Fraser Institute News Release: Banning BC businesses from using temporary workers during strikes hurts investment …

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VANCOUVER, BC–(Marketwired – July 25, 2017) – Prohibiting businesses from hiring temporary workers during strikes and lock-outs — as is the case in British Columbia — discourages business investment, which in turn actually lowers union wages and costs jobs, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

“It may seem counterintuitive, but laws that prevent businesses from hiring temporary workers during strikes and lock-outs actually harm workers in the long run by discouraging business investment,” said Charles Lammam, director of fiscal studies at the Fraser Institute and co-author of The Economic Effects of Banning Temporary Replacement Workers.

B.C. and Quebec are the only two jurisdictions in North America that prohibit businesses from hiring temporary workers during a strike or lock-out.

The inability to use temporary workers during labour conflicts means that the cost of doing business in these jurisdictions can be markedly higher than in other jurisdictions, which discourages entrepreneurs from investing. In fact, the evidence shows such bans reduce the rate of investment by 25 per cent.

Business investment is critical to improving the ability of workers to transform inputs into outputs, or what economists refer to as productivity. Less business investment ultimately means lower productivity for workers, which in turn means lower wages than would have been the case with higher levels of investment. In fact, research shows bans on temporary workers during strikes and lock-outs lower wages for unionized workers by between 1.8 and 3.6 per cent.

What’s more, when businesses are discouraged from investing (i.e. setting up, developing, or expanding operations), fewer jobs are created. According to research, such bans reduce the employment rate by 1.3 percentage points.

And finally, while advocates of replacement worker bans argue that they lead to less labour strife, the evidence actually shows the opposite: bans increase labour disruptions with more frequent and longer work stoppages.

In fact, between 2008 and 2016, B.C. lost 798 working days (per 1,000 workers) because of work stoppages — the second highest working days lost after Quebec, the only other province with the ban. Alberta, which does not have a ban on replacement workers, had among the lowest number of lost working days at 89.

“B.C. and Quebec are the only two jurisdictions that have outlawed temporary replacement workers and they have experienced the most labour disruptions over the past nine years,” Lammam said.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Charles Lammam, Director, Fiscal Studies
Fraser Institute

To arrange media interviews or for more information, please contact:
Bryn Weese, Media Relations Specialist, Fraser Institute
(604) 688-0221 Ext. 589
bryn.weese@fraserinstitute.org

Follow the Fraser Institute on Twitter and Facebook

The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the Institute’s independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit www.fraserinstitute.org

VANCOUVER, BC–(Marketwired – July 25, 2017) – Prohibiting businesses from hiring temporary workers during strikes and lock-outs — as is the case in British Columbia — discourages business investment, which in turn actually lowers union wages and costs jobs, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy […]

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BC unions, protesters move up

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Who’s the biggest winner in the new NDP government, unions or environmentalists? Both!

Professional protesters are thrilled. Joe Foy of the Wilderness Committee allowed that he’s “over the moon” about NDP MLA George Heyman taking over the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, as it has been rebranded.

Foy assured The Vancouver Sun that during his three terms as B.C. Government Employees’ Union president, Heyman “brought together a coalition of union representatives and environmental representatives and made the argument that it needn’t be jobs versus the environment.”

It’s too bad his party’s version of that argument fails. Putting unconstitutional roadblocks in front of a federal pipeline project offers only lost jobs, since replacement oil is abundant. Shutting down Site C, B.C.’s biggest clean energy project in 30 years, would hurt the environment and push thousands of people out of work.

These days it’s MoveUP, the BC Hydro office union, that has new clout. Two of its communications people moved up into top positions in Premier John Horgan’s office.

Horgan has turned green, and I don’t mean in a Hulk sort of way. He cries now. He drives a Prius. He loves small hydro projects, once derided by the NDP as “pirate power.”

Not long ago, lefty economists, the Wilderness Committee and COPE 378, as MoveUp used to be called, ran a bitter campaign against private hydro. Now let 100 power flowers bloom, all in the unionized monopoly model of BC Hydro. That’s been Horgan’s only real problem with independent power all along.

The first order of business when the legislature resumes after Labour Day is, once again, the election of a speaker. Officially, it’s a secret ballot vote, a privilege MLAs reserve for themselves that the NDP hopes to remove from employees in union certification votes.

B.C.’s new Labour Minister is Surrey-Newton MLA Harry Bains, who came to politics from a career with the Steelworkers-IWA Canada. NDP insiders call it “Steel,” an indication of the intimacy between the party and the international union that bankrolled its campaign staff.

Bains wants to replace the secret ballot in union certificationwith a “card check” that would allow union sign-ups in private. B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver, a former union negotiator himself with the UVic faculty association, is opposed.

Vision Vancouver executive director Stepan Vdovine is doing a temporary stint in Victoria, on loan from Mayor Gregor Robertson’s city hall. Vdovine and his Visionistas played the 2015 leak of a freighter’s bunker fuel into English Bay as a planet-threatening event, and played the Vancouver media like a violin.

This forest fire season is already being framed as a preview of the Mad Max future that awaits if Canada’s oil isn’t kept in the ground and a global wealth shift is not immediately implemented, from your wallet.

Like San Francisco-based ForestEthics, Vancouver-based Wilderness Committee is trying to edge away from the played-out “war in the woods” routine. It has a “climate change campaigner” now, whose job is to join all the other groups arrayed against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Its latest anti-pipeline newsletter is a predictable jumble of U.S. protester fake news about the “tar sands,” mostly around the familiar claim that it’s the dirtiest, most carbon intensive oil in the world. This is received wisdom for every NDP and B.C. Green Party MLA I’ve heard from on the subject.

Actually, 13 oilfields in California have higher upstream greenhouse gas emissions than Alberta dilbit, as does Alaska North Slope crude, which has been tankered daily from Valdez past Victoria for 40 years.

Tom Fletcher is B.C. legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press. Email: tfletcher@blackpress.ca Twitter: @tomfletcherbc

Who’s the biggest winner in the new NDP government, unions or environmentalists? Both! Professional protesters are thrilled. Joe Foy of the Wilderness Committee allowed that he’s “over the moon” about NDP MLA George Heyman taking over the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, as it has been rebranded. Foy assured The Vancouver Sun that during […]

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Letters spell out top priorities for NDP government ministers

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Reforming campaign finance laws, freezing B.C. Hydro rates and developing 114,000 units of affordable housing are among the priorities Premier John Horgan has told his cabinet members to pursue.

