Last summer I got out of Vancouver and toured northern BC. While the trip was mostly for pleasure, my inner economist could not resist some industrial tourism and visits to resource towns and major industrial sites that are the heart and soul of BC’s resource economy. Forestry dominates near Prince George, fishing at Prince Rupert, …
BC needs a lot of new affordable housing and any build out should ensure that it meets the highest standards for energy efficiency, including zero-carbon operations. Residential, commercial and institutional buildings produce 11% of BC’s GHG emissions, mainly from burning natural gas for heating and hot water. Updated building codes are needed to make the …
In December 2020, the BC government released its first Climate Change Accountability Report, the result of 2019 legislation aimed at improving the reporting and oversight of climate action in BC. The report lacks accountability in one important respect: it is not an independent assessment and reads like previous BC government reports on climate action that …
Canada launched Bill C-12 last month, a transparency and accountability act designed to achieve “net-zero” emissions by 2050. The government has also pledged to increase the planned 30 per cent emissions reductions by 2030 it committed to under the 2015 Paris Agreement even though as of 2018, the latest year for which data are available, …
Resource development has long been central to BC’s economy. But commodity prices swing, industries consolidate and patterns of demand change over time. When they do, resource industry workers are often left holding the bag. The price is often much more than just involuntary unemployment for laid-off workers, but also includes mental illness, increases in domestic …
Five years after the negotiation of the Paris agreement, the federal government is finally starting to walk the talk on climate change. Canada’s updated climate action plan, released December 11, is the most serious piece of climate policy we’ve yet seen from this government. It comes alongside new measures announced by 70 other governments as …
Alberta’s United Conservative Party (UCP) government implemented a multi-pronged strategy to demolish the vestiges of university autonomy and self-governance and to assert direct political control over post-secondary education institutions (PSEIs). This takeover stems from the UCP leaders’ ideological antipathy toward all public goods and their desire to recommodify education, health care and parks, while stripping …
The oil and gas royalty regime in British Columbia needs a major overhaul. The re-elected NDP promised during the election campaign to review oil and gas royalties and credits. In the context of a climate emergency the need for a managed wind-down is urgent. Despite “natural” gas being a finite greenhouse-gas-generating fossil fuel, the royalty …
Scientists predict caribou herds located in northeastern BC will go extinct within our lifetimes. How could this be? We were led to believe that environmental oversight introduced decades ago would protect this iconic Canadian species despite the large-scale industrial development that threatens them. We were promised a win-win: thriving caribou and a thriving economy. Fast …
An enduring lesson from COVID-19 is that where there’s a will there’s a way. Faced with a pandemic, governments have risen to the challenge and made profound changes that would have seemed impossible mere months before. We now need to shift this out-of-the-box thinking to the existential threat posed by climate change. The need to …
Even before the arrival of COVID-19, the history of the Second World War was making a remarkable comeback. Our movie theatres (remember those?), Netflix offerings and bookstore shelves were full of modern reboots of our mid-century wartime experience. Then the global pandemic struck, and suddenly, everyone is drawing comparisons to the Second World War.  As …
Last week my report “Reassessment of Need for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project” was published by the Parkland Institute and Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). The Canadian Energy Centre (aka Premier Jason Kenney’s “War Room”) took exception to my report and wrote a hit piece designed to discredit it,“A Matter of Fact: CCPA report …