On the Left Side

'Text Neck' and Other Tech Troubles

cd-lng-workers09rbU.S. report slams Kinder Morgan’s enviro transgressions, including on Burnaby Mountain

UnknownPetronas to hire hundreds of skilled foreign workers for B.C. LNG project

DontFrackBCCouncil of Canadians critical of BC NDP backing LNG tax act in BC

The Nightmare of Ann Craft: Fracked, then Poisoned

Andrew Weaver_0Green MLA Andrew Weaver confounded by NDP backing Liberals on LNG tax bill

PetPetronas wants engineering work for B.C. LNG venture to be shifted offshore-See Comments

Crude oil streams through desert in south Israel, near village of Beer Ora, north of Eilat
Oil spill floods Israeli nature reserve, three people hurt

Kathleen Wynne Jim PrenticeOntario Backs Down From Full Assessment Of Energy East's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Target

Iglika_webCCPA-How to Create Good Jobs in BC

solarGermany broke world solar power generation record in July with 5.1 TWh, leaving U.S. in dust

Fracking in Texas : toxic chemicals used for production of natural gas in the Barnett ShaleFranking Risk Compared To Thalidomide and Asbestos

Stephen HarperWhy Canada Voted Against Resolution At UN To Combat 'Glorification Of Nazism'

Preston+ManningPreston Manning on reconciling economy and environment: ‘Canadians need a dose of realism’

n-BC-REDCEDAR-large570Not All Is Well In B.C.'s Woods

trudeau-harperByelection results show NDP losing ground in Ontario’s suburbs, improving Trudeau’s chances in 2015


Update-Another Oil Leaking Derelict Vessel Curses Cowichan Bay

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Another abandoned, oil leaking, derelict vessel has moved into Cowichan Bay.

Local concerned residents have tried to contact authorities to have it moved.

CVRD Director Lori Iannidinardo told Cowichan Conversations that Pacific Industrial’s Brian Thacker,  frustrated with inaction from the Environment Ministry, BC Emergency or Coast Guard, has stepped in and had  his crew throw a boom around the unwelcome intruder in hopes of stemming the pollution threatening the bay and estuary.

Derelict Ship

A typical abandoned derelict ship–location unknown

Today I have been advised that finally after 48 hours of no show and no action from either provincial or federal authorities Transport Canada contracted Pacific Industrial’s Brian Thacker to haul the abandoned half sunk boat up. His crew then hoisted it onto a barge. Fortunately this was about a 35′ craft and not like the hulk pictured above.

Well done Brian Thacker and crew. BTW I am told that is the fourth vessel that he and his crew have yanked so far this year. Where the hell are the taxpayer funded authorities?

Another derelict vessel abandoned in Cowichan Bay

Another derelict vessel abandoned in Cowichan Bay. Photo via Brian Thatcher


OK, so what about the owner who ditched his ailing craft leaking oil into the bay, you ask, and rightfully so. Well, so far nada. Chatter has it that quite a few know damn well whose boat it is but have yet to identify him/her publicly.

Feel free to drop an email to contact@richardhughes.ca if you would like to flush out the story further, anonymously if need be.

Read this report from Cowichan Citizen reporter Lexi Bainas here.

South Cowichan Echo Hit Mailboxes in Cowichan Bay-Mill Bay and Cobble Hill

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Newspaper’s day has passed! Cowichan residents like people elsewhere have embraced the ‘Digital Age.’

My first reaction was, what was Chemainus Courier Publisher Warren Goulding thinking when along with Editor Mile D’Amour, Advertising Manager Shelley Rouse, and Associate Publisher Connie Manning they launched the ‘South Cowichan Echo’ that appeared in our mailboxes Friday.

I had been asked to do some columns for them and so I though sure, and as the idea sunk in I realized that as with most challenges timing is everything.

The areas south of the Cowichan River to the Malahat have grown and developed the point that we could support a local paper, our paper-the ‘South Cowichan Echo.’

Publisher Warren Goulding

Publisher Warren Goulding

Friday afternoon, Maggie came in with the mail, including the ‘Echo’ Volume 1, Number 1, and I eagerly opened it up quickly turning page after page and before I had even really read the stories and articles it was clear to me that this is an idea whose time has come.

The richness of our communities needs to be reflected in our own paper and it has been, even in the first edition, a keeper by the way.

Editor D’Amour was very busy and the first piece that caught my eye was an encouraging account of the Malahat Nation and the progress that they had made under the leadership of Malahat Nation Chief Michael Harry.

Shelley Rousse

Advertising Manager Shelley Rouse

Amuse-owner and Chef Brad Boisvert was featured with tasty offerings about preparing smoked turkey. He has recently opened a new shop-Cure Artisan Meat and Cheese-in the Valley View Shopping Centre. Again Cowichan’s reputation as a treasure for artisan foods continues.

Nice to see local businesses stepping up in support. Andrea and Daniel — Hudson’s on First– is a featured advertiser and doesn’t this all make you hungry.

For political watchers, Mike D’amour’s editorial, and my ‘Cowichan Conversations’ column offer takes on recent local elections. The newly elected and re-elected CVRD Directors laid out their stances and approaches- a hint of what is to come.


Mike D’Amour – Editor

Georgia Collins, an NDP hopeful pursuing the nomination to represent the federal NDP following Jean Crowder’s announced intention to step down, has a large full colour ad. This young woman has energy and pizzaz.

A late entrant she has been here, there and everywhere promoting herself in a tasteful and compelling manner. I would not be the slightest surprised to see her capture the nomination in January. She could well become our next MP!

There is much more including the entertaining Rick Dennis, a Chamber report from Dave Shorthill, and Shirley Walker’s Mill Bay Musings. That is just a taste to encourage you to take a look yourselves, there is more, much more.

Enjoy your new paper!

Without Libby Davies, What Course will the NDP Chart?

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

The announcement that long serving NDP MP Libby Davies has decided to step back from Federal politics after serving as the Vancouver East MP since 1997 will leave a big hole in the NDP ship.

She was a fearless leader of those in need and fought the battles that most politicians tip-toed around.

It is doubtful that she will roll over and settle into her rocking chair.

Could she be looking at provincial politics next?

