Home ARCHIVE – Front Page Breaking News – January 2017

ARCHIVE – Front Page Breaking News – January 2017


West Shore Voice News – Front Page Breaking New Archive – JANUARY 2017

MVIonSookeRd-WordMarkTuesday, January 31 ~ WEST SHORE. This afternoon around 3:10 pm there was a collision of a logging truck and car on Sooke Road (between Luxton Road and Happy Valley Road in the Langford area). Three people in the vehicle were injured — two adults (a man, and a woman who was driving), and a child.

The three people who had been travelling in the Kia Forte sedan that was badly damaged in the crash were taken to Victoria General Hospital following the collision. The truck driver was reported as not injured.

Sooke Road was closed in both directions for more than six hours, once again affecting access to/from the community Sooke for which Highway 14 is the “one road in and out”. Traffic was diverted at Happy Valley Road as crash-scene analysts gathered evidence. The road was cleared and traffic flowing again around 9:30 pm this evening after the logging truck was towed away.

Langford Fire Rescue, BC Ambulance and RCMP attended the scene.  Police are continuing their investigation and seeking witnesses.

Council-screenshot-Jan3017-crop-webMonday, January 30 ~ SOOKE. Tonight’s Committee of the Whole meeting in Sooke council chambers showed evidence of strain among Council members and also between staff and Council.

The tug of war just below the surface of procedural debate was not really about any conflict of desired goals for the municipality. Everyone seems on board for clarifying objectives and finding solutions.

The dissonance had more to do with really neither side having fully done its homework ahead of this meeting. To give all this the benefit of the doubt, let’s say this evening’s 1.5-hour meeting was approached by both sides as being an exploratory opportunity.

There were two main topics of discussion. The first was business licences and the other was the process of developing a new or ‘refreshed’ official community plan.

See full article on the Sooke local news subpage.

BC-parks-licence-plate-porteau-coveMonday, January 30 ~ VICTORIA. BC Parks featured on licence plates. The BC government continues to encourage the purchase of BC Parks vehicle licence plates at Autoplan broker offices, and show their support for provincial parks through images of a Kermode Bear, Purcell Mountains or scenic Porteau Cove.

In partnership with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, the specialty licence plates were unveiled by Environment Minister Mary Polak and Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone in Vancouver earlier this month.

The licence plates allow motorists to show their support, while ensuring BC Parks has additional funds to invest in new programs and

All net proceeds from the sale and ongoing renewals of BC Parks licence plates will be re-invested back into provincial parks through the Park Enhancement Fund, a transparent account where revenues enhance programs or services in provincial parks beyond the
core services provided by government.

The BC Parks specialty plates cost $50 for the initial purchase, and $40 for each annual renewal. The licence plates all depict scenes from BC’s parks and recreation areas:

  • The Kermode Bear, a rare subspecies of black bear found only in British Columbia;
  • The Purcell Mountains, which make up the natural backdrop of the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy Provincial Park and Protected Area, spanning north to Bugaboo Provincial Park in the interior region, and
  • Porteau Cove, a picturesque view overlooking Howe Sound from the popular waterfront Porteau Cove Provincial Park along the South Coast.

The new specialty plates are part of the BC Parks Future Strategy, announced by Premier Christy Clark on November 28, 2016. Within the
strategy, the Province is investing $22.9 million to build 1,900 new campsites, is seeding a new BC Parks Foundation with a $5-million endowment, and will be allocating funding in 2017 for other recreation and conservation initiatives, including hiring more park rangers.

Edward Greenspon presents his report
Edward Greenspon presented his report on January 26, 2017

Friday, January 27 ~ NATIONAL. A proposed ‘Future of Journalism and Democracy Fund’ of $300 to $400 million would support digital innovation, civic journalism, local news media and indigenous reporting. 

That is part of a 103-page report The Shattered Mirror: News, Democracy and Trust in the Digital Age written by long-time journalist Edward Greenspon and published by the Public Policy Forum, that outlines the significant fall in revenues for traditional media over the past several years. Cuts to newsrooms across the country are highlighted.

The report also calls for a sales tax on foreign companies selling digital subscriptions or ads in Canada and other tax measures that would provide a Future of Journalism and Democracy fund with $300 to $400 million a year, designed to support local and indigenous news, along with research on the role of news in society. The fund would start with $100 million in federal cash as seed money.

The report also recommends a new mandate for The Canadian Press, the country’s national news service, to make further investments in local reporting across the country.

Greenspon said the recommendations are meant to improve democracy and the information needed for civic engagement, rather than bailing out any one business model. By kick-starting a policy debate now, the idea is that remedies to the flailing local news industry could be laid out in the 2018 federal budget.

Heritage Minister Melanie Joly
Heritage Minister Melanie Joly ordered the study

A spokesperson for Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly, who ordered the study, said the government would be reviewing the recommendations but cautioned that it was “too early to speculate on possible policy outcomes.

Among the issues pointed out in the report — at present if ads are purchased on non-Canadian mega-sites likes Facebook and Google, the Canadian purchaser is not required to pay sales tax. That includes the federal government that has chosen to market with those and other online platforms while drying up their ad purchases with local and regional newspapers.

The dismantling of traditional news outlets – particularly the editorial newsrooms — would imperil the health of Canadian democracy, Greenspon said in presenting the report Thursday. Most national TV and print/online media are covering the story.

A shared base of knowledge and understanding is key to an empowered electorate says the report. That premise has been the mainstay of this newspaper West Shore Voice News since its inception in 2011 (formerly Sooke Voice News) with a goal to serve a knowledge-based economy and provide insights into areas of society that contribute to successful living: health and wellness, education, business and the economy, technology, politics, and socioeconomic trends.

The Shattered Mirror report pulls no punches about the rapidly changing landscape in Canadian media that has cost journalists their jobs and communities their newspapers. Most notably in recent years, media mogul Postmedia has carved away at its own newsrooms, but leaving management still standing. Until this week, when their Chief Financial Officer said he would be leaving.

Peter Armstrong, host of CBC's business news show 'On The Money'
Peter Armstrong, host of CBC’s business news show ‘On The Money’

In his On the Money business news show on CBC last night, journalist Peter Armstrong pushed Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey to defend how he could receive a $900,000 bonus in the wake of severing many long-time experienced journalists and editors from his staff roster. Godfrey said that it was important to have a management team in place as ‘insurance’ to the appeal of potential investors.

