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It's really not scary and it's not complicated. It's just progress. We can either take the next step or sit for another 50 years trying to get first-past-the-post to do what we want.

There will be a confirmation referendum after two elections with proportional representation.

The deadline to mail in your ballot is November 30, 2018!  

Click here for more information on the YES campaign. 

 
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"Gold Medal Winner for Recycling," says, Mike McCardell on The Last Word segment featuring CCEC Member Randi-Lee Taylor and her Simply Barefoot Garden business.  Watch the video: 

 

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November is Financial Literacy Month in Canada. Throughout the month, we encourage you, our members,  to take control of your finances and reduce financial stress by making a budget, having a savings and debt reduction plan, and understanding your financial rights and responsibilities. 

​Financial literacy is important for the financial well-being of individuals, but also for the economy as a whole. Understanding the basics about money is as essential today as numeracy and basic literacy.​

We know that it isn’t always easy to live within our means, and debt can accumulate quickly. Having a plan to pay off debt will go a long way to reducing financial stress. Spending more than you earn makes you less resilient to economic surprises. A heavy debt load makes you more vulnerable if your financial situation changes or if you need to pay for unexpected expenses.

Learn more at https://www.Canada.ca/financial-literacy-month

We can help. Call us at CCEC to meet with one of our financial advisors. 

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Choose Democracy

The "No" side on Proportional Representation want you to be afraid this Halloween. And every other day.

Make no mistake; the "No" side is using the same scare tactics that got Trump elected. A disturbing irony for a group claiming Proportional Representation will usher in an era of "extreme right-wing" parties and "Nazi fascism".

Does that claim seem a little inflammatory, or hyperbolic? Maybe even irresponsible fear-mongering to divide people? Well, it is. But it's also their official stance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Tuh2bJapng

Besides being an appalling lie, the ad underscores the "No" side is not operating on facts or good faith. There are valid arguments which could be made from the "No" side, but instead they are trying to scare you. Fear is a powerful motivator, but a terrible policy. These tactics should also make you keenly aware of the fact an argument on facts favours "Yes". How better accounting for each individual vote is opening our province to views currently not even on the political radar is baffling. But it sure is scary...

And if we want a more modern example of a failure in a system, we can look to our 'partners' to the South. They use First Past the Post. Are we supposed to conclude their extreme right-wing ideology is a function of the First Past the Post system? I would say the argument is far more complicated.

But perhaps the better question we should be asking is whether we want our system to be more or less like that of the United States. The answer should be obvious.

Yet it really is not right now. The vote is too close to call, but there is hope: https://theprovince.com/news/bc-politics/mike-smyth-the-yes-side-won-the-first-week-of-the-referendum

Vote "Yes" and tell everyone you know to vote too!

- Denis Flinn

 

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Pro Rep Ballot

The municipal election has just wrapped, and the margin of victory made it very clear that every vote counts.

Which is a great reminder: the Proportional Representation referendum is now underway and your vote counts! You can expect to receive a mail-in ballot with the options laid out like you see in the picture that accompanies this blog post.

CCEC is formally standing with the "YES" option as a way to improve democratic representation, and voter engagement. First and foremost: vote!

If you are still not clear on the details, please take a look at the following links with good information into the process and your options:

VotePRBC: https://voteprbc.ca/
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives: https://www.policyalternatives.ca/newsroom/updates/debunking-myths-about-proportional-representation
Leadnow.ca: https://www.leadnow.ca/campaigns/

This is a rare opportunity to move away from a system that creates false majorities (see: 2016 Trump and 2018 Ford), and increase accountability, cooperation and engagement across the political spectrum. Do not let this opportunity pass by without ensuring your name is counted.

-Denis Flinn

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Interested in increasing your awareness about the scams that target Canadians? The Competition Bureau Canada has put together information about some of the top scams in the country. Check out The Little Black Book of Scams (2nd edition) and learn tips, red flags, and detailed information about different scams.

Here are three of some of the general red flags to watch out for, according to the Competition Bureau.

  1. Spelling mistakes: Be skeptical of emails, messages or websites that contain misspelled common words; grammar errors that make it difficult to read or expressions that are used incorrectly. Email and web addresses should also be examined closely to see if there are subtle mistakes or differences.
  2. Personal information request: Fraudsters may ask potential victims to provide more personal or financial information than is required for the transaction or discussion. Be suspicious if someone asks for copies of your passport, driver’s licence and social insurance number, or birth date, especially if you don’t know the requestor.
  3. Unsolicited calls: You might get a call from someone claiming that you have a virus on your computer, you owe taxes or there has been fraudulent activity in your bank accounts. Know that legitimate organizations will not call you directly. Hang up and call the organization yourself using the number from a trustworthy source, such as the phone book, their website, or even invoices and account statements.