Fred Wilson wrote the following article that has been published in Rabble.ca

Fred Wilson

Fred Wilson

The New Democratic Party’s political boat is listing today with the announcement by Vancouver East MP Libby Davies that she will not seek re-election in 2015.  Her departure from the caucus will not only put in play one of the most secure NDP seats in the country, but more importantly will leave a gaping hole on the portside of the party.

There will be speculation about political reasons for her decision, coming after other strong women progressives in the NDP caucus, Jean Crowder and Chris Charlton, announced their retirements as well.  But Davies is not stepping down because of politics.  She is easily the most highly respected and influential politician on the left of Canadian politics and was certain to play a large role in the next Parliament, regardless of where the NDP is sitting.

Her announcement comes in the wake of a personal triumph in last week’s unanimous vote of the House to support her motion for compensation and justice for victims of thalidomide.  It was a rare accomplishment that speaks strongly to her stature and political skills after 18 years in Parliament, 8 years as House Leader and 7 years as Deputy Leader of the NDP.


Libby Davies’ leadership role in the NDP has a special kind of credibility because it was never gifted to her by the party.  She won the Vancouver East nomination in its largest-ever nomination meeting at the PNE Exhibition Gardens by just 26 votes over Rocco Di Trolio, who represented mainstream NDP views and Italian community credentials.

Davies, on the other hand, had been a COPE City Councillor, elected to Council in 1982 from a labour-community base largely outside the NDP, which ran its own separate candidates.

She represented the organizing and advocacy of the Downtown Eastside Residents Association, which she helped found with her husband and political partner, Bruce Eriksen and legendary anti-poverty activist Jean Swanson.  It was a street-politics that the politicians were largely oblivious of; but it was all too real to the residents of the Downtown Eastside, and they have given her unwavering support throughout her career.

Libby Davies, Bruce York, Harry Rankin, Bruce Erickson

Libby Davies, Bruce Yorke, Harry Rankin, Bruce Erickson

Davies began politics as a City Council candidate at the age of 23 with COPE.  She was elected 4 years later to the Park Board and then City Council – a rising star among Vancouver’s labour left leaders who included Harry Rankin, Bruce Yorke and Vancouver Labour Council President Frank Kennedy.  In its prime, COPE mastered a community based, socialist politics that was exceptional in Canadian municipal affairs.  It stood out for its success — out-voting Vancouver’s business coalitions and various NDP civic formations for almost two decades.

Once in Parliament, Davies carried those traditions forward as critic and campaigner on poverty, housing and women’s issues.  She became a national figure through two national tours on housing and homelessness in 1998 and 2001.  Then, in 2003 she was a national voice of support for harm reduction and for the first safe injection site in Canada. She received the Justice Gerald LeDain Award for Achievement in the Field of Law for her work on drug policy reform.  She was the first MP to raise the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Parliament. In 2003, she won support for an all-party committee which later produced a report on the health and safety of sex workers.

In her early years as an MP, Davies worked closely with firebrand socialist Svend Robinson who had run for party leader in 1995.  In 2001, Davies and Robinson were the primary NDP caucus supporters of the “New Politics Initiative “(NPI) that endeavoured to reenergize the party with social movement politics and a turn to the left in policy.  The NPI stood in stark contrast to the “Third Way” NDP politics, advocated by many, to take the party down a “Blairist” road by signing on to much of the neo-liberal economics and social policy of the last 20 years.

Jack Layton was not formally associated with the NPI, but his candidacy for leader in 2002 was seen as an expression of the NPI, especially in relation to his chief challenger and perceived front runner, Winnipeg MP Bill Blaikie.  Blaikie’s bombastic anti-NPI speech at the 2003 NDP convention was crucial to its defeat.  Davies was an early and prominent supporter of Layton, who immediately appointed her House Leader.  In that role, Davies brokered, from the 2004 Paul Martin government, the “NDP budget” with $4.6 billion for social programs.


Jack Layton-Olivia Chow-Libby Davies

There are many reasons for the Orange Wave in 2011, but certainly one important factor was the performance of the NDP as the unofficial opposition in Davies’ years as House Leader.

The devastating results of Third Way politics for European social democrats, especially after the 2008 financial crisis, were largely avoided in Canada, and Davies played no small role in anchoring the party when the tide seemed to be heading in that direction.

She did not win every debate, nor did Libby Davies ultimately determine the NDP’s course. The NDP’s abandonment of policy and support for Conservative measures on minimum sentencing and some other crime bills came over her objections.  Her principled positions on Palestinian rights made her the target of vitriol from inside and outside the party.  She was sometimes a minority voice on strategic matters and twice chose not to run for leader.

Nevertheless, Tom Mulcair accepted the party leadership in 2012 with an almost simultaneous announcement — and reassurance to the activist base of the party — that Libby Davies would remain as Deputy Leader.  By most accounts, Tom Mulcair has come to rely on her almost as much as did Layton.  Someone to bring a big message to a labour convention or a skeptical audience?  Someone to handle national media and complicated politics without a briefing book?  She is one of the few who can do it day in and day out.

libby_and_jack_and_woodwards_0It is hard to see where that reassurance and voice for social change politics will come from now.  It is a special mix of social movement skills, class and power analysis along with principle that makes it possible for a grassroots leader to play successfully at the top of politics without distancing themselves from the values and struggles that launched them into politics. These are not the primary characteristics that parties are looking for these days when they seek out candidates.

The anguish now in Vancouver East will be over finding a fitting successor and the old false choices between community struggles, social change politics and perceived electability. These will not be easy decisions, for even after Libby Davies’ 18 years as MP (almost matching CCF/NDP MP Harold Winch’s 19 years of tenure), at the next election the NDP does not own Vancouver East.  The Liberals have won the riding twice, including the election before Davies’ win in 1997.

It is a safe forecast that without Libby Davies, Parliament and the NDP will list to starboard and tend to drag anchor when the winds blow.  Her departure creates a vacancy for someone who might step up to articulate and champion a progressive, value-driven course for the NDP and the progressive movement beyond. More likely, it will be a season or two before another tested, principled leader of her kind will emerge out of community and labour struggles.

Fred Wilson is Director of Strategic Planning at Unifor. He is a volunteer Board member of the Council of Canadians and Rabble.ca



Warmer Pacific Ocean Could Release Millions of Tons of Seafloor Methane

Richard Hughes- Political Blogger

Richard Hughes- Political Blogger

It is getting harder each day to ignore the escalating reports of environmental destruction, global warming, extreme weather and utter disregard by most of our politicians.

