Home ARCHIVE – Front Page Breaking News – November 2016

ARCHIVE – Front Page Breaking News – November 2016


West Shore Voice News

ARCHIVE: Front Page Breaking News – November 2016

alistairmacgregor-headshotWednesday, November 30 ~ OTTAWA.  The MP for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford on Vancouver Island, Alistair MacGregor, says he is dismayed at Trudeau’s broken promise on Kinder Morgan. 

“Yesterday, Justin Trudeau and the Liberals betrayed a clear commitment that they made to British Columbians during the campaign that the Kinder Morgan pipeline would not be approved under the Conservative’s broken review process,” said MacGregor in a news release today .

“I think it’s clear that Justin Trudeau has betrayed the trust of British Columbians after totally backtracking on his promises,” he said. “Many in my province of British Columbia actually voted Liberal because they were led to believe that this pipeline would not go forward under a Liberal government. That turned out to be untrue.”

MacGregor says that several Liberal MPs were elected stating that Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion could not be approved because it had not undergone a credible public review process. “The government’s hand-picked cabinet panel admitted that this project faces strong opposition from First Nations and local communities. The recent Bella Bella oil spill demonstrates that the BC coast is not prepared for a 7-fold increase in tanker traffic,” says MacGregor.

“The Prime Minister admitted that the environmental process was not credible under the Conservatives and then approved the project anyway,” said MacGregor. “They should have brought in a new review process to address environmental concerns rather than just following Stephen Harper’s lead on climate change,’’ added MacGregor.

BC Premier Christy Clark invites Prime Minister Trudeau to BC

BC Premier Christy Clark invites Prime Minister Trudeau to BC

Wednesday, November 30 ~ BC. BC Premier Christy Clark in a news conference this morning said that the federal government has come “very very close” to meeting BC’s five conditions for BC’s support of pipeline projects like Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and Enbridge’s Line 3.

Clark says BC is not sure on all the details of the federal ocean protection plan, but that Trudeau’s government has come a long way on this.

Inviting him to share the heat up close, Premier Clark has invited Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to come to BC to explain the decision.

While the expected uproar among environmentalists is certainly to emerge in the days ahead, there is a strong centre-right political majority in BC that will be supportive of the pipeline expansion that has been approved by the federal government.

Clark took credit for standing up for BC and confirmed she would support the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project if the five conditions are met. She said that job creation needs to balanced with environmental protection and that BC has a successful track record with that.

BC’s five conditions are:

  • Successful completion of the environmental review process;
  • World-leading marine oil spill response, prevention and recovery systems for BC’s coastline and ocean to manage and mitigate the risks and costs of heavy oil pipelines and shipments;
  • World-leading practices for land oil spill prevention, response and recovery systems to manage and mitigate the risks and costs of heavy oil pipelines;
  • Legal requirements regarding Aboriginal and treaty rights are addressed, and First Nations are provided with the opportunities, information and resources necessary to participate in and benefit from a heavy-oil project; and
  • British Columbia receives a fair share of the fiscal and economic benefits of a proposed heavy oil project that reflects the level, degree and nature of the risk borne by the province, the environment and taxpayers.


BC NDP Leader John Horgan

BC NDP Leader John Horgan

Tuesday, November 29 ~ BC. “Today is a difficult day for BC – the federal government approved the Kinder Morgan pipeline,” says BC NDP Leader John Horgan. “We didn’t have to be here today,” says Horgan.  The pipeline will cross hundreds of salmon-bearing streams and lead to a seven-fold increase in tanker traffic on our coast. “This project threatens our coastline, entire communities, our salmon and wildlife.”

Horgan notes the Province’s response to the announcement (see article and BC Minister of Environment’s statement below) did not include a statement from BC Premier Christy Clark. “She handed the decision over to the federal government.”

“Here in BC, the environment is the economy,” says the NDP leader who will be up against Clark and the BC Liberals in the May 2017 provincial election. That election could come down to how each leader handles the oil pipeline issue, given the wide range of impacts including economic, environmental and political including First Nations.

Prime Minister Trudeau flanked by federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna

Prime Minister Trudeau flanked by federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna

Tuesday, November 29 ~ BC.  Today the federal government approved the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Project, while rejecting the Northern Gateway proposal.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed off on two major pipelines today. If constructed, the projects that will pump nearly a million more barrels of oil a day from Alberta’s oilsands to global markets. Ottawa approved the Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and Enbridge’s Line 3, while rejecting the Northern Gateway project.

The prime minister said production from Alberta’s oilsands is increasing, and current pipeline infrastructure will soon be at capacity.

“The decision we took today is the one that is in the best interests of Canada,” Trudeau said in announcing his government’s support for the two major projects. “It is a major win for Canadian workers, for Canadian families and the Canadian economy, now and into the future.” He said Canada is still a “climate leader,” and pointed to Alberta’s plan to cap greenhouse gas emissions from the oil patch at 100 megatonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions a year.

If these projects aren’t built, diluted bitumen would be forced into more rail tanker cars for transport. “That is less economic, and more dangerous for communities, and is higher in terms of greenhouse gas emissions than modern pipelines would be.”

Trudeau also announced today that the federal government would ban crude oil tankers along BC’s North Coast, promising legislation in the new year to implement a moratorium.

The controversial Trans Mountain expansion project has been challenged by environmental groups for years. The project will nearly triple the capacity of an existing pipeline to 890,000 barrels a day. This $6.8-billion, 1,150-km twinned pipeline will move a mix of oil products from Edmonton to a terminal in Burnaby, BC

BC Environment Minister Mary Polak

BC Environment Minister Mary Polak

, near Vancouver, where it will be exported to markets in Asia. Some of the product is also destined for Chevron’s Vancouver-area refinery.

With the greatest environment impact weighing on British Columbia, BC Minister of Environment Mary Polak today issued the following statement on the federal decision regarding pipeline projects:

“In anticipation of a federal decision, our government has been consistent in fighting for British Columbia with the five conditions for any new or expanded heavy-oil pipeline. That remains the case today, and we will work to ensure each of our conditions are met. Because we have taken that clear and principled approach to stand up for our province, we have seen the proponent and the federal government take actions, including Ottawa’s recent Ocean Protection Plan to address world-leading marine spill prevention and response.  I understand the BC Environmental Assessment Office anticipates that it will soon complete BC’s environmental assessment, which has been underway for seven months. I have every confidence in BC’s environmental assessment process.”

BC’s five conditions are:

  • Successful completion of the environmental review process;
  • World-leading marine oil spill response, prevention and recovery systems for BC’s coastline and ocean to manage and mitigate the risks and costs of heavy oil pipelines and shipments;
  • World-leading practices for land oil spill prevention, response and recovery systems to manage and mitigate the risks and costs of heavy oil pipelines;
  • Legal requirements regarding Aboriginal and treaty rights are addressed, and First Nations are provided with the opportunities, information and resources necessary to participate in and benefit from a heavy-oil project; and
  • British Columbia receives a fair share of the fiscal and economic benefits of a proposed heavy oil project that reflects the level, degree and nature of the risk borne by the province, the environment and taxpayers.

carfentanilTuesday, November 29 ~ VICTORIA. For the first known time in BC, the highly toxic opioid carfentanil has been detected at the scene of an apparent illicit drug death. 

A drug sample seized by the coroner and Vancouver Police at the scene of a death that occurred November 17, 2016 in an East Vancouver residence was sent to a federal Health Canada laboratory for testing.  The sample has now been confirmed as containing carfentanil.

Testing cannot currently confirm whether carfentanil was the cause of death for this individual, a male in his 30s. However, the ability to undertake post mortem testing for carfentanil is expected to be available at the Provincial Toxicology Centre next month.

Carfentanil is an analogue of the synthetic opioid fentanyl and is known to be the most toxic opioid used commercially. Its commercial use is as a general anesthetic agent for large animals, up to the size of and including elephants, and it is never to be prescribed to humans.

