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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.


 

From left: Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, BC Premier John Horgan.

Tuesday, May 29 ~ NATIONAL.  Trudeau talks pipeline.

Today Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with both BC Premier John Horgan and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley regarding the federal cabinet’s decision to purchase the assets of the Trans Mountain pipeline project (both the existing pipeline that was built in 1953 and the present infrastructure/equipment already in place to build the extension) for $4.5 billion.

Earlier today Finance Minister Bill Morneau said that owning the assets of the project make it clear about federal jurisdiction over the project.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with British Columbia Premier John Horgan by phone early this morning to confirm that the federal government had reached a commercial agreement with Kinder Morgan in order to secure the timely completion of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project. The Prime Minister confirmed that the agreement will guarantee the resumption of work for the summer construction season and protect thousands of jobs.

  • During the call, the Prime Minister reiterated the federal government’s jurisdiction over interprovincial pipelines, and noted that the Government of Canada is confident that, with this agreement, it is upholding the trust Canadians have placed in the government to both grow the economy and protect the environment. The Prime Minister noted that this project is made possible because of Canada’s world-leading Oceans Protection Plan, extensive and ongoing consultations with Indigenous communities, strengthened environmental standards, and a rigorous approvals process.‎
  • Trudeau reaffirmed his commitment to work collaboratively with British Columbia on important issues such as supporting infrastructure, fighting climate change, and protecting our environment and coasts.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke today with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley on the commercial agreement that the Government of Canada has reached with Kinder Morgan in order to secure the timely completion of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project.

  • The Prime Minister expressed appreciation for Premier Notley’s continued support for the project, and confirmed that the agreement will guarantee the resumption of work for the summer construction season and protect thousands of jobs.
  • During the call, the Trudeau acknowledged Alberta’s commitment to get the project done, and confirmed his understanding that Alberta’s contribution would act as an emergency fund and would only come into play if required due to unforeseen circumstances. The Prime Minister and Premier Notley noted their shared belief that it is possible – and fundamental – to grow the economy and protect the environment at the same time. They also agreed to continue working together on fighting climate change and protecting our environment.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau May 29 in Ottawa.

Tuesday, May 29 ~ NATIONAL. The federal government announced this morning that $4.5 billion will be committed to purchasing the Trans Mountain pipeline project (both existing infrastructure of the pipeline first built in 1953 and the new infrastructure that is currently in place to get the extension pipeline built) if Kinder Morgan cannot find a private sector buyer before August. This is largely seen as a statement of political assurance that the federal Liberal government can get a project “in the national interest” accomplished, something (i.e. get a pipeline built) they charged in Question Period today in the House of Commons that the previous Conservative government was unable to accomplish.

Kinder Morgan had estimated the cost of building the expansion would be $7.4 billion, but Morneau insisted that the project will not have a fiscal impact in that the federal government does not intend to be a long-term owner. Morneau said that at the appropriate time, the government would work with investors to transfer the project and related assets to a new owner or owners. Investors such as Indigenous groups and pension funds have already expressed interest, he said. The stock value of Kinder Morgan shares went up 2% this morning in response to the news, indicating a positive view of the federal government’s decision by the investment community. Eventually there could be annual revenues from a fully operable twinned pipeline of $5.5 billion to BC, $20 billion to Alberta, and $21 billion to the federal government.

BC Premier John Horgan has released the following statement about the federal government’s proposed purchase of the Trans Mountain Pipeline: “Today’s events do not change the risks of a seven-fold increase in tanker traffic, or the catastrophic effect a diluted bitumen spill would cause to British Columbia’s economy and environment. Tens of thousands of BC jobs depend on pristine coastal and inland waters. Our environment generates millions in economic activity, from tourism to film and fisheries. It does not matter who owns the pipeline. What matters is defending our coast – and our lands, rivers and streams – from the impact of a dilbit spill. Our government is determined to defend British Columbia’s interests within the rule of law and in the courts. We will continue our reference case, to determine our rights within our provincial jurisdiction.”

Horgan told media in a live news conference: “The federal government now is completely accountable and now, at the end of the day, is a good thing.” Horgan said that the federal finance minister will be responsible for outcomes, adding there is skepticism about making money off the pipeline, noting the present oil price of $66/barrel. Horgan encouraged any protesters who wish to continue to express their disappointment to do so “within the rule of law”. Horgan said that BC’s jurisdictional question to the BC Supreme Court is still in place. BC wants to “protect our coast and our economy (air, water and land) — and if the courts find otherwise, we’ll see what we can do about that”.  Accountability — including environmental — clearly falls to the federal government now, said Horgan.

The leader of the BC Green Party, Andrew Weaver issued a statement in response to the federal government’s decision to buy the Trans Mountain Pipeline. “This is a betrayal by a government who ran on a hopeful vision for a better future,” said Weaver. “A government that promised to end fossil fuel subsidies and to champion the clean economy should not be spending billions of dollars of taxpayer money to buy out a fossil fuel expansion project. We should be investing in growth industries that are clearly where the world is heading. Investing in this pipeline is like investing in the horse and buggy industry at the advent of the car.” “This is a deeply troubling decision on many levels,” continued Weaver. “Canada stands to sacrifice its international reputation, irreplaceable iconic species like the Southern resident Killer Whales, and its commitments to meet its Paris Climate targets and to reconcile with Indigenous people – all while putting enormous risk on Canadian taxpayers.” The Green Party leader continued: “It is clear that the world is transitioning away from fossil fuels. The cost of renewable energy continues to fall – solar and wind are already cheaper than coal in many jurisdictions. Last week, a report by Aurora Energy Research projected the adoption of electric vehicles could wipe out $19 trillion in oil revenue. You don’t build infrastructure like this for the next few years – this is built to last for the next 40-50. This is not the infrastructure we need in 10 years and certainly not what we need in 40.”