US President Obama has turned the corner somewhat but in Canada PM Steve Harper is displaying the most ignorant responses as he presides over unnecessary destruction and ever increasing damage from the greed driven pursuit of oil and gas.

Water off Washington’s coast is warming a third of a mile down, where seafloor methane shifts from a frozen solid to a gas.
Calculations suggest ocean warming is already releasing significant methane offshore of Alaska to Northern California.
Sonar image Ocean Floor


Sonar image of bubbles rising from the seafloor off the Washington coast. The base of the column is 1/3 of a mile (515 meters) deep and the top of the plume is at 1/10 of a mile (180 meters) depth.

Off the West Coast of the United States, methane gas is trapped in frozen layers below the seafloor. New research from the University of Washington shows that water at intermediate depths is warming enough to cause these carbon deposits to melt, releasing methane into the sediments and surrounding water.

Researchers found that water off the coast of Washington is gradually warming at a depth of 500 meters, about a third of a mile down. That is the same depth where methane transforms from a solid to a gas.

The research suggests that ocean warming could be triggering the release of a powerful greenhouse gas.


Read More of this Science Daily Report

Who exactly is crazy here, Mr. Harper?

Richard Hughes- Poliyical Blogger

Richard Hughes- Political Blogger

PM Steve Harper is causing irreparable damage to our environment, and international reputation. We are increasingly being seen as the’Ugly Canadians’

Steve is a crazy man and must be stopped.

A Liberal-NDP-Green Coalition -Strategic Voting or straight out blending the parties together into a new party committed to saving Canada is needed.

Indulging in partisan party illusions will only result in Harper being elected. We cannot let that happen,

Kevin Grandia is in Peru covering the United Nations climate change talks for the Vancouver Observer.


Harper calls climate regulations on oil and gas sector ‘crazy economic policy’ in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

Kevin Grandia

Kevin Grandia

Here in Lima, Peru at the United Nations climate change talks, I am watching negotiators from impacted countries like the Philippines working earnestly on a new agreement to reduce global climate pollution.

At the same time, I am reading stories back home about Prime Minister Stephen Harper telling the House of Commons yesterday that regulating greenhouse gas emissions from Canada’s oil and gas sector would be “crazy.”

Let’s be clear who is crazy here. A common definition of “crazy” is “a state of mind that prevents normal perception and behaviour.”

Given this definition I would suggest that it is not those who want Canada to regulate its oil and gas sector – the single largest source of carbon pollution in Canada – that are crazy, but Mr. Harper and his Conservative government.

Read More about who is crazy

Elvis, the real Elvis-Unchained Melody

I know, Cowichan Conversations is mostly a political Cowichan Valley based blog, However I stray away from time to time as I am doing now.

Ladies and Gentlemen, here is the real Elvis Presley. Sorry, the original link broke off. Thank you Sassy for sending in this one. Enjoy

We will not allow the wholesale sell-out of British Columbia-Premier Dave Barrett-1973

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

For many of us the best days in British Columbia were when Dave Barrett formed the first NDP government in BC.

He and his fellow MLA’s accomplished more in three and a half years than any government before or since.

It felt good to know that the government was standing up for us instead of selling us out as is the case today.


BC NDP Premier Dave Barrett 1972-1975


Quotes from Premier Dave Barrett in the Legislature RE Natural
Resources and Natural Gas

We will not give anyone any money, we will not allow the wholesale sell-out of British Columbia of our resources that has been going on for 102 years. (Oct 18, 1972)

I say to all the people of British Columbia as I discuss natural gas, that as long as I’m Premier of this Province, and as long as the people of this Province have mandated us to govern their affairs, there is no way that any natural gas
company will walk away with windfall profits …. We will fight to increase the
price of gas and we will fight to see that no longer will the ordinary people
of British Columbia sell their resources to subsidize citizens in a foreign
country. (February 27, 1973)

If we couldn’t make a better deal with the resources under the ground in the Province of British Columbia than what we had been confronted with in the past, then I would prefer to see the resources stay in the ground until a generation came along that had far more sense in dealing with those resources than we have had up to this point….What distinguishes this administration from the former administration is that it says loud and clear that the price of doing business for our resources in the Province of British Columbia is: (1) a good price, not underselling — like natural gas. (September 26, 1973)



Little Green Men From Mars- Hotline Radio Great Pat Burns

Richard Hub Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hub Hughes-Political Blogger

Vancouver was the birthplace of talk radio in Canada. Pat Burns, Jack Webster, Judy LaMarsh, Barry Clark, were headliners in the early days. Of course there were others but those come to mind off the top.

In later years Gary Bannerman, John Reynolds, Chuck Cook, Ed Murphy, and of course Rafe Mair who was one of the most durable and accomplished of them all.

Today I would say that Jon McComb is the top talker in Vancouver town.

There was a grand history that continues, but today there is far more competition and distractions from the internet, cable, a zillion channels, videos and the like.

Check out this interview with Pat Burns. I did my time behind the mike at CJOR. To begin, I filled in for Pat Burns doing three and half hours shows strictly open line- no phone calls. It was really living on the edge. I enjoyed every minute of it.

Pat had a photographic memory that was most amazing. I have never seen his equal in that regard. Any of us who worked with Pat have many stories and memories. Some of the most memorable were even true.

Good Night Dolls!

That was his trademark sign off.


OPEC has pretty much collapsed, and there is a free fall in the price of oil with Morgan Stanley

BC and the LNG Myth

Patrick Smyth

Patrick Smyth

By: Patrick Smyth

Back in March 2014 I wrote about BC putting all of its eggs into one basket by pursuing a one track economy with its investment in LNG.  Today, BC is in serious trouble.

OPEC has pretty much collapsed, and there is a free fall in the price of oil with Morgan Stanley calling for oil at $43 per barrel in Q2 of 2015.

Today Bank of America analysis summed it up on the LNG front:

Revolutionary changes sweeping the world’s energy industry will drive down the price of liquefied natural gas (LNG), creating a “multi-year” glut and a much cheaper source for Europe’s gas needs.