Last week Vancouver police confirmed that carfentanil had been detected in a sample of drugs seized in an enforcement action that did not involve any fatalities. The BC Coroners Service reminds those using illicit drugs to use extreme caution given the current threat of contamination of any illicit substance. Those using drugs are urged never to use alone and to ensure medical assistance is immediately available. Those witnessing an apparent overdose need to call 911 immediately.

Metchosin Schoolhouse

Metchosin Schoolhouse

Monday, November 28 ~ BC.  The public and communities are invited to submit suggestions for new Stop of Interest signs in BC.  The Stop of Interest signs were first established in 1958 to commemorate the Colony of BC’s centenary and recognize significant historical places, people and events.

In September 2016, the BC government announced its intention to create 75 new Stop of Interest signs around the province. Building on Heritage BC’s 2015 assessment project, the government is also repairing existing signs. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is refurbishing existing signs in need of repair and updating language where necessary.

In addition to the 164 Stop of Interest signs located around B.C., the Province is adding up to 75 new Stops of Interest. British Columbians are invited to submit ideas for new Stop of Interest signs and share the interesting stories that could be told to people travelling BC’s highways. Submissions will be accepted through January 31, 2017.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure will install the majority of the new Stop of Interest signs in summer 2017.

A refurbished Stop of Interest sign was unveiled in Kamloops today by Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone, “This Stop of Interest sign highlights Kamloops’ vibrant role as a hub for the mining, trapping and ranching industries long before BC even formally existed,” Stone said. “Over 200 years later, our resource industries are still extremely important to the Kamloops and provincial economies.”

To provide a suggestion for a new Stop of Interest sign see: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/stopsofinterest/. Locational map of current locations of existing Stops of Interest: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/stopsofinterest/map/

nodrugsalone-webFriday, November 25 ~ VICTORIA. Island Health has issued an urgent message to drug consumers: Avoid using alone.

In response to seven overdose deaths on Vancouver Island in the past week (five of those have occurred on the South Island and four of these in the last 72 hours), Island Health is issuing an urgent warning to individuals who are going to use illicit drugs.

Avoid using alone, and make sure someone is around who is willing and able to seek help if an overdose happens.

This warning applies to all methods of drug consumption – injection, inhalation, snorting, smoking or consuming with alcohol.

“While vulnerable, street-entrenched individuals are still very high risk for overdoses, we are finding that recent overdose deaths involve individuals who are in housing, whether that be a private residence or publicly-funded housing facilities, including shelters,” said Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. “These individuals need to know they are at significant risk of overdose, especially if they use alone.”

Island Health is particularly concerned given the approaching weekend and this week’s issuing of social service cheques. In addition to warning regular and weekend recreational users, Island Health has issued an alert for its front-line staff as a well as community service providers. Island Health continues to work with community service providers to further increase outreach and overdose response capacity.

“The drugs on the street are more potent and dangerous than they have ever been before,” Dr. Stanwick said. “Do not use alone. Please, have someone around who is willing and able to seek help if an overdose happens.”

The following strategies can reduce the risk:
– Avoid using alone; fix with a friend
– Try a small amount of new drugs first
– Stagger use with friends so someone can respond if needed
– Avoid using more than one drug at a time (stacking drugs increases risk of overdoses and contributes to more severe overdoses)
– Carry and use naloxone and have an overdose response plan
– Be close to help

If someone overdoses:
– Call 9-1-1 immediately
– Provide rescue breathing (mouth-to-mouth)
– Administer naloxone

fentanyl-bagsFriday, November 25 ~ VICTORIA. The Province of BC has announced $5 million to boost paramedic response to BC’s overdose crisis.

“BC paramedics and dispatchers will be getting much-needed support from the provincial government in the face of the province’s opioid overdose crisis, with a $5-million injection of funding for BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS),” BC Health Minister Terry Lake announced today.

Over the last week, BC had the highest number of overdose-related 911 calls ever recorded. This past week saw a particularly high spike in the Lower Mainland. Between November 17 and 23, 2016 BCEHS paramedics responded to 494 suspected overdose/poisoning events in Greater Vancouver, of which 271 occurred in the Downtown Eastside and 81 in Surrey.

“Our paramedics are feeling tremendous pressure as they respond to this public health emergency on the front lines. We know they have saved thousands of lives in this crisis, and today we are making sure they are supported in this daunting task with needed resources,” said Lake. “We are working with many others including harm reduction and addictions experts, police, the coroner and the federal government to find solutions, but in the meantime, we must make sure patients get the care they need.”

BCEHS will begin implementing a number of strategies to boost ambulance resources and staffing in the coming weeks, including:

  • Placing stationary ‘medical support units’ in some high overdose locations including the downtown eastside of Vancouver and a high overdose area of Surrey. These special units will act as a resupply station for paramedics, as well as provide care information and triage to those using drugs. It’s anticipated this community-level work will be done in partnership with the BC Centre for Disease Control and other partners involved in the province’s Joint Task Force on Overdose Response.
  • More flexible modes of transportation. Paramedics will be using bicycles and ATVs in high overdose areas to respond to medical emergencies more rapidly. Bikes and ATVs are often used by teams of paramedics in areas that are difficult to navigate through in an ambulance.
  • More supervisory support to assist paramedics and dispatchers with triaging and more efficient patient handover at busy hospital emergencies, so ambulances can get back on the road more quickly to respond to other calls.
  • Expanding the Vancouver Dispatch Centre’s ability to monitor and triage complex cases to further support paramedics.

“We know this crisis has affected many families and communities and that it is also of great concern to paramedics and dispatchers,” said BCEHS executive vice president Linda Lupini. “This funding will allow BCEHS to make sure we can respond to the unprecedented number of overdose patients adequately.”

Since the health emergency was declared in B.C. this spring, BCEHS has joined efforts with the Ministry of Health, the BC Centre for Disease Control, the BC Coroners Service, police, other first responders, health authorities and non-profit organizations to find and act upon solutions to the overdose crisis.

Premier Christy Clark appointed a Joint Task Force on Overdose Response in July 2016, headed by provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall and director of police services Clayton Pecknold, to provide expert leadership and advice to the Province on additional actions to prevent and respond to overdoses in BC. As part of the response, law enforcement is working at all levels of government to interdict the supply of toxic drugs, and health officials are working to address the immediate and longer-term health needs. To that end, BC is expanding access to life-saving naloxone, supervised consumption services, and opioid addiction treatment medications and services.

Under the task force, the Province launched a broad campaign to alert people of how to prevent, identify and respond to overdoses, and is investing in research, education and training through the new BC Centre on Substance Use, to ensure addiction treatment is effective and evidence-based. Ongoing work to support and treat British Columbians
with substance use issues is also a key part of the province’s response. Government committed to meet the goal of opening 500 new substance use treatment beds in 2017. In the past two years, more than 220 new beds have been opened as part of this commitment to ensure better access to appropriate substance use supports.

monsef-nov2416-croptoThursday, November 24 ~ OTTAWA. The federal Liberal government is proposing to repeal changes to the Elections Act that were in place but controversial leading up to the last election.

Regulations put in place by the Conservatives under Stephen Harper, are now set for reversal by the Justin Trudeau Liberals. Under the new Bill C-33 a voter will be able to use their Voter Information Card as identification, and may vouch for another elector.

The new changes would also allow any Canadian who has lived abroad for longer than five years to once again be able to vote. And Elections Canada would again be able to operate a campaign to encourage people to take part in the democratic process and vote.

A new aspect was introduced: allowing youth to register to vote before they turn 18.