The Toronto Star reports that Postmedia issued layoff notices earlier this week to 15 employees at the Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette and Windsor Star after the company failed to reach the salary reduction target it set for itself last fall. And in January 2016 two top editors at the Edmonton Journal (Margo Goodhand and Stephanie Coombs) were among 35 staff let go there by Postmedia (of a total 90 Postmedia job layoffs, or 8% of Postmedia’s editorial staff) during a merger of four newspapers in Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa and Vancouver.  “In those four markets, each of those newsrooms are combining into one newsroom for each market,” said a Postmedia representative at that time. This served to assist Postmedia in their financial difficulties as they aimed to find at least $80 million in savings before the fiscal end of 2017 but also diminished the up-close coverage of local politics and events.

Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey
Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey

In collecting up and pushing out smaller players in the newspaper industry, Postmedia has systematically played a large role in endangering the well-being of smaller newspapers in communities across Canada. In their aim to be a big financial player in the media marketplace they may well have set in motion the demise of a fundamental plank of Canadian society — an open, productive and investigative journalism profession upon which society relies for reliable reporting through small local newspapers in particular.

In response to the report: “We at CWA (Communication Workers of America media union) Canada have been urging this for some time in order to encourage local, non-profit ownership of newspapers rather than the destructive, predatory hedge fund disaster that is Postmedia,” CWA president Martin O’Hanlon said in a statement yesterday.

Godfrey started expansive growth of his media empire in Victoria, BC just as the Internet age was progressing in the mid 1990s, including jumping onto the e-commerce bandwagon in its early days.

Although the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) is arguably the most reliable and impartial producer of in-depth news in Canada, the report essentially recommended tying the hands of the CBC. The report recommends that the government-funded CBC should be required to share its news content with other organizations and not be allowed to sell digital ads. In other words, not compete with the private market.

The West Shore Voice News editorial on this topic is on page 2 in the January 27, 2017 issue.

WestShoreRCMP-Dash-canine-Jan1717-webFriday, January 27 ~ LANGFORD. The West Shore RCMP is formally introducing to the community a 5-year-old German Sheppard of their canine unit. “Dash is quite excited to be working at West Shore Detachment with his handler Cst Daryl McDonald,” says West Shore Media Relations Officer Cst Alex Bérubé.

Dash’s duties include search for and detection of drugs and firearms, and tracking fleeing criminals. Dash is also involved in searches for lost children and missing persons.

Dash was born in Innisfail, Alberta and undertook an intensive 6-month training before being assigned to West Shore where he now patrols whenever needed, day and night. Dash is popular with children when he does school talks and enjoys playing around with his handler. “We have an incredible bond, says Cst McDonald, of the Police Dog Service (PDS) of West Shore RCMP. “I trust him with my life.”

The West Shore RCMP provides policing service to: City of Langford, City of Colwood, Town of View Royal, District of Metchosin, District of Highlands, Songhees First Nation and Esquimalt First Nation.

Thursday, January 26 ~ Free Trade, Rural Canada and How to keep Canada from being Trumped ~ Op Ed submitted by Jan Slomp, President of the National Farmers Union. He farms near Courtenay, BC

NationalFarmersUnion-2015logoOver the decades since the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and later, NAFTA, was signed, Canadian agriculture has undergone a significant shift. There was once a multitude of diverse local and regional economic drivers, but now we have a “one size fits all” export-driven, low-priced commodity production model. Farm capital needs have sky-rocketed as illustrated by the massive $90 billion farm debt. Off-farm investors control more and more of Canada’s farmland. Production – per farm, per acre and per worker — continues to go up. And that production became increasingly export and transport dependent as NAFTA-driven deregulation accelerated consolidation and transnational ownership of handling and processing facilities. Farmer numbers are ominously declining, yet governments, and most farm commodity groups and agri-business corporations remain euphoric over each signed trade agreement and growing exports.

What is missing in this picture is a few very sobering facts.

The once mighty farmer cooperative handlers and processors have been dismantled and absorbed into a handful of transnational corporations. Eighty percent of Vancouver’s terminal capacity used to be owned and operated by prairie Pools. Now the private trade owns it all. With the Canadian Wheat Board gone there is no real economic participation by farmers beyond the farm gate, nor any referee to discipline the railroads. Prairie farmers, who once ran the majority of Canada’s grain industry, no longer have a direct connection to the customers and end-users that pay the real market value for their product.

Under NAFTA, Canada’s regulatory system facilitated North American integration of pork and beef slaughter, processing and marketing at the expense of regional and local processors, marketers and the jobs they provided. Despite trade agreements, Canadian exports are still disadvantaged due to transportation costs

Apart from supply management sectors and a brief spike after 2009, overall inflation-adjusted net farm income is dismal. Farm communities across Canada are suffering from chronic economic decline. This was camouflaged by off-farm manufacturing jobs in Central Canada and resource sector jobs in Western Canada, but those jobs are no longer easy to get. The decline of Canada’s rural economy is not often discussed, but four decades of loss — of elevators, rail service, machinery dealerships, manufacturing, processing, input suppliers, essential community services and retailing outlets — has steadily diminished the quality of rural life. Government cutbacks to agricultural research facilities, public plant breeding, the PFRA and government extension services have further aggravated prospects. The decline of rural Canada is stark and given little attention compared to the rural quality of life in other developed countries.

Canada’s growing dependence on food imports is another sobering fact. We can grow many of these products, but have lost our own market because trade agreements help integrated food companies operate across borders, depressing prices for producers while controlling the consumer price. Trade agreements also reward over-processing of foods by substituting basic ingredients with cheaper fats, vegetable oils, soy lecithin, corn starch, fructose and modified milk ingredients, hence North America’s infamous over-consumption of processed foods. If free trade facilitates efficiency, as claimed, why is the spread between prices at the farm gate and the grocery store constantly getting larger?

President Trump vilifies Mexico for the loss of US jobs, but fails to mention the American companies that flocked to the Mexican maquiladoras to take advantage of low labour and environmental standards. NAFTA allowed the US to flood Mexico with its heavily subsidized corn, pork, chicken, beef and dairy, destroying the livelihoods of millions of Mexican farmers. Many subsequently migrated (often illegally) to become super-exploited labour in American fields, factories and meat packing plants.

