Former B.C. Speaker Darryl Plecas lands on Taxpayers’ Nice List

Kudos from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation for uncovering abuse of taxpayers' money

Former B.C. Speaker Darryl Plecas lands on Taxpayers’ Nice ListDarryl Plecas has given British Columbians a gift that keeps giving all year long: government transparency. Before you stop reading because that sounds as dry as a Griswold Christmas turkey, remember that if it weren’t for the former speaker of the legislature, we wouldn’t know about the wood splitter and whale-watching party bought on our…

We must address the growing crisis of opioid-related deaths

Drug users are going to keep using, so a better route to saving lives is to ensure drugs are clean and safe

We must address the growing crisis of opioid-related deathsWe’re supposed to be merry and bright as we approach the holidays and the new year. This year, there are many reasons to be less cheerful and festive. We’ve managed to make it through floods, fires and heat domes, but the pandemic persists with the Omicron mutation, inflation threatens our economy and the big, ugly…

Freedom of Information should be free

Charging money to access this essential information is an attempt to block people from knowing what the government is up to

Freedom of Information should be freeIf democracy dies in darkness, the government of British Columbia just threw our freedom of information rights into a black hole. Victoria has slapped a brand new fee on requests for public information. Now, when journalists and government watchdogs file freedom of information requests to get government documents, they will need to pay between $5…

How important is the oil and gas industry to B.C.?

It was responsible for nearly 26,500 direct jobs and more than 36,100 indirect jobs in 2017

How important is the oil and gas industry to B.C.?By Ven Venkatachalam and Lennie Kaplan Canadian Energy Centre British Columbia has been producing oil and natural gas since 1952. As of 2018, B.C. produced 32 per cent of Canada’s natural gas and two per cent of Canada’s conventional daily oil production. The government collects royalties from oil and gas development, supporting economic prosperity in…

B.C. emissions going up despite carbon tax

Emissions going up despite the province having the highest carbon taxes in North America

B.C. emissions going up despite carbon taxCarbon taxes are an expensive failure when it comes to reducing emissions Emissions in British Columbia are going up despite the province having the highest carbon taxes in North America. Think you’ve read this before? That’s because this keeps happening. If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again while expecting a…

Food supply chain resilience put to the test by B.C. floods

Supply chains in Western Canada have always been vulnerable and that’s not going to change anytime soon

Food supply chain resilience put to the test by B.C. floodsImages from British Columbia over the past week have been heartbreaking: human casualties, dairy cows barely breathing above water before being pulled to safety, the loss of livestock across the Fraser Valley. Just devastating. And the flow of goods on rail and roads is severely compromised. Many now claim that flash floods and atmospheric rivers…

How to put an end to bad government decisions

Bad government decisions have one thing in common: lack of independent oversight

How to put an end to bad government decisionsA litany of disastrous government decisions in Canada have sometimes cost lives and definitely many billions of dollars. The list is long: effectively cancelling the Global Public Health Intelligence Network; the failure to implement the pandemic preparedness protocols developed by the federal government’s public health officer; the Alberta government’s disastrous ‘investments’ in the Keystone XL…

Canada missing out on $1.2-trillion EU natural gas market

According to Natural Resources Canada, at the end of 2018 Canada had 73 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of proven natural gas reserves

Canada missing out on $1.2-trillion EU natural gas marketBy Mark Milke and Lennie Kaplan Canadian Energy Centre In 2009, the eastern European country of Ukraine endured a twin lesson in geopolitics and energy security: Russia cut off its natural gas supply in mid-winter. Russia’s public reason was that it was engaged in a pricing dispute with Ukraine. In reality, it was an attempt…

What does the Trudeau win mean for Western Canadians?

More of the same

What does the Trudeau win mean for Western Canadians?What does another Trudeau win mean for Western Canadians? After all, the actual composition of the House of Commons changed little, and once again, the Liberals will need the support of either the NDP or the Bloc Quebecois to pass legislation. So, for the most part, we can expect a continuation of some programs, including…

Finally, an LNG project that just might get built

Rationality can prevail, clean, abundant natural gas can be used for decades, energy ‘transition’ or not

Finally, an LNG project that just might get builtAn estimated $55-billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) project to take natural gas from northeastern British Columbia to its northwest coast at Pearse Island recently received the blessing and financial and political backing of the Nisga’a First Nation. The First Nation is on the proposed pipeline route and is the site of planned liquefaction terminal. This…

Rather than defund the police, rethink its core functions

Less of an officer's time should be spent on functions that don’t involve protecting the public

Rather than defund the police, rethink its core functionsRising crime rates have required Canadian police forces to reconcile managing their budgets with fighting crime. It’s not an easy balance to strike. Yet there is a simple way to save hundreds of millions of dollars: re-think the division of labour for police. Modern police officers receive extensive training to carry out tasks requiring an…

The new normal is not so normal after all

We have learned nothing from the recent past

The new normal is not so normal after allThe new normal. It's a phrase that trips lightly off the lips. But, is the new normal actually something that has changed our behaviour? I don't think so. The new normal implies that the restrictions and practices of the last year and a half have changed the way we live and move. It implies that…

The questions left unasked about Indigenous deaths

Including: how was it possible for these deaths to occur without anyone noticing?

