November 15, 2019

Philanthropist claims UBC breached $30 million donation deal over naming rights on law degrees

BIV's lawsuit of the week

Photo: Dan Toulgoet

Philanthropist and lawyer Peter Allard and his foundation are taking the University of British Columbia (UBC) to court, claiming UBC breached a $30 million gift agreement by failing to include his name on law school graduate certificates.

Allard and the Allard Prize Foundation filed a petition in BC Supreme Court on November 5 seeking leave to appeal an arbitrator’s decision on the dispute. According to the petition, Allard and the foundation made a $30 million donation to UBC in 2014.

“The 2014 Gift Agreement imposes naming and branding obligations in relation to the Faculty of Law at UBC in perpetuity,” the petition states. The deal requires the university to “exclusively use ‘Peter A. Allard School of Law’” on degree certificates and the school’s website.

But the university’s senate first resolved to use the name on graduate degree certificates “if so requested by Faculty,” which was later revised to reflect “that the Law School was permanently  renamed and the Name was not an alternate or replacement name.” In May 2016, juris doctor degrees were amended with the “Peter A. Allard School of Law,” but other degree certificates “did not include the Name in any way.”

“The Petitioners did not, and do not, seek to have the Graduate Degree Certificates refer solely to the Name, but only sought a reasonable reference to the Name on such Degree Certificates,” the petition states.

In August 2018, Allard took the university to arbitration in the naming dispute. The petition states that “even though the subjective evidence regarding the meaning of ‘degree certificates’ was deemed inadmissible, it was the only factor that the arbitrator considered in any detail in his analysis.”

During the arbitration, it came out that Allard wasn’t told that both the master of laws and PhD programs were administered outside the faculty of law. However, the arbitrator sided with UBC, finding that the gift agreement covered only “certificates or parchments granted upon the recommendation of the Peter A. Allard School of Law and not otherwise.”

Allard and the foundation seek leave to appeal the arbitrator’s award. The petition’s factual basis has not been tested in court, and UBC had not responded to the petition by press time.


Horgan and BC NDP face tough tests in their mid-term exams

It is easy to overstate junctures in a government’s history as important, but there is no doubt that John Horgan’s BC NDP administration finds itself neck deep in mid-term competence tests.

Start with the labour disputes – imagine, labour disputes under an NDP government! – involving teachers and transit workers, substantial trials to bring the party’s supporters into the realpolitik of the low-inflation, meagre-wage-growth economic mantra for governments of the day.

Liquefied natural gas and Site C have been policy head-shakers and finger-waggers for the clan in this term, but so is a stealthy instrument of cost control called a Sustainable Services Negotiating Mandate. This government created it, and it has deflated the ballooning aspirations of the public sector – in the most recent case, the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF). The measure has a conservative feel of wage control, in that if any unit exceeds in bargaining what others already got, everybody then gets it – so no one does.

The provincial mediator points to a “disconnect” between the BCTF and the BC Public School Employers’ Association. The teachers have no interest in accepting two, two and two over three. Their union asserts compensation has compounded problems in recruitment and retention. Few could have predicted this impasse. A Siamese twin of the NDP has become an estranged partner.

In the matter of the so-far-tepid strike against TransLink, the regional transportation authority, bargaining last week was trying to bridge a colossal positional gulf. Incremental inconvenience is underway, and as the sunshine and temperate skies vanish, any service disruption will increasingly infuriate.

Not many were predicting this impasse, either, because TransLink workers are rejecting better terms than other workers. And while Horgan hints he won’t let the strike fester, the tactic of the Unifor unit is to unsettle but not unravel the transit system – so as not to provoke provincial intervention. In both cases, the government holds most of the cards here. It has no worry about the BC Liberals if it imposes mediation and if settlements are kept in check, while workers have nowhere to go politically if the NDP proceeds that way.

The near future is much more interesting as a test.

The provincial $179 million surplus has the feel of the last grains of sand in the hourglass, what with the convulsion of the forestry sector, the subduing of the hot real estate market and the dumpsterism of the Insurance Corp. of British Columbia rendering revenue ruinous of the province’s estimable economic position.

The quarterlies are due later in November. No one expects money to have fallen off the back of a truck.

Which brings us to the test. A telling moment will be if the NDP tacks to defy the recent provincial orthodoxy and follows recent federal orthodoxy into operational deficits.

