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Friday, August 17 ~ BC.  As of this afternoon, August 17, there are 556 fires burning throughout BC, with 55 of those being fires of note. [View this article on its own page]

“I’ve never seen that many at one time and over such an area,” said Kevin Skrepnek, Chief Fire Information Officer, BC Wildfire Service, today during a media conference. Just today, there are 14 new fires.

If a wildfire is especially visible or poses a threat to public safety, the BC Wildfire Service classifies it as a “Wildfire of Note” and provides detailed updates as information becomes available.

So far, the cost to the province for fighting wildfires is $242 million in this 2018 wildfire season, Skrepnek reported.

Active wildfire locations on Vancouver Island as of 2 pm on Friday, August 17, 2018 [BC Wildfire Service map]

There are 3,500 personnel battling these fires, including front line firefighters and support staff, 1,300 contracts (including fire crews and tree fallers), and 600 visiting firefighting support personnel (from elsewhere in Canada and from Mexico, New Zealand and Australia). “There are 208 aircraft are flying today in support of our ground crews,” said Skrepnek.

On northwest Vancouver Island, here are fires of note at Pinder Creek & Zeballos. Link to wildfires of note available on this page: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/wildfire-status/wildfire-situation

There is the potential for lightning in the southern part of the province, and the far northeast. “If we see lightning, it will be dry, which guarantees fires,” Skrepnek said. “Conditions are dry and warm. Smoke is going to be an ongoing concern for visibility. Forecast is bone dry. There is no rain on the horizon.” Conditions next week are forecast as relatively static. A ridge of high pressure is expected to break down after Wednesday next week (August 22), with the potential for showers but which bring more wind and lightning, the Chief Fire Information Officer explained. “With no major rain in sight, we’re bracing for the situation to continue for the weeks ahead.”

Other officials addressed media, including Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development; and Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness, who were joined by representatives from the Canadian Armed Forces, BC Wildfire Service, Ministry of Health, Emergency Management BC and the RCMP.

There are presently 28 fires impacting 2,905 properties across BC, with 49 evacuation alerts affecting 11,300 properties province-wide. Across the affected areas of BC there are 13 Emergency Support Services (ESS) centres actively in place.

Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry says wildfire smoke is “dynamic and changing rapidly… it comes and goes in space and time.” She is recommending that people do not evacuate for smoke alone. “It is extremely stressful to be evacuated from home and community. This can divert resources away from people who are threatened by the wildfires themselves.”

“If you have asthma or cardiopulmonary disease or are pregnant, you should reduce your exposure in any way,” says Dr Henry. “Stay indoors, and use a portable air cleaner to create a ‘clean room’,” says Dr Henry. “Regular exercise is important, but when air is smoky move those activities indoors. If you’re outdoors for work or helping on fires – use appropriate protective equipment. Have your rescue medications available,” she said.

The RCMP reported that 200 officers and civilian support staff are assisting with wildfire efforts.

The Canadian Armed Forces presently have 200 soldiers in the Okanagan region with a camp near Merritt, to work alongside their BC Wildfire partners .. notably with mop-up tasks (attended to smaller hot spots and clearing debris) so that frontline BC wildfire expertise can focus on the front lines.


 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Bill Blair newly appointed as Ministry of Border Security and Organized Crime, in Ottawa, July 18, 2018.

Wednesday, August 15 ~ BC. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will hold a Cabinet retreat in Nanaimo from August 21 to 23. It will be the first meeting of the new Cabinet before Parliament resumes in September.

During the retreat, Trudeau and and ministers will “discuss ways to deliver economic growth and create good, middle class jobs for Canadians,” it was stated in a news release yesterday.

Discussions will focus on diversifying international trade, eliminating trade barriers between provinces and territories, and maintaining the integrity and security of Canada’s borders.

Since launching the historic Oceans Protection Plan in 2016, the Government says it has played a leading role to protect Canada’s oceans and coasts, and support coastal communities such as Nanaimo.

“I look forward to meeting with our new Cabinet in beautiful Nanaimo, British Columbia. Nanaimo is a gateway to Canada’s markets and a tourist destination known around the world. It is a perfect setting to discuss how we can promote Canadian exports, expand tourism, and diversify our trading partnerships, to continue making life better for people from Nanaimo to Corner Brook.”

Trudeau’s July 18 cabinet shuffle indicated a more intent focus on trade protection and diversification, border issues, resources and economy. See the July 20, 2018 issue of West Shore Voice News (page 1).


 

Wednesday, August 15 ~ BC. [Text of BC News release, August 15, 2018]. The British Columbia government has declared a provincial state of emergency to support the province-wide response to the ongoing wildfire situation. [Wildfire information at Emergency Info BC: https://www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca ]

Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, made the declaration based on the recommendation from BC’s wildfire and emergency management officials.

The state of emergency is initially in effect for 14 days, once issued, and may be extended or rescinded as necessary. The state of emergency applies to the whole province and ensures federal, provincial and local resources can be delivered in a coordinated response to protect the public, which remains the provincial government’s top priority.

“Public safety is always our first priority and, as wildfire activity is expected to increase, this is a progressive step in our wildfire response to make sure British Columbia has access to any and all resources necessary,” Farnworth said. “Taking this step will further ensure we can protect the public, property and infrastructure, and assist with firefighting efforts.”

As of August 14, there were 566 wildfires burning in BC, with 29 evacuation orders affecting approximately 3,050 people (1,521 properties), in addition to 48 evacuation alerts impacting approximately 18,720 people (9,359 properties).

The extended weather forecast calls for continued hot and dry conditions, with risk of thunderstorms in some parts of the province.

Currently, more than 3,372 firefighters and contractors are actively engaged in fighting fires in all fire regions of the province. This includes 1,427 BC contract personnel, as well as 436 out-of-province personnel from Alberta, New Brunswick, Northwest Territories, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Parks Canada, Australia, Mexico and New Zealand.

The federal government has responded to and accepted British Columbia’s request for assistance. In the coming days, federal personnel and resources will be arriving in BC to assist with wildfire efforts.

“Given the unpredictable behaviour of wildfires and the number of significant wildfires in all areas of the province, we’re bringing in the additional resources we need to keep people and communities as safe as possible,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “We’re asking British Columbians to do their part and follow burning bans and restrictions to prevent human-caused fires.”

The state of emergency gives agencies, such as the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Emergency Management BC, the fire commissioner and the RCMP, the authority to take every action necessary to fight the wildfires and protect people and communities.

Declarations of provincial states of emergency may be issued by the minister responsible under the Emergency Program Act. The provincial government can extend the period of a declaration made by the minister responsible, for further periods of time. During the 2017 wildfire season, the Province was in a provincial state of emergency for 10 weeks, from July 7 to September 15.

The last provincial declaration of state of emergency before the 2017 wildfire season was issued in August 2003, to deal with wildfires.


Drought level rating is 4 (highest level) for the east side of Vancouver Island [August 14 2018]

Tuesday, August 14 ~ Vancouver Island. Continued warm and dry conditions have prompted the Province to elevate the East Vancouver Island drought rating to Level 4, said the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development today, August 14.

As a result, a maximum reduction of water use is recommended and regulatory action may become necessary.

The west side of Vancouver Island remains at Level 3 and will be re-evaluated as conditions deteriorate, the government says.

A map of the affected areas is available online: http://ow.ly/BY7z30lpdi0

The Province is urging all surface water and groundwater users, including residents, industry, farmers and municipalities, to voluntarily reduce water consumption.


Sunday, August 12 ~ NATIONAL. Today Sunday August 12 is International Youth Day. This year’s ‘Safe Spaces for Youth’ theme encourages youth coming together to actively participate in society without fear or intimidation.

“When young people have access to safe and welcoming spaces, they are more engaged in their communities,” says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a statement, as part of a new phase of recruitment for his government’s youth council (third round since 2015).

Of the 10 newest members of the 21-member youth council, from BC is Jack Campbell who developed an app with instructions on how to treat a fentanyl overdose.


 

Friday, August 10 ~ NATIONAL. This week’s most far-reaching news story has been how Canada is seemingly now in the tight clamp of Saudi Arabia. Economically we’re a small country, figuratively now very publicly twisting and squirming to the delight of a middle-eastern country built strong by the luck of having oil underfoot. [ Read the rest of this editorial on its own page at https://westshorevoicenews.com/?page_id=12757 ]


Friday, August 10 ~ BC. The BC Government announced today August 10 that it is now accepting private cannabis retail store licence applications, which will allow for the sale of non-medical cannabis in the province.

The Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) has posted a complete suite of application materials and guidelines found at this link: www.gov.bc.ca/cannabisregulationandlicensing

In July, the LCRB posted detailed information at the above link regarding applicant eligibility requirements and the rules that will govern future private non-medical cannabis retail stores. “Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to carefully review all of this material prior to applying.” it was stated in a news release from the Ministry of the Attorney General today.


Thursday, August 9 ~ BC. The BC Government says it is aiming to modernize the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) rate design to make insurance fairer.  [Read this article on its own page]

“The provincial government wants to make sure BC drivers pay ICBC premiums that more fairly and accurately reflect the risk they represent on the roads,” it was stated in a new release today August 9, following a media conference in Vancouver.

ICBC’s current rate structure is over 30 years old. It is built around insuring the vehicle rather than the driver, and allowing discounts to drivers despite multiple crashes. Combined, this has resulted in British Columbians with crash-free, clean driving records subsidizing bad drivers, including those with multiple accidents. David Eby, Attorney General, said the submission ICBC is making to the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) will include revenue-neutral proposals aimed at levelling that playing field.

“We want to modernize ICBC so that British Columbians pay according to their crash history, driving records and level of risk, and take responsibility for their driving habits. It’s only fair,” said Eby.

“Right now, the system is broken. A driver with no crashes could be paying the same premium as a driver with three at-fault crashes in a year. We heard from British Columbians that their insurance rates need to be fair and we agree – good drivers shouldn’t have to continue paying more to cover the costs for those who cause crashes or present a higher risk on our roads.”

The proposed changes align with feedback government received from nearly 35,000 British Columbians on how to make insurance fairer. Key proposed changes to basic insurance include:

  • Moving to a driver-based model, so that at-fault crashes are tied to the driver and not the person who owns the vehicle;
  • Increasing insurance discounts for drivers with up to 40 years of driving experience, up from the current limit of nine years; and,
  • New discounts available for vehicles with original, manufacturer-installed automatic emergency braking technology and for vehicles driven less than 5,000 km per year.

If approved by the BCUC, these changes will benefit an estimated two-thirds of ICBC’s customers. The changes will not increase the total funds that ICBC collects through basic policies, but instead will rebalance individual driver premiums and reset the way rates are determined.

“The changes we are proposing are the most significant updates to how ICBC’s basic insurance premiums are set in more than 30 years,” said ICBC Chair Joy MacPhail. She said that when British Columbians were this year asked for their feedback that “one message came out loud and clear – lower-risk drivers shouldn’t be paying the same as some high-risk drivers”. MacPhail said: “We wholeheartedly agree.”

Other proposed changes include:

  • Basic insurance discounts for inexperienced drivers will be adjusted to better reflect their risk;
  • At-fault crashes will have a larger impact on the premium a driver pays;
  • Rate classes and territories data will be updated for the first time in more than 10 years to reflect significant changes in traffic density, population growth and changes in the urban infrastructure; and,
  • An increase to the Driver Penalty Point (DPP) and Driver Risk Premium (DRP) programs of 20% in fall 2018 and 20% in fall 2019, as previously announced.

ICBC is also proposing a “transition cap” that limits how much the premium can change annually based on a customer’s driving record and at-fault crash history. Most customers will fully transition to their new basic premium within three years under the proposed changes.

The BC government has directed ICBC to file an application with the BCUC by August 15, 2018. Subject to approval, the changes would come into effect September 2019. Separately, the government has also directed ICBC to move the timing of its basic insurance rate application to the BCUC from late August to December to align any rate change with the other product changes already announced.

