Home ARCHIVE – Front Page Breaking News [April 2017]

ARCHIVE – Front Page Breaking News [April 2017]

ARCHIVE – Breaking News [April 2017]

Sunday, April 30 ~ WEST SIDE of VANCOUVER ISLAND.  People have been dropping by steadily to vote at District Electoral Offices (DEOs) for Langford-Juan de Fuca and Esquimalt-Metchosin in the past week, say staff at both locations.

Personnel hired specifically to execute all the many responsibilities of operating a Voting Station have taken training at each DEO. Being responsible for a ballot box during the Advance Voting days includes overseeing the whereabouts of that box when it’s not in active ballot-receiving mode, says David Garvey, Deputy District Electoral Officer for Langford-Juan de Fuca.

There is a step-by-step process to ensure secrecy of the ballots and their retention between the six advance voting days, explains Garvey.

Ballots that are cast at any DEO in BC are sent after 8pm on the General Election Day (May 9) to the riding where the vote belongs. Due to the time this takes, there is a final vote count on May 23, once all ballots have been received in their home ridings. Potentially this could swing a vote result in any given riding.

With the increased number of advance voting days (six days this election — April 29 & 30, May 3-6) and voting throughout the 28-day campaign period by any voter at any DEO in the province, that theoretically increases the number of ridings where final counts on May 23 could make a difference in the overall result.

The DEO for Langford-Juan de Fuca is at 111-2787 Jacklin Road in Langford. The DEO for Esquimalt-Metchosin is in Colwood at 3-1905 Sooke Road.

Visit the April 28, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News to see photos of both DEO office locations plus hours and list of candidates, (page 6). List of all voting stations in both ridings, and open hours (page 8).

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ Editor, West Shore Voice News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Key components of the BC Greens health care platform include:

Promoting wellness

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

Prioritizing prevention and primary care

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

Providing effective and efficient acute care

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

Addressing mental health and addictions

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

Supporting seniors and providing end-of-life

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

Protecting children

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scott Maxwell of Wounded Warriors (left) and Langford Mayor Stew Young displayed one of the custom jerseys for Vancouver Island riders. Sharing the moment were Shari Lukens (who will ride at Vimy) and Ron Coutre, president of the West Shore Developers Association [Photo: West Shore Voice News – April 10, 2017]

Monday, April 10 ~ LANGFORD. Langford is on some Wounded Warrior jerseys, and this also puts Langford on the world map!

Today the City of Langford, and partners, including the West Shore Developers Association, Turner Lane Development Corporation, Seacliff Holdings Ltd, Westhills Land Corp, Alpine Group, Keycorp Consulting Ltd, and Southpoint Partners Ltd, announced their $10,000 donation to Wounded Warriors Canada to support their upcoming ride at Vimy in France. The event was held outside Langford City Hall at noon.

This donation will sponsor the cycling jerseys to be worn by the 140 Canadian cyclists who are taking part in the Wounded Warriors Canada Vimy 100 Battlefield Bike Ride (BBR17). Together, the group will cycle about 600 km over six days in lands where Canadian soldiers fought in World War I.

They will ride to honour and remember the countless thousands who were wounded and the nearly 61,000 Canadians who gave their lives; 3,598 Canadians were killed in one day alone in taking Vimy Ridge on April 9, 1917.

The cycling event this month in June will conclude with a 100th anniversary commemorative service at the historic Vimy Ridge Memorial in France, on June 16.

Langford Mayor Stew Young proudly announced the swift and generous contribution of funds from the Langford business community, and was pleased that all of Langford Council was on side for the initiative to supply the Vancouver Island team with jerseys. The jerseys include the names of sponsors, including the City of Langford.

Scott Maxwell, executive director of Wounded Warriors Canada, reminded the crowd present for today’s announcement that the men who fought at Vimy and in World War I “returned home as different people” and also had to deal with “what wasn’t there when they got home”.

One of those large supersize promotional cheques was displayed by Mayor Young and Scott Maxwell. After the meeting, Mayor Young told Maxwell that the $10,000 would be repeated again in future years.

One of the groups involved in supporting Wounded Warriors is COPE (Couples Overcoming PTSD Everyday) … a service sprearheaded by
LCol (retired) Chris Linford. Linford and his wife Kathryn were at the news announcement in Langford today.  “We’re very pleased about Langford’s support,” said Linford. He says there are now 13 programs offered by COPE in four provinces: BC, Alberta, Ontario and New Brunswick.  The program has recently also been translated into French.