President Trump will likely find reasons to reject Canadian product coming across the border, so it is very important that Prime Minister Trudeau is prepared for the worst and applies the utmost diplomacy in dealing with the Trump administration.

It is important to understand that NAFTA was never the golden egg its promoters pretended it to be, and neither are the other free trade agreements signed since. NAFTA has caused a lot of damage to the Canadian rural economy and President Trump is likely going to add more trouble. The last thing rural Canada needs is more giveaways to the US in an attempt to persuade the Americans not to back out of the deal. It is time for our Prime Minister to stop trading away the livelihoods of Canadian farmers and to start repairing the damage these deals have done so our domestic and international markets can function in a way that will make farming profitable again.

The decline of the Canadian rural economy must be turned around. If Prime Minister Trudeau wants to prevent the election of a Trump-like Canadian leader in three years he will have to start fixing things in rural Canada. We need an agenda for agriculture that makes rural quality of life and viable family farms the priority.

Lanagford Mayor Stew Young & District of Sooke CAO Teresa Sullivan ~ West Shore Voice News photo
Langford Mayor Stew Young & District of Sooke CAO Teresa Sullivan [West Shore Voice News photo, Jan 25, 2017]
Wednesday, January 25 ~ SOOKE. Langford Mayor Stew Young addressed the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce this morning, pitching for shared economic development strategies.

In addition to promoting the widening of Highway 14 (Sooke Road) to four lanes all the way between Langford and Sooke, Mayor Young proposed a more open for investment approach to Sooke’s economic development. Bringing in investment dollars will produce more successful community growth than relying on a primarily residential and local business property tax base.

Mayor Young spoke highly of Sooke’s natural outdoor recreational opportunities, particularly fishing. Sooke business owners in the room were keen to hear that in Langford the perpetual business licences do not require an annual renewal fee.

Full article on the SOOKE news page.


Tuesday, January 24 ~ VICTORIA. Nominations are now open for the Order of British Columbia, the Province’s highest honour for individuals who have served with great distinction or excelled in any field.

British Columbians are encouraged to consider and nominate inspiring individuals who have left a lasting legacy in their respective fields. The Order of British Columbia is one way of rewarding and recognizing those British Columbians whose extraordinary contributions and achievements have contributed to a better quality of life in the province and beyond.

“As the Province’s highest honour, the Order of British Columbia recognizes the outstanding contributions and achievements of our citizens,” said Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor and Chancellor of the Order of British Columbia. “I encourage you to nominate those individuals in your community whose leadership, dedication and extraordinary accomplishments strengthen the integrity of our province and contribute to a better future for all.”

Since the Order of British Columbia was established in 1989, the Province has recognized 402 British Columbians from a variety of sectors including the business, volunteer, arts and sporting communities.

Anyone can submit a nomination. Each year nominations are due on the first Friday of March, so for this year that is March 3, 2017. More information, nomination forms and submission instructions are available online at www.orderofbc.gov.bc.ca, by email: bchonoursandawards@gov.bc.ca, or by phone 250 387-1616.

US President Donald Trump signed three executive orders today, one of which denying funding to international NGOs that provide abortions. [Web-source photo]
US President Donald Trump signed three executive orders today, one of which denying funding to international NGOs that provide abortions. [Web-source photo]
Monday, January 23 ~ West Shore Voice News EDITORIAL.  For boomers who fought hard in particular during the 1960s and 1970s for abortion rights and sexual freedoms, US President Donald Trump’s global gag executive order today was a punch in the gut. Hard-won rights are in jeopardy if US President Donald Trump’s executive order today sets a trend in motion.

Surrounded by white men in suits in the Oval Office, Trump signed an executive order to reinstate the ‘Mexico City Policy’ that will block funding to international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that provide abortion services, even if no abortions are counselled for or or performed. President George W Bush had also reinstated that policy, while Democrat presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama had rescinded it.

Women everywhere need to be concerned. Watchful citizens will want to be alert to what this might signal for any changes to Planned Parenthood funding in the US (which could affect the Canadian branch of that organization) and even to abortion rights law in the US and by ripple effect in Canada. It was only in 1988 in Canada that abortion was finally decriminalized, leaving that difficult decision to a woman and her doctor.

Planned Parenthood and similar organizations and clinics provide reproductive health education and services and related supports to women on a walk-in basis without judgement. In the United States in particular, where many women don’t have health care coverage, Planned Parenthood can be a lifeline for women and families.

Earlier today, US Vice President Mike Pence tweeted: “Proud to stand w/ President Trump signing EOs: withdrawing US from TPP, prohibiting int’l abortion funding & freezing hiring except military.”

Many progressive people in Canada and the US are still in a bit of disbelief that all of this is happening so fast, right before our eyes. The millions of people (led by women) who last weekend in over 600 events worldwide protested the direction of Trump’s actions and intended policies, are hopefully only getting started.

When women’s full rights are under attack,everyone loses.

US&CdnFLAGsFriday, January 20 ~ OTTAWA. Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau today issued the following statement on the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States of America:

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I would like to extend my congratulations to Donald J. Trump on his inauguration as 45th President of the United States of America.

“Canada and the United States have built one of the closest relationships between any two countries in the world. This enduring partnership is essential to our shared prosperity and security.

“Together, we benefit from robust trade and investment ties, and integrated economies, that support millions of Canadian and American jobs. We both want to build economies where the middle class, and those working hard to join it, have a fair shot at success.

“Canada and the United States have unparalleled cooperation on matters of national security, and have always worked side by side to protect our citizens and ensure our shared border is secure.

“We look forward to working with President Trump, the U.S. Administration, the 115th Congress, and officials at the state and local levels to restore prosperity to the middle class on both sides of the border, and to create a safer and more peaceful world.”

Trump&Obama-Jan20-2017Friday, January 20 ~ UNITED STATES. Today at noon Donald J Trump took the oath of office to become the 45th president of the United States of America.  That it started raining just as Trump commenced his speech (and almost as quickly stopped raining) was noted by one of the clergy afterward as a blessing.

