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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 with 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. Remember to stay hydrated and wear a hat when exposed to sunlight.

Most people’s veggie and herb gardens are well underway already. 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.


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.


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 these vessels: 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

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
~~ 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 | Friday, June 9, 2017

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 issue 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 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.


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.”


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.”


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.


 

Thursday, May 25 ~ NATIONAL. The Bank of Canada announced May 24 that the benchmark rate will remain unchanged at 0.5% (same since mid-2015). Weak wage growth and temporary inflation weakness were the Bank’s examples of how the economy still has room to improve.

But they also indicated strength in business investment (that’s new, after a long period of capital retention by corporations during the long post-recession). Apparently consumer spending and the housing sector “continue to be robust”.

For consumers the steady rate should mean no increases in credit card interest rates or mortgage interest rates. For small business it generally implies no increase in rates for borrowing.


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.


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.


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.


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 vote.s
  • 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 accepte<” 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, Horseshoe Bay-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.  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 ~ 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”.

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

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”.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

To follow news coverage of two west shore ridings — Langford-Juan de Fuca and Esquimalt-Metchosin — visit this West Shore Voice News website, as well as our postings on Facebook at WestShoreSookeVoiceNews and on Twitter on three streams: @WestShoreVOICE  @SookeVoiceLOCAL  @VancIslandVOICE

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.


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 the 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 ~ BC. A 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/ 


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.”


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 say 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.


 

BC NDP party leader John Horgan (left) with Oak Bay-Gordon Head NDP candidate Bryce Casavant.

Saturday, April 29 ~ SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND.  The BC NDP say they will announce strong measures to clean up and protect waterways, at an event tomorrow Sunday April 30 in Cadboro Bay at Gyro Park.

On hand will be BC NDP Candidates Gary Holman (Saanich North and the Islands) and Bryce Casavant (Oak Bay-Gordon Head) with special guest Sheila Malcolmson, Member of Parliament for Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

They will talk about how John Horgan and the BC NDP would be the only government committed to keeping waterways pristine in BC.

The event on Sunday will start at 3 pm. Gyro Park is at 2625 Sinclair Rd in the Cadboro Bay area of the Oak Bay-Gordon Head riding, which is home to BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver.


 

BC NDP Leader John Horgan at his April 28 rally in Victoria.

Friday, April 28 ~ SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND. BC NDP Leader John Horgan held at upbeat rally in downtown Victoria this evening, stirring up and maintaining momentum for followers as the last leg of the 28-day BC election campaign period reaches the Advance Voting phase (April 29 & 30, plus May 3-6) and closes in on the May 9 election day.

On Saturday he will cast his vote in the Advance Voting station at Belmont Secondary School in his home town of Langford.

Then he will head to Duncan to make an announcement about health-care facilities that could be built there under an NDP government. The afternoon and evening for Horgan wraps up in Surrey and Burnaby where the voting base is large.


BC Leaders Debate was televised on Global TV tonight, April 26, from Vancouver.

Wednesday, April 26 ~ BC.  There was the usual wrangling expected in a leader’s debate.  However, in the 90-minute televised BC Leaders Debate on Global TV tonight, there were few moments that would have tipped the decision of the undecided voter.

Moderated in a competent and organized manner by Global TV’s Jennifer Burke, the audience heard statements, rebuttals and questions from and between BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark, BC NDP Leader John Horgan and BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver.

Clark appealed to her audience of those wanting lower taxes, and hammered home about the importance of putting job creation first. Horgan appealed to his audience of workers and families who’ve not been able to get ahead in a economy with an endlessly increasing cost of living over the past 16 years. Weaver appealed to the disciplined thinker who knows there are better ways to do things, but unfettered by a long party track record.

Weaver was not wrong to suggest that a party trailing third can come out with a majority government. In recent years it happened for the NDP in Alberta and the federal Liberals.  Clark used the fear card to warn British Columbians of what an inexperienced new government might not be able to handle in tough trade disputes with the US, or with the provincial budget that the BC Liberals have kept under tight rein to achieve their five balanced budgets and a triple-A credit rating. Horgan appealed at every turn for voters to remember the hardship experienced by families and many low-income workers over the past 16 years as many BC government interests and services became privatized and used first as a source for generating government revenue over and above providing appropriate or affordable services.

The point of these debates is to help voters either be reassured about their committed choices, or to provide new insights for the as-yet-undecided.  Absorbing the details of policy platforms is a lot of work for voters in a short campaign, and most people don’t go in that direction amidst their busy lives. Many undecided voters go with their gut… looking to who has the chops, the vision and the commitment to lead the province in turbulent times of change in the economy, technology and society.

While Horgan was challenged with a media-formulated question about being ‘mercurial’ (a term which was not, by the way, correctly defined by the moderator – she completely missed the intellectual curiosity and quick-footed aspect of being mercurial), it was clear that Canadians have almost lost the awareness of the passion it takes to truly lead from the heart. Facts are facts, and processes must be followed, but if the passion is not from a true place in politics, then a population is no farther ahead.

Clark was challenged on her own record and her government’s record, but in most cases simply dodged any pointed challenges and fell back to party talking points about jobs and balanced budgets. Money management is essential for a stable economy, but it is not only about that.

Weaver again (as in the April 20 radio debate on News1130) showed his strengths as a fact-based organizer of progressive thought. In a perfect world, this would be the calm road to take.  In a less than perfect world it might still be the road to take toward a revision of the political fabric in BC.

After tonight, it would seem that the BC population is still no farther ahead in grasping where BC might head after May 9. If everyone votes along party lines, that leaves a precious few who will tip the vote. The wild card in producing a surprise result in this 2017 provincial election might well be from among youth ages 18 to 25. That demographic tends to vote left on the political spectrum, which would give favour to the NDP and/or the Greens.