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh told media in Ottawa today that the federal government’s decision to buy the Trans Mountain Pipeline project was a “true lack of leadership” to save or create less than 3,000 jobs. “It’s a bad deal that will solve nothing,” Singh said, calling it a short-term decision that “doesn’t propose a way forward” and that there should be preparation for jobs in the clean energy sector and in jobs “right across the country”.

Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said the federal government should not be paying for a private sector project, that it is a political move by the prime minister to essentially save face. However, in Question Period today Finance Minister Morneau said that Trudeau’s Liberal government is now getting done “what the Conservatives were unable to do” for 10 years under Harper. Scheer says that the legal questions and obstacles to the project remain unresolved.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley called it “a major step forward for all Canadians.” She said any efforts by BC to further interfere with the project will have less effect with the federal government as the owner, because it will have Crown immunity.


 

Monday, May 28 ~ NATIONAL.  Over the next three months, Canadians may provide input on problems experienced relatively widely in the airline transportation industry.

Input about things like compensation for bumped flights and lost bags will help the federal government develop some new regulations about tarmac delays and cancelled flights

From a customer service perspective, it’s been rather astonishing that the airline industry would leave their customers stranded without options or compensation. Frustrations from the public have made their way to elected officials, and now the government is taking action. This is good public process at work.

Last week on May 23, 2018, Parliament passed the Transportation Modernization Act. This mandates the Canadian Transportation Agency to develop regulations for airlines’ obligations to air passengers.

The public can provide input in various ways:
• Attend an in-person session (the only one in BC will be held in Vancouver on Monday, June 18 (1 to 4pm and 6 to 8 pm)
• Complete a questionnaire: http://www.airpassengerprotection.ca/questionnaire
• Read a discussion paper and provide a written submission: http://www.airpassengerprotection.ca/submit
• Comment on any of these topics: Airline’s obligation to communicate clearly; Flight delay and cancellation; Denial of boarding; Lost or damaged baggage; Tarmac delay; Seating of children under 14 years; Transport of musical instruments; or other.

Registration to participate in the public sessions is required: http://www.airpassengerprotection.ca/register-session

As well, in-person surveys are being completed in 11 major airports across Canada.

Feedback is being accepted up to August 28, 2018.


The Swartz Bay Terminal of BC Ferries, near Sidney on south Vancouver Island.

Friday, May 25 ~ VANCOUVER ISLAND. If you have some ideas to improve service at the BC Ferries Swartz Bay terminal, here’s your chance. There’s an public input portal available to June 8 at www.bcferries.com/swbvision

This is part of a broader program announced earlier this month which includes meetings with key stakeholders and pop-up sessions at the terminal in late May and early June.

This program runs through to Fall 2018 to gather community feedback to better understand the important role that the terminal plays in the experience of communities and customer travel experiences within the regional transportation network.

Feedback will inform design concerts for the terminal, taking into account the collective needs of BC Ferries and the community. Customers and the community will be presented with possible design options.

Terminal redevelopment will be done over several years. Public engagement will continue as the terminal is designed and throughout construction which is scheduled to begin in 2021.

Since the previous master plan of 2004, there have been upgrades to ticket booths and traffic flows, and some berth modifications. The new Terminal Development Plan will guide long-term planning and investment in future improvements for Swartz Bay. “The long-term plan is for a more efficient and pleasurable experience for customers while supporting growth in the region by moving people and goods more easily,” said BC Ferries in a news release.


 

BC is creating 200 new nurse practitioner (NP) positions.

Wednesday, May 23 ~ BC.  The BC government is creating 200 new nurse practitioner (NP) positions to support patients as part of a shift to a team-based primary health-care system, it was announced by BC Minister of Health Adrian Dix today May 23.

“We know that there are significant numbers of British Columbians who have inadequate access to a primary care provider,” said Dix. “NPs are a viable, patient-centred solution to improving access, but we know that compared to other jurisdictions, BC has not made the best use of NPs. With the steps we are taking to fully leverage and integrate NPs into the province’s primary care system, this is about to change.”

The positions are being supported by approximately $115 million over three years, to secure NPs’ employment in primary care settings throughout British Columbia. Government is also increasing the number of NP education seats by 66%.

NP practice does not require physician supervision. NPs can work on their own, or with physicians and other health professionals, to provide care across a person’s life span. This includes diagnosing and treating illnesses, ordering and interpreting tests, prescribing medications and performing medical procedures. They hold a masters or PhD. They are regulated by the College of Registered Nurses of BC and hold liability insurance through the Canadian Nurses Protective Society.

BC Health Minister Adrian Dix

There are 426 practicing NPs in BC. The new positions will make a total of 626 NPs working in communities throughout BC.  Distribution of nurse practitioner positions will be based on regions with the highest need of primary care services. The positions will be available to new graduates, as well as current nurse practitioners, who wish to work to their full scope of practice in a primary care setting. NP’s provide care in both primary and acute care settings including rural, remote and urban centers.

“This is great news for nurse practitioners and British Columbians in need of primary care,” said Fiona Hutchison, president of the British Columbia Nurse Practitioner Association. “Fully integrating additional nurse practitioners into our provincial health-care system enables us to be more fully utilized and work to our full scope of practice – something we’ve been calling on for some time.”