Along the lines of his campaign themes, Trump’s speech was hard-hitting against the Washington establishment and reached out to all Americans with a pledge to rebuild the American economy, to make American “great again”.

The inauguration was attended by former US Presidents Jimmy Carter and wife Rosalinde Carter, Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, George Bush and wife Laura Bush, and Barack Obama and outgoing first lady Michelle Obama. Obama said “good job” to Trump after the new president delivered his 16-minute speech.

Here is the transcript of the delivered speech by President Donald J Trump, in Washington DC today January 20, 2017:

“Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans and people of the world, thank you.
We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and restore its promise for all of our people.
Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for many, many years to come. We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done.
Every four years we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power.
And we are grateful to President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition.
They have been magnificent.
Thank you.
Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, DC, and giving it back to you, the people.
For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered but the jobs left and the factories closed.
The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs. And while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.
That all changes, starting right here and right now, because this moment is your moment.
It belongs to you.
It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America.
This is your day.
This is your celebration.
And this, the United States of America, is your country.
What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.
January 20th, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.
The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now. You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement, the likes of which the world has never seen before.
At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction that a nation exists to serve its citizens. Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families and good jobs for themselves.
These are just and reasonable demands of righteous people and a righteous public.
But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists.
Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation.
An education system flush with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge.
And the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.
We are one nation, and their pain is our pain.
Their dreams are our dreams, and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home and one glorious destiny.
The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.
For many decades we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry, subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military.
We’ve defended other nations’ borders while refusing to defend our own, and spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.
We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon.
One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind.
The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world. But that is the past, and now we are looking only to the future.
We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.
From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our product, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs.
Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body, and I will never ever let you down.
America will start winning again, winning like never before.
We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth, and we will bring back our dreams.
We will build new roads and highways and bridges and airports and tunnels and railways all across our wonderful nation.
We will get our people off of welfare and back to work, rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.
We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and hire American.
We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world, but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.
We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example.
We will shine for everyone to follow.
We will re-enforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth.
At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country we will rediscover our loyalty to each other.
When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.
The Bible tells us how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity. We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity. When America is united, America is totally unstoppable. There should be no fear. We are protected and we will always be protected. We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement. And most importantly, we will be protected by God.
Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger. In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving. We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action, constantly complaining but never doing anything about it.
The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.
Do not allow anyone to tell you that it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America. We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again.
We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow.
A new national pride will stir our selves, lift our sights and heal our divisions. It’s time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget, that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots.
We all enjoy the same glorious freedoms and we all salute the same great American flag.
And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty creator.
So to all Americans in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, from ocean to ocean, hear these words: You will never be ignored again. Your voice, your hopes and your dreams will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.
Together we will make America strong again, we will make America wealthy again, we will make America proud again, we will make America safe again.
And, yes, together we will make America great again.
Thank you.
God bless you.
And God bless America.”

BC Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon mingled with students at EMCS in Sooke, January 18. Photo by West Shore Voice News
BC Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon mingled with high school students at EMCS in Sooke, January 18. Photo by West Shore Voice News

Wednesday, January 18 ~ SOOKE.  BC Lietenant Governor Judith Guichon launched a province-wide Canada 150 launch tour to visit all BC school districts, with a first stop at three schools in Sooke School District 62 (SD62) today.

SD62 provides education to students and families in a wide geographical area on the west side of south Vancouver Island, including Sooke, Langford, Colwood, Highlands, Metchosin, Juan de Fuca and Port Renfrew. Today’s three school visits by Her Honour were all in the town of Sooke itself.

First thing in the morning was a visit to Sooke Elementary School followed by a visit to Journey Middle School mid-morning. After lunch at the Sooke Legion, Lt Gov Guichon addressed a full auditorium of high school students at Edward Milne Community School (EMCS) in the afternoon. At each assembly, the Lieutenant Governor got Canada’s 150th Birthday off to an official start. Oh Canada was performed by two singers at the start, and a taped version of God Save the Queen wrapped up the assembly.

In her cheerful address to the high school students, Lieutenant Governor Guichon was a bit instructional (the role of the Lt Gov with relation to the crown and constitution, and the names of former BC Lieutenant Governors), a bit BC-promotional (with accolades for various BC regions and a pitch about various Government House ‘priority programs’), and a bit playful (including a ‘disqualification’ of VIPs in the front row to answer some of the questions that she pitched to the students).

She outlined the priority programs were outlined as Right to Read (including support for libraries in remote regions), Sing Me A Song (including a songwriting and performance contest with a $1,000 prize in each of three age categories), and Stewards of the Future (aimed primarily at Grade 10 students to promote leadership with land and water).

2314-LtGov-groupshot-WestShoreVoice-Jan1817-webDuring the assembly Q&A, students asked Her Honour about her travel, how a Lt Gov is chosen and what the qualifications are, and how youth or the public might contribute suggestions to government or her office. The students seemed curious, intent and perhaps a bit surprised at aspects of Guichon’s skills and interests — that she owns a ranch, and that she has a 3-wheel electric vehicle that (when plugged into the power grid at her ranch) will cost nothing to recharge.

A formal group of VIPs attended the afternoon event, comprised of [in photo from left]: SD62 Board Chair Bob Phillips, SD62 Superintendent Jim Cambridge, T’Sou-ke Nation elder Shirley Alphonse, Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon,  EMCS Principal Pat Swinburnson, T’Sou-ke Nation elder Linda Bristol, and District of Sooke Mayor Maja Tait. Also in attendance were SD62 Trustee Margot Swinburnson and District of Sooke Councillor Bev Berger.

Students were advised by school administration before the formal event got started that all hats should be taken off, and all phones be turned off, with a reminder that they were representing their school. A bit motivationally they were told they represented “the west coast / best coast”.

After addressing the high school students, Lieutenant Governor Guichon seemed genuinely delighted to mingle with students in the lobby to answer further questions.

trudeau-townhall-sleevesrolled-webSunday, January 15 ~ EDITORIAL.  “When a rich kid from Ottawa/Montreal rolls up his sleeves and takes on the leadership of arguably the best country in the world, political pundits need to cut a bit of slack when petulance peeks out from behind the political correctness.

So Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took his family on a trip that few of us will ever be able to afford. And the trip was paid for by someone affiliated with an agency that lobbies the government, but is also a long-time family friend. They took a helicopter to a private island — how exotic! Would you turn down such a trip?

Notwithstanding some of the economic and political challenges that may lie ahead over some of Trudeau’s political decisions (like longstanding deficit spending, faltering on prompt delivery of democratic process reform, and what seemed like a casual threat to the oil industry in a town hall meeting this week), Canada is the coolest place on earth. No wars in our backyards, deliberate attention to matters of social well-being and environment, and a business sector that somehow wants to keep on trying in a flatline economy.

Thank your lucky stars and cut a break for people who devote themselves to public service when really they don’t have to.” ~ Editor, West Shore Voice News

[Editorial as first published on page 2 in the January 13, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News | Photo screenshot from January 13 townhall meeting]

islandhealth-LOGOSaturday, January 14 ~ VANCOUVER ISLAND.  Island Health is asking Island residents to do their part to ensure they are using Emergency Departments appropriately, particularly at this time of year when patient visits increase due to influenza and other seasonal illnesses.

“When people use our Emergency Departments wisely it goes a long way in helping dedicated emergency room physicians, nurses and clinical staff provide timely, quality care to patients who truly need emergency care,” said Jeremy Etherington, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Island Health.

“People are reminded that emergency rooms triage patients and those in need of emergency or urgent care are seen first, meaning potential longer waits for those with non-emergency or urgent needs, such as a prescription refill.”

While emergencies are unavoidable, some simple steps to avoid unnecessary trips to the hospital emergency room include:
• If you need non-urgent care, book an appointment with your family doctor or visit a walk-in clinic;
• Get a flu shot;
• Wash your hands frequently to avoid getting sick and spreading germs;
• See your doctor before the weekend and/or holidays, if necessary, to avoid long wait-times in the Emergency Department;
• Note the weekend and holiday hours of your local pharmacy/drug store, and ensure your prescriptions are up to date;
• Make sure you have basic pharmaceuticals on hand to control children’s fever and pain;
• Become familiar with walk-in clinic locations in your area, and their hours of operation;
• Wear a seatbelt when operating or riding in a motor vehicle;
• Don’t drink and drive; and
• Wear the right footwear to avoid falling or slipping.

Should you feel you or someone in your care is in need of emergency medical treatment do not hesitate to go to the Emergency Department or call 911. If you are unsure about whether Emergency Department care is needed, call HealthLink BC at 811 to speak to a nurse, 24 hours a day.

WearingMaskFLUFriday, January 13 ~ VANCOUVER ISLAND.  Island Health says there has been an increase in respiratory illness bringing people to hospital on Vancouver Island in recent weeks. “It’s too soon to tell if we have reached the peak of influenza/influenza-like activity,” says Kellie Hudson, Island Health Manager, Media Relations/Issues Management.

As of January 10, a total of 181 influenza patients had been diagnosed between September 1, 2016 and January 10, 2017 as were admitted to an Island Health acute care facility (180 influenza A and 1 influenza B). The influenza A strain this year is H3N2.  As of January 10, there were still 66 patients in hospital.

“We are aware of five people who have died with confirmed influenza in Island Health facilities,” says Hudson. “While they were diagnosed with influenza, it may not necessarily have been the cause of death.”

As a result of increased patient volumes, Island  Health has opened up some overflow areas. The seasonal spike in respiratory illness has also led to a number of surgical postponements last week and into this week as well. Last week, approximately 13 surgeries were postponed across the island due to bed availability, says Island Health. “Surgical postponements are always considered a last resort as we work together to manage the capacity at the site.”

People are asked to wash their hands frequently, sneeze/cough into their sleeve, stay home if ill, and wear a mask if you must be out in public when you have a cold or flu.

Island Health facilities continue to have capacity to respond to critical and emergency cases. No one is turned away, but depending on urgency there may be a longer wait.

oystersFriday, January 13 ~ VANCOUVER. The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is warning the public following a spike in acute gastrointestinal illness associated with the consumption of oysters.

Since early December 2016, over 70 cases of oyster-related illness have been reported to BC health authorities. Illnesses have been reported to Island Health, Vancouver Coastal Health, Fraser Health and First Nations Health Authority. The outbreak is ongoing and more cases are expected.

People who have been ill have reported eating raw oysters or lightly-cooked oysters in restaurants or prepared at home.

“Testing in several of the cases confirmed the presence of norovirus, and we suspect norovirus in the others,” said Dr. Eleni Galanis, epidemiologist at the BCCDC. “In order to kill norovirus and other bugs, people need to cook oysters thoroughly, to an internal temperature of 90 degrees Celsius for 90 seconds.”

Dr. Galanis says oysters can make people sick at any time during the year. While raw oyster consumption during the summer months is linked to an increased risk of illness from “Vibrio” (Vibrio parahaemolyticus), other microorganisms like norovirus can be present all year, The investigation is ongoing.

Anyone becoming ill with diarrhea and vomiting after eating shellfish should call BC HealthLink at 811. If symptoms are severe or persist, they should see their physician.

About Norovirus: www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/norovirus-norwalk-like-virus | Safe consumption of fish and shellfish: www.bccdc.ca/health-info/food-your-health/fish-shellfish

About 15,000 people gathered at the BC Legislature on Sept 24, 2016 for Royal Tour Official Welcome. Photo by West Shore Voice News
About 15,000 people gathered at the BC Legislature on Sept 24, 2016 for Royal Tour Official Welcome. Photo by West Shore Voice News

Thursday, January 12 ~ VICTORIA.  The BC government released the costs today for the Royal Tour 2016, when their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and their children, visited British Columbia during their second official tour of Canada.

Through a cost sharing agreement with the Government of Canada, BC’s share of expenses relating to the Royal Tour 2016 totalled $613,363.93, which also includes the costs of site reconnaissance at each location as well as media transportation, accommodation, and tour.

The royal tour attracted global attention to BC with more than 435 accredited media, including 64 from United Kingdom outlets, and 31 from international outlets. Earned media coverage included media such as Vogue, Allure, Hello Magazine, CNN and the Today show with a reach of almost 106 million people.