For some listeners, Donald Trump’s name got too much air time in this debate. And, as this publication is on the west coast of Vancouver Island, we note that none of the 1,300 public questions as received by Global were (as chosen for airtime) from Vancouver Island residents.

So this event was 90 minutes of a Wednesday evening that in many ways puts few of us any farther ahead toward a clear and bold vision for BC. There are just too many areas of mistrust or disbelief, and certainly a level of frustration among voters. The world is in crisis mode in many respects. To itemize just a few key problems: there are skyrocketing health care costs, a large aging population who will require adequate pension support (a topic not even mentioned in tonight’s debate), and high-impact climate change affecting crops, water supplies.

A final word … voters need to choose one of these party leaders based on who can really, truly lead. Not just pander to their own party, but put the provincial as a whole as their top priority. ~ Editor, West Shore Voice News


Tuesday, April 25 ~ BC. The BC NDP commitment to create urgent care centres across the province will benefit small communities, it was announced by the BC NDP today. 

Retired MLA Maurine Karagianis represented John Horgan at an All Candidates debate in his home riding April 25 in Sooke.

Representing BC NDP Leader John Horgan at an All Candidates debate in Sooke this evening, retired MLA Maurine Karagianis said Sooke would be one of the communities that could dearly use an urgent care clinic. There is a private medical clinic in Sooke town centre, and an old (analog) xray clinic open about 2 days a week; the nearest hospital is Victoria General Hospital about 30 minutes drive away along the winding Hwy 14.

“I am committed to taking real action to help families access the health care they need by opening Urgent Family Care centers in communities across the province,” said Horgan in a release.

Urgent care centres bring together doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, dieticians, pharmacists, mental health workers, midwives, occupational therapists and other health care providers to offer the right health services from the right provider at the right time. “We know that prevention and early interventions are the best way to protect people’s health and bring down health care costs,” it says in the NDP release tonight.

On Horgan’s behalf, Karagianis went to bat tonight for the hardest-hit sectors of BC society who have seen consistent erosion of services under the BC Liberals, including education, children and families, health care and seniors.

John Horgan is the incumbent NDP candidate in Langford-Juan de Fuca. He has held the riding since 2005.


Tuesday, April 25 ~ WEST SHORE of VANCOUVER ISLAND.  Last night there was a sparse turnout for a mixer co-hosted by the West Shore Chamber of Commerce and Esquimalt Chamber of Commerce.

The idea was to provide a casual opportunity for the community to meet provincial election candidates of two west-side ridings.

Candidates, campaign personnel and displays of election materials were on hand: BC Liberals, BC NDP, BC Greens. and the Libertarian Party for Esquimalt-Metchosin, as well as NDP, Green and BC Liberal for Langford-Juan de Fuca.

Each candidate gave a short 3-minute speech.  Visit the Langford-Colwood-Metchosin page for more…


Monday, April 24 ~ BC. Today BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver released the BC Green Party’s full election platform.

“Our platform highlights the fundamental differences between us and the other parties,” said Weaver. “Both the BC Liberals and the BC NDP are more focussed on advancing short term election strategies than they are on advancing a vision for the province. Our platform offers an ambitious plan to position British Columbia for success at the forefront of the emerging economy, through promoting sustainable business development and innovation, making historic investments in education, and modernizing income security.

“A BC Green government will ensure that people have the knowledge, skills and abilities to seize opportunities in the 21st century economy. We will ensure that the benefits of a strong economy flow to everyone,” Weaver said in a news release. “The BC Greens have a vision for British Columbia where government puts people’s interests first. We are putting forward a vision where policies are based on principles and evidence.”

Highlights of the BC Green Party platform include:
New economy: Positioning B.C. to succeed on the forefront of the emerging economy through investments in innovation and sustainable business development.
Lifelong learning: Making historic investments into education, providing free early childhood education and daycare; investing in public education and supporting post-secondary students.
Income security: Modernizing income security for the new economy, through moving towards livable incomes, raising social assistance rates and piloting basic income.
Climate action: Taking strong action to tackle climate change and reach our carbon emissions targets.
Affordable homes: Targeting speculation in our real estate market and investing in increasing the supply of affordable homes.


Monday, April 24 ~ VICTORIA. The BC NDP are holding a “Rally the Vote Victoria” event in downtown Victoria this coming Friday, April 28 from 6:00 to 7:30 pm. The event is expected to pack to overflowing the Alix Goolden Performance Hall at 907 Pandora Ave.

“Before British Columbians go to the early polls, we’re rallying the vote in Victoria. Come join John Horgan and special guest Nathan Cullen at Victoria’s iconic Alix Goolden Performance Hall.” It’s likely to be a high-powered, memorable event, now mid-way into the 28-day 2017 BC election campaign.

The BC NDP have been proposing various measures to boost affordability for families, seniors, and those on social assistance and other fixed incomes including a freeze on ferry fares, elimination of MSP premiums (blending it into the tax system), $10/day child care, and an increase in the minimum wage to $15.

Those wishing to attend are encouraged to RSVP, to assure a spot:  https://www.bcndp.ca/rally-the-vote


An NDP government would freeze ferry fares, says BC NDP Leader John Horgan.

Sunday, April 23 ~ BC. As the BC election campaign progresses, BC NDP Leader John Horgan has been issuing various policy announcements aimed at making BC more affordable for BC families, seniors and people on social assistance.

On April 20 surrounded by supporters, Horgan announced a plan to make seniors weekday passenger fares free on major BC Ferries sailing routes. “Life on Vancouver Island has been getting more expensive under Christy Clark. The increase in fees and hidden costs are hurting seniors on fixed incomes. We’re going to make life more affordable by bringing back free weekday ferry fares for seniors on major routes,” said Horgan on the shores of the Swartz Bay ferry terminal near Sidney, BC.

