News in support of successful living: business & economy, health & wellness, education, youth, the arts, politics, sustainability & social trends. Featuring news of the west side of Vancouver Island.

Click on other pages for deeper stories and local news:  BC & NATIONAL | VANCOUVER ISLAND (island-wide impact) | LANGFORD, COLWOOD & METCHOSIN | SOOKE |  JUAN de FUCAREGIONAL EVENTS


Wednesday, June 21. Public input is being sought by the District of Sooke about their proposed Official Community Plan that is now under development. The municipality is offering several ways to provide input up to June 30:

  • Sooke Municipal Hall, 2205 Otter Point Road – in the lobby, 8:30am to 4:30pm – June 15 to 30
  • Submit comments by email: ocp@sooke.ca
  • District of Sooke booth at Sooke Country Market (Otter Point Rd at Eustace): 10am to 2pm on Sat June 24
  • Sooke Night Market (outdoors at the Sooke Region Museum grounds) on two Thursday nights (5:30 to 8pm): June 22 & 29
  • Sooke Library drop-in – 10am to 5 pm (on days the library is open).

What’s an Official Community Plan?

The Official Community Plan (OCP) is the District’s most important planning tool. Its vision helps to influence the way our community grows and develops by guiding how land is used. Land use and development decisions influence all parts of our daily lives, how our community looks and feels as well as where we live, work and play.

As a broad policy framework, the OCP guides planning and decision making about the future of our community, and works together with more detailed strategic action and implementation plans, such as corporate and financial plans, our Town Centre Plan, the Transportation Plan, the Parks Master Plan, and others.

Let’s Talk About Land Use

The first step towards the drafting stage of an OCP includes general descriptions for discussion purposes surrounding land use and Land Use Designations. (LUDs)

Based on feedback received from Council and the public engagement process in the summer and fall of 2016, staff has prepared the draft LUD maps and descriptions which were presented to Council in May 2017.  These are aimed to stimulate conversations and understanding about future land use in Sooke, which will assist with better decision-making, informed by an established planning theory.

What are Land Use Designations (LUD)?

The purpose of a LUD is to ‘match’ the lands in a Plan Area to land use and other goals, objectives and policies set out by the community in the Official Community Plan to help guide current and future decision making.

Find out more about the proposed land use designations at https://sooke.ca/districtnews/lets-talk-about-land-use-ocp-input-sought/

Wednesday, June 21 ~ COASTAL BC. BC Ferries is doing their usual add-on of additional sailings for the busy summer travel season. Extra sailings will be on routes serving Vancouver-Victoria (Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay) and Vancouver-Sunshine Coast, as well as the inter-island routes.

Fare promotions this summer include a break on the rate for private passenger vehicles longer than 20 ft (that’s to Oct 1), and passenger vehicle and driver fares at $39, $49, and $59 on select morning/evening sailings (to Sept 15).

Wednesday, June 21 ~ VANCOUVER. Today BC Premier Christy Clark will address a BC Liberal Women’s lunch at the Century Plaza Hotel in downtown Vancouver at noon.  Media has been advised that her address will provide a preview of the BC Liberal Government’s renewed plan for BC.

Wednesday, June 21 ~ NATIONAL – from the west coast.   It’s finally the first day of summer, which seems to have taken longer to arrive due to a dreary long winter and a spring with much more rain than usual. It’s almost as if winter lasted right up until it became summer!

The summer solstice officially marks the first day of summer. This year the solstice arrived at 9:24 pm Pacific Time last night on June 20, making today June 21 the first full day of summer.

On the west side of Vancouver Island it was also quite a windy day yesterday, as if to usher in summer with a bang and a reminder that the climate is not following stable patterns as it used to.

For health in summer, people are reminded to wear sunscreen for their skin when outdoors, and UV-protective eyewear for their eyes. Remember to stay hydrated and wear a hat when exposed to sunlight.

Most people’s veggie and herb gardens are well underway. But now that warm weather is assured it’s a good time for planting any remaining vegetable or herb plants as well as flowers.

On the national political scene, Prime Minister Justice Trudeau has renamed National Aboriginal Day — as recognized each year at the summer solstice —  as National Indigenous Peoples Day.

Tuesday, June 20 ~ SOOKE.  Last night about 20 members of the public attended the District of Sooke Committee of the Whole to overall voice concerns if not outright opposition to two new cell (wireless) monopoles being proposed by Freedom Mobile.

Freedom Mobile is owned by Shaw. They compete in the wireless market against the three big ‘giants’, i.e. Rogers, TELUS, and Bell. Presently, Freedom Mobile customers are clustered in Ontario, Alberta and BC.

In recent months Freedom Mobile had little difficulty in establishing a small non-obtrusive pole in an industrial area of Langford, to boost signals for their customers in that part of the west shore.

After some lengthy presentations from the public about health-related concerns, an impression was left in the room that exposure to transmission waves (radiation) from the towers would be almost likely be detrimental to the health of people in the immediate area of the towers.

The two proposed tower locations are 2614 Otter Point Road and 5154 Sooke Rd. Those are both private-owned properties in areas well set back from the town core.

The public presentations — some of them quite lengthy and repetitive — were non-interrupted by Councillor Bev Berger serving last night as the acting mayor. Councillor Kevin Pearson excused himself from the room during discussion about the 5154 Sooke Rd location (without specifying a reason). Councillor Ebony Logins came right out to declare her opposition to the two monopoles and that she would vote against them when the matter comes in front of Sooke Council on July 10.

Sooke Mayor Maja Tait was not in attendance at last night’s meeting.

The point made by some in the audience that there is “already enough cell coverage” in the area is to miss the point about facilitating business competition within the wireless industry. Business competition usually ends up benefiting the consumer.

Industry Canada is the authorizing body for where cell towers can be located. Municipal governments have no official say in the matter. However, the District of Sooke pulled out their “Communications Antenna Policy” from 2002, and based on that felt their role was to not only report on the meeting but to provide recommendations to both the federal agency (Industry Canada) and the applicant.

District of Sooke Councillors who were present at the June 19 Committee of the Whole asked for a staff report that will presumably summarize the evening which included presentations from Freedom Mobile as well as the public input and Councillors’ discussion and debate.

To allow time for compilation of that report, the July 10 Council meeting (the only summer meeting of Council) was targeted for receipt of the report. That will be 90 days from the applications made by Freedom Mobile. There is a 120-day window for applications to be received and responded to.

Sunday, June 18 ~ ON THE ROAD TO SOOKE. The remote-controlled Advisory Signage is now operating on the 4-lane section of Highway 14 (Sooke Road).  Sooke commuters have been waiting for this!

Advisory signage is now operating on Hwy 14 facing westbound traffic that is heading to Sooke. [West Shore Voice News photo – June 18, 2017]

The advisory sign faces westbound traffic that is heading to Sooke.

The BC Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure says the sign messages will provide “important and timely traveller information” regarding delays, road closures and current road conditions. The information will be provided from the www.drivebc.ca traveller information system.

One of the reasons this signage has been long-awaited by regular Sooke commuters is regarding any road closures that may lie ahead. However, while there is a pull-over area just east of the sign, there is no area provided for traffic to turn around.  If someone were to try a U-turn on the 4-lane based on information on the sign about road delays, that could create some dangerous traffic havoc.

The message on the sign today on Sunday June 18 in good weather, was simply ‘Keep your Distance, Drive Safely”.

Transmission tower in Langford needs relocation in order to expand Westshills Stadium. [West Shore Voice News 2017]

Saturday, June 17 ~ LANGFORD.  EXCLUSIVE TO WEST SHORE VOICE NEWS. BC NDP Leader John Horgan stands behind Langford for getting a BC Hydro transmission line moved, facilitating community group.

Relocating one hydro pole in Langford could open up exponential growth for the City of Langford and the west shore region. As outlined in the June 2 issue of West Shore Voice News, a transmission tower with 230 kV lines presently stands in a spot where Langford wants to build more seating at Westhills Stadium.

Expanded stadium seating would facilitate a host of new opportunities including MLS soccer, football training camps and big concerts. It would be a powerful driver to bring people into the heart of Langford. Doubling the capacity of Westhills would make that venue really special to the community, is the Langford view. That’s the dream. And the work is underway to make it happen.

City of Langford Mayor Stew Young {West Shore Voice News Photo 2017]

“We’re hoping that BC Hydro can donate half the cost of moving the pole and lines,” says Langford Mayor Stew Young. “It’s an important project for Langford,” he says. “Relocating the pole and expanding Westhills Stadium seating capacity would help ensure Women’s Rugby Sevens stays in Langford and allow for other types of sports teams and exciting events to happen, including the potential Commonwealth Games. To this end, “we’re looking to BC Hydro to be a community partner.”

Langford engineering staff explained this week that receiving an updated quote from BC Hydro that has accurate and realistic data is an important step to move the exciting project forward in a timely manner. The last quote was provided in 2014, and it requires fresh costing and possibly fresh eyes to the available technical options. In 2014, construction costs were at first outlined by BC Hydro as $1.5 to $3 million with actual constructions costs around $100,000 to 150,000 per pole, say Langford municipal engineers. Then $4,135,161 was provided in December 2014 as a high-level cost estimate (i.e. not every detail yet considered) to move the transmission tower. BC Hydro presented that cost as variable… could go up by 50% or be less by 35%.

BC Hydro staff have said that in order to provide a “confident cost estimate” they would need to perform a detailed engineering study to identify risks and impact and the need for geotechnical surveys. To produce what BC Hydro calls a “required conceptual study” would take about three to four months. That would push the construction phase quite a bit further along. Construction in the wet winter season is more challenging (and would possibly be avoided), and thus the spring-summer sports season looms for 2018 and 2019. Not to mention the time crunch if planning to include the Langford-based stadium in Victoria’s bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

BC NDP Leader John Horgan, Leader of the Official Opposition

For BC Hydro, the project to relocate a tower that carries a transmission line (necessitating adjustments to other in-sequence structures) would be a relatively large and complex undertaking, utilizing many areas of staffing, technical expertise and equipment, with scheduling around other work. BC Hydro wants $75,000 from the City of Langford to produce the required conceptual study, before anything can get going with the project.

So it’s just lucky for Langford and the west shore region that BC NDP Leader John Horgan — who within a few weeks is expected to be the new BC Premier after things shake down in setup of a new BC Government — is of Langford.

“I’ve spoken with Langford Mayor Young about the pole relocation for the past couple of years. I’ve also worked with him in approaching the Minister of Energy at the time, urging government to work with the city to get that done,” John Horgan told West Shore Voice News on June 16.

“But they’ve just been met with opposition. So that’s an issue. I want to pick up locally with BC Hydro right away. We have other issues around BC Hydro of course,” said Horgan. “Rates have gone up over the past number of years with the prospect of more increases going forward. We’re going to freeze those rate increases for a year while we get our heads around energy supply, including where the Site C hydroelectric project fits into that. That can only be paid for by taxpayers.”

Back to moving the pole in Langford: “That’s also going to be paid for by the taxypayers. How do we work with the City of Langford, who are anxious to do it – and how do it for as little as possible. It wouldn’t be as costly as Hydro is making it out to be,” says John Horgan. “Langford engineers have come up with solutions that are far less costly than the one Hydro is proposing,” Horgan says.

“I don’t want to get into this too deeply until I’ve had a briefing from BC Hydro. I want to hear the real reasons that BC Hydro is not moving on this. I don’t understand why they wouldn’t though. The public benefit is significant. It’s in the interest of Hydro to come up with a better reason… or at least itemize the costs of making this move in a way that the public can understand,” Horgan said on June 16.

“BC Hydro should have to defend their decisions, not just put them out there and say ‘if you want more information send me more money’. That’s outrageous,” said Horgan about the $75,000 price tag that would be required of Langford to get a freshly-costed conceptual report ahead of any detailed project planning or construction.

“We’re looking to BC Hydro to be a community partner by providing an updated quote that has accurate and realistic data,” says Mayor Young, calling that “an important step to move this exciting project forward in a timely manner”.
Langford has even come up with some other ideas, such as relocating the tower to the middle of road with a roundabout around it. That would reduce the transmission line span (instead of going further across the street), as explained by Langford engineers.

Langford has applied for a $6 million UBCM sport infrastructure strategic priorities grant to help with the cost of expanding stadium seating capacity and the costs surrounding that.

“And so ‘getting to yes’ is the way we need to go with this project,” Stew Young said this week, in his trademark style over 25 years of coming up with creative solutions and partnerships to achieve larger goals for his town.

Thursday, June 15 ~ VICTORIA/Vancouver Island. A recall of Island Farms milk products is open to all affected consumers. Products can be returned with or without a receipt. the recall also applies to products with the brand names Lucerne and Natrel.

Today June 15, the manufacturer — Agropur Dairy Cooperative — initiated a voluntary recall of numerous items in BC that were produced at the Victoria facility. The company said foreign material had been found in some of the products. No injuries or illnesses have been reported. The company said the recall is a precautionary measure.

Customers are advised not to drink the milk and are being asked to return the products to the store for a full refund.

The voluntary recall comes three days after Foremost-brand four-litre milk jugs from two Real Canadian Superstores on Vancouver Island were recalled due to sharp metal objects being found in the milk.