The global market for LNG will “change drastically” in 2015, going into a “bear market” lasting years as a surge of supply from Australia compounds the global effects of the US gas saga. If the forecast is correct, the LNG flood could have powerful political effects, giving Europe a source of mass supply that can undercut pipeline gas from Russia. The EU already has enough LNG terminals to cover most of its gas needs but has not been able to use this asset as a geostrategic bargaining chip with the Kremlin because LNG has been in scarce supply, mostly diverted to Japan and Korea. Much of Europe may not need Russian gas within a couple of years.

Last week, even after gaining tax incentives and Indian treaty agreements, PETRONAS all but pulled the plug.    By the way, did no one notice that the tax rate is 50% less than what was proposed?

Here is an excerpt from their press release.

PETRONAS and its partners in the Pacific NorthWest LNG project continue to review the economic viability of the project which, in a time of declining oil prices, presents challenges.  

Consequently, PETRONAS and its partners have decided to defer the project’s $36 billion Final Investment Decision (FID) pending further clarity on substantive items of importance to ensure that critical project components align with economic viability of the Project and competition from other LNG producing countries.

Other companies such as Chevron are indecisive and crunching the numbers promising a decision in “middle of the decade”.  Apache Corporation originally wanted to supply gas to a proposed liquefied natural gas facility in Kitimat, B.C., but pulled out of its joint venture with Chevron Corp. over the summer.  Interestingly enough, Shares of Apache Corp.  (APA) fell to a 52-week low of $58.23 on this week as oil prices sank to a five-year low.  This is the reality of what is happening outside of the ‘soundproof’ walls in Victoria.

Revenues from LNG must be downgraded in light of the new reality of pricing and cuts in the royalty taxes.  The Provincial government’s inability to understand Realpolitik is compounded by leadership promises made in the last election.  Investment in oil and gas is drying up very quickly.

I struggle with the fact that no adjustments in the financial forecasts have been made regarding our economic future in British Columbia.

I struggle with a public that is too busy being happy that gasoline prices are low now while not looking a decade down the line.

I struggle with the realization that the unions haven’t figured it out.

2015 is going to be a year of back pedalling.


Patrick Smyth

Patrick Smyth has a number of years experience include the building of infrastructures and management of private and public companies with a broad experience covering the fields of eCommerce, Marketing, Energy, Petroleum, Financial Accounting and Public Markets, and he has had interests of varying degrees in a number of other companies, both private and publicly traded, in the Financial Processing Industry, Telecommunications Industry, Commodities, Oil & Gas, Green Energy Technologies and Online Advertising.

Support Rally For Striking Cowichan News Leader Staffers Was Solid

Richard Hughes- Blogger

Richard Hughes- Blogger

The wind and rain challenged the scheduled rally to support striking News Leader workers but it seemed to have little,  if any effect.

Local citizens, trade union leaders and politicians, gathered and offered their support for the folks that put out the paper, under increasingly stressful conditions. That, thanks to their tightwad owner David Black media tycoon.

Black is trying to tighten their belts further and impose two tiered salary caps on future employees. He has refused to budge or negotiate unless the bargaining unit, represented by the powerful and progressive union UNIFOR, roll over.

David Black shows his disrespect to CNL staff and the the Cowichan Valley

David Black shows his disrespect to CNL staff and the the Cowichan Valley

Last I checked, that behaviour flies in the face of the BC Labour Code and I suppose it will not be long before UNIFOR levels charges of  ’Unfair Labour Practices’ against him.

BC Fed President Irene Lazinger

BC Federation of Labour President Irene Lazinger

Newly elected BC Federation of Labour President, Irene Lazinger braved the bumpy ferry ride to show her support and I have you tell you she is one very impressive leader with an encouraging common touch.

Cowichan NDP MLA Bill Routley, no stranger to picket lines attended as did Duncan Councillor Michelle Staples.

MP Jean Crowder was out of town but was represented by her assistant Yani Stratemeyer Trinczek .

New Democrat hopefuls seeking the NDP federal nomination to run in the next election, Ellen Oxman, Georgia Collins and Hilary Abbott participated in the show of support.

Bill Routley Supporting CNL Strikers

Cowichan NDP MLA Bill Routley Supporting CNL Strikers

Cowichan District Teacher’s Association President Naomi Nillson along with Chris Rolls President of the Lake Cowichan Teacher’s Association joined in along with the others pledging their support.

Striking reporters Peter Rusland, Don Bodger and columnist Anne Anderson were donning their ‘On Strike signs’ leaving the reporting to CTV reporters.

A somewhat unusual circumstance saw competitor Andrea Rondeau, Cowichan Citizen editor in attendance reporting on the strike.

Citizen publisher Shirley Skolos advised me that negotiations are underway with her unionized employees. The fact that they are actually negotiating is a more promising situation that the News Leader workers are experiencing.



Don Maroc-Peter Rusland-Ellen Oxman

Peter and Georgia

Peter Rusland and Georgia Collins


UNIFOR arranged for a heated trailer for the strikers to meet in. Coffee included.

Management has produced one paper so far. It was very thin on content but fat with flyers.

If you wish to support, boycott any business that advertises during the strike after December 11th.

You can also drop by the picket line to show that you are behind the staff and let them know that they are not forgotten.

Please pass on any information, tips etc contact@richardhughes.ca.

Together we can do our best to keep readers up to date as much as is possible.



Georgia Collins and Richard Hughes

Georgia Collins and Richard Hughes


BC Fed President Irene Lazinger Highlights Monday’s 2PM Rally at Strikebound Cowichan News Leader

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

A ‘Support Rally’ backing Cowichan News Leader striking employees, members of Unifor, will be held Monday 2PM at the News Leader offices. 

The BC Fed’s newly elected President Irene Lazinger will headline the rally showing the significance of this showdown between a determined tight fisted David Black and the union movement.

Striking Cowichan News Reporter Peter Rusland is calling out to valley supporters to join in and help them register the communities support for the striking staff.


BC Fed President Irene Lazinger supporting News Leader Strikers

Black throws nickels around like manhole covers and is attempting to roll the clock back and hammer local staff into a miserable contract that he can use as a template for his Black Press mainland operations.

Word has it that NDP MP Jean Crowder and Cowichan MLA Bill Routley will be front and centre as will a number of other labour leaders and trade unionist supporters as well.

Peter Rusland

Peter Rusland-Come on Down to the Rally!

