Columns: Going for broke

Figure skating is my favourite sport to watch on TV but one trend I don’t care for.

Figure skating is my favourite sport to watch on TV but one trend I don’t care for.

Male skaters used to wear glitzy outfits.

Most of the men in ice dance and pairs matched their partners in the world championships last weekend, but when Patrick Chan skated his long program he was dressed so casually he looked like he’d just wandered in from the street. The guys don’t have to bedeck themselves in sequins, plain black is fine, but this is a “showy” sport, so show some show.

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Critics were still finding flaws in the B.C. budget when the Trudeau government announced its “going for broke” financial plans. I’m no fan of deficits, but surpluses aren’t so hot either. They can be the result of governments misjudging the financial situation or cutting services to make themselves look good. What’s wrong with trying for balanced budgets? Most people don’t mind paying taxes, but they mind where their money goes, and get annoyed when they think politicians are tiddling around with it.

Municipal budgets don’t get much attention unless there is a major boo boo, but I’m leery about the zero tax increase approach. If assessed land values go up at the same rate as expenses, all is well. If not, the money for increased expenses (hydro fees, etc ) has to come from somewhere.

Zero base for too long can lead to honking big increases down the road. I’m sure city councillors have this figured out and will ensure there will be enough money for services like adequate snow removal. But then, maybe we’ll have no snow this year. Some local gardeners say we’ve skipped April, that it’s May already.

Still on the subject of money, we brag about B.C.’s economic growth, but don’t say much about having the lowest minimum wage in Canada. Even full time workers earning B.C.’s current $10.45/hour minimum are below the low income cut off for one person ($24,823). The province plans to raise the minimum wage this fall but hasn’t said by how much. Studies found that Cariboo workers need $15 an hour to live above the poverty line.

Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.