Other things to know:

  • ICBC basic insurance is the mandatory coverage drivers need for a vehicle in B.C. It helps ensure that British Columbians who own and drive a motor vehicle in this province are protected with a basic level of coverage.
  • Under the model ICBC currently uses to determine premiums:
    * A customer at the highest level and receiving the top discount can have up to three crashes in one year and still pay the same basic premium as a driver who is crash free.
    * Over 40% of claims are forgiven each year, which means the cost of those claims is borne by everyone, including drivers who do not cause crashes.
    * At-fault crashes affect the vehicle rather than the driver, allowing some drivers to hide their true risk and avoid paying a fair rate.
  • Based on today’s rates, in the first year of this transition, an estimated 67% of customers would see basic insurance premiums that reflect a lower risk:
    * 39% of all drivers – up to $50 reduction
    * 13% of all drivers – between $50 and $100 reduction
    * 15% of all drivers – more than $100 reduction
  • Based on today’s rates, in the first year, an estimated 33% of customers would see basic insurance premiums that reflect a higher risk:
    * 11% of all drivers – up to $50 increase
    * 5% of all drivers – between $50 and $100 increase
    * 17% of all drivers – more than $100 increase

 

Tuesday, August 7 ~ BC. The red-light cameras at 140 high-crash intersections throughout BC are now operating at all times – up from six hours a day – to help reduce deaths and serious injuries on the province’s roads. Today’s announcement was made by the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. [read this article on its own page]

A map of the 140 ISC locations throughout BC is on the ICBC website: https://www.icbc.com/road-safety/community/Pages/Red-light-cameras.aspx

In the Greater Victoria area there are two camera locations: at Shelbourne Street at Hillside Avenue (62 crashes per year, resulting in 21 injuries/year: 2009-2013) and on Hwy 1
(Trans Canada) at Tillicum Road in Saanich (52 crashes per year, resulting in 29 injuries/year: 2009-2013). Travelling up island? There is also an operable camera at Trans Canada Hwy at Trunk Road in Duncan (49 crashes per year, resulting in 24 injuries/year: 2009-2013).

“For too long, cameras with a proven record of curbing red-light runners and the serious crashes they cause were not operating at full capacity,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General today in a news release.

“Last year, we saw a record 350,000 crashes in BC, with about 60% of them happening at intersections. The full activation of these cameras is overdue and an important step for safety on some of our busiest roadways.”

Since announcing the move to full activation in September 2017, the Intersection Safety Camera (ISC) program has updated service and data-transmission capacity. It also increased its staff to review incidents and process additional tickets in a timely manner. Some locations began to operate at higher levels in November 2017, with all locations fully activated by the end of July 2018.

The Province’s increased ISC activation is consistent with international jurisdictions and every province west of Quebec. In BC, a red-light camera offence occurs when a vehicle enters an intersection after the signal light turns red. The vehicle’s registered owner is responsible for the ticket even if they are not driving, but does not receive penalty points on their licence.

In March 2018, the ministry announced plans to add technology at certain ISC locations to ticket the fastest drivers passing through those intersections on red, yellow or green lights. Analysis of crash and speed data is ongoing to determine which locations will receive this technology. New signs will warn approaching drivers about the enhanced intersection enforcement. The number and locations of the speed-activated cameras will be announced in fall 2018.

In BC, 60% of all crashes occur at intersections. Intersection crashes are often the most serious, because they may involve head-on and side-impact collisions. On average, over 11,000 crashes happen at ISC sites each year. ICBC’s 2016 Road Safety Tracking Study found that 81% of BC motorists supported the existing ISC program.


 

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh looking to run in Burnaby-South.

Monday, August 6 ~ NATIONAL.  Shuffling the NDP leadership.

UPDATE August 7 – Singh will make his official announcement on Wednesday, August 8, 11:30 am to 1:30 pm, in Burnaby at 5784 Byrne Road. 

At the quiet tail-end of the August long weekend, Elections Canada announced that on Friday, August 3 the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada received official notice from the Speaker of the House of Commons that the seat for Outremont (Quebec) is vacant.

The by-election date must be announced between August 14, 2018 and January 30, 2019. By-elections must last at least 36 days and be held on a Monday. The earliest date for the Outremont by-election could be Monday, September 24, 2018.

Outgoing NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair publicly stated in December 2017 that he would give up his seat in June of this year. The NDP confirmed that Mulcair sent his letter of resignation to the Speaker of the House on July 21, with notice of vacating his MP seat as of midnight, August 3.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh (a former Ontario MPP) — who was voted in by the NDP membership at the party’s leadership convention October 1, 2017 in Toronto (with a resounding 53.6% on the first ballot), did not look to run in Outremont. That’s even though it usually considered politically strategic for a party leader to have a seat in the House of Commons, so as to be actively seen by Canadians.

Burnaby-South MP Kennedy Stewart will be running in the Vancouver mayoralty race in Fall 2018 [Vancouver Courier photo]

Meanwhile, over the BC Day long weekend it was revealed that Singh aims to run for the Burnaby-South federal seat where NDP MP Kennedy Stewart will vacate his seat to run in the Vancouver mayoralty race this fall.

Singh would be the first incoming federal leader to look for his first House of Commons seat outside his home turf. Brian Mulroney, Jean Chrétien and Joe Clark (in his second incarnation as Tory leader) all initially ran successfully in by-elections in Atlantic Canada. They returned to their respective provinces in the subsequent general election.

No party has tried to parachute an out-of-province leader into Quebec, let alone in a riding that would not be considered a safe seat. Before Mulcair scored the first of four back-to-back victories in Outremont in 2007, the riding had carried a consistent Liberal track record.

For the Toronto-based Singh, there are similar urban issues in Burnaby (within the Greater Vancouver area) including transportation, uncertain and precarious work, tax loopholes for the super rich, rising out-of-pocket health costs and longer wait times, housing unaffordability, and environmental consciousness.

NDP support for Singh would be strong in BC, where of all 14 NDP seats in the House of Commons are held in BC (six of those on Vancouver Island), and BC Premier John Horgan leads an NDP government.


 

BC Minister of Advanced Education, Skills & Training Melanie Mark in her office at the legislature: working together [August 2018]

Monday, August 6 ~ WEST SHORE. FEATURE INTERVIEW with Minister of Advanced Education, Skills & Training – Melanie Mark | by Mary P Brooke, West Shore Voice News [View this article on its own page]

Upbeat and excited to be doing the full scope of her high-profile job as the Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training since July 2017, Melanie Mark also proudly carries the role of matriarch as a member of her nation and clan and house. “I take on those responsibilities out of respecting our family.” 

“I don’t have a private life,” with all that’s on her plate, she says. “The public doesn’t understand inter-generational trauma” -– something front of mind for Mark for what her extended family experienced through the residential school system.

She is Nisga’a, Gitxsan, Cree, Ojibway, French and Scottish and a proud mother of two girls – Maya, 15, and Makayla, 7.

Melanie Mark was appointed Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training on July 18, 2017. A lifelong champion of children, youth and her community, she was elected MLA for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant in 2016 and re-elected in 2017. She is the first female First Nations Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia and the first female First Nations Cabinet Minister.

On a typical day there are meetings, travel and public appearances. In the evening — sometimes quite late — she’ll get calls from former youth in care who she has taken under her wing. She also recently married.

What keeps her going? “I had such an allergic reaction to injustice, I want change. I get lit up when I have a feeling that something’s just wrong,” Minister Mark told West Shore Voice News this week.

Saying she’s always been known for “having a big mouth and seeing through a glass half full” has given Mark the “courage to stand up against the storm”. If something’s wrong, her response is: “What are we going to do about it?”
First chatting with Ms Mark at the Royal Roads University (RRU) grad scholarship funding announcement June 26 in Colwood, it was an opportunity to ask about the setbacks that propelled her forward. She also talked about maintaining her broader family ties even thought they “see her as different” as she propels ever forward in the mainstream society that originally held the source of her oppression.

She gets comments from relatives like “we’re not like you”, and from a First Nation chief (who refered to her as a chief) saying she “sits alone” at their leadership table (because she now is a cabinet minister in the mainstream government) and belongs to a ‘different family’, the BC NDP.

So, oddly enough, battling to change the system from within both immerses Mark in a number of sociocultural worlds while also isolating her into somewhat unexpected but powerful silos: an almost 24/7 public eye and being a perpetual fighter within a political system that embraces functional conformity.

Here’s what contributes to her confidence: “Most of my life was not about choices, it was about resilience. I didn’t choose to grow up in poverty. I didn’t choose to be a victim of abuse. I didn’t choose to live in a racist society surrounding me in the workplace and at school,” she fluidly articulated. For Mark, resilience is about never being a passive victim.
What is she doing differently for her daughters? “As a mother I have made a concerted effort to protect my children from abuse.” And she is quick to note that she does not mean abuse from within native community. “Abuse has no name”.

Mark’s early life was one of “a feeling of helplessness”. But she listened to mentors. “I’ve had amazing people in my life that saw things in me that I didn’t see in myself,” she said this week. That included a rugby coach who saw tenacity and courage, a lawyer who saw an advocate, and teachers who saw smarts and intelligence. For her, these leaders “extended the vision of hope”, including “apply for this, try this, don’t quit”.

“I was surrounded by and set up for failure in our society,” said Mark, who grew up in social housing, frequently changed schools, and endured various types of abuse while in poverty. “I am setting up my daughters for possibility and opportunity. I will empower them, but the choices are going to be up to them,” she said.

Some of this powerful understanding of adversity’s damage to the human spirit is of course now beneficial in her work leading the post-secondary education system for the province. Starting with Premier John Horgan’s now well-known mantra that “education is the great equalizer”, she is proud that one of the first acts of the new NDP government last year was to waive fees for adult basic education. And there is now free post-secondary tuition for youth in care, and no fees for English language learning programs.

Particular to the west shore, the Ministry is collaborating with RRU and Sooke School District 62 (SD62) to try and improve the below-provincial-average transfer rates of local Grade 12 grads into post-secondary. One of the solutions could be to offer a variety of unique entry-level courses at RRU so that students can still live at home and avoid some of those initial housing and transportation costs that come with relocating to college or university afar.

This article was first published on page 1 in the August 3, 2018 print/PDF issue of West Shore Voice News


 

Saturday, August 4 ~ BC. Premier John Horgan has issued the following statement in celebration of BC Day:

“On BC Day, the Government of British Columbia is joining people who are coming together to celebrate this beautiful province that we are so lucky to live in.

“British Columbia has been shaped by the people who have come together to help build and protect this extraordinary place. Our communities are made great by the talent and ingenuity of the people who live here, and by the values of diversity, inclusion and mutual respect that bring us together.

“As we celebrate BC, we recognize our shared responsibility to advance reconciliation together with Indigenous peoples who have lived on this land since time immemorial, and to work together to right historical wrongs and build a better future.

“Let’s take the time to celebrate what we love about British Columbia. Visit a local farmers market, community event, go hiking or camping, or spend time with friends and family.

“We’re going to keep investing in people and working to make life better, with more opportunities for every person in every part of the province. I’m excited for the bright future ahead – for everyone in BC. Happy BC Day!”


Thursday, August 2 ~ BC. Minister statement on U.S. Department of Commerce newsprint duties. Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, has made the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s final decision to impose countervailing and anti-dumping duties of 20.26% on Catalyst Paper’s newsprint exports to the U.S.:

“BC is very frustrated and concerned about the continued effect these unwarranted punitive duties will have on BC’s forest sector and on the families in communities across BC whose livelihoods rely on it.

“These unfair U.S. duties, while lower than the preliminary duties of 28.25%, are affecting companies like Catalyst that support about 6,500 jobs in the province. We are committed to fighting for workers, industry and our communities, and to maintaining BC’s strong exports of pulp and paper.

“Our government and the Government of Canada have repeatedly raised this issue with our U.S. counterparts in hopes that common sense will prevail. Although these duties have been confirmed by the Department of Commerce, we know there has been an unprecedented level of opposition from across the U.S. political spectrum and industry.

“We urge the International Trade Commission (ITC) to do what is right and determine that the U.S. industry has not been injured, and overturn the Department of Commerce’s decision. Should the ITC ignore all evidence before it and find that U.S. industry has been injured in this case, we will work with the Government of Canada to pursue all appeals.

“Government has heard the concerns of a broad range of local and provincial stakeholders, including local mayors, MLAs, as well as others, and is engaged with Catalyst as the company seeks to stabilize its operations in the face of these unfair duties.

“The governments of BC and Canada demonstrated clearly during the investigation that they are not subsidizing Catalyst’s operations, and the Department of Commerce’s decision to continue to apply duties of over 20% on Catalyst’s exports is upsetting.”


Tuesday, July 31 ~ BC. September deadline approaching for organic food and beverage certification.

Producers are reminded that in one month, a new, strengthened regulatory approach for domestically marketed organic food and beverage products will be in place in British Columbia.

Beginning September 1, 2018 the BC government is regulating the term “organic.” This means food and beverage products marketed in British Columbia as “organic” will be required to be certified through an accredited federal or provincial program.

The modern system will provide consumers with confidence that the BC organic agriculture products they enjoy will be backed up with standards and requirements for the key words and phrases used to describe and market them.

Uncertified producers in the province marketing their food or beverage products as “organic” will face the possibility of penalties, including a $350 fine.

The new regulations were originally announced in 2016. Non-certified producers have been provided with a lengthy transition period to September 2018 to allow the time to complete the certification process.

Further information on BC’s organic food and beverages and amendments to the current provincial regulation: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/animals-and-crops/organic-food-and-beverages


Campsite locations on Vancouver Island – summer 2018 [BC Government map via Google]

Saturday, July 28 ~ BC. There are 431 new campsites throughout BC for the 2018 camping season. That’s a top-up of 81 new sites, with 350 new campsites having been added in BC Parks and recreation sites in 2017.  [ View this article on its own page ]

“People are passionate about spending time in our beautiful provincial parks, and that has increased demand for camping opportunities,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

“The additional campsites, combined with upgrades to existing facilities, will improve the overall experience of BC’s natural beauty and provide a range of camping opportunities for everyone to enjoy.”