Under the BC Liberals, BC Ferries fares have increased by about 80% on the major ferry routes, and have more than doubled for the Gulf Islands, Sunshine Coast and North Coast routes. An NDP government would also freeze ferry fares on major routes for all passengers and cut fares on the smaller routes by 15%.

“After 16 years of Christy Clark and the BC Liberals the cost of ferries has gone through the roof while sailings were cut for many communities. John Horgan will make life more affordable for island families, boost tourism, and grow the economy,” it was stated in a BC NDP news release.

Specifically for seniors, Horgan said the BC NDP will make life more affordable for seniors by:
• Bringing back free weekday ferry rides on major routes for seniors
• Cutting ferry fares on minor routes by 15 per cent
• Freezing ferry fares on major routes
• Providing a $400 renter’s rebate, while maintaining the existing Shelter Aid for Elder Renters (SAFER) supplement
• Eliminating unfair MSP premiums within our first term in office


Saturday, April 22 ~ HAPPY EARTH DAY!  Various leaders have issued statements about the importance of protecting our one and only planet Earth.  Here are a few:

BC NDP Leader John Horgan: “Earth Day reminds us that we all depend on the earth to sustain us. It is a day to recommit ourselves to action to protect the air, land, water, and climate we rely on. Last year was the third year in a row that a new global annual temperature record was set, with the average global temperature reaching nearly a full degree above historic levels. We’ve already seen the impact of climate change on our forests, ravaged by the pine beetle epidemic and on our salmon fisheries, which have suffered because of rising river temperatures. It’s never been more clear that we need to work together, and quickly, to address climate change. A BC NDP government will take immediate action to reduce carbon pollution by 40 per cent below 2007 levels by 2030. My commitment includes a renewed focus on reducing traffic congestion, improving public transit, greening our homes and public buildings, and taking a sector by sector approach to bringing down emissions from industry. We will also overhaul BC’s environmental assessment process to ensure that it reflects the need to address the cumulative effects of projects, including their impact on climate changing emissions. My BC NDP government will make protecting our air, land, water and climate a priority, not just for today but for tomorrow. That’s my Earth Day commitment to the people of British Columbia.”

BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver: “Earth Day reminds us that we have a moral imperative to leave the world better off than we found it. Climate change is one of the most important issues facing British Columbia and the world. If we don’t take it seriously with bold public policy, future generations will be forced ask why the present generation failed them. Decisions today must be based on evidence and long-term thinking. I am proud of the platform the the BC Green Party is putting forward in this election; it proposes bold changes to put us on track for now and the future. In particular, our climate leadership strategy is grounded in science, based on evidence and includes measures that will position British Columbia as a leader again. This Earth Day, I hope that we will all take a moment to celebrate our extraordinary province, which is so often characterized by its natural beauty, and reflect on the importance of the upcoming election, which will set our course as a province for the next four years and longer.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: “Today, we join the global community to celebrate Earth Day – a time to connect with nature and reaffirm our commitment to build a cleaner, more sustainable world for our children.  As Canadians, we have a responsibility to safeguard our planet and natural treasures. I am proud of the steps our Government has taken to protect the environment and promote clean growth. These steps include historic domestic and international agreements that will help us respond to pressing environmental challenges, grow the economy, and build a cleaner, healthier tomorrow. On Earth Day, we recognize Indigenous cultures that have long understood the intricate links that exist between land, water, air, and all living things. Ensuring that decisions today serve generations tomorrow requires an active effort from all of us. Canada looks forward to hosting World Environment Day on June 5 this year. Like Earth Day, it will be an occasion to celebrate our connections to our environment and to each other. On behalf of the Government of Canada, Sophie and I encourage all Canadians to take a moment today to go outside, find renewal in nature, and appreciate the environment that connects us all.”

BC Premier Christy Clark: “BC’s role as a world leader in clean, renewable energy is a powerful economic driver that’s creating green jobs and new investment across the province,” said Premier Christy Clark. “This new biomass facility at SFU will convert construction waste and waste energy into heat and hot water for students, residents and facilities throughout the community.” The Province is providing $4.7 million to support the partnership between SFU, SFU Community Trust and Corix Utilities for a thermal energy system for the Burnaby campus and UniverCity, the sustainable community on Burnaby Mountain. BC’s investment is part of the $75 million Public Sector Energy Conservation Agreement (PSECA) established in 2008 to help universities and all other public sector organizations save energy, reduce emissions and make BC North America’s first carbon-neutral government. Quick Facts:

  • The PSECA fund has supported 247 projects, created an estimated 500 jobs, saved taxpayers $12.6 million annually and reduced GHG emissions by 35,600 tonnes.
  • Eighty-six green infrastructure jobs will be created during design and construction of the Simon Fraser University and UniverCity project.
  • SFU Burnaby’s emissions are expected to drop by 80 per cent or 11, 000 tonnes a year, equivalent to emissions from more than 900 homes.
  • Corix, a B.C. company, will own the utility and be responsible for costs associated with building and maintaining it, if approved by the BC Utilities Commission.

Friday, April 21 ~ NATIONAL. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced a European trip with key aspects for trade and diplomacy.

Trudeau will travel to Brussels, Belgium, to participate in the NATO Leaders’ Meeting on May 25. Following the NATO Meeting, he will visit Taormina, Italy May 26 to 27, to participate in the 43rd G7 Leaders Summit. He will then go to Rome and Vatican City.

Discussions at the NATO Meeting will focus on Euro-Atlantic security issues, including NATO’s counter-terrorism role and burden-sharing within the Alliance.