“The reforms that we’ve introduced today are about removing barriers from individual voters who want to participate, but through the Fair Elections Act, were unable to,” Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef told media as she introduced Bill C-33.

fentanyl-bagsThursday, November 24 ~ VICTORIA.  BC Overdose Crisis – RCMP Agreement with China

The BC Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Morris and BC Minister of Health Terry Lake have today issued the following statement on the overdose crisis:

“We are pleased to report today the RCMP and Chinese Ministry of Public Safety announced their commitment to work together to co-ordinate enforcement efforts against illegal fentanyl trafficking into Canada. China is also co-operating with our federal government to make precursors to fentanyl controlled substances under Chinese law.”

“This is a critical step that aligns with BC’s advocacy in our fight against the overdose crisis, and we welcome this swift action. Provincial and local enforcement will remain critical, but this is a step forward. We look forward to the same level of commitment from the federal government on a national strategy to ban pill presses and precursors.

“Premier Christy Clark was in Ottawa last week, calling on the federal government to assert diplomatic pressure on China to stem the production and export of fentanyl and other highly dangerous synthetic opioids. We also want to ensure RCMP has the proper supports in place to strengthen bilateral law enforcement and interdiction efforts between these countries. Federal officials assured us they are committed to act on recommendations brought forward by the Province.”

“We understand discussions to formalize joint investigations between the RCMP and China will begin next week during the ongoing Canada-China Working Group meeting between the two agencies. We believe that by collaborating with our international and federal partners, enforcement will ultimately be stronger across all our provincial and international borders.”

“The overdose crisis is a complex issue that no single tool will solve. That’s why B.C. established the Joint Task Force on Overdose Response, which is tackling the overdose crisis across many fronts. Law enforcement is working at all levels of government to interdict the supply of toxic drugs, and health officials are working diligently to address the immediate health needs. To that end, BC is expanding access to life-saving naloxone, supervised consumption services, and opioid addiction treatment medications and services.”

“We launched a broad campaign to alert people of how to prevent, identify and respond to overdoses. We are investing in research, education and training through the new B.C. Centre on Substance Use, to ensure addiction treatment is effective and evidence-based. And we remain firmly committed to improving the system of mental health and substance use services, including our commitment to create 500 new substance use beds, which we will reach in 2017 as promised.”


bced-2changesThursday, November 24 ~ BC. Two important changes for how schools operate in BC were announced today by BC Minister of Education Mike Bernier, during a media teleconference from Vancouver Island.

Rollout of the New BC Curriculum for Grades 10 to 12 has been delayed by one year. It will now start in Fall 2018 instead of Fall 2017. This change was requested by teachers who have found challenges with the short timeline for changes.

ed-pathtogradNow there is more time to test and refine the new curriculum for Grades 10 to 12 (the K-9 curriculum already began in September 2016). In particular, BC Minister of Education Mike Bernier said today in a media conference that more time is required for students to choose Grade 11 and 12 courses in a way that lines up with the new curriculum and what their post-secondary choices might be.

“Teachers, principals and trustees asked for more time to work hands-on with the redesigned curriculum – and it’s the right thing to do to make sure that we get it right for our students,” said Education Minister Mike Bernier.

“Curriculum in the high school years is more complex. It is tied in to provincial exams and evaluated strictly. So it’s critical teachers have enough time to use the draft 10-12 curriculum and help shape it with their feedback.” Many teachers started using the draft grade 10-12 curriculum this past fall, and are providing feedback on its success with students. The redesigned 10-12 curriculum will be implemented at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year, based on feedback provided by teachers and educators. “The new curriculum has been designed by teachers for teachers – and thanks to their efforts it’s been successfully brought to life in Kindergarten through Grade 9,” Bernier added.

“The world is changing and our new curriculum is making sure our kids learn the skills they need to succeed in that changing world.”

fsa_bookletFSA TESTING. Also announced today by Education Minister Bernier there is a shift in the timing of when Foundation Skills Assessments (FSA) tests are done. Normally they’ve been done in January and February, but starting for the 2017-2018 academic year will be done in October and November. This year’s 2016-2017 FSA’s will still go ahead for January 9 to February 17, 2017. The FSA’s are taken by students in Grades 4 and 7.

The Ministry says the tests are “given to all students (in Grades 4 and 7), but the FSA tests are in fact not mandatory. For several years now, the BC Teachers Federation has lobbied parents to not have their children take the tests; that was based on the use of raw data by the Fraser Institute to rank schools. The raw data was only one piece of the picture though.  Bernier said that the test results will provide “a more holistic reflection of how a system, school and student is doing” as part of “broader school reports that look at a wide range of education outcomes”.

“Making sure students are ready to succeed is also the reason behind today’s announcement of enhancements to the FSAs” which assess the reading, writing and numeracy of students in grades 4 and 7. The tests provide parents and teachers with a critical overview of how students are doing. Teachers and education experts advised the ministry to have students write the FSAs much earlier in the school year. “FSA’s are a way for teachers and parents will get a snapshot of student learning in key areas sooner – and use the results to address any challenges a student may be having,” said the BC Ministry of Education in a news release.

Bernier said there is an expectation among parents that they want to know how their child is doing, and also teachers need to know how a child is doing. The Ministry of Education will no longer release raw data from these testing results.  “It’s not an accurate reflection of education at that school or district. Reporting is going to be more holistic, providing a better picture where a system, student and school is. At the end of the day we’re supposed to be helping the students,” he said. “Parents want to know how well their child and how well their child’s school is doing,” Bernier said. “We are going to make sure they get that information in a way that’s useful to them. ”

ed-publicengagementCONSULTATIONS WITH PARENTS. Bernier said that consultations with parents will continue at various locations in the province until February. The first such consultation (held in Victoria in October) was not well attended by parents. Online feedback can also be done by busy parents.

More info: BC’s new curriculum at: https://curriculum.gov.bc.ca/ | New FSA can be found at: https://curriculum.gov.bc.ca/assessment-reporting/new-foundation-skills-assessment

highendcars-blackThursday, November 24 ~ BC.  The BC Government is getting out of the business of insuring high-end luxury cars.Government is moving forward to no longer insure the high-end luxury car rate class (cars worth $150,000 and over) so that the broader ratepayer is not subsidizing these cars. The owners of these cars will have to go to private insurance instead, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone announced on November 23.

The high-end luxury car market is a growing market, with 3,000 cars insured this past year, a 30% increase compared to three years ago. Government is acting now to address the rising costs to repair these cars and to eliminate any pressures they cause on basic rates. The new rates will apply to private passenger cars only, and not commercial trucks, pick-up trucks, collector cars or limousines. The new rule also will not apply to RVs.

The top five highest repair costs (year-to-date 2016) have been: McLaren 650S $93,574, Ferrari $88,481, Maserati $78,999, Mercedes-Benz $76,796, Porsche $76,617, Rolls Royce Phantom $76,474.

The government will move ahead with the necessary legislative changes to have ICBC no longer insure these high-end luxury cars. This means that in the future, private owners of these cars will have to purchase their insurance through private insurance. Drivers will still be required to carry a certain amount of coverage to protect themselves and other
drivers, but it will not be provided through ICBC’s public insurance plan.

While this work is underway, government will immediately take steps so high-end luxury car owners will pay more than double for their basic insurance and ensure their premiums fully cover all costs of any repairs. These interim changes will be formally implemented as soon as possible.

“Right now, whether a person drives a $15,000 Honda Civic or a $300,000 Ferrari – their basic insurance premiums are similar. If owners of high-end luxury cars can afford a high-priced car, they certainly can afford to pay higher premiums to cover the real cost for their repairs,” said Stone. “This policy needs to be fair for all British Columbian ratepayers, and we want to ensure that the regular everyday driver is not paying for the additional repair costs of these cars through their insurance rate.”

The average private passenger car in BC is worth approximately $15,000, which is 10 times less than the growing number of luxury high-end cars on the road (cars worth above $150,000). When these more expensive cars get into a crash, it costs approximately six times more to fix them because they are rare, and they are built using high-end technologies and more expensive materials. However, until now, the owner has paid similar rates for their basic insurance.