Ranging from backcountry to group camping, the new campsites are a mix of BC Parks and forestry recreation sites in areas with the highest demand: the Kootenay Rockies, Thompson Okanagan, Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.

“With the expansion, there are now 11,000 camping spaces at 1,100 recreation sites around the province, for those who enjoy a more rustic experience,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

Along with the additional campsites, existing facilities and infrastructure have been upgraded or added in many campgrounds. This includes roads, water taps, power, dishwashing stations, accessible toilets, trails and a new large shower building at the Hampton campground in E.C. Manning Provincial Park. A new playground has been installed at Shuswap Lake. Walk-in sites at Montague Harbour all have individual food caches.

“The expanded mix of BC Parks and forestry recreation site campsites is very welcome news,” said Joss Penny, chair, Camping and RVing BC Coalition. “More than two million campers from BC, Alberta and Washington are expected to camp or RV in British Columbia in the next two years.”

Last Saturday, July 21, Canada’s Parks Day was an annual event to highlight the importance of parks in creating and maintaining healthy ecosystems, protecting critical habitat for species at risk, and contributing to human health and well-being. Educational and family-oriented events were held in parks and historic sites across the country.

BC Parks Foundation has launched the Healthy By Nature initiative, where 100 health-care providers will lead walks in 100 parks throughout B.C. to highlight the health benefits of spending time in nature. To register locally: healthybynature.ca

British Columbia’s provincial parks receive over 21 million visits each year. There are 1,033 provincial parks, recreation areas, conservancies, ecological reserves and protected areas, covering more than 14 million hectares, or about 14.4% of the provincial land base.

BC Parks manages the third-largest parks system in North America, exceeded only by the United States’ National Park Service and Parks Canada. http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/

As of June 30, 2018, BC Parks had nearly 168,000 reservations made through the Discover Camping reservation service, with the majority of reservations originating within BC. Of the 10,700 campsites BC Parks manages, approximately 55% are reservable, and 45% remain available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Recreation sites and trails: http://www.sitesandtrailsbc.ca/

Most of the new campsites in BC Parks are either on the Discover Camping Reservation Service, or will be for the 2019 camping season. Camping for recreation sites is on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations can be made online: https://secure.camis.com/DiscoverCamping/Home.aspx


 

Newborn orca calf died July 24, 2018. Its mother J-35 (seen supporting it in this photo) is part of J-pod off the coast of BC. [Photo by Center for Whale Research]

Thursday, July 26 ~ BC. Keeping the orcas of BC afloat is continuing to be a challenge. This week the Center for Whale Research (based out of Washington State) reported the death of a newborn Southern Resident killer whale (SRKW) calf which died a short time after it was born near Victoria, BC on Tuesday July 24.

The newborn whale was reported alive and swimming with its mother, J35, and other members of J-pod near Clover Point on the Victoria shoreline in mid-morning. A Center for Whale Research (CWR) team was on the water in Haro Strait at the time and immediately responded to photo-document the newborn calf for the long-term census study that the Center for Whale Research maintains for the US and Canadian governments.

Unfortunately, by the time the CWR crew arrived on scene, the newborn calf was deceased, and the pod had traveled several miles eastward of the reported sighting location. The baby’s carcass was sinking and being repeatedly retrieved by the mother who was supporting it on her forehead and pushing it in choppy seas toward San Juan Island, USA. The mother continued supporting and pushing the dead baby whale throughout the day until at least sunset.

A resident of San Juan Island near Eagle Cove reported: “At sunset, a group of 5 to 6 females gathered at the mouth of the cove in a close, tight-knit circle, staying at the surface in a harmonious circular motion for nearly 2 hours. As the light dimmed, I was able to watch them continue what seemed to be a ritual or ceremony. They stayed directly centered in the moonbeam, even as it moved. The light was too dim to see if the baby was still being kept afloat. It was both sad and special to witness this behavior.”

As of sunset last night, July 25, J35 was still pushing the dead calf near East Point, Saturna Island. Killer whales and dolphins have been known to support and transport their dead calves for as long as a week – a testament to the amazingly strong mother/offspring bond and caring.

The newborn orca will not be given an alpha-numeric designation as a member of the SRKW population because it did not survive long enough to demonstrate its viability. Approximately 75% of newborns in the recent two decades following designation of the Southern Resident killer whale population as “Endangered” have not survived, and 100% of the pregnancies in the past three years have failed to produce viable offspring. The Department of Commerce, NOAA Fisheries, has designated the SRKW population as a “Species in the Spotlight” due to its imminent threat of extinction.

The  SRKW population decline and poor reproduction is thought to be food related, given that populations of Chinook salmon (primary prey for the SRKW) seem to be challenged.

The American Fisheries Society in its landmark publication “Salmon 2100” indicates that changes in core policy drivers are required if wild salmon are to survive this century. “It follows that these same core policy changes are required to save the whales,” says CWR.  Hatchery salmon are considered inferior for whale consumption and not sustainable.


 

July 26, 2018 ~ NATIONAL. As part of gearing up for the 2019 federal election, the federal NDP party has set up a place online to organize youth and enthusiastic members.

Their new communications hub is free to join. They pitch #Slack as easy to use and that by joining the new NDP Slack community at ndp.ca/slack , members can be the first to know about local events in their area, connect with fellow activists and supporters, discuss current events, and share  ideas.

Slack is a free desktop and mobile communications app that will allow the NDP party and their staff and digital activists.

#Slack is about team communications. The functionality includes a search tool for files, calls, messages and colleagues.

Any group or organization that signs up on Slack can add as many users as they wish, with no cut-off date. www.Slack.com


Monday, July 23 ~ BC. BC seeks public comment on clean growth

BC is developing a long-term clean growth strategy for release in Fall 2018. Public comments can be made on eight discussion papers https://engage.gov.bc.ca/cleangrowthfuture/ . This style of public engagement is not in survey format with pre-set questions. Comments must be composed by the participant, with name and email address required (region and age indicators optional).

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy said July 20 that the new clean growth strategy (CGS) will bring together BC’s action on climate change. Work is underway on BC’s energy roadmap to drive sustainable economic growth with cleaner energy and fewer emissions.

The CGS will be integrated with the province’s Economic Development Strategy, #BCTech Strategy and Emerging Economy Task Force and will set out a vision for a clean growth future and a pathway to greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets. The plan will be expanded as new opportunities arise, with further public input opportunities on priority areas.

The first set of intentions papers covers proposed actions in three key areas – transportation, buildings, and clean growth for industry. The intentions papers are available for comment for the next five weeks — from July 20 to 4pm on August 24, 2018. Individuals and organizations may send additional information by to clean.growth@gov.bc.ca by August 24, 2018.

Written submissions meeting the posting criteria will be posted publicly and online comments will be summarized in a final report.

Priority areas for comment have been recommended by BC’s Climate Solutions and Clean Growth Advisory Council: Zero Emission Vehicles (Clean Transportation); Support for Cleaner Fuels (Clean Transportation); Clean Energy Vehicles – Commercial Vehicles (Clean Transportation); Building Energy Labelling Requirement (Improving Buildings); Financial Incentives (Improving Buildings); Stronger Codes and Standards (Improving Buildings); Low Carbon Buildings Innovation Program (Improving Buildings); Training and Certification (Improving Buildings).


 

Rugby Canada’s women’s team in their first 2018 World Cup game July 20 against Brazil [screenshot]

Saturday, July 21 ~ NATIONAL. the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 tournament continues this weekend#RWC7s

  • Tonight Saturday July 21 – Women’s Sevens for Championship Cup placement – Match 29: Russia vs. Canada (for 7th place) livestreamed at 6:38 p.m. PDT | www.cbcsports.ca
  • Tomorrow Sunday July 22 – Men’s Sevens for Challenge Trophy semifinals – Match 35 livestreamed at 11:12 PDT. Then either at 3:36 pm PDT (if they lose Match 35) or 4:08 pm (if they win Match 35). | www.cbcsports.ca

Schedules are being updated regularly at: https://www.cbc.ca/sports/rugby/rugby-world-cup-sevens-schedule-results-1.4726781


 

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard is flanked by New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant, left, and British Columbia Premier John Horgan at the closing news conference of the Canadian premiers meeting in St. Andrews, New Brunswick on Friday, July 20, 2018. [THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan]

Friday, July 20 ~ BC.  After his participation in the Council of the Federation summit this week — a gathering of Canada’s premiers in St Andrews, New Brunswick, today Premier John Horgan released the following statements on representing British Columbians’ concerns:

Trade with the United States: “Economic growth, jobs and prosperity for British Columbians depend on strong and fair trade relationships. I spoke with Canada’s premiers about forming a united front to stand up against unfair and unfounded trade sanctions by the United States, and continuing to support Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his actions to protect Canadian jobs. We discussed a new, focused strategy to support Canadian workers, by reaching out to Americans about the benefits of trade between our countries. As a part of this strategy, we will build on our strong relationships with state governors in a mission to Washington, D.C., during the winter meeting of the National Governors Association in February 2019.”

Suspension of Greyhound services: “Greyhound’s surprise decision to suspend services west of Ontario will affect many people, especially those living in rural and remote communities. B.C.’s call for support from the federal government was met with a commitment to work on the problem together. Along with other provinces, B.C. will urge the federal government to work with Greyhound to extend the notice period, to make sure people have safe and reliable transportation options.”

Cannabis legalization: “Our discussions on cannabis focused on protecting health and safety, while reducing the illicit market as legalization comes into effect later this year. The other premiers and I committed to support an effective transition towards cannabis legalization, and will continue to share information and work toward this goal. We will be urging the federal government for clarity around drug-impaired driving enforcement and screening, funding for education and awareness, and respecting provincial jurisdiction on regulatory decisions and sales.”

Internal trade: “We need to make sure trade across provincial borders works for people and businesses, especially given the U.S. administration’s protectionist measures. The premiers agreed to take steps to move faster on reducing trade barriers within Canada. In addition to the ongoing work at the Regulatory Reconciliation and Cooperation Table under the Canadian Free Trade Agreement, we will be holding a meeting of first ministers this fall, that will be focused on the economy and addressing productivity, competitiveness and improving trade.”

Health care:
“I reiterated B.C.’s support for a national pharmacare program. We need a plan that makes sure people can afford the prescription medicine they need, without further burdening the provinces with new health costs. The premiers agreed to push the federal government on a number of issues, including improving access to pharmacare by removing cost barriers for people, and ensuring federal pharmacare funding is long-term, adequate, secure, flexible, and takes into consideration present and future cost pressures.”


 

Rugby Canada Women’s & Men’s teams, with their coaches, at Bear Mountain Resort in Langford, for a send-off July 12. [West Shore Voice News photo]

Friday, July 20 ~ NATIONAL. Today Friday July 20 though Sunday July 22, watch the Rugby World Cup Sevens #RWC7s streaming live from San Francisco at  www.cbcsports.ca

Streaming live: 11:06 am PDT first Women’s first game — Canada vs Brazil.  Men’s first game at 1:23 pm PDT.

In this format, every game must be won in order to win the World Cup.  Also a summary feature at 8 pm tonight Fri July 20 on CBC TV.

The Rugby Canada’s Men’s and Women’s teams gathered with their coaches, sponsors and supporters at Bear Mountain Resort in Langford July 12, for a send-off to this weekend’s World Cup in California.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, now Minister of Natural Resources Amarjeet Sohi, and Governor General Julie Payette, at cabinet shuffle July18/18. [Canadian Press photo]

Wednesday, July 18 ~ NATIONAL. Cabinet Shuffle analysis by West Shore Voice News [View this article on its own page]

Watching his back for both trade dealings with the US, and also domestically with the next federal election looming in October 2019, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shuffled his cabinet today, July 18.

It’s a toughened up machine. Good solid performers on various levels (both political and breadth of skill sets) are untouched and left in place — notably Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale. Finance Minister Bill Morneau is entirely in the safe zone as is Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould. All of this essentially signals that Trudeau feels the primary planks of good governance are solidly in place.

Pulled higher up in the ranks for an obvious job well done was first-term MP Bill Blair, who brought the cannabis legalization file through all the hoops including good communications and media handling. He’s now the Minister of a new portfolio called Border Security and Organized Crime. He had carried the cannabis legalization process serving as parliamentary secretary to both Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor.

Set aside to varying degrees were MPs who did not bring the required best to the table, including Mélanie Joly who while Heritage minister lost traction for her government on things like Netflix; she’s now Minister of Tourism, Official Languages, and Francophonie.

Gone from Tourism and Small Business is government house leader Bardish Chagger. Attention to small business now comes under May Ng as Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, who has only held a seat since a 2017 by-election to replace John McCallum who in March 2017 was set on a new course by Trudeau as the ambassador to China.