During the Prime Minister’s first official visit to Italy, the Prime Minister will seek ways to expand opportunities for Canadians and Italians alike, and to help create good, well-paying middle class jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. He will discuss the timely ratification of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), and address pressing global issues, including international and regional security, climate change, and migration.

In Vatican City, Prime Minister Trudeau will have an audience with His Holiness Pope Francis for the first time.


Broadcast journalist Bill Good hosted (from left): John Horgan (BC NDP); Christy Clark (BC Liberal); and Andrew Weaver (BC Green).

Thursday, April 20 ~ BC.  Leaders of the three main political parties in BC went head to head debating most of the key issues of this provincial election campaign. Hosted by Bill Good on News 1130 Radio (and livestreamed on City TV and Facebook),  the 1.5 hour debate (8:30 am to 10 am) was above all a chance for listeners and viewers to assess each leader’s approach to the campaign, the issues, and the province overall.

Front and center at the table for debate were BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark, BC NDP Leader John Horgan and BC Green Leader Andrew Weaver, with comfortable seating and big green microphones. For the most part they played fair ball in the debate format, but overtalking and fighting back was of course not unexpected.

The event is being posted by News 1130 in its entirety today on YouTube, for viewers to watch again.

Weaver was the stabilizing force in today’s debate, with facts at hand and a calm delivery. Clark pitched various achievements of the BC Liberal government while repeating the importance of jobs and economic growth. Horgan brought and held forward the frustration of many British Columbians who have barely held on or who have fallen behind during the last 16 years in what is evidently a have/have-not BC economy.

Mainstream news issues such as affordable housing, transit and bridge tolls, health care, child care and livability for seniors were of course part of the discourse. There was talk of education, disability support, and the opiod crisis.

The leaders rather effectively surfaced their key criticisms of the philosophies of the opposing parties. Clark and Weaver both intimated that the NDP could have done more in opposition in the last 16 years. Horgan stated definitively that the Liberals have not put people or families first.

When asked by Good at the end of the debate what had motivated candidates to come forward for each party, it was clear from Weaver that Green candidates are active working professionals with room in their lives to be available to make a difference. NDP candidates represent a broad spectrum of the people of the province, said Horgan.  BC Liberal candidates have experience and ‘they all care about jobs’, said Clark.

So, while Green candidates are an impressive, accomplished group of active professionals, would they en masse, if elected, happily abandon their careers for full-time politics or would a 4-year Green government be a flash in the pan? BC Liberal candidates are many of them long of politics and strong in business. They are, in many ways, in their natural element. NDP candidates are fighters for the people, and with that could effect change for the province if they are backed up from within, with practical plans and solutions.

So, regardless of how competent, committed and suitable for their constituency that every local candidate might be, it is the flavour of leadership from the top that will and should ultimately guide the voter’s pen in the ballot box on May 9. That’s the point of leadership debates … so that voters can get a sense of the tone and direction of a future government as well as the capacity, integrity and level of resolve of the future leader.

BC is at a crossroads with this election, heading into a significant socio-economic turning point in this second decade of the 21st century. In some ways BC is far behind (e.g. lagging effectiveness in response to the opiod crisis, and the last province in BC to not yet have an equitable health services plan) and in other ways is surging ahead (tech innovation and burgeoning tourism and service-based economy). BC Liberals have been managers of the economy. What the NDP and Greens offer is a bit more soul, borne of a realization of what now needs repair, replenishment and forward movement.

When Premier Christy Clark claims that BC has a strong economy, it must be noted that a good deal of the recent abundance in BC is from a booming and escalating real estate market — something that is cyclical and is certainly near the top of the cycle in 2017.

Editor’s footnote and reminder: The BC Liberals are not the same party as the federal Liberals.

~ Editor, West Shore Voice News


Wednesday, April 19 ~ BC. ‘Where to Vote’ cards are being delivered across British Columbia starting today. Elections BC is reminding voters to bring their card with them when they vote, to make the process faster and easier.

Chief Electoral Officer, Keith Archer says registered voters will receive a card that includes the dates, times and locations for advance voting in their electoral district. Each voter’s card also shows their assigned voting place for General Voting Day, May 9.

Elections BC will also be distributing the cards to addresses with no registered voters. These cards will inform eligible voters of the voting opportunities available to them and that they can register when they vote.

New for this election, is that the cards will be colour-coded to help election officials determine the electoral district in which a voter resides.

Over three million cards will be delivered up until advance voting starts on April 29. Advance voting takes place on April 29 and 30 and from May 3 to May 6. A complete listing of advance voting places is available at www.elections.bc.ca/2017-provincial-general-election/where-to-vote

Voters can also use Elections BC’s Where to Vote app to find voting places close to them and in their electoral district; it can be found at www.elections.bc.ca/wtv . Eligible voters can vote at any voting place in BC.


Wednesday, April 19 ~ BC.  A BC NDP government under John Horgan would eliminate interest on BC student loans and offer a $1,000 completion grant to people who complete their studies.

“At a time when more and more people are struggling to get by, Christy Clark and the BC Liberals have made it harder than ever for people to upgrade their skills and get ahead in life,” said Horgan at a news event in Vancouver today.

“We’re going to fix that. We will ensure every British Columbian has the opportunity to pursue post-secondary education and skills training programs by eliminating interest on BC student loans and offering $1,000 in student loan relief for people who complete their studies.

“We have a growing tech sector that is already employing more than 100,000 British Columbians, and they need more skilled employees. We’ll help them grow and help British Columbians succeed by making post-secondary more accessible and affordable,” said Horgan.

