Category: Dermod Travis


Don’t overlook the cost of dirty money on B.C.’s communities

With last week’s release of Dirty Money, the report on money laundering in B.C. casinos by former RCMP deputy commissioner Peter German, the province that Maclean’s Magazine once called the most corrupt in Canada now finds itself an also ran to B.C.

A lot of public attention has been focused on the shock and awe videos that Attorney General David Eby played at that news conference, but not so much on the connections between crime, gangs and money laundering.

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B.C.’s housing crisis rants

Ever sense that you’ve been listening to one, or more, of these rants again and again over the past few years?

“It’s foreign buyers. No, it’s not. Show me your proof. The CMHC said so. No, they didn’t. They said there wasn’t sufficient data to form a conclusion.”

“It’s all about supply. Yeah, right, what supply? Every time you guys dream up a new condo project you sell it all through pre-sales in China and Singapore. You’re a xenophobe.”

“It’s the city’s fault. More to the point it’s Vision Vancouver’s fault and their stupid rules. Hey, condos don’t leak any longer, you’d think they’d trust us by now. And don’t get me started on their bike-lanes.”

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Who’s minding the Site C store with all eyes on Trans Mountain?

Lost in the threats and counter-threats, charges and counter-charges over the Trans Mountain pipeline is news that B.C. Hydro will be cutting a cheque to Flatiron/Graham, principal contractors on the Lower Mainland Transmission Line, for approximately $100 million following a semi-successful arbitration, depending upon your perspective.

First announced in 2009, the then-$602 million line was to be completed by 2014. Naturally, it came in “on budget and on time” in 2015, at a cost of $743 million or – in the words of then-president and CEO Jessica McDonald – “about $18 million higher than Hydro’s original budget of $725 million.”

It was another B.C. megaproject riddled with errors from the get-go: failure to consult with First Nations, sub-standard steel imported from India and frustrations that led the utility to complete one section of the line itself.

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Time for a rethink on candidate nominations, starting at the very beginning: vetting

It was hardly front page news on the west coast, but St. John’s lawyer Ches Crosbie, son of former Progressive Conservative MP John Crosbie, was elected the new leader of the Newfoundland and Labrador Progressive Conservative Party last month.

It’s noteworthy because three years ago, the Conservative party of Canada, rejected Ches’ federal candidacy, claiming in his words that “decision-makers at party headquarters in Ottawa decided I wasn’t the type of candidate they wanted.”

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Big money’s last hurrah

The big money party is over and what a party it was. Given its well-deserved reputation in B.C. it’s fitting that it went out with a bang in 2017.

First, though, a walk down memory lane for an appreciation of its shock and awe legacy on B.C. politics.

Between 2005 and 2017, B.C.’s political parties reported $206.9 million in donations ($250+), with the B.C. Green party raking in $4.3 million, the B.C. NDP ($63 million) and the B.C. Liberal party ($132 million). Trade unions accounted for $20.6 million of the haul, individuals ($74.9 million) and corporations ($90.4 million), with the balance split among unincorporated businesses and non-profits.

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