Stretching out our work lives as lifespans extend

Authors describe an evolving economy that includes people working into their 80s, based on a life expectancy of 100 years

Stretching out our work lives as lifespans extendLiving to 100 years old used to be an amazing and rare accomplishment. Three-digit birthdays were worthy of a letter from Queen Elizabeth. But today’s children five years old or younger have a 50 per cent chance of making it to 100. This amazing fact is pointed out in a book by Lynda Gratton and…

Vancouver’s bike-walk bias is costly and unjustified

Money budgeted for an elevated greenway for walkers and bikers should go to housing the homeless or easing traffic congestion

Vancouver’s bike-walk bias is costly and unjustifiedVancouver is a great city. For people like me who use their feet for most of their transportation, it’s wonderful. But sometimes city decision-makers go overboard. For recreation and exercise, there’s the 28-km seawall, part of which circles Stanley Park. It’s been voted the best place to run in Canada. There’s also the nine-km Arbutus…

Only constant vigilance will stem a rising tide of scammers

If it sounds too good or too awful to be true, hang up or delete. In the very remote case that it’s legitimate, someone will get back to you

Only constant vigilance will stem a rising tide of scammersI’m writing this on April Fool’s Day, the day we set aside to play tricks on one another. Unfortunately, many people don’t limit their tricks to one day a year – they go way beyond harmless pranks. These scammers are usually very clever people who would rather trick the rest of us out of our…

We need a big-picture perspective on house prices and mortgages

Taking on more debt is not a good thing. In fact, it could be devastating for the Canadian economy

We need a big-picture perspective on house prices and mortgagesThe future, when it arrives, isn’t always what we imagined. Technology hasn’t yet brought us vacation trips to the moon or Mars. But it has brought us Twitter, where even world leaders communicate in 140 character blocks. Does this affect our brains? Can we no longer hold more than one simple idea in our heads…

We’re winning the war on poverty

The proportion of households below the LICO has been falling for two decades and is now at its lowest level ever at 7.8%

We’re winning the war on povertyDonald Trump isn't the only American president to say dumb things. Lyndon Johnson, expressing his concern for the well-being of the American people, said that he thought it was a shame that half the U.S. population lived at a below-average income. As anyone who ever stayed awake in math class knows, an average is a…

Why the mortgage stress test makes perfect sense

What’s wrong with protecting people from financial default? What's wrong with cooling housing prices?

Why the mortgage stress test makes perfect senseThis is a true story from just before the recession earlier this century. It helps illustrate why Canada's mortgage stress test makes so much sense. A newly-married and very well-heeled couple wanted two homes – one in California and one in British Columbia. Getting financing for the California home was no problem. All the funding…

Treating taxpayers’ money with respect

We should be watching the case of B.C. clerk of the legislature Craig James and sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz very carefully

Treating taxpayers’ money with respectAs the old song says, “money makes the world go round” – at least on the level of material possessions. And money falls into two categories: ours and other people’s. Of course, we’re free to do whatever we wish with our money. We can spend it extravagantly. Or we can take care of it, spending…

Genetic modification a crucial tool in feeding the world

Scientists have found no negative differences in the health of people eating GM and non-GM foods

Genetic modification a crucial tool in feeding the worldThe changing environment means we face weather patterns that haven’t been seen in generations. And that means new challenges in feeding humanity. But we have the tools. Storms and floods are more frequent and widespread. Changing temperatures affect oceans and lands, wildlife and crops. Because we haven’t seen such changes before, we often don’t know…

How the Vancouver area can solve its funding woes

Metro Vancouver contains 21 municipalities. If they amalgamated under one government, many benefits would follow

How the Vancouver area can solve its funding woesMunicipalities are the poor step-children among Canada’s levels of government. They are creatures of the province in which they’re located, with no autonomy beyond that extended by that province. Their taxing powers are extremely limited and they rely very heavily on property taxes. The many basic services that cities provide (water and sewer, roads and…

The gig economy poses hurdles but offers big potential

An advantage of working on your own is that there’s no ceiling on how much money you can make

The gig economy poses hurdles but offers big potentialMoving into a new year is a good to time to plan ahead. But it’s become difficult and even frightening to do so in our work lives. Jobs are disappearing. People are being replaced by robots and other forms of automation. And it’s not just mechanical tasks, but also higher-level white-collar work like medical diagnosis…

How Oshawa’s displaced workers can land on their feet

Auto workers in Oshawa have learned the hard way that there’s no security, or future, in yesterday’s jobs

How Oshawa’s displaced workers can land on their feetThe closure of a General Motors car plant in Oshawa, Ont., will mean the loss of 2,500 jobs. This serious loss has generated much weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. Of course, we in the West wonder why the tens of thousands of jobs that have been and are continuing to be lost in the…

The compelling arguments against electoral reform in B.C.

Former NDP Premiers Glen Clark and Ujjal Dosanjh may be against electoral reform, but retired lawyer Ian MacLeod expresses his opposition best

The compelling arguments against electoral reform in B.C.We’re in the midst of a mail-in referendum in British Columbia that could dramatically change – and not for the better – how democracy does or doesn’t work in the province. We should really suspect that something is wrong with the proposed changes when people from both major political parties are opposed to the initiative,…

Moving from pandemonium to peace in uncertain times

Our stressful, crazy world can lead to insomnia and worse. But there are ways to cope

Moving from pandemonium to peace in uncertain timesInsomnia could be called the 21st century disease. Falling asleep, staying asleep and getting enough sleep is ever more difficult, especially as one gets older – and everyone is getting older. Couple this with the increasing number of studies that show that lack of sufficient sleep is a major contributor to ill health. Now we…

Proportional representation a perfect example of loser take all

Replacing the existing system with proportional representation will result in a government of chaos

Proportional representation a perfect example of loser take allThe B.C. referendum on how citizens elect those who govern them is fast approaching. The current system has given us viable government for a long time. But like most things in the real world, it’s not perfect. Those who live in a riding that’s considered safe for a party other than the one they choose…

Building lasting stability in the western Canadian economy

My advice for Western Economic Diversification Canada as it builds a 10-year strategy for growth

Building lasting stability in the western Canadian economyWestern Economic Diversification Canada is working on a 10-year strategy to make the four western provinces competitive, innovative and inclusive, attracting business and investment and generating good jobs. To build the strategy, they’re seeking answers to the five questions below. Here are my thoughts on those questions: What does a stronger western Canadian economy look…