Horgan’s mandate letters to his ministers were published Monday afternoon.

Reforming campaign finance laws, freezing B.C. Hydro rates and developing 114,000 units of affordable housing are among the priorities Premier John Horgan has told his cabinet members to pursue.

Horgan’s mandate letters to his ministers were published Monday.

The letters, in many cases, reiterate NDP campaign promises and highlight priorities, including relief for families from rising costs and fees; improved health care and education; and good jobs and economic opportunity throughout the province.

They also remind ministers to make a priority of consulting with the Green Party on major topics, in line with the agreement the two parties reached before the NDP minority government was sworn in. “This agreement is critical to the success of our government. Accordingly, the principles of ‘good faith and no surprises,’ set out in that document should also guide your work going forward,” the letters say.

Some of the highlights:

• Melanie Mark, Advanced Education, Skills and Training: Eliminate fees for adult basic education and English-language learning programs; eliminate interest on B.C. government student loans and establish a $1,000 completion grant to provide debt relief to B.C. graduates.

• Lana Popham, Agriculture: Revitalize the Agricultural Land Reserve and Agricultural Land Commission.

• Rob Fleming, Education: Fast-track enhancement to K-12 education funding; review the funding formula to develop a stable and sustainable model for K-12 education; implement First Nations history curriculum.

• Carole James, Finance: Deliver a balanced budget; establish a task force that will endeavour to eliminate Medical Services Plan fees within four years, starting with a 50 per cent reduction on Jan. 1, 2018; improve housing affordability while reducing tax fraud and money laundering in the B.C. real estate market; increase carbon tax by $5 per tonne annually beginning April 1, 2018.

• Adrian Dix, Health: Establish urgent-care centres across B.C.; improve rural health services and expand the medical travel allowance; invest in more paramedics; reduce wait times; work with the federal government towards a national Pharmacare program.

• Claire Trevena, Transportation and Infrastructure: Work with B.C. Ferries to freeze and reduce fares, and reinstate the seniors’ weekday 100 per cent discount; eliminate tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears Bridges; accelerate Highway 1 upgrades to the Alberta border; secure federal funding for the Pattullo Bridge replacement and rapid transit in Metro Vancouver.

• Katrine Conroy, Children and Family Development: Reduce the number of Aboriginal children entering the care system, improve child-protection services; hire additional social workers and implement incentives to attract social workers to rural and underserved regions.

• Katrina Chen, Child Care: Implement a child-care plan that provides affordable and high-quality care and early learning to every child whose family wants or needs it, starting with infant-toddler programs; accelerate creation of new child-care spaces.

• David Eby, Attorney General: Introduce legislation to reform lobbying; to reform campaign finance laws to ban political contributions by corporations and unions and set limits on individual contributions; and to hold a province-wide referendum on proportional representation in the fall of 2018.

• Michelle Mungall, Energy: Freeze B.C. Hydro rates while conducting a review of the Crown corporation; ask the B.C. Utilities Commission to assess the economic viability of the Site C dam; require LNG proposals to guarantee B.C. jobs and training, provide a fair return, respect and partner with First Nations, and protect air, land and water.

• Judy Darcy, Mental Health and Addictions: Develop an immediate response to the opioid crisis; create a mental-health and addiction strategy, including a focus on improving access, investing in early prevention and youth mental health.

• Selina Robinson, Municipal Affairs and Housing: Begin to build 114,000 units of affordable market rental, non-profit, co-op, supported social housing and owner-purchase housing; provide stronger protection for renters; deliver an annual renter’s rebate of $400 per rental household to improve affordability; develop a homelessness action plan involving permanent housing and services.

• Mike Farnworth, Public Safety and Solicitor General: Lead planning for safe implementation of legalized cannabis.

• Bruce Ralston, Jobs, Trade and Technology: Ensure B.C. is an attractive place for investment in new and emerging technologies; increase the growth rate of domestic tech companies; work with Finance to cut the small business tax rate.

• Harry Bains, Labour: Establish a Fair Wage Commission to help implement a $15-per-hour minimum wage by 2021 and close the gap between the minimum wage and livable wages; create a registry for temporary foreign workers to protect vulnerable workers from exploitation.

• Lisa Beare, Tourism, Arts and Culture: Expand tourism-marketing efforts internationally; double investment in the B.C. Arts Council over four years; establish an arts infrastructure fund to help provide space for B.C. artists; develop a fund to upgrade and build sports facilities, playgrounds, community centres, and arts and culture spaces.

• Jinny Sims, Citizens’ Services: Cap the value and the length of government information technology contracts; make sure the contracting process works better for companies that hire locally; improve response times for freedom of information requests.

• George Heyman, Environment and Climate Change Strategy: Develop a climate-action strategy that includes a legislated 2030 carbon reduction target; increase the carbon tax by $5 per tonne per year, beginning April 1, 2018; defend B.C.’s interests in the face of the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline; enact an endangered species law.

• Scott Fraser, Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation: Negotiate with First Nations to expand opportunities for their share of the gaming industry; transform the treaty process so it respects the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; help Indigenous communities connect with their languages.

• Shane Simpson, Social Development and Poverty Reduction: Raise earnings exemptions for people on assistance by $200 a month; restore the B.C. Bus Pass program; test whether giving people a basic income is effective at reducing poverty; develop a poverty-reduction strategy with legislated targets; create a homelessness action plan and conduct a province-wide homelessness count.
 

Reforming campaign finance laws, freezing B.C. Hydro rates and developing 114,000 units of affordable housing are among the priorities Premier John Horgan has told his cabinet members to pursue. Horgan’s mandate letters to his ministers were published Monday afternoon. Reforming campaign finance laws, freezing B.C. Hydro rates and developing 114,000 units of affordable housing are […]

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B.C. unions, protesters move up – Houston Today

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Who’s the biggest winner in the new NDP government, unions or environmentalists? Both!

Professional protesters are thrilled. Joe Foy of the Wilderness Committee allowed that he’s “over the moon” about NDP MLA George Heyman taking over the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, as it has been rebranded.

