Category: Politics

Better education, more taxes, more public spending addresses economic inequality in Canada: SFU professor

With the rate of job inequality growing in Canada, one Simon Fraser University economics professor says improving education, changing labour laws and increase public spending will minimize the inequality gap.

Krishna Pendakur gave a public lecture to a packed room in Burnaby this week. The lecture was called “What does inequality really mean in Canada? Ninety-nine per cent of us want to know.”

Other suggestions in the lecture include strengthening unionization and raising the minimum wage.

After talking about the distribution of wealth in Canada and how the nation compares to the rest of the world, historically to present day, Pendakur addressed what the Canadian systems and its citizens can do to reduce inequality.

One suggestion is taxation.

“Tax rates have been declining in Canada since the late 1990s.”

Taxation supports public spending, he said, and public spending goes to citizens in need of resources and social services.

“The federal government writes a lot of cheques,” he said.

Public spending is a move towards reducing inequality.

Pendakur said, “When you reduce taxing, you reduce public spending.”

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District of North Vancouver communities want more information on proposed transit tax

One community in the District of North Vancouver is for the transit tax hike while other communities seeks more information on the situation.

The Mayors’ Council will ask in the upcoming plebiscite for transportation funding if Metro Vancouver people are willing to pay an extra 0.5-per-cent increase in the provincial sales tax.

Corrie Kost, executive member of the Edgemont and Upper Capilano Community Association, said, “Show me the money.”

As a retired scientist, he wants facts. Until there is a defined cost-benefit analysis plan, Kost remains in the “No” camp.

On the Mayors’ Council transportation website, the plan for the North Shore is mostly focused on improving public transit in the City of North Vancouver and not so much on the District of North Vancouver.

The website promises 50 per cent more SeaBus service with “increased frequency to provide service every 10 minutes in the a.m. and p.m. peak periods and every 15 minutes at other times.”

Kost said, “A third seabus has been promised for the last 20 years. [Politicians] didn’t follow through many times in the past. It kills their credibility.”

He remains adamant for specific numbers, especially how much residents will receive for the dollar amount they invest.

On the other side of the fence, Rene Gourley, chairman of Delbrook Community Association, said people within his community are a bit more informed than anyone else and they’re for the tax hike because they understand the need for transit options, especially with the older generations.

“It requires strong knees and strong hearts to get around,” he said. “We live on a hill.”

Buses are needed, said Gourley. Otherwise there would be too many cars on the road.

He said, “We’re a car-centric community, a secure standard suburb.”

Looking towards the Blueridge Community Association, the co-chairperson said people aren’t informed enough to state anything firmly.

Eric Godot Andersen said there would be a meeting at the library at Blueridge Elementary School about this specific issue. He’s inviting a speaker from the “Yes” side and from the “No” side to illuminate what the consequences are. No one is confirmed at this time.

The meeting is on March 24, 2015 at 7 p.m.

TransLink’s transit plan for the North Shore claims its goal is to increase transit travel by 50 per cent by 2040.

Buying local food, supporting local farmers will infuse innovation into agriculture industry: Langley’s mayor

If there were a regular demand for local food and produce from the public, Langley’s mayor claims it would start a chain reaction in the agricultural industry, sparking innovation in technology development.

But if that doesn’t happen, farmers will just continue to worry about the bottom line and keeping their farms afloat.

At a Metro Vancouver agriculture committee, Surrey city councillor Linda Hepner said, “What do we expect in the business in regards to technology?”

She said there was missing innovation in the agricultural technology industry.

Hepner wanted to know what people are doing successfully around the world. “What can we do to encourage tech start-ups here?”

Langley mayor Jack Froese said, “We need to educate the public on the agricultural business.”

There needs to be a push for the public to buy local food and support the local farmers, he said.

“Tech development is only if the farmers get paid for their products.”

In news release by the BC Association of Farmers’ Market, it said farmers’ market contribute nearly $170 million annually and “are now in full swing throughout British Columbia.”

There has been a 62% increase in the number of markets, it said.

“With a loyal customer base, farmers and vendors are finding the stability they need with this marketing channel.”

To see what kind of agricultural technological ideas are happening, UBC Farm has student research internships, ranging from studying consumers attitudes about organic certification to free choice feeding regimes on poultry health.

Parking rates in New Westminster going up in the new year

LARRY WRIGHT photo | THE RECORD

City councillor Betty McIntosh is trying to set up temporary free parking on Columbia Street by the E.L. Lewis heritage building.

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New Westminster is finally about to move into the modern parking era, with pay-by-phone and mobile technology. But it will cost everyone more. Forty cents per hour more, to be exact.

City council on Monday passed the motion to raise parking rates. Parking services coordinator Sukh Maghera said the reason is to keep up with the other municipalities in parking rates and to upgrade the meters in the city. Along with the new prices will come convenient new technology.

“We want to bring in new software, new technology. Pay by phone. Mobile payments,” he said.

Currently, the city has a mix of pay stations and parking meters. Maghera said rates will apply to both.

All meters that are currently $1.35 per hour will be $1.75 per hour. Ones that charge $1.10 per hour will be $1.50 per hour. The exact date hasn’t been confirmed yet but Maghera believes it will start Jan. 1, 2014.

The Vancouver Sun reports off-season parking rate in White Rock is $1.50 per hour and the peak season hourly rate is at $3 per hour.

City councillor wants business owners’ input

City Coun. Betty McIntosh was the only one who opposed the parking rate raise at the meeting. She wanted to get the opinions of business owners and open up a discussion.

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