BC Boosts Funds for Nurse Training: Now Make Them Pay if They Don’t Stay!

It was a good news day: Health Minister Adrian Dix this week announced funding to almost DOUBLE the nurse-training spots at BCIT.

Well done!

During my stay at St. Paul’s Hospital cardiac ward in 2018, I saw first-hand what terrific work the nursing staff does: patients understandably get more day-to-day(and overnight too!) supportive care from nurses than they do from doctors.

MUCH appreciated! 🙂

Now, the BC government will increase BCIT’s funding to add another 611 specialty nurse training seats … bringing the total enrolled, at that institution alone, to 1,000 new nurses.

Very Good.

But there is a problem governments (provincial and federal) need to address.

Each Spring, across Canada, as new classes of nurses (and doctors and other health professionals) graduate … recruiters, mostly from the United States, move in … sometimes right on campus … to hire them away.

The American recruiters … many representing profit-driven hospitals, clinics and other private health facilities … often offer higher salaries and even signing bonuses to lure away nurses, doctors etc. WE paid to educate.

When BILLIONS of dollars (US dollars!) from a much larger and profit-driven health care system are involved, it’s very hard for our smaller, publicly-funded health care authorities to compete.

Of course, many Canadians would argue WE do, however, offer a safer, saner, even more civil and civilized society in which to live, thrive and also raise a family.

But the lure of BIG BUCKS, when facing high student debt and higher living costs … higher taxes too … leads many BC and Canadian-trained nurses and other health care workers to succumb to American recruitment.

I don’t believe we can … or should … prevent them from going. That would violate their civil rights.

However, surely it’s not too much to ask … or legislate … that professionals educated, trained and graduated in our highly publicly-subsidized Colleges and Universities be expected to REPAY their full debt to our society if they leave.

And that goes well beyond just their student debt … which, although sizable, still accounts for only a small portion of the actual cost borne by the taxpayers to support/educate highly skilled professionals through the post-secondary level … and well beyond.

College and University level aspiring professionals should have to sign Contracts with institution-funding governments when they enrol: if they stay and practice their skills for, say, five or 10 years, in Canada, their SOCIAL DEBT to society is retired.

However, if they immediately leave to practice/work elsewhere, then they must REPAY their SOCIAL DEBT over the same period, five or 10 years, to help FUND other students here to replace them.

Taking advantage of BC or Canada’s subsidized institutions of higher learning … and then immediately heading south to cash in … is a ripoff of Canada and all our taxpayers.

Time for provincial and federal authorities to face up to that challenge … and protect our advanced education investments from being ripped off by US recruiters.

Harv Oberfeld

(Reminder: Get First Alerts to all postings on this BC-based Blog by following me, @harveyoberfeld on Twitter.)

Posted in British Columbia, International, National | 24 Comments

Vancouver Council “Screws” Low and Middle Income Home Owners and Renters

You can ignore all the platitudes and phony pronouncements from members of Vancouver City Council about the need to assist, protect and preserve homes and housing for hard-working low and middle income residents.

Their actions … including solid support from the supposedly working and middle-class simpatico Greens and COPE representatives on Council … have piled a HUGE 2020 property tax increase on Vancouver ratepayers.

The approved SEVEN PER CENT property tax increase for 2020 … the highest property tax hike in at least a decade … will push the annual operating budget to $1.6 BILLION.

And that’s ON TOP OF all the well-above inflationary increases piled on Vancouver taxpayers in the past four years: 3.9% in 2017; 4.24% in 2018; 4.5% in 2019 .. and now, a whopping 7% for 2020.

Nor does that include all the increases as well in charges for Metro regional services … such as water, waste etc.

Is there ANYONE reading this whose pay/pension/income rose 3.9% in 2017; 4.24% in 2018; 4.5% in 2019 .. and now, a whopping 7% for 2020 ????

The clear result of these City of Vancouver property tax increases … and the subsequent incremental piling on of inflation and other ripoffs they impose each year forward … will be to further push out of the city seniors, pensioners, low and middle income residents and aspiring young families, home/condo owners and buyers … making Vancouver an even more expensive place to live … just for rich professionals, corporate executives and offshore millionaire and billionaire investors.

And make no mistake about it … renters will feel the hurt as much as low and middle-income owners just trying to hang on to their homes/condos.

A big change this year results from a decision by Council last April, as readers of the Vancouver Sun were reminded recently by writer Dan Fumano:

“In April 2019 council approved a “tax shift,” from business properties to residential, of one per cent for 2019 and 0.5 per cent in 2020 and 2021. The stated purpose at the time was to provide relief to Vancouver’s independent businesses struggling with soaring property taxes. But that will also mean higher tax increases for residential properties.”

You can read his full article here: https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/dan-fumano-why-falling-property-assessments-wont-mean-lower-property-taxes

I could understand the more business-friendly for NPA Council members going along with that.

And yet, the left-leaning Greens, COPE and even Mayor Kennedy Stewart (a former NDP MP) also supported the biggest operating budget increase in at least a decade piled on the backs of residential home owners and subsequently, renters as well.

Why?

Well, I believe it happened because they ALL get to enjoy/spend on their pet causes/projects the benefits from this “rape” of taxpayers.

Council agreed to spend $6.8 MILLION more in 2020 alone “to accelerate the city’s action on climate change and $4.1 MILLION (my CAPS) to address affordability and the housing crisis,” reported Mike Howell in the Vancouver Courier.

Read his full article here: https://www.vancourier.com/news/new-vancouver-firefighters-cops-to-be-hired-under-7-per-cent-tax-hike-1.24037418

They want to address affordability? Why don’t they all look in the mirror!

Another $7.2 million for 25 more police officers and 30 new fire safety hires… bringing the total force to 1,352 police and 775 fire fighters … eating up 30 per cent of the total budget.

Surely, the added taxes paid by the increase in Vancouver’s population (reportedly 200,000 over the past 30 years) and the thousands of homes and condo units added in the city should have covered any added police/fire costs ????

But no … just keep building the “Empire”, adding spending, approving wasteful and frivolous projects (seen the Granville Bridge lately?) … and just taking more and more from struggling home/condo owners and renters.

And by the way, to squeeze every last quarter they literally can from Vancouver residents, Council also approved adding MORE parking meters to city streets (are there any non-residential streets left without them?) … and, of course, INCREASE the parking rates yet again.

It’s RAPE … and part of the way they get away with it, each year now, is that, most of the time, Vancouver Council operates in obscurity: very few of the media even cover City Hall on a regular basis anymore … and Council meetings are no longer broadcast as a community service.

Out of sight government is out of control government.

NPA Councillor Lisa Dominato reportedly wanted the budget approval delayed until April for further discussion/consideration/debate and NPA Councillor Colleen Hardwick warned against the years of budget increases … including $700 MILLION ($500 MILLION for 2020 alone) in capital projects.

But to no avail … the biggest screwing of Vancouver ‘s low and middle class home/condo owners and renters in a decade was approved … by the Green/NDP-leaning and COPE dominated Council.

Think about that next time you hear/see any of them wringing their mouths … and decrying the lack of affordability for those struggling to live/stay in Vancouver.

Harv Oberfeld

(Reminder: You can get First Alerts of all new postings on this BC-based blog by following @harveyoberfeld on Twitter. No spam ..just Alerts to new postings.)

Posted in British Columbia, Media | 40 Comments