From Sept. 24 to Oct. 1, 2016, the Duke and Duchess visited Victoria, Vancouver, Kelowna, Bella Bella and Haida Gwaii, attracting large crowds throughout their tour, including 15,000 British Columbians for their official welcome to Canada at the Parliament Buildings in Victoria.

Their Royal Highnesses also participated in more than 25 engagements, highlighting the significant work being undertaken to support parents with substance issues, enhance services and supports for mental health and conserving the Great Bear Rainforest.

Chrystia Freeland is sworn in as Minister of Foreign Affairs as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Gov.-Gen. David Johnston look on during a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan.10, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Chrystia Freeland is sworn in as Minister of Foreign Affairs as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Gov.-Gen. David Johnston look on during a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan.10, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Tuesday, January 10 ~ OTTAWA. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced a small but significant cabinet shuffle.

The most high profile shift is that former International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland is now the Foreign Affairs Minister, and François-Philippe Champagne is now Minister of International Trade.

Freeland speaks fluent Russian and has deep ties in political administration in the United States having been a long-time journalist south of the border.  François-Philippe Champagne — now leaving his post as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance over the past year — is a skilled trade lawyer. These two appointments in particular are thought to be in response to toughening up Canada’s presence for interaction with the new Trump administration in the USA.

Outgoing Minister of Immigration John McCallum who skillfully and speedily handled the immigration of Syrian refugees to Canada last year, is taking a top diplomatic post as Canada’s Ambassador to China.  Ahmed D. Hussen today becomes Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship; he is a first-time MP from the Greater Toronto area.

François-Philippe Champagne sworn in as the new Minister of International Trade
François-Philippe Champagne sworn in as the new Minister of International Trade

Patricia Hajdu is moving up from Minister of Status of Women to more influence with her posting to Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour.  While Maryam Monsef is generally thought to have poorly handled the voting reform issues as Minister of Democratic Institutions, she remains in the cabinet now as Minister of Status of Women.

And it looks like a possible swan song for long-time Liberal Stéphane Dion (serving in government since 1996) who has been offered international posts but may wish to remain in Montreal for family reasons (his wife is a businesswoman in Montreal).  Katrina Gould is not yet widely known; she has been given the Democratic Institutions portfolio.

Here is the list as released from the Prime Minister’s office:

  • Chrystia Freeland, currently Minister of International Trade, becomes Minister of Foreign Affairs, and retains the Canada-U.S. relations file, including trade relations.
  • Maryam Monsef, currently Minister of Democratic Institutions, becomes Minister of Status of Women.
  • Patricia A. Hajdu, currently Minister of Status of Women, becomes Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour.
  • François-Philippe Champagne, currently Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, becomes Minister of International Trade.
  • Karina Gould, currently Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development, becomes Minister of Democratic Institutions.
  • Ahmed D. Hussen becomes Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

“The Honourable Stéphane Dion has served his country in many different roles over the last 21 years with integrity and a fierce love of Canada. I, and all Canadians, owe him a deep debt of gratitude for his service. I know I will be able to continue to count on his wisdom and his tireless service, and look forward to the next chapter of Mr. Dion’s contributions to our country.”

“The Honourable John McCallum has had a distinguished career in public service, holding many different portfolios within government and has had an extensive parliamentary career. Most recently, his work as Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship bringing in over 39,500 Syrian refugees has been an inspiration to Canadians and an example to the world. I am pleased to announce that I will be proposing the Honourable John McCallum to the Chinese government as Canada’s Ambassador to China. The Canada-China relationship will be well served by such a strong presence from our government.”

“The Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk has served the government with distinction and oversaw a significant expansion of the Canada Summer Jobs program and settled the Canada Post labour dispute as Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour. The Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk will continue to serve as MP for Kildonan—St. Paul.”

54946_dsc_0027_pillsMonday, January 9 ~ LANGFORD. A significant amount of suspected controlled substances were seized from a home near Ruth King Elementary School in Langford on Friday, January 6.

The drug trafficking investigation netted three suspects, says West Shore RMCP. Three men were arrested by the West Shore RCMP’s Crime Reduction Unit (CRU) —  a 32-year-old man of Saanich, and two men who are known criminals in Langford: 41-year-old Edgar Acevedo and 37-year-old Erickson Delalcazar of Langford.

The CRU obtained and executed a search warrant in the 2700-block of Jacklin Rd, across from the elementary school. The search yielded over 600 suspected controlled substance pills and over $26,000 in cash. [Photos provided by West Shore RCMP].

54947_dsc_0080_cash“The close proximity to the school where the drugs were seized from is quite concerning,” says West Shore RCMP media spokesperson Cst. Alex Bérubé. “This is why we are seeking the assistance of the community with regards to information on drug trafficking or any other criminal activity in the West Shore.”

The three individuals were charged with Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking. The Saanich man was released on a Promise to Appear, while Delalcazar and Acevedo were remanded until today.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the West Shore RCMP at 250-474-2264 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

streep-screenshot5-webSunday, January 8 ~ HOLLYWOOD / World.  Tonight long-time actress Meryl Streep knocked it out of the park with stinging remarks against President-Elect Donald Trump on immigration and respect for others, and in support of “the principled press”.

Here is a transcript of Streep’s seven-minute speech as part of her acceptance of the honorary Cecil B. DeMille Award (for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment) at the Golden Globe Awards ceremony in Hollywood on tonight.  There was much audience applause throughout, and at one point complete attentive silence.

“Thank you Hollywood foreign press, just to pick up on what Hugh Laurie said…. you – and all of us in this room really –  belong to the most vilified segments in American society right now, think about it … Hollywood, foreigners and the press.

Who are we, and what is Hollywood anyway? It’s just a bunch of people from other places …. (mentions various actors)…  where are their birth certificates? … So Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners, and if we kick ‘em all out you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are NOT the arts.

They gave me three seconds to say this, so….

An actor’s only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us, and let you feel what that feels like. And there were many, many, many powerful performances this year that did exactly that … breath-taking compassionate work.  But there was one performance this year that STUNNED me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good. It was… (pause) …there was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth. It was that moment, when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege, power and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it. And I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie, it was real life. And this instinct to humiliate when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life ‘cause it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose. OK, go out with that thing.