John Horgan and the BC NDP will train skilled workers and create opportunities for people by:

  • Making all current and future BC student loans interest free.
  • Providing a $1,000 completion grant for graduates of college, university and skilled trades programs to help pay down debt when they finish their programs.
  • Investing $100 million to expand technology-related post-secondary programs and investing in talent in information and communications, digital media and entertainment, life sciences and health, clean-tech, IT and engineering and more.
  • Eliminating fees for Adult Basic Education and ESL and keeping a cap on tuition fees at colleges and universities.
  • Introducing a new graduate student scholarship fund to encourage excellence in BC’s graduate programs.

BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver with candidates (in Vancouver last week).

Tuesday, April 18 ~ VICTORIA.  Andrew Weaver, leader of the BC Green Party, released the party’s health platform today in Victoria. He unveiled the platform at the campaign office of Dr. Chris Maxwell, BC Greens candidate for Victoria-Swan Lake, where tonight Maxwell’s campaign office launch event will take place at 7 pm.

“BC’s demographics are shifting. Already, many British Columbians are not getting the health care services they need in a timely fashion,” said Weaver. “British Columbians need an integrated, fiscally sound plan that invests in their health at every stage of life.

Weaver says the Green Party healthcare strategy “supports British Columbians to live healthier lives, and transitions BC towards preventive care”. He also outlined the idea to make strategic investments to increase access to primary care and focus on addressing mental health and addictions.

In the face of stiff competition from BC Liberals and deep-rooted momentum from the BC NDP, It’s a long shot that the Greens will have any substantial wins for MLA seats in the upcoming May 9 BC provincial election. So platform ideas are just that (and not all of them are new, for example ‘create a Ministry responsible for health promotion’ already exists). But discussion about them can tip the discourse of election debate and provides an important service to pushing forward social progress.

Dr Chris Maxwell, BC Green Party candidate, Victoria-Swan Lake.

Key components of the BC Greens health care platform include:

Promoting wellness

  • Create a Ministry responsible for health promotion, disease prevention and active lifestyles.
  • Invest $35 million in nutrition and physical activity programs to promote learning readiness and improve student health in the K-12 public education system.

Prioritizing prevention and primary care

  • Establish a task force to develop a plan to transition the balance of resources between acute/chronic care and primary/preventative care.
  • Allocate $100 million for the expansion of support for inter-professional, integrated primary care by healthcare professionals such as physiotherapists, nurse practitioners and midwives.
  • Develop a proposal to implement an essential drugs program.

Providing effective and efficient acute care

  • Invest $40 million in new long term care facilities to increase the availability of beds in acute care facilities.
  • Establish an innovation task force to reduce surgery wait times across the province.

Addressing mental health and addictions

  • Establish a Ministry responsible for mental health and addictions, which will be responsible for developing and implementing a Mental Health and Addiction strategy and a Youth Mental Health for early detection of mental health illness.
  • Allocate $80 million to fund early intervention, youth mental health initiatives, supervised injection sites and community based centres for mental health and rehabilitation.
  • Implement an Integrated Primary Care model specific to Youth and Mental Health.
  • Develop an immediate response to the fentanyl crisis based on successful programs in Europe that invest in treatment on demand, drug substitution, early-winning monitoring systems and coordinated response.

Supporting seniors and providing end-of-life

  • Invest $35 million over four years in home care to enable seniors and other people who need assistance to stay in their own homes.
  • Ensure the staffing at public and private care homes meets government guidelines and provide $200 million over four years to address staffing levels at public facilities.

Protecting children

  • Invest an additional $100 million over for years to enhance child protection services.
  • Identify strategies to address child poverty in the province, including specific actions to address poverty affecting Aboriginal children and families.
  • Work with stakeholders, including front line service delivery agencies, Indigenous people, local governments, educators, and community not-for-profit agencies to address recommendations made by the Representative for Children and Youth and the Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth.

Sunday, April 16 ~ EASTER SUNDAY.  Many Canadians are making a 4-day long weekend out of the Easter weekend. Good Friday was on April 14. There were many community activities including Easter egg hunts for kids, and stores wereopen and bustling on Saturday, April 15. Easter Monday is a Statutory holiday across Canada.

Ferry travel on the BC Coast is busy on Easter weekends. BC Ferries added 50 extra sailings on the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay route carrying travelers between the Vancouver and Victoria areas.

For Easter Sunday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement to Canada on Easter:

“This weekend, millions of Canadians and people around the world will gather with friends and family to celebrate the Easter holiday. This year is special, as Christians in both the Eastern and Western churches are celebrating Easter on the same day.

“Easter, also known as Pascha, is a sacred time of year in the Christian tradition, and celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection and triumph over death.

“The Easter story reminds us of the sacrifices made for us, and of the forgiving power of compassion. It is also a call to hope, especially when hope feels most impossible.

“This year, as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, let us take the opportunity to honour the many cultures, traditions, and beliefs that make Canada such a wonderful place to live. Christian Canadians of all backgrounds help make Canada the strong, diverse, and inclusive country it is today.

“As we gather with those most important to us, let us put into practice what it truly means to love our neighbours as ourselves, and do what we can to make the world a more just, compassionate, and peaceful place for all.

“On behalf of our family, Sophie and I wish all those celebrating a blessed and joyful Easter. We hope all Canadians, no matter their faith, find this a time of renewal and promise.”


Saturday, April 15 ~ ESQUIMALT-METCHOSIN.  The BC Sustainable Energy Association is holding an all-candidates debate for the riding of Esquimalt-Metchosin. “Energy is a pivotal issue in the upcoming provincial election and deserves a strong public airing and meaningful debate,” the organization says. “Voters need to know which candidates and parties are presenting the most sustainable path for British Columbia’s future.”

