enough to still have work, the challenges of working from home or being out there in an infected world. First, we want to know when all this will end.…

What leaders really need is a healthy dose of decency

We need leaders who are smart, recognize people’s needs and do something positive to meet them

What leaders really need is a healthy dose of decencyNews about the COVID-19 virus has gone viral. Media coverage, ever-changing and often contradictory, screams at us from all directions. It inundates us as we work from home, self-isolate or have isolation thrust upon us. At times like this, we would do well to remember that life continues beyond the pandemic, even if the current…

Turning data into health-care efficiencies

Turning data into health-care efficienciesWant to strike fear into the heart of any Canadian? Just mention wait times. We’re all really proud of our universal, single-payer medicare system, especially when we compare it to the situation in the United States. However, it’s not quite perfect. A major imperfection is the length of time between becoming aware of a need…

It’s time we taught our youth resilience

It’s time we taught our youth resilienceThe old order has passed – the one where parents and grandparents could teach their offspring everything they needed to know. Now, there’s no need to teach the kids even the basic three Rs of reading, ’riting and ’rithmatic. Most have learned to read (if not spell) by themselves as they start texting each other…

We must attack the coronavirus at its root

Though any deaths from a fast-spreading new disease can be frightening, panic isn’t justified. Most cases are mild and of short duration

We must attack the coronavirus at its rootI led a trade delegation in Guangdong, China, in December 2002. Business and life carried on as usual even though a new disease, SARS, had begun infecting and killing people in the province a month earlier. As visiting Canadians, we weren’t worried at all because we knew absolutely nothing about the epidemic and had never…
1 2 3