The questions left unasked about Indigenous deathsMelissa Mollen-Dupuis and I don’t know each other but we appear to share similar thoughts on the journalism around Kamloops, B.C. and the discovery of an unmarked grave containing remains of Indigenous children. In an interview with Montreal’s Le Devoir newspaper recently, Mollen-Dupuis was sharply critical of media response to the shocking news that ground-penetrating…

B.C. needs to pull out of its debt spiral

Premier Horgan really needs to start getting his spending under control

B.C. needs to pull out of its debt spiralThe interest payments on British Columbia’s provincial debt this year could pay the salaries of 4,600 new paramedics for 10 years. But, instead of paying for first responders or providing tax relief to families, a whopping $2.8 billion is being sent to bondholders on Bay Street and Wall Street every year to pay for our…

Damned if you do: the thorny decision to remove hydro dams

Dealing with only one side of an issue – whether it’s migrating fish or electric cars – can generate more problems than it solves

Damned if you do: the thorny decision to remove hydro damsEconomists often talk about over-constrained problems. These are situations where there are so many goals to be reached and/or so many limitations that it’s impossible to find a solution that meets all requirements. Contrast this with advice often given to politicians to never talk about anything that can’t be fully described on a bumper sticker.…

A civil libertarian who is neither civil nor libertarian

British Columbia Civil Liberties Association director Harsha Walia reacted to the burning of churches by tweeting ‘Burn it all down’

A civil libertarian who is neither civil nor libertarianBritish Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) executive director Harsha Walia retweeted a Vice News article on June 30 about two Catholic churches being burned down in Canada. These terrible incidents were reportedly related to the discovery of unmarked graves of Indigenous children at three former residential schools. A retweet wouldn’t have been noticed by most…

Cheap talk and unsubstantiated claims hamper reconciliation

Vacuous electoral promises and virtue-signalling schemes won’t deliver the outcomes Indigenous Canadians need

Cheap talk and unsubstantiated claims hamper reconciliationCanada has consistently failed to make progress commensurate with the many lofty pronouncements and expectations on the Indigenous file. It’s a national shame that most Indigenous Canadians on reservations live far below acceptable socio-economic standards. Money isn’t the problem. By 2022, the federal budget allocations to Indigenous will have doubled since 2016 to nearly $25…

ConnecTour Chronicles: An artistic treasure trove in a former biker bar

By the door is an original painting by renowned Indigenous artist Norval Morrisseau, one of dozens of pieces in Wilking’s collection

ConnecTour Chronicles: An artistic treasure trove in a former biker barDoug Firby, publisher of Troy Media, and columnist Lisa Monforton are part of a group of Canadians who call themselves ConnecTour. Starting on May 28 in British Columbia, they hope to make an 8,000-km bicycle journey across the country, discovering how the COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped our lives and our sense of community. Watch for…

B.C. politicians using taxpayer money to get elected

Using taxpayers’ money for partisan purposes is wrong

B.C. politicians using taxpayer money to get electedIf cheating taxpayers out of their money were a card game, politicians would beat the house every time. Politicians in British Columbia have taken around $30 million of your money over the past few years. They’re spending it on attack ads, lawn signs and junk mail. This money taken from taxpayers is officially called the…

ConnectTour Chronicles: Highlights, lowlights and lessons learned so far

Learn to take it one pedal stroke at a time. And even though that hill can look intimidating, just get into the zone and take it slow

ConnectTour Chronicles: Highlights, lowlights and lessons learned so farDoug Firby, publisher of Troy Media, and columnist Lisa Monforton are part of a group of Canadians who call themselves ConnecTour. Starting on May 28 in British Columbia, they hope to make an 8,000-km bicycle journey across the country, discovering how the COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped our lives and our sense of community. Watch for…

ConnecTour Chronicles: Content to live with old mining town’s ghosts

Some of our group chose to sleep outside in tents rather than risk the ire of these troubled spirits. Two brave souls slept inside