Foy assured The Vancouver Sun that during his three terms as B.C. Government Employees’ Union president, Heyman “brought together a coalition of union representatives and environmental representatives and made the argument that it needn’t be jobs versus the environment.”

It’s too bad his party’s version of that argument fails. Putting unconstitutional roadblocks in front of a federal pipeline project offers only lost jobs, since replacement oil is abundant. Shutting down Site C, B.C.’s biggest clean energy project in 30 years, would hurt the environment and push thousands of people out of work.

These days it’s MoveUP, the BC Hydro office union, that has new clout. Two of its communications people moved up into top positions in Premier John Horgan’s office.

Horgan has turned green, and I don’t mean in a Hulk sort of way. He cries now. He drives a Prius. He loves small hydro projects, once derided by the NDP as “pirate power.”

Not long ago, lefty economists, the Wilderness Committee and COPE 378, as MoveUp used to be called, ran a bitter campaign against private hydro. Now let 100 power flowers bloom, all in the unionized monopoly model of BC Hydro. That’s been Horgan’s only real problem with independent power all along.

The first order of business when the legislature resumes after Labour Day is, once again, the election of a speaker. Officially, it’s a secret ballot vote, a privilege MLAs reserve for themselves that the NDP hopes to remove from employees in union certification votes.

B.C.’s new Labour Minister is Surrey-Newton MLA Harry Bains, who came to politics from a career with the Steelworkers-IWA Canada. NDP insiders call it “Steel,” an indication of the intimacy between the party and the international union that bankrolled its campaign staff.

Bains wants to replace the secret ballot in union certificationwith a “card check” that would allow union sign-ups in private. B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver, a former union negotiator himself with the UVic faculty association, is opposed.

Vision Vancouver executive director Stepan Vdovine is doing a temporary stint in Victoria, on loan from Mayor Gregor Robertson’s city hall. Vdovine and his Visionistas played the 2015 leak of a freighter’s bunker fuel into English Bay as a planet-threatening event, and played the Vancouver media like a violin.

This forest fire season is already being framed as a preview of the Mad Max future that awaits if Canada’s oil isn’t kept in the ground and a global wealth shift is not immediately implemented, from your wallet.

Like San Francisco-based ForestEthics, Vancouver-based Wilderness Committee is trying to edge away from the played-out “war in the woods” routine. It has a “climate change campaigner” now, whose job is to join all the other groups arrayed against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Its latest anti-pipeline newsletter is a predictable jumble of U.S. protester fake news about the “tar sands,” mostly around the familiar claim that it’s the dirtiest, most carbon intensive oil in the world. This is received wisdom for every NDP and B.C. Green Party MLA I’ve heard from on the subject.

Actually, 13 oilfields in California have higher upstream greenhouse gas emissions than Alberta dilbit, as does Alaska North Slope crude, which has been tankered daily from Valdez past Victoria for 40 years.

Tom Fletcher is B.C. legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press. Email: tfletcher@blackpress.ca Twitter: @tomfletcherbc

Who’s the biggest winner in the new NDP government, unions or environmentalists? Both! Professional protesters are thrilled. Joe Foy of the Wilderness Committee allowed that he’s “over the moon” about NDP MLA George Heyman taking over the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, as it has been rebranded. Foy assured The Vancouver Sun that during […]

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Bici Libre! Bike Program Builds Autonomy for BC’s Migrant Farm Workers

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Low wages and long working hours are a fact of life for migrant workers on B.C. farms. Lack of transportation can make things even harder. Whether they need to send money home to families or shop for groceries, workers can face isolation and frustration when they’re stuck on the farm. Contests, events more from Tyee […]

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Martyn Brown: Should GreeNDP formally unite?

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It’s official. Alberta’s Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties have voted to merge into the United Conservative Party.

Some 95 percent of the voting Wildrose and Progressive Conservative members ratified the proposal.

NDP premier Rachel Notley’s worst nightmare has come true.

It raises the question: should British Columbia’s Greens and New Democrats also formally unite, perhaps as the Green Democratic Party (GDP)?

I think so, much as I doubt that a majority of either of those parties’ members would now agree.

If the GreeNDP alliance can work together in a minority government, are the differences between those two allies really so significant that they could never contemplate coming together, under a new political banner?

The answer to that question will probably depend on the outcome of the promised November 2018 referendum on proportional representation.

If it passes, and voters opt to adopt P.R., the Greens, at least, will have even less interest in contemplating a merger with the NDP than they do today.

Assuming they can maintain and perhaps grow their current constituent base, they will see their numbers rise in the legislature, to better align with their electoral support. With that, their ability to effect desired change, by holding the balance of power, would be more promising than it is under our current electoral system.

The B.C. Liberals could come roaring back if they replace Christy Clark with a leader who can win more votes in Metro Vancouver.

Greens and New Democrats can’t be complacent

By the same token, under P.R., disaffected B.C. Liberals will also likely have new cause to support other minor right-wing or breakaway parties, lured by the promise of proportional representation.

Under that electoral model, which typically results in minority governments, the party or parties that hold the balance of power can extract all sorts of commitments from the minority governing party. As we see today, even one vote could determine who forms the government.

It is a prescription for greater power-sharing that is inherently coercive, more cooperative, and more concessionary than the status quo. The minority governments that we would routinely get under P.R. will either hinge on formal coalitions, or on some type of explicit or tacit agreement, such as the confidence and supply agreement that underpins B.C.’s current GreeNDP alliance.

All in all, there is much to recommend that prospective change, if one believes that its attendant log-rolling, bartering, and system of governance born of elected power-brokers is better than the alternative, with all of its strengths and weaknesses.

Still, there is a world of difference between hoping to decide and influence a government, and actually increasing the odds of becoming the government. There is a huge difference between holding power and merely trying to sway who holds it and how it is used.

Even under proportional representation, the party that usually stands the best chance of governing is typically the one that wins the most seats and votes—especially as more splinter parties emerge on either side of the political spectrum.

The Greens’ opportunity for holding the balance of power could just as easily be eroded by one or more new centrist parties, which might each win a few seats that could prove pivotal, in deciding the fate and substance of future minority governments.

If B.C. voters ultimately choose to reject P.R., you can bet that the pressure for uniting the center-left will only grow, and doubly so, if its ideological opposites remain united under the B.C. Liberal banner. Especially if they get a new leader.