In this case, it holds fewer cards. It can’t count on revenue streams or fabricate any meaningful taxes. As with its buzzkill on labour, the government has to decide if it will slow the pace of social and housing programs to balance the books and maintain some room for stimulus if headwinds hit what have been years of clear sailing.

Its navigation will reveal much about its maturity as a government, specifically whether it takes seriously the task of fiscal stewardship. The signs so far are of temperance, even if drunken sailors are running the federal treasury. Any abandonment of this principle will open the old NDP playbook.

The other wild-card test involves the looming inquiry into money laundering.

Here, too, the government holds the cards. The evidence ought to offer some spectacle, mainly at the expense of the provincial Liberals and their former governments.

Tempting as it may be to kick the Liberals as they roll on the ground, a more important challenge for the government is to convert the inquiry’s revelations into solutions and minimize the manufacture of daily partisan punishment.

Mid-terms are often more difficult than the final exams, but they have to be aced to make the grade. We will see soon how studious Horgan and his team are.

Kirk LaPointe is editor-in-chief of Business in Vancouver and vice-president, editorial, at Glacier Media.


Legendary Vancouver gelato shop sets Guinness World Record for number of flavours

Vancouver’s La Casa Gelato celebrated its official Guinness World Record for most ice cream flavours Nov. 14. Photo: La Casa Gelato/Facebook

“When we first opened in 1982, we were just a small Italian Sports bar serving 20 flavours in East Vancouver,” begins La Casa Gelato’s backstory.

Fast forward to 2019, and with 238 gelato flavours in their colourful shop, the longstanding gelateria is setting a Guinness World Record for having the most flavours available on-site.

La Casa Gelato, which has been set up for decades now inside a shockingly pink building on Venables, evolved their menu from the initial 20 to 40, then to 168, and now to 238 eclectic and traditional flavours ready to scoop.

Anyone who’s been inside this veteran scoop shop knows that it’s instant fun when you walk in the door, and the choices are staggering – and some even shocking. La Casa Gelato makes gelato, sorbetto, yogurt, and sugar-free options. Flavours include everything from a classic Stracciatella to things like Kimchi, Chocolate Bacon, Death By Mango, Green Tea Oreo, Roasted Garlic, Durian, and much (much!) more – in fact, La Casa Gelato’s creative minds have come up with nearly 600 flavours over the last 37 years. That’s a lot of gelato!

Nov. 14 is Guinness World Record Day, which is when competitors around the world unite to celebrate marking a new record, and that’s when Vancouver’s La Casa Gelato and its 238 flavours were deemed the “Official World Record” holder for the most commercially available ice cream flavours.

La Casa Gelato is located at 1033 Venables Street in Vancouver

Check out this video about La Casa Gelato:


Vancouver Is Awesome


Major Vancouver bar-restaurant group expands into Richmond

Photo: Colony Entertainment District

The Colony Restaurant Group, which operates several locations of Colony bar-restaurants in Vancouver, is among the new tenants at a controversial development in Richmond’s Steveston Village.

Colony was confirmed as a new lease-holder for the Imperial Landing waterfront planned community by developer Onni, and they plan to open a bar-restaurant at the site.

Imperial Landing’s contentious past has to do with the City of Richmond’s vision for what was once the BC Packers site.

Onni began developing the mixed-use master planned community in 2001, though Richmond had begun discussing use for the site back in 1998. Over the last several years, Onni has contributed to the community through, as they explain, “the revitalization of Phoenix Pond including the pedestrian connection bridge, construction of the entire boardwalk from No. 1 Road to Railway Ave. including the parking lot at Britannia Heritage Shipyard Park, public art throughout our sites including the roud-a-bout at Easthope Ave., as well as historic plaques identifying particular maritime features of the community.”

After more than 10 years of battling with the City of Richmond and Steveston residents, Onni agreed to a deal with the city in June of this year.

Onni agreed to pay $5.5 million to the city in exchange for rezoning six commercial buildings on the waterfront, which were originally supposed to be for marine mixed use. The money was earmarked for Steveston Community Centre.

The zoning amendments added several types of use to the six Imperial Landing buildings – health service, hotel, recreation, restaurant, retail and financial service – and removed boarding and lodging, community care facility and home business.