Local community leader Shari Lukens was at today’s event. She has done several 50 km rides getting ready for the big ride in France. This week she will also do a 100 km ride (from downtown over to the ferry, out to Metchosin and back), to further build her stamina!


Monday, April 10 ~ SOOKE.  Wow, your pets must really be ready for spring!  [Update: soft opening now set for April 12]

The opening of Bosley’s by Pet Valu has been fast-forwarded to tomorrow, Tuesday April 11 (instead of waiting til the previously-announced May 11).

The store is located at the Evergreen Shopping Centre in Sooke, next to Western Foods (where The Reading Room Cafe used to be).

Mall owners will be flying in from Toronto to be in attendance tomorrow, to help celebrate the opening.

Bosley’s is part of one of the largest pet supply retail operations in North America that is dedicated to providing families with food and supplies for dogs, cats, companion birds, wild birds, fish, reptiles and small animals.

Bosley’s has 36 outlets in BC including stores in Victoria, Colwood and Sidney. The Sooke store will be the fourth on south Vancouver Island. They also have three stores in Nanaimo.

Monday, April 10 ~ LANGFORD. Today the City of Langford and community partners are announcing a $10,000 donation to Wounded Warriors Canada in support of their Vimy 100 Battlefield Bike Ride.

The donation will sponsor the cycling jerseys to be worn by the 140 Canadian participants, which include a team of riders from Vancouver Island.

City of Langford Mayor Stew Young will present the donation to Wounded Warrior Canada Executive Director Scott Maxwell.

Memorial gathering at Vimy Monument, April 8, 2017

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

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

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

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

Battlefield at Vimy in 1917.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BC Liberal candidate Cathy Noel took a look at the Townsend Rd & Hwy 14 intersection in Sooke town centre today, April 6.

Thursday, April 6 ~ SOOKE. The highway route between Langford and Sooke will soon get some improvements. As “the one road in and out of Sooke” it’s an important stretch of roadway for the town of Sooke that in the recent census surpassed a population count of 13,000.

As stated in Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure news release, the Province has committed to “improving safety at the Parkland, Gillespie and Connie road intersections on Highway 14”.

“Highway 14 is a critical link on southern Vancouver Island serving a wide variety of people, and these safety improvements will benefit commuters, commercial drivers, tourists, pedestrians and cyclists,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone.

Over a period of five years (2012-2016), the Province says it has invested $7.28 million into improving Highway 14 “between Langford and Sooke”, though good chunks of it affects just Sooke (such as the Sooke town centre roundabout), not Langford. This is the list:
o a new digital overhead sign on Highway 14 located near Awsworth Road (Sooke-side of the West Shore Parkway, just west of the industrial park that is under construction), expected to be operational later this spring ($250,000);
o Highway 14 resurfacing, shoulder widening and roundabout ($6 million contributed by the Province);
o drainage improvements near Impala Road ($475,000);
o shoulder widening in the Metchosin/Sooke area ($355,000); and
o Highway 14 enhanced delineation ($200,000).
• The corridor is approximately 22 km in length between Langford and Sooke.
• It has a daily use of approximately 14,000 vehicles and average daily traffic volumes show an increase of about 900 vehicles per day over the last five years.

However, there is one section of Highway 14 work done in 2011 and again altered in 2015 that did not help the Sooke town centre, and that is at the corner of Highway 14 (Sooke Road) and Townsend Road. Installation of meridians and no-left-turns have been an impediment to businesses, residents and other services to the community was never resolved, though discussions may be ongoing. A crosswalk was moved into that intersection, which (since 2015) now passes through a cut-out in the meridian.

Says MOTI: “The newest set of safety improvements will include new intersection lighting and enhanced signing and new delineation at Parkland Road and Gillespie Road. Near Parkland Road, there will also be additional clearing and brushing to control vegetation, which will improve visibility and enhance safety for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.”

The estimated cost of these newest improvements is $800,000 and work is expected to be completed by fall 2017.

The ministry is also advancing engineering and design for intersection improvements and enhancements for transit users at Connie Road. This plan, along with an estimated cost for the work, is scheduled for completion in early 2018.

In addition to these intersection improvements, this spring, the ministry will be applying new higher-quality reflective glass bead to the paint lines to improve visibility at night. A new highway webcam has been installed at Kangaroo Road, which will go live before the end of April and can be viewed under the Vancouver Island tab here: http://www.drivebc.ca/#webcams

The ministry is implementing these interim improvements while the overall Highway 14 corridor study to identify both short- and long-term improvements for Highway 14 is being completed. The final report expected in late summer 2017.