These are the affected Agropur products:

Brand Product Format UPC Distribution
Island Farms 1% Partly skimmed milk 2L 0 57726 00203 0 British Columbia
Island Farms 1% Partly skimmed milk 4L 0 57726 00139 2 Vancouver Island only
Island Farms 2% Partly skimmed milk 2L 0 57726 00202 3 British Columbia
Island Farms 2% Partly skimmed milk 4L 0 57726 00119 4 Vancouver Island only
Island Farms 1% Chocolate partly skimmed
1L 0 57726 00166 8 British Columbia
Island Farms 3.25% Homogenized milk 2L 0 57726 00201 1 British Columbia
Island Farms 3.25% Homogenized milk 4L 0 57726 00109 5 Vancouver Island only
Island Farms Skimmed milk 2L 0 57726 00204 7 British Columbia
Island Farms Skimmed milk 4L 0 57726 00129 3 Vancouver Island only
Lucerne Skimmed Milk 2L 8 21954 07890 3 British Columbia
Lucerne 1% Partly skimmed milk 2L 8 21954 07892 7 British Columbia
Lucerne 2% Partly skimmed milk 2L 8 21954 07894 1 British Columbia
Lucerne 1% Chocolate partly skimmed
2L 8 21954 07898 9 British Columbia
Lucerne 3.25 % Homogenized milk 2L 8 21954 07896 5 British Columbia
Natrel 1% Partly skimmed milk 4L 0 64420 44115 7 Vancouver Island only
Natrel 2% Partly skimmed milk 4L 0 64420 44317 5 Vancouver Island only
Natrel 1% Chocolate partly skimmed
1L 0 64420 00199 3 British Columbia
Natrel 3.25% Homogenized Milk 4L 0 64420 44117 1 Vancouver Island only
Natrel Skimmed milk 4L 0 64420 44417 2 Vancouver Island only

Wednesday, June 14 ~ BC. Coastal Naturalists are on board again this summer on BC Ferries.

BC Ferries is again operating their Coastal Naturalist Program on select vessels this summer. On the Vancouver-Victoria route (Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay) and Vancouver-Nanaimo route (Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay), naturalists will engage with customers during 20-minute presentations, June 28 through September 4.

About 150,000 passengers participate in these presentations each year, and this is the 12th year. Again this year, travellers on BC Ferries can learn about the ocean, BC’s unique wildlife and marine life, coastal, nautical and cultural history.

The service is provided in partnership with Parks Canada. There is free entry to all of Parks Canada places in 2017.

The info sessions will be presented seven days a week on the Spirit of British Columbia, Spirit of Vancouver Island, Coastal Celebration, Queen of New Westminster, Coastal Renaissance, and Queen of Oak Bay. The Coastal Naturalist schedule is at www.bcferries.com/onboard-experiences/Coastal_Experiences

The educational backgrounds of these young naturalists can be an inspiration to high school graduates of 2017!

  • Michelle – Vancouver Island University grad (Anthropology and Geography)
  • Katie – BA in Environmental Studies & French, passion for sea slugs
  • Rachel – double major in Environmental Studies & Geography, in 4th year at UVic
  • Colin – sciences at Thompson Rivers University, and now in the education program at UVic
  • Hilary – finishing M.Sc. at Thompson Rivers university studying intertidal animals
  • Janna – studying Natural Resource Sciences at Thompson Rivers University
  • Jessica – 3rd year Psychology student at UBC with a focus on mental health
  • Joe – Bachelor in Environment and Health Studies from York University; plus Applied Coastal Ecology at Northwest Community College in Prince Rupert

Chris Aubrey will be the new Langford Fire Chief starting June 16, as appointed by Langford Council last month.

Monday, June 12 ~ LANGFORD.  Expanding the Langford firefighting fleet. There were ample glowing comments for bringing the latest service vehicle into the Langford Fire Department fleet.

“It’s a perfect fit, a vehicle that allows us to move forward,” said outgoing Fire Chief Bob Beckett at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 8 at Langford Fire Hall No 1 on Peatt Road.

“We filled it really quickly,” said incoming Fire Chief Chris Aubrey, referring to all the equipment that has been packed into the heavy rescue truck that has no water tank, but lots of storage room.

Langford Mayor Stew Young and Councillor Lillian Spzak (Protective Services Chair) at the Rescue 1 ribbon-cutting, June 8.

“It’s a rolling toolbox,” said Langford Councillor Lillian Szpak who chairs Langford’s Protective Services committee.

Aubrey says the gear-packed truck means firefighters are not shuffling around between vehicles or amid layers within an engine vehicle for different items of gear or equipment during a live action scenario. It’s all well laid out for easy access.

Fire rescue personnel handle fires, motor vehicle incidents, hazardous material situations, terrain rescues, high-level incidents, and more. Langford Rescue 1 is a solid resource now for all those scenarios. “It’s perfect for a growing community,” said Aubrey.

A telescopic light tower can be projected up out of the truck to illuminate a night-time rescue scene.

The 2015 Spartan Metro Star Heavy Rescue vehicle was a demonstration unit rather than a custom build, saving the city and taxpayers approximately $100,000.

Langford Mayor Stew Young commended the fire department personnel for working to find a cost-effective solution. As a manufacturer’s demonstration vehicle, it had only 2,000 km on it from going to trade shows. The price was less than buying new, yet as a flagship piece of apparatus the vehicle has ‘all the bells and whistles’.

Council listened to what the fire department needed. “We always support Langford Fire Rescue with the equipment to do the job,” said Szpak.

The truck has been at the station for about a month, being equipped with radios and organized with all the equipment contents.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was an opportunity to celebrate good decision-making and service enhancement.
In addition to the new vehicle in the fleet there are four engines (with water tanks), two light trucks, one ladder truck, one brush truck and three utility vehicles.

The new Rescue 1 vehicle was officially unveiled with a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony at Langford Fire Hall No 1 on Thursday afternoon, June 8. Attending were Langford Mayor Stew Young, Councillor Lillian Szpak (chair, Protective Services Committee), Councillor Denise Blackwell, Councillor Winnie Sifert, incoming Fire Chief Chris Aubrey, Capt Steve Adams, and Capt Brian Bell.

Chris Aubrey will be the new Langford Fire Chief starting June 16, as appointed by Langford Council last month. Outgoing Fire Chief Bob Beckett will serve his last day June 16.

Monday, June 12 ~ VICTORIA.  Today at Government House, Premier Christy Clark and her Executive Council were formally sworn in by Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon.

“Our province needs a strong economy, one capable of supporting the services and high quality of life that British Columbians expect and deserve,” said Premier Clark. “But the public has also said they want us to do things differently to address areas that impact their lives and their families every day – this new cabinet reflects that message.”

The Executive Council reflects modern, diverse British Columbia. Its 22 members include:
* Thirteen men and nine women.
* Ten ministers from Metro Vancouver/Fraser Valley, 12 from Northern BC, Vancouver Island, and the BC Interior.
* Three who use wheelchairs.
* Five new ministers, including British Columbia’s first elected Indigenous cabinet minister with a portfolio.

“The provincial election made two things clear: British Columbians want a government that will work across party lines, and one that will bridge the divide between urban and rural British Columbians,” Premier Clark said.

The executive council is comprised of:

  • John Rustad – Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation. Has served as Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation since June 2013.
  • Andrew Wilkinson – Attorney General and Minister of Justice. Previously served as Minister of Advanced Education, and Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services.
  • Norm Letnick – Minister of Agriculture. Has served as Minister of Agriculture since April 2014.
  • Stephanie Cadieux – Minister of Children and Family Development. Has served as Minister of Children and Family Development since 2009.
  • Mike Bernier – Minister of Education. Has served as Minister of Education since July 2015.
  • Mary Polak – MInister of Health. Previously, she served as the Minister of Environment, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, Minister of Children and Family Development and Responsible for Child Care, Minister of Healthy Living and Sport, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health for the Conversation on Health.
  • Michael de Jong – Minister of Finance. A seven-term MLA, he has served as Minister of Finance since 2012. He previously served as Minister of Health, Attorney General, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, Minister of Labour and Citizens’ Services, and Minister of Forests.
  • Steve Thomson – Has served as Minister of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations since 2011.
  • Donna Barnett -Minister of State for Rural Economic Development. Was re-elected to represent Cariboo-Chilcotin in 2017. She has served as Minister of State for Rural Economic Development since 2016.
  • Teresa Wat – Minister of International Trade and Minister Responsible for the Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism. She has served as Minister of International Trade and Minister Responsible for the Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism since 2013.
  • Shirley Bond – Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour.  A five-term MLA, She has served as Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour since 2013.
  • Mike Morris – Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. He has served as Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General since December 2015.
  • Coralee Oakes – Minister of Small Business, Red-Tape Reduction and Minister Responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch. She has served as Minister of Small Business, Red-Tape Reduction and Minister Responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch since July 2015.
  • Rich Coleman – Minister of Energy and Mines. A six-term MLA, Coleman has served as Deputy Premier and Minister of Natural Gas Development Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas and Minister Responsible for Housing, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General and Minister Responsible for Housing, Minister of Housing and Social Development and Minister of Forests and Range.
  • Michelle Stilwell – Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation.  She has served as Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation since February 2015.
  • Todd Stone – Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.  He has served as Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure since 2013.
  • Ellis Ross – Minister of Natural Gas Development and Minister Responsible for Housing. In 2012, Ross was appointed by Premier Clark as the inaugural Chair of the Aboriginal Business and Investment Council.
  • Jas Johal – MInister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services.  Represents the new riding of Richmond-Queensborough.
  • Sam Sullivan – Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. was re-elected to represent Vancouver-False Creek in 2017.
  • Jordan Sturdy – Minister of Environment. was re-elected to represent West Vancouver-Sea to Sky in 2017.
    First elected in 2013, Sturdy previously served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment, chair of the Climate Leadership Team, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.
  • Linda Reid – Minister of Advanced Education. First election in 1991, she is BC’s longest-serving current MLA, and the longest-serving female MLA in BC history. Reid previously served as speaker of the legislative assembly from 2013 to 2017.Parliamentary Secretaries
  • Jane Thornthwaite – Parliamentary Secretary for Child Mental Health and Anti-Bullying to the Minister of Children and Family Development
  • John Yap – Parliamentary Secretary for Liquor Reform Policy to the Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction and Minister Responsible for Liquor
  • Darryl Plecas – Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors to the Minister of Health
  • Simon Gibson – Parliamentary Secretary for Independent Schools to the Minister of Education
  • John Martin – Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
  • Laurie Throness – Parliamentary Secretary for Corrections to the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General
  • Greg Kyllo – Parliamentary Secretary for the BC Jobs Plan to the Minister of Jobs, Tourism, and Skills Training.
  • Dan Ashton – Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance
  • Linda Larson – Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Education to the Minister of Education
  • Marvin Hunt – Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development
  • Michael Lee – Parliamentary Secretary for Housing Affordability to the Minister of Natural Gas Development and Minister Responsible for Housing
  • Joan Isaacs – Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education to the Minister of Education
  • Doug Clovechok – Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier

Sunday, June 11 ~ NATIONAL.  National Blood Donor week is coming up June 12 to 16, and right in the middle of that — on Wednesday June 14 — is National Blood Donor Day.

Leading up to that, Canadian Blood Services (CBS) has launched what they say is a world’s first among national blood operators by introducing a chat bot to engage donors on Facebook Messenger. This new tool is an innovative effort to engage younger audiences in a lifetime of blood donation and to promote the constant need for blood.

“The chat bot is a fun interactive tool that will attract new, young, and lifelong donors, at a time when the blood supply needs a boost to prepare for summer,” said Mark Donnison, vice-president of donor relations.

The chat bot will help users on Facebook Messenger learn more about the donation process and the people who are helped by donations. It will also encourage appointment bookings online or through the National Contact Centre.

This lead in digital engagement was developed in partnership with the team at EY digital consultants. “The chat bot is one more example of our commitment to embrace new and innovative digital technologies to reach and engage donors, whether they are new or returning.” Donors can meet the chat bot by messaging the Canadian Blood Services Facebook page.

CBS manages the national supply of blood, blood products and stem cells, and related services for all Canadian provinces and territories (except Quebec).

MILLENNIAL FOCUS | Friday, June 9, 2017
~~ It ain’t the way it used to be, baby! ~~
The ‘gig economy’ is here to stay
Editorial by Mary P Brooke, Editor, West Shore Voice News

Most people over the age of 35 can remember mustering up their courage and finding their first job right out of high school or university, and full independent adult life generally got underway. Not so for the Millennials.

For those under 30, the ‘gig economy’ built of creative offbeat endeavours (many of those online), part-time, contract, consulting and any other sort of non-permanent, no-benefits sources of income is the patchwork quilt of building an income package. Sustaining it is another matter, especially in urban areas of BC where housing/rental costs are far out of proportion to personal incomes. And here’s something not to underestimate… finding an employer who ‘gets’ the Millennial mind. Not to be pampered, but to be optimally functional.

All of this is different from being an entrepreneur — not everyone has that gene. Those of the entrepreneurial spirit — if adequately financed — will do alright in this new gig economy. But for the rest of the youth, it’s a whirlwind roll of the dice to be blown out of high school or university into a world without a pattern in which to create a foothold. Not to be overly dramatic, but for many of these teens-into-adulthood it’s like jumping out of an airplane at 30,000 feet without a parachute.

This generation has the smarts (intellectual, intuitive and digital), and beneath that they will certainly now be building up the emotional force that comes from being deprived of what might have been theirs. Opportunities are still out there but must be called forth with a willpower not taught in schools. It’s a rough world these Millennials have found themselves tossed into, tougher than perhaps they were set up for by today’s ultra-digital, mobile, data-cloud youth reality.

And on the other side of all this are the parents who — if they are able — and finding themselves with any heart at all, are helping out their grown children here and there, or more. In the past 30 years, wealth that made its way rapidly to the top for some has left the rest of us pinned to grinding wheels that provide only the occasional jump-off point. Many are without adequate retirement resource. What’s worse, is those who do try to jump from the pit onto the fast-moving train may falter trying, and badly. Worst case scenarios produce homelessness, drug addiction and a myriad of mental health issues.

In addition to what government should be doing, every stable business and employed person owes it to the next generation — the future of our world — to consciously give a thoughtful helpful hand to the youth of today who are the masters of tomorrow’s world (if not in wealth, in force). ~ Editor

[As first published in the June 2, 2017 print/PDF of West Shore Voice News]

Millennial contributions welcome to our news pages and social media channels. Email to news@westshorevoicenews.com or direct-message on Twitter @WestShoreVOICE


The swearing-in of BC NDP MLAs was livestreamed June 8 on the John Horgan Facebook page.