Treasury Board President Scott Brison who helped navigate the public delivery of information about complex financial changes in Canada over the past few years becomes minister of digital government.

Jim Carr who helped Finance Minister Bill Morneau play tough on the TransMountain Pipeline this year file moves from Natural Resources to International Trade Diversification. The tough-guy edge is needed with the ongoing trade negotiations with the US.

Having handled the Infrastructure ministry since the start of Trudeau’s majority government in 2015, Edmonton-based Amarjeet Sohi is now Minister of Natural Resources, sending a signal to Alberta that the Liberals are there for the Alberta oil industry. The Infrastructure portfolio oversees large budget expenditures right across the country, but to date the rollout of projects has been slow (oftentimes due to partnership funding complexities with provinces, local governments and private players).

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett has “northern affairs” dropped from her title, probably just due to workload and travel involved in that file.

Long-time friend of the Prime Minister, Dominic LeBlanc moves from Fisheries and Oceans to Intergovernmental Affairs, Northern Affairs and Internal Trade.

A new Ministry for seniors issues has been set up under Hamilton MP Filomena Tassi. Hamilton is in the steel-industry belt of southern Ontario, giving a nod to trade issues.

Pablo Rodriguez, who was serving as chief government whip, becomes minister of heritage and multiculturalism.

Having proven to be a careful but enthusiastic communicator, François-Philippe Champagne moves from International Trade to Infrastructure and Communities.

Vancouver MP Jonathan Wilkinson becomes minister of fisheries, oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, therefore putting in place a west-coast slant on ocean-side politics.

Carla Qualtrough, remains minister of public services and procurement despite the ongoing Phoenix pay system crisis, and gets the added portfolio of Accessibility (padded in following the departure of Sport Minister Kent Herr from cabinet earlier this year — who with his own requirement for mobility by wheelchair had been a face for the accessibility-community).

Overall, Trudeau is strengthening the Liberal base in Ontario and Alberta. That’s to help balance against the ideological conservative push now with Premier Doug Ford in place in Ontario, and to maintain good ties with the resource industry and business community in Alberta. As well, there is likely a political concern about balancing out what the Liberals might to expect to lose in the way of seats in BC in 2019 given the pipelines and oceans protections challenges with the NDP/Green government in BC; in 2015 the Liberal BC seats were the highest in BC since the 1970s under Pierre Trudeau’s Liberal leadership.


 

Fire prohibition areas in the Coastal Fire Centre, effective noon July 18, 2018

Tuesday, July 17 ~ On Wednesday, July 18 at noon, all open burning (including campfires and Category 3 fires) will be prohibited within the Coastal Fire Centre, with the exception of Haida Gwaii and the area known as the fog zone.

Category 2 open burning is already prohibited in the region. The additional prohibitions will help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety. They will remain in effect until Oct. 19, 2018, or until the public is otherwise notified. A map of the affected areas is available online at: http://ow.ly/j94230kZQgz

the fire prohibitions are due to high temperatures and no rain in the immediate forecast. Since April 1 of this year, 69% of wildfires in the Coastal Fire Centre have been caused by people. Human-caused wildfires are considered to be entirely preventable, and can divert critical firefighting resources away from naturally occurring wildfires.

These prohibitions apply to all public and private land, unless specified otherwise – for example, in a local government bylaw. Please check with local government authorities for any other restrictions before lighting any fire.

In Sooke, their prohibition announcement came out this afternoon, specifying that their ban applies to all open burning including campfires, beach fires and backyard fire pits within the District of Sooke. Burn barrels are prohibited year-round. “Propane and gas fueled BBQ’s and campfires are still permitted but are to be used with caution and only in appropriate areas,” says Matt Barney, Assistant Fire Chief, Sooke Fire Department.

CSA-rated or ULC-rated cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes and portable campfire apparatus (using briquettes, liquid or gaseous fuel) are okay in the Coast Fire Centre, so long as the height of the flame is less than 15 cm in height.

The following activities are also prohibited:
* open fires that burn woody debris in outdoor stoves
* the use of stoves and other portable campfire apparatuses that are not CSA-approved or ULC-approved
* the use of tiki torches, fireworks, firecrackers, sky lanterns, chimineas, burning barrels or burning cages of any size or description
* the use of binary exploding targets (e.g. for rifle target practice)

Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a ticket for $1,150, required to pay an administrative penalty of $10,000 or, if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to one year in jail. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

The Coastal Fire Centre covers all of the area west of the height of land on the Coast Mountain Range from the U.S.-Canada border at Manning Park, including Tweedsmuir South Provincial Park in the north, the Sunshine Coast, the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and Haida Gwaii.

To report a wildfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone. For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, go to: http://www.bcwildfire.ca

Wildfire news on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BCGovFireInfo and on Facebook at
http://facebook.com/BCForestFireInfo


 

Orca Whale (L79). Vessels to now keep their distance from whales.

Friday, July 13 ~ BC.  Keeping a distance from whales: new regulations.  Whales and other marine mammals are the subject of new Canadian regulations (previously recommendations) by which boaters are to maintain certain distances or be faced with hefty fines.The new rules that came into effect July 11 require boaters to maintain a 100-metre buffer zone (200 metres for orcas).

Under the Fisheries Act, penalties range from $100,000 to $500,000. Repeat offences could result in a higher fine amount or even imprisonment, according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

The new rules will impact the on-water tourism industry, particularly whale-watching excursions. Vessels must stay out of the path of oncoming whales out to 400 yards (366 m). Vessels may not intercept a whale or be positioned in the path of a whale.

Among other reasons, the proximity of loud motorized vessels is thought to interfere with the ability of whales to communicate with each other for feeding or maintaining pod cohesion.

In BC, the orca is an iconic aspect of regional arts and culture, tourism, and Indigenous culture.


 

BC Minister of Transportation & Infrastructure Claire Trevena

Wednesday, July 11 ~ BC.  BC Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) Minister Claire Trevena said yesterday that she will hold a discussion on Thursday July 12 with her western Canada counterparts about different approaches to providing intercity bus service. [See this article on its own page]

This is in the wake of Greyhound Canada announcing that by October 31, 2018 it will end all intercity bus service in western Canada (points west of Sudbury, Ontario through Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC).

“We got very little notice that Greyhound was pulling out of western Canada,” Minister Trevena told media. “It’s a a Canadian problem affecting people in Ontario, out to the coast,” she said. Only one route remains in BC — that one runs Vancouver-Seattle, operated by the Greyhound out of the United States.

Trevena says that the BC government aims to assure people that they will have safe, reliable transportation by bus. She articulated that not everyone can afford to travel by plane, train or car.

“We”ll need to have some bus service, and will try to deal with that before October 31,” said Trevena, adding that private bus service providers will be part of a possible future solution.  She also said the Ministry would be “talking to people within communities” (apparently including municipalities) to try and “make sure the gap is filled”.

“Very quickly private operators came in and built a route,” said Trevena about working with private operators in other situations. “Nothing is off the table.” BC Transit will also be in the discussion loop.

“We want to make sure people can travel safely and affordably around this province,” the Minister declared, adding that “the federal government does have a role to play” in seeing that bus service is provided “right through” Canada. “They have not done so, so far.”

Greyhound Canada will cancel service in western Canada as of Oct 31, 2018

Trevena said that the BC Government did not want to directly subsidize Greyhound, in part because the company’s services were not meeting the needs of riders. She said that daytime routes are more suitable for intercity travel.

BC has been running a pilot project in the north on Highway 3 and some other interior routes this year, in response to Greyhound providing an earlier notice about “pulling out in the north”, said Trevena.

It would seem by Trevena’s surprise at Greyhound’s announcement this week, that MOTI did not extrapolate a pullout beyond the north. That’s even though “Greyhound executives spent the last five years trying to work some resolutions out,” as Trevena told media yesterday.

 


 

Greyhound Canada will cancel service in western Canada as of Oct 31, 2018

Monday, July 9 ~ BC. Greyhound Canada bus service ends in BC as of October 31, 2018. That’s in addition to all of the private company’s bus services ending in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta on that date, as well as in Ontario west of Sudbury. [Read this article on its own page]

One route remains in BC — from Vancouver to Seattle — because that route is run by the US division of Greyhound. This will have a significant impact on rural transportation services in BC.

Greyhound Canada cited financial survival (due to a significantly low level of ridership — worsening since 2010) as their reason for dropping the service.

Low-cost airline travel and more efficient cars are likely part of the competition factor. Business critics say that Greyhound did not appreciably improve any of their services over the years, thereby offering less and less of a desirable transportation option.

Upon hearing the news today, BC’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena issued a statement in response to news that Greyhound Canada is discontinuing intercity bus service in British Columbia, and much of Canada:

“Greyhound’s decision to completely eliminate service in Western Canada by October 31, 2018 is hugely problematic for people who depend on Greyhound in the Interior, Sea-to-Sky, and to get to and from Alberta. This move will leave people with limited options to get around, and this will likely impact the most vulnerable.

“It’s unfortunate that Greyhound did not communicate their plans sooner. At no point did Greyhound reach out to me, or my staff, to have a conversation on solutions to keep people connected – something I would have expected, given their long history in this province,” said Trevena.

The BC Government will be looking into options: “In the weeks and months ahead, I will be sitting down with other service providers, the private sector and local government to discuss how we can ensure people have access to safe, reliable and affordable transportation to get from one community to the next. In the meantime, I hope that other local, private operators will see an opportunity to bring a badly needed service to the parts of the province most affected by Greyhound’s decision.”


 

Sunday, July 8 ~ BC. To help families be provided with child care, Budget 2018 announced a $221-million investment in the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund. More details were announced July 6:

• Streamlined application process and a continuous intake, rather than fixed application dates, allows child care providers to apply for funding when they need it, even if they are planning longer-term projects. Helps ensure continual supply of licensed child care spaces.

• Boards of education to have 100% eligibility (up from 90%) of their total project cost ($500,000 maximum), for child care spaces they create.

• For the first time: prioritizing or targeting funding to public-sector partnerships — including local governments and boards of education — that are looking to create child care spaces with other non-profit providers. These partnerships may apply for up to 100% of the total cost of their project (to $1 million maximum). Parents will benefit from public projects that provide greater stability and help protect them from lease or fee increases.

• Successful applicants for Childcare BC New Spaces funding must participate in the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative to help ensure that the new spaces remain more affordable for BC families.

• Child care spaces created by child development centres or Indigenous communities remain eligible for 100% their project costs, up to a maximum of $500,000. This will help ensure that children throughout BC will continue to have their physical and cultural needs met through programs that are tailored specifically for them.

• Not-for-profit organizations will be supported to create new child care spaces, with these organizations remaining eligible for up to 90% of their total project costs, up to a maximum of $500,000. Private child care providers remain eligible for 75% of the total cost of their project, up to a maximum of $250,000.

Info sessions coming soon: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare/newspacesfund


 

Friday, July 6 ~ BC. By early August 2018, the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch will open its application process.

It is strongly recommended that potential licensees visit the website to carefully review all the available materials to be prepared for the opening of the application intake site, it was stated in a July 5 news release from the Ministry of Attorney General.

For information on cannabis retail licensing, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/cannabisregulationandlicensing

The Liquor Control and Licensing Branch has been renamed the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch, representing its new additional responsibility of licensing and monitoring the retail sale of non-medical cannabis in British Columbia.


Thursday, July 5 ~ JUAN de FUCA. [UPDATE at 11:30 pm July 5 – fire partially contained, size is 84 hectares.]

The size of the wildfire area at Tugwell Creek was up to 100 hectares as of late last night. It’s one of 54 fires currently listed as a ‘fire of note’ in BC. BC Wildifre crews will be on scene again today, with the continued use of planes dropping fire retardant and helicopters dropping water.

The fire that started July 2 somehow became ignited in an area of timber leftovers from logging (known as ‘slash’).


Fire retardant being dropped onto wildfire west of Sooke, July 4 [photo by Al Wickheim]

Wednesday, July 4 ~ JUAN de FUCA.  As of 8:20 pm this evening, July 4, the wildfire at Tugwell Creek (west of Sooke) is still listed by the BC Wildfire Service as ‘out of control’.

The size of the burning area is now listed at 85 hectares (up from 25 hectares as of this morning, and 60 hectares around 5:30 pm). The fire was first reported on July 2 with a size of about four hectares.

“Less wind and some rain would help,” says Juan de Fuca Emergency Coordinator Jeri Grant.

Today three helicopters dumping water and a plane dumping fire retardant were used at the scene.

Smoke is reaching through the west shore and other areas of Greater Victoria, creating grey skies.

Photo taken today July 4 by Al Wickheim from the west ridge above Tugwell Creek, about six miles upstream. Water tanker dropping fire retardant Tugwell Creek. Winds are from the east in this photo.

