National food policy can play key economic and social roles

But a great deal of work must be done to turn the vision into a reality that serves all Canadians

National food policy can play key economic and social rolesFor the first time, we have a national food policy. That’s good news. The vision is that all people in Canada have access to sufficient safe, nutritious and culturally diverse food. And that Canada’s food system is resilient and innovative, sustains our environment and supports our economy. It’s easy to support such a vision and…

Making your brain hurt helps you thrive

Use mental or physical challenges to strengthen your brain and improve your quality of life as you age

Making your brain hurt helps you thriveFirst Nations leaders face enormous challenges in dealing with the economic well-being of their people. They also must try to preserve the history and values of relatively small islands of First Nation people in the huge sea of the dominant North American culture and the English language. Take the example of a bright young Squamish…

The invaluable lessons summer jobs teach young people

Apart from looking good on your resume, summer work experience demonstrates that you have what employers want

The invaluable lessons summer jobs teach young peopleAnother school year is over. It’s time for high school and post-secondary students to land a summer job. The good news is there are lots of jobs. Walk down any commercial or industrial street and you’ll see “We’re hiring” signs in many businesses’ windows. Many of these jobs are entry-level with fairly low pay. And…

Constraining pain medication will only worsen drug problem

Limiting access to alcohol led to chaos during the Prohibition. Will constraining opioids do the same?

Constraining pain medication will only worsen drug problemThere are so many reasons to be very glad that we live in Canada – one of the main is that we’re governed by the rule of law. Laws and the rules and regulations that underpin them are enacted by democratically-elected governments. They’re enforced and upheld by police and courts that are amazingly upright and…

Working in the post-retail era requires a reset

There are still plenty of jobs at the low end of the pay scale. But wouldn't it be a better idea to simply upgrade your skills?

Working in the post-retail era requires a resetOne day you head out to your favourite store and it isn’t there anymore. It could be a local specialty shop, part of a major chain or even a department store like Sears, whose stores and catalogues have been around seemingly forever. Retail outlets are disappearing all over, along with the jobs they provide. In…

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…