Wake Up Vancouver!

    Citizens for a Better Vancouver

The costs and damage caused by the B.C. government’s pipeline obstructionism

Fiscal Studies, The Fraser Institute DATED: July 18th, 2018

Dear Readers,

I hope you’re summer is off to a great start. With the first half of the year behind us, now is a great time to update you on the important work we’ve been doing in British Columbia on the critical policy issues facing the province. Please allow me to share some recent highlights below.

The costs and damage caused by the B.C. government’s pipeline obstructionism

Fraser Institute analysts have been at the forefront explaining why the B.C. government’s attempt to block the $7.4 billion Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project is bad for both British Columbians and Canadians as a whole. When news broke in April that Kinder Morgan was cancelling non-essential work on the project, we responded with a series of commentaries underscoring the costs to British Columbians and Canadians, both in terms of forgone revenues for the energy sector and lower economic prosperity. And when the federal government announced its purchase of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, our team had same-day opinion columns on both the Globe & Mail and Calgary Sun websites, explaining why the purchase is problematic.

Helping the working poor is the right goal; increasing B.C.’s minimum wage is the wrong policy

B.C.’s minimum wage increased on June 1 from $11.35 to $12.65 per hour—the first in a series of hikes on its way to $15.20 in 2021. While Premier John Horgan’s government claims this policy will target assistance to the working poor, the reality is that most minimum wage earners in the province don’t even belong to low-income households.

 

As noted in our recent study Minimum Wage in British Columbia: A Flawed Anti-Poverty Policy, which was released a week before the latest wage hike came into force, most minimum wage earners are, in fact, teenagers or young adults aged 15 to 24, the vast majority of whom live at home with their parents. The study also discussed work-based subsidies, a much more effective way to help low-income households. I’m pleased to report the findings were covered extensively in major newspapers such as the Vancouver Sun and Toronto Star, on talk radio (News1130,CKNW, and CBC radio), and on television (Breakfast Television and Global News). Our commentary summarizing the study was published in the Vancouver Sun.

The crisis at ICBC

As noted in our recent study Minimum Wage in British Columbia: A Flawed Anti-Poverty Policy, which was released a week before the latest wage hike came into force, most minimum wage earners are, in fact, teenagers or young adults aged 15 to 24, the vast majority of whom live at home with their parents. The study also discussed work-based subsidies, a much more effective way to help low-income households. I’m pleased to report the findings were covered extensively in major newspapers such as the Vancouver Sun and Toronto Star, on talk radio (News1130,CKNW, and CBC radio), and on television (Breakfast Television and Global News). Our commentary summarizing the study was published in the Vancouver Sun.

The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) has become a financial mess and a drag on provincial finances, with the crown corporation heading towards a $1.3 billion loss in 2017/18. In the Fraser Institute’s recent study The Decline and Fall of ICBC, senior fellow and Simon Fraser University professor emeritus John Chant outlines the circumstances and poor decisions that led to ICBC’s financial problems. This study was covered in almost every media outlet in B.C—from print (Vancouver Sun and The Province) to radio (CKNW, NEWS1130, and Roundhouse Radio) and television (Global News and CTV). A summary of the study also appeared in the opinion section of The Province. Stay tuned as we continue to help British Columbians understand the serious problems at ICBC and offer solution ideas (such as opening up basic auto insurance to competition).

Details of upcoming referendum on electoral reform remain sparse

Arguably, one of the most important policy issues in B.C. is electoral reform, a file on which our team has been very active. British Columbians will soon face a choice about whether to change the way we elect our provincial representatives to the legislature, and this could have a wide-ranging impact on policy. While the government acted on the recommendation from Fraser Institute senior fellow and University of Windsor professor Lydia Miljan to have two questions (Do you want a change? And what change do you want?), the process remains flawed because key details of the new system—if chosen by the voters—will be decided by politicians and bureaucrats after the referendum. Given the importance of the issue, The Province published an essay by Professor Miljan over the Canada Day long weekend outlining issues with the process and the alternative systems, and she has been interviewed on talk radio shows across the province to discuss her views on the upcoming referendum and her new study Proportional Representation in Practice: An International Comparison of Ballots and Voting Rules.

Other B.C. related commentaries and blogs from our team:

Coming up

In the months ahead, we will be releasing more B.C.-focused studies that will touch on the pay disparity between workers in the government and private sectors, municipal finances in the Metro Vancouver area, and more on the B.C. electoral reform referendum. And as always, our team will continue to produce impactful commentaries educating British Columbians on how government policies affect their lives.

On Thursday, November 1st, the Fraser Institute will present its Founders’ Award to Mr. Gordon Diamond, Chairman of West Coast Reduction Ltd and Austeville Properties Ltd, at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. We hope you will be able to join us in celebrating Mr. Diamond’s contributions to B.C. and Canada.

Thank you for your ongoing support of the Fraser Institute and interest in our B.C. work. Please feel free to contact me if you’d like to chat about our work or have any questions.

Kind regards,

Charles

Charles Lammam | Director
Fiscal Studies
The Fraser Institute
www.fraserinstitute.org

 

 

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