Thursday, June 8 ~ VICTORIA. As of today June 8, all 87 MLAs have now been sworn in at the BC Legislature.

Yesterday the three Green MLAs were sworn in, and today the 43 BC Liberal MLAs and 41 BC NDP MLAs took part in a swearing-in ceremony at the legislature.

The Legislature will be recalled on June 22. If a confidence vote fails for Premier Christy Clark, it’s likely BC will finally get NDP Premier John Horgan.

Read our editorial analysis on how things might shake down in a minority government scenario, page 2 in the June 2, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News.

Construction continues along Hwy 1 for the McKenzie Interchange. [Photo May 23 by West Shore Voice News]

Thursday, June 8 ~ VICTORIA AREA. The BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) has issued a traffic advisory about McKenzie Avenue and Highway 1 construction closures coming up next week.

Between Monday June 12 and Friday June 16, travellers are advised of overnight closures, detours and delays on McKenzie Avenue and Highway 1 as part of the McKenzie interchange construction.

The following closures will allow crews to install the Galloping Goose Trail bridge over McKenzie Avenue and the temporary pedestrian/cyclist bridge over Highway 1:

> Monday, June 12, from 11 p.m. to Tuesday, June 13, at 5:30 a.m. McKenzie Avenue will be closed between Burnside Road W and Highway 1.
Tuesday, June 13, from 11 p.m. to Wednesday, June 14, at 5:30 a.m. McKenzie Avenue will be closed between Burnside Road W and Highway 1.
> Friday, June 16, from midnight to 5:30 a.m. Highway 1 will be closed between McKenzie Avenue / Admirals Road and the Helmcken interchange.

MOTI says that every effort will be made to open these routes as quickly as possible, as soon as it is safe for both the construction crews and the travelling public. The work schedule may change due to weather and other conditions.

All travellers including drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are advised to plan alternative routes and to allow for extra time. Please also obey traffic control personnel and construction speed limits, and watch for workers and highway message boards. For up-to-date traffic advisories: www.drivebc.ca

The interchange, when complete, is expected to improve travel times between core areas, Saanich and the western communities of Colwood, Langford and beyond to Sooke.

Injured flagger lifted by first responders from ditch on Sooke Road June 8. WEST SHORE VOICE NEWS photo.

Thursday, June 8 ~ LANGFORD.  Roadside work can be dangerous. Drivers must remain alert.

Today around 12:15 pm West Shore RCMP responded to a motor vehicle collision involving a single vehicle and traffic flagger on Sooke Road and Luxton Avenue.

Initial reports from witnesses were that the flagger was attempting to stop a vehicle travelling in the east bound lane when she was struck by a small grey hatchback.

The impact of the collision sent both the vehicle and flagger into the ditch.

Emergency personnel including BC Ambulance Service and Langford Fire Department attended the scene and facilitated the rescue of the flagger who was transported to hospital with non-life threatening injuries but which included a broken leg according to Langford rescue personnel.

This incident is a reminder to all motorists to take extra caution in construction zones and highway projects where flaggers and work crews are working, states Corporal Chris Dovell, spokesperson for the West Shore RCMP.

This collision remains under investigation by the West Shore RCMP Traffic Unit and Worksafe BC.

[On-scene photo submitted by a West Shore Voice News reader, thank you!].


Wednesday, June 7 ~ BC.  BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver has issued the following statement in response to media reports of apparent uncertainty over the future of education funding. This is upon BCTF President Glen Hansman yesterday expressing concern about uncertainty over who will form the next government, and feeling this has left teachers and school trustees in limbo.

“I’m surprised to hear that our public educators are facing uncertainty with regards to their funding,” said Weaver. “This uncertainty is unnecessary, since all three parties in this election committed to the $360 million classroom enhancement fund at a minimum. I reaffirm the BC Greens Caucus’ commitment to this funding and call on the leaders of the BC Liberals and the BC NDP to do the same.

“After a lengthy and expensive court battle with the incumbent government, our teachers deserve to focus solely on their students. The minority government that British Columbians voted for presents an opportunity to do politics differently. This is an opportunity to depoliticize our public education system and put the interests of our students front and centre where they belong.”

Sunday, June 4 ~ BC. BC Premier Christy Clark has issued a statement today, regarding the attack June 3 in the London Bridge tourist area of London, UK. One woman from British Columbia was killed in the terrorist attack that was done with a vehicle plowing into people followed by assaults with a knife.

“Yesterday, terrorists carried out several attacks in the heart of London. One of the victims was from British Columbia.

“The individuals who carry out these acts of hate want to change us. They want to sow fear and division. Ultimately, they want us to turn on each other. They will never succeed.

“As her family and province mourn, we must never forget who we are – and the diversity that makes us strong.

“My thoughts, and those of all British Columbians, are with Chrissy Archibald’s family, her friends, and all those who knew and loved her.”


Saturday, June 3 ~ LANGFORD.  Sometimes just one thing relocated can change a torrent of other things. Like pulling the stopper out of the drain… everything starts flowing.

That’s how things are for Langford when it comes their Westhills Stadium. It presently seats about 2,200 people at full capacity, in bleachers on the south side. Seating could be expanded by another 3,000 if another set of permanent bleachers can be installed on the north side of the stadium area.

Being able to attract over 5,000 people for sports events would be a boon not just to the City of Langford but to the entire Vancouver Island west side. People would come to see or take part in a pro-game or other field activity, then perhaps stay awhile to shop or travel about. Tourism benefits are a big plus for all communities in the south island (Greater Victoria) area, and an expanded stadium would be a further economic driver.

This positions the rapidly growing City of Langford on yet another growth cusp, which could be significantly boosted by one thing… moving a hydro pole in order to build that second set of bleachers. That’s for safety reasons. Transmission lines can’t run overtop of people sitting below, says BC Hydro. And Langford is quite aware of that. And thus the stalemate has lasted about four years now, mostly over the cost but with a twist.   [Continued on page 1 in the June 2, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News]

See the full article on page 1 in the June 2, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News.

Friday, June 2 ~ VANCOUVER ISLAND. Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) is announcing new initiatives this summer, in recognition of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary. VIRL’s Read for Reconciliation offers a curated list of titles by indigenous authors that stimulate awareness, foster discussion, and facilitate a culture of learning.

June is National Aboriginal month and VIRL branches are hosting a range of programs and events in recognition and celebration of the vital role of indigenous communities. VIRL is also running a social media campaign, with the hashtag #Read4Reconciliation, as part of the campaign.

“As community hubs, libraries have an important role to play in both celebrating all that makes our country great, and in the healing and reconciliation that must occur so that we can all move forward under a common umbrella of understanding and unity,” said VIRL Executive Director, Rosemary Bonanno. “VIRL is committed to embracing and learning from our indigenous communities. We are also very excited to be part of the celebrations that are sweeping the country on Canada’s 150th anniversary.”

For Canada’s 150th, VIRL is launching a booklist of 150 titles from across the country and a mobile library that is travelling to events across Vancouver Island to promote library services. The mobile library will allow people to sign up for a library card, check out library materials (from the Read for Reconciliation and Canada 150 lists, and materials related to each event), purchase library swag, and test out VIRL’s new Virtual Reality.

At the mobile library, everyone will have an opportunity to be part of an exciting oral history project that aims to tap into and curate the rich tapestry that is our Island, and celebrate the stories and histories that unite us all. We will be recording 150-second stories at the community events and at all 39 branches.

The VIRL mobile library will be at the following events:

  • Port Alberni – Farmer’s Market – Saturday, June 17 – 9am–1pm
  • Nanaimo – Multiculturalism Day (One Community: Our City. Our Stories) – Tuesday, June 27 – 7–9pm
  • Downtown Duncan Day – Saturday, July 15 – 10am–6pm
  • Vancouver Island Exhibition – August 18, 19, 20

The complete Read for Reconciliation Booklist is available at virl.bc.ca/rfr and the Canada 150 materials are available at virl.bc.ca/150 .

Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver responded to Premier Christy Clark’s statement about recalling the legislature as soon as possible.

Tuesday May 30, 2017 ~ BC. Today Andrew Weaver, Leader of the B.C. Green Party, responded to Premier Clark’s statement regarding the next steps in reconvening the BC legislature and testing the confidence of the House.

“I welcome Premier Clark’s announcement today that she intends to recall the legislature as soon as possible, so that we can move forward with creating a stable minority government that delivers on key issues for British Columbians,” said Weaver.

“What is most important for me in her statement was that the Premier Clark has signalled her willingness to work across party lines as we move forward. This new form of politics is what voters asked for in this election, and we are committed to doing our part to make that happen. Our agreement to support a B.C. NDP government is an important aspect of collaboration in this new political era, but cross-partisan work is not limited to it.

“We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do politics differently in BC, and we take our responsibility to deliver this change for British Columbians very seriously.

“It was a difficult decision for the B.C. Green caucus to determine who to ultimately support in forming government. We had very constructive negotiations with both parties, and we are grateful for the seriousness with which the B.C. Liberals approached our negotiations.

“I value the positive working relationship that Premier Clark and I maintained in previous sessions, where we were able to work together to advance important public policy issues. I look forward to continuing that relationship in the weeks and months ahead.”

BC Premier Christy Clark says if the BC Liberals lose the confidence of the house, that she would serve as Leader of the Opposition.

Tuesday, May 30 [1:45 pm] ~ BC. Premier Christy Clark addressed media at 1:30 pm today May 30 at her office in Vancouver. She and her party will follow constitutional advice and historical precedent with the next steps for governing in British Columbia and take on the “responsibilities that voters have asked us to carry out”.

“We have a duty to meet the house and test its confidence. And I intend to do that in very short order,” said Clark, indicating “closer to beginning of the month of June” as her target timeline.

“We all know that Mr Horgan and Mr Weaver have made an agreement. They’ve announced a significant deal. But what’s most important is this basic principle — if there is going to be a transfer of power in this province – and certainly seems like there will be it shouldn’t be done behind closed doors. Should happen in public – as constitutional convention tells us it should. It should happen in the people’s house with 87 members elected by British Columbians elected to our legislature – making that decision. This is what constitutional convention requires us to do. In times of uncertainty and a close election results – it is more important to look to the institutions that govern us and guiding us like they have for 150 years.”

“I do know that all of us involved in this process will have one thing in our hearts, and that is truly the interests of British Columbians. That starts with stability. It starts with respect for democratic process. It means we must work together – I don’t just mean politicians working together, but working together as British Columbians,” said Clark. She added that she wants to make sure that “rural and urban and multi-ethnic communities — that people from all walks of life — have an opportunity to work together. We want to do that today and we want to do that together for future generations,” Clark told media in a short statement.

In response to media questions, Clark said she is “happy to take on any jobs that the voters give me”. Said Christy Clark: “Should the government test the confidence in the house – as seems likely – I would be given the job of Leader of the Opposition. I’m more than ready and willing to take that job on.”

Asked if she would see that as delaying the inevitable, given that Opposition parties have come together declaring a majority, Premier Clark replied that if it is inevitable, that her role is to make t happen as quickly as possible. “It’s my duty as Leader of the incumbent government as premier, the leader of party that got the most seats, to go to the Lieutenant Governor and ask for the opportunity to test the confidence of the house. And that’s how was you’ve suggested is inevitable would happen.”

Clark described her team’s negotiations with the BC Green Party as “unsuccessful”. Said Clark: “I was really clear that the negotiating team and the Green Party were not going to negotiating in public. We would talk to them first – and only them – about the things we wanted to do and the areas we shared in common. I feel good about the way we conducted negotiations at the table, we went about it honorably and in good faith.” Clark was in regular contact with the negotiating team, but her direct involvement “didn’t get that far”.

Clark said she would not ask Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon to go back to the polls. “That’s up to the Lieutenant Governor. Should my govt will not meet the test of confidence in the house, which I think is likely, then she will ask the NDP as the party with second largest number of seats, whether or not they can govern. She will make that decision. That decision that is solely hers.

Asked that after 16 years in power as to “what went wrong in this election”, Clark said it’s the media’s job to figure out what went wrong. “My job is to look forward and go out and fight for the interest of British Columbians, to listen to what we heard in the election and reflect that. That’s what I’m looking forward to doing in very short order,” said Premier Christy Clark today.

Tuesday, May 30 [12:30 pm] ~ BC. The foundations of government in BC are shifting rapidly, in the wake of the BC election results and aftermath of an NDP-Green agreement to work cooperatively.

  • Today May 30 at 1:30 pm Premier Christy Clark will address media from her office in Vancouver.
  • At 2 pm, John Horgan, Andrew Weaver, and all MLAs-elect from the BC NDP and BC Green caucuses will pledge their support for the agreement “to form a stable new government that works for people”, at the BC Legislature. Their Confidence and Supply Agreement document will be discussed.

BC Green Leader Andrew Weaver (left) and BC NDP Leader John Horgan have negotiated an agreement to work as a minority government. [Photo by Mike McArthur, CBC)

Monday, May 29 ~ BC. A joint announcement at the BC Legislative buildings this afternoon by BC NDP Leader John Horgan and BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver was their opportunity to show solidarity, and indicate their going-forward bond for a BC minority government.

Once the agreement between the two parties is signed tomorrow by the BC NDP caucus, the combination of the NDP’s 41 seats plus the Greens’ 3 seats will provide a 44-seat count, enough for a majority. The Green caucus already signed the negotiated agreement this morning, but it will take another day for BC NDP MLAs to convene in Victoria from their home ridings around the province.

The decision of course is up to BC Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon. That decision could come as soon as May 31, when the Writ to set up the 41st BC Parliament is expected. Or it could take longer.

Weaver has said all along since the May 9 election night results (unchanged by the official recount results announced May 24) that the Greens are not interested in a coalition. But a minority government “that work for the people” is keenly sought now by Horgan and Weaver.

