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WHO REALLY OWNS CITY HALL 6: Municipal boundaries

The purpose of local government, as defined in the Municipal Act, sec. 3(a), is to provide “good government for its community.” The Act does not define what a community is, and there are many ways to define a community. For the purpose of local government, a community can be defined as “a body of people living in the same...

COMMENT: Time for outrage!

The day I picked up a copy of Stéphane Hessel’s Time for Outrage! at my local bookstore was the day the Royal Bank of Canada’s hiring practices made headlines. There was confusion about what RBC was being accused of. Was it outsourcing? Was it off-shoring? Was it an abuse of the temporary foreign workers’ program? Whatever ...

Greasing the wheels of B.C.'s political parties

So how much is too much? It's a question worth asking after B.C.'s political parties reported their 2012 fundraising hauls last week. And quite the haul it was. Between them, the B.C. Liberals and NDP brought in more than $17 million. The Liberals alone raised $10.15 million, nearly $4 million dollars more than their Ontario...

OP/ED: WHO REALLY OWNS CITY HALL 4: Referendum Exemptions

My last column gave examples of referendum procedures with less than democratic consequences and of a two-stage referendum process which conforms to the principles of the Yukon’s Municipal Act. In this column we will examine the rationale for the Act’s exclusion of two politically sensitive issues, budget and taxes, from the...

OP/ED: IntegrityBC's all-candidates challenge to party leaders

IntegrityBC is issuing a challenge to every party leader in B.C.: attend at least one all-candidates' meeting in your constituency in advance of the May 14th general election. The organization issued the challenge following Premier Christy Clark's decision not to attend any all-candidates' meetings in her riding of Vancouver-Point...

COMMENT: Five oil spills in one week: 'accidents' or business as usual?

UPDATE: Since publication of this story this morning, yet another oil spill has come across the wire - a CP Rail spill from a derailment in northern Ontario - raising the total of spills this past week to SIX. It's been another appallingly bad week for proponents of pipeline safety and new oil infrastructure. If the industry's...

B.C. families pay less at the pharmacy

British Columbians will soon notice they are paying less for many of the generic prescription drugs they need for their health. Starting April 1, a new drug pricing regulation will reduce the price of generic drugs to 25 per cent of the brand name price, from the current rate of 35 per cent of the brand name price. The price...

Majority back ban on corporate and union donations to B.C. political parties

A majority of British Columbians support a ban on corporate and union donations to B.C. provincial political parties, according to a public opinion survey commissioned by IntegrityBC and conducted by the Mustel Group on their BC Omnibus. When asked: “Do you believe that corporations and unions should be prohibited from donating...

COMMENT: Who Really Owns City Hall? Referendums, good and bad

In my last column we examined the referendum and its role in a democratic local government. When talking about referendum we cannot afford to ignore the importance of the rules that govern the referendum’s application. As with elections, the rules determine the efficacy of the referendum. Efficacy for the purpose of this...

COMMENT: Water they waiting for?

March 22nd is World Water Day – established by the UN as a day to contemplate the importance of access to water for life on earth. On World Water Day nearly 2000 children around the world will die from diarrhoea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation – just like every other day of the year. It is almost impossible to...

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