“Winds are variable and some fire crowning is making this a hazardous fire for air and ground crews,” says Wickheim. “We could hear the fire crackling from where we were. Fortunately there is no immediate threat to the bee hives of Tugwell Creek Meadery,” he said on Wednesday evening.


 

Fire at Tugwell Creek has reached 25 hectares in size at July 4 (photo July 3). [Facebook sourced photo]

Wednesday, July 4 ~ JUAN de FUCA. A fire continues to burn today in a logging area in Juan de Fuca, west of Sooke and west of Otter Point.

The area that is burning now exceeds 35 hectares (as of 6 pm July 4) due to more active high winds this morning, says Juan de Fuca Emergency Coordinator Jeri Grant

Of 60 active fires in the province (as of midnight July 3), the Tugwell Creek fire is one of three listed as “out of control” by the BC Wildfire Service.  The fire was first reported on July 2 with a size of about four hectares.

“People don’t need to be alarmed,” says Grant. She says that people will see more fixed-wing planes dropping retardant, more helicopters dumping buckets of water, and more smoke. Welfare management has also sent out more ground crews.

The forest reserve land is part of Juan de Fuca, and the fire began in a slash area (where forestry activity leaves vegetative debris behind). There hasn’t been any lightning, so the fire is thought to have been caused by one or more persons with either cigarette butts, campfire, or use of ATVs in the back road areas. Even minor sparks can set off forest ‘fuel’ (leaves, branches, grassy areas, etc).

Actions are being handled by Wildfire BC and not the Otter Point Fire Department because the fire is beyond the Otter Point Fire Department boundaries.  The fire is about 5 to 6 km away from Tugwell Road where there are homes and farms.


 

Premier John Horgan and Education Minister Rob Fleming shared reading time with kids at the library in James Bay, July 3 [West Shore Voice News photo]

Tuesday, July 3 ~ VICTORIA. Premier John Horgan and Education Minister Rob Fleming read stories to young children and chatted about how fun it is to read over the summer months while school is out.

The small gathering took place at the sxʷeŋxʷəŋ təŋəxʷ James Bay Branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library this afternoon, July 3.

Premier Horgan clearly enjoyed the interactive time with his very young audience. He joked that after reading a fun story to the kids he would be going back to his office to do more reading as part of his job.

People who just happened to be at the library today and the parents of today’s group of kids had this spontaneous opportunity to chat briefly with the Premier. One older woman clearly expressed her gratitude to Horgan for “all he is doing” for people in BC.

While this event was held in downtown Victoria, the Greater Victoria Public Library system includes libraries in the west shore including the Westhills and Goudy branches in Langford, and the Juan de Fuca branch in Colwood.

Colwood Councillor Rob Martin is chair of the Greater Victoria Public Library board.

[Read this article on its own page]


 

Tuesday, July 3 ~ The BC Government is looking into how the implementation of a basic-income in BC might be done. Three researchers will explore the feasibility of a basic-income pilot project, and will look at how basic-income principles might be used to improve the existing income and social-support system in BC.

This is part of the Province’s efforts to reduce poverty and prepare for the emerging economy, it was stated in a news release today July 3. This work also relates to a commitment in the Confidence and Supply Agreement between government and the BC Green Party caucus.

David Green, from the Vancouver School of Economics at the University of British Columbia (UBC), will chair the expert committee. Joining him will be Jonathan Rhys Kesselman, from the School of Public Policy at Simon Fraser University, and Lindsay Tedds, from the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary. Committee work begins this summer, assisted by researchers at UBC.

The idea that knowing a basic-income would be available could reduce survival anxiety, which in turn could help reduce stress-related illness and thereby reduce costs in the health care system. There is a correlation as well to domestic and property-related violence as well, through lack of an assurance of basic sustenance. As the fear of basic survival is minimized, people look to more productive and appropriate uses of their time, talents and energy. The BC Green Party cites that when basic income was introduced in Dauphin, Manitoba, hospital visits declined by 8.5%.

The committee’s work will include consideration of the impact that advances in technology and automation, and other shifts, are predicted to have on the labour market over the next several decades.

The research will also include simulations that will look at how various basic-income models work with BC’s population. These will identify the potential impacts and financial implications of different approaches and economic conditions on BC citizens.

“The researchers will look at whether a basic income is a viable option to reduce poverty, build financial security, and increase inclusion and well-being,” says Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “This is a complex area of study, and our government looks forward to learning more about how to enhance the income-support system, to achieve measurable and lasting improvements for people living in poverty.”

“Amidst trends like automation, part-time and contract work, the nature of our economy and the jobs within it are rapidly shifting,” says BC Green caucus leader Andrew Weaver. “There is strong evidence that basic income can provide greater income security, while saving costs in other areas. We proposed exploring how basic income could work in BC, because government should have a plan for the changes on the horizon. The panelists are highly qualified, knowledgeable and creative thinkers. I am excited to work with them on this innovative project.”

“Recent years have seen disproportionate increases in part-time and contract work,” says Weaver. Wages have stagnated while the cost of living in our cities has spiralled out of control. Meanwhile, studies estimate that half of Canadian jobs could be impacted by automation in the next decade alone. We proposed exploring basic income in BC because we believe that government needs to have a plan for the changes on the horizon.”

“When people are secure, they are more likely to feel confident starting a new business or returning to school. Investing in British Columbians’ success is the best way we can ensure a thriving local economy for generations to come. Further, research shows that basic income can provide income security while reducing the costs of other supports,” said Weaver in a news release today.

David Green, chair of the Basic Income Expert Committee and professor, Vancouver School of Economics, UBC says:
“Much of my work centers on policies that can reduce inequality and create a more just society. I am pleased to have an opportunity to contribute to an in-depth examination of the implications and benefits of a basic income and enhanced income support structures here in BC.


 

Mexico’s president-elect Andres Manuel López Obrador won by a landslide.

Monday, July 2 ~ NATIONAL. North American political and trade relations continue to undergo complexities.

Following his overwhelming majority win, Mexico’s left-leaning president-elect Andres Manuel López Obrador said he supports reaching a deal on renegotiating NAFTA with the United States and Canada. However, there is uncertainty in the overall NAFTA process now with an escalating trade war of tariffs and counter-tariffs between the US and Canada, and now with the new Mexican president not officially taking office until December 1.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke today with López Obrador to congratulate him on his election as the next President of Mexico. Trudeau underscored the close friendship and dynamic partnership between Canada and Mexico, based on shared values, common goals, and strong people-to-people ties.

The Prime Minister and the President-elect look forward to cooperating on an agenda to create good jobs for people in both countries. The PMO’s office said the two leaders discussed the mutually beneficial economic and trading relationship between the two countries, and their shared priority of updating the North American Free Trade Agreement for the betterment of their peoples.

Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the White House July 2, 2018.

Trudeau and López Obrador “emphasized their desire to work closely together on issues that matter to both countries such as creating economic growth that works for all, advancing the rights of Indigenous peoples, and shaping a better future for Canadians and Mexicans alike”.

To possibly complicate matters (at least perceptually), former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper had private meetings with key US trade officials at the White House today, July 2. As a private citizen, Harper had not notified Trudeau or the Canadian government of his trip to Washington.

By contrast, former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney (who led the development of the original NAFTA agreement with then-US president Ronald Reagan) has been cooperating with and supporting Canada’s and Trudeau’s efforts to keep renegotiation of NAFTA on an even keel.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with steelworkers in Regina, July 1, 2018.

Yesterday, on Canada Day, Trudeau skipped his traditional partying on Parliament Hill and instead headed across the Canada on a 3-stop tour. In Leamington, Ontario he visited with workers at a plant where tomato paste is made for production of ketchup by the Canadian company French’s. In Regina he met with steel plant workers. In Dawson City, Yukon he attended a community barbecue to wrap up the day.

Canada’s tariffs are matched dollar-for-dollar to a total of $16.6 billion in “unjustified” set of US tariffs on Canadian steel (25%) and aluminum (10%). The Canadian counter-tariff list is political in nature to assert pressure on US lawmakers in key states where their state economies normally gain by trade with Canada.

Some of the US products that Canadians may quickly find to be more expensive: household paper products; other paper and cardboard products; sewing machine accessories; printed postcards; certain types of stoves, fridges and dishwashers, washer/dryers; lawn-mowers; sailboats, motorboats; beauty supply products; packaged pizza and quiche; maple syrup, candies and chocolate products; fresh orange juice, gherkin pickles, strawberry jam, soya sauce, ketchup & mayo; dishwasher detergent, glues, adhesives.

After receiving public consultation about the first list released June 1, things like peanut butter were removed from the Canadian tariff list. Full list: https://www.fin.gc.ca/access/tt-it/cacsap-cmpcaa-1-eng.asp


 

Sunday, July 1 ~ BC. A single Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Richmond has matched all six numbers to win the $7 million jackpot, but the winner has not come forward yet.

The retail location where the winning lottery ticket was purchased, as well as the identity of the lottery winner(s)’ will be announced after the prize has been claimed.

• Lotto 6/49 was launched June 12, 1982.
• Odds of winning a Lotto 6/49 jackpot are one in 13,983,816.
• 68% of Lotto 6/49 tickets are sold via Quick Pick.
• The largest Lotto 649 jackpot ever offered in Canada was $64 million for an October 2015 draw (ticket was purchased in Mississauga, Ontario).

Lottery ticket revenues in BC are used for health care, education, and through municipalities for programs across the province.

All lottery prize winners across Canada have 52 weeks from the draw date printed on their ticket to come forward to claim their prize.


 

Sunday, July 1 ~ NATIONAL. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today issued the following statement on the results of the Mexican presidential election on the same day that he visited three locations across Canada (Leamington, Regina, Dawson City) to support workers on the day Canada brought in tariffs on US products:

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I congratulate Andrés Manuel López Obrador on his election as the next President of Mexico. Canada and Mexico are close friends and longtime partners. We share common goals, strong people to people ties, and a mutually beneficial trading relationship that is the envy of the world – reflected in our joint effort to update the North American Free Trade Agreement for the 21st century.”

“Canada is proud of its close links with Mexico, and we will continue to collaborate on issues that matter to citizens from one end of North America to the other.”

“I look forward to working closely with President-elect López Obrador, his administration and the Mexican Congress to build on the vibrant partnership between our two countries, create economic growth that works for everyone, and advance human rights and equality. Together, we can deepen our strong relationship, and shape a better future for Mexicans and Canadians alike.”


 

Friday, June 29 ~ NATIONAL. Consumer pain: tariffs on a range of products start July 1 in Canada

As released June 29, the final list of 10% tariffs that will be imposed as a countermeasure on products coming into Canada from the USA includes a wide range of consumer products.

Matching a $16.6 billion US “unjustified” set of tariffs on Canadian steel (25%) and aluminum (10%), the Canadian counter-tariff list is political in nature to assert pressure on US lawmakers in key states where their state economies normally gain by trade with Canada. It comes into effect July 1, 2018.

Some of the US products that Canadians may quickly find to be more expensive: culinary and household paper products; and other paper and cardboard products; sewing machine accessories; printed postcards; certain types of stoves, fridges and dishwashers, washer/dryers; lawnmowers; sailboats, motorboats; beauty supply products; packaged pizza and quiche; maple syrup, candies and chocolate products; fresh orange juice, gherkin pickles, strawberry jam, soya sauce, ketchup & mayo; dishwasher detergent, glues, adhesives.

After receiving public consultation about the first list released June 1, things like peanut butter were removed from the Canadian tariff list. Full list: https://www.fin.gc.ca/access/tt-it/cacsap-cmpcaa-1-eng.asp


 

The BC Government grad scholarship announcement at Royal Roads University (RRU) on Tuesday June 26 was hosted by Mitzi Dean, MLA (Esquimalt-Metchosin), with speeches by Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training Melanie Mark, and RRU President and Vice Chancellor Allan Cahoon [West Shore Voice News photo]

Wednesday, June 27 ~ COLWOOD. Royal Roads grad scholarships topped up by $180,000.

A good-sized crowd of Royal Roads University (RRU) staff and students gathered on the third floor of the Learning and Innovative Centre on Tuesday afternoon, June 26, to hear an announcement from the Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training Melanie Mark about $180,000 coming to RRU for more grad-level student scholarships.

It’s part of a $12 million investment announced last month by Premier John Horgan, providing $15,000 each for students pursuing graduate degrees in research-intensive or professional graduate-degree programs.

Mark addressed the crowd of about 80 people with motivational remarks about “pushing the envelope for change” and having “room in her canoe” for everyone who wants to paddle together toward advancements in social, economic and environmental justice. Minister Mark said she is “proud to be part of a progressive government that wants to lift people up”.

The upbeat formal announcement event was hosted by MLA Mitzi Dean (Esquimalt-Metchosin) who is also the Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity. Dean remarked about women leaders being advocates for all and how the current NDP government is helping people who’ve been left behind.