“We specifically did not ask for there to be a coalition,” Weaver said. “We wanted to maintain a minority situation to show British Columbians that [it] can work.”

Horgan told media today that he woke up this morning with “a bounce in his step” over the prospect of this combined-forces agreement that would “deliver a government that is focussed on people”.  Both leaders said they have “seen a different side” of each other during negotiations in recent days. “We both want to change the adversarial nature of this place,” said Horgan.

In response to the NDP/Green joint announcement today, Premier Christy Clark issued a statement through her office: “In recent days, we have made every effort to reach a governing agreement, while standing firm on our core beliefs. It’s vitally important that British Columbians see the specific details of the agreement announced today by the BC NDP and Green Party leaders, which could have far-reaching consequences for our province’s future.
“As the incumbent government, and the party with the most seats in the legislature, we have a responsibility to carefully consider our next steps. I will consult on those steps with the newly elected BC Liberal caucus, and have more to say tomorrow.”

Saturday, May 27 ~ WEST SIDE of the ISLAND. As summer gets underway, municipalities in the west shore area are reminding property owners, residents and tourists about burning regulations.

COLWOOD: Colwood Fire Chief John Cassidy. The City of Colwood recognizes that improving air quality creates a healthier community for residents and protects our natural environment. Open burning is prohibited in Colwood at all times. This includes all beach fires, campfires, open yard fires, as well as land clearing and construction waste fires. Small wood-burning appliances such chimeneas are permitted on private property provided the hearth is fully enclosed. These appliances are prohibited when the fire danger rating is high or extreme. Propane or charcoal barbeques are not covered under the City of Colwood burning regulations. For further info: Colwood Fire Department 250-478-8321. www.colwood.ca/fire

LANGFORD: Assistant Fire Chief Chris Aubrey. The City of Langford only has two periods a year where open fires to burn yard waste (branches and leaves) are permitted: Nov 1-30 and Mar 15-Apr 15 and therefore there is currently no open burning permitted. Campfires are allowed and require a permit available free online at www.cityoflangford.ca . Campfires must be no larger than 2ft by 2ft in a non-combustible container and fueled with clean firewood only (no construction material, refuse or yard waste) and a means to extinguish the fire must be on hand. Open burning & campfires: www.cityoflangford.ca

METCHOSIN: Fire Chief Stephanie Dunlop. Open Burning in the District of Metchosin is not permitted after 6pm on May 31, 2017. All open burning of yard waste, incinerators and land clearing burns will be prohibited. Cooking Camp Fires that are no larger than 2’ X 2’ are still allowed, but must be extinguished by midnight. As always, beach fires within the District of Metchosin are prohibited. Propane campfires and BBQ’s are allowed. For further info: Metchosin Fire Dept 250-478-1307. www.metchosinfire.ca

SOOKE: District of Sooke Fire Chief Kenn Mount reminds residents that open burning in the District of Sooke is only permitted until sundown on May 31, 2017. From June 1 to September 30 all open air burning of yard and garden debris is prohibited. Cooking campfires that are no larger than 2’ X 2’ are still allowed (unless there is a campfire ban in place), but must be extinguished by 1:00 am. As always, beach fires within the District of Sooke are prohibited. Propane campfires and BBQ’s are allowed. For further information, contact the Sooke Fire Rescue Department at 250-642-5422.See ‘Burning Regulations’ page at www.sooke.ca

Andrew Scheer has been elected by his party membership as the new Conservative leader.

Saturday, May 27 ~ NATIONAL. The newly elected leader of the Conservative Party of Canada is Andrew Scheer, 38.  A vote by members of the Conservative Party of Canada produced Scheer as their leader on the thirteenth and final ballot of the leadership election, with 50.95% of the vote.

Scheer is a Canadian Member of Parliament (MP) who served as Speaker of the House of Commons from 2011 to 2015. On September 28, 2016, Scheer announced his bid for the leadership of the Conservative Party. Today as the Conservative leader he has now also become the Leader of the Official Opposition in Canada’s House of Commons.

Many Conservatives and political pundits over the past few months said that whomever was chosen by the Conservatives as their next leader would primary need to be someone seen as capable of beating Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the next election. That comes up in 2019.

Scheer has ultimately overcome the media-prominence of candidate Kevin O’Leary, the flair of candidate Maxine Bernier (with whom he held the final ballot duel of the vote this evening), the relatively high profiles of Lisa Raitt and Michael Chong, and the ‘Canadian values’ controversy of Kellie Leitch.

Saturday, May 27 ~ LANGFORD.  You can watch the livestream of Women’s Rugby Sevens online today and tomorrow.

Pretty exciting stuff, this world class sport featuring dedicated female athletes from around the world.  Right here in Langford on the west side of Vancouver Island!

The weather is warm and sunny under bright blue skies today. The artificial turf tends to heat up in the sun.

The games are being played at Westhills Stadium.  http://www.worldrugby.org/womens-sevens-series

Saturday, May 27 ~ LANGFORD. Two days of Women’s Rugby Sevens goes into full gear this morning on May 27 in Langford. 

Ramping up to this tournament weekend, members of the Rugby Women’s Sevens competing nations gathered at the Dallas Road oceanfront in Victoria on May 25 for their traditional Captain’s Photo. Piling off their bus into the sunlight under clear blue skies, the 12 superfit captains were friendly and jovial with each other, keyed up for the weekend.

Women’s Sevens Rugby Team Captains (in photo from left): Luiza Campos (Brazil), Lucy Mulhall (Ireland), Fanny Horta (France), Marina Petrova (Russia), Sharni Williams (Australia), Ghislane Landry (Canada), Tyla Nathan-Wong (New Zealand), Ana Maria Roqica (Fiji), Alev Kelter (USA), Alica Richardson (England), Barbara Pla (Spain), Pleuni Kievit (Netherlands).

HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens Canada captain Ghislaine Landry told gathered media: “We’ll go out there and play our best”.

Elsewhere that day, various teams spent some time giving on-field tips to young women rugby players around the Greater Victoria area. At Belmont Secondary in Langford the Australia team was on-hand mid-morning at Goudy Field (West Shore Voice News photo).

Limited tickets are still available for the Women’s Sevens games being held at Westhills Stadium in Langford this weekend, May 27 and 28, at www.canadasevens.com . The entire weekend will be streamed live: www.worldrugby.org/womens-sevens-series


Royal Bay Secondary School in Colwood [West Shore Voice News photo – June 2016]

Thursday, May 25 ~ LANGFORD. The two new high schools in Sooke School District 62 (SD62) — Belmont and Royal Bay — are now LEED Gold Certified. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is determined by standards and third-party verification for structures that are considered to be ‘green’ or environmentally friendly.

The announcement of LEED status was proudly announced by SD62 Board Chair Bob Phillips at the May 23 SD62 board meeting.

Belmont Secondary School in Langford [West Shore Voice News photo – June 2016]

“LEED Gold Certification is a lengthy and stringent process. It reflects highly on our board,” said Phillips. The certification in part reflects SD62’s ability to have attracted quality architects and builders to the two school projects. “It bodes well for SD62 that we can build quality buildings,” said Phillips, in the context that more schools are needed in the growing western communities area that is served by SD62.

Belmont Secondary in Langford and Royal Bay Secondary in Colwood opened their doors to students for the first time in September 2015.

Due to growth in western communities population, the schools are already beyond capacity and will be installing portables to accommodate full student enrollment for Fall 2017. Belmont was built to accommodate 1,200 students and Royal Bay presently accommodates 800 students.

Thursday, May 25, 2017 ~ BC. News analysis. So you’d think the dust would have settled after the BC Election final count yesterday. But stay tuned for further action.

BC NDP Leader John Horgan is pushing an agenda for the public good… that the NDP with their 41 seats be given the lead by Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon to form government with the support of the Greens and their 3 seats.

That still pulls in only 44 seats. That’s the required number to form a majority (though one MLA would sit as speaker, leaving still 43 votes in the house). But it’s not all about numbers.

This is one of those starkly evident moments in the political life of a democracy where the values, insights, and positive intention of leaders must shine through.

Voters in BC obviously did not want the status quo, but they also didn’t want to lose stability. Hopefully wisdom prevails, and a coalition that works for the people of this province prevails.

During the 28-day election campaign, Horgan was the only leader of the three parties willing to actually articulate the frustration of the people. Remarkably, the fracture lines of that articulation has shone through, regardless of first-past-the-post riding count results.

Here is John Horgan’s statement from May 24 after the final results were announced by Elections BC:
“British Columbians have voted overwhelmingly to replace Christy Clark’s Liberals with a new government that works better for families. They voted for better schools, shorter wait times for health services, to defend our coast and to fix our broken political system. The newly elected BC NDP team will be working hard every day to ensure British Columbians get a new government that works for them instead of just the wealthy and well-connected.”

BC Green Leader Andrew Weaver (centre) with Green MLAs Adam Olsen and Sonia Furstenau [May 15, 2017]

Wednesday, May 24 ~ VICTORIA. Andrew Weaver, leader of the BC Green Party, issued the following statement in response to the final vote counts for the 2017 BC provincial election, which has resulted in a legislature where no one party has won a majority of the seats.

“The BC Green caucus is committed to ensuring that British Columbians will have a stable minority government,” said Weaver.

“With this historic result, British Columbia can finally put the ineffective two-party system behind us. It has led to a divisive legislature that primarily benefits special interests,” said Weaver.

“This is an incredible opportunity for BC’s political leaders to put partisan differences aside and work for the common good. I look forward to working with both other parties so that we can finally get big money out of politics, move towards electoral reform and implement good public policy on a wide range of issues that puts people first.”


BC Premier Christy Clark gave her election night speech in Vancouver, May 10.

Wednesday, May 24 ~ BC. Upon the final recount announced at 4:30 pm today May 24 by Elections BC, Premier Christy Clark has issued the following statement:

“I want to congratulate all candidates, from all parties, who put their names forward to run. It’s not easy, and they deserve our gratitude for working to make our province even better.

“With 43 BC Liberal candidates elected as MLAs, and a plurality in the legislature, we have a responsibility to move forward and form a government. The final result reinforces that British Columbians want us to work together, across party lines, to get things done for them.

“Our priority is to protect our strong economy and to manage BC’s finances responsibly, while listening closely to British Columbians on how we address important social and environmental priorities and how we can make BC politics more responsive, transparent, and accountable.

“The work is just beginning. My team and I look forward to delivering positive results for British Columbians.”

Wednesday, May 24 ~ BC. That official recount that everyone has had their eye on in Courtenay-Comox has produced a final victory for the BC NDP, by 189 votes. BC NDP candidate Ronna-Rae Leonard  is now the confirmed winner of that riding, over BC Liberal candidate Jim Benninger.

That leaves BC with the same election result as on Election Night, May 9: BC Liberals with 43 seats, NDP with 41 seats, and Greens with 3 seats.

Over 176,000 absentee ballots were counted during May 22 to 24, to determine the final election results in all 87 ridings in BC. There are 87 seats in the BC Legislature.

At this time, BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark continues as Premier of BC as first requested on May 10 by BC Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon. However, by a self-imposed deadline of May 31, BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver says he will announce which party the Greens would work with — BC Liberals or BC NDP — to form a coalition government. It will be up to Guichon to make the final call.

The percentage of popular vote was determined as BC Liberal 40.36%, BC NDP 40.28%, BC Green 16.84%, Libertarian 0.40% and Other 2.12%. Together, the BC NDP and BC Greens captured 57.12% of what could be called the progressive vote. BC NDP Leader John Horgan thereby says the people voted for a progressive government, and hopes that the 41 BC NDP seats plus the 3 BC Green seats will — as a combined 44 seats — be more representative of the will of the people.

Regardless of which party or combination of party seats forms a majority, one of the 44 MLAs will have to serve as Speaker, still leaving 43 MLAs to vote and that’s not a majority. As Premier Christy Clark seems to have newly discovered … the people of BC want all parties to work together.

The newly formed BC government may have to move forward by agreement on one legislative bill at a time. Any which way you look at it, it’s a fragile setup. Another election will eventually be called when whatever minority/coalition arrangement ends up happening then begins to fall apart.

In total 1,973,914 people cast counted ballots in BC for this 41st General Election.

SD62 School Board Chair Bob Phillips [West Shore Voice News photo]

Wednesday, May 24 ~ West Shore/Sooke. Long-time Sooke School District (SD62) trustee board trustee Bob Phillips will be resigning from the position of board chair at the end of June 2017. He made that brief announcement at the May 23 SD62 public board meeting last night in Langford.

Phillips has told West Shore Voice News that the SD62 board is “a corporate board”, indicating his inclination for more direct involvement in politics. Phillips is long of the NDP party stripe and was a key organizer in the re-election of BC NDP incumbent John Horgan (Langford-Juan de Fuca) in the recent provincial election.

Most of the trustees on the SD62 board have served long a long time, some of them three or four terms, including Wendy Hobbs, Denise Riley, Dianna Seaton (currently serving as vice-chair). and Margot Swinburnson. Neil Poirier is serving his second term, and Ravi Parmar his first term.

In the important matters of education, the wisdom of life experience counts for sometimes as much as understanding the machinations of board interworkings.

A social worker (retired) by trade, Phillips has overseen a contrast of conditions for SD62 budget realities in the past two years. In 2015-2016, the SD62 board agonized over yet another round of cutbacks resulting from province-wide education battles with the BC Ministry of Education. In 2016-2017 came the shift point where more teachers could be hired (mostly heading into fall 2017).

More appropriate funding is also now being received for 2017-2018 to support schools with the underpinnings that come with increased classroom teacher numbers (e.g. custodial, utilities overhead). That accomplishment comes largely from behind-the-scenes work by SD62 Superintendent Jim Cambridge.

Over 200 new teachers will come onstream in SD62 for 2017-2018 as a result of the restored class size and composition clauses in the BC teachers agreement with the provincial government.