As well, $1.2 million over two years will fund an additional 30 nurse practitioner education seats. Beginning in the 2018-19 school year, 15 additional nurse practitioner seats will be added at the University of British Columbia (UBC) where NP studies began in 2003. There will be five new seats at the University of Victoria (UVIC) and five at the University of Northern British Columbia. An additional five seats will be added at UVIC in 2019-20. These institutions will have the ability to train a total of 75 nurse practitioners per year.

Increasing the number of jobs and nurse practitioner seats is part of work underway to support a human resources strategy to ensure the health-care workforce meets the needs of patients. As part of this, as announced on April 18, 2018, the ministries of Health and Advanced Education, Skills and Training are providing approximately $3.3 million to create new health-care assistant seats in 11 post-secondary institutions throughout British Columbia.


Jurors in BC may now receive free counselling support after a traumatizing trial.

Wednesday, May 23 ~ BC. The BC government will provide access to free counselling sessions for British Columbians who have served as jurors and who by that experienced stress and mental-health challenges. The services will be available at the conclusion of a trial, as part of a new juror support program.

Jurors are sometimes required to hear evidence and testimony about violent and traumatic crimes, including crimes against children and other vulnerable people. Previously, only one group debriefing session was available to jurors at the conclusion of trial, and only if requested by at least six jurors. The new juror support program will offer all BC jurors the opportunity to access four confidential one-on-one sessions with a qualified and experienced counsellor.

“This program was inspired by a letter written to me by Mark Farrant, a former juror in Ontario who is campaigning for better jury supports. He pointed out to me that BC could do much more to support jurors, and he was right,” said David Eby, Attorney General. “Jury duty is a vital public service, but it can also be stressful, and occasionally traumatic. Talking to a qualified counsellor can help. This new program will offer free services to all jurors, so that they can get the support they need, when they need it.”

Mark Farrant has sued the Ontario and federal governments for developing PTSD as a result of serving as a juror on a murder trial.

In February 2018, Farrant launched at $100,000 lawsuit against two governments (Ontario and federal) for having developed PTSD after serving as a juror on a murder trial. He says he wasn’t prepared for the graphic horror of the evidence he was obliged to sit through. His lawsuit said It alleges the attorneys general of Ontario and Canada breached their “duty of care” to protect Farrant as a juror. The lawsuit says Farrant continues to suffer from “stress, fatigue, insomnia, loss of appetite, significant weight loss, income loss and loss of competitive advantage.”

The BC government will be issuing a request for proposal and, once a qualified vendor is selected, will announce program details, including when the program will be available. Counselling will be provided primarily in person, although there will be options for telephone and video sessions. A toll-free telephone number will be available to answer juror-support program questions, and to book appointments with counsellors.

BC Attorney General David Eby [CBC screenshot]

“Serving as a juror is one of the most important civic duties in Canada,” Farrant said. “Canadians deliver justice in some very difficult cases, and sometimes those experiences take a toll on jurors long after the verdict is delivered. I’m very grateful that Attorney General Eby respected my mission to provide improved supports to jurors, and showed leadership in announcing these new services to British Columbians. May this serve as a signal to other provinces and territories to evolve their own policies.”

The juror support program is part of the Province’s commitment to increasing mental-health services in British Columbia, and will be available (after the conclusion of the trial) to any juror who has served on a criminal, civil, or coroner’s jury for up to six months.

To ensure the program is responsive to the needs of all jurors, instances of jurors needing support beyond the six-month timeline will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


 

BC Attorney General David Eby

Tuesday, May 22 ~ BC. British Columbia files constitutional challenge of Alberta legislation. 

The Government of British Columbia has filed a statement of claim in Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench. The Attorney General of BC is bringing this action, based on public interest standing on behalf of British Columbians, challenging the constitutionality of Alberta’s Preserving Canada’s Economic Prosperity Act.

The Alberta legislation passed last week (May 16, 2018) would require export licences be obtained by Alberta companies for the export of natural gas, crude oil, and refined fuels such as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel — with a fine of $10 million per day for companies and $1 million per day for individuals.

Today May 22, BC Attorney General David Eby told media that preventing Alberta oil products from reaching Northern and remote BC communities would be detrimental to those communities that rely on diesel for electricity generation and boat transportation. Trucks that ship goods out of the Port of Vancouver to all parts of BC would be impacted by a lack of diesel, therefore impacting the supply of various goods around the province.

Eby told media that BC in its reference to the BC Supreme Court is “seeking adequate protections in the event of a spill, and if there is a spill, to clean it up”. He says BC wants “to ensure those things are in place, not to stop or prevent the pipeline”.

“We want to ensure that (environmental) protections are in place when the pipeline is built and turned on,” Eby told media at the noon hour today. He said that Alberta’s legislation to stop delivery of refined fuel to BC is apparently “a punishment for our reference case” but that Alberta’s legislation is “on its face unconstitutional”. Eby said the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in the Comeau case (out of New Brunswick, in April) that government can’t use trade policy to punish other provinces.

Eby says it’s unlikely that Alberta will actually use their new Bill 12 legislation, given that it’s unconstitutional.

The complete statement of claim by BC in response to Alberta’s legislation that would be used to stop delivery of refined fuel to BC is available online: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Statement_of_Claim_Final.pdf


 

BC Environment Minister George Heyman [Dec 2017 file photo – West Shore Voice News]

Thursday, May 17 ~ BC. As part of keeping its cool in the Trans Mountain pipeline faceoff taking place among the federal government, BC and Alberta, BC sent a letter today to the federal government, including shared priorities. [View this article on a separate page]

BC wants improvements to oceans protection. The federal government says it sees environmental protection going hand in hand with building the economy.