Melanie Mark — BC Minister of Advanced Education, Skills & Training — at Royal Roads University, June 26 [West Shore Voice News photo]

RRU president and vice-chancellor Allan Cahoon said that 70% of students at the RRU campus are at the graduate level, with research focussed on applied and professional areas. He was pleased for Mark to be able to meet directly with recipients of grad-level scholarships that day. The additional scholarship funding support will provide further grad student accessibilty, he said.

Cahoon emphasized that RRU education is “different” in that it focusses on making a difference in the community. The university is pleased to attract professionals and experts in various fields who are “brought back in terms of learning and teaching”, notably through attentive assessment to the work-world background and life experience of applicants
in addition to academic training.

After the formal presentation, Cahoon said that a three-way conversation with local school board SD62 and the City of Langford is going well, bringing together shared interests and benefits to the community. One of the goals is to offer new post-secondary opportunities to west shore high school graduates as they transition into post-secondary. This could help SD62 bump up its below-provincial-average Grade 12 graduate transfer rate and Langford can pitch in with a business innovation support network and access to their nearby recreational facilities.

The west shore campus idea was not originally part of the RRU long-term plan, Cahoon told West Shore Voice News, but says RRU is responding to the labour market needs of BC and a call-out from Langford and the west shore. “This plan is not necessarily for our business development (at the campus) but to respond to the community,” Cahoon said.

A mid-July meeting will develop things further amongst the three parties along with BC government input. Discussions will include a review of preliminary results from a survey of SD62 parents and students about their post-secondary wants and needs and what some of the barriers to transferrability might be (survey done in schools and online in May and June, including some passive outreach to the broader community). Cahoon says there will be cooperation with UVic and Camosun. All undergrad courses at RRU will be transferable to other post-secondary institutions, he said.

Supporting grad-level education is part of an education continuum, Minister Mark told West Shore Voice News, noting the increase of the grad scholarship level from $10,000 to $15,000. She also spoke excitedly about STEAM (Science-Technology-Engineering-the Arts-Mathematics) in which she emphasizes the ‘A’, beyond STEM. “We’re investing in students, we’re on their side.”


 

Saturday, June 23 ~ BC.  Buy BC programming is being relaunched to boost BC’s agriculture industry and fuel public interest in shopping for made-in-BC products.

Buy BC marketing had been cancelled in the early 2000s, but will again make it easier for British Columbians to explore new and different products from around the province, said BC Agriculture Minister Lana Popham at a farmer’s market in Victoria, June 23.

Buy BC will introduce BC-produced food and drink in BC and globally, said Popham. Cost-shared funding is available to agriculture and seafood producers, processors and co-operatives, as well as relevant industry associations, plus local agricultural fairs and markets.

Logo-licencing agreements will be available for BC agriculture and seafood companies that do not require cost-shared funding, but who use the Buy BC logo on products.

Local food is sold at over 145 community farmers’ markets across the province, says the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets.

The Buy BC Partnership Program will provide $2 million per year, over the next three years, to help eligible applicants with marketing using the Buy BC logo on their products or promotional materials. The program will be administered and delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC, with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture.


 

Friday, June 22 ~ BC. The upcoming referendum on electoral reform is the public’s opportunity to indicate how you would want to vote in future BC provincial elections. That would be either first-past-the-post (present system, where the winner by even one vote takes home the prize) or a form of proportional representation (you’ll get three options).

As announced late Friday afternoon, June 22, the referendum ballot questions have been amended by cabinet and government, based on recommendations from the chief electoral officer.

It’s going to take a bit public education by the provincial government to do a fair job of getting a valid sense of what people really want. Elections BC will administer and enforce referendum advertising rules and the activities of proponent and opponent groups during the referendum campaign period of July 1, 2018 to 4:30 pm on November 30, 2018.

The official questions for the referendum are:

  • Which system should British Columbia use for provincial elections? (Vote for only one): • The current first-past-the-post voting system • A proportional representation voting system.
  • If British Columbia adopts a proportional representation voting system, which of the following voting systems do you prefer? Rank in order of preference. You may choose to support one, two or all three of the systems: • Dual Member Proportional (DMP) • Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) • Rural-Urban Proportional (RUP).

Voting will be by mail-in ballot during the voting period of October 22, 2018 to 4:30 pm on November 30, 2018. This will be BC’s third referendum or plebiscite conducted by mail-in ballot. In order to vote in the referendum, eligible British Columbians must be registered to vote with Elections BC.

Electoral reform referendum regulation: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/app/uploads/sites/271/2018/06/ReferendumRegulation2018.pdf
Attorney General’s report and recommendations for the 2018 referendum on electoral reform: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/app/uploads/sites/271/2018/05/How-We-Vote-2018-Electoral-Reform-Referendum-Report-and-Recommendations-of-the-Attorney-General.pdf
Recent changes to the Election Act: https://news.gov.bc.ca/15423
Elections BC: www.elections.bc.ca


 

Friday, June 22 ~ BC. Families searching for quality, licensed child care in their communities will have hundreds more options through a new grant program. “Thousands of parents, providers and educators have told us that the availability of quality child care is the number one concern for them,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “This grant program will offer providers a new source of funding to become licensed, and it – along with other initiatives – will help to further enhance the quality of programs.”

Eligible unlicensed child care providers – who are currently limited to providing care to a maximum of two children unrelated to them, or a sibling group – can now apply for financial assistance to become licensed family or in-home multi-age (IHMA) child care providers. Becoming licensed allows child care providers to care for seven or eight children, depending on their licence.

To help providers switch over, the Province is investing $750,000 in the program per year, over the next three years.

“Families and providers have been clear: there are just not enough child care spaces out there to meet demand, which is why our Childcare BC plan puts a premium on the creation of new, quality, highly sought-after licensed spaces,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “This grant program is step one as we gear up to announce a major investment in, and overhaul of, our child care building plan in the coming weeks.”

Funds of up to $4,500 are available for providers pursuing an IHMA licence, and up to $4,000 for providers pursuing a family child care licence. Funds include a $500 up-front payment, in addition to $500 per space, which will be provided to cover the costs of becoming licensed, including but not limited to:
* training fees (i.e. Responsible Adult course, Mother Goose training, first aid);
* application fees (i.e. licensing, re-zoning);
* hiring replacement staff while taking a required course to become licensed; and
* buying equipment for a child care facility.

Under Childcare BC, the Province is investing more than $1 billion in child care over the next three years to lay the foundation for a universal child care system. Investments in licensed providers complement the Province’s Childcare BC goals of improving quality and building more licensed spaces for BC families.


Friday, June 22 ~ BC. A deadline of August 14, 2018 looms fast for parents who may wish to sign up for a grant that contributes to tax-free savings within a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP).

The BC Training and Education Savings Grant (BCTESG) is $1,200 for each child born in 2006 or later. The deadline for those born in 2007 to 2009 is August 14, 2018, or the day before the child’s ninth birthday, whichever is later.

Almost 80% of job openings in BC over the next decade will require some form of post-secondary education.
The grant may be used for full or part-time studies at vocational schools, apprenticeships, trades training, college or university. The BCTESG is seen as one way to help ease transition from high school.

Even without any other funds to presently contribute to an RESP, this grant can get that process started at a financial institution.


 

Thursday, June 21 ~ BC.  The BC Government has received a report with 24 recommendations that aim to improve efficiency and outcomes in business interaction between government and BC’s liquor industry. The Business Technical Advisory Panel’s report was developed by Liquor policy advisor Mark Hicken.

The Ministry of Attorney General announced today that government will review the recommendations to analyze and consider the potential health, public safety, social, financial and labour impacts of the recommendations. Any actions will need to be compliant with British Columbia’s trade obligations.

Hicken is a long-time wine industry lawyer, who received the Liquor Policy Advisor appointment in November 2017.
Among other issues, the review found a wholesale monopoly in liquor sales in BC. As the BC Liquor Distribution Branch gets ready to add wholesale and retail marijuana sales to its network of liquor warehouses and stores, the BC government is being urged to deal with a conflict of interest in the system.

The LDB sets wholesale prices and supplies products for private liquor stores as well as government stores it operates in competition with the private stores, policy advisor Mark Hicken said in the report to government on June 20.

Hicken chaired a panel of industry representatives who met with stakeholders, read written submissions and deliberated over findings, to provide recommendations that reflect industry consensus. Health agencies and labour representatives provided input. Further engagement with these experts will be required at the analysis stage.

Panel members were from the BC Wine Institute, BC Craft Brewers Guild, Canada’s National Brewers, Craft Distillers Guild of BC, Restaurants Canada, BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association, Alliance of Beverage Licensees and Rural Agency Store Advisory Society.

This report will assist government in focusing limited resources on evaluating industry priorities, and reflects government’s interest in developing policy that makes life better for all British Columbians.


Recreation cannabis becomes legalized in Canada effective October 17, 2018 [photo credit: Shutterstock]

Wednesday, June 20 ~ BC. BC Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth has issued the following statement regarding the federal Cannabis Act:

“Today, the Government of Canada has made history by announcing the end of a 95-year prohibition on non-medical cannabis, and confirming the legalization date of October 17, 2018. Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, creates a new national framework that provides access to a regulated supply of cannabis, while implementing restrictions to minimize the harms associated with cannabis use.

“This federal legislation creates a corresponding need for provincial and territorial governments to establish cannabis-related laws and regulations. That’s why BC recently passed legislation to ensure we have a responsible regulatory framework in place for the safe implementation of legalized cannabis throughout our province.

“We’re now focused on developing the regulations and supporting policies for the implementation of our provincial regulatory regime. We are also working on provincial public awareness and education campaigns, to ensure British Columbians have the information they need regarding legalization and our provincial regulations when they come into force.

“It’s important to remember that the date set by the federal government for cannabis legalization will just be the beginning. The legalization of cannabis is complex, and the Province is committed to monitoring the implementation and making any adjustments necessary to meet our provincial goals. This includes continuing to engage local governments and Indigenous governments and organizations beyond legalization, to ensure specific interests and concerns are addressed.”


 

Wednesday, June 20 ~ BC. The Province is establishing a new, publicly accessible registry of who owns real estate in British Columbia. It will be the first registry of its kind in Canada.

The Ministry of Finance says it will improve transparency in the real estate market. It will provide tax auditors and law enforcement agencies, as well as federal and provincial regulators, with information that will assist with their investigations.

British Columbians are invited to provide feedback on the white paper proposal until August 19, 2018.
Read the white paper: www.fin.gov.bc.ca/pld/fcsp/consultLOTA.htm

To share your comments, email to the Ministry of Finance at: fcsp@gov.bc.ca

The BC Government’s 30-Point Plan for Housing Affordability is here: http://bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2018/homesbc/2018_Homes_For_BC.pdf


 

Wednesday, June 20 ~ BC. The Government of British Columbia will establish rigorous new rules and expectations for the renewal of salmon farm tenures in BC waters, it was announced today, June 20.

“The challenges facing our wild salmon have been ignored for far too long,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “That’s why we are putting in place a new approach to provide clarity and outline our expectations moving forward for a sustainable industry that protects wild salmon, embraces reconciliation, and provides good jobs.”

The new requirements provide clarity on the salmon farming tenure process, establishing key criteria for tenures past 2022.

“We need to take the necessary steps – steps that should have been taken years ago – to ensure that fish farm operations do not put wild salmon stocks in jeopardy,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “The thousands of British Columbians who rely on our clean ocean waters for jobs, culture and recreation expect no less.”

Effective June 2022, the Province will grant Land Act tenures only to fish farm operators who have satisfied Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) that their operations will not adversely impact wild salmon stocks, and who have negotiated agreements with the First Nation(s) in whose territory they propose to operate.

A key court ruling in 2009 clarified that the federal government has the exclusive jurisdiction for regulating fisheries, including fish farms.

“We will look to DFO to bring the best science to determining where and under what conditions open-pen fish farms can operate without threatening wild salmon and other species,” Popham said.

The year 2022 aligns with the current renewal date of the substantial majority of fish licences issued by DFO.


 

Wednesday, June 20 ~ NATIONAL. Cannabis will be legal to buy and consume in Canada by about mid-September. The Senate voted yesterday, June 19, to pass the Liberal government’s Bill C-45 to bring the previously prohibited substance into legal use.

UPDATE at 3:15 pm –  “Today, the Government of Canada has made history by announcing the end of a 95-year prohibition on non-medical cannabis, and confirming the legalization date of Oct. 17, 2018. Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, creates a new national framework that provides access to a regulated supply of cannabis, while implementing restrictions to minimize the harms associated with cannabis use,” said BC Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, in a statement to media.

After Royal Assent, it will take provinces and other jurisdictions about 8 to 12 weeks to be ready for regulations and law enforcement.

The Senate vote on June 19 was 52-29. Of the Senate’s nearly four dozen amendments, 27 were accepted last week by the government and others were tweaked.

But 13 amendments were not accepted, including giving provinces the right to limit home grown cultivation and the number of cannabis plants that can be grown at home. The number of allowable plants will be four in all provinces. There was some effort in the Senate to have that amendment reinstated, but senators voted 45-35 to not insist on that change.

