Study: Political parties promise dollars for retirees, pennies for under 45s

Plus, Vancouver schools hang onto their real estate and Woodfibre LNG clears hurdle

Pocket-change promises
Is youth wasted on the young–or is it just campaign promises? As political parties tempt voters to the polls with promises of billions, one non-partisan group looks at who will benefit–and how old they are. A new study by Generation Squeeze, founded by Paul Kershaw, UBC professor in the school of population and public health, compares party platforms and what they say they’ll spend according to age group. The four national parties all promise $18 to $20 billion in additional annual spending for the 18 per cent of Canadians who will be 65+ in 2019. That’s more than Conservatives, NDP and Liberals invest for all 55 per cent of Canadians under 45.  For every new dollar the national parties will invest in each retiree by 2019/20, investments for each person under 45 total only 18 cents from the Conservatives, 27 cents from the NDP, 28 cents from Liberals and 34 cents from the Greens.

Schools saved
Speaking of the future, the Vancouver School Board voted–this time–not to break the piggy bank by selling off valuable Vancouver real estate to ease its budget woes. This summer, a provincial audit of the board’s finances recommended closing under-enrolled schools for a cash payout of $750 million and an annual savings of $37 million. On Tuesday night, trustee Janet Fraser put forth a motion that the “VBE commit to not sell school lands but maintain or increase our current number of school sites to preserve neighbourhood sites for current and future educational and community use.” The motion passed 5-4, putting the board’s financial issues on hold, for now.

LNG lives
The Woodfibre LNG facility project cleared one hurdle yesterday as the Squamish Nation Council voted to approve the Environmental Assessment Agreement (EAA) necessary for the company to move forward in the approval process. This vote comes after almost a year of the Nation’s independent review, focus groups and community meetings. Chief Ian Campbell said in a news release that environmental issues come first and critical issues still need to be resolved: “There is still no agreement on the Fortis BC pipeline. The pipeline is subject to a separate SN EAA.”  Negotiations continue with Fortis BC and the provincial government.