BC on the Move is the BC government’s 10-year plan for the improvement of the province’s transportation network. Over the next three years, the ministry and its partners are investing over $4.6 billion in priority transportation investments as part of this plan.

The Sheringham Point Lighthouse Preservation Society has received $550,000 for restoration and preservation.

Tuesday, April 4 ~ VICTORIA. A Vancouver Island lighthouse preservation group has received the largest private donation to a lighthouse restoration project in Canada.

The Sheringham Point Lighthouse Preservation Society (SPLPS) has received a multi-year financial commitment totaling $550,000 from the Ontario-based Westaway Charitable Foundation. Sheringham Point Lighthouse, located near the little town of Shirley — 57 km west of Victoria — is now owned by the society, one of 21 heritage lighthouses in BC. There are also 27 staffed lighthouse stations on the BC coast.

“Lighthouses are popular heritage sites in coastal Canada as well as being symbols of guidance and protection,” said SPLPS board member John Walls. “The Westaways’ supremely generous donation offers us a beacon to help us navigate through our ambitious restoration project, a gesture that is outstanding in Canada. As the recipients, we are honoured that the Westaways have such confidence in our plans. Their donation allows us to proceed with a major restoration to both the lighthouse and the lighthouse reserve property.”

The relationship between the Westaway Charitable Foundation and the SPLPS started with a small donation of $1,000. “We heard about the group and thought it deserved some financial support, so we sent a cheque,” said Foundation President Peter Westaway. “Later when I met the board members and volunteers, I was impressed with the planning expertise and their vision of this site as a coastal asset open to all. I am proud to be able to partner with SPLPS and magnify the substantive community-based financial support they have been given to further this important maritime heritage project.”

Westaway himself lives in the Old Cut Lighthouse on Lake Erie which he and his wife restored in 2000. Their restoration project won the Ontario Home Builders Award as well as the Canadian Home Builders Association Award in the Most Outstanding Home Renovation category.

Walls added that the total gift requires approximately half the required funds to be raised through the community, a large portion of which has been already completed.

Currently the SPLPS is working to restore power to the lighthouse and improve public safety. Then restoration of the tower and engine room will begin, including metal re-fabrication, re-glazing, painting and rustproofing, as well as concrete repairs. The plan is to have interpretive displays and educational programs at the heritage site.

The Westaway Charitable Foundation was formed in 1986 by Peter Westaway and his sister, Lynn, to support primarily the arts, medical research, and heritage projects. Major ongoing gifts have been made to further both ovarian and prostate cancer research, and to support theatre. Ellis Chapel, built in 1861 in Puslinch Township (in south-central Ontario) was completely restored with Foundation help. The Sheringham Point project is the first major gift by the Foundation to a lighthouse restoration project.

The Sheringham Point Lighthouse Preservation Society was formed in 2003 to protect, preserve and restore the heritage lighthouse and act as stewards of the surrounding property, located in Shirley (57 km west of Victoria). Ownership of the lighthouse was transferred to the society in 2015. The Lighthouse View Trail and Jennie’s Trail were created on private property and managed by the society for the first five years under an agreement with the Capital Regional District. The 3.4-km loop trail provides access to the lighthouse and the surrounding area.

BCelection-6candidates-westside-ACMApr24-WestShoreVOICE-webjpgTuesday, April 4 ~ WEST SIDE OF VANCOUVER ISLAND. On Monday, April 24 there will be an All Candidates Meeting for an opportunity to hear the candidates from two BC provincial ridings on this west side of the island. That date is pending the availability and confirmation from one of the candidates, here is the list:

  • Candidates for Langford-Juan de Fuca: John Horgan (BC NDP, incumbent), Cathy Noel (BC Liberal), Brendan Ralfs (BC Green), Scott Burton (BC Libertarian).  This electoral area includes Langford, Sooke, Highlands and Juan de Fuca.
  • Candidates for Esquimalt-Metchosin: Mitzi Dean (BC NDP), Barb Desjardins (BC Liberal), Andy MacKinnon (BC Green). This electoral area includes Esquimalt, View Royal, Colwood and Metchosin.

This will possibly the only full All Candidates Meeting for this side of the island during this 2017 BC election campaign, given that BC NDP Leader John Horgan is busy travelling the province.

