BCBusiness Report Card: Empty podiums and rough restaurants

We assess how different people/things and, of course, businesses fared this week.

Credit: Courtesy of Article

Article was once again named Canadas fastest-growing company

We assess how different people/things and, of course, businesses fared this week

“It started with a chair.”

Yes, that is the opening line to the 2007 film Juno (filmed in Vancouver, whaddup).

But it’s also funny to imagine it as the beginning salvo to the 2019 federal election. Sure, it technically started with Justin Trudeau imploring the Governor General to dissolve Parliament and call the 43rd Canadian general contest. 

Really though, it started with a podium (OK, not quite a chair). Specifically the empty podium that represented Justin Trudeau’s absence at last night’s Maclean’s/Citytv federal leaders’ debate.

It was the first such event of the election campaign, and while the whole thing was somewhat pointless without the prime minister in attendance, the optics of the empty podium were, uh, not great. 

Here’s what else made the grade (and what didn’t) this week. 


Grade: A+

And hey, what do you know—the grades also start with a chair!

For the second straight year, the Vancouver-based online furniture retailer ranked No.1 on the Growth 500, which ranks Canada’s fastest-growing companies. 

The company has seen five-year revenue growth of 24,182 percent. That’s frankly hard to wrap one’s mind around. Oh, and Article has an awesome head office.

B.C. companies did pretty well on the list overall, representing 69 of the 500 businesses listed. The province registered 13.2 percent of the country’s population in the 2016 census, and 69 out of 500 equals…13.8 percent. That’s what we’re talking about, B.C.!

The two other B.C. outfits in the top 10 were Victoria-based digital marketer SendtoNews (No. 4) and Vancouver’s Pixieset (No. 8), an online tool for photographers.

Being financially prudent

Grade: A

Hey, some good news for Trudeau (kinda)! According to a UVic study, financial scandals are of particular importance to Canadians.

“In Canada, we get outraged about misspent money more than anything else,” said UVic political historian Penny Bryden, who led the study. “Money is rarely far from the centre of a Canadian political scandal.” 

That could be positive information for Trudeau, who is dealing with a scandal, yes, but not a financial one. He just lied publicly and tried to get special treatment for a massive Quebec company. S’all good.


Grade: B+

The company is picking up some of the slack left behind by Greyhound’s reduced service. Ebus announced this week that it’ll be expanding its service to five more B.C. communities, including Salmon Arm and Chase.

The vehicles are also powered by low-emission, clean-diesel engines, which even we can’t hate on.

Female trades workers

Grade: B

We may or may not have a cover story on this very subject (get it at newsstands now!) hitting the interwebs later this month. But for now, we think it’s pretty cool that Belle Construction has been granted special approval to exclusively recruit and hire female tradespeople.

The letter of approval from the BC Human Rights Tribunal letter contained an alarming statistic: of the 180,000 licensed tradespeople in B.C., only 4.7 percent are women.

BC Restaurants

Grade: C

This is one of the easier grades to give out, as it’s the exact mark that Restaurants Canada bestowed to the liquor policies of the province’s eateries.

The report cites the lack of discounted wholesale pricing on booze, which typically means that restaurants pay the same as customers do in liquor stores.

It’s also critical of a policy that requires establishments to purchase alcohol from government liquor stores.

B.C. received a C score the last time grades were given out, in 2017.

At least Ontario got a C–.

Elizabeth May shakes Justin Trudeaus invisible hand

Being absent

Grade: C–

Look, we wouldn’t want to attend an event just to get yelled at for hours either. (We knew going to our high school reunion was a mistake.)

But the optics of Justin Trudeau missing the first leaders’ debate was not good. Sure, he let the other contenders knock each other out. But he came off looking scared. Only agreeing to one English-language leaders’ debate doesn’t project much confidence. Really, it looks like you’re just trying to take as few blows as possible and get out alive. And maybe that’s the best strategy.

Or maybe, just maybe, the end of Justin Trudeau started with a chair…er, podium.

Got something you want graded? Email ncaddell@canadawide.com