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Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: BC Government Preventing Access To Information

I really hope this isn’t going on in other parts of the country too. BC’s Liberal government is far too corrupt.

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: BC Government Preventing Access To Information

I really hope this isn’t going on in other parts of the country too. BC’s Liberal government is far too corrupt.

staffroom confidential: Victoria School Board debates Outdoor Kindergarten Program of Choice

I was pleased this week to see some healthy debate at the Victoria School Board meeting about the continuation of the Outdoor Kindergarten Program of Choice. While I strongly support outdoor time and learning, I have said publicly before that I believe this should be provided for all children, not a select few. My commentary appeared when the program was first introduced as an Op-Ed piece in the Times Colonist. Here is Trustee Diane McNally’s report from her blog about the debate on renewing the program. While the Board did agree to one more year, the discussion is clearly beginning (Read more…)

staffroom confidential: The rise and fall (?) of the BCTF

Just over one year ago, BC teachers returned to class from what was the longest teacher strike in Canadian history. Teachers, upset with over a decade of deteriorating funding and particularly with large and complex classrooms, were unwilling to accept a contract offer which simply maintained the status quo. In one of the highest strike mandates in the BCTF’s history, they chose to strike. This was not something new for BC teachers. In fact, this was the third strike in a decade. Teachers walked off the job for two weeks in 2005, and for three days in 2012. Teachers in (Read more…) . . . → Read More: staffroom confidential: The rise and fall (?) of the BCTF

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Paying Back Our Carbon Debt

This is concerning information.

The scariest climate paragraph I've read today:

— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) July 13, 2015

So, how do our politicians (in B.C. and elsewhere) deal with the fact that we need to triple the size of our forests by 2050 to have a fair shot at avoiding 2 degree climate change (which will ruin everything)?

BREAKING: @AJWVictoriaBC calls for immediate emergency debate on #climatechange #bcpoli @BCGreens

— Adam Olsen (@AdamPOlsen) July 13, 2015

@chrisalecanada @BCGreens @AJWVictoriaBC Yes – I just started watching now as well – apparently gov & opposition shut (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Community Solar Garden to Open in BC

Germany, and to a lesser extent other nations, have championed community-owned sustainable energy production. In many ways it gives power to the people. Indeed, one way to encourage mass adoption of sustainable energy is to make policies which favour decentralized and community owned production. This means that big utility companies often oppose such efforts.

In British Columbia the city of Nelson may be the first city in Canada to take on this German-insipred approach. They are looking to open a solar facility which not only provides energy to the people it provides added revenue.

A community solar garden is a (Read more…)

Left Over: Corporate R & B: Get Over It…

Oilpatch could lose $100B without new pipelines, researchers warn Energy research firm suggests Western Canada producers won’t receive full value for oil exports

By Kyle Bakx, CBC News Posted: Jun 22, 2015 11:41 AM ET Last Updated: Jun 22, 2015 12:11 PM ET



Wah-wah-wah!!!! The whingeing of the rich and unscrupulous stirs only contempt in the rest of us..if they really were concerned about anything besides the grossness of their offshore accounts , they would spend more on remedying the damage done, finance refineries, and work toward sustainable energy..there is, believe it or not, money to be (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: “I wonder if she gets paid.”

I wonder if she gets paid. “@GreenpeaceCA: Arctic drilling is obscene. @Janefonda”

— Vivian Krause (@FairQuestions) June 12, 2015

I wonder if she gets paid, to ask that.

In the same time frame, Krause received significant funding from the oil, gas and mining industries and has said 90 per cent of her income in 2012, 2013 and 2014 was drawn from speaking fees and honorariums funded by industry sources.

Krause said the “90 per cent” comment was out of context, because she had “zero” income aside from her speaking arrangements. Krause said (Read more…)

PostArctica: When Punk Rock Hit Vancouver

Vancouver, 1978. So I am over at Glen Ward’s place and he puts an album on for me that he had ordered from Europe and we both were killing ourselves laughing through the whole thing, shaking our heads and pumping our fists, and just so damn high on this horrible, awful, ugly “new” stuff called Punk. It was awesome, simply awesome, to hear some rock music that was positively radical!

The 70’s were already done, Disco was everywhere. The Stones took a whack at it, Bowie was trying to own it, a terribly depressing time for a young fellow who (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: BC’s Carbon Emissions on the Rise

It was a good story while it lasted. Over the past few years, the BC government and many in the policy community have spun a tale about the remarkable success of BC’s climate action policies, with a big spotlight on the carbon tax as a driver of lower emissions while BC’s economy outperformed the rest of the country. In BC’s case, the carbon tax was announced in the February 2008 “green” budget, and implemented in July (starting at $10 per tonne, with annual $5 increments to the current $30 per tonne, in place since July 2012).