Until the referendum on P.R. takes place, there will obviously be no appetite for reform among most New Democrats and Greens.

That’s a shame. Then again, I am not a member of either of those parties, or of any other party. I do, however, want them both to succeed, or more precisely, for their common agenda to prevail.

Federal NDP leadership candidate Charlie Angus’s waffling on the Kinder Morgan pipeline makes some provincial New Democrats uncomfortable.
Charlie Angus

Federal ties can create problems

For starters, I think it’s high time that the B.C. NDP ended its formal affiliation with its national party namesake, just as the B.C. Greens and B.C. Liberals both did many years ago with their counterparts.

The advantages of maintaining that national affiliation will become less significant with campaign finance reform, if the provincial party can no longer borrow or monetarily benefit from either the federal NDP or from big labour.

Depending on who the federal NDP selects as its new leader, it could also have a negative or positive impact on the B.C. NDP.

For example, only Jagmeet Singh has really come out swinging against the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project, which the GreeNDP alliance has vowed to fight using “every tool available”. Another NDP leadership candidate, Guy Caron, has been rather low key in his opposition to the Kinder Morgan project, while Niki Ashton has thus far been fairly muted on the subject.

Charlie Angus, by contrast, has been weak-kneed at best on the subject. 

As the “blue collar” darling, he is surely the pro-pipeline New Democrats’ favourite candidate, and the odds-on best bet to win the top job. Somehow I don’t think that either Horgan or his new chief of staff, Geoff Meggs, would be disappointed with that result, as their party’s greener contingent surely would be.

The last thing that the B.C. NDP should want to do is get in the middle of that leadership contest, significant though its outcome surely is for its own political fortunes.

In this century, the impetus for nationally affiliated provincial political parties has largely lost its lustre. Alberta’s proposed new United Conservative party is only the latest to concede that fact.

British Columbians expect their provincial parties and leaders to put their citizens’ interests first, ahead of any national party or federal partisan interests. I expect that most B.C. voters would heartily welcome a reconstituted B.C. Green Democratic party that is not aligned with, or in any way beholden to any federal counterpart.

Regardless of ideology, most British Columbians want their provincial parties and their B.C. government to put B.C. first in their approaches to nation-building and issues of material regional consequence. It has always been thus.

Tommy Douglas (as seen on the cover of Vincent Lam’s 2011 biography) headed a truly New Democratic Party when it was formed, but now it’s 56 years old.

What’s new can become old

What is in a name, anyway? The New Democrats long ago decided it should not be the “be all and end all”. Having too many names competing for largely the same vote had only served to keep the left divided and kept it removed from power, decade after decade.

Both of the NDP’s original constituent parts, the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) and the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), were themselves the result of mergers that just made sense.

So let’s not pretend that mergers are an alien concept. They can work, and in the NDP’s case, could work much better, if the merger itself is not so limiting in its constitution as to alienate the additional voters needed to routinely form governments.

The word “new” in the New Democratic Party was a fine name for the new national party that resulted from the merger of the New Party (as the CCF had renamed itself) and the CLC, way back in 1961.

But it has been 56 years, for heaven’s sake.

Many folks would love to entertain something that actually is new and fresh, whether or not it is marketed with that buzzword that so many “Mad Men” beat to death over the ensuing decades.

Today, the word “green” is the new “new”, with more colour and content.

It is not just “new and improved”; it is value-laden, evocative, and ideologically neutral.

Yet on its own, as the only label for a party, the word “green” suggests a singular focus that is at once unfair and potentially too myopic, precisely because it’s more of a social movement than a cogent ideology.

The bottom line in party-building should be two-fold.

The first thing partisans need to ask and answer is this: what is it we really stand for, as our raison d’être? What is it we hope to achieve through the exercise of power?

The second question they need to answer is, how might that best be accomplished?

If the B.C. NDP and B.C. Green parties were to honestly grapple with those two questions, unencumbered by personal, parochial, or other vested interests, I suspect they would rapidly find more common cause than not for uniting.

As their respective platforms showed in this last provincial election, their common ground is as vast as their material differences are minimal. The GreeNDP confidence and supply agreement makes that point in spades.

Truth is, under Andrew Weaver’s centrist leadership, the B.C. Greens have morphed into an arguably greener variant of the NDP, minus its formal affiliation with organized labour, and all that that suggests.

Is that distinction really so great that it should cause the two parties to remain permanently divided? Is it really grounds for those two natural allies to regard each other as opponents, when they agree on so much of the balance of the policy fields that they both are so dedicated to addressing?

I would hope not.

A Green Democratic Party candidate would stand a good chance of winning Vancouver-False Creek from the B.C. Liberals.

This is when foundation should be laid

If the two parties can agree on as much as their common vision for power-sharing suggests, why wouldn’t they want to consolidate their tenuous hold on power, by formally locking arms? Winning takes an army, the bigger, the better.

It is self-evident that a united GDP whose parties just garnered a combined 57 percent of the popular vote would stand a much better chance of beating a united Liberal party than either the NDP or Green party would stand on its own.

I won’t go through the whole vote-splitting argument; but suffice it to say, those two parties’ best chance of defeating the one that barely won the largest number of votes and seats is to unite. Ideally, while also hoping that the Liberals fracture into smaller coalitions.

Having been there, done that, with the old Social Credit party, which essentially divided itself into three parties (Socreds, Liberals, B.C. Reform) before inevitably reuniting under the B.C. Liberal label, I know this.

Factionalism is never the best formula for effecting positive change, which can only be achieved by people who hold power and who are committed to working with each other. When people allow themselves to be divided by their relatively minor differences, the first casualty is usually the goals they share in common.

Parties seem eternal, but the coalitions that define them are ephemeral. They either liberate or limit their capacity for effecting change in government.

Today’s lesson is this: a Wildrose, as it were, by any other name, might smell as sweet to those who are naturally drawn to its odour, in pursuit of power and all that it affords.

The time to think about that, New Democrats and Greens, is now, united as you are, of sorts.

The time to contemplate next steps is now, in anticipation of the referendum on P.R., however it goes, while you remain in the catbird’s seat.