In the past few years, SD62 has seen rapid student population growth as families flock to relatively more affordable areas of Vancouver Island’s western communities. In the fall of 2015, SD62 opened two new highschools — Royal Bay in Colwood and Belmont in Langford. Both of those schools already need portable classrooms to keep up with demand. At least 25 portables will be shuffled around the broad SD62 footprint of the west shore, once enrollment numbers are firmed up for the start of the 2017-2018 academic year in September.

From a public perspective, SD62 serves families and students in the communities of Langford, Colwood, Sooke, Highlands, Metchosin and Port Renfrew. From the inside out, SD62 is a largely charged with managing the employment of thousands of teachers. Over 85% of the 2017-2018 budget will go to teacher salaries.

Follow education news ‘from the inside out’ each week in West Shore Voice News 

[WEST SHORE VOICE NEWS PHOTO: Bob Phillips during the visit of the BC Lieutenant Governor at Edward Milne Community School, January 2017]

Young concertgoers in Manchester UK following what is being called a terrorist attack.

Monday, May 22, 2017 ~ UK.  [Update May 23 — 22 people killed, 59 injured]

An explosion struck outside a concert by U.S. pop singer Ariana Grande in northern England late Monday (UK local time around 10:35 pm), killing at least 19 people at the scene. About 59 injured people were taken to hospital. Others called ‘walking wounded’ were treated at the scene. Police are calling the incident a terrorist attack.

The explosion is widely believed to be that of a bomb that was deliberately set to impact as many people as possible as the concert ended and people were streaming from the concert venue.

For updates directly from police in Manchester, follow @gmpolice on Twitter.

Tonight around 10:30 pm PDT, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued the following statement on the attack in Manchester, United Kingdom:

“I was devastated when I heard about the innocent victims who were killed or injured at the Ariana Grande concert tonight in Manchester – many of them far too young. On behalf of all Canadians, our deepest condolences go out to the families and friends of those who were killed. We also wish a speedy recovery to everyone who was injured.

Canada and the United Kingdom are the closest of friends, and we stand together as a people in this most tragic of circumstances. With our allies and partners, we will continue to counter such senseless acts and to fight terrorism in its many forms. We will do all that we can to assist British authorities in bringing those responsible to justice.

Our hearts are with the people of the United Kingdom tonight, and we mourn with them the loss of so many innocent victims.”

The Prime Minister’s office also stated on the PMO’s website: “We are still in the process of determining whether any Canadians have been impacted by this event. Canadian citizens in the United Kingdom requiring emergency consular assistance should contact the High Commission of Canada at 0207 004 6000 or call Global Affairs Canada’s 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre toll free at 00-800-2326-6831 or collect at +1 613 996-8885. An email can also be sent to sos@international.gc.ca

Monday, May 22 ~ BC. That official recount that everyone has had their eye on in Courtenay-Comox has produced four more votes for the NDP. The BC NDP candidate there — Ronna-Rae Leonard — therefore still holds the win by a margin of 13 votes over BC Liberal candidate Jim Benninger.

Absentee ballots totaling 2,077 still need to be counted in that riding… the results of that count could be known by tomorrow May 23, or perhaps stretching into Wednesday, May 24.

In the initial results of the general election on May 9, the BC Liberals won 43 seats, the BC NDP won 41, and the BC Green Party nabbed three. That left the Liberals are one seat short of a majority government, and both the BC Liberals & BC NDP scrambling to line up discussion pathways with the BC Greens that appear to presently hold the balance of power.

On May 10, BC Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon asked BC Liberal leader Christy Clark to continue as Premier of BC until the final seat count is known.

A recount has also been completed in Vancouver-False Creek on the mainland. BC Liberal incumbent Sam Sullivan’s lead has grown from 560 votes to 569 votes over BC NDP candidate Morgane Oger. Officials in the riding will now be counting the 2,814 absentee ballots.

Officials have been counting absentee ballots all day this holiday Monday, in the 85 other ridings. There are now 87 seats in the BC Legislature for the upcoming session.

Monday, May 22 ~ VANCOUVER ISLAND. A team of volunteers will gather at the Empress Acres farm in Nanaimo June 3 and 4 to plant 20 acres of trees as part of an initiative to tackle climate change. The specially selected Empress Splendor trees will be provided by World Tree, a Victoria company, as part of their Carbon Offset Program.

The Empress Splendor is a non-invasive, hybrid species, that can grow in most the United States and Canada where it’s primary use is lumber. Empress trees grow best in places with summer temperatures of 70°F (21°C) and higher for at least 5 to 6 months a year at an altitude of less than 2,200 ft. The trees typically grow 10 to 20 ft in the first year and reach maturity in 10 years.

“Most people have never heard of the Empress Tree, even though there is a mature tree on the grounds of the legislature building in Victoria,” says Wendy Burton, CEO of World Tree. “This will be the first large-scale planting of these trees on Vancouver Island and we hope that it will attract more local farmers to the program.”

The project is backed by Canadian investors who want to offset their carbon footprint. The exceptional growth rate and large leaves of the trees makes them carbon sponges, absorbing 11 times more carbon than any other tree.

In addition to the environmental benefits, the trees will provide an important revenue stream to Empress Acres farm. The trees will be harvested at maturity and the income will be shared with all the stakeholders: the farmers, the investors and World Tree.

“The Empress Splendor has many benefits for the environment and for us as farmers,” says Angela Nauta, one of the Empress Acres owners. “The carbon capture is important for our sustainability, and we are also very happy to get the benefit of extra income in 10 years.”

Once they are harvested, the trees will re-grow from the stump providing ongoing benefits to the environment and the growers for many decades to come.

World Tree has been promoting the properties of the Empress Tree since 2002 and launched their Carbon Offset Program in 2015. This year they have planted over 100,000 trees with farmers in Canada, United States and Costa Rica which will offset over 5 million tons of carbon over the next 50 years. They are expanding their program and are actively seeking farmers.

Members of the Canada Women’s Sevens team joined Gareth Rees of Rugby Canada (left), Langford Mayor Stew Young (second from right), and (from left) Councillors Winnie Sifert, Denise Blackwell, Lillian Szpak, and Lanny Seaton at Langford City Hall on May 18. Rugby players (from left/front row): Hannah Darling, Julia Greenshields. (Back row): Charity Williams, Breanna Nicholas, Sara Kaljuvee, Megan Lukan. [West Shore Voice News photo 2017]

Friday, May 19 ~ LANGFORD.  Rugby has long been supported in Langford, from grassroots to high-performance. In anticipation of the upcoming 2017 HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens tournament at Westhills Stadium on Saturday May 27 and Sunday May 28, this week Langford Mayor Stew Young declared May 27 as Rugby Day in Langford during a brief event at city hall.

The upcoming tournament will host the best 12 women’s sevens teams in the world. “We are honoured to have Rugby Canada call Langford home, and we are proud of the hard work, talent and dedication these elite athletes put forth,” said Mayor Young. “We recognize the support of the community, fans, and volunteers and we look forward to the HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens playing in our world class sporting facility.”

2017 HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens marks the third consecutive year that the Langford community has enthusiastically embraced a dynamic weekend of high performance sport. In addition to serving as an annual host to this international series, Langford is also the home of the Al Charron Rugby Canada National Training Centre, which will serve as a critical component for the on-going development of high performance rugby in Canada.

“Rugby Day in Langford is a fitting initiative for a community that has played such an important role in supporting and inspiring our Canadian rugby athletes,” said Gareth Rees, Director Commercial and Program Relations, Rugby Canada. “We are grateful for the continued passion and leadership the City of Langford shows toward the development of rugby in Canada, and we look forward to hosting an exciting weekend where members of the community will have the chance to watch the best women’s sevens players in the world compete for the tournament and series title.”

The 2017 HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens will host 12 of the world’s best women’s sevens teams for the fifth stop on the six-event circuit of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series. Canadian women are currently third in the overall standings heading into Langford, coming off a recent silver medal performance in Japan. Previously, they finished sixth in Dubai, won in Sydney, and placed third in Las Vegas. They’re only 12 points back of 1st overall and two points away from claiming 2nd with two tournaments remaining.

Thousands of people have already bought tickets for the May 27-28 tournament, but there’s room for more. Rugby enthusiasts, families, and developing rugby athletes who aspire to represent Canada one day on the world stage come out each year for this event. The tournament will also be broadcast live on www.worldrugby.org and TSN GO. In-stadium tickets: www.canadasevens.com

Tuesday, May 16 ~ BC. This afternoon May 16 in a news conference from her office in Vancouver, Premier Christy Clark emphasized that the final election results are not counted yet. So she started by thanking everyone who ran as a candidate in the 41st General Election that brought out about 60% of registered voters to the polls on May 9.

On election night the BC Liberals won 43 seats, the NDP won 41 and the Greens 3. All party leaders were returned to the legislature: Christy Clark for the BC Liberals, John Horgan for the BC NDP (Leader of the Official Opposition), and Andrew Weaver as the BC Green Party leader.

“All of us share a profound love for this beautiful province that we call British Columbia,” said Clark, adding that she “heard loud and clear” that people want the government to work across party lines. “We share so many goals in common,” said Premier Clark.

“They want us to do that regardless of what party we were elected to represent,” said Clark. Her critics might ask why cooperation was not forthcoming in the last 16 years of BC Liberal majority governments. The May 9 election results pushed that point and it seems to have stuck.

“We are listening. We have heard your voice, you want change. You want government to deliver on what matters to you,” the Premier said in the short media session.

Clark announced that Brad Bennett (son of former premier Bill Bennett and grandson of former premier WAC Bennett) will lead the BC Government transition team for the next few weeks.

“British Columbians want to get on with the things that are important to them. But they said they want us to remember the things that are important to them.  They want us to see past politicians and see them — that is the message in this election,” said Clark. “It’s a message we have heard and are determined to reflect back.”

BC’s Official Opposition Leader John Horgan met with media at 4pm today May 16. 

When asked about his stand on the TransMountain pipeline, he said “we need to defend our coast from a seven-fold increase in tanker traffic” and that he would discuss the issue with Prime Minister Trudeau if the NDP becomes the majority government in BC after the BC Election recount (results expected May 24).

Horgan said he is eager to see the final election results involving over 170,000 absentee ballots after which “I can’t wait to get started”.

The BC NDP won 41 seats in the May 9 BC General Election. Final count comes May 24.

Meanwhile, Horgan aims to continue focusing on services that people in BC want such as improvements in health care and services for seniors. “My whole objective of my getting into politics was to make life better for people,” Horgan told media today. “I’m still involved and still want to do that.”

Regarding Premier Clark’s comments today about working to improve services for people in BC, Horgan said. “That message clearly has been lost on the liberals for the last 16 years.” He said there have been “no shortage of opportunities” for the government to work on behalf of the people.

Horgan said that almost 60% of those who voted were saying to the government they the people haven’t believed the government is working for them, that they were “more focused on fundraising than on governing”.

“Almost 60% of the ballots were cast against the sitting government,” said Horgan, referring to the combined voting results of the BC NDP and the BC Greens.

And on proportional representation: “What we have is a real opportunity to demonstrate why proportional representation can work here in BC. We have an outcome that allows two parties with vast majorities to work together with opportunities for the people,” said Horgan today. “People are satisfied with the election results and want to make sure this minority situation works.”

Post-election analysis (‘Part One’, ahead of final vote count on May 24) is on pages 1 & 2 in the May 12, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News.

Monday, May 15 ~ WEST SHORE. About 2,500 students from 17 elementary schools throughout SD62 (Langford, Colwood, Sooke) will be converging on Belmont Secondary in Langford to hear the Victoria Symphony Orchestra live!

The event is on Thursday May 18 in the school gym. The special appearance by the symphony — in three concerts, taking up most of the day — was set in motion by SD62 Superintendent Jim Cambridge last year, says Belmont principal Ray Miller.

Events like this capture the interest of young students who might then become more involved with music during their middle school and high school years.

‘Musicians in Schools’ and ‘Symphony Story Time’ are just two of the programs by which the Victoria Symphony interacts in schools.

Saturday, May 13 ~ BC. Any which way now, BC is left with a minority government. And here are the mechanics of it:

Today May 13 it was announced by Elections BC that district electoral officer recounts will take place in the Courtenay-Comox and Vancouver-False Creek electoral districts as part of final count (to take place May 22 to 24).

Under the Election Act, candidates or their official agents can request a recount of some or all of the ballots considered at initial count within three days after General Voting Day. Recount requests are accepted if:
• the difference between the top two candidates is close (defined in the Election Act as 100 votes or fewer); or
• votes were not correctly accepted or ballots were not correctly rejected, or a ballot account does not accurately record the number of votes for a candidate.

The following recount requests were received by the deadline, says Elections BC:

Electoral District Candidate who made the request for recount: 
Coquitlam-Burke Mountain |  Jodie Wickens  |  Not accepted
Courtenay-Comox  |  Jim Benninger  |  ACCEPTED
Maple Ridge-Mission  |  Marc Dalton  | Not accepted
Richmond-Queensborough |   Aman Singh  | Not accepted
Vancouver-False Creek  |  Morgane Oger  | Not accepted
Vancouver-False Creek  |  Phillip James Ryan  |   ACCEPTED

  • In Courtenay-Comox, the recount request was accepted because the difference between the top two candidates is nine votes. The top two candidates in that riding on May 9 were Ronna-Rae Leonard (BC NDP) with 10,058 votes and Jim Benninger (BC Liberal) with 10,049 votes.
  • Phillip James Ryan’s request for a recount in Vancouver-False Creek was accepted because an advance voting ballot account records 403 votes for one candidate, and the tally sheet and parcel envelope containing ballots for that candidate lists 399. In Vancouver-False Creek, the BC Liberal candidate Sam Sullivan got 9,332 votes as counted May 9, and close behind that was the NDP’s Morgane Oger with 8,772 votes. Philip Ryan with the BC Citizens First Party got 75 votes.”Morgane Oger’s request for a recount was not accepted as it did not meet these requirements. Additional information related to the request was received by the deadline, but by the time that it was received Phillip James Ryan’s request had already been accepted,” says Andrew Watson, Communications Manager, Elections BC.

