The NDP says it now knows how to end poverty in B.C., but you’ll have to wait until October for a detailed plan

While the findings of a new government report on poverty — housing is expensive, wages are low, and families struggle to feed their kids — may be predictable, the extent of these challenges across so many B.C. communities is an eye-opener, says the politician in charge of making this province more affordable. “There is often a focus on Metro Vancouver, South Island, urban areas, and this report clearly identifies that issues of poverty and people struggling with the vulnerabilities of that is provincewide. It’s an issue in communities where it may seem invisible,” Shane Simpson, Social Development and Poverty Reduction Minister, said in an interview Thursday. “(The report) talks about… Read More

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Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell wades into Medicare fight

Former Premier Gordon Campbell has provided an affidavit to support an injunction to prevent the B.C. NDP from punishing private clinics and diagnostic facilities until a constitutional challenge is decided. The one-time B.C. Liberal leader said his administration did not clamp down on access to private health care as it eased lengthy queues for surgery formed because the public system was unable to meet needs. Campbell’s six-page sworn statement is part of an application seeking a B.C. Supreme Court order suspending enforcement of changes to the Medicare Protection Act that take effect Oct. 1. The handful of patients and two clinics engaged in marathon litigation attacking the validity of restrictions… Read More

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Brett Kavanaugh’s Confirmation Would be a Gift to Big Business

For all the uncertainty over Brett Kavanaugh’s views on abortion, the real key to his legal—and political—impact on the Supreme Court could eventually be his demonstrated resistance to the federal regulation of business. Kavanaugh’s repeated votes as an appellate-court judge to overturn federal regulatory actions point toward a Court even more adamantly tilted than it is today against environmental, consumer-protection, and financial-reform rules. That shift could trigger interlocked political consequences that unfold for years. From one direction, it could help the GOP answer one of the most delicate questions of the Donald Trump era: how to maintain the allegiance of business amid widespread unease among many corporate leaders about the… Read More

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Don’t Abolish ICE—Reform It

Immigration policy will loom large in the 2018 elections. Democrats hope Americans will punish Republicans for the Trump administration’s decision to snatch little boys and girls away from their parents—to separate families in the hope that the primal pain of the ordeal discourages future migrants from crossing the border with children. Meanwhile, some on the Democratic Party’s left flank are demanding candidates and elected officials who want to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, the federal agency that identifies, imprisons, immiserates, and deports unlawful immigrants (though not the agency that stands guard over the border). Dara Lind has the definitive write-up of that movement. Abolishing ICE, a radical departure… Read More

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Robert Latimer seeks remission for murder of disabled daughter

The Saskatchewan farmer who became a controversial national figure after what he claimed was the 1993 mercy killing of his severely disabled 12-year-old daughter, Robert Latimer wants to be pardoned. The now-65-year-old was twice tried for murdering Tracey — he placed her in the cab of his pickup truck and ran a hose from the exhaust pipe, igniting a passionate countrywide debate about the rights of those suffering severe, disabling conditions unable to communicate. Latimer said he was the victim of a miscarriage of justice and on Wednesday asked federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to use her powers under the Criminal Code to review his case and pardon him pursuant… Read More

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Can the Trump Administration Solve Its Own Disaster?

This week marked an inflection point in the chaos that began after the United States first started forcibly removing migrant children from their families several months ago: Tuesday was the court-ordered deadline for the government to reunite the youngest of these children, ages five and younger, with their parents. The deadline was both harder and easier to meet than the one that looms at the end of the month—when a federal judge has ruled that older children (ages five and up) must be returned to their parents. Harder because many of these tender-age children are not yet verbal, and determining who their parents are (or even where they came from)… Read More

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Meet the Trumpverstehers

A few years ago, the Germans created one of the compound nouns in which their language excels. The Russlandverstehers—literally, “Russia understanders”—were those who while not openly supporting Vladimir Putin’s seizure of Crimea expressed sympathetic acceptance of it. They would never openly endorse the stealing of elections or the assassination of journalists, of course, but they understood the circumstances that lead to such unfortunate things, and the larger impulse to rough behavior to restore Russian national pride and enhance Russian prestige. I propose the term Trumpverstehers in a similar spirit. These are not the mass of his supporters who fear the loss of jobs to global trade or automation; they are… Read More

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What I Know About Kavanaugh’s Discretion

Perhaps the best way to tell something about judges is by looking at what they do when they have discretion to act. Their exercise of judgment involves two distinct decisions—when and in what circumstances they have discretion to exercise in the first place, and what they do with that discretion once they think they have it. It’s a reasonably fair generalization to say that liberal judges see more discretion in the law and use it more to ameliorate perceived injustices, while conservatives prefer to avoid the prospect of discretion wherever they can, thinking that it gives unelected judges too much power over citizens. Thousands of words, if not hundreds of… Read More

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NDP tries to block information requests from B.C. Liberals

VICTORIA — The NDP is trying to block the B.C. Liberals from obtaining information about government emails, claiming the civil service is being overloaded by opposition requests for records. Government lawyers have asked B.C.’s independent information and privacy commissioner for the power to selectively ignore requests from the Liberals for public records related to 30 private email addresses of provincial officials, MLAs and cabinet ministers. The Liberals want to know if any politicians or staff used personal Gmail accounts to conduct government business, which would violate the law. The minister responsible for FOI, Jinny Sims, had to apologize in May for using personal email to do government work. Premier John… Read More

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Vaughn Palmer: Incompetence left B.C. government millions short in land sale

VICTORIA — Four years after the B.C. Liberals sold 14 parcels of land in the Burke Mountain area of Coquitlam for a fire sale price, Auditor General Carol Bellringer weighed in Tuesday with an account of what went wrong. She found the government made a fundamental mistake by allowing would-be buyers to submit a grab bag of bids, some for individual parcels, some for the group. The rationale was a misplaced hope for greater competition. Instead the Liberals were left groping in the dark, unable to optimize the bids for each parcel or obtain the best price for the offering as a whole. “Had government required bidders to provide a… Read More

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