This week Finance Minister Bill Morneau dropped a lead weight of blame on BC Premier Horgan as the reason that the federal government, as part of announcing that it will provide financial support to Kinder Morgan for the challenged pipeline project. The funding is stapled to the project, so if Kinder Morgan bails, a new proponent would have the same advantage.

Federal environment minister Catherine McKenna.

George Heyman, BC Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy sent the 3-page letter (plus 2-page appendix listing several meetings with DFO,the coast guard, environment ministry, national energy board, and more) to his federal counterpart, Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

Heyman’s letter, in response to correspondence received from McKenna on April 26, 2018, can be viewed here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/316322_McKenna_FINAL_SIGNED.PDF

Heyman has outlined differences, as well as individual and shared priorities, of both governments related to protecting BC’s environment and economy from the effects of a catastrophic oil spill.

He has also suggested areas where the federal government needs to do more in areas of its jurisdiction, including improvements to the federal government’s Oceans Protection Plan.

Heyman has also proposed ways both governments can cooperate on their respective research regarding the behaviour of spilled heavy oils, as wells as ways to jointly improve environmental protection.


 

BC Premier John Horgan at the 3rd Annual #BCTech Summit that is hosted by the BC Government. [Twitter photo May 16, 2018]

Wednesday, May 16 ~ BC. To help spark innovation, economic growth and new jobs in BC, the provincial government is investing in tech-based research and advanced training opportunities in all parts of the province, Premier John Horgan announced today at the #BCTECH Summit in Vancouver.

“BC succeeds when British Columbians succeed – and our province’s tech sector is proving that every day,” said Premier Horgan, adding that the sector has over 10,000 companies employing more than 106,000 people.

“Our job is to provide opportunities and partnerships that help companies and individuals innovate, succeed and grow. This approach delivers more jobs and a stronger economy, and helps support health care, education, housing and other public services that make British Columbia a great place to live and work.”

The Province announced that it is investing over $102.6 million in funding for 75 post-secondary research projects, through the BC Knowledge Development Fund (BCKDF). The projects will develop BC’s expertise and innovation in fields such as advanced super-computing and clean technology, to spur job creation, talent development and commercialize innovation.

To attract and retain the best graduate students, $12 million will be invested in graduate degree scholarships over the next three years, to support the priority STEM (science, tech, engineering and mathematics) programs, as well as Indigenous students and regional programs. The Province will also invest in women-in-technology scholarships to inspire a new generation of women to take up science and tech-based professions.

To develop tech talent, $10.5 million will be invested in co-op opportunities and entrepreneurial training for post-secondary students, so they can gain vital hands-on experience to be job-ready when they enter the tech sector.

To help make it easier for tech companies to recruit top international talent to BC, government will expand its Provincial Nominee Program Tech Pilot: priority processing for people in tech occupations (e.g. biotechnologists, software engineers and web developers).

“Investing in innovation is the best thing we can do to set our province up for success,” said Andrew Weaver, BC Green Party leader. “Technology is driving global growth and has the potential to add value to every sector of BC’s economy. This minority government is a unique opportunity to come together to champion a bold vision for the future of our province, and I am proud to be working in partnership with the government to support our tech sector.”

The BC government will unveil a province-wide tech strategy next year that will help provide all people with the ability to work and prosper in the communities they call home. In turn, the Province will invest in health care, education, housing and other public services that make BC a great place to live and work.

The third-annual #BCTECH Summit May 14-16 has been hosted by the BC Government in partnership with Innovate BC (a crown agency) which encourages the development and application of advanced or innovative technologies to meet the needs of BC industry.


 

Premier John Horgan at Victoria Chamber of Commerce event at Crystal Garden, May 15 [West Shore Voice News photo]

Wednesday, May 16 ~ VICTORIA. BC Premier John Horgan has released the following statement on the federal government’s Trans Mountain pipeline investor compensation:

“We are standing up for British Columbia’s environment, economy and our coast against the threat of a bitumen spill, and we are doing so entirely within our rights.

“The federal finance minister is trying to use our government as an excuse, as the federal government puts taxpayer money on the line to backstop risks to private investors, while completely ignoring the risks to BC. The fact is, we’ve been issuing permits in a fair and timely manner, and have proposed new regulations that are now referred to court to confirm our jurisdiction.

“We are acting well within BC’s rights to defend our environment, and the tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of economic activity that depend on it.”

Yesterday during a speech at a Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Victoria, Horgan took the opportunity to express positive support for Alberta Premier Rachel Notley as a fellow NDP leader, acknowledging it’s her job to represent the economic interests of her province (vis-a-vis the pipeline issue). But he added: “I am not convinced that we are prepared to deal with the consequences of a diluted bitumen spill in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, around the Gulf Islands and in Burrard Inlet. We need to find a balance — my responsibility is to the people in this room and the people who are coming here “attracted by the pristine environment” (i.e. tourism).

Horgan reiterated his view that raw bitumen should go to refineries in Canada “to help people” in the local economy instead of being shipped overseas. He said that the federal 10-year commitment of $1.5 billion on three coasts of the largest coastline on the planet is not a lot of funding should anything go wrong.

Today NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said on behalf of the federal NDP that “billions of tax dollars are being used to write a blank cheque to a Texas oil company and its shareholders”.

While a handout from government seems like it should sweeten the pot, business pundits have suggested that a corporation does not always welcome the hand of government in their accounting processes or boardroom.

Today Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also issued Canada’s official welcome and congratulations on the birth of the third child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The timing is notable because the Prime Minister’s news release highlights the royal couple’s 2016 visit to Haida Gwaii, noting the pristine environment of BC that was visited there during the tour. In other words, a nod to the importance of BC’s pristine coast.