Because of time lags, (Read more…)

Left Over: Harper, You’ve Been Served…

“Woke up this mornin’ feelin’ fine…”

Despite every contrary act of the Harperoids, have to say that today is a good day..yes, C-51 passed, and, notably, with the self-destructive Junior Trudeau’s tacit approval…Omar Khadr may get bail, and, realizing how mean-tempered and petty Harper can be, I’m sure he’s doing everything he can, legitimate and otherwise, to prevent it…there is news today that the Cons managed to somehow neglect to spend 97 million earmarked for social services…Duffy’s lawyer is making mincemeat of the prosecution, while simultaneously holding up the Senate and its non-rules for public vilification..

Oh, yeah, and (Read more…)

staffroom confidential: Solidarity key to protecting public education

Hundreds of parents, teachers and students will be protesting education cuts in BC on Sunday. Families Against Cuts to Education is hosting the protests in five BC communities after yet another round of budget cuts for school boards and increased costs surreptitiously delivered through increases to BC Hydro rates and Medical Services Premiums. This, when BC already provides $1000 less per student than the Canadian average for per pupil funding.

The parent initiated rallies are inspiring to see after so many years in which government has fostered divisions between parents and teachers. There is no question that if we are (Read more…)

Left Over: Toxic Spills and the Toxic Con (tsk, tsk…) Response….


James Moore fires back at ‘political jabs’ over Vancouver oil spill Industry minister criticizes rush to blame before all facts are known

CBC News Posted: Apr 10, 2015 4:33 PM PT Last Updated: Apr 10, 2015 9:42 PM PT


As horrible as this event was, it did some good here in BC..this ugliness made it clear to all the naysayers bleating about jobs that NOTHING is worth even the chance of a spill..not to mention the fact that we need our Coast Guard and emergency stations, we need our lighthouses manned, we (Read more…)

staffroom confidential: Bill 11 – Is the BC government privatizing and seizing control of teacher professional development?

Yesterday the BC government introduced Bill 11 – new law that will, among other things, change the system of teacher professional development in BC. Without any consultation with teachers or their union, the BCTF, the government is legislating a new system of authorized continuing education that may be required to maintain teacher certification.

Not surprisingly, having been rebuffed by the BC courts twice with unilateral changes to teachers’ collective agreements, the government is trying a different tack. Leave the collective agreement provisions in place, but add new restrictions through the regulatory framework. Having failed to bargain teacher professional development changes, (Read more…)

staffroom confidential: Parents protest BC’s education budget cuts

Parents and education supports will be out on April 12th protesting the latest round of cuts to BC’s education budget (details here: Below is a post I wrote for outlining the cuts and swift responses from parents and Trustees. As Boards develop their budgets for next year, we are now hearing how these cuts will impact our school districts. — Parents and teachers continue to be in a state of shock since the B.C. Liberals announced yet more cuts and expense increases for B.C.’s beleaguered school districts. Teachers were on the (Read more…) . . . → Read More: staffroom confidential: Parents protest BC’s education budget cuts

Left Over: A California Cautionary Tale…Served Dry

Drought-ravaged L.A. looking to ‘sponge up’ every bit of rainwater New storm drains built to let rainwater ‘piddle out’ into soil, $1B emergency plan to add more

By Kim Brunhuber, CBC News Posted: Mar 20, 2015 4:39 PM ET Last Updated: Mar 20, 2015 10:20 PM ET


Having grown up in SoCal, I can attest to the fact that it was either drought or semi drought when I lived there…and that was decades ago… LA was ‘created’ on what was essentially a desert, so no surprise here that this is going on..sometimes it didn’t rain for three years, (Read more…)

Left Over: Left Over 2015-02-24 12:32:11

Privatized playground at North Vancouver’s Cousteau International French School angers parent Cousteau International French School has leased the grounds of former Fromme elementary school

CBC News Posted: Feb 24, 2015 7:37 AM PT Last Updated: Feb 24, 2015 8:23 AM PT

When we read comments bemoaning the fact that people just aren’t as ready to volunteer, to help with charitable causes, when those interminable pleas for money infect our public broadcasting choices, we often despair of the public perception of selflessness, even as we resent the intrusion of such dunning in our lives.