News Leader staff have endured deteriorating working conditions over the last few years and are not prepared to continue.

Black’s disregard for staff was made abundantly clear when they fired their top notch reporter Krista Siefken (see story)  a couple of years back and left their newsroom stripped to the bone.

Reporter Krista Siefken Fired By David Black!

Unifor has a war chest ready to fund the strike for as long as it takes.

My sense is that the media landscape will be unalterably changed before the dust settles.

Black’s commitment is to the dollar first. It would not be much of a stretch to see him shut down the  paper and leave town permanently leaving the Citizen as the sole Duncan based paper.

David Black

David Black

Nature abhors a vacuum and if Black pulls out then it will not be long before new entrants enter the field.

If that happens it would be preferable to see a locally owned newspaper set up shop. The corporate out of town ownership control of both the News Leader and the Cowichan Citizen leaves a lot to be desired.


I See a Green Tidal Wave of Good News for Cowichan

Climate Change, Greenhouses Gases, Global Warming, Wind Power, Solar these subjects are being discussed or touched upon pretty much on a daily basis.

Peter Nix, Don Skerik and others are doing something positive about it. They have been installing solar panels throughout Cowichan and it is catching on big time. It makes sense especially with the option of local government participation.

Readers will be hearing from Don Maroc soon as he is in the process of having Solar Panels installed on his home. It is exciting stuff.

Here is an encouraging ‘Guest Post’ from Peter Nix who walks the walk.

Peter Nix

By Peter Nix
Cowichan Carbon Buster

I see a green tidal wave of good news for Cowichan in the struggle against climate change – and hey, it’s about time.

The CVRD has more “green” political representation after recent municipal elections – new people like Sonia Furstenau in Shawnigan lake, Rob Douglas in North Cowichan and Kerry Davis in Mill Bay.

Even in Ottawa, Senators are discussing the need to act on climate change – this while our Prime Minister received an embarrassing verbal scolding from the United Nations Secretary-General for his appalling failure to act on climate change.  One Senate speaker compared climate-related catastrophic weather events with water flowing downhill; we may not know the exact route, but it always ends up at the bottom of the hill.

The American Society of Science has warned that our social infrastructure will be destroyed by storms caused by climate change.  And the high cost of repairing this storm damage will reduce government’s ability to fund normal services like medical care, road maintenance, garbage collection, and so on.


Don Skerik & Peter Nix preparing to install solar panels

So most governments know they must act. Locally, one action our green politicians should consider is to provide financial incentives, such as zero-interest loans, to encourage home-owners to install solar panels and make their own electrical energy.  This will be easy for them to do politically, since solar panels installed on our roof tops will return a profit which could be given back to the municipality until the loan is paid off.

For myself, I plan to transfer pension money into the creation of a solar “farm”.  Viridian Energy Co-op and Alternative Electric, both local companies, will be installing 192 solar panels on my property in February.  I will sell electricity to BC Hydro and earn a profit – increasing from 4 to 8 percent over 25 years.

BC Hydro tells me that Cowichan is lighting up their map of BC with solar energy – we are a hot spot for solar panel installations.  If you are interested in a bulk buy, contact cowichancarbonbusters@shaw.ca.

In my opinion, my solar farm is a better investment for my old age than shares in an unpredictable stock market.  And if the municipality sees profits from my pilot project, they then could form a much larger publically-owned solar energy utility that would make money and reduce our taxes.

Importantly, if citizens start making renewable energy for a profit, they will also then see the advantage of using electricity to power their new electric cars.  Using electric cars will reduce the amount of carbon emissions into the atmosphere big time – almost 80% of greenhouse gases in Cowichan come from our cars and trucks.

This combination of locally produced solar energy and gas-less electric cars could start a real green tidal wave – saving us money on car maintenance and fuel costs, lowering our utility bills, and reducing our collective carbon emissions.

Remember, severe weather events will only worsen if we do not reduce our carbon emissions…..as surely as water runs downhill. So both individuals and politicians need to act.

Solar power is a win for our bank accounts, a win for local jobs, and a win for our planet.

Peter Nix, Cowichan Carbon Buster
Maple Bay, BC


Rafe-It’s incomprehensible that the John Horgan Opposition Would Support the Liberals on their LNG Endeavours

Rafe has always been hesitant to be a ‘Horgan Booster’ and God knows I tried over the years.

OK, I give up, our challenges today are way beyond narrow partisan ask no questions politics. This latest LNG sell out spells the end of relevance for the BC NDP.

Here’s Rafe.

Rafe Mair

I suppose it’s not unusual for an electorate to feel swindled. It sure as hell happens often enough.

The BC electorate has every right to feel swindled in the election of 2013 by the Christy Clark government’s solemn promise to make us all wealthy through LNG plants.

This was a very specific promise and even went as far as promising a “prosperity fund” of $100 billion, plus all of our provincial debt soon paid off. This was crap, they knew it, we fell for it.

Now, for God’s sake, the NDP opposition has joined in the swindle at a time when the Liberals, now that their promises cannot possibly be fulfilled, are frantically looking for a way out for the 2017 election.

NDP support comes as LNG industry falls apart.

It’s incomprehensible that the John Horgan opposition would support the Liberals on their LNG endeavours, particularly since Petronas has all but admitted defeat, and they are supposed to be the first out of the box!

What’s even more distressing for those who want LNG plans as soon as possible and as many as possible, is the statement by Petronas that nothing will be going until the end of the decade (which is three years after the next election). Even more troubling for LNG lovers is experts like Bloomberg suggesting that Canada’s LNG industry is highly vulnerable to intense global competition.

It’s really difficult to see just how the campaign promises for 2017 are going to shape up.

The Liberals, like Mr. Micawber, are hoping “something will turn up”.

What is the NDP’s plan for BC?
There has been nothing from Mr. Horgan or the NDP to suggest that they have a new plan for BC. That may come, but it’s pretty late to start setting the stage for an unknown program to be their campaign 2 1/2 years from now.

As it now stands, we have the Liberals looking for a way to avoid dealing with LNG in 2017, with the NDP, not caught in the Liberals’ trap but one of their own making, really not knowing what the hell to do. At least the NDP have plenty of experience in that regard.

It is a new world out there, something that the media has not cottoned onto and, apparently, something that has escaped the notice of Premier Clark and opposition leader Horgan.

