Integrity B.C. executive director Dermod Travis dies

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      One of B.C.'s most diligent political watchdogs has passed away two days before his 60th birthday.

      Dermod Travis had been executive director of Integrity B.C. for the past nine years.

      He was also executive director of the Canada Tibet Committee and a columnist for several websites and publications, including

      Travis was the first person in Victoria to start raising red flags about Craig James, even before James became clerk of the legislature.

      Back in 2011, Travis criticized the wording of the question in the HST referendum—language that was crafted by James in his role as the acting chief electoral officer.

      Travis also blew the whistle on James spending $43,295 on travel expenses over a four-month period when he was in that role.

      Over the years, Travis's quick mind and diligent research skills enabled him to explain a wide range of issues to Straight readers.

      These included the high cost of private auto insurance in Ontario, the huge gap between electricity demand and supply, and the intricacies of provincial budgets. He also had a strong environmental sensibility.

      But if there was one crowning achievement, it's probably Travis's never-ending quest to bring about campaign-finance reform in B.C.

      He played a pivotal role in this becoming a central issue in the 2017 provincial election.

      And after the NDP formed a minority government with the support of B.C. Green MLAs, the government finally eliminated union and corporate donations to provincial political parties while imposing strict limits on contributions during the pre-election period.

      The law didn't go far enough for Travis, but it still accomplished a great deal.

      And for him, the icing on the cake came when his old nemesis, Craig James, retired following a scandal around election expenses.

      Travis is survived by his sister, Dierdre Chettleburgh, who lives in Victoria.

      Many of Travis's articles can be found here.