On the Left Side

Atwood-HarperCRA smacks PEN Canada with audit in latest of Harper government's attack on charities

israeli_strike.jpg.size.xxlarge.promoGabor Mate-Beautiful dream of Israel has become a nightmare

cvrd_logo3Cowichan Residents Urged to Conserve Water

10050347The Health Ministry has some explaining to do

10029938Vaughn Palmer: B.C.’s LNG clock ticks as price in Asia plunges

Gaza-Israel-Ayelet-ShakedWhy I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport

c08fece1-8f1b-4641-9b5b-3c053366676e-460x276Gaza crisis: Palestinian death toll climbs past 500 as hospital is hit

Flechette shell darts
Israel using flechette shells in Gaza

ChomskyNoam Chomsky, America's Real Foreign Policy

hospital-insetNBC News Pulls Veteran Reporter from Gaza After Witnessing Israeli Attack on Children

201471812341502734_20Canada's oil sands linked to health woes

gaza_children_massacres_0Open Letter to the NDP: It's time to condemn Israel's massacres

06697825-700x500The NDP’s simmering civil war over Gaza

question-period-20130531Elizabeth May backs Green Party motion condemning 'illegal' Israeli settlements

students-walkout-cartoon610pxWhy BC Libs Push to Privatize Public Education

Premier ClarkBC debt hits new record high as Public Accounts released
By Bob Mackin

imagesNew Brunswick Clinic To End Abortions

IncineratorIncinerator project draws zero-waste conference in Nanaimo

Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 12.27.19 PM.jpgMalaysian passenger plane ‘with 295 people aboard shot down’ in Ukraine near Russian border

mike_de_jong_p2963690Provincial debt jumps $4B- Gee!
The BC Liberal's told us they were good at running the economy.

web-budget-watch25nw2Programs related to safety face government spending cuts


A Palestinian boy plays in the rubble of a home wrecked in an Israeli air raid on Beit Hanoun, GazaIDF's Gaza assault is to control Palestinian gas, avert Israeli energy crisis

37603cowichanJul1614CarruthersCVRD hires new boss

19363ea9-c1c7-4168-b4af-3dee225866dbNorthern Gateway facing legal doom: eight new First Nations lawsuits (VIDEO)

Sharia Law in Pakistan's Swat Valley and North-West Frontier ProvinceWill you stand with Malala?

Gitxsan First Nation Evicts CN Rail, Logging Companies From Its Land

image$30 billion LNG plant proposed for Vancouver Island 

imagesMedical and Health Associations Opposed to Incineration

UnknownBroken Ground-David Suzuki Foundation

Motor yacht in the bay of Sydney during sunrise.The age of entitlement: how wealth breeds narcissism

AP0508150192731-638x440Chevron Admits The Truth: Oil Shale Will Use Huge Amounts Of Western Water

Judy DarcyFraser Health review acknowledges problems, but falls short on solutions

30751cowichanJul0414CowichanEstuaryPlanned breach of Cowichan Bay causeway planned for late July

I Support Teachers

POLL On Private School Funding

Do you support our tax dollars supporting Private-Independent Schools?
No (86%, 44 Votes)
Yes (14%, 7 Votes)
Total Voters: 51

Usha Narayane'Arrest us all': the 200 women who killed a rapist

imagesIncineration is not the answer

Mouldy Orange-from Rabble.ca
Paul Manly and Today's NDP

Marijuana-smokeRepublicans back Dems against Obama on Medical Marijuana

Oil From U.S. Fracking Is More Volatile Than Expected

imagesA Look Back at the Town That Didn’t Back Down to Fracking

imagesReluctant Tyee readers pick CBC radio over TV

8161674482_6afa443513_cTeens Create A Way To Use Urine As Fuel

n-PRETEEN-large570The Robbery Known As Class Composition Is BC's Dark Secret

harper-abbott600pxClimate Disdainers Canada and Australia Form 'Axis of Weasels'

cvrd-onCVRD Decision To Yank South Cowichan Recycling Bins Contradicts 'Zero Waste Challenge!'

'The mother narrative to all this is carbon-fuelled expansion. Our ideologies are mere subplots.'
It's simple. If we can't change our economic system, our number's up

fork_in_the_roadCould We Live Without Pipelines and Tar Sands?

Premier Clark cheated and then was defeated at SFU

n-MARIJUANA-large570Medical Marijuana 'Investor Warning' Issued By Canadian Securities Administrators-VIDEO

o-BC-CLASSROOM-570What B.C. Public School Classrooms Look Like Without Stuff Boughts By Teachers

loriCVRD seeking legal opinion on heated Cowichan gravel decision

kshama-sawant-seattle-min-009Minimum wage: Seattle proves that the fight for decent pay can and must be won

Iraq - Fisk article photo (420x220)The Second Iran-Iraq War and the American Switch

princerupertviewWho's Behind BC's New $10-Billion Refinery Bid?


The Israeli Attack on Gaza – You Will Not See This On the MSM

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Lead CBC News story the other day told that an Israeli soldier had been killed and the Palestinian’s continue to fire rockets. They eventually got to the part of the story where 52 more Palestinians were killed and score more injured.

Obama and Harper both roll over in fear of the political reaction if they dare to tell the truth about the reality of the slaughter that is still underway.

There is one big difference this time and that is that word is getting out in spite of our political leaders. In Canada Harper, Trudeau and Mulcair are wilfully lying through their teeth in their unquestioning obedience to one of the biggest lies in the world today.

Of course Israel deserves security but their continued ‘ethnic cleansing’ and outright theft of Palestinian land is far and beyond their security requirements. It is not anti-Semitic to call a spade a spade. The extreme right-wing Israeli’s are dictating the agenda and direction pursued.

The Palestinian people have endured decades of abuse, loss of land, and right to exist under the Israeli’s insatiable occupation of stolen lands. All the while our politicians, terrified of losing votes, roll over and perpetuate the lie.

There are very large Natural Gas finds off the Palestinian Coast but that too is being stolen by the Israeli’s. That is what is behind much of the driving force propelling this charade over Israeli security.

This time ‘Social Media , Alternate News Sites, Comediens and Bloggers are often beating the MSM to the punch. It is not happening overnight, but it is happening and it is growing.

There is not an impenetrable wall of Israeli solidarity. A substantial and growing number of Israelis and Jews worldwide are decrying the violence, the illegal occupations of Palestinian land, in their names.

Jews have made our world a kinder gentler place through their contributions to Arts, Music, Theatre, Comedy, Literature, Medicine and Law and that truth must not be lost because of the fanatical right wing Israeli extremists. It must be an unbearable burden for so many.

It is mainly the Israeli extremists driving this murderous mission, but still the MSM obediently mislead and ignore so much of what is happening today. Jews and Israeli’s who oppose this madness and speak against the genocidal mission of the Israeli extremists are labeled as ‘Self Hating Jews.’

Israelis watch bombings of Gaza from Sderot hillside

Israelis sit on a hill to watch air strikes on Gaza, some bring drinks and snacks as they cheer the explosions a few miles away. Photograph: UPI/Landov/Barcroft Media

For a real look at the intimidation, intolerance and hatred being spewed by the militant right wing Israelis check this out.

The Israelis and the Palestinians must reconcile and repatriate much of the stolen Palestinian land. The UN must be allowed to do its’ job without being blocked by the US and their allies.

Look at the map again. Ask yourself if this is right or wrong.

Finally, take a few minutes to read this important post from ‘Storm Clouds Gathering’ (SCG) and gain insights through their coverage that includes live video that you will never see on the MSM.


So Many Problems in the Peace River Country Over Gas Extraction and Nobody Seems to Care.

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger


This personal report had been making the rounds of listserves and recently was released for public viewing.

Leona Green is fighting back and speaking truth to the ‘Natural Gas’ establishment, government officials and opposition politicians.

The following information took over two months to compile by contacting many residents all over the Peace area.

The extraction of natural gas is steaming ahead at an alarming rate in all areas of the Peace. I have interviewed many landowners and the answers and problems related to gas extraction are all the same. Multiply the cases listed below by many hundreds and imagine the devastation.