Onni also confirmed with the Richmond News that they have signed Goodlife Fitness as a tenant, as well as a Thai restaurant called Bann Lao. The developer is planning to open a waterfront hotel at Imperial Landing next spring or summer.


Colony will be opening a bar-restaurant at Onni’s Imperial Landing in Richmond’s Steveston neighbourhood. Photo via Imperial Landing

Colony began in Vancouver in Kitsilano, and has since expanded to add locations on Main Street in Mount Pleasant. In Sept. 2018 they opened their “Northwoods” outpost in North Vancouver, and then this year they launched in Vancouver’s Granville Entertainment District.

They’re known for their upscale sports bar vibe, craft beers on tap, and approachable menu.

With files from Alan Campbell/Richmond News

Vancouver Is Awesome


Eight arts events to check out in Vancouver this winter

The Dancers of Damelahamid perform Mînowin at the Cultch Nov. 20 to 24 | Photo: Anna Springate Floch

There’s no shortage of arts events to keep you warm this winter. So bundle up and get out there.

Exploring Indigenous identity through dance

Indigenous dance gets a contemporary twist Nov. 20 to 24 via a performance dubbed Mînowin. Performed by the Dancers of Damelahamid, the show is described as “an innovative multimedia dance work about rebirth and transformation.” The performance piece marries narration, movement, song and projections as the dancers connect coastal landscapes with contemporary perspectives on Indigenous dance and culture.
Nov. 20 to 24 at the Cultch, 1895 Venables St.

East Van Panto returns with Pinocchio


East Van Panto: Pinocchio runs Nov. 20 to Jan. 5 at the York Theatre.

Every journey into adulthood inevitably includes run-ins with a fox, a cricket and an orca, and this year’s East Van Panto reflects that timeless truth. East Van Panto: Pinocchio follows an old ice cream seller named Gelato, the “mysterious Beckwoman of Commercial Drive” and a potential cappuccino war. Very Vancouver. Back for its seventh year, this rendition of the East Van Panto is written by Marcus Youssef and directed by Stephen Drover.
Nov. 20 to Jan. 5 at the York Theatre, 639 Commercial Dr.

Nutcracker remounts for holiday season


Alberta Ballet’s Nutcracker runs Dec. 28 to 30 at Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Photo Darren Makoivichuk

If a production of the Nutcracker isn’t happening somewhere in Vancouver, can it truly be the holiday season or are we living in an alternate reality? You have until Dec. 28 to ponder this existential question, when Alberta Ballet’s production kicks off at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. The choreography comes courtesy of Edmund Stripe, while Emmy Award-winning designer Zack Brown takes care of the costumes. The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra takes care of Tchaikovsky’s musical score. Expect all the other bells and whistles as well: the Sugar Plum Fairy, a Mouse King and Russian princesses.
Dec. 28 to 30 at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 630 Hamilton St.

Look busy, the Messiah is coming


The Pacific Baroque Orchestra and the Vancouver Cantata Singers perform Handel’s Messiah Nov. 30 at the Chan Centre.

Fun fact: it took George Frideric Handel just 24 days to write the Messiah back in the 18th Century.
Fast forward almost 300 years, and the three-part performance about all things Jesus lands Nov. 30 at the Chan Centre. Early Music Vancouver brings the show to town alongside guest conductor Ivars Taurins, the Pacific Baroque Orchestra and the Vancouver Cantata Singers. Guest soloists include Joanne Lunn, Krisztina Szabó, Thomas Hobbs and Peter Harvey.
Nov. 30 at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, 6265 Crescent Rd.

Make the angels dance


The Chor Leoni men’s choir perform their Angels Dance program Dec. 21 at the Orpheum.

The Chor Leoni men’s choir is going to make the angels dance on Dec. 21. The evening’s program for Angels Dance includes traditional holiday music from across Europe, Canada, the southwest and Appalachia, along with dancers from the Arts Umbrella Dance Company. Musicians getting in on the act include Tina Chang (piano), Vivian Chen (harp), Ed Henderson (guitar) and Katie Rife (percussion).
Dec. 21 at the Orpheum Theatre, 601 Smithe St.

Sadness reigns in FADO


The Firehall Arts Centre hosts Elaine Ávila’s new play, FADO, running Nov. 21 to Dec. 14.

