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Touring Vancouver’s downtown east side to learn more about the ongoing opioid overdose crisis

Today I visited Vancouver’s downtown east side to learn more about the overdose crisis plaguing British Columbia.

Earlier in the day, shocking statistics were released by the B.C. Coroners’ Service. Over the period January 1 to November 30 2016, there have been 755 overdose deaths in British Columbia with 128 of those fatalities occurring in November. Year-to-date statistics reveal a 70% increase from last year.

Basic income, Part III: The future of work

1. Introduction

This post is the third in our series exploring the concept of a basic income and its implications in BC. Our backgrounder provided an overview of the concept, the issues we are facing today in BC, and the potential implications of a basic income policy. Our second post investigated in more detail the current state of poverty, welfare rates and social assistance in BC. We are grateful for the high level of engagement that our series continues to receive on social media and this website, including the large number of thoughtful comments. Below we continue to engage with the common themes in the responses we’ve received. This dialogue is very important in exploring ideas and creating good policies.

Basic income, Part II: The current state of poverty and income assistance in BC

This is the second post in our four-part series exploring the concept of “Basic Income”. Our first post focused on providing background information on the topic.  It prompted more than 60 comments on this site and more than 450 comments on my MLA Facebook page. As a consequence, it is apparent to us that there is broad interest in the idea.

Let’s explore the concept of basic income: Please let me know what you think

Over the next few weeks I will explore the concept of “Basic Income”. I would be most grateful if you would share your comments, suggestions and concerns with me about this topic as we unpack what it all means in a series of upcoming posts. In this first post we simply provide a backgrounder.

BC legislation fails to deal with housing crisis

There are few topics more sprawling, or of more importance, than the state of real estate in British Columbia.

This summer, the legislature was called back into session with two weeks’ notice for the last week of July to debate Bill 28, the Miscellaneous Statutes (Housing Priority Initiatives) Amendment Act, 2016. The bill had four main purposes:

  1. It added an additional 15% property transfer tax to residential real estate purchased by foreign nationals or foreign-controlled corporations. (‘Foreign nationals’ are individuals who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canadian.)
  2. It amended the Vancouver Charter to allow the City of Vancouver to implement a vacancy tax.
  3. It created a Housing Priority Initiatives Fund for provincial projects that will be seeded with $75 million and a portion of the new tax revenue. (It is worth noting that Public Accounts documents indicate that the government brought in $500 million more in property transfer tax revenue this year than anticipated, suggesting to me that the initial injection in the Housing Priority Initiatives Fund should be higher.)
  4. It implemented recommendations to re-regulate the real estate industry.
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