UnknownWilma Avery (permission granted to use her name). Severely gassed in 2011 by a gas plant seen from her kitchen door. Sent from Dawson Creek to Prince George hospital where she spent two week, three days in ICU. Diagnosis, chemical pneumonia.

Doctors advised one more gassing would kill her. Now surrounded by one gas plant,three gas wells, one transfer station and one pipeline.

Has managed to sell her farm for half value. Was able to sell only as there is a gravel pit on the property. Leaving the area the end of August. Still suffers from a chronic cough, nausea, sinus infections and vertigo, all due to gassing.

Julie (real name withheld). Surrounded by seven gas wells, one transfer station,two pipelines, one effluent pond (fracking waste) with collecting station. Unable to sell her farm, no one wants to live there. May have to walk away for her health. When officials were asked what if the pond leaches toxins onto her land, the person shrugged his shoulders and walked away..

frackingFaith (real name withheld). Lives near a large gas plant and several wells and pipelines. Plants are equipped with warning sirens in case of equipment failure. She heard the siren loud and clear and ran to call the emergency number as she was supposed to do.

She received a recorded message telling her to leave her number and they would call back (they never did) Not knowing which way to go, she got in her vehicle and headed for town. She was unable to find any information at all as did anyone else and to this day no reason was found for the warning siren.

Many stories from residents of the symptoms from natural gas exposure: severe headaches, nausea and vomiting, extreme fatigue,weakness and memory loss are only a few of the complaints. Many stories of residents listing their property for sale and after many months of trying to sell have given up and just accept their fate. One man told me he had been gassed so many times he could no longer work and has just given up.

fracking-300x225The Montney Basin, persons living and working there, similar problems. One person informed me that the gas there is 28% H2S as told to her by family members who work there on the rigs.

The gas plant which is being constructed by me and which puts me in the (kill zone) has over one hundred and thirty residences just in the (kill Zone) Emergency Response Zone.

It would be impossible to evacuate everyone in the event of an accident.This plant has been approved without an environmental assessment certificate which is typical of all projects in this area.

All natural gas in the Americas, north, south, east and west is sour. It contains sulphur …..has hydrogen sulfide —-sweet gas is an industry prompted illusion. Brief exposures above 200 parts per million can cause severe effects including death but turning it around …. months of exposure to one to five parts per million of doing the same thing. Hydrogen sulfide, when is in a bit of moisture turns to hydro sulfurous acid and then if it is further oxidized it becomes sulfuric acid.

Sulfuric acid is one of the mineral acids that will eat metal and that is why it eats pipes. And that is why everything that is conducted in hydrogen sulfide corrodes and when it corrodes it leaks…so there is no leak proof system. Every well, plant, transfer station, pipeline, etc. leak.

imagesI am told that the gas extraction is greatly needed to fund our medical system and educational system. Our medical system here is third world.

Not enough staff for our hospitals and not enough doctors. A waiting list of 80 persons waiting for abed in the care home. So they are being housed in our over crowded hospitals and cared for in their own homes by worn out care givers.

The Peace River Regional District gave the school district one hundred and fifty thousand dollars to keep our school busses running.

We have muddy gravel roads, heavy industrial traffic twenty-four seven. Among the highest taxes in the province, rent and home ownership out of sight for the average family.

Food costs, twice the cost of Prince George. Property taxes in Dawson Creek so high that there are businesses closing down. Lots of office and stores empty! There is only one store where women can purchase clothing, all the rest closed up.

As a wildlife rehabilitator of over forty years and always had all my pens overflowing, I now have no wildlife to rehabilitate. Most of it is dead in the ditches. The rest are hiding out heaven knows where! I could tell some pretty awful stories of the fate of most of our wildlife here but I will not go into that this time. That is another whole story.

I have been told, not confirmed, that there has been the discovery of a gas basin in the Quesnel area, even larger than the Montney basin. If there is any truth to it, I pity the folks there!

Leona Green
Dawson Creek/Arras

Is Rula Jebreal Right About U.S. Media Bias Against Palestinians?(Video)


There will never be a chance of peace in the Mid-East until news media organizations actually cover and report the realities that are taking place.

Is Rula Jebreal Right About U.S Media Bias Against Palestinians?

This post originally ran on Juan Cole’s Web page.

Palestinian journalist Rula Jebreal points to the overwhelming bias in U.S. media against the Palestinians, calling NBC to account for having tried to remove an Arab-American reporter from Gaza after he reported the Israeli navy’s deliberate killing of children on the beach…

Read More-includes video

iPolitics–Is Mulcair Just Another Harper With a Beard?

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

In the quest for power Federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair has abandoned previously held NDP principles and shifted right to the mushy-middle side of the political spectrum.

This has become evident through his refusal to follow NDP policy regarding Israeli-Palestinian disputes.

It has been further demonstrated through his National Office failing to respect local members right to nominate candidates of their choice to represent them in the 2015 election.

That has left many NDP supporters wondering if the NDP is where they want to be. Others have already turned and walked away.

New Democrats for ‘Fairness and Transparency (nd4ft) posted this piece where Anne McGrath promised  hands off  fair and open nominations.

In truth and reality the National Director, Anne McGrath has banned two long time members, Paul Manly and Laurie Gourlay from seeking the Nanaimo-Ladysmith nomination to run in the 2015 Federal Election.

She has refused to give reasons in writing and Kenneth Pearce, President Nanaimo Ladysmith NDP EDA has told Head Office that they want that decision reversed.


That brings us to another iPolitics piece by Andrew Mitrovica on the growing discontent and alienation within the ranks of the National NDP.

For a growing number of angry, disaffected NDP supporters, Thomas Mulcair is fast becoming Stephen Harper with a beard.

That’s what we’ve learned since iPolitics began probing the internecine war gripping the NDP in the wake of senior party officials’ decision to ban aspiring NDP nominee Paul Manly from seeking the nomination in a B.C. riding, where he and his steeped-in-orange parents are very popular.


Andrew Mitrovica

In my column last week, I told you about the charges and counter-charges, distortions, misinformation, smears and innuendo being tossed about by top NDP HQ operatives – including the party’s National Director Anne McGrath — over Manly’s so-far-unexplained disqualification from the nomination in Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

This fracas is instructive for a number of reasons. The prickly issue at the core of the dispute – the thing that is fraying party unity and triggering hard questions about Mulcair’s leadership – is the set of vague, carefully-coded reasons NDP brass have proffered to Manly, his parents and supporters for why this accomplished environmentalist, filmmaker and musician has been barred from the party’s nomination in traditionally NDP-friendly British Columbia.

There’s little doubt that Manly was summarily blocked from contesting the nomination, in part, to shield Mulcair, B.C. caucus members — including peeved MPs Libby Davies and Jean Crowder — and the party from losing support during the next election campaign.

The irony is that the NDP is already bleeding voters from within its own ranks because of Manly’s ban, and it’s only getting worse. Many NDP members and supporters — in and outside B.C. — are emphatically telling Mulcair & Co. that Manly’s dismissal is causing them to abandon the party or to seriously consider leaving it.

Other New Democrats are expressing their displeasure with the secretive vetting process that led to Manly’s dismissal as a potential candidate — one strikingly reminiscent of the paranoid mentality at work in the Harper regime.

As you know, this nation’s control-freak prime minister surrounds himself with kids in shorts pants to ensure that everyone knows that it’s the ‘boss’ who calls the shots. Harper’s minions mete out his orders and discipline with fanatical zeal and little sense. The tactics ensure ‘rebels’ who speak their minds immediately understand that dissent – however measured or defensible – will not be tolerated.

“Manly’s sharp criticism of the party, Mulcair and his would-be caucus colleagues made him radioactive in the eyes of the party brass. He was also deemed a ‘loose cannon’….”
Well, it’s apparent that some equally obsequious zealots populate the NDP leader’s inner circle. And, like Harper’s disciples, the members of Mulcair’s shadow privy council are ready, willing and able to quickly disappear even long-time, loyal NDP supporters because what they say (or might say) doesn’t reflect well on Mulcair.