Most of the votes in the Senate against legalization were by Conservative senators, under direction from their leader Andrew Scheer. Liberal and independent senators were open to vote as they saw fit.

One Conservative Senator (Leo Housakos) predicts those presently involved in peddling illegal cannabis are becoming large corporations that will make a lot of money at the expense of vulnerable people.

The Liberal government has said all along that it wants to take cannabis profiteering out of the hands of criminals, and to aim for better safety for youth away from the black market.

It’s still not clear how effective driving-while-impaired enforcement can be in detecting TCH-affected drivers.

Canada is the first industrialized country to legalize cannabis nationwide. Several states in the USA have in recent years forged ahead with legalization. The industry is flourishing. Business pundits are calling this a brand new consumer growth product, something that is not often seen on the scope.

The full Bill C-45 is online at http://www.parl.ca/Content/Bills/421/Government/C-45/C-45_3/C-45_3.PDF

The Liberal government has said all along that it wants to take cannabis profiteering out of the hands of criminals, and to aim for better safety for youth away from the black market.


 

Insulin pump helps Type 1 diabetes patients maintain constant blood sugar levels.

Saturday, June 16 ~ BC.  An expansion of insulin pump coverage takes effect July 3. Announced June 12, this expansion will ensure that any diabetic person in BC has access to an insulin pump under PharmaCare if needed. Previously, insulin pump coverage for youth extended only to the age of 25 (and when the program was first introduced in 2008 covered children only to age 18).

BC Minister of Health Adrian Dix explained that many people over 25 years of age “have been forced to make the difficult choice between purchasing this device for their health, or foregoing it due to cost. Going forward, they won’t be put in this position,” said Dix in a media announcement.

An insulin pump is a medical device that more closely mimics the body’s natural insulin production than insulin injections. The pump is worn on the body at all times and delivers insulin through a thin tube (cannula). It allows greater freedom and blood glucose control, thus reducing the likelihood of long-term complications.

For young patients with type 1 diabetes, insulin pump therapy is associated with lower risks of severe hypoglycemia and diabetic ketoacidosis and better glycemic control than insulin injection therapy, according to a study published October 2017 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The cost of one pump runs from $6,000 to $7,000 and requires replacement every five years.

The pump system allows diagnosed diabetics to better manage their condition, improving quality of life and well-being, and preventing serious secondary conditions ranging from cardiovascular disease to nerve damage, said Dix.
“Insulin pumps can also help prevent eye disease, kidney disease, amputations and a number of other complications related to diabetes,” says Ramya Hosak, executive director and co-founder of Young and T1, a BC-based and volunteer-run organization for young adults living with Type 1 diabetes.

“Following through on a pledge made by Premier John Horgan, the provincial government is removing the age restriction for insulin pump coverage,” said Dix. About 485,000 people in BC live with diabetes. An estimated 830 adults will benefit from the expansion in the first year.

BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver made a statement of support for the decision. “Insulin pumps are not only an effective tool for patients to manage a very dangerous disease, they’re also a preventative and cost-effective measure for our healthcare,” said Weaver.

BC is the third province to cover the cost of insulin pumps for diabetics, regardless of age. To young Type 1 diabetics living in the province, it comes as a huge relief. “Diabetes Canada commends the provincial government for making this decision. Type 1 diabetes doesn’t stop at age 25, and we are so pleased that insulin pump coverage won’t also,” says Sheila Kern, regional director of BC and Yukon Diabetes Canada. “The burden of worrying about how to continue insulin therapy after the age of 25 can be very heavy, but this decision put through by the Horgan administration will help lessen it.”

Physicians in BC who provide continuous care to diabetic patients receive a diabetes management incentive payment. In 2017-18, more than 3,400 family doctors received that payment for over 208,300 patients.

Aging populations, increasing urbanisation, and widening social inequalities (including poverty) are contributing factors to the rapid rise in diabetes prevalence over the past 40 years, it was reported in The Lancet this week.


 

Friday June 15 ~ BC. Today June 15, 2018, changes to Rules under the Real Estate Services Act that dictate how REALTORS® work with consumers have come into effect. The Rules, mandated by the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE) and finalized on April 27, 2018, have been amended to ensure that REALTORS® make adequate disclosures, so that consumers can make informed decisions. For many Realtors, the changes mean diminished financial returns in their overall sales income.

“BCREA, together with the Real Estate Council of British Columbia (RECBC), has been hard at work to update the Applied Practice Courses for new licensees. BCREA has also been updating its continuing education courses and nearly two dozen standard legal forms that have been impacted by the changes,” said British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) CEO Darlene Hyde. “The new rules governing real estate practices mark a significant shift in how REALTORS® in BC work with their clients. It’s important that consumers know what to expect when the changes come into effect.

”REALTORS®, consumers and conflicts of interest:  One of the changes is a ban on dual agency. Dual agency occurs when a REALTOR® represents more than one party in a real estate transaction. That can be a buyer and a seller, two or more buyers, or a landlord and a tenant. The ban was recommended by RECBC’s Independent Advisory Group in 2016. Exemptions will be possible in limited circumstances. Under the prohibition on dual agency a real estate agent cannot represent two clients with competing interests at the same time.

REALTORS®, consumers and compensation:  From June 15, REALTORS® are required to make more disclosures on the commissions they receive on transactions. Once the amendment comes into effect, a REALTOR® must give the seller a copy of the disclosure form before presenting each offer or counter-offer from potential buyers. This form explains how the commission will be shared with other brokerages involved in the transaction (the buyer’s brokerage) and any other payments the REALTOR® expects to receive as a result of the transaction.

BCREA has worked with its 11 member boards “to make these changes as seamless and as transparent as possible,” says BCREA. Despite that, the BC Green Party issued a statement one day ago (June 14) in response to “ongoing concerns expressed…by realtors across BC”. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver “is once more calling on the Minister of Finance and the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate to extend the timeline for the introduction of the real estate rule changes”. The changes had already been delayed once — they were to first come into effect March 15, 2018.

BCREA says they are actively working to educate REALTORS® on the implications of these changes so they can continue to serve consumers with integrity and professionalism when the Rule changes come into effect.

“These changes will profoundly alter for the foreseeable future the way consumers initially interact with their REALTOR® and the ban on limited dual agency will have a negative impact on consumer choice with respect to their selection of REALTOR® in some circumstances,” said Hyde. “BCREA has done its utmost to facilitate the transition to the new Rules and we stand behind a strong regulatory regime, informed and knowledgeable customers and professional REALTORS®.”

For more information on the Rule changes: https://knowledge.recbc.ca/


 

Wednesday, June 13 ~ BC.  Today Premier John Horgan announced an extension of the The Recovery Transition Program for periods of 30 days, up to 90 days. This is in partnership with the Red Cross, which will provide support and financial assistance to people who cannot return to their homes.

Speaking in a teleconference out of Grand Forks today June 13, Horgan said the funds are for living expenses and for people to get back into homes.

The Recovery Transition Program  will provide support and financial assistance to people who cannot return to their homes. The BC government will match donations made to the Canadian Red Cross, dollar for dollar. Donations can be made at https://donate.redcross.ca

“Throughout last year’s wildfires and floods, and during this year’s spring floods, the Canadian Red Cross stepped up to support our government and British Columbians in times of need,” said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness. “In a catastrophic emergency, the Red Cross’s experience, systems and technology will support our local government-managed emergency social services, to reach people as quickly as possible.”

Horgan said that the province has the responsibility to see that every citizen is safe and well cared for, with local government being responsible for ESS and decisions about rebuilding. One infrastructure direction might be the construction of dikes, which is being discussed in Grand Forks this evening.


 

BC Premier John Horgan [West Shore Voice News file photo – May 2018]

Wednesday, June 13 ~ BC. BC Premier John Horgan told media this afternoon that he is “not at all disappointed” with the coming of soccer to North America in 2026. “It’s good for soccer fans,” he said in a media teleconference.

Horgan added: “I do not regret the decision we made for support for the bid, based on a lack of a final number from FIFA.” He reiterated that BC is “not prepared to write a blank cheque”, itemizing that at the time there were no definitive answers on the numbers of games that would be played in Vancouver, or about the costs of closing of BC Place, nor a final dollar figure (which would have included a hefty security expense).

Keeping the provincial budget in mind, and soon now having to fund flood restoration in Grand Forks and the efforts required in the summer fire season, Horgan said “most taxpayers will be grateful for that decision”.

On the matter of Nanaimo MLA Leonard Krog deciding to run for Mayor of Nanaimo this fall, Horgan told media: “Leonard Krog has thought long and hard about it” and that people have been urging Krog to bring stability to Nanaimo council with the longstanding local belief that Krog can bring stability to that municipal government. Horgan said Krog will stay on until the Fall 2018 municipal  election period, and “I wish him well”. Krog would stay on in the BC legislature if he does not win the Nanaimo mayoralty seat.


Announced in Moscow June 13,, a united bid by Canada, US & Mexico won for hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup. [screenshot]

Wednesday, June 13 ~ CANADA. Soccer is about to grow big in Canada!

Today June 13 it was announced at the FIFA tournament in Moscow that Canada will co-host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, along with the USA and Mexico. The United bid beat out Morocco which has bid on the World Cup opportunity five times.

Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal are Canadian candidate host cities for the men’s soccer showcase, expanded to 48 teams for the 2026 tournament. The current blueprint calls for Canada and Mexico to stage 10 games each, with the USA hosting 60.

Mexico has twice hosted the World Cup, in 1970 and 1986. The US hosted in 1994.

Building up teams toward 2026 will be a big boost to soccer in Canada. On the west shore of Vancouver Island, there is a BC team for new pro soccer Canadian Premier League, central to Victoria; the inaugural league season starts April 2019 with games at Westhills Stadium in Langford (as announced June 1). In Langford there is a soccer academy at local highschools in the SD62 school district, giving an opportunity for youth to learn the sport.

Vancouver will not be hosting any of the FIFA games, as the BC government was wary of what were seen as open-ended cost commitments expected by FIFA. “The FIFA bid agreement contained clauses, which government felt left taxpayers at unacceptable risk of additional costs,” said BC Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Lisa Beare today in a statement. “We tried very hard to get assurances that addressed our concerns. Unfortunately, those assurances were not forthcoming,” Beare added: “I am happy for Canadian soccer fans that some of the World Cup matches are coming to Canadian host cities.”


 

Announced in Moscow June 13,, a united bid by Canada, US & Mexico won for hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup. [screenshot]

Wednesday, June 13 ~ CANADA. Soccer is about to grow big in Canada!

Today June 13 it was announced at the FIFA tournament in Moscow that Canada will co-host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, along with the USA and Mexico. The United bid beat out Morocco which has bid on the World Cup opportunity five times.

Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal are Canadian candidate host cities for the men’s soccer showcase, expanded to 48 teams for the 2026 tournament. The current blueprint calls for Canada and Mexico to stage 10 games each, with the U.S. hosting 60.

Mexico has twice hosted the World Cup, in 1970 and 1986. The US hosted in 1994.

Building up teams toward 2026 will be a big boost to soccer in Canada. On the west shore of Vancouver Island, there is a BC team for new pro soccer Canadian Premier League, central to Victoria; the inaugural league season starts April 2019 with games at Westhills Stadium in Langford (as announced June 1). In Langford there is a soccer academy at local highschools in the SD62 school district, giving an opportunity for youth to learn the sport.

Vancouver will not be hosting any of the FIFA games, as the BC government was wary of what were seen as open-ended cost commitments expected by FIFA. “The FIFA bid agreement contained clauses, which government felt left taxpayers at unacceptable risk of additional costs,” said BC Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Lisa Beare today in a statement. “We tried very hard to get assurances that addressed our concerns. Unfortunately, those assurances were not forthcoming,” Beare added: “I am happy for Canadian soccer fans that some of the World Cup matches are coming to Canadian host cities.”


 

Former BC Premier Mike Harcourt and former Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall addressed a housing forum, June 12 in Victoria [West Shore Voice News photo]

Tuesday, June 12 ~ VICTORIA.  There is a housing problem in BC. [Read this article on its own page]

Today June 12 a lineup of politicians (past and present) and a spectrum of development-industry leaders not only agreed about that, but about the solution: increase supply. This was addressed to about 400 people over lunch at the Roundhouse at Bayview Place in Esquimalt. It was a diverse audience of political and business leaders, joined by a wide range of the business community, public, and media.

The event conveyed a clear message that the BC Speculation Tax would be harmful to the BC economy overall and the housing market specifically (especially renters), tagged with a further message that getting creative with growing the economy is more successful for all sectors than is additional and situation-specific taxation.

Former  BC NDP Premier Mike Harcourt clarified at the outset: “It’s not a housing crisis, it’s a permanent condition in BC.”  He expanded on that, saying that sustainability and housing affordability is a problem all over the world. Saying that the 21st century is “a century of cities”, Harcourt and other speakers really turned to local governments as part of the problem and much of the solution.