The Esquimalt-Metchosin riding includes Esquimalt, View Royal, Colwood and Metchosin. BC NDP candidate is Mitzi Dean. BC Liberal candidate is Barb Desjardins. BC Green candidate is Andy MacKinnon.

The Esquimalt-Metchosin riding also includes Colwood and View Royal. Esquimalt is home to a large Department of National Defense base on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Also along this coast travel tankers carrying oil products. Marine wildlife in coastal waters is integral to the ecosystems of the west coast, as well as economy and lifestyle.

The All Candidates debate on BC’s energy future will be held on Tuesday April 18 from at 6:30pm to 9 pm at Esquimalt High School Theatre, 847 Colville Rd.   www.bcsea.org/events/esquimalt-metchosin-all-candidates-debate


BC NDP Leader John Horgan in Comox: remind his island stronghold about how the Vancouver Island economy has struggled under the BC Liberals.

Friday, April 14 ~ Vancouver Island.  BC NDP Leader John Horgan says the BC NDP will roll back ferry fares and make life more affordable for people in coastal communities. In Comox on April 14, Horgan said improved services, creating sustainable jobs and fighting climate change are part of his plan to build a better BC.

“Life on Vancouver Island and in coastal communities has been getting more expensive under Christy Clark. Families need good sustainable jobs, a break on rising costs, and a government that works for the people who live here,” said Horgan.

Horgan’s plan includes rolling back ferry fares on small routes by 15%, freezing fares on major routes, and restoring the 100% seniors weekday discount.

“We will create good jobs in every community and make life more affordable by rolling back ferry fares, freezing hydro rates, stopping Christy Clark’s 42% ICBC rate increase, and improving the public services people count on, like healthcare and education,” said Horgan.

There is also an NDP plan to build 114,000 homes, create 96,000 good jobs with better wages in every corner of BC, and build a sustainable economy while tackling climate change.

“We should and can be a world leader in creating the jobs of the future. We’ll take action to create tens of thousands of new, sustainable jobs while reducing BC’s climate change emissions and growing the low-carbon economy. Our plan includes energizing the BC tech sector, taking action for BC forest jobs, and revitalizing tourism,” said Horgan.

“Christy Clark is looking out for the people at the top. My priority is making life better for people in every region, including our coastal communities,” said Horgan.

The NDP 3-year fiscal plan includes putting the corporate tax rate back up by 1% for those making over $150,000 per year (a tax break brought in by the BC Liberals).

Horgan says the NDP would have fiscal balance and live within their means but “not on the backs of kids and seniors and those who need help”. The NDP say they would reduce the small business tax rate down from 2.5% to 2% if they form government after the May 9 election.


Thursday, April 13 ~ Coastal BC.  BC Ferries has added 60 extra sailings for this Easter Long Weekend, to meet the demands of holiday travel.  The sailings will be during peak travel times between Vancouver and Vancouver Island on the Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay and the
Departure Bay – Horseshoe Bay routes.

  • 50 extra sailings are scheduled on the Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay route
  • 10 extra sailings are scheduled on the Departure Bay – Horseshoe Bay routeThe most popular travel times are expected to be mid-day Thursday to late morning Friday,
    with traffic returning on the holiday Monday afternoon. BC Ferries reminds customers with
    reservations to inform the ticket agent that they have a reservation when they arrive at the ticket booth.
    This self-identification helps expedite the check-in process.

Check the BC Ferries website for current conditions at popular times. For the most up to date travel information. They’re at @BCFerries on Twitter.


Wednesday, April 12 ~ BC. The campaign promises are rolling out daily, from the three major parties in this 2017 BC provincial election campaign season. Today:

BC Liberal. Tech sector details announced today. The party’s 2017 platform, Strong BC, Bright Future, includes “an ambitious vision to keep growing BC’s tech sector”, with four main goals:
• Keeping tech sector job growth above the provincial average, and reaching 120,000 by 2020.
• Increasing investment in the BC tech sector by up to an additional $100 million in the sector by 2020.
• Creating 1,000 new grads in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math disciplines, on top of the 1,000 coming.
• Increasing the number of tech companies with 10 or more employees by 20% by 2021.

BC NDP. $400 a year renter’s credit announced today, to help with the high costs of housing, it was announced today by NDP Leader John Horgan. The NDP say they would restore cuts that were made to the Residential Tenancy Office, to make sure renters can get help.

BC Green.  Income security strategy announced today in Vancouver. Called Covering the Basics, it includes measures to support low income British Columbians and transition the province towards a status quo of livable incomes for all. “We have a mounting problem of inequality in this province,” said BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver.


Tuesday, April 11 ~ BC. The 2017 BC provincial election campaign is on, officially as of today April 11. Party leaders were already slinging barbs and policy missives for the TV media to report out to the public.

As a policy of West Shore Voice News, we will *not* be reporting on election season polls. No matter how unbiased the pollsters try to be, there is no way of knowing the true attitudes of those being polled, and whether the methods of reaching poll participants are reliable (e.g. very few people have home phone lines anymore). The disastrous misjudgement of polls in the 2013 BC provincial election (predicting an easy win for the NDP, who ended up losing badly) should be lesson enough.

News coverage by West Shore Voice News will be focussing on the actual activities of the campaigns in two electoral areas on this west side of the island:

  • Langford-Juan de Fuca (includes voters in Langford, Sooke, and Juan de Fuca area): John Horgan, NDP (incumbent); Cathy Noel, BC Liberal; Brendan Ralfs, BC Green; Willie Nelson, Vancouver Island Party.
  • Esquimalt-Metchosin (includes voters in Esquimalt, View Royal, Colwood and Metchosin): Mitzi Dean, NDP; Barb Desjardins, BC Liberal; Andy MacKinnon, BC Green; Josh Steffler, Libertarian.