Manly’s banishment has also laid bare the visceral discord over Mulcair’s apparent ambivalence on events in Gaza. Just read this pointed letter of protest written and signed by nine long-standing Jewish NDP supporters in Toronto to Mulcair in which they demand that he not only finally speak out against “the repression of Palestinians” but also “rescind” Manly’s ban.

They’re not alone. Among the many other disenchanted party members is a “deeply dismayed” Vancouver rabbi and a “long-time and dedicated NDP member” who also recently wrote to Mulcair, urging him to “reverse (the federal NDP leadership’s) action preventing Mr. Manly from standing to be the candidate from Nanaimo-Ladysmith and its attempt to distance the party from meaningful and forthright action regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict.”

The awful images of the disproportionate toll being exacted on Palestinians – children, in particular – in Gaza have shocked and disturbed much of the world. Yet in the face of this humanitarian catastrophe and Israel’s overwhelming and destructive ground invasion, Mulcair has remained largely silent. Instead, he has dispatched Paul Dewar, the party’s foreign affairs critic, to urge both sides to “de-escalate.”

The frustration among a lot of NDP supporters with Mulcair’s telling silence runs so deep that the following poem is being circulated by party members, who are urging that it be forwarded to every New Democrat MP and their staff:

Read More

Please Read This Powerful Letter by Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian Medical Doctor who is in Gaza

The slaughter of Palestinian’s trapped in Gaza continues unabated. Millions of protesters have hit the streets in cities throughout the world decrying this inhumanity led by war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israeli’s in Israeli and Jews throughout the world have joined with others of all faiths and raised their voices against this madness.


Please read and share this powerful letter by Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian medical doctor who is in Gaza right now:

Dearest friends,

The last night was extreme. The “ground invasion” of Gaza resulted in scores and carloads with maimed, torn apart, bleeding, shivering, dying – all sorts of injured Palestinians, all ages, all civilians, all innocent.

The heroes in the ambulances and in all of Gaza’s hospitals are working 12-24 hour shifts, grey from fatigue and inhuman workloads (without payment all in Shifa for the last 4 months), they care, triage, try to understand the incomprehensible chaos of bodies, sizes, limbs, walking, not walking, breathing, not breathing, bleeding, not bleeding humans. HUMANS!

Now, once more treated like animals by “the most moral army in the world” (sic!).

My respect for the wounded is endless, in their contained determination in the midst of pain, agony and shock; my admiration for the staff and volunteers is endless, my closeness to the Palestinian “sumud” gives me strength, although in glimpses I just want to scream, hold someone tight, cry, smell the skin and hair of the warm child, covered in blood, protect ourselves in an endless embrace – but we cannot afford that, nor can they.

Ashy grey faces – Oh NO! Not one more load of tens of maimed and bleeding, we still have lakes of blood on the floor in the ER, piles of dripping, blood-soaked bandages to clear out – oh – the cleaners, everywhere, swiftly shovelling the blood and discarded tissues, hair, clothes,cannulas – the leftovers from death – all taken away … to be prepared again, to be repeated all over.

More then 100 cases came to Shifa in the last 24 hrs. Enough for a large well trained hospital with everything, but here – almost nothing: no electricity, water, disposables, drugs, OR-tables, instruments, monitors – all rusted and as if taken from museums of yesterday’s hospitals. But they do not complain, these heroes. They get on with it, like warriors, head on, enormously resolute.

And as I write these words to you, alone, on a bed, my tears flow, the warm but useless tears of pain and grief, of anger and fear. This is not happening!

An then, just now, the orchestra of the Israeli war-machine starts its gruesome symphony again, just now: salvos of artillery from the navy boats just down on the shores, the roaring F16, the sickening drones (Arabic ‘Zennanis’, the hummers), and the cluttering Apaches. So much made in and paid by the US.

Mr. Obama – do you have a heart?

I invite you – spend one night – just one night – with us in Shifa. Disguised as a cleaner, maybe.

I am convinced, 100%, it would change history

Nobody with a heart AND power could ever walk away from a night in Shifa without being determined to end the slaughter of the Palestinian people.

But the heartless and merciless have done their calculations and planned another “dahyia” onslaught on Gaza.

The rivers of blood will keep running the coming night. I can hear they have tuned their instruments of death.

Please. Do what you can. This, THIS cannot continue.


Mads Gilbert MD PhD

Professor and Clinical Head

Clinic of Emergency Medicine

University Hospital of North Norway

My Name is Reuven Moskovitz-Holocaust Survivor


Rafe: With fracking, tankers “world-class safety” is a weasel word

It is great to read more from Rafe Mair once again. He is still on the mend but has come a long way and is reading and writing once again.

I had believed every word from our Premier but Rafe has set me straight! I feel so much better now. Enjoy.

BC Premier Christy Clark touts “world-class” safety for fossil fuel projects (Canadian Press)

BC Premier Christy Clark touts “world-class” safety for fossil fuel projects (Canadian Press)

Many times I have referred to Premier Clark’s demand that Enbridge and others have “world-class” cleanup processes in place. To repeat myself, these are “weasel words” and mean absolutely nothing. “World-class” firefighting procedures doesn’t mean the building didn’t burn down.

I was delighted to read Stephen Hume’s column in the Vancouver Sun of July 17, where he talks about “weasel words”, especially the term “world-class”, and other matters. This particular article is about fracking and in his surgical way, Hume carves up the government for it’s utter lack of process and covering each and every one of their tracks by use of the words “world class”.

Government naively accepts industry’s word on safety
We have seen a similar absence of investigation by the Clark government into the risks of LNG, be it in pipelines, plants, or tankers. This government is now known for two things: an utter lack of preparation and lying through their teeth.

Read More Rafe

NDP Continue Blocking Members Seeking Nominations

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Long time New Democrat Laurie Gourlay, MLA Doug Routley’s-Nanaimo-North Cowichan’s Constituency Assistant, was blocked from competing for the nomination in Nanaimo-Ladysmith. He was the second and one of 14 across Canada.

Gourlay seemed surprisingly at ease after being rebuffed for his role in promoting Vancouver Island separation from BC and the establishment of a new Province of Vancouver Island.

Here is his opinion piece that ruffled the somewhat jumpy and trigger happy NDP National Director and one presumes Thomas Mulcair as well.

Laurie Gourlay-NDP Loyalist rebuffed by Federal Party

Laurie Gourlay-NDP Loyalist rebuffed by Federal Party

He told me yesterday that National Office was concerned that his call for separating from BC may cause a flare up in Quebec and that could hurt the NDP in the upcoming election.

That is quite a leap. Gourlay and a great many others support or are at least interested in separate provincial status for Vancouver Island. Nobody, least of all Gourlay, has called for separating from Canada.

I was struck with Gourlay’s entrenched loyalty to the National Office.

He relayed to me that they want to put together the best possible team to knock off Harper and form a first national NDP government. He seemed to be at peace with their decision, although hoping for a reprieve.

The Nanaimo-Ladysmith NDP Executive was approached by New Democrats for Fairness and Transparency spokesman Ilan Goldenblatt who urged them to reject the power play from the National Director Anne McGrath.

As a result and with strong local objections to the Ottawa controllers, Kenneth S. Pearce President Nanaimo Ladysmith NDP EDA has essentially called on the leaders to back off and let the local riding membership decide who it is that they want to represent them in the upcoming 2015 election.

Paul Manly was chopped as well for criticizing the NDP when they failed to speak up for his father, Jim Manly, a retired United Church Minister and former NDP MP. Manly was arrested and jailed while a passenger on the MV Estelle that attempted to delivery goods and supplies to blockaded Gaza.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair-My way or the Highway

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair-My way or the Highway

Ironically NDP leader Thomas Mulcair, who supports Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in spite of his continued criminal acts of war including the present slaughter being waged against the Palestinians, is out of step with the NDP policy on the Mid East.

Prime Minister Harper must be delighted to have Mulcair in sync with him  supporting Netanyahu and showing complete disregard for the  beleaguered Palestinians who are being slaughtered by the massive Israeli military offensive.

The NDP Policy Book states clearly:

New Democrats believe in working with partners for peace in Israel and Palestine, respecting UN resolutions and international law, supporting  peaceful co-existence in viable, independent states with agreed upon borders, an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and an end to violence targeting civilians.