Every year, Canadians lose millions of dollars to scammers. To find out more about scams in Canada and how you can protect yourself, visit The Little Black Book of Scams. A PDF version is also available.

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Get out and VOTE in the upcoming municipal elections.  Voting day is October 20th.  Advance Polls are now open. 

Read the Vancouver Voter's Guide to learn more about the candidates and their positions on issues that are important to you, like housing.  Attend candidate meetings.  

Learn more at the City of Vancouver website. 

 

 

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Get out and VOTE in the upcoming municipal elections.  Voting day is October 20th.

Affordable housing is the biggest issue.  CCEC promotes non-market housing development.  Several of the people standing for office (mayors and councilors) have taken supportive positions.  The solution is not to build more high-cost condos and homes. 

Housing Central has assembled a wonderful website with resources for each community.  Check it out.

Community-based housing - co-op, non-profit, and other - takes housing out of the speculative markets and commits the housing stock to ordinary people.  Community-based housing provides affordable housing into the indefinite future.  In some cities over 50% of the housing stock is community owned.  In Vancouver and adjacent municipalities it is under 5%. 

The housing problem is not a 'supply problem', as developers assert.  It is a public policy problem.  It is a housing strategy problem, as Patrick Condon outlines in the Tyee.   Make your vote count on October 20th.     

 

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Hello, everyone,

Meet Poverty Reduction Bill. 39 in 2018, democratic, and personable.

Most specifically; Poverty Reduction Bill likes helping people in need, and is looking to do the best job possible given the circumstances. Many people like Poverty Reduction Bill very much, and have been waiting a long time for someone like this to come along and sweep them off their feet.

But no one is perfect. Like many fellow Bills, Poverty Reduction Bill has some vision issues - mainly in depth perception. Understanding the depth of the issue and taking into account those in the most desperate need of help is not natural for this Bill.

What we can truly be grateful for is the fact Poverty Reduction Bill is willing to listen, and change. Vision correction is not as simple as getting glasses, though. In fact, this is where we can actually be the guide and help ensure the landscape becomes clearer for Poverty Reduction Bill to navigate.

"How?" you might ask. Take it back to the ABC's - tell your MLA, tell mayoral candidates, tell your neighbour. Tell your cat if you must. But get involved!

Do your part for Poverty Reduction Bill, and write in today!

- Denis Flinn

(image courtesy of cnn.com)

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Gambling on Real Estate

Gambling Institutions need the same oversight as Financial Institutions - or more. As BC continues to look into the extent of the impact of money laundering into our province - now focusing on the real estate market - the obvious systemic issue is being overlooked.

The province is assigning Peter German once again to head the investigation. You'll remember him for looking into the casinos and concluding "only" $100 million was laundered over 10 years, and refusing to back down after it was brought to light he might be at least a little conflicted. In case you don't want to follow that link; it was uncovered he sits on a Board with a Casino executive at one of the primary targets of the investigation. And his 247 page report seems impressive until you realize a document of that size is purposefully designed to be unreadable.

How can British Columbians be confident anything helpful will come of this additional, expensive review? If the investigation into the casinos revealed anything, it's that even if the issue becomes the focus of a media news cycle or two no one will ultimately be held accountable. BC Lottery - the group tasked with monitoring casinos - vaguely committed to incorporating Peter German's report findings into future oversight.

What were they doing before?

The answer is patently obvious: profiting from the proceeds of crime.

There are some pretty strict laws against allowing yourself to contribute to criminal activity, and negligence is not grounds for pardon. The Big Banks of Canada are watched vigilantly by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), while BC Credit Unions are overseen by the Financial Institutions Commission (FICOM). Despite their shortcomings (which I will surely write about at some point), both of these regulators are part of banking systems considered to be among the best in the world at protecting consumers.

So perhaps it's finally time we treat gambling establishments as financial institutions and start holding them to AT LEAST the standards we expect everywhere else large sums of money are changing hands. Or we can continue to allow criminal enterprises to decimate our economic well-being.

- Denis Flinn

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