Last year, for example, the average repair cost for a high-value luxury car was approximately $13,000, compared to the average repair cost of approximately $2,500 for a typical private vehicle. For example, the cost for parts to repair the fender, grille, headlight and intercooler on a 2015 Bentley Flying Spur W12 was approximately $38,000 alone.
While the cost to repair this car is substantially more than the everyday car, the basic insurance rates of about $1,000 per car are about the same.

The BC government and ICBC will start working on necessary framework and policy changes immediately.

This measure is in addition to several other measures the government and ICBC have already taken, to help address rising cost pressures, including the following:

  • Rate smoothing model – which restricts basic rate increases to plus/minus 1.5% of the prior rate adjustment.
  • Tougher enforcement for distracted drivers – with significantly higher fines, more penalty points, higher levels of enforcement and more education.
  • Mitigating fraudulent claims – working to combat fraud and exaggerated ICBC claims through more public education and better fraud analytics tools, which will target fraudulent claims and ultimately lower ICBC rates for all drivers.

This is one of a number of actions that government and ICBC will be rolling out over the coming weeks and months to continue to address cost pressures on rates.

asbestos-dasboard-numberofclaimsWednesday, November 23 ~ BC.  WorkSafeBC has launched an awareness campaign targeted to home property owners who are considering or undertaking renovations or demolitions regarding the dangers of asbestos in homes built before 1990. The campaign runs until early 2017 across a broad spectrum of media including radio, television, print and social media.

This awareness campaign follows the results of recent research undertaken by WorkSafeBC of more than 800 adult British Columbians. The research confirms there is some public awareness of what asbestos is and where it may be located in a single-family home, condominium or townhouse built before 1990; however, the research also shows there are significant gaps in that knowledge that could put workers or others at risk of exposure to this deadly substance when undertaking a renovation or demolition.

Asbestos-related lung disease is the leading cause of workplace death in BC. Asbestos is the number-one killer of workers in British Columbia. In the 10 years from 2006 to 2015, 584 BC workers died from diseases related to asbestos exposure.

Highlights of WorkSafeBC’s research findings are:
• Only half of those surveyed (51%) believe homeowners are responsible for making sure testing for asbestos is conducted before undertaking renovations,
• Just one-third (36%) of those who have renovated a home built before 1990 in the past five years recall testing for the presence of asbestos prior to renovations,
• One-third (32%) of those surveyed did not know they should look for asbestos before doing small home renovations in a home built before 1990, and
• Only 9% of those surveyed think that asbestos-causing disease is the number one occupational killer in BC

asbestos-dasboard-occuptions“Asbestos kills,” says Al Johnson, WorkSafeBC’s vice president of Prevention Field Services. “The relatively low level of awareness by home owners regarding the dangers posed by asbestos means workers and even family members can potentially be put at risk. Renovations and demolitions of older properties continue at a very high rate and homeowners need to be informed about the dangerous nature of asbestos and how to protect workers and themselves.”

According to WorkSafeBC statistics, carpenters are most like to be affected by exposure to asbestos, followed by construction trades helpers and labourers. Also in the most common occupations for asbestos exposure are steamfitters, pipefitters, sprinkler system installers, plumbers, construction millwrights and industrial mechanics.

In homes built before 1990, asbestos can potentially be found in more than 3,000 building materials such as linoleum, wall board and filling compound, textured ceilings, vermiculite insulation, pipe insulation, in furnaces or wiring, as well as many other places. Asbestos can be released into the air when these building materials are drilled, sawed, sanded or broken up during a renovation or demolition.

In such cases, workers can breathe in asbestos fibres if they are not protected. If workers breathe in enough asbestos, their lungs can be permanently damaged or they can get lung cancer. There is a long latency period (10 to 40 years on average) between the time(s) a worker breathes in asbestos fibres and when a disease can develop.

This public campaign is a further step by WorkSafeBC to build broad awareness that asbestos-containing materials are deadly. In addition to this public campaign, WorkSafeBC will be doing increased work in 2017 with contractors and other like professions to help them more fully understand their roles in keeping workers and others healthy and safe from asbestos when doing renovations or demolitions.

WorkSafeBC has many resources about how to stay safe around asbestos on its asbestos-specific websites at ThinkAsbestos.com, HiddenKiller.ca or on its website at WorkSafeBC.com.

WorkSafeBC is an independent provincial statutory agency governed by a Board of Directors that serves 2.3 million workers and more than 225,000 registered employers. WorkSafeBC was born from the historic compromise between BC’s workers and employers in 1917 where workers gave up the right to sue their employers and fellow workers for injuries on the job in return for a no-fault insurance program fully paid for by employers. WorkSafeBC is committed to safe and healthy workplaces and to providing return-to-work rehabilitation and legislated compensation benefits.

BC Health Minister Terry Lake

BC Health Minister Terry Lake

Wednesday, November 23 ~ VICTORIA. Transforming drug research and development in BC. Today Health Minister Terry Lake announced $13 million in funding for The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) to help improve the lives of BC families by supporting the pathways drug research takes from the labs to the patient.

“Through our investments we’re proud to see made-in-BC drug therapies reach the world stage, attracting national and international attention,” Lake said. “This funding will help The Centre for Drug Research and Development continue its efforts in making it easier for drug breakthroughs to reach the public.”
“We benefit from the work done by The Centre for Drug Research and Development, and have seen successful drug innovations and companies already in development,” said Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services, Amrik Virk. “This type of work supports our #BCTECH Strategy, as advances in life sciences attract skilled researchers and jobs to our province.”

This funding builds on a previous investment of $29 million for The Centre for Drug Research and Development announced in 2012, and will support the centre’s goal of bringing new drug therapies to the market, benefiting patients and families.

cdrd-logoThe centre is well on its way to achieving that goal. It is the only national drug development organization providing the expertise and infrastructure to translate basic health research from academic institutions, into products that improve human health. At the moment, the centre has several drugs in process and new therapies in development. These include:

  • Bladder cancer therapy, with new formulations of existing drugs developed to help bladder and other cancer patients receive the full benefit of their treatment;
  • Multiple new antibody drug therapies to treat various cancers;
  • A new once-daily treatment to prevent hypoglycemia in diabetics.

“The provincial government has always been a critical partner for us, and this investment will help us further advance the work we do in translating health research into viable investment opportunities for the private sector, and ultimately into new therapies for patients,” said Gordon C. McCauley, interim president and CEO for The Centre for Drug Research and Development. “On behalf of the CDRD team, I thank the BC government for their continued and unwavering support.”

The centre has established innovation funds with some of the world’s top pharmaceutical companies – including GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer, and recruited 100 drug development and commercialization experts, while establishing more than 75 provincial, national and international partnerships that have attracted over $60 million in international pharmaceutical sector investments. The Centre for Drug Research and Development is widely recognized as a global leader in translating research.

Advances in technology lead to much more personalized and effective health care. Through the #BCTECH Strategy and support for organizations like The Centre for Drug Research and Development, Genome BC, the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, the BC Cancer Foundation and BC Cancer Agency, the province continues to attract and retain talented researchers to work in B.C. to help improve care for patients and save lives.

nationalchildday-nov20-2016Sunday, November 20 ~ OTTAWA. Today November 20 is National Child Day. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has issued this statement:

“Each child deserves to be raised in an environment that is free of violence, discrimination, and exploitation; to grow up with proper nutrition, health care, and a good education; and to have a voice in matters that affect them, and a real, fair chance to succeed.”

“The Government of Canada remains committed to programs that help every child get the best possible start in life and reach their full potential. Here, at home, we are giving Canadian families more money to help with the high cost of raising their kids through the new Canada Child Benefit, which stands to lift about 300,000 children out of poverty. We are also working with our international partners to create environments where all children are treated with dignity and respect, and given all the opportunities they need to succeed.”