Ok, this brings me to the press. We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage.  That’s why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in our constitution. So I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood foreign press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists ‘cause we’re gonna need them going forward, and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.

One more thing.  Once when I was standing around on the set one day … whining about something, you know … we were going to work through supper, or the long hours or whatever… Tommy Lee Jones said to me: ‘Isn’t it such a privilege Meryl, just to be an actor?’. Ya, it is. And we have to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy. We should all be very proud of the work Hollywood honors here tonight.

As my friend the dear departed Princess Leia said to me once: ‘Take your broken heart, make it into art.’  

Thank you, foreign press.”

westshorevoice-realestate-dec1yrcomparison-0jan0617-webSaturday, January 7 ~ WEST SHORE of VANCOUVER ISLAND. Property sales through the Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB) MLS were steady in Dec 2016 (471 sales vs 465 in Dec 2015), and strong if compared to 283 sales in Dec 2013.

Meanwhile, inventory levels dropped by 40.7% to a low level of 1,493 active listings (vs 2,517 in Dec 2015), with all of that way down from the Dec 2013 inventory of 3,554 properties for sale. Supply has been drying up after a strong run of sales in 2016 under continued conditions of low interest rates and a race against the clock regarding stronger mortgage qualification rules for first-time buyers that came into effect October 17.

“As we expected, 2016 broke records in terms of the number of properties sold in our area,” notes Mike Nugent, outgoing 2016 VREB President. Overall property sales tallied at 10,622 in 2016, exceeding the previous high of 9,241 sales as set in 1991. Nugent adds that 25% of December 2016 sales sold over asking price, in the present-day modest price point of “up to $750,000”. In a news release Nugent stated: “Your average buyer will face a competitive market.”

Looking at single family home prices for the west side of the island (Langford, Colwood and Sooke) compared to the overall Greater Victoria area (see custom table above), in just one year all pricing is solidly up more than the average income of a Canadian worker (which is about $49,500). In fact, the year-over-year actual sales average for Langford was up almost $110,000 and in Sooke the one-year jump was over $128,000.

Note: the Benchmark HPI price is a data-adjusted figure based on criteria considered of influence upon the true value of a home. The raw sales average (shown in bold) is what people actually pay.

brokenwatermainFriday, January 6 ~ SAANICH/VICTORIA. Highway Maintenance Advisory at 7pm this evening. 

Mainroad South Island Contracting is working with the District of Saanich to locate and repair a broken water line in the 5200-block of the Pat Bay Hwy (Hwy 17). That’s south of Saanich, opposite Elk Lake. Hwy 17 enables traffic to/from the peninsula (including airport and ferry terminal).

Fast lane closures will be in effect both North and South bound on Hwy 17 while scheduled maintenancee (6am to 3pm) is undertaken on Saturday, January 7.

“We encourage motorists and residents and the travelling public to avoid the area,” says Mainroad South Island general manager Rick Gill. The Mainroad 24 hr Hotline is 1.877.391.7310. Observations and concerns will be passed along to road crews.


Friday, January 6 ~ SOOKE.  Whether or not firearms and bows with arrows can be used in the District of Sooke by agricultural land operators to protect their crops, will be heard in delegations and likely also public input at the January 9, 2017 Regular Meeting of District of Sooke Council.

There are two delegations early in the January 9 meeting agenda for which two members of the public are listed to speak to proposed Bylaw 659 that would allow the use of firearms in the District of Sooke for the protection of crops.

  • A presentation by E Boucher (no first name given) is simply titled “Concerns with Proposed Bylaw 659”
  • A presentation by two persons identified as “Carle and Roth” (no last names provided), is noted with this comment: “Ensuring that ALR land owners can protect livestock”

The format of this agenda differs from agendas of previous years, when more information about the delegations — including their reason for wanting to make the presentation — was publicly provided ahead of the meeting.

Public input on any agenda items is allowed at Sooke council meetings. The Public Question and Comment Period will immediately follow the above-mentioned delegations, allowing other persons to give their views on whether it is safe to allow the use of weapons in Sooke which is increasingly becoming a built-up urban area.

The proposed Bylaw 659 already passed first, second and third readings at the December 12, 2016 meeting of Sooke Council. Councillor Kevin Pearson said he voted for the motion as a way to open public debate. Councillor Brenda Parkinson was the only councillor who officially opposed the motion.

In an atypical move to not go for final approval of a Bylaw that was given 3rd reading at a previous meeting, the proposed Bylaw 659 is not listed on the agenda for Council consideration. Perhaps Council is buying more time (after hearing delegations and public input on January 9) before making a final decision.

Concerns in opposition to the proposed bylaw are for matters of public safety. Proposed Bylaw 659 would allow the use of firearms and bows with arrows at a distance of no closer than 150 meters to public buildings or areas where people might be expected to gather.

Last year some residents of Whiffin Spit wrote letters to Council saying that public safety should trump the right of people to kill animals on their property. In one case, a deer with an arrow in its head was seen making its way through a homeowner’s yard in the Whiffin Spit area, reportedly the result of an ‘incomplete kill’ at a nearby tree farm.

The entire discussion started last year after Juan de Fuca Electoral Area (JDFEA) Director Mike Hicks made a presentation to Sooke Council asking for their consideration to allow owners of agricultural land to use firearms to deal with what is apparently an increasing and troublesome population of wild geese. The geese are destroying crops. They are also contaminating the surface of the Fred Milne ball field, which has recreational implications for youth and other users. Hicks is also the Chair of the SEAPARC board.

The agenda and webcasting for Monday night’s 7pm meeting in council chambers is at www.sooke.ca

Commons area at Royal Bay Secondary in Colwood.
Commons area at SD62’s Royal Bay Secondary in Colwood. Photo Copyright West Shore Voice News.

Thursday, January 5 ~ BC.  School Districts in British Columbia are in total receiving $50 million to hire more teachers for the remainder of the 2016-2017 school year.

BC Minister of Education Mike Bernier made the announcement today, explaining that it’s up to each school district in discussions with local BC Teachers Federation (BCTF) representatives, to determine what sorts of teacher or staff support hiring will be done with the additional 2016-2017 funds. Province-wide, the $50 million will allow for the hiring of about 1,100 teachers, said Bernier.