Presumably, their interest in embracing that undetermined model is not driven entirely by self-interest. It is, rather, rooted in what they believe to be the best and fairest way of producing proportionately representative results, for all parties that field candidates and win votes.

I realize, it runs against the grain to even raise the prospect of uniting those two parties in light of their respective recent gains—one in government, by the grace of the other, whose balance of power rests on a fluke of political circumstance.

Yet consider this.

Typically, it is when parties lose power that they become most vulnerable to fissions. Or sometimes, they lose power because those factions materialize and splinter their coalitions.

Only when the negative consequences of those largely artificial divisions become abundantly clear do those losing parties tend to wrap their mind around healing the wounds that gave rise to those divisions in the first place.

Losing—especially repeatedly—can be a powerful motivator for partisans to look beyond their labels, and to reunite as the natural allies they are, in pursuit of what is really most important: winning power, to use power, to achieve good things.

It is the rare party, indeed, that can seize the moment to unite with another when they each feel they have just won something they wanted, be it power or the balance of power.

It is tough to contemplate sharing one’s hallowed turf, as a long-term strategic imperative; one that rightly sees unity as a better route to power, which alone can produce the commonly desired change that is so elusive to those who choose to remain in silos of contrived distinction.

Even rarer is the party that chooses to do that while holding power, acting from a position of strength, instead of waiting until it is defeated, largely for the lack of that resolve.

Think about it, GreeNDP. Just doing that would blow the Liberals’ socks off.

It’s official. Alberta’s Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties have voted to merge into the United Conservative Party. Some 95 percent of the voting Wildrose and Progressive Conservative members ratified the proposal. NDP premier Rachel Notley’s worst nightmare has come true. It raises the question: should British Columbia’s Greens and New Democrats also formally unite, perhaps […]

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Tomahawk Barbeque reduces opening hours because it can’t find cooks

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A popular burger joint on Vancouver’s North Shore is reducing its operating hours on weekdays because it can’t find enough kitchen staff to stay open.

Tomahawk is famous for its burgers—it’s been serving them for the past 90 years. But Charles Chamberlain, the restaurant’s owner, announced in a Facebook post last week that the Tomahawk would be closing at 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday because of a shortage of workers.

“A lot of places in the industry [are] going through this. Either not open for lunch, or not open for dinner,” Chamberlain told CTV News.

He considered asking his staff to work double shifts, but in the end decided he should just close instead of giving customers a sub-par meal.

He’s tried looking for new employees, but so far has had no luck.

“I had four interviews, and they all met the qualifications. But when it came time to show up, none of them did,” he said.

In Chamberlain’s experience, a lack of workers in the hospitality industry is a common problem on the North Shore.

Ian Tostenson, president of the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association agrees.

“Everybody’s competing for that labour,” he said. “The issue is more people are leaving the industry than are coming into the industry. It’s not like it’s a bad industry.”

Chamberlain says he’s offering competitive wages, too. He’ll offer grill cooks $18-20 per hour.

Jaasiel Santos works as a grill cook at the Tomahawk. She says the already labour intensive job is being made more difficult because she’s one of the only remaining cooks.

“There’s only two of use left,” she said. “And when it’s busy like this, you know.”

Chamberlain says as soon as he can find qualified people to work in his kitchen he’ll reopen for dinner on weekdays.

In the meantime, he’s inviting anyone who’s looking for a kitchen job to apply to the Tomahawk.

With a report from CTV’s Sarah MacDonald.

A popular burger joint on Vancouver’s North Shore is reducing its operating hours on weekdays because it can’t find enough kitchen staff to stay open. Tomahawk is famous for its burgers—it’s been serving them for the past 90 years. But Charles Chamberlain, the restaurant’s owner, announced in a Facebook post last week that the Tomahawk […]

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3 out-of-the-box ideas for a BC Liberal comeback

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No doubt, former premier Christy Clark is working the backrooms of the B.C. Liberal party plotting to remain leader into the next election.

She’ll face long odds, considering that only one premier west of Quebec has ever managed to return to power after their party was defeated in a provincial campaign.

Consider what’s happened in three other parties where the leader outlasted his or her welcome:

* In 2010, 13 B.C. NDP caucus members went public with their objections to Carole James’s leadership. She stepped down.

* In 2001, 13 Canadian Alliance members created an “Independent Alliance Caucus” because they weren’t happy with Stockwell Day’s leadership. Some returned to caucus, but seven formed their own “Democratic Representative Caucus”. The party held a leadership race and Stephen Harper emerged as the winner.

* Four members of then premier Bill Vander Zalm’s Social Credit MLAs left the caucus to express their opposition. Vander Zalm did not lead his party into the next election.

It would be very easy for a handful of B.C. Liberal caucus members to cook up a reason to sit as independents if Clark doesn’t resign. If you’re wondering who might be the first to bolt, I recommend keeping an eye on MLAs Sam Sullivan, Marvin Hunt, Jane Thornthwaite, Ralph Sultan, and Jackie Tegart.

Even if no B.C. Liberal MLAs leave caucus, Clark still has a serious credibility issue with a large swath of the B.C. electorate, particularly in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island.

If the party wants to stage a lasting comeback, it’s going to have to address this with some out-of-the-box ideas.

Here are three to consider:

Could B.C.’s next premier be Councillor Doug White of the Snuneymuxw First Nation? You read it here first.

1. Elect a respected Indigenous person as party leader

Nothing would go further in rebranding the B.C. Liberals than having a progressive Indigenous person heading the party. It would destabilize the NDP and the Greens, who’ve framed the B.C. Liberals as captives of Canada’s oil industry.

New Skeena B.C. Liberal MLA Ellis Ross will be the first name that might come to mind for members of his caucus. But Ross represents the more rural part of B.C. that is already fairly safe B.C. Liberal territory.

What the B.C. Liberals really need is an Indigenous leader who will appeal to urban and suburban voters and possibly help the party make a breakthrough on Vancouver Island.

The obvious choice, in my mind, would be Councillor Doug White of the Snuneymuxw First Nation in the Nanaimo area. White is a brilliant and articulate lawyer, a former director of the Indigenous Bar Association of Canada, and a former chief of his First Nation. His Coast Salish name is Kwul’a’sul’tun and his Nuu-chah-nulth name is Tlii’shin.

Moreoever, White was elected by fellow chiefs to a three-year term on the First Nations Summit.