‘While the world has made significant progress in advancing children’s rights since the introduction of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, there is still a lot of work to do. Millions of children and young people continue to be denied basic human rights – including education, primary health care, and personal security. Many more are forced into early marriages, recruited as child soldiers, or become victims of child labour.”

In British Columbia, Children and Family Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux released the following statement commemorating BC’s Child and Youth Day on Sunday, November 20:

“BC is also a proud supporter of meaningful child advocacy, fostering greater understanding of our youth-serving system with the help of the Office of the Representative for Children and Youth and BC’s Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth. Young British Columbians are the future of our province – it is everyone’s duty to ensure that their rights are held sacred and that they are safe, supported and given every opportunity to build the life they choose.”

fentanyl-bagsFriday, November 18 ~ VICTORIA – The BC Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Morris has issued the following statement this evening, regarding the overdose crisis in BC:

“I’d like to put a stop to the distraction from the deadly serious issue of our overdose crisis that has been taking place today, with regard to Premier Christy Clark’s comments that we had a confirmed case of marijuana laced with fentanyl.

“As we’ve all heard from the Vancouver Police Department, this was reported in error, and we’ve also heard from the RCMP that the reports out of Masset earlier this week are also not confirmed.

“With that now clear, let’s move forward in our fight against this deadly drug. We continue to warn the public that any and all drugs can be tainted with fentanyl, including marijuana. We implore everyone to take this caution seriously as we are seeing an average of two people dying a day in this crisis in our province. Let’s turn our focus back to saving lives.”

The BC Coroner’s Service said on Wednesday November 16 that 622 people have died from drug overdoses in the first 10 months of this year, an average of two per day. Of those deaths, 60% were linked to fentanyl.  Back in April, BC declared a public health emergency and has set up a task force to address the problem.

premier-christy-clark-opioid-crisisFentanyl kills in minutes. Even the most minute quantity (e.g. one grain the size of a grain of salt) can kill. For some reason the drug is being laced into other drugs such as cocaine and painkillers. Apparently slipping in the drug is done to stretch out the supply of the main illicit drug that people think they are buying, but it ends up killing a dealer’s customers. According to a recent report, most of the deaths are among young people age 19 to 25. The BC government is calling it an epidemic. Some light was brought to the subject this week in Ottawa by BC Premier Clark [see photo], asking for more federal action. [Article by CBC]

On Wednesday, November 16 the BC government said it continues to take actions on many fronts to prevent and respond to overdoses in BC. In a release from the BC Ministry of Health, it was stated that the Province continues to advocate that the federal government increase penalties under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and the Criminal Code for those who import and traffic fentanyl and related compounds. Police are requesting sentencing considerations if the file involves trafficking or importation of fentanyl.

The BC Centre for Disease Control continues to significantly expand the Take Home Naloxone program. More than 15,841 no-charge naloxone kits have been dispensed to date – more than 10,000 this year alone – with reports of almost 2,000 take-home kits being used to reverse opioid overdoses this year. Naloxone kits are now being dispensed at 348 locations in BC including 56 emergency departments and four corrections facilities.

With the crisis at hand, no one is really talking yet about the reasons people are turning to illicit drug use in such large numbers.  BC Health Minister Terry Lake said at the UBCM conference in September that there should be no blaming of the users. And federal Health Minister Jane Philpot this week says there should be no blaming of who is or isn’t doing what to help the situation. But when there is time to address the bigger issue, that will need to focus on deterring people’s use of illicit drugs for recreation and in states of continued addiction.

mckeznie-rockblasting-map-nov1816Friday, November 18 ~ VICTORIA.  Commuters, cyclists and pedestrians will have their travel schedules interrupted by rock blasting for the McKenzie Interchange highway improvement project on Highway 1(Trans-Canada Hwy). The blasting begins today, Friday November 18.

Traffic interruptions will be intermittent. During the day the traffic waits will be about 15 minutes long, affecting drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. In the evenings traffic will be stopped completely when rock excavation takes place 8 to 10 pm Monday to Saturday. The rock excavation activity in the evening will continue to April 2017. There will be no construction activity on Sundays or statutory holidays.

Travelers using Highway 1 to reach Victoria from upisland, and those generally commuting between the west shore and Saanich and downtown, should check www.Drivebc.ca for the most up to date traffic advisories. Users of the Galloping Goose trail are encouraged to use alternate routes or be prepared to stop during the work periods. Motorists will need to incorporate additional time into their travel schedules.

Completion of the long-awaited McKenzie Interchange is expected later in 2018. Many in the Greater Victoria area have pushed for commuter traffic flow improvements at the intersection of McKenzie and Admirals Road, particularly to serve morning and evening commuter traffic between the western communities of Langford, Colwood and Sooke (which have become ‘bedroom communities’ to the Victoria/Saanich employment hub) and the core area of Greater Victoria.

homeless_stockThursday, November 17 ~ VICTORIA.  Extreme weather response shelters are active for winter 2016-2017. The BC government will provide about $1.6 million this winter to fund close to 1,000 extreme weather shelter spaces. The funding is “to ensure those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness have access to a safe and warm place to stay during nights of severe weather”.

These additional spaces will be available in nearly 75 communities from now until March 31, 2017 for whenever a community issues an extreme weather alert. Communities decide what weather conditions warrant an alert and how many spaces to activate on a given night, depending on the capacity of existing shelters and the estimated need.

These spaces supplement the almost 2,000 permanent, year-round shelter spaces available throughout the province. Most permanent shelter beds are available 24/7 and provide three meals a day.

The Province also funds outreach teams that work at winter shelters and on the street to help connect people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness with housing and support services such as income assistance and mental health services.

bchousing-logo“Each winter, we work with communities and non-profit groups to make sure that anyone who wants to come inside for the night has a warm, safe place to go,” says Rich Coleman, Minister of Natural Gas Development and Responsible for Housing. “Funding for these shelter spaces is part of the more than $200 million annually we invest in the province to provide emergency shelter spaces, subsidized units and rent supplements for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.”

“These much needed additional beds don’t just provide comfort, they offer refuge, and they help to save lives,” says Jim Coggles, executive director, The Salvation Army Vancouver Harbour Light. “Added to the 206 beds we provide every night throughout the winter months, these 30 extreme weather shelter beds will be activated during episodes of severe weather in downtown Vancouver. Each guest will be welcomed by our staff, a hot meal and the opportunity to experience hope and assistance toward positive change.”

“The Extreme Weather Response Program is a well-used addition to the services that we provide the community in partnership with BC Housing. It helps in times of increased needs for those vulnerable people that have nowhere else to go and are at risk due to the weather,” says Wes Hewitt, administrator, Port Alberni Shelter Society.

Affordable housing programs and the province’s efforts to end homelessness in BC:
www.housingmattersbc.ca/factsheets.html  |  www.bchousing.org

Map of permanent and temporary shelters in BC:

bcartscouncilWednesday, November 16 ~ VICTORIA. The BC government is spending more than $60 million on artists, arts and culture organizations in 2016-17, including about $17.5 million in community gaming grants.

In 2016-17, the Government of British Columbia is providing the BC Arts Council with $24 million to help artists and cultural organizations flourish in more than 200 communities throughout the province.

Since 2001, the BC Arts Council has distributed approximately $283 million to artists, arts groups and cultural organizations across British Columbia. With 24,800 artists, BC has more artists per capita than any other province.

The BC Arts Council board has 15 members.  Most of the board members are based out of Vancouver; none are based out of Vancouver Island. Two of the 15 are recent new members of BC’s arts and culture community: Susan Jackson and Yosef Wosk.

In February 2016, the Province launched a three-year Creative Economy Strategy to help grow the creative sector, focusing on four key areas:

* Leveraging talent and creative clusters;
* Accessing new markets;
* Maximizing investment;
* Enriching communities.