There will be two major All Candidates Forums for these two ridings.  One is on Monday, April 24 at the Royal Colwood Golf Course, 5 pm (for candidates of both Langford-Juan de Fuca and Esquimalt-Metchosin). The other forum for Langford-Juan de Fuca is on Tuesday, April 25 at the Prestige Oceanfront Resort in Sooke at 7pm.

The election date is Tuesday, May 9.  There will be a few Advance Voting dates ahead of May 9.


Memorial gathering at Vimy Monument, April 8, 2017

Sunday, April 9 ~ FRANCE. Today Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau will visit the Trenches and Tunnels at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France. They will attend the opening of the new Visitor Education Centre. Live coverage of commemorative ceremonies at Vimy in France begins at 6 am Pacific Time.

Over 20,000 Canadians (including 10,000 Canadian students) have arrived in France to participate in events today at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, with millions more expected to watch from around the world.

This date marks 100 years of one of the greatest victories of the First World War involving 49 Canadian battalions in which through three days of bayonets vs machine gun fire, the Allies won France back from Nazi forces. The count is that 3,598 Canadians killed at the ridge and another 7,100 wounded. It took weeks for news of the victory to get back to Canada.

Each year, visitors from around the world come to the Canadian National Vimy Memorial to learn about and honour Canada’s sacrifices and contributions during the First World War.

Battlefield at Vimy in 1917.

To mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War and the Battle of Vimy Ridge, a delegation to France will participate in the commemorative ceremony and other events including the opening of a new Visitor Education Centre. In addition to the Government of Canada’s $5 million contribution, the Vimy Foundation is also contributing $5 million thanks to generous donations from the private sector and individual Canadians. A registered Canadian charity, the Vimy Foundation’s mission is to preserve and promote Canada’s First World War legacy as symbolized by the victory at Vimy Ridge in April 1917.

Canadian volunteers made up the majority of armies, putting lives at home on hold. That quality in Canadians is considered quite distinctive.  The Battle at Vimy was one of the first led by a distinctive Canadian army, as separate from being part of The Empire.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the House of Commons April 7, 2017

Friday, April 7 ~ NATIONAL. Canada officially supports the USA missile strike against Syria.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the House of Commons today April 7 that US strikes against a Syrian regime air base on April 6 were “necessary” to degrade Assad’s ability to launch chemical attacks against civilians.

Speaking to US President Donald Trump Friday morning, Trudeau says he limited his “full support” to the “limited, focused” attack on the Assad regime’s chemical weapons capabilities. He told the House of Commons: “(I) emphasized that Canada agrees that Assad’s repeated use of chemical weapons must not continue. In the face of such heinous war crimes, all civilized people must speak with one voice.”

“That is why Canada fully supports the United States’ limited, focused action to degrade the Assad regime’s ability to launch such attacks. We continue to support diplomatic efforts with our international partners to resolve the crisis in Syria.”

The US is reported to have launched 59 cruise missiles at the Shayrat airbase in central Syria Thursday night, in retaliation to a deadly chemical attack on civilians this week believed to have been carried out by Assad’s forces.
The Prime Minister’s official statement as released to media earlier today: 
“Canada fully supports the United States’ limited and focused action to degrade the Assad regime’s ability to launch chemical weapons attacks against innocent civilians, including many children. President Assad’s use of chemical weapons and the crimes the Syrian regime has committed against its own people cannot be ignored. These gruesome attacks cannot be permitted to continue with impunity. This week’s attack in southern Idlib and the suffering of Syrians is a war crime and is unacceptable. Canada condemns all uses of chemical weapons. Canada will continue to support diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis in Syria.”

The Conservative Party of Canada issued this statement:
“The Conservative Party of Canada strongly supports the efforts of the United States to prevent Syria’s military from launching further chemical weapon attacks. The global community cannot sit idly by while deadly nerve toxins are unleashed on innocent civilians. To date, Prime Minister Trudeau has offered very little in terms of concrete action to hold the Russian-backed government of Syria accountable. Canada’s foreign policy must always be based on the principles of freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. Holding Bashar al-Assad to account for his crimes against humanity is absolutely required and we must support our allies to achieve this end.Contrary to the Prime Minister’s beliefs, the United Nations Security Council has proven itself woefully ineffectual when it comes to resolving the Syrian conflict. In fact, the Prime Minister and the Government of Canada seem to have been out of the loop on this action by the United States. Conservatives have always rejected the Liberal ‘go along to get along’ approach at the United Nations.We support the actions of our allies to hold the Syrian government to account and call on the Prime Minister to finally recognize and respect Canada’s traditional role in confronting evil and tyranny wherever it exists.”

The Toronto Star reported that Trudeau also spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday, according to the Prime Minister’s Office. A readout of their conversation said the two leaders agreed that chemical attacks cannot go unchallenged, but pledged to continue diplomatic efforts to try and find a political solution.


Thursday, April 6 ~ WORLD. The USA tonight launched 59 missiles at a Syrian airfield in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack by Syria that involved the use of banned chemical weapons on civilians.

“Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children,” President Donald Trump said in remarks this evening from Mar-a-Lago, his family compound in Palm Beach, Florida.

“It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons,” said Trump, who called on other countries to end the bloodshed in Syria.

US President Donald Trump called upon “civilized nations” in his remarks: “Join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria, and to end terrorism of all kinds.”


Tuesday, April 4 ~ BC.  BC NDP Leader John Horgan revealed his campaign bus that will carry his leader’s tour from now until the May 9 election day.
BC-NDP campaign bus launch in Vancouver, April 4

BC-NDP campaign bus launch in Vancouver, April 4

The campaign”for a better BC” kicked off in Vancouver this morning as Horgan was greeted by supporters and a team of Lower Mainland candidates at the BC NDP’s Vancouver regional campaign office.  “This campaign is about building a province that works for real people, not just the wealthy and well-connected,” said Horgan.