Cities have the power to change zoning, and handle the processes for development permits more promptly and efficiently. “City halls are causing a huge amount of the increase in the cost of housing,” Harcourt said. When developers hold onto property for lengthy periods, the cost of interest to wait for the development green light ultimately gets passed onto homebuyers.

At housing forum June 12 in Victoria: former BC Liberal cabinet ministers Peter Fassbender and Todd Stone, with Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps [West Shore Voice News photo]

Former BC Liberal cabinet minister for communities Peter Fassbender, and himself a former mayor (of Langley), said that municipalities need to “look at their community and decide what they want it to be”. He also said that the key for community development success is to “build the economy and let the economy become the driver of those things”.  He is worried that investment is “leaving the province, or not coming to BC, or stalling” because of the current government’s tax policy “that has not been well thought out”.

On the matter of what type of housing needs to be built in BC, Fassbender said that single family homes as the mainstay of the housing market is not going to change, it already has changed. He has listened, and hears that young people are “into living a different lifestyle” that would be served by higher density housing and more efficient transit systems for the target communities. That in turn allows for young talent to live in larger centres where the high-tech jobs of the future are located. People who are displaced from the city areas “have no place to go”, Fassbender said.

“To deal with affordability, you build the economy, then let the entrepreneurial spirit loose and let people build the economy,” said Fassbender.

Former Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall took a moment to ask everyone in the room – indeed, all Canadians – to show their support for the current federal government and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in their current battle of words and tariffs with the US President and White House team. Negative comments hurled at Trudeau by top White House officials following last weekend’s G-7 Summit have shocked many, including citizens across the United States and Canada.  Tweets, letters, emails… it all helps. “Trudeau deserves the support of every single Canadian,” said Wall, urging people in the room to keep this support “top of mind, front of mind”.

Wall questioned the likelihood of the BC Speculation Tax as being able to “address the goal of the tax”. If more rental vacancy is the goal, does this tax which starts at 0.5% this year (going up to 1% in 2019 for affected residents in BC and 2.0% for non-Canadians) serve to truly increase rental supply? Brad Wall suggests “this tax will affect mostly people of means”.  Indeed, some political opponents of the tax have called it an ‘envy tax’.

Langford Mayor Stew Young (second from left) discussing housing issues at forum in Victoria June 12 [West Shore Voice News photo]

There were many gems of wise counsel during today’s session. As one part of the solution it was suggested by one of the speakers that the provincial and federal governments essentially take a heavier hand with municipalities, and direct the local governments to make appropriate housing-related zoning changes. If the directive comes like that ‘from above’, this will relieve local politicians of the natural impediment to avoid doing something unpopular.

Langford’s success with zoning efficiencies was mentioned. Afterward Langford Mayor Stew Young said that zoning approvals are frequently achieved within three months, and that building permits can often be issued in about 48 hours.  This helps developers get on with the job of building homes.

Stew Young agrees with the idea of the capital gains tax being increased from 7% to 10%, an idea that was floated during the formal presentations. The increase could be directed toward development of affordable housing. He added that additional taxation “steals assets from hard working families”.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps addressed the crowd at the start of the lunch.  She summarized that Victoria’s economy has been prosperous “but it’s not going to stay that way until we crack the housing nut”. She pitched for the BC Government to find something “in place of the speculation tax”.

The crowd was served coffee, an appetizer, lunch and dessert during the 2-hour session of speeches, panel presentations, and questions from the audience. The day was hosted as the 6th Annual Kenneth W. and Patricia Mariash Global Issues Dialogue. Ken Mariash spoke highly of the zoning and permit efficiencies in Langford, and that a speculation tax only works when there is no supply issue.

Increasing housing supply was the main overall going-forward message of the day.  The BC Government’s 30-point plan does outline various programs and funding initiatives to increase housing supply – the promised 114,000 units over 10 years, but much of that is targeted to specific socioeconomic groups and not a direct support to the development industry that produces the housing units that are needed in BC. Recent research by the BC Non-profit Housing Association shows that 34,167 more housing units will be needed in the Greater Victoria area by 2038.


 

Nanaimo MLA Leonard Krog

Tuesday, June 12 ~ VANCOUVER ISLAND.  What this will do for the fragile state of the BC NDP/Green balance of power in the BC Legislature is what grabs public attention over the expected announcement that long time NDP MLA Leonard Krog will run for mayor of Nanaimo in the October 20 municipal election. His announcement is expected at 5 pm tomorrow June 13 in Nanaimo.

The 41 NDP seats under John Horgan are propped up by three Green seats for a functioning minority government considered ‘progressive’, with the BC Liberals holding 42 seats. If Krog relinquishes his MLA seat, a by-election would need to be called within six months.

Krog was first elected to the BC Legislature in 1991 in the riding of Parksville-Qualicum. He lost in 1996, but regained a seat in 2005 in the Nanaimo constituency. In 2003 he ran for the leadership of the NDP but lost to Carole James who is now the province’s finance minister and who enjoys a degree of immunity from Horgan.

Krog won the Nanaimo riding again in 2017 but was not invited into the Horgan cabinet last year after the NDP formed government. But he is Government Caucus Chair. He previously served as the Official Opposition spokesperson for Justice (Attorney General).


 

Friday, June 8 ~ NATIONAL. The largest-ever Lotto Max jackpot at $60 million was won by a ticket holder in Quebec this evening. The June 8 draw numbers were 12 25 27 29 34 44 45 with bonus number 07.

There were 52 Maxmillion opportunities. On Vancouver Island, there are two winners of half a Maxmillion, i.e. $500,000 each. One of those winners purchased their ticket in Victoria, and the other in Ladysmith.

In Vancouver there is also a winner of $500,000 as a shared prize. In Burnaby there is a $1 Maxmillion winner.


 

June 8 at G7 in Quebec, from left to right: British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, US President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. [Photo from Web – Leah Millis/Reuters]

Friday, June 8 ~ NATIONAL. Today June 8, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed top world leaders at the G7 Summit in Charlevoix, Quebec.

Meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany. The leaders discussed G7 cooperation on pressing global issues, including gender equality and preparing economies for jobs of the future. Prime Minister and Chancellor exchanged views on international peace and security issues, including those presented by Russia and North Korea. The Prime Minister and the Chancellor highlighted the importance of open, rules-based international trade to create economic growth that benefits everyone. The leaders also emphasized the importance of collective G7 action on oceans, including to reduce plastic waste, as well as the importance of contributing to education for girls and women, especially in fragile states and crisis settings.

Meeting with Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The prime ministers discussed G7 priorities, including economic growth and job creation, as well as global peace and security, including with regard to North Korea and Ukraine. They also exchanged views on promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment, including through increasing financing for girls’ and women’s education, particularly in fragile states and conflict settings. Trudeau emphasized the importance of collective G7 action on oceans, including to reduce plastic waste. The prime ministers also discussed the benefits of open, rules-based trade, acknowledging the challenges of protectionism and barriers to trade.

Meeting with President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. The leaders discussed the diplomatic efforts to address the security threat posed by North Korea. This included the coordination of international efforts, as discussed at the Vancouver Conference, and the President’s upcoming summit with North Korea. They also discussed the close security and economic partnership between Canada and the United States. They exchanged views on energy exports from Canada. Furthermore, they agreed on the importance of bringing negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement to a successful and timely conclusion. Trudeau pressed the President to reconsider the U.S. tariffs imposed on Canadian steel and aluminum, and encouraged him to work with Canada to address unfair trade. The Prime Minister reiterated that it is unacceptable to include Canada in 232 national security tariffs.


 

Friday, June 8 ~ NATIONAL. Today Ontario is waking up to having a Progressive Conservative government. PC Leader Doug Ford handily defeated the Liberal party that had been in power for over 15 years.  Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne resigned as leader but retains a seat; her party did not achieve the minimum of eight seats required to maintain official party status.

There are 124 seats in the new Ontario Legislature (up from 107 at dissolution). The PC popular vote was 40.49%, winning them 76 seats (up from 27 seats ahead of the election). The NDP captured 33.57% of the popular vote, winning 40 seats (up from 18 before the election). The Liberals carried only 19.59% of the popular vote, with seven seats (a dramatic drop from 55 seats at dissolution). The Green Party elected its first-ever MPP, with 4.6% of the vote. Voter turnout was 58% (5,735,324 votes cast), that being the strongest voter turnout since 1999.

The main thrust of the PC campaign was fiscal responsibility, but without providing a fully-costed program as the NDP did. NDP leader Andrea Horwath did well in the campaign (her third campaign), substantially increasing the number of NDP seats around the province and carrying a stronghold in core areas of Toronto. The NDP will now be the Official Opposition in the Ontario legislature.

Ontario is considered the ‘economic engine’ of Canada, given its strong base in mining, manufacturing, innovation and commerce.


 

Thursday, June 7 ~ BC.  Lotto Max offers another record-breaking opportunity to win big this week. There is an estimated $112 million in top prizes.

Last week, seven Lotto Max top prizes were won in BC including five Maxmillion prizes from the June 1, 2018 draw. Winning tickets were sold in Delta, Kitimat, Surrey, Richmond, Pitt Meadows and the Shuswap region.

Lotto Max fans across Canada have the chance to win this week’s estimated $60 million record-breaking main jackpot and an additional estimated 52 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million each.

Lotto Max draws are held every Friday night. A $5 ticket features three chances to win. To win the jackpot, players must match 7/7 numbers.

The BC Lottery Corporation says that the odds of winning a Lotto Max jackpot or Maxmillion prize are one in 28,633,528 per play. Odds of winning any prize are one in 6.6 per play. Maxmillions continue to grow after the jackpot reaches $50 million.  Players must match 7/7 numbers to win the corresponding Maxmillion prize.

Lotto Max customers in BC have until 7:30 pm (PDT) on Friday evenings to purchase a ticket for that night’s draw. Visit PlayNow.com or lottery retailers.

For the chance to win up to $500,000, say ‘Yes’ to the Extra. Extra is available with Daily Grand, Lotto 6/49, Lotto Max, and BC/49 at any BCLC lottery retailer or at PlayNow.com. Players can now check their lottery tickets anytime, anywhere on iOS or Android devices. Learn more about the BCLC Lotto! App here.


 

Thursday, June 7 ~ BC.  Shaw TV customers across much of Canada — from Ontario to BC — are without service this morning, Thursday, June 7. [Update 12 noon: 11:41 AM PT/2:21 PM ET: All channels now fully restored.]

Shaw reports that a coax cable to all TVs was cut. That’s a main line, and they’re calling it a national outage that is producing “black screens”.

An “accidental” outage, Shaw says the interruption of service occurred around 6 am Pacific Time (9 am Eastern Time) and was possibly caused by construction activity such as digging in a location before checking on the location of underground services.

TV news is not getting out to Shaw customers. Today there is a provincial election in Ontario; the polls there opened at 9 am.  There are also preparations for the G7 summit in Quebec City; world leaders and hundreds of international delegates are beginning to arrive in Quebec for the summit, which opens on Friday in La Malbaie (about 140 km outside Quebec City), but with protests expected to happen in the streets of the provincial capital.

Shaw says on their website at www.shaw.ca/updates that customers may be able to access some channels online directly through the broadcaster’s website by logging in with a Shaw ID, including for TSN, Global, CTV and CBC.

There is presently no estimated restoration time.


Ferry travel includes food service with a view! [West Shore Voice News photo – June 2018]

Tuesday, June 5 ~ COASTAL BC. The Spirit of British Columbia will return to service tomorrow, following its mid-life upgrade and conversion to operate on LNG. The ship services the Tsawwassen/Swartz Bay (Vancouver/Victoria) route.

The vessel is the first of two to be converted to operate on natural gas, which is much cleaner for the environment than marine diesel. The Spirit of Vancouver will undergo a mid-life upgrade from Fall 2018 to Spring 2019.

Other upgrades in the Spirit of British Columbia include the renewal of navigation equipment, propulsion equipment components including gearboxes, rudders, steering system, bow thrusters, propeller blades, LED lighting, more efficient air conditioning equipment to reduce energy consumption and four marine evacuation systems.

The vessel’s passenger areas have been upgraded with new carpeting, furniture upholstery, new table tops, refurbishment of all public washrooms, as well as additional washrooms on Deck 5. A new coffee bar has been added on Deck 6 and the size of the gift shop has been doubled.

 


BC & NATIONAL Breaking News Archive: May 2018
BC & NATIONAL Breaking News Archive: March & April 2018

 

 

BC & NATIONAL Breaking News Archive: January & February 2018

BC & NATIONAL Breaking News Archive: November & December 2017

BC & NATIONAL Breaking News Archive: September & October 2017

BC & NATIONAL Breaking News Archive: July-August 2017

BC & NATIONAL Breaking News Archive: June 2017

BC & NATIONAL Breaking News Archive: April & May 2017

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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