 

BC Premier John Horgan addressed Chamber of Commerce members in Victoria May 15 [West Shore Voice News photo]

Tuesday, May 15 ~ VICTORIA. [View this article on a separate pageIt was a tough crowd for an NDP Premier — a room packed with about 400 chamber of commerce members and business leaders at the Crystal Garden in downtown Victoria — who at least in part would be expected to take some issue with the left-leaning policies of Premier John Horgan’s NDP government.

In less than one year in office, Horgan has rapidly rolled out numerous policy adjustments and new directions for British Columbia that are changing the socioeconomic landscape of the province in notable ways.

In a nutshell, that’s to make life more affordable for all British Columbians, he is oft heard to say. But that has come with almost seismic shifts in some areas of taxation — some that businesses consider punitive (such as the Employer Health Tax) but others that ‘help’ such as eliminating PST on electricity for businesses by 2019 and reducing the small business tax rate from 2.5% to 2.0%.

A seasoned, relaxed speaker, Horgan was comfortable at the podium but was careful to put a business or economic context around every potentially controversial portion of his 35-minute speech.

He covered the gamut from justifying the BC Speculation Tax and the shift from the Medical Services Program (MSP) to the Employer Health Tax (EHT), to defending his government’s stance spawned by the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project to protect the coastal environmental in the event of an oil spill.

At least twice he emphasized “not social policy but economic policy”, specifically with regard to providing more and better child care, and working to full reconciliation with indigenous peoples.

Victoria MP Murray Rankin was among those who attended the Chamber lunch to hear Premier Horgan’s speech May 15 [West Shore Voice News photo]

“The economy, environment and people are inextricably bound together,” said Horgan, saying that “everybody benefits” from the economic success of addressing all of those socioeconomic components of governing a thriving province like BC. Underpinning that is public education.

“Given the opportunity and tools of education we can achieve anything – the greatest tool at our disposal is public education,” Premier Horgan suggested to the crowd, referencing both K-12 and post-secondary. He was proud to remind the room that one of the first things his government did after taking office in July 2017 was to eliminate tuition fees for adult basic education and English language learning.

In the audience today were several BC Cabinet ministers, including Finance Minister Carole James and Education Minister Rob Fleming. They sat with Premier Horgan at the same table as Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps who at the end of the event presented Horgan with a painting by an indigenous artist from the Cowichan area.

Also present from NDP ranks were Victoria MP Murray Rankin and Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke MP Randall Garrison. Various municipal mayors and councillors attended, including View Royal Mayor David Screech, Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen, Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins, Langford Councillors Lillian Szpak and Denise Blackwell, and Oak Bay Councillor Hazel Braithwaite.

This was a five-Chamber event with members from the Greater Victoria, Saanich Peninsula, WestShore, Sooke Region and Esquimalt Chambers.

Horgan outlined how there is now — thanks to NDP housing policy — the opportunity for post-secondary to build student housing “without coming cap in hand to the treasury board”, as a way to free up housing stock in the community. This also provides housing-supply opportunities for the development and construction communities.

Langford Councillors Lillian Szpak and Denise Blackwell attended the May 15 chamber luncheon [West Shore Voice News photo]

The overall thread of the speech was to demonstrate the potential for productive interface between the social directions unfolding from the NDP and what the business community can do to benefit and prosper through attention to the well-being of people and communities. People who can find affordable places to live are therefore available for employment in high-demand business regions. Families that can access reliable quality child care can then afford for a second parent to join or rejoin the workforce.

Overall the crowd’s mood was polite and attentive. But there likely weren’t many converts to the government’s position on two things of most concernation to vocal leaders in the business community — the BC Speculation Tax and the EHT that is set to replace the outgoing MSP.

Regarding transportation congestion issues in the Greater Victoria area, Horgan was asked if he would support a Regional Transportation Authority (RTA). Horgan’s first noted “seeing a failure of the previous government to invest” in transportation solutions, followed by saying that he’s observed with TransLink in Vancouver that large advisory bodies can become “disconnected from the needs of the community and lean to the loudest voice at the table”.

Horgan hopes that BC Transit will “provide public opportunities for people” in Greater Victoria. He favours a non-formal provincial government lead on transportation: “We kinda got it covered here,” he said today, referring to the connections that he and Ministers Fleming, James, Popham and MLA Mitzi Dean have in the community. “We work with the CRD and local mayors and councils to try and deliver services for people,” Horgan said.

One question from the room expressed concern about losing tourism due to the pipeline dispute with Alberta. With reference made to the lunch menu including Alberta short ribs, Horgan did take the opportunity to express positive support for NDP Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, acknowledging it’s her job to represent the economic interests of her province (vis-a-vis the pipeline issue).

“I am not convinced that we are prepared to deal with the consequences of a diluted bitumen spill in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Gulf Islands and Burrard Inlet,” said Horgan. “We need to find a balance — my responsibility is to the people in this room and the people who are coming here” who are “attracted by the pristine environment”. He reiterated his view that raw petroleum should go to refineries in Canada “to help people” instead of being shipped overseas. He said that the federal 10-year commitment of $1.5 billion on three coasts of the largest coastline on the planet is not a lot of funding should anything go wrong.

The big reveal of the lunchtime speech was Horgan’s commitment to making sure something is achieved with the E&N corridor, saying that trains (or an additional lane on Hwy 1) are probably not the solution to getting more commuters to and to the Victoria area core for employment. He said he is committed to “moving people”, and that he is “committed to doing that in the term of this government”.

