Category: Dermod Travis

B.C. budgets need more context, fewer sacred cows

When times are tough, governments like to spin bad news budgets as a call for every segment of society to share in the pain.

Rarely, when times are good, do they set out a blueprint to share the gain, something the last government paid dearly for.

Finance minister Carole James rightly recognized that B.C.’s social fabric is a little frayed and some mending might be the order of the day.

While her budgetary themes were dead on, the devil is still in the detail.

Read More

B.C. has some tough crowds to please budget time

British Columbia is often defined by what divides us: geography, politics, social interests, environmental issues.

Something else that divides us? Our bank balances or the size of our payday loans.

B.C. is home to the uber-wealthy, the mere wealthy runner-ups, the keeping our heads above water crowd and the four in 10 British Columbians who are $200 away from not being able to pay their bills, that last one according to the latest MNP Consumer Debt Index report.

Tough crowds to please. Throw last month’s provincial budget into the mix and it’s sure to spark some reaction from all quarters.

Pity the poor scribes who have to make sense of it all in a matter of hours during the budget lock-up, ready to tweet as the Finance minister rises in the legislature.

Then the days go by and the impact of various budgetary measures begin to sink in.

Read More

The mysterious Mr. Beattie (and Site C)

Sometimes the real identity behind a fake identity story can be just as good a story. This may be one of those times.

Meet Michael Beattie, a resident of Brantford, Ontario.

Last month, Mr. Beattie had a BA in engineering from McGill University, a MBA from Western University (sic) and “a personal net worth of $228 million,” all according to his very fictitious bio on his very fictitious website.

Turns out he’s a convicted perjurer and fraudster and is facing new charges for fraud over $5,000, laundering proceeds of crime, and possession of proceeds of property obtained by crime over $5,000 in Ontario.

He had been Caledon, Ontario’s fleet manager in the town’s public works department, when he was charged in 2016.

Beattie’s lawyer for his latest endeavour – Grant McGlaughlin at Goodmans LLP, a Bay Street, Toronto law firm – initially “denied that his client was the man who was charged,” The Globe and Mail reported.

This week, Beattie was dumped by the firm.

Why is any of this relevant to British Columbia?

Read More

Is this really the best way to choose a party leader?

When a political party sets rules for a leadership race and tries to be all things to all members, the result can end up looking more like the proverbial camel designed by a committee than a true and fair method for members to choose a new leader.

As they did in 2011, the B.C. Liberal party opted to continue with its practice of favouring ridings over members.

Read More

May I help you with some of that baggage?

When the political landscape changes, it changes fast.

On July 27, the B.C. Liberal party was one case of a bad flu away from trying to regain power.

But in less than 24 hours, former Premier Christy Clark was gone, both as leader and as MLA.

Within five weeks the race was on to find a successor, but there was one more tectonic shift to come.

Read More

Overheard at the bank, B.C. Hydro’s first meeting with the loans officer

So you’d like to borrow $10.7 billion?

Yes sir. It’s for a hydro-electric dam.

Well that’s a lot of green for green energy. How exactly did you arrive at that cost?

Happy to report we went to the same team that came up with the $1.5 billion estimate for the Port Mann bridge. They were so close to the mark with that $3.6 billion project we had to go back to them again.

Do you have a business plan at all that I could share with my superiors?

Read More