There are another 12 , so far, who have been rejected by the National Director Anne McGrath, across Canada which underlines the centralized power grab by the inside controllers of what used to be a lively, progressive, democratic party. It really presents a lose-lose situation.

PM Harper can't believe his luck.

PM Harper can’t believe his luck.

This ham-fisted handling by  ’Mulcair’s Inner Circle’– who are operating on Mulcair’s behalf has stirred up a hornets nest that would not have been the case if they had just respected  the local members judgment and not interfered in who they could choose.

Something has to give. The NDP National Office has to back off fast or the damage could spell the end to the NDP’s dream of achieving the office of the Government of Canada.

Laurie Gourlay and Paul Manly should receive an immediate apology from both National Director Anne McGrath and Leader Tom Mulcair. They should also be reinstated  and be allowed to continue in their pursuit of the nomination, if they are still interested after this absolute cock-up!

NDP Leader John Horgan Has Been Preparing For Change in British Columbia

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

John Horgan is a man on a mission to bring a balanced and progressive style of government to beleagured British Columbia. It is no small feat, but if there is a more capable and motivated political leader in Canada today, I am hard pressed to know who that might be.

Horgan combines a no nonsense approach with a heart on his sleeve response to the social side of the spectrum. He could be described as being as ‘Hard as Steel and as Soft as Butter.’

He has been travelling throughout BC for months now to show his face, listen to the concerns of voters and let them see and talk to the man who wants to be BC’s next Premier.

In Williams Lake Horgan was interviewed by the Williams Lake Tribunes Monica Lamb-Yorski.


BC NDP leader John Horgan says he will be ready to announce his new caucus soon.— Image Credit: Monica Lamb-Yorski Photo

NDP leader John Horgan will be ready to introduce a new caucus in about two weeks he confirmed during a stop in Williams Lake Friday.

“I’m putting together a new shadow cabinet, giving my colleagues new responsibilities on how we are going to hold the Liberals accountable,” Horgan said. “I will also propose how we can advocate for economic development in places like Williams Lake, the north and the Interior.”

While in Williams Lake, Horgan met with trade union members at a reception on Friday evening, and earlier he met with Tsilhqot’in Chiefs Roger William and Joe Alphonse, West Fraser and Tolko to discuss the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision on rights and title.

“My message on the decision is that this is an enormous opportunity,” Horgan said.

“In my 20 years of being in B.C. politics, whether it be in government, the private sector, or as an MLA, everybody you talk to in industry wants certainty.”

Read More

Israel Is Captive To Its ‘Destructive Process’

This analysis by Chris Hedges is well worth the read.

Chris Hedges_Credit_National InstituteBy Chris Hedges

Raul Hilberg in his monumental work “The Destruction of the European Jews” chronicled a process of repression that at first was “relatively mild” but led, step by step, to the Holocaust. It started with legal discrimination and ended with mass murder. “The destructive process was a development that was begun with caution and ended without restraint,”

Hilberg wrote.

The Palestinians over the past few decades have endured a similar “destructive process.” They have gradually been stripped of basic civil liberties, robbed of assets including much of their land and often their homes, have suffered from mounting restrictions on their physical movements, been blocked from trading and business, especially the selling of produce, and found themselves increasingly impoverished and finally trapped behind walls and security fences erected around Gaza and the West Bank.

“The process of destruction [of the European Jews] unfolded in a definite pattern,” Hilberg wrote. “It did not, however, proceed from a basic plan. No bureaucrat in 1933 could have predicted what kind of measures would be taken in 1938, nor was it possible in 1938 to foretell the configuration of the undertaking in 1942. The destructive process was a step-by-step operation, and the administrator could seldom see more than one step ahead.”

Read More

Paul Manly Has Posted His Appeal Letter to the NDP Written May 27th.

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

This post was made available by Paul Manly on Facebook and it is reproduced here to keep Cowichan Conversation followers up to date. It clearly shows that he understands the issue on which he was being judged…

I join with a great many others in calling on the National Director Anne McGrath and Leader Thomas Mulcair to reconsider and retract their decision to deny Paul Manly from seeking the nomination to represent Nanaimo-Ladysmith NDP in the next Federal Election.

It is understood that vetting processes need to be undertaken, but the leaders of the party also need to see the fullness and impacts of their decisions as members and supporters see them.

Failing to act appropriately will cause incalculable damage, yet rescinding the ruling and allowing the NDP members of Nanaimo Ladysmith to choose who the wish to represent them would demonstrate the strength of leadership required for the NDP to move forward in a positive manner.


Paul Manly

Paul Manly

Hello Friends and Supporters

I have decided to post the appeal letter I wrote to the NDP Executive on May 27th, the day after I was informed that my candidacy had been denied.

Ann McGrath has been sending out a form letter to everyone who has written to her about my candidacy denial. Her letter is a smear on my character. It uses examples of vetting problems from the recent Ontario election campaign in which several candidates made sexist comments.

She states in the letter “To protect the confidentiality of prospective candidates, the Party does not release information from the vetting. However, I can assure you that the issue being cited in stories and social media about Mr. Manly’s rejected application is not accurate. The rejection is not related to the NDP’s position on the Middle East.”

I have written and asked Ann McGrath numerous times to have the reasons for my candidacy explained to me in writing and she has refused saying that the “process is confidential”. The confidentiality agreement is meant to protect me as a candidate under the privacy act. I am the one who has provided pages of confidential material which the process digs through.

It should not be used to hide the reasons for the refusal of my candidacy from me. This is tantamount to a secret tribunal. This is what authoritarian governments do, pass judgement on individuals but refuse to show those individuals what they are accused of.

This goes against the foundational principles of natural justice. The NDP need to clean up their act and Ann McGrath needs to come clean with me.

I deserve to know the reasons why my candidacy has been denied and my supporter deserve to know the reasons as well. I should be given those reasons in writing.

Other quotes in the media by NDP officials are also meant to impugn my character such as; “As you can imagine, the goal is for candidates to be as honest as possible,” said George Soule. I have been thoroughly honest with the NDP in this process. They have no basis to say otherwise.

I wrote the following letter of appeal based on the two conversations I had regarding my candidacy. The first conversation covered only one issue of concern for the person I was communicating with – Israel and Palestine, nothing else.

We had an extensive conversation on the subject. The second conversation was to inform me that my application had been denied “in relation to what I said and did when my father was in Israel.” This is the only information I had to base my appeal on. Read my letter of appeal and judge for yourself.

If the NDP doesn’t want me as a candidate or as an MP because I was quoted in the Vancouver Sun as saying “Mulcair is ‘muzzling’ MPs on Israel issues” while my father was in an Israeli prison then they should put it in writing.

If the NDP has other reasons to deny my candidacy they should put them in writing and send them to me. They should stop smearing me immediately!

(I have redacted the name and position of the person I spoke with to maintain ‘confidentiality’)

Here is the letter…

May 27th, 2014

To the Table Officers of the Federal NDP

Re: Candidate Application Appeal – Paul Manly

On Monday May 26th, at 10:22 am, I received a phone call from (Name removed), (Position Removed) for the New Democratic Party of Canada to tell me that I would not be accepted as a candidate for nomination in the federal riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

I understand that the National Director may deny or revoke approval of a prospective candidate for nomination for any reason that might negatively impact the political and strategic goals of the Party.

I was told verbally that the reason my candidacy was rejected was related to how I reacted when my father, a former NDP MP, United Church minister and long time NDP activist took part in a humanitarian mission to Gaza and was arrested and held incommunicado in an Israeli prison.

It’s my understanding that I can appeal this decision within two business days and explain why I would make a good candidate. This letter constitutes that appeal.

I have been an active member of the New Democratic Party since my youth. I was chased off my first porch dropping leaflets for the NDP in 1972, the year Dave Barrett became the first NDP premier of British Columbia.

I was a member of the Young New Democrats in my teenage years and campaigned alongside Tommy Douglas to help elect my father. In fact I spent my sixteenth birthday dinner with Tommy Douglas after a long day campaigning.