The United Nations has identified the creative economy as one of the world’s fastest-growing sectors for income generation, job creation and export earnings.

drink-at-spa-getting-foot-massage-webWednesday, November 16 ~ VICTORIA. “Alcohol may be on the menu for more businesses in BC,”
it was pitched at the top of a news release today from the Ministry of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction and Responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch.  Followed by “Fancy a shave and scotch? How about a mani-pedi-champagne?”

While some new policy changes from the Province of BC — coming into effect January 23, 2017 — will allow all types of BC businesses to apply for a liquor licence, it also exposes children and youth to the normalized use of alcohol as part of everyday living.

The government says that “opening up possibilities for new revenue streams and diversified business services” is the goal of the new policy. While BC is certainly open for business, are they also open to further integrating the use of alcohol into everyday living?  More coverage on this coming in the November 18 issue of West Shore Voice News, including input from the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce and the SD62 school board.

Specifically, effective Jan. 23, 2017, businesses like barber shops, salons, spas, cooking schools, art galleries and book stores will be able to apply for a liquor licence to diversify their business model and serve liquor to customers. All types of businesses will be able to apply for a liquor primary licence, so long as they do not operate from a motor
vehicle or target minors.

“This change will provide flexibility for businesses to expand and offer new services to their patrons, while creating new opportunities for manufacturers such as craft breweries and wineries to sell their product, and increase consumer choice for British Columbians,” says the government release.

servingitright-logoAccording to the Liquor Distribution Branch, to ensure that public health and safety remains a top priority, businesses will have to go through the same licensing processes as other establishments, including a requirement that all staff serving liquor are ‘Serving-It-Right’ certified. “These businesses will also be subject to the same regulatory compliance measures as all licensees.” The requirement that businesses applying for a liquor primary licence must also abide by their local government’s or First Nations’ liquor licensing criteria will remain unchanged.

3males-drinkingServing It Right is training certification that all servers of alcohol must attain in BC. However, the pressure for youth in particular to participate in the turning-19 ‘rite of passage’ to take their first drink on their 19th birthday, is apparently not managed equally among liquor establishments. Our November 18 article will look into that too.

Coralee Oakes, Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction and Minister Responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch says: “One of government’s goals is to ensure that doing business in BC is easy and exciting. Creating new liquor licence and permit options for businesses is part of our ongoing effort to remove operating obstacles for businesses, create ease of access for consumers, and still maintain BC’s health and safety standards.”

cbc-christy-clark-liquor-law-reform-announcement-dec-17John Yap, Parliamentary Secretary for Liquor Policy Reform, who last year with Premier Christy Clark rolled out the sale of liquor in grocery stores and relaxed laws so that children can be present in liquor-licenced establishments, said in today’s release:

“Since 2013, we have been working to modernize antiquated liquor laws. We want the rules to complement businesses, not hinder them. We want to bolster creativity and innovation, not create barriers and red tape. Allowing all types of businesses to apply for a liquor licence creates other business possibilities for BC businesses.”

For more information about the Liquor Policy Review:

Tuesday, November 15 ~ BC. A new chair has been appointed at the University of British Columbia (UBC) to advocate for rural health care in BC, it was announced today by Health Minister Terry Lake.

Dr David Snadden, Chair, UBC Rural Health

Dr David Snadden, UBC Chair in Rural Health

Dr Dave Snadden has been appointed as the founding rural doctors’ UBC chair in Rural Health. Dr Snadden was also the first leader of UBC’s Northern Medical Program in Prince George. Based out of Prince George, Dr Snadden will provide academic leadership in rural affairs, establish relevant research, and address rural physician recruitment and retention.

Minister Lake also announced a $5-million endowment to establish the new chair at UBC to help enhance the delivery of rural health care services throughout the province. The endowment is funded through the Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues, a partnership between the Ministry of Health and Doctors of BC that advises the Province on matters related to rural medical practice.

As well, operational funding of $350,000 per year will be provided over the next five years to support the development of a distributed provincial network of rural health researchers and the establishment of a Dean’s Advisory Committee on Rural and Remote Health. These components will form an integrated and innovative world-leading strategy to improve health outcomes for rural citizens.

The chair was created following a proposal by the Rural Coordination Centre of BC, which works on behalf of the Joint Standing Committee, and seeks to improve rural health education and advocates for rural health in BC.

While the position falls under the UBC department of family practice, it is intended to be a resource to the university’s faculty of medicine as a whole, including specialty departments and other professional education schools.

Prior to his role as founding chair, Dr Snadden was the executive associate dean of education with the UBC faculty of medicine. Before that, he spent eight years overseeing the expansion of UBC’s medical education and training programs to northern BC, including the Northern Medical Program, a partnership between UBC and the University of
Northern British Columbia. He trained and worked in Scotland as a rural practitioner for a number of years before furthering his training at the University of Western Ontario. Upon his return to Scotland, Dr Snadden developed a collaborative master’s program in primary care and helped create the first integrated undergraduate and postgraduate
department of general practice in the United Kingdom. He is a fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. His three-year term is effective Nov. 1, 2016.

The rural doctors’ UBC chair in rural health is one of many solutions to address health-care access challenges in rural communities. The ministry is committed to improving rural health care in BC by: understanding population and patient health; developing quality and sustainable care models; recruiting and retaining engaged, skilled health-care providers; and providing strong tools and processes that allow flexibility in responding to the diversity of geographies in British Columbia.

providingbettercareDr Alan Ruddiman, president of Doctors of BC says: “Rural doctors know that our medical schools are the best place to give our educators and our doctors-in-training a realistic and informed appreciation of the complex rural framework. The announcement of our new rural chair – a doctor himself who can also provide academic leadership and a credible footprint in BC’s rural communities – means enhanced supports for rural doctors, and ultimately improved long-term health services and supports for the patients they serve. This new legacy once again confirms that British Columbia has the most comprehensive suite of programs to support rural physicians and the communities and patients that they serve.”

Dr Dermot Kelleher, Dean, UBC faculty of medicine, says: “For more than a decade, UBC has been working to improve rural health care by educating and training students and medical residents in all parts of the province. With the creation of this chair, we are expanding that commitment to include research, which will help inform and guide our collective efforts to close the delivery gap for health care between our small, more isolated communities and BC’s more populated centres.”

westshoreparkway-paving-map-nov1618-2016Tuesday, November 15 ~ COMMUTER TRAFFIC ADVISORY. On Wednesday November 16 and Friday November 18, highway road crews will be paving on Hwy 1 in the north bound lane at West Shore Parkway, from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. 

The paving is part of the West Shore Parkway completion project, says Mainroad South Island. The City of Langford is completing the second left turn lane on Hwy 1 northbound, turning left onto the West Shore Parkway.

Paving is weather-dependent and has been challenging this fall season given the record amounts of rain on the south island.

Traffic control will be on-site to ensure no major disruptions. Commuters between the western communities and the Saanich/Victoria areas are advised that delays may be expected.

premierclark-nov0616-webFriday, November 11 ~ VICTORIA. BC Premier Christy Clark issued the following statement on Remembrance Day:

“Every year, Canadians from every region and from all walks of life come together to pay tribute to the men and women who served our country.

The 11th day of the 11th month was chosen because 98 years ago, it was hoped that moment marked the end to all wars.

Since that first Remembrance Day, tens of thousands of Canadian soldiers have answered the call – and fallen – in another World War, as well as conflicts in Korea, Afghanistan, Syria and peacekeeping assignments in places like Cyprus, Croatia, and Bosnia. Many of them paid the ultimate price so that we can sleep safely each night and so our children will grow up safe and free.

We honour their memory by preserving what they fought for: peace, freedom and a Canada where differences are settled not with violence, but with discussion and democracy. If we live up to the ideals they fought for, their sacrifice will not have been in vain. We owe them nothing less.

