Release Order

Farmers deserve some control over their own land

theQuestion: Is it time to review and change the Agricultural Land Reserve?* Last week, BC NDP agriculture critic Nicholas Simons lambasted the BC Liberals’ decision to include the Agricultural Land Reserve, and the commission charged with overseeing it, in the government’s cost-cutting core review of programs and services. The premier has tasked MLA Bill Bennett to lead the core review in

Benefits will be huge without an expansion of gambling

theQuestion: Should Vancouver city council approve the newly proposed ‘urban resort’ with casino near BC Place?* While I appreciate Laila’s recap of the downtown Vancouver casino debate from the 1990s, I can’t help but feel her opposition to the current 2013 proposal by Paragon Gaming is tired and old. Her argument that established Vancouver businesses can’t compete with the new restaurants,

The race is on for LNG profits and B.C. can’t slow down

theQuestion: Should we put a stop to LNG implementation for more study and to set standards?* You can bet Rich Coleman, B.C.’s minister of Natural Gas Development, has had a busy summer working with industry, labour and First Nations in an effort to lay the foundation for the highly touted liquefied natural gas industry. The stakes are high. If the right decisions

Abbotsford squatters were creating a safety hazard

theQuestion: Is the city of Abbotsford right to evict residents of a homeless camp?* After last week’s discussion of launching air strikes at Syria, Laila must be relieved for the opportunity to bolster her left-wing bona fides by defending homeless squatters in Abbotsford. The issue is perfect for a bleeding heart liberal. On one side you have the big bad City of

Boots on the ground will boost impact of air strikes

theQuestion: Should the U.S. intervention in Syria be limited to only air strikes?* This week, President Barack Obama will bring his case for military intervention in Syria directly to the American people in a scheduled address from the White House. The president is fighting an uphill battle, as both the public and Congress are wary of another U.S.-led war. Should the president

Privacy not ‘invaded’ when people freely give up rights

theQuestion: Is the ability to track your movements through the Compass Card an invasion of privacy?* In the nearly three months since I joined this column, there are two issues readers have made clear they think I am on the wrong side of — my support for the government’s secret surveillance program and my defence last week of TransLink. You can

TransLink right not to spend millions just for a few riders

theQuestion: Should TransLink retrofit buses to prevent the “double transit fee”?* I believe nothing brings two opposing sides together better than a shared dislike for TransLink. In our polarized political climate — one in which the left and right forever quarrel — TransLink provides a powerful platform for agreement. I bet if TransLink ran a public transportation system between Palestine and

Retailer did right thing even though headdress not offensive

theQuestion: Did H&M do the right thing in pulling feather headdresses off the market in Canada?* One of the challenges with any debate format, such as deployed in the Duel, is that it perpetuates the impression there are only two sides to an issue. In reality, most issues have myriad points of view to be considered. That is the case for

Filter system would help parents protect their children

theQuestion: Should Canada implement a UK-style filter to protect children from pornography on the Internet?* Last week, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron sparked an important debate regarding children and the easy access to pornography on the Internet. Porn is ubiquitous online. It’s a fact that only a simple search finds an unfathomable amount of free pornographic images and video. Just try

Leaker should face the music for violating his oath

theQuestion: Is Edward Snowden a whistleblower who deserves asylum in Russia or a traitor who should be tried and convicted in the U.S.?* This week Laila decided to not answer the question posed in The Duel. The above question asks if Edward Snowden is a whistleblower who deserves asylum in Russia. She takes no position on whether Snowden deserves asylum at

Oil needs demand safer way to transport it in Canada

theQuestion: In light of the Quebec disaster, should we transport more Canadian oil by railway or pipeline here in B.C.?* Does anyone still think transporting oil by train is a good idea? Following the spectacular and horrific disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Que., I should hope not. The fiery explosion, which destroyed this small, idyllic Canadian town and took so many lives, underscores

Police deserve a pat on the back instead of jabs from the media

theQuestion: Does foiling an alleged terror plot in Victoria justify Canada's secret surveillance program?* With all due respect, Laila and her like-minded friends in the media are more than misguided in finding fault with how the RCMP and our premier have handled the most recent terrorist threat here on Canadian soil. Before I address their argument, let’s look at the question

Teachers need innovative methods to discipline such a narcissistic generation

theQuestion: Should a Vancouver teacher have been disciplined for duct-taping shut students’ mouths?* I was shocked last week when I heard a teacher had disciplined three overly talkative students through the use of duct tape. However, my reaction was not to the punishment of the students, but to the punishment of the teacher. The B.C. Teacher Regulation Branch of the Ministry of

If trolling our communications foils terrorists then so be it

theQuestion: Should the government be allowed to spy on your phone calls and email?* I believe Laila’s position on the Canadian and U.S. efforts to counter terrorism using electronic surveillance is grossly oversimplified and, in some instances, frivolous. Make no mistake, there are people out there who wish to harm us and to cause mass murder. Whether they are foreign nationals

Elections could avoid a divisive constitutional amendment

theQuestion: Should the Senate be elected or abolished?* In the wake of the Senate expense scandal, the federal NDP has turned up the heat. Party leader Thomas Mulcair promised to make the abolition of the Senate a key priority in the party’s next election campaign. The party launched a populist website replete with statistics and analysis of the costs for the

Education system needs a fresh approach that offers labour peace

theQuestion: Is a 10-year deal with the teachers’ union good for B.C.?* During the past 18 months, Laila and I have been engaged in a lively debate about B.C. politics. She, of course, was adamant the BC Liberals would lose the election and I was adamant they would win. The voters decided. However, our debate continues and I’m thankful for the