“Recount requests were not accepted if they did not meet the requirements of the Election Act,” stated Watson in the Elections BC news release today May 13. In cases where the difference between the top two candidates is greater than 100 votes, recount requests must include factual basis that ballots were not correctly accepted or rejected, or that a ballot account does not accurately record the number of votes for a candidate.

“In 2008 the Election Act was revised to establish clear criteria under which district electoral officer recount requests are accepted. Following the 2009 and 2013 general elections, district electoral officer recount requests were only made on the basis that 100 votes or fewer separated the top two candidates. Applications for a judicial recount can be made up to six days after the conclusion of final count.” it was stated in today’s news release.

Following the May 9 election results, NDP leader John Horgan proposed that five ridings might turn up better results for NDP candidates under conditions of a recount. Now that is reduced to two possibilities.

The vote count on May 9 presently leaves the BC Liberals with 43 seats (one short of a majority), the BC NDP with 41 seats (which at best they could top up to 43), and the BC Green Party with a solid 3. In the 87-seat legislature, 44 seats are required for a majority. Any which way now, BC is left with a minority government.

  • Absentee ballots (being counted up to May 24) could produce more NDP seats in close races.  Where the NDP could gain seats:
    > Coquitlam-Burke Mountain – presently a 268-vote spread between BC Liberal Joan Isaccs with 9,581 and BC NDP Jodie Wickens with 9,313.
    > In Richmond-Queensborough, BC NDP candidate Aman Singh with 7,262 votes fell short by 263 votes behind BC Liberal Jas Johal’s tally of 7,525
  • Potentially, there is a BC Liberal gain in Maple Ridge-Mission, where Marc Dalton BC Liberal fell short by 120 votes behind the NDP’s Bob D’Eith with 9,843.  The upcoming absentee ballot count could tip that.

If it falls in the end to 42-42-3 there is the hope (by the general population) that some productive policy-making will get done in the next year or two. Minority governments often don’t last longer than that. Which means BC will head into another election within the next two years.

Thursday, May 11 ~ COASTAL BC. BC Ferries is adding over 85 extra sailings on the most popular routes for the Victoria Day long weekend: Thursday May 18 through Tuesday May 23.

That includes the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay route (60 extra sailings), Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay, HorseshoeBay-Langdale, Earls Cover-Saltery Bay.

The most popular travel times are expected to be Thursday and Friday afternoon, and Saturday morning. Monday is usually the busiest day for return trips.

Thursday, May 11 ~ CANADA. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will participate in the Microsoft CEO Summit in Seattle, Washington, May 17 and 18, to promote the Cascadia Innovation Corridor, encourage investment in the Canadian technology sector, and draw global talent to Canada.

This year’s summit, under the theme “The CEO Agenda: Navigating Change,” will bring together more than 150 chief executive officers. While at the Summit, Prime Minister Trudeau will showcase Budget 2017’s Innovation and Skills Plan and demonstrate how Canada is making it easier for Canadian entrepreneurs and innovators to turn their ideas into thriving businesses.

Trudeau will also meet with Washington Governor Jay Inslee. “Canada’s greatest strength is its skilled, hard-working, creative, and diverse workforce. Canada is recognized as a world leader in research and development in many areas like artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and 3D programming. Our government will continue to help Canadian businesses grow and create good, well-paying middle class jobs in today’s high-tech economy.” said Prime Minister Trudeau in a news release May 11.

Canada-U.S. bilateral trade in goods and services reached approximately $882 billion in 2016. Nearly 400,000 people and over $2 billion-worth of goods and services cross the Canada-U.S. border every day. Canada-Washington bilateral trade was $19.8 billion in 2016. Some 223,300 jobs in the State of Washington depend on trade and investment with Canada. Canada is among Washington’s top export destinations.

The Microsoft CEO Summit was established in 1997 in response to growing interest in the convergence of technology and business issues among corporate CEOs. Attendees have an opportunity to hear leading industry experts analyze economic trends and technology issues. The summit also offers a forum in which CEOs can discuss and debate business challenges and share insights and experiences with their peers from around the world. This year marks the 21st annual CEO Summit, which has evolved into a world-class forum for business leaders to debate technology and innovation in the face of pressing global business issues.

The Microsoft CEO Summit 2017 will take place in Redmond, Wash., May 16–18. More than 140 CEOs and leaders from leading companies and organizations representing more than 35 countries will attend the Microsoft CEO Summit. Microsoft says its 2017 summit discussion topics include:

  • Trust in Technology
    The debate over trust in information technology has rapidly moved from the back office to the front page, with far-reaching implications. Concerns over encryption; hacking of emails by foreign governments and others; tensions between governments and international disputes involving the movement of data across borders; and growing regulatory demands relating to privacy protection.
  • The Race to Space
    The space missions of the 20th century captured the world’s imagination and served as a development crucible for revolutionary new technologies. Today private citizens are investing their own money and harnessing the power of visionary thinking to achieve extraordinary progress in the endeavor to explore and understand space.

Vote results 60% in BC in May 9 General Election. Photo from Leaders Debate April 26 (from left): Christy Clark, Andrew Weaver, John Horgan.

Thursday, May 11 ~ BC.  Elections BC today announced that the voter turnout was 60% in the May 9 BC General Election. Voter turnout was high in 1983 at 70.5%, falling to the mid-60% range in 1986 and 1991. Then in 1996 voter turnout fell below 60%, reaching 50% by 2009. In 2013 the voter turnout was back up to 55.32%.

In Tuesday’s election results, 43 seats were won by the BC Liberals, which for now has returned them to power under Premier Christy Clark, following a decision by Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon. The NDP won 41 seats, and the Greens won three seats.  With a judicial recount in the riding of Courtenay-Comox (where the margin was just nine votes in favour of the NDP candidate), final seat count won’t be known until after May 23. At least 44 seats are required to form a majority.

The final count on May 23 will also include all the absentee ballots that were sent in by mail or cast at voting locations other than the voter’s home riding. Logistically it just takes time for all those paper ballots to be location-identified and shipped to those locations.

If the final seat count ends up as 44 for the BC Liberals and 41 for the NDP, then the Liberals will be returned to a majority government (as they had before the April 11 dissolution ahead of the May 9 election). If the NDP wins in Courtenay-Comox, then the seats will be 42/42/3 and that will require cooperation among the three parties in order for government to be maintained.

Minority governments are more complicated and usually more fragile, and usually lead to another election being called before the usual term is played out. For BC, that could mean another election within 18 to 24 months.

Under these circumstances, BC NDP Leader John Horgan delivered a “wait and see” speech after midnight on Wednesday May 10, after the preliminary May 9 election results were known. This has left his party — more than anyone — in an intense state of limbo.

Horgan held onto his seat in Langford-Juan de Fuca, winning 52.78% of the vote in the west shore riding that he has held now with four election wins since 2005.

If the seats won by NDP (41) and Green (3) are presently combined, that means more seats were won by the ‘progressive vote’ than by the Liberals.


Christy Clark has been asked by the Lieutenant Governor to carry on as Premier.

Wednesday, May 10 ~ BC.  BC Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon has requested that Premier Clark continue to govern as Premier of British Columbia. Clark made the announcement at noon today from her Premier’s office in Vancouver.

The vote count from last night’s General Election tally sits at 43 BC Liberal, 41 BC NDP, and 3 Green until a final count is produced on May 23 (which will include the absentee ballot count from around the province and any BC military/residents abroad).

Many people didn’t realize that if they took advantage of the “28 days of voting” at District Electoral Offices and by other means, that their vote would not be included yet in election-night tallies. The preliminary count of certification envelopes containing absentee ballots province-wide is 176,104.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has congratulated Clark for being the first woman to be re-elected as a provincial premier.

The NDP and Greens could bring down the present BC Liberal government and form a new one when the legislature meets. Much of the punditry is enthused about Green Leader Andrew Weaver holding the power card. He could decide to go along with the BC Liberals and the existing setup or side with the NDP to consolidate the progressive vote. Either way, all this is a potential powder keg for seeing another BC election ahead of the usual four-year schedule.


BC NDP Leader delivered a speech that emphasized waiting for definitive election results.

Wednesday, May 10 ~ BC. While in a sense there can only be one winner, the leaders of BC’s three main political parties each delivered an acceptance speech after midnight on Wednesday May 10.

And technically speaking, at the moment, a minority government is what is presently the case with no one party in the May 9 BC General Provincial Election having the required 44 seats to form a majority. The BC Liberals have 43 seats, the BC NDP have 41, and the Greens have three.

The late hour was all about waiting for definitive results from the Tuesday night election. But that was not to be. With so many advance votes and absentee votes still to be counted (as well as an official recount required in Courtenay-Comox due to a very close results), final results won’t be known until May 23.

Under those circumstances, BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark is still Premier, and said in her speech that the voters asked for new considerations. BC NDP Leader John Horgan claimed the moral victory in his speech out of Vancouver, saying voters have asked for change. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver knows that he has a powerful hand to play, in that his new group of three MLAs in a sense hold the balance of power.

More to come.

Tuesday, May 9 ~ BC. ELECTION RESULTS. As of 11:25 pm.

Preliminary results are showing BC Liberals in the lead (43 ridings), and BC NDP (41 ridings) with Greens holding 3 riding as of 11:25 pm. That’s out of a total 87 ridings. A tally of 44 ridings is required to form a majority government. As of 11:30 pm, neither of the two leading party leaders have made public statements.

 NDP Leader John Horgan has won  in his riding of Langford-Juan de Fuca on Vancouver Island (with 52% of the popular vote) over BC Liberal Cathy Noel  (26%) and Green Brendan Ralfs (19% )

>> BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark declared the winner in Kelowna West

>> NDP incumbent Melanie Mark looks strong in Vancouver Mount-Pleasant.
>> Jagrup Brar has won over high-profile BC Liberal (and recent cabinet minister) Peter Fassbender in Surrey-Fleetwood.
>> Rob Fleming, NDP, looks to be the lead in Victoria Swan-Lake
>> Jodie Wickens, NDP, in the lead in Coquitlam-Burke Mountain.
>> Mitzi Dean, NDP has won in Esquimalt-Metchosin, beating out BC Liberal Barb Desjardins and Andy MacKinnon (Green).
>> David Eby, NDP has won in Vancouver-Point Grey.

>> Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver re-elected in Oak Bay Gordon Head with 51% of the vote.

Much more to come.

Tuesday, May 9 ~ BC.  Provincial election voting results will start rolling in from across BC after the polls close at 8 pm.

Over 614,00 thousand people (19.5% of registered voters) had already voted in six days of advance voting (April 29-30 and May 3-6) before the General Election Day voting opened today at 8am.

Polls are open tonight May 9 across BC, to 8pm Pacific Daylight Time.

WEST SIDE of VANCOUVER ISLAND FOCUS: Click here to see the detailed results for Langford-Juan de Fuca and Esquimalt-Metchosin as well as our followup with the candidates in both ridings.


Tuesday, May 9 ~ BC. EDITORIAL [West Shore Voice News]. Too busy, too tired, too ‘principled’, or think that you’re too under-informed to vote? Forget all that. Barring the severest of personal circumstances, today there is no reason to sit out this election.

Not only is this province, this country and the world at a critical turning point in terms of doing what’s right for people and the planet, many people over the decades, years, and centuries have fought, suffered and died for your right to vote and live in a free society.

Yeah, yeah, the political system is less than perfect. But if you ‘protest’ by intentionally not voting, you’re not only naive you are letting the pros who work the system shine their best.

Reasons people don’t vote [Ref: 2008 US election]

YOU shine your best today. Be part of the collective force that ushers in the next phase of living in BC. A lot of drops in the bucket will fill the bucket to overflowing.

Voting Places are open 8am to 8pm throughout BC for this 41st General Provincial Election. Take your Voter ID card and two pieces of ID. Or just show up with what you’ve got, as you’re probably on the list anyways.

What you’ve got is RIGHTS. Non-voters waive their right to whine later.

[Pie chart shows the reasons that people didn’t vote in the 2008 US election. “Too busy” counted for 17.6%. 18.4% had some ‘other reason’, didn’t know or refused. And 26.4% were ‘not interested’ or did not like the candidates. Only 6% had registration problems, and 2.6% forgot. Don’t forget.]

Monday, May 8 ~ BC. This final day of the BC election campaign saw BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark and Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver campaigning on Vancouver Island. Both of those parties hope to pick up seats from what has for a long time been an NDP stronghold.

BC NDP Leader John Horgan was taking the same tack, over on the mainland where he’s working to see the NDP grab seats in Surrey, Richmond and Delta. NDP ground-teams were out and about on Vancouver Island, taking voting reminder cards door to door.

This evening, Christy Clark will be joined by BC Liberal Fraser Valley candidates Simon Gibson, Darryl Plecas, Mike de Jong, John Martin, Laurie Throness, Mary Polak and Rich Coleman for a rally in Abbotsford.

To achieve a majority, one party will need to win at least 44 seats. There are 87 ridings in BC. A minority government could be formed by either major party (BC Liberal or BC NDP) that achieves fewer than 44 votes but can convince the Lieutenant Governor that they have the confidence of the House. That would likely mean the support of Andrew Weaver and the BC Greens.

Voting in the 41st BC General Election on May 9 will be open 8am to 8pm at all Voting Places throughout the province.

Monday, May 8 ~ BC. Full results are in from the six days of Advance Voting in the BC provincial election. During those Advance Voting days, 614,389 registered voters cast their ballots, as reported by Elections BC. That’s a turnout of 19.46% (round up to 19.5%) — almost double the advance turnout seen in 2013.