This particular story may seem trivial, but (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: “Anti-Petroleum” RCMP Explodes Gasoline In Their Cars’ Engines

RCMP called ‘anti-petroleum’ critics (aka anyone concerned about climate change) a potential security threat #cdnpoli

— Keith Stewart (@climatekeith) February 18, 2015

The RCMP have displayed Climate Change Denial symptoms. This is bad for Canada, because if the police tasked with interfering in climate change related activism do not understand the science that drives the determined actions of peaceful activists, then they’re more likely to act against protesters without a measure of human sympathy.

@climatekeith @JohnKleinRegina Like these "dangerous" people:)

— margaret resin (@margaretresin) February 18, 2015

Remember that RCMP bombed an oil installation just (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Low-carbon urban infrastructure: a view from Vancouver

I have a new case study (full pdf; summary article from the publishers) out as part of the Economists for Equity and Environment‘s Future Economy Initiative. I look at the City of Vancouver’s Neighbourhood Energy Utility (NEU), a low-carbon district energy system that hits a sweet spot of clean energy, local control, and stable prices at competitive rates.

The NEU arose as part of a vision for redevelopment of former industrial land into a mixed-use community in the Southeast False Creek area of Vancouver. The first phase included construction of the False Creek Energy Centre and service to (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: 3 worrisome facts about BC’s job market on the eve of Budget 2015

2015 marks the sixth year of BC’s recovery from the recession. But it’s been a slow and largely jobless recovery in BC.

1. BC needs 93,000 more jobs to return to our pre-recession employment rate (the proportion of working age British Columbians who have jobs).

Only 71.2% of working age British Columbians have jobs today. This is practically the same share of workers with jobs as when the BC Jobs Plan was launched, and has barely improved since the recession. In other words, the new jobs created in BC since 2009 have just kept up with population growth without replacing (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Confusing “Deficit Elimination” with “Prosperity”

The banner headline across the top of the front page of the national Globe and Mail edition caught my eye Saturday morning: “How B.C. became a ‘have’ province..” Wow, I thought to myself, that is quite something (and with not a single LNG plant on the economic horizon!), and so I prepared to sit down with my coffee to give this startling news a good read. After all, any economist who follows interprovincial fiscal affairs in Canada knows well the fundamental economic schism in Canada: it’s between the 3 provinces with oil (Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland (Read more…)

staffroom confidential: Standardized testing: a pillar of privatization

It’s FSA season again. Every year in British Columbia, every student in grades 4 and 7 has their regular classroom schedule put on hold for two weeks while they complete the Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA) — a collection of standardized tests mandated by the provincial government. Every student, parent, teacher and citizen should oppose these tests. There is a litany of reasons for this, but top among them is the role standardized tests play in the very destruction of public education itself — by privatizing a public service. Masquerading as a test for system quality, they are in fact an (Read more…)

staffroom confidential: Badass Book Review: The Future of our Schools, Teachers Unions and Social Justice by Lois Weiner

Badass Book Review: The Future of our Schools, Teachers Unions and Social Justice by Lois Weiner

Since the massive public sector upsurge in the 60′s and 70′s, teachers unions in the US have been in a long steady decline in power. Only very recently, with the 2012 Chicago teachers strike, have we seen any resurgence in teacher union power. Why is this?

Weiner presents an overview of the pitfalls of teacher unionism and what teachers can do to revive their organizations. For any teacher anywhere, frustrated by the untenable working and teaching conditions we now face, this book is essential (Read more…)

staffroom confidential: Badass Book Review: Raising Expectations & Raising Hell, by Jane McAlevey

Book Review: Raising expectations (and Raising hell): My Decade Fighting for the Labor Movement, by Jane McAlevey

It’s been a tough couple of decades to be a trade unionist. Since the early nineties, with Paul Martin’s cuts to transfer payments, through the Mike Harris’s assaults, to the BC Liberal’s ripping up contracts and the Harper Tories legislating them, it seems increasingly hard to find strategies that win.

Yet paradoxically, since about 2011, there has been a notable upsurge in progressive movements: teachers in Wisconsin, the squares of Egypt and Turkey, the world wide Occupy movement, the Maple Spring, Ferguson, and (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: ‘Tis the Season to Rethink Our Charitable Giving

This op-ed by yours truly was published in The Province. The examples are BC-specific, but the message is much broader: donating to charity is not enough, we also have to change the status quo that forces so many people to turn to charity in a rich country like Canada.

It’s December, the season for charitable giving. Wherever you turn you see boxes and bins collecting non-perishable food items for the local food bank or toys for the less fortunate children in our communities.

The cashier asks if you want to add a $2 donation to your purchase. You donate (Read more…)