The event on Monday April 24 will be held at the Royal Colwood Golf Club, in Colwood. Starting at 5pm (to 6:30 pm), as hosted by the West Shore Chamber of Commerce.

For regional campaign news during the campaign toward the May 9 BC provincial election, visit www.westshorevoicenews.com

BCNDP Campaign bus launch

BCNDP Campaign bus launch

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

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

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

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

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

David Evans, owner of The Stick coffee shop in Sooke. [Photo: West Shore Voice News]

David Evans, owner of The Stick coffee shop in Sooke. [Photo: West Shore Voice News]

Monday, April 3 ~ A group of five local business men are rallying around the need for improvements to Highway 14, as the only transportation route in and out of Sooke.

Owners of restaurants and/or with an interest in land development, these are the Sooke-based guys who today have thrown their hat into the political ring as the campaign period toward the May 9 BC Election ramps up: Randy Clarkston, David Evans, Scot Taylor, Jeremy Wilson, and Doug Wittich.

Calling it “Highway 14 By The Numbers Challenge”, the campaign was launched today April 3.

“The Sooke and Juan de Fuca region has had the rehabilitation of Highway 14 as a primary objective for decades”, says Scot Taylor, owner of the Stickleback West Coast Eatery on Highway 14, “and it’s time we got together to make some noise for the Government of British Columbia to invest the funds needed to make it safe, accessible and hassle free”.

Taylor and other Sooke business owners and residents have gathered together to address a number of outstanding issues in the community and region. They are a working group aiming to ensure that subjects are explored and acted upon. At a recent meeting, they discussed how best to make some noise so that all candidates would commit to ensuring that the rehabilitation of this rural arterial highway gets done in the near future.

“We are sensitive to the friends and families that have lost loved ones on this highway, so we sought a way that we could raise a ruckus and still be respectful of the memory of those that have been injured or lost their lives” stated Jeremy Wilson, co-owner of AdrenaLINE Zipline Adventure Tours. He says he has an archive of correspondence to local and Provincial government spanning the last 4 decades, on efforts to get the highway fixed. “This has to be done now and with respect,” he says.

The group’s concerns revolve around safety issues, being cut off from the rest of the west shore and Victoria region, accessibility, and eliminating challenges for residents and visitors alike.

“We have no budget and we are an independent group of Sooke taxpayers, so the best way to make some noise is through social media,” said David Evans, owner of The Stick in the Mud Coffee Shop. They are encouraging the use of hashtag #DividedBy14. “We are challenging anyone who uses this highway to post pictures with a number that relates to the highway. I have a customer who will post a picture of himself and his dogs with a piece of paper with the number 38 – the number of Saturdays he used the road last year to get to Sandcut beach. It can be anything. Find a number that relates to your experience on Highway 14 and post to social media with #DividedBy14”.

“Taking selfies with friends, family, coworkers is easy. Then you can post it to Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, LinkedIn, Instagram and other social media site,” says Evans. More than 60 community organizations and institutions will be contacted and challenged to exceed each other in posting their numbers.

“It would be good if the members of the Sooke Community Development Association could use their equipment parked on private property to hoist their numbers into the air for this campaign”, stated Randy Clarkston, partner in the West Coast Design land development business. “All builders, developers, and contractors that take this highway to work every day, six days a week, can find interesting ways to visibly hoist their Numbers to help the community understand why it’s important to get this done. It must be done in a safe way so that we don’t create more incidents than we already have.”

Members of the Sooke and Jun de Fuca Working Group have attended party campaign office openings for Cathy Noel [BC Liberal], John Horgan [BC NDP] and Brendan Ralfs [BC Green] to brief them into the Highway 14 By The Numbers Challenge.

This leg of the campaign will run until May 10 (one day after the BC election). The Working Group says they will review progress after that. They intend to sustain a longer–term campaign until, as they say, the work is done to overcome how they are #DividedBy14 #BCPoli #BCLeg #YYJ #Westshore #YVR #BCLiberals #BCNDP #Green2017 .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Casavant will be speaking about the BC NDPs pledge to ban the grizzly bear trophy hunt in BC. “I’m working hard to ensure that the BC grizzly bear, a species of special concern, is properly cared for now, and for all generations to come,” said Casavant, a former Conservation Officer who made international headlines when he refused to follow an order to kill two healthy bear cubs. “An overwhelming majority of British Columbians, First Nations, and resident hunters oppose the killing of these bears for sport,” he said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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