Public hungers for environmental leadership
The public are in a strong environmentalist mood. The municipal elections in November demonstrated that but, I think more importantly, the comments to The Common Sense Canadian and The Tyee demonstrate that there is a hard-core, and growing opposition to pipelines, LNG plants and the like which is much different than the cries of years gone by.

There is no doubt that the public’s appetite for preserving our environment got a great boost back in the days of Clayoquot Sound and before, but these things take time to mature and in my belief the environmentalism of the public has reached new heights and more is yet to come.

I don’t for a moment think that the public is against all development or anything of the sort. This is why the “right” has so much trouble dealing with the issue. They can’t think beyond their political philosophy that whatever is dug, cut down, mined, drilled, or transported must be good and those who ever, even for a moment, oppose those things must be evil. For the “right”, unrestrained capitalism is a religious tenet and non-believers deserve contempt.

Citizens fed up with being ignored by politicians, media
Rafe: Critics of Burnaby Mountain citizens are out of touch with public will for change
84 year-old retried librarian Barbara Grant getting arrested at Burnaby Mountain (Burnaby Mountain Updates/facebook)
In fact, a growing number of citizens don’t see the mindless greed of industry and their bought-off governments as their salvation. Moreover, more and more voters are pissed off at not being consulted and not having their views represented by their politicians.

The media’s mindless and dedicated adherence to the desires of big business make them not only unbelievable, and all but devoid of influence, but damn near unreadable to boot.

When ordinary, decent, British Columbians see their fellow citizens threatened with jail because they want to preserve their parks and neighbourhoods, they’re disgusted.

In a way, it all rather goes back to Lincoln’s aphorism:

You can fool some of the people all of the time, you can fool all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.
One might respectfully add to that, once the people know that they have been fooled, they get very cross indeed.

Reform is coming
The political systems, federal and provincial, make it very difficult for parties of protest, such as the Green Party, to make headway. The present system suits party lines and party discipline, not individual thinking and representation of the voter. 2017 will be, however, a time when the Green Party will demonstrate whether, even under a lousy system, they can gain public support. It will be, for them, a watershed election.

There will be reform both of the system and the way we are governed. That may take time, although what needs to be done is pretty obvious to most of us.

No matter how big a majority a government has, it can’t govern if the people don’t support it. The public will continue to protest environmental degradation of which they do not approve. That the traditional parties don’t understand that means only that it’s going to take the people a little longer to make their views materialize in reform.

Be all of that as it may, reform is coming, sooner or later, and you can make book on that.


The NDP has blown it. I really think that they have lost their way. They ignore their supporters and constantly seek validation from their opponents.

The entire caucus were instructed to support this without debate, and they bloody well did.

It looks like the BC Liberal–BCNDP coalition has been formalized and consummated.


I think it’s time for the current crop of BC NDP leaders to ‘Say Yes’ to something

I am pleased to have received this message from Keith Simmonds. The need for change is in the air.

keith simmonds3

Keith Simmonds

By Keith Simmonds

I know I’m not the only supporter/worker/donor who’s written the BC NDP leader and president seeking understanding of the party’s position on opening up more Natural Gas supply, and on fracking as a means to developing it.

Many of us have.

Maybe some of the others received a response. I never have.

I have heard some talking points out of the BC NDP Caucus message box. All about not being the party of ‘NO’ any more.

Personally, I believe, they should have chosen something else to say “Yes” to. Something besides our Premiers sell off of our Natural Gas resources. 

I can think of all kinds of things to say yes to.

Most of them no further away than my kids school.

Or the community hospital.

Or immediate proportional representation.

Or turning every British Columbian into a potential supplier of alternate energy.

Or supporting motor pools and mass transit. Or turning old open pit mines into land locked fish farms.

Or checking in with the folk who don’t vote and finding out what would turn them into active campaigners.

All kinds of things.

Instead they chose a fossil fuel, green house gases and the promise that they’ll be different when they’re elected.

Different than what? The current government? The way they act on input now? I think it’s time for the current crop of BC NDP leaders to say yes to something else. Something to draw out the folk with the energy, enthusiasm and ideas to be the change we want to see in the world.

Especially by becoming Liberal lite.

Keith Simmonds currently finds soul feeding and world changing work as one of the people in ministry at Duncan United Church.

A former mine, mill and smelter worker, and ardent trade union member, he has led an active life as a volunteer political campaigner, campaign manager, and riding president.

In 1998 he took leave from his pulp mill job to serve as an assistant to NDP  cabinet ministers Harry Lali and Glenn Robertson, hanging on to the bitter end, in 2001.

Keith Simmonds
diaconal minister
Duncan United Church
250 701 6957

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” – Jalal Ad-Din Rumi


Seniors Advocate for B.C and the Elder Care Co-op

Don Maroc

Don Maroc

by Don Maroc

Last Wednesday, at the Cowichan Community Centre, Isobel Mackenzie, newly appointed Seniors Advocate for B.C., spent two hours listening to the concerns of about 50 seniors and explaining the functions of her new office.

The following day a committee of the Cowichan Elder Care Co-operative met to begin to hammer out stategic details for opening their operation this coming spring or summer.

The Advocate’s responsibility is officially “to examine and analyze the current state of seniors’ services … including health care, transportation, housing and income supports.”

The Elder Care Co-op’s purpose is broadly stated by the group’s motto, Seniors Helping Seniors. A successful result of that help will be seniors being able to age securely and comfortably in their own homes.

The two organizations are complementary, not in competition. Ms. Mackenzie’s office does not respond to individual problems. It is her business to examine and monitor the many government programs set up to aid senior citizens. If the programs are inadequate or unresponsive, understaffed or underfunded it is her job to pressure the provincial government to correct the problems.

It is still much too early in the program to know if the government really wants to improve services for seniors and will take action when prompted by Mackenzie, or if they mean the Advocate’s office to soak up the many complaints due to underfunding or perhaps even take the blame for ineffective service delivery.

Mackenzie has already heard many complaints from seniors being pushed out of their homes because of simple repairs and maintenance. Other seniors need assistance with simple household chores like snow shoveling and chopping firewood. Isolated seniors find the lack of, or inadequate, transportation forces them to have to leave their homes.