Horgan was later asked a question from the floor…  would he support formation of a Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) which has been proposed at the CRD level. He talked about getting people “out of cars” into public transit, saying it’s good for the economy to move people efficiently and effectively. Afterward, View Royal Mayor David Screech –- whose municipality is squarely in the one of the heaviest commuter traffic through-zones, said he is still in favour of reactivating trains for the E&N.

Randall Garrison, MP said that Horgan spoke directly to the business community about “issues that they care about”, adding that BC has “enviable economic success”. Indeed, Horgan knew what he was up against but he didn’t pander. Rather, he talked about his government’s plan, made arguments in support of stated policies, and answered questions in which he held his ground.

Horgan wrapped up saying he will back next year, as a way of declaring the stability of his government. The NDP (with Greens) is moving forward with many things that in a few years time will see BC and Canada looking back at a provincial socioeconomic canvas painted with new strokes that are intended to open up new opportunities for business, communities and individuals.


 

Large homes on ALR land in Richmond BC. [aerial screenshot – Global TV]

Tuesday, May 15 ~ VICTORIA.  The BC Green Party caucus is calling on the provincial government to take immediate action to stymie speculation on Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) land. The Green Caucus says the vote at Richmond council on Monday evening May 14 demonstrates why provincial action is needed. 

Richmond City Council decided not to reduce the size of so-called ‘megahomes’ built on land in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). The city has decided to maintain the current maximum size of over 10,000 sq ft and will allow secondary homes of 3,200 sq ft for farm workers on lots size eight- to 25-hectares.

“Mega mansions on ALR land are imperiling our food security, destroying agricultural land and driving up prices well beyond the reach of young farmers,” said BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver in a news release today May 15.

“The provincial government has a number of tools at its disposal that it should immediately use to address the issue of speculation on ALR land,” said Weaver. “These include restricting foreign ownership of ALR land, applying the speculation tax and foreign buyers tax to the ALR, or creating legally binding house size limits. It should use at least one of these immediately to prevent the loss of any more farmland.”

“There is a problem but it’s not just Richmond, this is a problem that’s going across the province,” says BC Agriculture Minster Lana Popham. No changes can be made until a revitalization committee consultation is complete, said Popham.

Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands and a former Saanich Councillor, added that local governments have been asking the province to take action for years: “This decision at Richmond Council will drive the price of ALR in their community sky high, it will impact the rest of the province and demonstrates the need for action at the provincial level.”

“We knew 10 years ago we needed to take action on limiting house size and location on ALR land, we called on the government of the day to act. We were not alone and rather than take action the Province has buried this issue in consultation only further increasing pressure on the cost of farmland,” says Olsen. “The issue of speculation driving up land prices is well-documented and its solutions are clear. Delaying action only causes the issue to spiral further out of control — last year, Richmond alone lost 50 farms due to the construction of mega-mansions on farmland. I urge the Minister in the strongest terms to recognize to take immediate action before any more farmland is lost.”


 

Canada playing USA in the 2nd game on Sunday May 13 at Westhills Stadium in Langford. [screenshot]

Sunday, May 13 ~ LANGFORD.  The 2018 HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens wrapped up earlier today under sunshine and blue skies, before a packed stadium of 6,070 over the two-day tournament this Mother’s Day weekend at Westhills Stadium in Langford, BC.

New Zealand emerged the tournament winner, for their 2nd tournament win on the 5-stop HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series.

Canada placed 5th today with a decisive win in their final match of the day against Ireland, moving them into 4th place in the Series standings with one tournament remaining in Paris, France on June 8-10.

Playing well for Canada were Charity Williams who four times ran the length of the field and Bianca Farella who got Canada ahead in the 2nd game today. Some crucial mistakes were made in this tournament by Canada’s team Canada Ghislaine Landry (returning from a hamstring injury that saw her sit out the games in Japan in April), including two kicks that fell short of the 10-metre line.

For post tournament coverage and full tournament results visit www.canadasevens.com or www.worldrugby.org

Canada Women’s Sevens team captain Ghislaine Landry in Langford May 13 [screenshot]

“Rugby Canada would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to the Community of Langford and all the supportive fans who came out to cheer on not only our Canadian women, but all of the outstanding teams that delivered inspiring and entertaining performances throughout the weekend,” said Allen Vansen, CEO, Rugby Canada.

“Congratulations to New Zealand on their well-deserved win, and thank you to all of our partners, sponsors and volunteers for their continued support,” said Vansen.

The HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens will return to Langford next year on May 11 & 12, 2019 for the 5th and final year of the current Series cycle. Rugby Canada is actively bidding for another four years of both the men’s and women’s HSBC Canada Sevens tournaments, and hope to receive approval on their bids by Fall 2018.

The 2018 HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens has been a two-day tournament held May 12-13, 2018, hosted at the home of Canadian Rugby at Westhills Stadium in Langford BC, and featured 12 of the world’s top women’s rugby sevens teams on Canadian soil.

The HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens is the fourth stop in a five-stop world tour as part of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series. Sevens rugby is a fast-paced and shorter version of traditional rugby with only seven players per side. It has built a huge international audience through the success of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, which attracts large audiences in markets around the world.

The 2018 HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series kicked off in Dubai on November 30th. Find the entire 5-stop tour at www.worldrugby.org/sevens-series/series-info


 

Saturday, May 12 ~ BC. The BC College of Veterinarians this week announced that they have banned the declawing of domestic cats.

On May 8, the college officially banned the practice of partial digital amputation, also known as onychectomy, or declawing. The procedure will now only be allowed for medical reasons.

In a statement, the college said the practice is banned immediately for domestic cats, except when medically necessary.