To all those who serve, and have served this country, and to the families that support them: thank you. We will never forget.”

trudeau-remembrancedayvideoFriday, November 11 ~ OTTAWA. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today issued the following statement on Remembrance Day:

“Today, we pause to remember and honour the Canadian men and women who have served our country and fought for freedom around the world.

Time may fade, but our memories cannot. We all have a duty to hold the torch high, and to keep its flame alight. Liberty’s cause beats deeply within our hearts, and every generation of Canadians has answered the call to serve.

We must remember that, during the First and Second World Wars, Canada and Newfoundland fought side by side. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel, when a generation of Newfoundlanders laid down their lives in defence of the freedom, democracy, and diversity that we enjoy today.

From Ypres to Vimy Ridge, Dieppe to Juno Beach – we will not forget. From Korea to the Suez, Cyprus to Kandahar – we will not forget. We remember yesterday’s youth, far from home, who fought for reason and progress. They stood up to tyranny and stood for liberty, and sacrificed their future for the future of so many.

We honour Canada’s bravest, who stand shoulder to shoulder with our allies around the world. Every day, they face down the threat of terrorism, and protect the values we cherish most.

At 11:00 am, I encourage all Canadians – no matter where you are – to observe the two minutes of silence. When we remember, we must remember war as it was and as it is. Freedom’s terrible price is known but to the few who have fought for it.

That is why today we stand sombre and silent, with poppies close to our hearts, and take the time to remember.
‘Lest we forget’.”

210726-nov0916-crowd-sitec-nov0916-westshorevoice-web-smThursday, November 10 ~ SOOKE. Last night an energetic and attentive crowd articulated their concerns about Site C and other election issues, in a one-hour Q&A with BC NDP Leader John Horgan (MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca).

“Articulate your policies and we’ll get behind you,” said one enthusiastic NDP supporter, with reference to the upcoming May 2017 BC provincial election.

Horgan was clear that the economy is important to everyone, including of course providing jobs. He says an NDP government would be responsible with taxpayer finances and inclusive to everyone when it comes to education, health and economic growth in BC.

1573-johnhorgan-nov0916-sooke-westshorevoice-nov0916-web-midThe event held at Edward Milne Community School in Sooke was organized by Awareness Film Night. They screened ‘Peace Out’, a somewhat dated by impactful film about the environmental and community consequences in northern BC if BC Hydro’s Site C hydroelectric project is to proceed.

Horgan explained that electricity usage in BC is not increasing, due to many people doing their best at energy conservation. It might now be over 20 years until the output at Site C (or equivalent) would be required in this province. Wind and solar are two other ‘green’ electricity-producing options that BC Hydro could be investing its money in.

Horgan says that if elected as government in 2017, the BC NDP would focus on green technology as a way to help protect the environment, and which would also create a lot of jobs.


BC NDP Leader John Horgan

BC NDP Leader John Horgan

Wednesday, November 9 ~ VICTORIA.  Today BC New Democrat leader John Horgan released a statement regarding the outcome of Republican candidate Donald Trump winning the American election last night, and how Trump had generated support during his campaign. Horgan is leading the BC NDP in a campaign now toward the May 2017 BC provincial election.

Here is Horgan’s statement as released today:

“Elections are about choices. And this election, Americans chose change. We heard Americans talk about feeling left behind, left out, ignored and belittled. They were asking themselves ‘does government work for me?’ And now we know their answer. People in our province and around the world are thinking about what this means for their lives.

“I believe that many people in British Columbia want change – for things to be better than they are – but change that also reflects our values: fairness, equality, caring for each other and preparing for the future of our province and our people.”

“We live in an abundant place, yet we risk becoming a province where only the rich can thrive. Just like in America, people in BC can see that our economy is not working for everyone.”

“With such abundance in our province, is it any wonder that people question why we are falling so far behind in public education, seniors care, mental health care, child care and affordable housing?”

“I hope that no one in British Columbia wants to embrace the angry, sexist, prejudiced and divisive politics that carried Donald Trump to the White House. I hope we can work together for change of a different kind. Change we can be proud of, that makes people’s lives better.”


BC Premier Christy Clark

BC Premier Christy Clark

Wednesday, November 9 ~ VICTORIA. Premier Christy Clark has issued the following statement following yesterday’s elections in the United States of America:

“On behalf of British Columbia, I would like to congratulate President-elect Donald J. Trump, as well as Governor Jay Inslee in Washington State, Senator Lisa Murkowski in Alaska, and everyone else who pursued elected office.”

“The United States is a close friend and partner of British Columbia. Alongside the Government of Canada, we will work diligently and with determination to ensure we protect and grow the relationship that is crucial to working families in our province on issues like free trade and a new softwood lumber agreement.”

“As well, we should recognize Secretary Hillary Clinton’s historic run. For the first time, a woman has contested the presidency for one of the two major political parties – a significant and important signal to the millions of women and girls around the globe who saw it happen, in real time.”

Donald Trump gives his acceptance speech, early morning hours of Nov 9, 2016

Donald Trump gives his acceptance speech, early morning hours of Nov 9, 2016

Wednesday, November 9 ~  NEW YORK[posted at 12:15 am PST Nov 9; updated 11:45 am Nov 9]. The voters of the United States of America have elected Republican candidate Donald Trump as their next president, for 2016-2020. He will be the 45th president of the United States.

After a long evening following the close of polls on November 8, results were finally revealed around 2:45 am EST November 9.

Trump had achieved 290 electoral college votes compared to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s 218. The required number of votes to win was 270.

Final numbers might differ in the hours and days ahead, as final counts roll in from three remaining states that haven’t been fully reported yet. Final results are still awaited from Michigan for 16 votes, New Hampshire for 3 votes (with a possible recount because the numbers are so close), and Minnesota for 10 votes. [UPDATE around 3am PST November 9: Final results declared, with Trump achieving 306 and Clinton achieving 232]

At a late (early morning on Wednesday) hour, Trump made a short acceptance speech after having received a concession phone call from Hillary Clinton. About 30 minutes ahead of that, Clinton had sent her campaign manager to the gathering of Democrat supporters to suggest they go home and get some sleep.

Both the Senate and the House hold a Republican majority after the November 8 election results. This theoretically gives Trump a clear path to likely achieve many things without much resistance in Washington.

Hillary Clinton made a short concession speech around 7:30 am PST (10:30 am EST) on this ‘morning after’, November 9, including many thanks to everyone who had supported her. The indication in some remarks is that she is handing the torch to the next generation of women in politics.

US President Barack Obama said from the lawn of the White House that the transition from his administration to the new Trump administration would be executed as professionally and seamlessly as possible.



wsv-cover-nov0416-webSunday, November 6 ~ NATIONAL. Privacy invasion of journalists. 

In the coming days and weeks, Canadians can expect to see more activity in Ottawa over the news last week that some journalists’ phone communications were being tracked, and also that CSIS has for 10 years been retaining metadata (3rd-party data such as phone numbers and emails) of ordinary Canadians.

Summary article (of this news to date) and editorial, in the November 4, 2016 issue of West Shore Voice News. Pages 1 and 2.

findyourfit-signageFriday, November 4 ~ VICTORIA. WorkBC’s ‘Find Your Fit’ will showcase BC’s in-demand jobs at Teen FestVictoria tomorrow Saturday, November 5 at Pearkes Recreation Centre, 3100 Tillicum Rd (open to the public 11 am to 4:30 pm). Young people of Victoria will have an opportunity to learn the skills they will need for tomorrow’s in-demand occupations.

Find Your Fit is an interactive event where individuals of all ages can learn about BC’s in-demand careers and test out some of the skills they would need for those occupations. Participants will also get to know career planning tools – such as Blueprint Builder and Career Trek videos – and the job resources and labour market information WorkBC.ca offers. Parents, teachers and career counsellors may benefit, too – by discovering ways to educate and support youth in their career exploration.

