Restaurant industry struggles to find staff

Even though fewer people are preparing their own meals, the restaurant industry is struggling to find staff and pay them more

Restaurant industry struggles to find staffAll the gourmet cooking TV shows notwithstanding, people are preparing fewer and fewer of the meals they eat at home. We are happy when we are eating, as numerous studies on time use and well-being have shown — but we are not happy cooking. This conclusion comes from revealed preference: what you choose to do or not do tells what…

A feel-good federal budget that fails to spark economic growth

The Liberals embrace a $30-billion deficit without making jobs a priority

A feel-good federal budget that fails to spark economic growthThe new Liberal government’s first federal budget contains few surprises – except, of course, in how far it has strayed from election campaign promises. In recent weeks, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has said more than enough to let us know what was to come in the budget. The surprise? Compare Tuesday’s budget numbers to…

Refugees are Canada’s latest wave of pioneers

The immediate social cost is high, but in the long run a large influx of immigrants will help build our society

Refugees are Canada’s latest wave of pioneersImmigration is not quite a dirty word in Canada, but it is becoming a scary one. Who is and will be coming into Canada? How many and from where? Are they going to disrupt our housing market, our health care, our schools, our way of life? What are they going to cost us? Canada has…

Prepare government budgets from a future cost perspective

Weigh public spending on today's programs against how much those programs will cost Canadians in the longer term

Prepare government budgets from a future cost perspectivePersonal budgeting isn't fun. If you spend more than you make over the long haul, it will be your downfall. But do the same rules apply to government budgets? How should we judge a provincial or federal budget? Government budget items must be measured on their benefits to the individual. What we think about each item depends on…

B.C. a safer investment bet than developing countries

At least in B.C., and Canada, we don’t have to donate half our business to a corrupt government or its cronies

B.C. a safer investment bet than developing countriesMany people have asked me why anyone would start a business in Vancouver. (Sometimes they ask why B.C. or even Canada.) Why indeed? Look at the high cost of real estate. Consider the high tax levels, including the now rarely mentioned PST. It is hard to find people with enough skills to fill the high…

Vancouver port jobs expendable on the Left Coast

Apparently not all Vancouverites understand the need for jobs

Port Metro Vancouver needs more land to expand its services, but it is running up against a wall of local push-back. The port is vital to the economy of Vancouver, British Columbia and Canada. In a global economy, it is a door through which our resource exports go out the many imports that enable us…

Let’s hold First Nations and unions more accountable

Surely First Nations and union leaders should be held to the same standards as other Canadians

Let’s hold First Nations and unions more accountableAsk a thief why he robs banks and he will often reply because that is where the money is. Most of us are not thieves, but we live in a materialistic society where the desirability of wealth and its trappings are constantly around us. Since earning money takes time and our efforts are not rewarded…

Big banks face Uber-like threat

Big banks will survive only if they adjust to a world where their traditional dominant position can no longer be taken for granted

Big banks face Uber-like threatCanada is known for its stability and reliability, and nothing is more stable and reliable than our chartered banks. Remember the financial crisis in 2008? While major financial institutions around the world trembled and some fell, Canada’s banks were unshaken and unmoved. The shares of our big banks are the bluest of blue chips, offering…

Tourism is B.C.’s great hope for 2016

Here's why tourism is going to be even bigger and more important in 2016

Tourism is B.C.’s great hope for 2016As our holiday greetings move away from Happy Holidays to Happy New Year, we start wondering about the prospects for employment and income that a growing economy brings. The prospects are not in what Jock Finlayson of the Business Council of British Columbia calls the industrial sector. That sector consists of B.C.’s traditional resource industries,…

BC economy may do a bit better in 2016 but . . .

don't expect any growth to come from these sectors

BC economy may do a bit better in 2016 but . . .As we get ready to change our calendars, we reflect on the year that has passed and peer into the misty future. Great is not a word that many would use to describe 2015. In British Columbia, the economy bumbled along, doing slightly better than Canada's as a whole, which was held up by housing…