“Elective and non-therapeutic declawing is ethically problematic and not an appropriate means of dealing with feline behaviour issues,” the statement said.

“I find that decision wonderful because when they declaw them they take a piece of the toes with it,” says Margarita Dominguez who operates the Victoria Pet Food Bank and Feral Cat Rehabilitation Society.

The move brings the province in line with the recommendation of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA), which has condemned the practice. Nova Scotia’s college had already enacted a ban.

Medical reasons for declawing include a biopsy for diagnosis, severe trauma, or medical conditions affecting the health of the nail.


 

Line painting has begun on Vancouver Island [photo – Hwy 14, April 2018 – by West Shore Voice News]

Friday, May 11 ~ BC. Road crews have started line painting throughout the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island, with higher-quality glass beads included in the paint formula, so drivers can see brighter, more reflective road lines.

“Road markings need to not only survive, but shine on B.C.’s West Coast, especially at night and in rainy conditions,” said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “The ministry’s top priority is making sure our roads and highways are as safe as possible.

By including larger, higher quality glass beads in our paint mix, it will be easier for people to see our lines when it’s dark and the weather is bad.”

Painting has begun, and this week work is taking place in the Pemberton area, Victoria and Duncan. In total, more than 3,000 km of roads and highways will be painted in the region this year.

Adding glass beads to line paint greatly increases reflectivity. The larger and higher-quality beads to be used in second coats this year in the region will provide 20% more reflectivity than the previous formula.

Also, requests for proposal were recently issued through BCBid for the next Pavement Marking Service Agreements, which will go into effect on December 16, 2018. The following changes are being made to improve on the current agreements:
* 20% more lines painted annually throughout the province
* Use of larger glass beads for increased reflectivity and visibility at night, and thicker paint for longer-lasting pavement marking in coastal areas
* Second coat application in areas that experience premature wear
* Enhanced contractor monitoring and auditing, to maintain consistent performance

There are five pavement marking service areas in the province: Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland, Thompson-Cariboo, Okanagan-Kootenay and Northern Region. Each of the upcoming pavement marking service agreements, which were last tendered in 2013, are for five-year terms, and include an optional two-year extension.

The ministry works closely with contractors to continually test new paint formulations, and products to ensure that high-performing, environmentally friendly formulations are used in BC.

Private contractors are responsible for repainting more than 20,000 km every year, on highways and provincially owned side roads in BC, using close to one million litres of paint and 500,000 kg of glass beads.

This work starts every spring, and continues through the summer and into the fall.  www.tranbc.ca


 

Thursday, May 10 ~ BC. Funding to the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets will increase by about $0.75 million to expand the BC Farmers Market Nutrition Coupon Program, it was announced on May 5. The total coupon amount will increase from $240 per participant household to $336 (as weekly coupons for four months).

The number of participating households is expected to rise from 3,708 to over 3,900 and the number of expectant mothers in the program will be up by 450 by March 2020, it was stated in a Ministry of Health news release.

The coupon program runs June 11 to October 31 at participating farmers’ markets in 57 communities including these in the south Vancouver Island area: Duncan, Esquimalt, Sooke, and Victoria’s James Bay and Moss Street Markets.

The program provides nutrition and skills-building programs which are offered by community agencies associated with each participating market. Coupons help with the purchase of local food including vegetables, fruit, nuts, eggs, dairy, herbs, meat and fish. The program is part of the BC Government’s poverty reduction work.

Program benefits also include improved economic activity through an increased and sustained customer base for local and regional farmers, which in turn has allowed them to grow and diversify.


 

The Women’s Rugby Sevens team captains at Royal Roads University campus May 10 [West Shore Voice News photo] From left: Brazil, Fiji, England, Spain, Russia, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, France, USA, Ireland, Japan.

Thursday, May 10 ~ WEST SHORE.  The Women’s Rugby Sevens team captains did their official group photo on the croquet lawn at Royal Roads University (RRU) this afternoon, May 10. The afternoon was sunny and a big cloud that threatened rain held off from raining on this parade.

These athletes from 12 countries are by default hosted by the Canadian home team that is based out of Langford. Players are staying at Bear Mountain Resort and the Four Points Sheraton, and getting to see the growing bustling town on their way to the various community appearances this week (at schools around Greater Victoria) and practice sessions at Westhills Stadium in Langford.

“Playing at home is unique for us,” says Canada Women’s Rugby Sevens team captain Ghislaine Landry, as the team is now based entirely out of Langford at the new Al Charron Rugby Canada National Training Centre in Langford. “It’s exciting to get out in front of the local fans,” she told media after the photo shoot. “We love to live and train here, it’s fun for us,” she said.

Landry explained that there is a “level of pride” to be operating from an established location, saying the centralization of Rugby Canada in the Victoria area started about six years ago.  As Canada’s team captain, Landry ventured to say that when the Women’s Rugby Sevens tournament comes to Langford it’s everyone’s “favourite spot”.

All of the Canadian team players are staying with the other players at the local hotel venues. “It’s part of the tournament experience,” Landry mused.

When asked about what was considered a poor showing for Canada when they played in Japan last month, of course the response was with positive bravado: “This weekend we’ll show that we have trained hard,” said the Canadian team captain.

A bit of tournament analysis by Landry when asked about the competition: “New Zealand and Australia are top teams. And France has a great shot. Spain had a good showing last game.”