Find Your Fit is part of BC’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint commitment to re-engineer education and deliver the skilled workforce needed in BC’s growing economy. The tour has had over 180,000 participants so far. The tour was most recently in Burns Lake. It’s next stop on Vancouver Island will be in Duncan on December 1. Other communities can also request a tour stop.

“Through BC’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, we are committed to preparing the skilled workforce that our growing economy needs. The Find Your Fit tour ensures that our youth have the tools and resources necessary to consider the full range of in-demand occupations available to them,” says Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour.

rcmp-gabrielklein-nov0116Thursday, November 3 ~ The RCMP have issued a photo of Gabriel Klein, age 21. Klein is already in custody and has been charged with both second degree murder and aggravated assault following his stabbing attack on two female students at Abbotsford Senior Secondary on November 1 (see news item below, posted November 2).

One girl died and the other is in stable condition in hospital but will likely require long-term recovery both physical and emotional, said RCMP.

The photo was apparently captured through closed circuit TV just hours before the Abbotsford Senior Secondary attack. From the look of the photo background, the image was likely captured at a bank or major retail store.

The RCMP’s Integrated Homicide Investigation Team continues to ask for anyone that knows Klein, or has information about him, to contact the RCMP at 1-877-551-4448. Klein has no previous criminal record and has no fixed address in BC, presently leaving the RCMP without much to go on.


randallgarrisonndp-photoThursday, November 3 ~  WEST SIDE of VANCOUVER ISLAND. Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke MP Randall Garrison is on his way back from Ottawa to his constituency today, to spend a week on this west side of the island and attend the Remembrance Day ceremony in Esquimalt.

He is in full support of NDP Leader Tom Mulcair’s statement in the House of Commons today that the Liberal government should hold an inquiry into RCMP/CSIS surveillance of journalists. He adds that while instances of media surveillance have surfaced in Quebec, it’s a bigger problem than that.

“If journalists are under surveillance, then people won’t talk to them. Free press is a fundamental part of our democracy for people’s right to know what’s going on,” said Randall Garrison, MP, today in a phone interview.

BCFerry-fromBCFerriessiteThursday, November 3 ~ VICTORIA.  There will be additional BC Ferries sailings on the Remembrance Day weekend, with 24 extra sailings on the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay route Thurs November 10 through Sunday November 13. An additional round trip has also been added to the Horsehoe Bay – Departure Bay route on the evening of Thursday, Nov 10.

On Friday November 11, BC senior citizens will be able to travel half-price (passenger fares only) on BC Ferries. Throughout the year, discounted travel is offered to BC seniors from Monday to Thursdays (except holidays).

All Canadian flags on BC Ferries vessels will fly at half mast on Remembrance Day in respect of veterans active military personnel. A moment of silence will occur at 11 am on the vessels.

letisha_reimerWednesday, November 2 ~ ABBOTSFORD. Abbotsford Senior Secondary School, east of Vancouver, was closed today, following a stabbing incident on November 1. So far the attack is being seen as a random act of violence. A man had attacked two female students before being intercepted by school staff.

One of the students — 13-year-old Letisha Reimer (photo) — died later in hospital as a result of several stab wounds. Students have been visiting the school all day today, bringing flowers and other items in memorial of Letisha.

The other injured girl is 14 years old but has not been identified. Witnesses say she ran into a classroom saying she had been stabbed. She was assisted by the teacher and some students in the classroom who applied pressure and padding/clothing to the wounds, and was later airlifted to BC Children’s Hospital where she remains in stable condition.

The 21-year-old suspect is Gabriel Klein was not a student at the school. He was taken into police custody from the scene of the incident, and as of this afternoon has been charged with second degree murder and aggravated assault. According to BC RCMP he has no criminal record and is of no fixed address but apparently moved to BC from Alberta about seven or eight months ago. He reportedly entered the school barefoot yesterday around 2 pm.

abbotsfordsupt-nov0216Counselling is available to students, parents and staff. Abbotsford School Superintendent Kevin Godden has asked that a video taken of the incident and then posted online by one of the students be taken off social media.  Godden spoke highly of the staff who intervened in the incident and how quickly the school went into lockdown.

premierclark-nov0216Premier Christy Clark expressed shock in a televised interview about the Abbotsford school stabbing incident, remarking how it is every parent’s greatest fear that something terrible can possibly happen to their child.

Premier Clark issued a statement today:  “Yesterday, I was shocked to hear about the tragic attack at Abbotsford Senior Secondary school. School are supposed to be – and must be – places where parents know their kids are safe. We will do whatever is necessary to ensure that. I hope the investigation concludes swiftly, so we can take whatever action is required to make sure a tragedy like this never happens in British Columbia again. Until we have those answers, I want to commend the heroism of the staff and fellow students who came to the victims’ aid and subdued the suspect. Your bravery is an example for us all. I cannot imagine the heartbreak of everyone involved. My thoughts are with the victims, their friends and families, and everyone at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.”


pathtoprosperity-header-webTuesday, November 1 ~ OTTAWA.  “When the middle class does well, everyone does well,” is a continued slogan of the federal Liberal government.

“That is why the Government of Canada is committed to making smart and necessary investments that will revitalize the Canadian economy, spur long-term growth and strengthen the middle class,” it was stated in a news release today as the Ministry of Finance rolled out its Fall Economic Statement, being essentially a revision to the spring 2016 budget.

“Now, more than ever, it is important for Canada to create opportunities that better position our country in the global economy of tomorrow. To succeed, we need to ensure that the benefits of growth are shared by the middle class and by all Canadians. Now is the time to invest in people, in innovation and in infrastructure, so that we can build long-term growth for middle class families, their children and grandchildren, and put Canada on the road to long-term prosperity,” said Finance Minister Bill Morneau in a statement to media.

“As the pace of change accelerates, and the global economy transforms, Canada must turn its sights on the future and provide families with the confidence, the tools and the opportunities to succeed. The government has both the capacity and the willingness to act to make the future better for our children and our grandchildren. International financial organizations such as the International Monetary Fund have praised Canada’s expanded use of fiscal policy to bolster growth in light of the weak and challenging global economic environment.”

Morneau said the Plan for Middle Class Progress is designed to provide jobs and opportunities for middle class Canadians well into the future. “Moreover, it is built on a solid foundation of economic security and stability, and follows a path that is responsible and sustainable, against a backdrop of global economic change.”

In today’s Fall Economic Statement, new measures “to ensure middle class progress, and build on the momentum of Budget 2016, and on investments over the past year” include:

Investing an additional $81 billion in public transit, green and social infrastructure, transportation infrastructure that supports trade, as well as in rural and northern communities to bring Canadians good jobs, a cleaner environment and thriving communities for years to come;
Creating a Global Skills Strategy, supported by improvements to Canada’s immigration system, to help Canadian and international companies access the talent and skills they need to grow and succeed in Canada;
Creating the Invest in Canada Hub, staffed with a dedicated high-impact sales force to promote Canada, and to work with global companies to increase investment that will benefit Canadians; and
Strengthening the independence of Statistics Canada and the Parliamentary Budget Officer to provide fair and unbiased evidence and analysis, and make government more open and transparent.

The government says it is committed to investing in inclusive and sustainable growth in a fiscally responsible manner that maintains Canada’s low debt advantage. Looking ahead to Budget 2017, the government says it will continue to focus on its plan to strengthen the middle class and improve growth— “a plan that is about taking bold action that will allow Canada’s economy to prosper over the long term”. This plan will continue to be informed by recommendations of the Advisory Council on Economic Growth “which brings together 14 of the best minds with a truly global perspective”.

A report released October 20 by the Advisory Council on Economic Growth calls Canada “a small open economy”. The report says that Canada’s future and opportunities will be shaped by a rapidly changing world around us, characterized by “slowing global growth rates, unprecedented technology disruption, and increasing connectivity in trade, capital, people and information”.


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