I have been involved in and volunteered for every provincial and federal NDP campaign for the ridings I have lived in since. I have actively worked on provincial and federal NDP campaigns in the Nanaimo area (including both the north and south federal ridings and three provincial ridings) since moving back to the island in 2002 and I am well known to local NDP organizers and members.

I am a filmmaker and community organizer. I have a large support base that reaches well beyond the local NDP membership and traditional supporters. I have been actively organizing on issues related to protecting our drinking watersheds, local environmental stewardship initiatives, protecting health care, democratic reform, resource extraction, pipelines and tanker expansion, labour rights and trade issues. Based on my track record, I have campaign endorsements from prominent members of this community and beyond. I have included a selection of them here for your consideration.

I have worked with all three local First Nations, Snuneymuxw, Snaw-naw-as and Stz’uminus, and with the Hul’qumi’num’ Health Hub, the Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group and the Tillicum Lelum Aboriginal Friendship Centre and I have support and endorsements from prominent members of each of those communities and organizations.

I have worked with local mental health organizations, people with disabilities, and disadvantaged youth and I am known for my compassionate approach towards people who have been marginalized in society. I have organized with local health works to oppose cuts to health care, lay-offs at seniors centers and detrimental changes to operations at our local hospital.

My volunteer work with the Council of Canadians has given me the opportunity to gain a great deal of knowledge on national issues that affect all Canadians. I have been active with the Mid Island chapter for eight years and in 2012, I was elected to the national board of the Council of Canadians as a BC Yukon representative.

I was recruited and actively encouraged by members of the local NDP executive and the labour council to seek the nomination for Nanaimo-Ladysmith. I have broad support in this community. I have been signing up many NDP supporters who are not usually party members as well as people who have revoked their membership in other parties because they want to actively support my nomination campaign, work with me and help defeat the Harper government. I have the ability to bring together a broad coalition of voters and win this riding for the NDP.

As a media producer and media consultant I have trained people, including local politicians and know how to message, track, redirect questions, stick to the key campaign points and not get led into other topics or distractions by media questions or opponents.

My agenda is transparent. It is easy to see the issues I am concerned with and have been active on by visiting my company website www.Manlymedia.com my YouTube channels – Manly Media and Canadians Nanaimo – and my Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The issue that my candidacy is being judged on arose from a one-week period in October 2012, when I was asked by my parents to support actions by my father, which were not outside the spirit of the NDP policy on Israel and Palestine, UN resolutions and international law.

Israel and Palestine are not a focus for me; my track record clearly shows this. This is the one instance in my forty-two year history of actively supporting the NDP where I openly criticized the caucus. It happened during a time when my father, a former NDP MP, long time NDP activist, United Church minister and man of conscience, about to turn 80, using medications after two major heart by-pass surgeries, was being held incommunicado in an Israeli prison after being taken prisoner in international waters while taking part in a humanitarian mission to Gaza.

I was working on behalf of my family and it was a very stressful time. I was not a member of caucus, nor held any other party position and was not breaking any rules. I understand that as a candidate and a caucus member I will be bound by a set of rules to ensure that the campaign does not get de-railed and that caucus confidentiality and solidarity are respected and upheld.

I am aware of the pivotal point in history that we are in. This country cannot endure another four years of the Harper Conservative government. The NDP has a very good chance of forming the next government. I understand that as a candidate I will need to stand by NDP policy, a policy book I whole-heartedly support.

I understand that as a candidate I will need to focus on and stand by the main campaign platform and strategies set out by the organizing team and not create distractions by free-lancing and detracting from the main campaign messages and strategies. And I understand that once elected I will need to maintain caucus confidentiality, caucus solidarity and support for the leader.

I want to be part of the NDP team in this election and I know that working together we can win the Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding for the party.

I hope you will reconsider this decision and accept my eligibility as a candidate.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Paul Manly

Public Education Does Not Exist For The Benefit Of Students


The NDP and the Middle East-An Open Letter to Nathan Cullen

Dorothy Field-Contributor

Dorothy Field, Writer, Artist, Poet, Contributor

Dear Nathan Cullen,

I’m writing to you because I think you are still a man we can trust, not just an NDP hack. I am in despair about the NDP’s silence on Israeli rocket attacks on Gaza.

First, let me say, though I shouldn’t have to, that I write as a Jew who strongly believes we must be both pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian. If not, we are part of the problem, not part of the solution. By pro-Israeli, I mean I support Israel’s right to exist, not these horrendous policies.

Nathan Cullen MP

Nathan Cullen MP

I will also say I’ve written to Mr. Mulcair several times on this issue in general with no response. Very recently I’ve written to my MP Murray Rankin and to Paul Dewar. No response.

How did the NDP, the party I’ve supported all my 43 years in Canada, the party I’ve volunteered for and donated to, become this Harper-clone on an issue of the most fundamental human rights and justice?

You know, I think, that Netanyahu’s horrific rocket campaign has little to do with the three murdered Israelis. He is using that as an excuse to drive Hamas into the ground. Look, whatever we feel about Hamas, it was fairly elected.


PM of Israel- Benjamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu is beside himself that Abbas and Hamas have finally come to an agreement. This is the same old Israeli policy — smash the Palestinians on whatever pretext is at hand whenever the Palestinians appear to be getting their shit together.

Harper’s blanket support of Israel, as you know, has little to do with justice, and more to do with some millennial hope of rapture, at least that’s all I can figure out. Netanyahu is a ruthless thug, we here in Canada under our fearless leader Stephen Harper offer unconditional love, and the NDP stays silent.

Many of the finest Israelis work their lives away to try to build bridges to the Palestinians. Read Uri Avnery. Check out the web-sites of B’Tselem, Rabbis for Human Rights, and Committee against House Demolitions, among many others.

Uri Avnery

Uri Avnery

They get no play and no hearing. Of late, I’ve also seen reports of many meetings of Jewish Israelis and Palestinian Israelis trying to build bridges. That heartens me. The only possible good that could come out of this tragedy would be for Israelis to rise up and dump Netanyahu, but I’m not keeping my fingers crossed. Israel is no more monolithic than Canada. We need to find ways to publicize and support the opposition to Netanyahu and his cronies.

If I sound semi-hysterical, I am. As a Jew, to sit silent while Netanyahu flies the flag of revenge and violence, both in total contravention of Jewish ethos, under the sham of righteous victimhood is unbearable. In fact, I fear that Israeli policy, as it continues to incite world-wide anti-Semitism, may bring Israel down. Part of me thinks that may be a good thing. Part of me despairs, knowing that we may still need a land where Jews can find refuge.

PM Stephen Harper

PM Stephen Harper

This is a complex issue but at this particular moment, it’s very simple. Palestinians are dying in the hundreds. Unlike the Israelis, they have no bomb shelters. I grieve any death to this appalling tragedy. The one Israeli death so far is one too many but the casualties are clearly disproportionate.

Not only are Palestinians dying, their homes are being destroyed, along with schools and hospitals. I understand the depth of Jewish fear. I understand that many are so troubled that they can’t even bear to read the few papers that would actually tell them what’s going on. I also know that Netanyahu and his ilk make sure to keep the fear level as high as possible as justification for their brutality.

In North America, the Jewish right wing has taken full control of the dialogue. You would hear from many more progressive Jews on this issue except that they are silenced out of fear of being maligned and branded “self-hating” within the Jewish community.

They also fear criticism of Israel will bring Israel down. I say, we must stand up to Netanyahu just as we must stand up to Harper. It’s our duty as caring and ethical human beings.

Please, Nathan Cullen, do your work within the NDP to shift this egregious policy.


Thomas Mulcair-Anne McGrath Stop Interfering In Local NDP Nominations

Richard Hughes-It is time the NDP risked democracy

Richard Hughes-It is time the NDP risked democracy

The  Federal NDP often tries to favourably compare themselves as being more democratic and grass roots driven than the Liberals or Conservatives. It may well have been that way in the past but they certainly cannot claim that high ground today.

The Nanaimo Ladysmith Riding has seen the National Director Anne McGrath step in and block the right of two long-term party members to seek the nomination. What is worse is that the inner circle have refused to state the reasons in writing.