Bernier says that the $50 million announced today comes on top of the $5.1 billion already invested in public education in BC. The $50 million is a portion of what will finally be determined in negotiations between the BC Government and BCTF.

Most school districts already know where the needs are, so the additional funds are likely welcome.  The funds will be included in the 2017 provincial budget (coming in February), and so will carry forward into hiring considerations for school boards in 2017-2018.

The funds issued at this time are in response to the Supreme Court of Canada decision that reversed a decision made by the BC Government in 2002 that effectively cut back on teachers and funds available for schools to operate over the past 15 years. Since 2002 the continued cutbacks have impacted not only the teachers but the entire delivery of education in BC, as school boards were obliged to find all available funding (including teacher salaries) from per-pupil funding ratio revenues and other miscellaneous revenue sources.

In Sooke School District 62 (SD62) — which serves families and students in Langford, Colwood, Sooke, Highlands, Metchosin, Juan de Fuca and Port Renfrew — about 14 teachers (full time equivalents) will likely be hired pending discussions with the Sooke Teachers Association on January 6, says SD62 Superintendent Jim Cambridge.

Cambridge says that in SD62 the additional funds will probably be used to hire additional secondary school teachers, as well as additional special needs support for the elementary schools. He identified those as top priorities. He also mentioned the options of hiring educational assistants (EAs), additional half-time teachers for full classrooms, teacher-librarians and counsellors.

bchydro-outagemap-langford-jan0317Tuesday, January 3 ~ South VANCOUVER ISLAND. It’s been windy the past few days on south Vancouver Island, with temperatures at or below zero today.
Winds picked up again this evening.

For BC Hydro customers in the utility’s south Vancouver Island region, the impact of weather on power lines presently (9:44 pm) sees 6,590 customers (about 19,000 people) without power. Several of those outages happened in the last one to three hours.

In a section of Colwood/Langford (see map) 1,297 customers have been without power since 8:30 pm.

In Duncan, 493 customers are without power, and the customer outage tally in Central Saanich at this hour is 187 in Central Saanich and the Highlands. The remaining 4,513 affected customers are various of the gulf islands.

Check for updates at www.bchydro.com

firstbabybc-jan0117Sunday, January 1, 2017 ~ The first baby of 2107 born in British Columbia is Montgomery. He weighed in at 8 lbs 14 oz, arriving right at midnight at BC Women’s Hospital in Vancouver.

Information regarding the first birth of 2017 in BC was shared on the BC government Twitter account @BCGovNews today with congratulations to the family.  Happy new year!

wsv-mpoweroutages-webSunday, January 1, 2017 ~ South VANCOUVER ISLAND.  About 1,988 BC Hydro customers in the south Vancouver Island area were without power this afternoon. And while some customers saw power restored, others lost power: still 1,502 had no power as of 11 pm this evening.

There was some light snowfall last night, with trees down on wires in some cases. Temperatures have been hovering around zero since last night. Wind speed picked up mid-evening.

AFTERNOON (2pm): Although the weather is calm and skies are bright, around 1:15 pm 673 customers lost power west of Otter Point Road in the Sooke area; also in the Sooke area about 135 customers lost power around Belvista Place. In the Highlands/Langford area 674 customers are without power west of Millstream Road. Power is also out for some customers on Ganges and in Duncan.

EVENING (11pm): At 11 pm tonight there were still 1,502 BC Hydro billing customers without power (that’s about 4,500 people). That includes 115 in Metchosin, a few in Langford, 828 in the West Coast Road area west of Sooke, 107 in the Blythwood/Woodlands area east of Sooke, 384 in the Lochside Drive area of Saanich, and a few on Galiano Island.

Updates: www.bchydro.com


trudeau-xmasmessagetv-screenshot-dec2016-webSaturday, December 31, 2016 ~ NATIONAL. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has issued a New Year message to Canadians.

“Happy New Year, everyone. Tonight is 150 years in the making, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ring in the New Year together. From coast to coast to coast, spectacular events are planned to usher in Canada’s 150th birthday.

Before we leave 2016 behind, I want to thank you. Over the last year, we have accomplished a great deal together to strengthen the middle class and those working hard to join it.

We cut taxes on middle-class Canadians, and put more money in the pockets of nine out of ten families through a new, more generous Canada Child Benefit; we also signed one of the most progressive free trade deals in history that will benefit Canadians across the country.

As we mark Canada 150 over the next year, we will honour the generations of Canadians who have come together to create opportunities for one another. We will celebrate the courage and vision of those who came before us, and the hard work and ambition of Canadians – like you – who have made Canada the success story that it is today.

For my part as Prime Minister, I will always stand against the politics of fear and division, and focus on what brings us together – that is my New Year’s resolution to you.

In 2017, and beyond, our government will take further steps to help the middle class and those working hard to join it. And, together, I know we will continue to build the diverse and prosperous country that we are all so proud to call home. Canada, let’s make this year our year.

On behalf of our family, Sophie and I wish you a wonderful night and all the best in 2017.”

BC Premier Christy Clark at Sept 24th Official Welcome of the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge ~ Photo Copyright 2016: West Shore Voice News
BC Premier Christy Clark at Sept 24, 2016 Official Welcome of the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge ~ Photo Copyright 2016: West Shore Voice News

Saturday, December 31, 2016. BC Premier Christy Clark has issued a New Year’s statement, on the eve of Canada’s 150th birthday.

“New Year’s celebrations give us a chance to spend time with our families, reflect back on the year that was, and prepare for the opportunities ahead.

“In many ways, 2016 was the year the country and the world took notice of what hard-working British Columbians are achieving by sticking to our plan. Together, we have built a solid foundation with Canada’s leading economy, the best job-creation record and lowest unemployment in the country.

“This means we are able to invest more in the future, and take care of those among us who need it most. That includes the largest single-year investment in affordable housing in Canada and strong steps to keep the dream of home ownership within the reach of the middle class with our new BC HOME Partnership Program.

“More than a decade of hard work has resulted in the landmark Great Bear Rainforest Agreement, recognized this year by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy.

“In the year ahead, we resolve to keep working every day to put British Columbians first, and to make sure BC is in a strong position to overcome any challenges and make the most of our opportunities.

“I want to wish all British Columbians a safe New Year’s celebration and all the best for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2017.”


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