These are the areas where the Advocate and the Elder Co-op can dovetail in the delivery of services that can give people just the help they need to stay in their own homes.

If seniors need work done by existing local contractors the Elder Co-op will arrange for the work to be done by businesses that are themselves members of the Co-op. The cost and conditions of the work will be overseen by the Co-op office, with satisfaction checked when the job is completed.

From the Co-op membership a group will be formed of women and men with life experiences to do the many jobs too small to be of interest to commercial contractors.

The Co-op’s slogan is No Job Too Small, a defective electric receptacle, replace a washer in a leaky faucet, prune a fruit tree, repair drapery torn by a playful cat, a drive to the market for food or medicine, replace a bulb in a florescent fixture, or any of a thousand tasks that have become too much for an aging couple’s ability or pocketbook.

These jobs will be done by Co-op members for modest fees, or there will be a Time Bank system in which those doing the work will receive services they need equal to the hours they work.

The Advocate’s office can aid the Elder Co-op crew by updating them on government programs for which they can deliver services funded by governments. Mackenzie can also suggest to government how its ministries can work through the Co-op to more efficiently deliver local assistance to seniors.

Finally it is the mandate of the Advocate’s office to the research and analyses to determine exactly which services are most needed and assist the Elder Care Co-op in expanding their programs where they are most needed.

Isobel Mackenzie, vastly knowledgeable, intelligent, determined, non-partisan, can be of great help to the Co-op, which is just setting its sights on what services to provide and how to delivery them. The ElderCare Co-op, in return, is organizing just the kind of locally owned and operated service provider that can fill the gaps Mackenzie finds in government’s many senior care programs.

It only costs $10 to become a Co-op member. Anyone interested in joining can contact me, Don Maroc, by email (dmaroc@shaw.ca), or phone 250-748-2790.


There is a Reason That You Separate Military and the Police


An Innovative and Creative New CVRD Board Has Been Born.

Don Maroc - Cowichan Conversations Blogger

Don Maroc 

December 3rd, 7 p.m., second floor of the Ingram Street Cowichan Valley Regional District offices, the Board of Directors meeting room, all seats for the public are filled, people standing along the walls and the hallway is filled with spectators. At the request of Corporate Secretary Joe Barry the 15 newly elected directors take their seats around the horseshoe shaped table. Barry begins to instruct the directors, eight of who were not on the Board last year, taking their oath of office.

Family, friends and reporters snap photos and videos as the directors and their alternates for the next four years repeat their oaths.

Jon Lefebure-elected to be CVRD Chair

Jon Lefebure-elected to be CVRD Chair

That completed Barry takes his seat at the head of the table and opens nominations for the Board Chairperson for 2015. Mary Marcotte, Area G (North Oyster) Director, Lori Iannidinardo, Area D (Cowichan Bay) Director, and Jon Lefebure, Mayor of North Cowichan, are nominated.

They each make a short statement and Barry announces, with an edge of excited anticipation in his tone, that now the balloting will begin. The voting will continue until one of the candidates gets a majority of the 15 votes.

Other than the announcement of the winner, this is about as much excitement as there will be this evening. After the Chair and the Vice-Chair are selected, the new chairperson will give a brief thank you to everyone involved, then ask for a motion to adjourn and the social evening would begin.

Lori Ianidinardo elected as CVRD Vice Chair

Lori Ianidinardo elected as CVRD Vice Chair

Then KAPOW, the traditional sequence of events is shattered as Matteus Clement, newly elected director for Cobble Hill (Area C), raised his hand.

Barry smiled, nodded, and asked, “Yes Director Clement?

“I move that we be allowed to have questions for the candidates.”

Barry’s smile faded briefly but he recovered and he flipped the hot potato to the CVRD’s recently hired Administrator Brian Carruthers who felt it was not appropriate to deal with such a motion without a chair and vice chair in place

Shawnigan Lake Director Sonia Furstenau raised her hand and said in a strong, steady voice, “I second the motion.”

OH, OH. This was more than a slightly confused new director making an ill-advised move. It looks like the new directors from the southend were organized and determined before the echoes of their oaths died out.


Cobble Hill Director Matteus Clement

Veteran Director Mel Dorey from Saltair, then spoke strongly in favour of the newly elected directors questioning the candidates. He felt directors who have been on the board already knew the candidates and wouldn’t need to join in the queries.

Bob Day, new Youbou Director, thought it was a bad idea. Lori Iannidinardo thought it was a good idea. Duncan Mayor Phil Kent suggested it was too much of a challenge for the candidates to do on the fly, candidates should be told ahead of time so they could be prepared. Rob Hutchins, out-going Chairperson, wanted to briefly adjourn the meeting so the senior staff present could confer and make a judgement.

It was apparent that no one was breaking any rules, regulations or bylaws. It was not even establishing a precedent. Barry called the vote which passed easily.

Shawnigan's Sonia Furstenau

Shawnigan’s Sonia Furstenau

The questions began, respectfully asked, and courteously answered.

Finally a happily smiling Barry again announced it was time for the vote, and Administrator Carruthers passed out the blank ballots. After the second round Barry proclaimed Mayor Jon Lefebure elected for his second term as Chair of the CVRD Board. He then ask for a motion to destroy the ballots so no one will ever know the totals.

Lefebure took his seat at the head of the table, briefly thanking the board members and praising retiring Chair Hutchins for his exceptional work. He then continued the traditional format and ask for a motion to adjourn the inaugural meeting.

The meeting adjourned, the politicians’ picture was taken, then they and the public enjoyed refreshments and a lot of socializing in the crowded board room. On many tongues was the realization that times had changed and an innovative and creative new CVRD Board had just been born.

The Farmer Ain’t in the Dell

Don Maroc sent this along this morning courtesy of Michelle Staples. Along with this video word that she will be filming solar installations that are beginning to bloom throughout the valley.

This was a great video and we can all look forward to more coming soon.

Published on 21 Nov 2014
Farmer ain’t in the Dell: song written and performed by Genevieve Charbonneau

Video by Michelle Staples

Song recorded and produced by Marc Atkinson. Drums, bass, and mandolin by Marc Atkinson.

Banjo by Shanti Bremer.

www.twistedvinefarm.ca to order the CD “Updraft”, a collection of original folk-roots music by Genevieve Charbonneau.