Paul Manly speaking on his own behalf offered this: The local riding executive approved my candidacy for the nomination but the NDP National Director, Ann McGrath, has not approved me and the federal NDP executive will not let me stand as a candidate.


I have done nothing illegal or immoral, nothing that I am embarrassed about or which breaks the NDP constitution. The reason my candidacy is being blocked is political.

I have not received a written reason for this refusal and was told I will not receive a written reason. I was told verbally on the phone, that the reason was in relation to “what I said and did when my father was in Israel.” There was also concern that I was running to make Israel and Palestine an election issue.

The Nanaimo Ladysmith Riding Association rejected the offensive interference from the National Office and sent this message to Anne McGrath.

Kenneth S. Pearce President Nanaimo Ladysmith NDP EDA
259 Villa RD Nanaimo BC, V9T 2P6
June 19, 2014

Anne McGrath National Director NDP of Canada
300 – 279 Laurier West Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5J9

Dear Ms. McGrath:

At the June 16, 2014 meeting of the Executive Committee of the Nanaimo Ladysmith New Democratic Party Electoral District Association, a sizable number of Party members attended and voiced serious concerns regarding the Party’s actions in rejecting two candidates that our local candidate selection committee had approved and submitted to Ottawa.

The actions of the Party call into question the integrity of the nomination process and leave the members, the candidates and the Executive with the sense that natural justice has not prevailed.

As a Party, we have publicly claimed the “high ground” in fairness, openness and inclusion when nominating candidates. We need to “walk the talk” on this. Our members and supporters expect and demand it and our political foes will root out and punish us mercilessly with our errors and failures.

We need to remember that our greatest victories and our most important and lasting contributions to Canada did not begin as “popular” or “safe” or “acceptable”.

Please, remember this when considering how you review, treat, decide and communicate decisions to those who are prepared step forward to represent us to our Party, our Communities, to Canada and to the World.

In this spirit the Executive and the party members strongly urge that the decision to reject two of our local candidates be reconsidered in a fair, open and democratic process. At this time there is a strong sense that a fundamental injustice has occurred impugning their integrity.

The following points have also been noted:

Candidates should not be rejected on the basis of information or innuendo that is not shared with the individual candidates

The appeal process for the candidates is structurally flawed as the candidates are not provided with factual reasons for their rejections during the vetting process

All candidates deserve a written response to their application so they can understand the reasons behind the decisions

Thank you for your attention to this and we, those seeking the nomination and Party members and supporters here are looking forward to your acknowledgement and reply.

On behalf of the Nanaimo Ladysmith NDP EDA Executive,
Kenneth S Pearce, Chair
c.c Executive Committee Members

Good luck with that. The membership here and throughout Canada has been usurped by the clever control machinations of the fixers and controllers of today’s NDP.

There are some die-hard party members who will decry a post like this saying that the party should not wash their dirty laundry in public. I disagree, it is time to  challenge the top down anti democratic control and one way to do that is to ring the bell loud, hard and publicly.

Conventions, once a living breathing function of a sometimes boisterous democracy are but a dim memory. Today’s NDP conventions are controlled and often slippery resolutions are managed through the conventions to take control from the local NDP membership and their organizations.

This is what has happened in part here. The locals have been hit over the heads with resolutions giving all power to the centre, pure and simple.

Clearly in the case of Paul Manly, the objection is directly tied to his criticism of the party failing to speak up in support of his father, former NDP MP Jim Manly.

Manly senior was a protestor aboard the humanitarian ship ‘Estelle.’

Former NDP MP Jim Manly

Former NDP MP Jim Manly

Manly, a former United Church minster had been arrested and imprisoned and the  Ship ‘Estelle’ had been illegally commandeered in International Waters. A point it seems of little consequence to the blindly pro Israeli NDP leader Thomas Mulcair.

Paul Manly obviously concerned for the health and welfare of his imprisoned father tweeted out his message as follows.

Message from Jim Manly to the NDP Caucus – “Does the NDP support Israeli blockade of Gaza? Silence means consent!”

Can you imagine the CCF & NDP MP’s of the 30′s to the millennium being silenced and controlled like they are today? Can you imagine why todays MP’s allow themselves to be controlled as they are?

Mulcair’s insiders mission is clear. Screen out independent thinkers who would have the temerity to actually represent their constituents within the philosophic Social Democratic terms of reference. The ones who can be managed down will be approved, but only them.

Libby Davies NDP MP

Libby Davies NDP MP

Libby Davies MP was set up in an interview where she spoke eloquent truths to a setup gotcha style interview. She spoke within the policy of the party and she was castigated. Mulcair led the charge to then leader Jack Layton.

She has never really regained her spark and verve that made her one of the best MP’s in Parilament.

Jim Manly and now Paul Manly are paying a price for crossing Mulcair whose views on the Mid East parallel those of PM Steve Harper. Mulcair’s positioning contradicts party policy.

Section 4.1-f in the NDP policy book states “New Democrats believe in… Working with partners for peace in Israel and Palestine, respecting UN resolutions and international law, supporting peaceful co-existence in viable, independent states with agreed upon borders, an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, and an end to violence targeting civilians.”

The most basic UN Resolution (SC 242, Nov. 22, 1967) calls for “Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict” and the necessity “for guaranteeing freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area.” The continued occupation of Palestine, the blockade of Gaza and the seizure of the Estelle as well as other Freedom Flotilla vessels, run directly counter to this policy.

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair

Not one solitary NDP MP has publicly stood up to support existing Mid East policy, partly in fear of Mulcair’s wrath and partly in fear of being tagged as anti semitic. That is such utter bullshit and it must be stopped.

Like most fair minded Canadians I support fairness and justice and that means that Israel must vacate illegally occupied lands and the UN should work to set up a fair and manageable Palestinian State, with all the rights and privileges as is the case in any other sovereign nation.

Let Canada, the US and others direct aid in the form of resettling Israeli’s living in illegally occupied Palestinian lands and assist to  establish an independent Palestine. This would make more sense than the billions that have been sent for military purposes.

Well here is some good news from Twitter:

Charlie Angus slams Harper for ‘cheering on Netanyahu’ over Gaza

Several people who don’t have facebook were looking for the full statement from NDP MP Charlie Angus on Gaza and the Harper government. Here’s what Angus wrote yesterday:

Charlie Angus MP

Charlie Angus MP

“Our thuggish prime minister pumps his chest while people die in Gaza. He may think there are votes to be had by cheering on Netanyahu from the sidelines but leadership is about trying to find ways to lessen the conflict. Harper would rather score points from the bombing and the killing. What a disgrace to Canada’s once proud tradition of peacemaking.”

Thre are good people in caucus but they rarely speak out on matters concerning the Middle East.  Good for Charlie Angus!

When you look at the Federal NDP today is there really any wonder why party politics are being rejected by a great many progressive who now are working through NGO’s, the Council of Canadians and other grass roots organizations? Is there any wonder why the voter turnout has continued to drop?

-to be continued.

Cowichan NDP MLA Bill Routley Stands Up For Teachers and Children

Cowichan MLA Bill Routley addresses the challenge and unfairness facing teachers in BC today

The Cowichan River is in trouble once again.

Cowichan Conversations Contributor

Rob Douglas Cowichan Conversations Contributor

With the low snowpack and unusually dry weather, Cowichan Lake is 40 cm lower than it should be at this time of year, while the river flow is down to 5 cubic metres per second and well below typical July levels.

If the situation does not improve, salmon populations will be devastated and the Crofton pulp mill could be forced to suspend operations.

This is not the first time drought conditions have caused major problems with the Cowichan River.

In 2012, chinook salmon were trucked upstream to spawning grounds after the river flow dropped to dangerously low levels. Despite these efforts about 1,000 fish were still lost.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPart of the solution may be to boost water storage behind Cowichan Lake’s weir during the spring, making more water available to increase river flows during the drier months

At the heart of the problem, however, is control over river flows and storage lies with the provincial government through the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, whose approval is required prior to any adjustments.

Concern over these issues prompted citizens group One Cowichan to press the provincial government to allow for greater local control of the Cowichan River.

One Cowichan proposes devolving water management responsibilities to the Cowichan Watershed Board – an existing body made up of representatives appointed by Cowichan Tribes, the regional district, and the federal and provincial governments.