As I write this, I can hear readers saying: “What about the Kinder Morgan pipeline? Where does White stand on this?”

My answer? The pipeline’s fate will be decided by the Supreme Court of Canada.

White could credibly respond to that question by saying that it really doesn’t matter what any politician thinks because judges will make the final ruling. It’s not really a provincial issue and the NDP and Greens aren’t being straight if they think they can overrule the courts of this country.

“If the court rejects the project, then it will be up to the federal government to decide if it will invoke Section 33 of the Constitution to determine if it will proceed,” White might say. “And we all know that Justin Trudeau is very unlikely to invoke this notwithstanding clause of the constitution. That’s because his father Pierre wasn’t happy about this clause in the first place.”

Then Trudeau could dutifully step forward and confirm what White said was true.

“Yes indeed, my Liberal government will not invoke the notwithstanding clause should the courts invalidate the pipeline approval,” Trudeau might say.

Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, a hereditary chief from the Ahousaht First Nation, would be a formidable B.C. Liberal candidate should he decide to enter provincial politics.
Yolande Cole

If White were to run for leader of the B.C. Liberal party, he would probably be backed by Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould’s political machine. He would also likely enjoy the support of key Indigenous leaders such as former Assembly of First Nations grand chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo and the Grant family at Musqueam.

And if White were to win the B.C. Liberal leadership, former Musqueam councillor Wade Grant (son of Wendy Grant-John) just might step forward as a B.C. Liberal candidate against the NDP’s David Eby in Vancouver-Point Grey. Grant is a former member of the Vancouver police board and has a high profile in the constituency.

Atleo is a former chancellor of Vancouver Island University, which has made reconciliation with First Nations a core aspect of its mission.

The reality is that NDP premier John Horgan took Nanaimo for granted when he refused to appoint either one of his two Nanaimo MLAs, Leonard Krog and Doug Routley, to cabinet.

Were both of them not to seek reelection and the B.C. Liberals were to run Atleo and White in these two seats, the NDP might be in for a rude awakening. And if progressives around the province saw the B.C. Liberals led by an articulate Indigenous leader like White, it could generate a wave of support, particularly among those who put reconciliation near or at the top of their concerns. 

Imagine the headlines if former Musqueam councillor Wade Grant took on Attorney General David Eby in Vancouver-Point Grey.

Of course, there are many Indigenous leaders who support the NDP, including Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs. But if the leadership of the First Nations Summit were to throw its support behind the B.C. Liberals, this has the potential to redraw the map of B.C. politics.

It could be the NDP’s worst nightmare if White, Atleo, Grant, and perhaps Grand Chief Doug Kelly of the Stó:lō Tribal Council were to run in the next election on a platform of promoting economic development for Indigenous people.

Once the NDP and Greens introduce campaign-finance reform, the B.C. Liberals will no longer be as beholden to billionaire grocery barons and developers, car dealers, and the fossil-fuel executives who’ve filled their party coffers.

That will clear the way for the B.C. Liberals to evolve in unexpected ways. And that poses a longer term threat to B.C. NDP rule, particularly if the public feels that Horgan is overly beholden to organized labour. 

2. Oppose the False Creek Flats hospital

This is a no-brainer. Providence Health Care was pushing this for years. It couldn’t get approved by former premier Gordon Campbell and former health minister Kevin Falcon.

For many years, the hospital was also opposed by Sam Sullivan, who preferred retaining industrial-zoned land while upgrading the existing St. Paul’s Hospital on Burrard Street.

Clark and former finance minister Mike de Jong eventually capitulated to Providence. There was too much money to be made in real estate along Burrard and besides, the politicians could justify this by saying St. Paul’s is an old building not suited for the needs of the 21st century.

The public in Vancouver also likes the idea of a shiny new hospital.

But here’s the problem for the B.C. Liberals: hardly anyone in Vancouver supports their party. If they’re going to win the next election, they’re going to need to make a big bang in Maple Ridge and Surrey.

The population is growing far more rapidly there than in Vancouver. And Surrey has only one acute-care hospital.

It’s easy to see how Surrey residents might be troubled to see Vancouver getting another major hospital on top of a massively expensive upgrade to B.C. Place Stadium, a shiny new convention centre, and five times as many SkyTrain stations as their city.

A new B.C. Liberal leader might want to suggest that in the interest of fairness, it’s more important to study the wisdom of developing a new and smaller acute-care facility that will serve the growing areas of Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, and Surrey. 

They could say that in the meantime, St. Paul’s Hospital on Burrard will be upgraded, just as former health minister Falcon recommended.

It would cost the B.C. Liberals some votes in Vancouver, but that would be more than offset by gains elsewhere in the region.

3. Promise affordable housing on False Creek Flats

The proposed hospital at False Creek Flats is going to gentrify the area that’s home to many low-income residents. They’ll be displaced.

That will lead to protests and a barrage of negative media coverage. But if the hospital isn’t built, the B.C. Liberals could promise lots of subsidized housing instead. They would look like they were serious about addressing Vancouver’s housing crisis.

For years, industrial land has been preserved as job space. But increasingly, urban residents are working from their homes. A case could be made for converting some of the industrial land at False Creek Flats for more housing, particularly if it were for rental units at affordable rates.

It wouldn’t please the property owners along Burrard Street, who will reap a windfall in asset appreciation once the hospital is gone. But if the NDP government introduces campaign finance reform, the B.C. LIberals won’t have as much use for them in the future, anyway.

The party is going to need populist policies that speak to the concern of millennial voters. In that regard, nothing tops housing.

The only barrier is Metro Vancouver’s regional growth strategy, which has strict rules about converting industrial land to other uses. But let’s get real: the provincial government has a very big stick and at the end of the day, it can override a regional growth strategy with a legislative change.

It happened several years ago when Metro Vancouver opposed the pace of development on UBC’s Point Grey Campus. The province overruled the region, and barely anyone noticed.

No doubt, former premier Christy Clark is working the backrooms of the B.C. Liberal party plotting to remain leader into the next election. She’ll face long odds, considering that only one premier west of Quebec has ever managed to return to power after their party was defeated in a provincial campaign. Consider what’s happened in […]

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Our Community: A purr-fect deal for cat lovers

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The B.C. SPCA is advertising that you can find love for half the price as it kicks off a cat-adoption promotion from Monday until Aug. 2 at all of its locations across the province.