Advance voting for this 2017 Provincial Election was held April 29 & 30, plus May 3 to 6, throughout BC. The full BC General Election is tomorrow on Tuesday, May 9.

Drilling down into action on this west side of Vancouver Island:

  • The advance voter turnout was 29.3% of registered voters in Esquimalt-Metchosin; in that riding BC Liberal candidate Barb Desjardins has name-factor recognition, up against the ground-game power of the BC NDP behind their candidate Mitzi Dean. The Greens are running a strong candidate in Andy MacKinnon.
  • The turnout was 24.3% in Langford-Juan de Fuca where the incumbent is BC NDP Leader John Horgan. The BC Liberals are running a tough race against Horgan, trying to unseat the NDP party leader in his own riding; fronting that is BC Liberal candidate Cathy Noel. Also getting definitive local support — especially in the Sooke end of the riding — is BC Green Party Brendan Ralfs.

Leaders: The 24.3% advance vote draw in BC NDP Leader John Horgan’s riding (Langford-Juan de Fuca) was stronger than the 19% turnout in BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark’s riding of Kelowna West. Advance voter turnout was 24.7% in Andrew Weaver’s riding of Oak Bay-Gordon Head.

Some other ridings to watch:

  • On the mainland: In Vancouver-Point Grey where high-profile NDP candidate David Eby is running in Christy Clark’s previous riding, the advance turnout was almost 26%. In Kamloops-South Thompson where incumbent Todd Stone (Minister of Transportation & Infrastructure under Christy Clark) the advance turnout was just 16.8%.  In Vancouver-Mount Pleasant where incumbent Melanie Mark (BC’s first First Nations MLA) is running for the NDP, the advance turnout was 16.9%.
  • On Vancouver Island: Turnout was 26.7% in Saanich North and the Islands where one of the tightest three-way races is taking place (in 2013 it was in fact the tightest race in all of BC election records); Green Party candidate Adam Olsen is running there against NDP incumbent Gary Holman, with Stephen Roberts edging in for the BC Liberals. In Courtenay-Comox the turnout was high at almost 27%.  The Comox Valley riding has been held by the BC Liberals since 2001, but Don McRae, the MLA since 2009, is not running for re-election, instead the Liberal candidate is Jim Benninger a former base commander at Canadian Forces Base Comox. The Greens are running Ernie Sellentin who operates an environmental restoration company. The NDP are running 3-term Courtenay city councillor Ronna-Rae Leonard. The Conservative candidate is Leah McCulloch, who has worked in health care.

Getting out to vote: So with that 19.5% advance turnout last week, still now 80.5% of registered voters could still make their way to the polls on General Election Day, May 9. Will that include you?  Take along your Voter ID card. Or if you don’t have that card, be sure to take along two pieces of ID (with at least one showing your current home address).

Monday, May 8 ~ BC.  EDITORIAL.  Still undecided? Here’s a flavour of the current BC Government that a lot of people don’t see, but it indicates how people have been treated in this province by their own government.

People who pay their MSP premiums through payroll won’t see this, lucky you. But others who pay direct to the BC Government for their health care, will know… if you fall behind, you get the squeeze. Ending up in the worst of cases with a lien on your property, or action through your bank. Not seeing the reasons why people fall behind, and helping them back out with a fair economy… that’s the underlying problem.

In every other province in Canada the provision of health care is not handled in such a punitive manner. Payment for health care in other jurisdictions is done through the income tax system, in many provinces based on a sliding scale of ability to pay.

The BC NDP have a grasp on the punitive collection system of the privatized government of the past 16 years.

We’re not coming out with a full endorsement of any one party, but if you’re a single-issue voter, use this issue as your reason to back the BC NDP with your vote on May 9.

And this is where it all ends up … at voting stations across the province.

Sunday, May 7 ~ BC. With only two days left for active campaigning in this 41st BC General Election, party leaders are out and about in strategic areas for their goals.

BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark will be in Surrey and Maple Ridge today, promoting jobs. One of her appearances will be at a construction site.

BC NDP Leader John Horgan will be in battleground ridings in Vancouver, Coquitlam and Delta today. And likely the Lower Mainland tomorrow as well, says their campaign team.  He’ll also be holding an evening Facebook Live event tomorrow (Monday May 8) from Delta North. The BC NDP captured the entire front page of the Times-Colonist newspaper on Saturday May 6, with a full page ad, pitching for not another four years of Christy Clark.

BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver will be on the mainland today in New Westminster, Creston and Nelson. One of the events will include another appearance with David Suzuki. On Monday, Weaver will be in Victoria, his home base. The BC Greens captured the entire front page of the Times-Colonist newspaper today Sunday May 7, with a full page ad asking people to read the Green Party platform.

Advance voting has been robust throughout BC over six available days, particularly in hotly contested ridings. Monday May 8 is the last active day of campaigning. The election is on Tuesday May 9. www.elections.bc.ca

BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver works the crowd at a Green Rally in downtown Victoria, May 6 [West Shore Voice News photo]

Saturday, May 6 ~ VICTORIA.  BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver (incumbent, Oak Bay-Gordon Head) didn’t really have to work the room at a Green Party rally tonight in Victoria at the Ocean Pointe Resort.  The room already had his back.

But for someone who says that politics is not his career choice, he has clearly learned the key moves. Humble introduction, rousing speech, thank-yous to people in the room.

Weaver was preceded to the podium by several other speakers including candidates Adam Olsen (Saanich North and the Islands), Sonia Furstenau (Cowichan Valley), Brendan Ralfs (Langford-Juan de Fuca), Kalen Harris (Victoria-Beacon Hill), and Chris Maxwell (Victoria-Swan Lake). Weaver’s speaking style is polished and relaxed at this point in the 28-day campaign with only two more days remaining to be out persuading voters to tip the desire for change to the direction of Green.

About 400 people filled the room for the Facebook-live event.  Compared to other political rallies, this one was calm, with keen committed supporters who didn’t need wooing but didn’t mind it either. If the energy of a room can be described as clean and fresh, this crowd really did exude that.

Weaver told the crowd that support for the Greens “has been overwhelming in every town… I’ve never seen anything like it before,” he pitched.  “People love the Green Party because they’re so sick of the status quo.” He repeated the campaign theme that the Green Party platform is “grounded in evidence”.

While self-professed as quite new to politics, the most eloquent speech of the evening was delivered by candidate Brenda Ralfs (Langford-Juan de Fuca). After getting past the obligatory ‘rah rah’ stuff at the start of his speech, he obviously didn’t need notes. He described his background as a forest firefighter in BC as a backdrop to saying that BC’s natural areas are” not just beautiful, they’re sublime”. That natural wilderness interface for Ralfs created in him a “fierce desire to protect our home”.

BC Green Party candidate Brendan Ralfs (Langford-Juan de Fuca) at rally in Victoria May 6. [West Shore Voice News photo]

Ralfs has quickly learned to justify his move into politics. When he first signed up, some of his friends told him “we didn’t know you were a politician!”  Ralfs says that “politics matters in BC, and that politics can change lives”. He seems imprinted with the power to change things: “People in politics have an obligation to change lives for the better — not just for the few or the majority or many, but for all, for everyone.” To this there was a rousing cheer and more waving of Green Party signs throughout the comfortably carpeted ballroom.

“People are exhausted with politics in BC being divided and divisive,” said Ralfs, proposing to conclude that voters, therefore, have only a single choice, and that’s Green.

Adam Olsen, who was the interim leader of the party before Weaver stepped into that role as the only Green MLA in the BC Legislature after his win in 2013, said a few words too. He congratulated candidates for running “good clean local campaigns”.  He was wearing a jersey with the number 17 on it, to help nudge along a victory in 2017. “It’s an honour to walk alongside Andrew Weaver,” said Olsen.

The rally set for 6 pm had finally gotten underway around 6:40 pm (after people found parking once the hotel parking lot was full), and wrapped up just before 8pm on a bright spring evening. And the rain had stopped.

Mallard in flight after Green rally in Victoria, May 6 [West Shore Voice News photo]

Weaver proposes that at least a handful of Greens will make it to the BC Legislature after the 41st BC Provincial Election on May 9, which he says will make a big difference for the people of BC. He’s spending Sunday and Monday in a few more towns, including one more visit to the Vancouver area and wrapping up on Monday in Victoria.

And so if you believe that life imitates art, check this out: a lone mallard duck (with a green head) was sitting outside the hotel after the rally, looking at the Green Party bus that was already revving up its engine to take Weaver to the next stop. Then the mallard took flight. [Photo by West Shore Voice News]

The rally was broadcast on Facebook Live at https://www.facebook.com/BCGreens/videos/10158698505335215/


Friday, May 5 ~ BC.  In these last few days ahead of the May 9 general election, leaders of the three main parties are busy paying attention to any yet-unvisited sectors of their target voter base as well as visiting or re-visiting the ridings with tight races. And of course, finding precious-little time to romance the converted and keep them on track.

While every election is important, this one does plant BC at the precipice of a number of critical socioeconomic and environmental realities that require effective solutions.
The role of principled media during an election in an active democracy is to provide key insights from within the information overload, so that voters may be assisted in their voting choices.

We hereby present some thoughts about how things might work out, depending on which way you vote in the BC provincial election on May 9. Our three-part editorial starts with coverage on page 1, then splits out on page 2 this way:

  • The BC Liberals have been in power for 16 years now. / …
  • The BC NDP collective has been thirsting for ‘the top job’ for over 16 years now. / …
  • The BC Green Party has — until now — been one and the same as the face of their party leader and standalone MLA Andrew Weaver. / …

Read the full coverage in the May 5, 2017 “Election Eve Edition” of West Shore Voice News.

Friday, May 5 ~ BC. This is the last weekend of BC election campaigning, coming up May 6 and 7. Then on Monday, May 8 will be the last day of campaigning before the BC General Election on May 9.

Details on how to vote in the Advance Voting today and Saturday (May 5 & 6), and on election day May 9, are at: www.elections.bc.ca and locally on the EVENTS page of this website.

The Langford-Juan de Fuca race is one to watch, where BC NDP Party Leader John Horgan is the incumbent. The slate in that riding is: John Horgan (BC NDP Party Leader & incumbent); Cathy Noel (BC Liberal); Brendan Ralfs (BC Green); Willie Nelson (Vancouver Island Party); and Scott Burton (Libertarian). The area includes Highlands, Langford, Sooke and the Juan de Fuca area up to Port Renfrew. It’s the fast-growing area of BC (only Surrey on the mainland is growing faster), encompassing urban and rural.

The Esquimalt-Metchosin race is one to watch, this time without its long-time NDP incumbent and now a high-profile BC Liberal candidate. The slate in that riding is: Mitzi Dean (NDP); Barb Desjardins (BC Liberal); Andy MacKinnon (BC Green); Josh Steffler (Libertarian); Tyson Strandlund (Communist Party); and Delmar Martay (independent). The area has key transportation issues, as the area provides both employment and ‘bedroom community’ as well as rural lifestyles.

Government House Photo:
[Sept 2016 ~ West Shore Voice News]

Friday, May 5 ~ VICTORIA. Government House will be hosting its monthly public tours on Saturday, May 6 in celebration of Neighbour Day which, this year in Greater Victoria, is being celebrated on Sunday, May 7, 2017.

Neighbour Day is an opportunity to meet and greet the people with whom we share our neighbourhood, fences, and walls. It’s an invitation to meet your neighbours, be creative and bring neighbours together to deepen connections and strengthen neighbourhoods, lend a helping hand, or host a neighbourhood event.

“Anything goes, as long as it involves you and the people in your building or on your street,” it was stated in a news release from the Lieutenant Governor’s office today.

The one-hour public tours on May 6 at Government House (1401 Rockland Ave) will start at 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Free admission, no registration required.  There is a maximum capacity of 100 people per tour, first-come, first-served basis.

Thursday, May 4 ~ BC.  BC Ferries is offering savings on over 1,600 select early morning and late evening sailings on routes between Metro Vancouver – Vancouver Island and Metro Vancouver – Sunshine Coast all summer long.  The “Sunrise and Sunset Savings” promotion runs from May 18 to September 15, during which time the passenger vehicle and driver fares will be offered at $39, $49 and $59 on select sailings between Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay, Tsawwassen – Duke Point, Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay and at $39 return-trip between Horseshoe Bay – Langdale.

The idea is to provide discounts on less crowded sailings, and gives customers a choice of fare price if they have flexibility with the time-of-day they choose to travel. “With more traffic moving to less busy sailings, we make more space available for other customers during the rest of the day,” says said Janet Carson, BC Ferries’ Vice President of Marketing and Travel Services.

Space on the selected sailings is on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations will guarantee a spot on one of the reduced-price select sailings. Reservations are $10 if booked seven days or more in advance.  www.bcferries.com

BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver with environmental activist David Suzuki, last month at a rally.

Wednesday May 3 ~ VANCOUVER ISLAND.  “Today, I am officially endorsing Andrew Weaver and the BC Green Party for the May 9 provincial election,” says David Suzuki.

“I have never endorsed a political party before and I never expected to. But the need for real change in BC is so great, I have decided I must do everything I can to help elect the party that represents the right kind of change.” He goes on to say that only the Green are “speaking to the greatest issues of our time with solutions that are practical and evidence-based”.

“The economy and environment are inextricably linked, and only the BC Green Party has taken that seriously,” said Suzuki in a statement to media. “Their platform is a real vision for the health and well-being of British Columbians, from education to housing affordability to the environment.”

BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver together with David Suzuki and Sonia Furstenau (BC Green candidate for Cowichan Valley), will be hosting a campaign event tonight May 3. Doors open 6 pm, program 7 to 9 pm at S’amuna’ Big House, 5589 Club Road in Duncan.

Weaver was already a leading climate scientist when he was recruited in 2007 by then-BC Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell to provide advice on a climate action plan. In the 2009 provincial election the Opposition NDP promised to “axe” the carbon tax, but lost the election. The carbon tax survived.