The question is would local control lead to better management of our resources, or would decision makers at the community level simply face the same challenges?

UnknownThe research in the field certainly suggests that locals are competent enough to take on the task.

In 2009, political economist Elinor Ostrom was awarded the Nobel Prize for her research on how local people can work together to sustainably manage common resources such as fresh water, arable land, forests and fisheries – even when senior levels of government are not involved.

Ostrom’s work was based on 50 years of research in communities around the world. In places such as Switzerland, Kenya, Guatemala, Turkey, Nepal and Los Angeles, she found numerous examples of locals successfully managing common resources and solving their own problems, with many having done so for centuries.

Crofton_Paper_Mill-466x239According to Ostrom, these communities tend to establish their own decision-making process based on local needs and conditions, ensure those affected can participate in modifying the rules, make sure the rule-making rights of community members are respected by outside authorities, develop a system for community members to monitor behaviour, and devise a procedure for resolving disputes.

And so back to the Cowichan River. Can the locals be trusted to control such a valuable resource?

We may well be the only ones capable of managing the river sustainably during this age of worsening drought conditions and unpredictable weather patterns.

EWG’s Dirty Dozen Report Lists The Most Pesticide-Heavy Fruits And Veggies Of 2014

Richard Hughes-Grow your own

Richard Hughes-Grow your own

If you ever wondered about the value of growing your own vegetables and fruits, or when that is not possible buying organic.

Actually it is amazing how much we can grow in our own gardens. It is tastier, healthier and of course cheaper than buying pesticide laden vegetables.

These poisoned foods are inadequately labelled by retailers and they could and should step up and fully disclose the truth about the foods they sell.


An apple a day usually keeps the doctor away — unless it’s ridden with pesticides.

Here  is Sarah Kleins Huffington Post report.

For the 10th year in a row, nonprofit advocacy agency the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released its list of the most pesticide-contaminated produce, and once again apples top the Dirty Dozen.

The Dirty Dozen, part of the EWG’s yearly Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, is compiled from U.S. Department of Agriculture data on 48 fruits and veggies with pesticide residue data. About 65 percent of the produce samples test positive.

That’s bad news for a few reasons: Pesticides have been linked to developmental problems in children, and may act as carcinogens or throw off the endocrine system, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Read More

You might also want to check out this amazing story: Americans too stupid for GMO labelling!

Incinerators, Biomass-Just Say No!

No Incineratorsimage

CVRD Hires Brian Carruthers As Their New CAO

CVRD Logo2News Release


July 11, 2014

Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) is pleased to announce the hiring of a Chief Administrative Officer effective September 2, 2014.
July 11, 2014 – Duncan, BC:

The Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) is pleased to announce the hiring of Brian Carruthers as Chief Administrative Officer effective September 2, 2014. The Chief Administrative Officer directs the overall planning, coordinating and control of all regional services in accordance with the objectives, goals and policies approved by the Chair and Board of Directors.

Mr. Carruthers is presently the Chief Administrative Officer for the Regional District of Central Kootenay, and prior to that held the equivalent position with the City of Williams Lake. In addition to his thirteen years in local at government at the executive and senior management level his career prior to moving to local government included thirteen years in a variety of management roles with the Parks and Protected Areas Division of the BC Ministry of Environment (BC Parks). “Mr. Carruthers is a respected, capable, and accomplished leader with a demonstrated record of effective local government experience,” stated CVRD Chair Rob Hutchins.
“I am delighted to be returning home to the Island and I look forward to working with the Board of Directors and staff in serving the residents and stakeholders of the Cowichan Valley Regional District”, states Brian Carruthers.
- 30 -

For more information, please contact:
Rob Hutchins
Chair, CVRD

When is a Community Plan NOT a Community Plan?

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Dr. Paul Kamill is a relative newcomer to the Cowichan Valley. He bought a small acreage bordering on the proposed Balme family gravel pit on the Cowichan Bay-Cobble Hill dividing line. Little did he know that the ‘Black is White’ crowd controlled the local government.

He was recently treated to the CVRD’s mishandling of yet another colossal cock-up.

Experienced politicians and career Administrator Frank Raimondo-aka “Raimondo the Rude’ refused to properly interpret and abide by their own OCP and bylaws. Mr Kamill was treated to our Cowichan version of the British skit- Monty Python.

'Raimondo-the Rude' We were 100 percent wrong'!

‘Raimondo-the Rude’ We were 100 percent wrong’!

He immersed himself in the CVRD misadventures and along with 99.4 percent of the locals actually understood the meaning of the bylaws and the OCP.

He was amazed to watch our stand-in CAO Raimondo along with his sidekick Cobble Hill Director Gerry Giles deliberately attempt to confuse the meaning  and required procedures for a ‘Temporary Use Permit’ when it was crystal clear that TUP’s were not allowed in the agricultural zone.

The Doctor penned this missive to Chair Rob Hutchins and copied all of our CVRD Directors.

This assessment of the inglorious ‘Gang who couldn’t shoot straight’ has been forwarded to Cowichan Conversations so that our readers can enjoy the caustic comments and wry wit offered.

When is a Community Plan NOT a Community Plan?

Mr Hutchins

May I introduce myself? I am one of the many “nimbys and nitwits” from your CVRD Electorate.

Yesterday afternoon, I sat through Mr Tippet’s presentation of his report concerning Temporary Use Permits-(TUP’s) on ALR1 farmland, with particular reference to the CVRD Staff failure to recognise that the South Cowichan OCP specifically excludes granting of TUPs on anything except certain zoning designations.

It seems to me, newly arrived in both Cowichan and Canada, that because Mr Raimondo, who we were told tasked Tippet to write this report, was demonstrably wrong to commission a legal opinion, despite having been told this in the past by ‘the amateurs’, that there is more than a slight degree of ‘partiality’ in favour of the Balme Ayr proposals. The overall feeling was that what has happened is that just because you do not have the “right answer” you are going to pursue this until you get the “right answer”. I have, therefore, to ask, the “right answer” for whom? Perhaps an answer that vindicates such glaring mistakes, and ensures the entitlement of ‘wealth’? This, of course, implies that greed is good, which is palpably not so as recently described by Thomas Picketty (Picketty 237-70).

My understanding is that OCPs are developed in consultation WITH the community, often over many years. You and your fellow directors have been elected to act FOR your community, not simply for individuals alone, individuals who may wish to make a vast profit from industrial processing. It is known that some individuals, mostly in the wealthier strata, have a sense of ‘entitlement’ over and above their status. They expect their way in life to be paved with gold (Piff 34-43). Only they have rights, and the rest of us must bow down before them! This, if you will excuse the terminology, which is not mine but that of a community social scientist, a professor, from the USA, is known as the “asshole effect”.

The age of entitlement. How wealth breeds narcissism. The Guardian

This seems to be operating here. While you have been elected, may I remind you who it was that elected you? You, as politicians, are community servants. Raimondo, and his workers are there in the capacity of what might be likened to Civil Servants, and not of the likes of the “Sir Humphreys” of this world. I know what this means having spent some time in the past as a civil servant and at a national level.

Tippet in his presentation today seemed to suggest that the items in the OCP that gainsaid the Planners’ so-called interpretation had been mistakes. He clearly has not even considered, or was perhaps told not to consider, the possibility that these clauses were in the OCP specifically to protect the environment.

I observed that when Tippet was questioned by the Committee there was some glaring ‘coaching’ going on. He had not taken the presentation to its full ‘potential’ to support the case that ALL OCPs must be duly reviewed, to ensure that, in future the ‘staff’ and those who have pushed an issue, do not come up with mud on their face and the “right answer” is arrived at.

This suggests that there is an assumption that the electorate are fools, or as we have been portrayed, nitwits, and there is an attitude at CVRD that “we know what should happen”.

I recently paid my property tax. In the envelope was a ‘flyer’ accompanying the bill, telling me some of the highlights concerning CVRD. You, specifically you, write in there that the aim of CVRD is to make this the best environment in which to live, in the whole of Canada – somewhere with the best environment in which to raise future generations.