The 12 countries that are represented in the Women’s Rugby Sevens circuit are (team captains): Canada (Ghislaine Landry), Australia (Shannon Parry), New Zealand (Sarah Goss), France (Fanny Horta), USA (Nicole Heavirland), Ireland (Lucy Mulhall), Japan (Chiharu Nakamura), Russia (Alena Mikhaltsova), Spain (Barbra Pla), England Abbie Brown), Fiji (Ana Roqica) and Brazil (Raquel Kochhann).

Rain began to fall onto the well-trimmed lawns of the RRU campus outside Hatley Castle in Colwood, just as the media interviews wrapped up.

The 2018 HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens tournament will be held at Westhills Stadium in Langford this Mother’s Day weekend, on Saturday May 12 and Sunday May 13.  Tickets are still available for sale online at www.canadasevens.com/womens . Two day tournament passes are available for $49. Single day tickets for Saturday or Sunday are available for $30 or the group rate of $25 (10 or more tickets purchased). Anyone who uses the code MOMPLUS3 can get four general-admission tickets for the price of three.


 

Wednesday, May 9 ~ BC. A new BC Small Business Task Force in BC will “listen to entrepreneurs and business owners throughout the province, so we can continue to improve BC’s small business climate”, said BC Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology in Surrey on May 2.

Public consultations in June will almost entirely be held on the mainland, with Nanaimo being the only pit-stop on Vancouver Island. BC’s small business community, including chambers of commerce, entrepreneurs and First Nations will take part in the consultations. Comments, requests or suggestions for the task force can be submitted at www.smallbusinessroundtable.ca .

A final report with recommendations will be submitted to the Minister in Fall 2018.

[This article first published in the May 4, 2018 print/PDF issue of West Shore Voice News]


 

School playground funding has been announced by the BC Government, with 51 schools getting new playgrounds by Sept 2018.

Tuesday, May 8 ~ VICTORIA. Students at 51 schools in BC will have new playgrounds to use in September, as part of a new playground fund that takes fundraising pressure off parents.

Introduced during a media event by Minister of Education Rob Fleming, the announcement was made by Premier John Horgan at Quadra Elementary in Victoria during the lunch hour with the happy background sound of kids at play.

“All students deserve quality, safe and accessible playgrounds at school, regardless of how much their parents can fundraise,” said Premier Horgan. “That’s why we’re lifting the burden off of parents by investing $5 million today, and every year moving forward, to build playgrounds where they are needed most.”

“Playgrounds make a real difference, for fitness, long term health care costs, and PAC’s who spend an inordinate amount of time focused on raising money for playgrounds,” Horgan said during the outdoor announcement.

Quadra Elementary (in SD61) will receive $105,000 for an accessible playground. In the west shore, the school getting a fund of $105,000 this year for a playground upgrade is Ecole Poirier Elementary in Sooke (SD62). There is no SD63 (Saanich) school on the list in this first round.

This funding is part of a new, ongoing Playground Equipment Program providing up to $5 million each year to school districts to buy new or replacement playground equipment. This year, 26 schools are receiving $90,000 for a standard playground, and 25 schools are receiving $105,000 for a universally accessible playground.

Districts applied for the funding in April 2018. Playgrounds are being funded based on greatest need. Schools currently without a playground got priority, followed by schools where the existing playground is aging. Districts not receiving funding this year are eligible for next year. This year’s list: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Playground_fund.pdf

Basic playground at Ecole Poirier Elementary (2015 photo)

“I’ve heard from parents that they need relief from fundraising tens of thousands of dollars for playground equipment – that’s a lot of bake sales and bottle drives for today’s busy parents,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “Today, we’re delivering this fund to help parents, and provide access to communities that don’t have the fundraising capacity to buy the play equipment students need.”

Generally, schools’ parent advisory councils (PACs) have to fundraise large sums of money for new and replacement playground equipment. Schools without that capability are often left without playgrounds. PACs have had to deal with fundraising for a wide range of school needs since cutbacks under the BC Liberal government during the mid-2000s. By this decade, PACs had just resigned themselves to fundraising for things that years ago (and in other provinces) were provided by the government school-funding.

“This new program will alleviate some of the inequities in parent fundraising, and enable PACs to strengthen their advisory and advocacy roles,” said Jen Mezei, president, BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils. “Parents have advocated for this for over a decade, and we thank the government for the ongoing commitment. We believe that safe and accessible playgrounds should not be dependent on a school community’s ability to raise funds, and for too long have felt the burden to ensure schools and school communities have safe and engaging play spaces.”

Budget 2018 includes a record $2 billion in school capital funding over the next three years, to invest in building new schools in growing communities, fixing aging schools and making schools safer for students in the event of a large earthquake.

Playgrounds are important for children’s development and learning. They encourage outdoor physical activity, and help students learn how to share, work together, overcome challenges and be creative. Outdoor play can help students focus and learn more effectively in the classroom.


 

Monday, May 7 ~ BC. A new Partners in Preparedness Program was announced in Vancouver on May 5 by Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness along with retail partners London Drugs and Save-On-Foods.

Making it easier for British Columbians to purchase the supplies they need to be better prepared, is the goal.
“Industry, retailers, all levels of government and all citizens have a role to play in emergency readiness,” said Rice.

BC retailers may partner with the Province by promoting and selling disaster supplies in their stores. Ready-made shopping lists will help people find supplies for assembling an emergency kit. Retailers can customize the program to the specific hazards in their area by featuring one or more of five emergency risks: earthquake, wildfire, flood, power outage and severe weather.

A PreparedBC survey showed a need for people to know what to include in their kits.

[This article first published in the May 4, 2018 print/PDF issue of West Shore Voice News]


BC & NATIONAL Breaking News Archive: March & April 2018

 

 

BC & NATIONAL Breaking News Archive: January & February 2018

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