“We’re hoping this promotion, which offers 50 per cent off the usual adoption fees for all adult cats, will encourage anyone who has been considering cat adoption to take the next step and make it reality,” said Lorie Chortyk, general manager, community relations. “With wildfires sweeping our province, it is even more urgent to get homeless cats in our care into loving homes so that we can free up shelter space to offer temporary emergency shelter for animals affected by the fires.”

The promotion is presented by Hill’s Science Diet, and adoptions come with a free bag of food.

There are several benefits to adopting a more mature cat over a kitten, as they’re calmer and more settled, litter-trained, fully grown, with personalities already developed, so potential adopters are more aware of what they’re going to get.

The B.C. SPCA rescues nearly 15,000 cats and kittens every year.

To adopt an adult cat this weekend, visit your local B.C. SPCA branch during business hours, or visit spca.bc.ca/adopt to search for adoptable adult felines.

 

Young workers targets of safety campaign

A one-armed drummer has become the unofficial poster boy as WorkSafe B.C. launches its Young-Worker Safety Campaign.

Jack Thomas had only been on the job for two months when, at 17, he lost half of his right arm. He was working near a conveyer belt that had been turned off when the belt suddenly started up and his sleeve was caught in the machinery.

“It was a summer job,” said Thomas. “I didn’t think at all about making my own safety a priority. It just wasn’t on my mind.”

The campaign is reaching out to both employers of young workers — and young workers themselves — to be vigilant about workplace safety. Between 2012 and 2016, more than 32,000 young workers ages 15 to 24 were injured on the job. Of those, more than 3,600 were seriously injured — an average of 14 per week.

Jack reflects often on how different his life might have been. He hopes telling his story will help other young workers think about possible hazards in their workplaces and speak up.

“All young-worker injuries and deaths are unacceptable,” said Trudi Rondou, WorkSafe B.C. senior manager of industry and labour services.

“We want to address reservations young workers may have about raising safety concerns with their bosses, encourage them to trust their instincts and help them understand their rights and responsibilities on the job.”

WorkSafe B.C. launched the Listen to Your Gut awareness campaign to encourage young workers to speak up when faced with a potentially unsafe situation. Young workers can visit worksafebc.com/ListenToYourGut for tips on bringing safety concerns to their bosses.

The organization’s also has short videos titled What I Know Now, based on employers reflecting on their first jobs — and lessons learned. The videos represent three industry sectors with high numbers of young-worker serious-injury claims: The service sector (restaurants), the construction sector and the retail sector. The videos and other resources can be found at worksafeBC.com/WhatIKnowNow.

WorkSafe B.C. is an independent provincial statutory agency governed by a board of directors that serves about 2.3 million workers and more than 225,000 employers. For more information, go to worksafebc.com.

 

Camp Courage aimed at children at risk

Last week, 80 children participated in the first Camp Courage in Nanaimo, a day camp that raises awareness of the role of emergency-service personnel.

The camp is an opportunity for children at risk to meet uniformed emergency service personnel. The camps are a joint effort between the RCMP, International Association of Firefighters Local 905, Nanaimo Parks and Recreation, and Nanaimo Fire Rescue.

Too often, children see people in uniform during serious events that can involve negative circumstances. Camp Courage provides an opportunity for these children to gain confidence and recognize that uniformed emergency-services personnel are safe.

Participants included 42 neighbourhood children and 38 Syrian refugee children.

At the camp, the children got an opportunity to be kids around static displays of firefighting apparatus. They got to take part in training drills adapted into playful activities — such as a mini-firefighter challenge, bucket brigade and the fire-safety house fire-evacuation demonstration.

Fire crews demonstrated tools and fire-hose streams, and helped kids dress up as real firefighters in authentic gear.

For more information, go to nanaimo.ca.

 

Co-op donates $51,000 to Wildfire Appeal

The Canadian Red Cross recently received almost $51,000 toward its B.C. Wildfire Appeal thanks to a donation from Vancouver Island Co-ops and Federated Co-operative in Saskatoon.

“We are committed to supporting the communities where we do business and causes that matter to our member-owners. In light of the recent wildfires throughout the province, we are honoured to support the ongoing efforts of the Canadian Red Cross,” said Dave Hoy, chair of the Vancouver Island Co-op Management Group and CEO/general manager of Peninsula Co-op.

Apart from the local store, contributions have come from Mid-Island, Port Alberni, Comox, Tofino, Ucluelet, North Island, Hornby and Sointula.

Federated Co-op recently donated $1 million over five years to the Canadian Red Cross in support of its Disaster Management Program across Western Canada.

For more information, go to peninsulaco-op.com.

 

Music on two wheels roams Victoria

Audience participation is taken to the next level as listeners pedal to hear the tunes at the inaugural Victoria Bicycle Music Festival July 30 at two outdoor venues in Victoria.

Local and regional musicians will perform at the family-friendly event. Members of the audience get to contribute their energy to the event by hopping on one of the two generator bikes and helping to power the music.

“It’s been a dream of mine since I was young to learn how to generate electricity using people power, and I am happy to say that it is being crossed off my bucket list,” said Vic Horvath, a local musician and organizer of the event. “Showing others how to make their own energy is an incredible feat. On top of that, the Bicycle Music Festival is giving artists the option to really think about how much [energy] they consume.”

The event is free to attend. The festival kicks off with performances at 1 and 2 p.m. in Central Park (beside Crystal Pool). The festival then packs up and moves over to Vic West by bike. MEGANG, a one ma’am busking band, will get things rolling in Banfield Park at 4 p.m. and then BOUSADA (a.k.a. Graeme Bousada) will headline the festival with a solo performance at 5 p.m.

For more information, go to vicbikemusicfest.ca.

 

Help to Strike Out Diabetes

Diabetes Canada is partnering with the Victoria HarbourCats, Island Savings, Pacific Coastal Airlines and New Balance/Frontrunners to host a special Strike Out Diabetes game night when the HarbourCats play the Kelowna Falcons at Royal Athletic Park, July 25.

The event is both a fundraiser and an opportunity to educate and inspire people to take steps to making healthier lifestyle choices to reduce their risk of diabetes.