I find myself curious as to how both apparently suborning the democratic process – as exemplified by the community involvement in development of the OCP – and placing a gravel pit in an area where it is only wanted by one family to make money over and above their admitted needs, will help our children, or our communities.

There has been the suggestion by Raimondo at the last meeting of the Board that he had visited all the neighbours. This I can tell you now is a “terminological inexactitude”(Barr 2886-88) of the gravest kind, one which the Balmes were also caught perpetrating. Moreover, his taking to task, in a most disrespectful manner, in what was a none-too veiled fashion of Director Iannidinardo, was unprofessional in the extreme.

It should not be the place of, in this case, a distinctly uncivil servant to do this, and certainly not without reprimand.

I had come to Canada in the misapprehension that you here in Canada were more moral than the rest of the North American continent. Even at local level it seems there has been permeation, and emulation of the problems manifested at Provincial and Federal levels. I am more than deeply disappointed.

Yours, with less respect

Paul Kamill

Reference list

Barr, Mason. “Terminological inexactitude.” American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A 143A.24 (2007): 2886-88
Picketty, Thomas. “Inequality and Concentration: Preliminary Bearings.” Capital in the Twenty-First Century. 1st ed. Harvard: Belknap, 2014. 237-70.
Piff, Paul K. “Wealth and the Inflated Self: Class, Entitlement, and Narcissism.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 40.1 (2014): 34-43

Dr. Paul Kamill,
Philosophers Anonymous

“The great enemy of clear language is insincerity.” [Orwell, George (1946). Politics and the English Language]

Planned Breach of Cowichan Bay Causeway Planned for late July

A group of dedicated volunteers, organized under the Cowichan Estuary Restoration and Conservation Association aka (CERCA) have taken on the task of improving life for marine and wildlife that have struggled against industrial disruption for many decades.

Peter Rusland interviewed Goetz Schuerholz in this article carried in the Cowichan News Leader.

30751cowichanJul0414CowichanEstuaryThe causeway leading from the Cowichan Estuary to the Westcan Terminals in Cowichan Bay may be opened in order to improve the ecological health of Cowichan Bay.— Image Credit: John McKinley/File

by Peter Rusland – Cowichan News Leader Pictorial

Breaching a causeway in Cowichan Bay to give spawning fish and wildlife more habitat could happen as early as late July.

Goetz Schuerholz, chairman of the Cowichan Estuary Restoration & Conservation Association, explained his group has most of the money and most permits to commission yanking about 45 feet of Westcan Terminals’ causeway.

It leads to Western Stevedoring’s dormant site, and an old dock bordering the bay.

Read More

The products that have been banned are better!

The green revolution away from fossil fuels is gaining momentum. We need time to make the crossover but it surely is coming as night follows day.

Alternate building materials and alternate approaches are on the rise.

Let us try to reduce our use of gas and oil products as much as we can and push for viable alternatives as soon as possible.

The change is coming!

Legalize research and cultivation of industrial hemp (Hemp does not produce the "high") So, why is it illegal? Because fuel companies would lose TRILLIONS in profit, while the quality of life for everyone else would rise dramatically. It would create millions of jobs, as well as make our reliance foreign fuels non-existent.  Some think that is the "real reason" behind marijuana laws is so they can keep industrial hemp illegal despite it's many uses and positive impact it would have on our society. Some estimate that the global market for hemp consists of more than 25,000 products in nine submarkets: agriculture; textiles; recycling; automotive; furniture; food/nutrition/beverages; paper; construction materials; and personal care. It can be grown as a fiber, seed, or other dual-purpose crop. Hemp fibers are used in a wide range of products, including fabrics and textiles, yarns and raw or processed spun fibers, paper, carpeting, home furnishings, construction and insulation materials, auto parts, and composites. The interior stalk (hurd) is used in various applications such as animal bedding, raw material inputs, low-quality papers, and composites. Hemp seed and oilcake are used in a range of foods and beverages, and can be an alternative food protein source. Oil from the crushed hemp seed is an ingredient in a range of body-care products and also nutritional supplements. Hemp seed is also used for industrial oils, cosmetics and personal care, and pharmaceuticals, among other composites. http://www.nebraskaideas.com/agriculture-and-natural-resources/legalize-research-and-cultivation-of-industrial-hemp Video::The Power of Hemp and its countless uses::   http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=vZvFE53JzDk Join us at::

Legalize research and cultivation of industrial hemp

(Hemp does not produce the “high”)

So, why is it illegal?

Because fuel companies would lose TRILLIONS in profit, while the quality of life for everyone else would rise dramatically. It would create millions of jobs, as well as make our reliance foreign fuels non-existent.

Some think that is the “real reason” behind marijuana laws is so they can keep industrial hemp illegal despite it’s many uses and positive impact it would have on our society.

Some estimate that the global market for hemp consists of more than 25,000 products in nine submarkets: agriculture; textiles; recycling; automotive; furniture; food/nutrition/beverages; paper; construction materials; and personal care.

It can be grown as a fiber, seed, or other dual-purpose crop. Hemp fibers are used in a wide range of products, including fabrics and textiles, yarns and raw or processed spun fibers, paper, carpeting, home furnishings, construction and insulation materials, auto parts, and composites.

The interior stalk (hurd) is used in various applications such as animal bedding, raw material inputs, low-quality papers, and composites. Hemp seed and oilcake are used in a range of foods and beverages, and can be an alternative food protein source. Oil from the crushed hemp seed is an ingredient in a range of body-care products and also nutritional supplements. Hemp seed is also used for industrial oils, cosmetics and personal care, and pharmaceuticals, among other composites.

Video::The Power of Hemp and its countless uses::



This is what happened when I drove my Mercedes to pick up food stamps

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Those of us fortunate enough to have had some rough patches in our lives will empathize immediately with this amazing article about the struggle back from poverty of a young couple that did everything right, and then the bottom fell out.

The line is a thin one and this piece is an example of the rollercoaster ride that an untold number of comfortably well off socially and financially successful people have experienced. This is true here in Canada, but more so in the States.


Sara Bareilles played softly through the surround-sound speakers of my husband’s 2003 Mercedes Kompressor as I sat idling at a light. I’d never been to this church before, but I could see it from where I was, across from an old park, abandoned in the chilly September air. The clouds hung low as I pulled the sleek, pewter machine into the lot. But I wasn’t going to pray or attend services. I was picking up food stamps.

Even then, I couldn’t quite believe it. This wasn’t supposed to happen to people like me.

Read the rest of this story here

Colonist Editorial Nails It-Provide Homes for the Homeless

It is encouraging to read commonsense and compassionate words from the mainstream media. The Victoria Times Colonist Editorial Department is one of the most progressive and responsible in the country. Well done.


In 2008, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled the bylaw deprived the homeless of life, liberty and security in violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.   Photograph By ADRIAN LAM

People who live near Kings Park in Fernwood are unhappy that the park is being used as a campground by homeless people. They have every right to be upset — camping where camping was not intended can degrade a park and hamper the ability of others to enjoy green spaces and fresh air.

That doesn’t mean the answer is to simply kick the campers out of the park. Homelessness is a problem that requires compassionate and intelligent solutions, but city parks should not be the default solution. Urban parks are not designed or intended to shelter the homeless.

As one person told Times Colonist reporter Sarah Petrescu, Kings Park was not meant to accommodate a tent city. It has no washroom facilities, which poses potential sanitation problems.

Read the entire editorial here.

Another Court Loss For the Miserable Mean Spirited Harper Government

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Another beautiful day in the neighbourhood, brightened by this Federal Court decision that slaps down the ‘cruel and unusual’ treatment of refugees at the hands of our out of sync PM Steve Harper.

Judged harshly and sharply the Harper crew are going to appeal this decision.

When the governments refuse to accept court decisions they are called __________!

PM Harper, mean spirited, out of sync with Canadians

PM Harper, mean spirited, out of sync with Canadians

Step by disgusting step Harper is indeed dismantling Canada. He constantly embarrasses and humiliates us on the world stage and is  ruining our reputation as a friendly, progressive, fair minded and environmentally responsible nation.

Here is a CBC report updating this recent decision and also lists other cases where the courts have stuck a stick in Harper’s spokes!