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Russ Francis

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  1. Posted October 19, 2020 Image: Gazprom's LNG production facility on Sakhalin Island Despite some fossil fuel divestment, BC Investment Management Corporation tripled its investment in the Coastal GasLink pipeline builder and doubled its investment in Russia's Gazprom. Go to story
  2. Despite some fossil fuel divestment, BC Investment Management Corporation tripled its investment in the Coastal GasLink pipeline builder and doubled its investment in Gazprom. BCI recently doubled its investment in Russian fossil giant Gazprom, which owns this LNG production facility on Sakhalin Island STOCK MARKET HOLDINGS IN PENSION FUNDS for more than 600,000 BC teachers, public servants, college instructors, municipal staff, BC Hydro workers and others have taken a big hit in the year ending March 31, 2020. The funds are managed by BC Investment Management Co
  3. Is a BC election getting closer? Premier Horgan has been asking his caucus members whether they plan to run again. When an election looms, any cabinet minister not running can expect to be promptly demoted. That way, backbench New Democrats who are sticking around can be promoted to minister status. Why? The main reason is that they then instantly gain free, taxpayer-funded publicity for opening new schools, enhancing electric car subsidies and saving old growth forests. Wait a minute. Doesn't the 2017 Confidence and Supply Agreement (CASA) between the NDP and Greens prohibit early electi
  4. Posted August 17, 2020 Image: BC Premier John Horgan Green MLAs have thwarted NDP government plans a few times this summer, renewing speculation that John Horgan might not wait until October 2021 to call an election. Go to story
  5. Green MLAs have thwarted NDP government plans a few times this summer, renewing speculation that John Horgan might not wait until October 2021 to call an election. DESPITE ALL THE TOUCHY-FEELY TALK in their 2017 Confidence and Supply Agreement with the BC Greens, there is little question that the New Democrats would love to avoid having to deal with those annoying climate crisis affirmers. The tension was heightened in recent weeks when the Greens, with the help of the Liberals, forced the government to put two bills on hold, and to cancel a proposed extension of the governmen
  6. BC currently has no provincial health officer order restricting door-to-door canvassing, according to a July 14 health ministry statement sent in response to an emailed Focus query. However, said the statement, "Dr [Bonnie] Henry emphasizes the importance of physical distancing and other public health measures such as wearing masks, clean hand hygiene and staying home when you are sick."
  7. Posted July 11, 2020 Image: Americans in a primary election waited in hours-long-lines wearing masks; Next BC general election is a “high public heath risk” event. Go to story
  8. Next BC general election is a “high public heath risk” event SO FAR THIS YEAR, by-elections in Victoria, Lytton and Rossland, as well as a Kamloops referendum on a new arts centre have all been cancelled because of public health concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic. New Brunswick postponed its municipal elections—scheduled for last May 11—till 2021. And Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe was expected to announce a general election last spring, but has since said it will be held in October, 2020 because of COVID-19. Few medical experts presently forecast the end of the pandemic by
  9. While COVID-19 has slashed our GDP, at the micro level there's another way of pointing out how ridiculous is the drive for ever-increasing GDP. Now that we are in the present situation, anyone becoming infected with the virus thereby boosts the GDP--such as with purchases of extra acetaminophen, etc. If they are hospitalized, that boosts it even higher. Going into intensive care increases GDP yet again. Funerals also mean additional spending. I once remarked to a BC government executive director that every car crash raises the GDP. She replied: "That's why it's called the Gross Domestic P
  10. Posted June 20, 2020 The movement to reduce the work week from 5 to 4 days has supporters and detractors in BC. Go to story
  11. Thousands of BC Government employees are already halfway to a 4-day work week. NOT EVERYONE IS WILDLY ENTHUSIASTIC about chopping the normal work week to four days from five, as recently promoted by New Zealand Labour Prime Minister Jacinda Adern. While not rejecting it outright, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was decidedly non-committal when asked about the idea on May 27. Other priorities, etc. Former BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver, now an independent MLA, pulled fewer punches than Trudeau, calling it on Twitter “an absolutely kooky idea.” His exclamation was in re
  12. ON APRIL 21, the BC government organized a “virtual townhall” on the COVID-19 virus for the Island Health region. Given the extreme financial challenges that the virus poses for the government, I couldn’t help but wonder whether the vast sums in public funds being doled out to LNG Canada—through royalty tax credits, reduced hydro rates, a provincial sales tax holiday, a carbon tax ceiling, and cancelled LNG income tax—might be in jeopardy. Or might the handouts even be switched to support renewable energy? Sadly, the esteemed panel was unable to get to my question: “Given the likelih
  13. NOT EVEN THE CURRENT VIRUS PANDEMIC can sway the fossil fuel multinationals from their chosen path. On February 10, 2020—just four days after Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the BC’s fourth COVID-19 case—Peter Zebedee took action. The chief executive officer of the LNG Canada joint venture registered to lobby the BC government, according to the BC Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists. To help out, seven other LNG Canada staff also signed up to lobby the premier, the BC Oil and Gas Commission, and numerous ministries. The topics? For one, LNG’s “fiscal framew
  14. May 6, 2020 BC loves to boast about its climate initiatives, but our emissions keep shooting up. IN THE FIRST YEAR of BC’s NDP-led government, the province’s emissions headed skywards. In 2018, BC’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions grew faster than the rest of Canada, according to a federal report issued April 20. The three-volume report, comprising 573 pages, forms Canada’s 2020 submission to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. When the NDP took control of the government in 2017, it didn’t bode well for the planet. After all, it was the NDP that had
  15. April 7, 2020 It didn't take long for the novel corona virus to spread from humans to BC’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects. ON APRIL 2, LNG Canada chief executive officer Peter Zebedee announced that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the foreign consortium had cut its 1,800-strong Kitimat workforce by 65 percent, continuing with only “essential” work. (Wonder what those 1,200 non-essential workers were doing.) LNG Canada CEO Peter Zebedee says 65 percent of workers have been sent home Despite this, LNG Canada is persisting with its
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