BC Liberal premier Christy Clark has professed support for climate action and the carbon tax but her energies have gone into developing a new industry based on the export of liquefied natural gas.

Polished as a status-quo disruptor, in a rally mid-April with Weaver, environmental activist David Suzuki pitched for Greens to become a “dominant force” in provincial politics.

Wednesday, May 3.  As advance voting in the BC Election gets underway again today (May 3 to 6, 8am to 8 pm in all ridings), we can take a look at trends from the first round of advance voting on the weekend of April 29 & 30.

On this west side of Vancouver Island:

  • Esquimalt-Metchosin brought in 4,226 votes last weekend (2,428 on Saturday and 1,798 on Sunday) out of a total number of 37,692 registered voters. That’s 11.2% of voters. Candidates in that riding are Mitzi Dean (BC NDP), Barb Desjardins (BC Liberal), Andy MacKinnon (BC Green), Josh Steffler (Libertarian), and Delmar Martay (independent).
  • Langford-Juan de Fuca saw 3,722 votes last weekend (2,087 on Saturday and 1,635 on Sunday), out of a total of 39,176 registered voters. That’s a 9.5% advance poll turnout. Candidates in that riding are BC NDP Leader John Horgan, incumbent (NDP), Cathy Noel (BC Liberal), Brendan Ralfs (BC Green), and Willie Nelson (Vancouver Island Party).

The highest turnout on Vancouver Island April 29 & 30 was in Courtenay-Comox with 4,260 votes cast, Esquimalt-Metchosin came in a close second with 4,226; Parksville-Qualicum saw 4,018; Victoria-Beacon hill logged in with 3,773 votes and Langford-Juan de Fuca came in fifth with 3,722.

On the mainland, Vancouver-Fairview delivered 4,106 votes, Penticton delivered 4,029 advance votes, Vancouver-West End saw 4,007 votes cast, and Vancouver-Point Grey (where the NDP’s David Eby beat out Christy Clark in the 2013 election) logged in with 3,787 votes.

This is the first time that voting has been available on a Sunday, and in many ridings the turnout was strong on April 30, in some cases with most votes cast than on the Saturday. Most of the polling stations were open on those first two days; on the west shore only Gordon United Church (in the Langford-Juan de Fuca riding) wasn’t available due to the Sunday factor.

It would seem that the ridings where party leaders are running are getting voters out with relatively equal strength. Premier Clark (BC Liberal leader) is running in Kelowna West, where 3,749 advance votes were cast this past weekend. In John Horgan’s (BC NDP Leader) riding of Langford-Juan de Fuca there were 3,722 votes cast. BC Green Leader Andrew Weaver is running Oak Bay-Gordon Head where 3,264 advance votes were cast April 29-30.

Advance voting results will be updated daily during this May 3 to 6 advance voting period.

All advance votes will be counted on the night of the general election Tuesday May 9. Any advance votes that are cast over the 28-day campaign at District Electoral Offices will be counted on May 22 in the home ridings for those votes. Final vote results will be provided by Elections BC on May 23.

Wednesday, May 3 ~ NATIONAL.  Today May 3 is World Press Freedom Day“On World Press Freedom Day, I call for an end to all crackdowns against journalists – because a free press advances peace and justice for all,” says António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General..

World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference. Since then, 3 May, the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek is celebrated worldwide as World Press Freedom Day.

It is an opportunity to:

  • celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom;
  • assess the state of press freedom throughout the world;
  • defend the media from attacks on their independence;
  • and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued this statement today: “Every year, on May 3rd, we celebrate the fundamental principle of freedom of the press, and the important role journalists play in promoting democracy around the world. On this day, we take a hard look at the current state of press freedom, and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the pursuit of truth.

“The theme of this year’s World Press Freedom Day is ‘Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies.’ It reminds us that peace, justice and inclusiveness are foundational values for any society that empowers individual citizens and promotes government transparency and accountability.

“The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – now in its 35th year – established the freedom of the press as a fundamental freedom. Journalists start conversations, shine light on stories that would otherwise not be told, and give Canadians the facts they need to engage in public debate and shape events around them. A free and open press is crucial to an informed and engaged citizenry, which is at the heart of a healthy democracy.

“While journalistic freedom is widely recognized and respected in Canada, we cannot ignore the censorship, intimidation, false arrests and violence that many journalists face in other parts of the world. These acts give rise to fear and self-censorship, stifle societies, and undermine the right to freedom of expression. Canada will continue working to promote a vibrant and free press here and abroad.

“Today, we recognize the many journalists who seek out the truth, challenge assumptions and expose injustices, often at great personal risk. They are the cornerstones of any strong and healthy democracy, informing and challenging us all to think more critically about the world around us.”


Wednesday, May 3 ~ BC. Petronas subsidiary failed to get regulatory approval before building at least 16 large dams in BC to trap freshwater for fracking operations, a Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) investigation reveals.

A subsidiary of Malaysian state-owned Petronas, the company behind a massive Liquefied Natural Gas plant proposal near Prince Rupert, has built at least 16 large unauthorized dams in northeast BC to trap water used for fracking operations, the CCPA has learned.

Two of the dams built by Petronas subsidiary Progress Energy are higher than five-story apartment buildings, which means they qualified as “reviewable” projects by the provincial Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) and should have been assessed by that office prior to any construction taking place.

The EAO was apparently never contacted before the dams were built and is only now investigating, five years after construction began. In 13 additional cases, Progress/Petronas has applied retroactively for water licenses and dam approvals for structures already built, which must now be vetted by BC’s Oil and Gas Commission (OGC). In yet another case, a dam built by Progress was ordered dewatered last year after the OGC concluded the structure, upstream from a gas processing facility, could fail.

The dams are part of a wider network of structures built by fossil fuel companies that may number in the “dozens,” according to information a senior provincial dam safety official provided to the CCPA. The province’s former comptroller of water rights told the CCPA the number of large unpermitted dams is likely more than 100.

These revelations prompted CCPA resource policy analyst Ben Parfitt to undertake a special investigation, including visiting one of the dams. His expose reveals a troubling breakdown of the regulatory system meant to oversee water usage and the energy sector in BC.

“The sheer number of these structures is troubling,” says Parfitt. “The companies did not submit engineering designs to provincial dam safety officials before building them. One dam has already shown signs of failing and was shut down. How many more unsafe structures are out there? And how much environmental harm are all these structures causing?”

Parfitt says the risk of dam failures may be increased considerably because the dams are purposely located near where companies drill and frack for natural gas. In 2015, Progress Energy triggered a 4.6 magnitude earthquake felt 180 kilometres away when it pressure-pumped 160,000 cubic metres of water below ground in a fracking operation.

The CCPA has learned that dam safety officials with the provincial Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO) have known of problems for months, as have investigators with the EAO’s office and the OGC, but these officials do not appear to have issued any public news releases or advisories on the extent of the situation. The CCPA began investigating the problem in March after receiving a tip.
First Nations in the region most impacted by the dams do not appear to have been properly consulted.

“There appears to be a major breakdown by government in protecting public health and safety and the environment,” says Parfitt.

The CCPA is calling on the Province to address a number of questions including:
• How widespread is the construction of dams by energy companies?
• Which companies have built unauthorized dams?
• Where are these dams, and how large are they?
• Which dams are now under retroactive review by the Environmental Assessment Office and/or the Oil and Gas Commission?
• How many of these dams have been ordered decommissioned due to safety concerns?
• Why have these reviews and investigations not been made more public?
• Have any fines or penalties been levied to date? If not, why not?
• Which government ministries and agencies became aware of these structures, and when?
• How is it possible that so many unauthorized dams could be constructed without earlier intervention by the relevant authorities?

This investigation was undertaken as part of the Corporate Mapping Project (CMP). The CMP is a six-year research and public engagement initiative jointly led by the University of Victoria, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ BC and Saskatchewan Offices, and the Alberta-based Parkland Institute. This research was supported by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Longer report: http://www.policynote.ca/a-dam-big-problem-regulatory-breakdown-as-fracking-companies-in-bcs-northeast-build-dozens-of-unauthorized-dams/ 

Tuesday, May 2 ~ LANGFORD. Two custom bus services launched by the City of Langford have been cancelled.

Soon to go is the in-town trolley that has been servicing local shoppers and residents in the commercial areas of Langford since 2007. BC Transit services to and around the Langford area have improved over the years (apparently up 76%), so the trolley is no longer needed.

Also wrapping up (as of June 30) is the Langtoria Greenline bus, launched last fall to help ease commuter traffic round trip between Langford and Victoria. Low ridership was the main reason there. People still like travelling in their own cars despite the time in commuter traffic and the cost of parking in Victoria. Some of those who have used the Langtoria bus service may now carpool.

The idea for the Greenline came up when construction of the McKenzie-Admirals Road Interchange was announced, with the advent of even more traffic slowdowns during the construction period. Operated by Wilson’s Transportation, it has been following a route that stops at 21 spots in the West Shore.

Langford Mayor Stew Young says he will now push for high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes on Hwy 1 that would also accommodate buses, and continue to work with the province on getting to yes with transportation options along the E&N Rail corridor.

Tuesday, May 2 ~ LANGFORD. Two custom bus services launched by the City of Langford have been cancelled.

Soon to go is the in-town trolley that has been servicing local shoppers and residents in the commercial areas since 2007. BC Transit services have over the years improved in Langford, so the trolley is no longer needed.

Also wrapping up is the Langtoria Greenline bus (as of June 30), launched last fall to help ease commuter traffic round trip between Langford and Victoria. Low ridership was the main reason there. People still like travelling in their own cars despite the time in commuter traffic and the cost of parking in Victoria.

The idea for the Greenline came up when construction of the McKenzie-Admirals Road Interchange was announced, with the advent of even more traffic slowdowns during the construction period.

Tuesday, May 2 ~ WEST SIDE of Vancouver Island. Advance voting starts up again in the morning throughout BC! Advance voting Places will be open 8 am to 8 pm for the next four days: May 3, 4, 5 and 6.

On the west side of Vancouver Island:

  • Advance Voting is available in Langford at Belmont Secondary School, Four Points Sheraton, and Gordon United Church.
  • Advance Voting places in Sooke are at SEAPARC Leisure Complex and Sooke Community Hall.
  • Advance Voting for Esquimalt-Metchosin is at Colwood Pentecostal Church, Esquimalt United Church, Metchosin Community Hall, Songhees Wellness Centre, View Royal Town Hall, and West Shore Parks & Rec.

Ballots cast during Advance Voting will be counted on election night, after the main ballot boxes are counted on general election night May 9.

In this 2017 election, Elections BC has been promoting “you have 28 days to vote”, without vigorously clarifying that votes cast at District Electoral Offices that are open daily for 28 days will be counted in their home ridings (on May 22) after the paper ballots are distributed to the 87 ridings around the province.

However, if you can’t make it to an Advance Voting Station during May 3-6, these DEO offices make it convenient to vote on May 7 and 8 (as well as on election day May 9):

  • District Electoral Office for Langford-Juan de Fuca is at 111-2787 Jacklin Road in Langford. Inquiries: 250-952-5014.
  • District Electoral Office for Esquimalt-Metchosin is at 3-1905 Sooke Road in Colwood. Inquiries: 250-952-4408.

Tuesday, May 2 ~ BC.  Where you vote does count, for timing! Ballots cast at Advance Voting stations (April 29 & 30; May 3 to 6) will be counted on election night, after the main ballot boxes are counted, toward the May 9 general election night tally and results.

However, any votes cast at the District Electoral Office (one central office for each riding) will get counted on May 22, toward a final vote announcement on May 23.

In this 2017 election, Elections BC has been promoting “you have 28 days to vote”, without clarifying that votes cast at District Electoral Offices that are open daily for 28 days will be counted in their home ridings after the paper ballots are distributed to the 87 ridings around the province.


Monday, May 1 ~ South Vancouver Island. Additional tech-related seats for the University of Victoria, Camosun College and Vancouver Island University were announced today. The goals is “to develop home grown talent to help British Columbia continue to be a leader in the innovation economy”, as announced by BC Liberal candidates David Calder, Alex Dutton and Paris Gaudet.

The BC Liberals say they have made a commitment to increase the number of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) graduates by 1,000 per year by 2022. UVic will receive 80 new seats and both Camosun College and VIU will receive 30 to contribute to that goal.

BC Liberal candidate Barb Desjardins (Esquimalt-Metchosin) at a business mixer in the west shore April 24. [West Shore Voice News photo]

Monday, May 1 ~ SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND. The BC Liberals today have said that the Capital Regional District (CRD) governance model needs modernizing to ensure decisions are being made effectively, residents are getting the services and accountability they deserve, and in the most efficient manner possible. The statement cam  from Barb Desjardins, BC Liberal candidate for Esquimalt-Metchosin.

In the BC Liberals Island Platform, they are stating a commitment to a full review of Capital Regional District governance – and working with any community that is in support of possible service integration and amalgamation.

“The model hasn’t been reviewed in decades, and it doesn’t reflect how the region delivers services today, or the associated challenges in delivering those services in the most effective manner,” said Desjardins, a three-term Esquimalt Mayor and past CRD chair.

“One practical example is housing development – an issue that I hear about from builders and the general public. Under the current governance structure, each municipality within the CRD has its own development charges, each interprets the building code differently, and the time it takes to move an application through each municipality differs. As a result, there is no consistency for builders, it means additional costs, and those costs are ultimately borne by the home purchaser or renter.”

“The other reality is that we have communities on the West Shore that have different needs than those in Victoria and the current structure doesn’t always recognize those views or needs – because of the CRD model,” Desjardins said in a release.

In an interview with West Shore Voice News today, Desjardins said that the small business sector grows in a municipality that has good governance. She cited the City of Langford as a good example.

The BC Liberals say they’re been clear that any community not wishing to participate in amalgamation or other governance changes will not be forced to participate.



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