Funds raised will be used to send a child with Type 1 diabetes to camp and support the local Diabetes Canada Food Skills for Families program.

There are about 100,000 individuals in the Capital Regional District living with diabetes.

Island Savings will donate $100 for every strike-out thrown during the game. Island Savings is also an avid supporter of the Full Cupboard, a program that raises food, funds and awareness for Island food banks.

Other activities include face-painting, button-making, a 50/50, a draw to win a pair of New Balance shoes or Pacific Coastal airlines return flight for two to Kelowna.

Regular admission applies. Tickets are $12 to $25. The game starts at 6:35 p.m. July 25 at Royal Athletic Park, 1014 Caledonia Ave.

For more information, go to diabetes.ca or harbourcats.com.

 

Victoria artist finalist in Art Battle

Pénélope Angelin of Victoria is one of the finalists at 2017 Art Battle Canada, with the finale taking place in Toronto on Thursday.

Art Battle is a global tournament of live art. At each event, the audience chooses the winner of a multi-round timed art competition. That winner goes on to compete at higher levels in new cities and countries.

Art Battle Canada will bring Canada’s 16 finalists together Thursday at the Great Hall in Toronto.

This is the finale to the 2016/2017 Art Battle season, with more than 150 events across the country since August 2016.

Angelin is joined by Shannon Thiesen of Abbotsford to represent B.C.

Recent international events have been held in New York, Amsterdam, Genoa, Sao Paulo, Los Angeles, Manila and Tokyo.

For more information, go to artbattle.com.

 

Big Bike raises funds for Heart and Stroke

Sutton Group — West Coast Realty’s 29-person Sutton Lister team raised almost $1,200 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada during a charity event in June.

The group participated in the foundation’s Big Bike fundraiser.

For two days in June local teams took turns riding a multi-person bicycle for two kilometres. The event raised more than $38,000 overall during the annual fun event.

For more information, go to suttonspirit.com or heartandstroke.ca.

 

Party on the Plaza returning

Proceeds from last year’s Vining Street Party on the Plaza have been distributed to support local community-improvement projects.

The organization donated $10,000 to the Learning Curve Society toward serving children with learning and behavioural challenges.

It also paid for lighting up of the Fernwood Community Association heritage building, 1923 Fernwood Rd., which enhances existing lighting in Fernwood Square and Fernwood Village.

The Vining Street Party on the Plaza returns Sept. 10. The group is on Facebook.

The B.C. SPCA is advertising that you can find love for half the price as it kicks off a cat-adoption promotion from Monday until Aug. 2 at all of its locations across the province. “We’re hoping this promotion, which offers 50 per cent off the usual adoption fees for all adult cats, will encourage anyone […]

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Editorial: The challenges facing the new cabinet

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Premier John Horgan’s mostly fresh-faced gender-balanced cabinet begins it mandate under trial by fire. More than 40,000 British Columbians have been forced from their homes by 152 wildfires burning in B.C.’s interior. One of the incoming government’s first actions was to extend a provincial state of emergency and announce payments, drawn from a $100-million emergency wildfire fund, to evacuees of $600 a household for every 14 days they are unable to return home.  The social, environmental and economic costs of this year’s forest fire season will be enormous.

But fire is just one of the many challenges newly-appointed ministers face. After all, there are campaign promises to keep.  One of those promises was the creation of a separate Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, carving out responsibility for expanding mental health services and managing the opioid crisis, from the Ministry of Health. Public health staffers have expressed concern that their institutions will be buried in bureaucratic red tape having to deal with two ministries instead of one.

Long-serving government staffers should know from experience that it probably won’t work. In the first term of Gordon Campbell’s Liberal government in 2001, the government had a similar idea and created a Ministry of Health Planning separate from the Ministry of Health. The result was two silos with two ministers, two deputy ministers and two full teams of public servants that inevitably failed to accomplish much of anything before being merged back into one ministry of health within two years.

Health Minister Adrian Dix, who manages the single largest expenditure in government, and Mental Health and Addiction Minister Judy Darcy will have to coordinate their approach to a societal problem that involves homelessness, poverty, aging out of care, education, policing and courts. Meanwhile, Dix will have to work on reducing waiting times for health services, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, improving seniors’ care, building new hospitals and establishing urgent care centres per the NDP platform.

Only slightly less daunting is the task assigned to Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claire Trevena and parliamentary secretary for TransLink Bowinn Ma. They will be responsible for eliminating bridge tolls, as the NDP promised, replacing the Pattullo Bridge, finding an alternative to the Massey Tunnel replacement project (assuming they kill the 10-lane bridge proposed by the previous government) and expediting projects in Vancouver to build a Broadway corridor subway and in Surrey to build an LRT line. 

Education Minister Rob Fleming will have to find hundreds of millions of dollars to raise the Liberals’ $360 million classroom enhancement fund to satisfy the B.C. Teachers Federation, which vigorously backed the NDP during the election campaign. And Housing Minister Selina Robinson will have to somehow address affordability and oversee construction of thousands of rental and social housing units.

Children and Family Development Minister Katrine Conroy must implement the NDP’s $10-a-day child care plan while Labour Minister Harry Bains begins to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2021 and introduce amendments to the labour code to eliminate the secret ballot on union certification votes.

Shane Simpson, minister of social development and poverty reduction, is tasked with setting in motion a poverty reduction plan; and Melanie Mark, minister of advanced eduction, will have to fund $1,000 completion grants for post-secondary graduates and make student loans interest free.

Finance Minister and Deputy Premier Carole James will be asked to meet all of these commitments while honouring the NDP pledge to balance the budget, a job made a little easier thanks to a $2.8 billion surplus left by the previous government.  

Horgan’s appointments for cabinet, senior public servants and heads of provincial agencies seem well considered. His choices for deputy ministers are, in many cases, non-partisan, having left in place competent people who have served the public well. 

His government will be sorely tested in the months ahead while it grapples with these challenges while, at the same time, governing with the slimmest of majorities.

 

 

 

 

 

Premier John Horgan’s mostly fresh-faced gender-balanced cabinet begins it mandate under trial by fire. More than 40,000 British Columbians have been forced from their homes by 152 wildfires burning in B.C.’s interior. One of the incoming government’s first actions was to extend a provincial state of emergency and announce payments, drawn from a $100-million emergency […]

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