“While Christy Clark spends her time with big donors and the people at the top, we’ll be travelling to communities across BC, meeting with real people and talking about our plan to make life better for families,” the leader said in a news release.

“After 16 years of BC Liberal neglect, families are paying more fees than ever for fewer services. Good jobs are harder to find. And they’re waiting longer for the services we all depend on, like health care and education. Throughout this campaign, you can count on us to be tough on Christy Clark’s record. We will remind voters of the choices she made that have hurt people, and we’ll contrast that with our vision for a better BC that works for you.”

“As we kick this election campaign into high gear, I’m looking forward to meeting people from all walks of life and sharing our vision for building a better BC,” said Horgan.


seafoodSunday, April 2 ~ BC.  British Columbia agrifood and seafood producers exported more products than ever before in 2016, setting a new record for the fourth year in a row, says the BC Ministry of Agriculture.

Exports in 2016 reached a new high of $3.8 billion, and an increase of over $300 million from 2015, led by a $195.5 million increase (17%) in the export of BC seafood products, and an $104.6 million increase (4%) in agrifood products. The growth in 2016 exports is the fourth consecutive year of record agrifoods exports in BC and is over $1 billion (44%) higher than 2013, when $2.7 billion set the export record of the day.

British Columbia exported 712 types of foods to 160 markets in 2016, building on the demand for high-quality, trusted BC products, and the network British Columbians have with family, friends, and businesses all over the world. The BC government supports local businesses to reach new markets through trade missions, 15 international BC government trade offices, and participation in about 20 international agrifood and seafood trade events a year.


russell-peters-bryan-adamsSunday, April 2 ~  NATIONAL. The 2017 Juno Awards to recognize excellence and achievements in Canadian popular music will be held tonight April 2 in Ottawa, broadcasting live from The Canadian Tire Centre on CTV and CTV GO. It starts at 6:30 pm EDT. It will be rebroadcast at 6:30 pm Pacific Time as well.

Prime Minister and Ms. Grégoire Trudeau will attend the JUNO Awards, being hosted by long-time rocker Bryan Adams along with comedian-actor Russell Peters.

Highly successful Canadian talents such as Drake, The Weekend and Alessia Cara are expected to take home big wins.

On the Juno Awards website, featured nominees include Justin Bieber for Fan Choice, Celine Dion for Album of the Year, and Sam Roberts Band for Rock Album of the Year.

The Juno Awards are presented annually by The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS).


If elected in the May 9 BC provincial election, the NDP will ban grizzly bear trophy hunting. [John Horgan, left with Oak Bay-Gordon Head candidate Bryce Casavant]

If elected in the May 9 BC provincial election, the NDP will ban grizzly bear trophy hunting. [John Horgan, left with Oak Bay-Gordon Head candidate Bryce Casavant]

Saturday, April 1 ~ VICTORIA. A rally to ban the grizzly bear trophy hunt in BC will be held today Saturday April 1 outside the BC Legislature. The rally, hosted by Justice for BC Grizzlies, will run from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm and feature a number of speakers.

Former conservation officer and BC NDP candidate in Oak Bay-Gordon Head, Bryce Casavant, will be speaking at the Rally for BC Grizzlies, in front of the BC Legislature. April 1 marks the beginning of the spring Grizzly bear hunt in most regions of British Columbia. Casavant will be speaking about the BC NDPs pledge to ban the grizzly bear trophy hunt in BC.

“I’m working hard to ensure that the BC grizzly bear, a species of special concern, is properly cared for now, and for all generations to come,” said Casavant, a former Conservation Officer who made international headlines when he refused to follow an order to kill two healthy bear cubs.

“An overwhelming majority of British Columbians, First Nations, and resident hunters oppose the killing of these bears for sport,” he said.

“As British Columbians, we have a proud outdoor heritage that includes hunting, fishing and a growing eco-tourism industry. Bear viewing creates more jobs in local communities and generates millions of dollars more than trophy hunting,” said the NDP candidate this week.

“If elected in May, John Horgan and an NDP government will ban grizzly bear trophy hunting in BC while ensuring decisions about the grizzly bear and all wildlife are science based with proper funding for habitat management.”

Bryce Casavant is a Vancouver Islander. After serving with the Canadian Forces (including in Afghanistan), Casavant worked in various environmental consulting capacities in BC and eventually joined the BC Public Service as a Conservation Officer. In 2015, he earned international attention when he respectfully declined an order to destroy two bear cubs. Bryce followed the law and stood up for BC’s wildlife. His actions inspired a dialogue about the sustainable conservation and safe treatment of animals in our province. The cubs he saved were released back into the wild in 2016 where they continue to grow and thrive.

Bryce is currently a Doctoral Candidate with Royal Roads University, where he is researching wildlife conservation and management. As a Natural Resource Officer with the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Bryce sees firsthand the impacts human action has on our lands and waters. He is standing with John Horgan because he knows that John will take real action to defend our environment and invest in sustainable, renewable energy solutions that create good jobs with good wages.


 

BC & NATIONAL Breaking News Archive: March 2017

BC & NATIONAL Breaking News Archive: February 2017

BC & NATIONAL Breaking News Archive: January 2017

BC & NATIONAL Breaking News Archive: October through December 2016

BC & NATIONAL Breaking News Archive: September 2016

BC & NATIONAL Breaking News Archive: August 2016

BC & NATIONAL Breaking News Archive: July 2016

BC & NATIONAL Breaking News Archive: February through June 2016

 


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