ConnecTour Chronicles: Content to live with old mining town’s ghostsDoug Firby, publisher of Troy Media, is part of a group of Canadians who call themselves ConnecTour. Starting on May 28 in Kelowna, B.C. (B.C. travel restrictions derailed a planned start in Victoria), they hope to make an 8,000-km bicycle journey across the country, discovering how the COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped our lives and our…

ConnecTour Chronicles: A brush with heat stroke and then hypothermia

Transport trucks, cars and four-by-fours roared by us, some so close we were showered in road spray and rocked by the wind gusts

ConnecTour Chronicles: A brush with heat stroke and then hypothermiaDoug Firby, publisher of Troy Media, is part of a group of Canadians who call themselves ConnecTour. Starting on May 28 in Kelowna, B.C. (B.C. travel restrictions derailed a planned start in Victoria), they hope to make an 8,000-km bicycle journey across the country, discovering how the COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped our lives and our…

Let’s leave residential school tragedies in the past

The dead should be appropriately honoured. But some opportunists will exploit these dead children for financial and political gain

Let’s leave residential school tragedies in the pastThe discovery of human remains at a former residential school site has set off a firestorm that has already resulted in demands for another national inquiry and massively expensive forensic and excavation projects. But maybe we should pause and ask some questions. The Kamloops Indian Residential School operated as a residential school from 1890 to…

B.C. drivers burned by highest gas taxes in Canada

It costs about $50 extra in taxes to fill up a minivan in Metro Vancouver, not including the cost of the fuel

B.C. drivers burned by highest gas taxes in CanadaAs we see the light at the end of the COVID Tunnel of Hell, many families hope to hit the roads to explore beautiful British Columbia this summer. Safe road trips will be essential after the strain many have been under during the pandemic. But, because B.C. drivers are being burned by the highest gas…

We must discover the truth, no matter how horrible

We must find out the truth about residential schools if we are to heal from the wounds caused by our cruelty

We must discover the truth, no matter how horribleThe recent discovery of the bodies of 215 children at the Kamloops Indian Residential School is tragic but not at all surprising. In 1907, federal medical inspector Dr. Peter Bryce provided a report to the Department of Indian Affairs regarding the horrendous health conditions at residential schools across Canada. Those conditions resulted in up to…

ConnecTour Chronicles: One man’s gear is another man’s gold

Across from our campsite sat a gangly young man named Scott, who had been homeless for 10 years and was trying to find some normalcy

ConnecTour Chronicles: One man’s gear is another man’s goldLisa Montforton is part of a group of Canadians who call themselves ConnecTour. Starting on May 28 in Kelowna, B.C. (B.C. travel restrictions derailed a planned start in Victoria), they hope to make an 8,000-km journey across the country, discovering how the COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped our lives and our sense of community. Watch for…

ConnecTour Chronicles: Kindness comes in a bucket of ice and jug of water

ConnecTour Chronicles: Kindness comes in a bucket of ice and jug of waterDoug Firby, publisher of Troy Media, is part of a group of Canadians who call themselves ConnecTour. Starting on Friday in Kelowna, B.C. (B.C. travel restrictions derailed a planned start in Victoria), they hope to make an 8,000-km journey across the country, discovering how the COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped our lives and our sense of…

Scientists looking to develop new types of trees

Want to develop trees that grow faster, resist insects and disease, and are resilient in a changing climate

Scientists looking to develop new types of treesAs one of Alberta’s leading sectors, forestry relies on healthy trees but, faced with challenges including climate change and environmental sustainability, there's a need for constant improvement. Creating ways to develop fast-growing, well-adapted trees in the province is a task that researcher Barb Thomas and her team of scientists in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences…

B.C. emissions rising despite highest carbon tax in Canada

$14 billion in extra taxes, with nothing to show for it

B.C. emissions rising despite highest carbon tax in CanadaEmissions are going up in British Columbia, despite having the highest carbon tax in Canada. Since we all miss going to concerts, let’s put this into a West Coast grunge style. Everything is not Zen if we keep making people pay carbon taxes to reduce emissions while emissions keep going up. Government documents show that…

Why do city planners put bicycles ahead of people?

People who don’t have yards or nearby open spaces should come before bicyclists

Why do city planners put bicycles ahead of people?Vancouver city council is considering a motion this week to turn sections of Granville Street and Commercial Drive into European-style pedestrian-friendly malls by reducing or eliminating automobile access. This is described as putting people over cars. Reducing car traffic leads to cleaner air and quieter neighbourhoods – good things. Some local businesses will benefit. But…
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