Ghosts and the holiday season go together like two peas in a pod. The Firehall Arts Centre hosts Elaine Ávila’s new play, FADO, beginning Nov. 21 and the show is described as a “tale of love and ghosts” set against the “saddest music in the world.” Billed as part concert and part theatre, FADO follows the story of a young Portuguese woman confronting her country’s fascist past and her own identity. In a related plot twist, Fado is the national music of Portugal and translates to the English word for “fate.”
Nov. 21 to Dec. 14 at Firehall Arts Centre, 280 East Cordova St.

Europe in 10 days



Winters Brothers screens at the Cinematheque as part of the European Union Film Festival Nov. 22 to Dec. 2.

You can enjoy all the culture of Europe without the 10-hour flight through the Cinematheque’s 22nd annual European Union Film Festival. Films from 25 countries will be featured during the festival’s run, including heartwarming titles such as Metal Heart, Me, Myself and My Dead Wife and Eternal Winter.
Nov. 22 to Dec. 2 at the Cinematheque, 1131 Howe St.

Disney on Ice gives it 110 per cent


Disney on Ice’s Mickey’s Search Party skates across Pacific Coliseum Nov. 28 to Dec. 1.

There was a time when the mere appearance of Mickey and Minnie on a sheet of ice alone would bring the crowd to its feet. But in 2019, Disney’s go-tos simply won’t do in isolation. And so, Disney on Ice’s Mickey’s Search Party is now a multi-level performance piece including acrobats, aerial stunts, video projections, skeletons and even stilts. The storyline for Mickey’s Search Party features Mickey and pals as they follow Captain Hook’s treasure map for clues to find Tinker Bell after he attempts to capture her magic. Clever cross-promotion dictates that the whole slate of Disney-Pixar characters be involved somehow, so be prepared for guest spots from the likes of Coco, Frozen, Moana, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Toy Story and the Little Mermaid.
Nov. 28 to Dec. 1 at Pacific Coliseum, 2901 East Hastings St.

Vancouver Courier


What are we reading? November 14, 2019


Each week, BIV staff will share with you some of the interesting stories we have found from around the web.


Kirk LaPointe, editor-in-chief:

Do we need to reconsider the value of economics? Might it be an outdated discipline? A new book, reviewed in this essay, is a thoughtful take on the matter. – The New York Review of Books


This somewhat unwieldy feature examines the conduct of Boeing as it developed the troubled 737 MAX. The thorough investigation is most unflattering and worrying. – The New Yorker


Tom Hanks is, by all accounts, one of Hollywood’s nicest people. This profile does nothing to unsettle that view as the actor takes on a film role of another nice person, Mister Rogers. It even reveals Rogers’ four rules for journalism. – The New York Times


Glen Korstrom, reporter:

I usually only have time for books on vacation but over the Remembrance Day weekend I found myself engrossed in this deeply personal book by Nightly Business Report anchor Bill Griffeth. He was caught off-guard when a DNA test showed that he was not related to his late father, and reveals results of a re-test along with a brother and cousin to determine whether it was his 95-year-old mother who had had an affair, or whether it was his grandmother. Well researched and told this is a good fast read, particularly if you are thinking about taking a DNA test – The Stranger in My Genes by Bill Griffeth

Here’s a link to an article about the 2016 book, and an excerpt about what it was like for Bill to get the first test result. CNBC


This article accurately describes the craziness in the room of the Louvre where the Mona Lisa is on display. It merits having its own venue. – New York Times


Mark Falkenberg, deputy managing editor: 

Donald Trump tried to mock her – didn’t go well for him – and Alberta’s Jason Kenney flipped up his nose like a goat at the idea of meeting with her. What is it about this little Swedish girl that makes big fat North American politicians quake in their carbon-loving boots, and otherwise inspires millions of people? A look at Greta Thunberg’s hold on our imagination. CBC


The ex-chief of CSIS warns that Canada needs to wise up fast about the menace of China and Russia: “The risks posed by these two countries are certainly different, but they are generally based on advancing all their interests to the detriment of the West,” says Richard Fadden, former security adviser to Justin Trudeau and Stephen Harper. – CBC/Yahoo News


Timothy Renshaw, managing editor:

More multibillion-dollar tariff darts to the heartland courtesy of Tariff man Trump. – Tariffs Hurt the Heartland

Not a lot of global energy companies thus far getting that green feeling. – Edie