Thanks to the awesome actors:

Banjo guy: Zane Parker

CEO’s: Victor Burkley, Kerry Davis and Shea Pestell

Scientist: Abigail Little

Farmers: Mike Shelton, Taylin, Zena Green, Daniel Green, Lena Crummenerl, Saskia Wind, Joan Kallis,

Dinner guests: Claire Campbell, Zylo, Oren, Joah Green and Asher Parker-Green.

And thanks to: 8 ½ Acres, Duncan Farmers Market, Katharina Dittus at Sunshine Meadows, Fred Van Hurzen at Rockycrest Farm, Ray Woolham, and Thrifty Foods for the locations.

Thanks to everyone who donated to the Indigogo campaign to help make this video. oxo

And please share with your friends! It’s an important message and fun to watch too!
“Farmer Ain’t in the Dell” by Genevieve Charbonneau ( • )
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Is Harper’s National Energy Board-A Rubber Stamp at Best?

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Have Canadians had enough of the attack on our environment and the NEB that has repeatedly denied the right to fair and open processes when reviewing proposals such as pipelines? It really does feel that the tolerance level for the fast and loose approach embraced by PM Steve Harper is wearing thin with Canadians.

It is very much a case of the citizens being out ahead of the politicians regarding fossil fuel use in all its dimensions.


Read Ray Grigg’s latest as posted in the Common Sense Canadian.

The National Energy Board (NEB) is supposedly an independent legal body constituted by the government of Canada to consider evidence on proposed energy projects and then to objectively decide if such projects as oil or gas pipelines are in the “public interest”. But, true to its literal name, the NEB almost never decides against an energy project.


The 3-member NEB Joint Review Panel for the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline

This nearly perfect record of approval can be explained by the industrialized world’s continued dependency on fossil fuels, by the royalty benefits accruing to Canada, and by the political inclination of the present federal government whose economic policies clearly support the oil and gas industry. The threat of global climate change, the risk of devastating oil spills and the growing precariousness of ecologies are now altering the meaning of “public interest.”

The “public interest” the NEB is supposed to represent must entail more than profitability for the oil and gas industries.

Read the Full Story

E.ON to quit gas and coal and focus on renewable energy


Germany’s biggest utility firm, E.ON, has announced plans to split in two and spin off most of its power generation, energy trading and upstream businesses, responding to a crisis that has crippled the European energy sector.

E.ON said it wanted to focus on its renewable activities, regulated distribution networks and tailor-made energy efficiency services, citing “dramatically altered global energy markets, technical innovation, and more diverse customer expectations”.

Read The Full Story Here

Petronas delays decision on Pacific NorthWest LNG project




Globe & Mail’s Brent Jang reports from Vancouver

Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas has delayed making a final investment decision on its Pacific NorthWest LNG project in British Columbia.

The Petronas-led joint venture’s terminal on Lelu Island in northwestern British Columbia is estimated to cost $11.4-billion, part of a $36-billion undertaking to export liquefied natural gas from the West Coast to energy-thirsty customers in Asia.

Read the Full Story

Provinces Have No Right to Pipeline ‘Conditions’-Claims Law Professor

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

It seems that Christy Clark and her BC Liberal Party of Pipeline pushers have been blowing smoke according to Dwight Newman.

Dwight Newman is a senior fellow of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute and the author of Natural Resource Jurisdiction in Canada. He is a professor of law at the University of Saskatchewan.

Considering these battles have been waged for a few years now this would of course include other cross border pipelines as well. Enbridge, Keystone XL and Kinder-Morgan come to mind.

Christy Clark-The things is that I have these five conditions

The things is that I have these five conditions

How is it that numerous Premiers have been posturing over cross border pipelines this long without hearing some definite ruling or even opinion as is being suggested now while the push is to pipe bitumen east across Canada is in play?

This will cause consternation and bewilderment in many oily circles. It seems remarkable that the Feds have not spoken up  and that it has taken a Saskatchewan law professor to ring the bell with this Globe & Mail Op-Ed.

The spectacle of Alberta Premier Jim Prentice having to meet with Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne this week to discuss their “conditions” on the Energy East pipeline reversal is a sad and shameful state of affairs.

Dwight Newman is a professor of law at the University of Saskatchewan.

Dwight Newman

These premiers have no constitutional basis to be making conditions, demands or anything else on this pipeline, and they play a dangerous game in attempting to do so.

The constitutional position is remarkably clear. The text of Canada’s Constitution specifically puts interprovincial transportation in the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal government.

A long line of cases recognize that interprovincial pipelines are a mode of transportation. The case law has also long been clear that provinces cannot exercise their jurisdiction in ways that interfere with interprovincial transportation.

Read the full story

Christy Clark’s Supernatural BC Gas Giveaway – “Black Friday” Address


Christy Clark’s Supernatural BC Gas Giveaway – “Black Friday” Address

This “Black Friday/Giving Tuesday” Christy Clark’s BC Liberals lead the world with massive giveaways to the largest oil companies on earth!

The BC Liberals just forfeited your fair share of the Provinces Natural Gas Bounty and in this address she urges British Columbians to give more, like we have never given before, yet 2/3rds of British Columbians distrust the BC Liberals on LNG.

Almost 80% don’t know that LNG is “extracted” by Hydraulic Fracturing or “Fracking”

A large majority of Canadians – fully 70% – would support a moratorium on “Frackinguntil there is conclusive evidence that it’s safe, according to a new poll.

Forty-nine per cent of self-identified Conservative voters support a moratorium, with 43 per cent opposed. Among Liberal voters, 75 per cent support a moratorium, as do 87 per cent of NDP voters.

Even mainstream pundits cannot ignore the massive let down the BC LNG Tax represents when compared to Christy Clark;s pre-election promises.

“Mike de Jong sounded a bit like a dad who promised his kids a puppy for Christmas and then Santa Claus showed up with a goldfish instead.”
- Mike Smyth, The Province Newsppaer


Kevin Logan

Kevin Logan

Video researched, written and produced by Kevin Logan
Copyright Disclaimer: Fair Use
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French Parliament Votes to Recognize Palestinian State


France’s Socialist-led parliament has passed a symbolic vote to recognize Palestinian statehood, despite staunch objections from Israel. MPs in Britain and Spain have already passed similar motions.

The proposal was passed with 339 votes in favor and 151 against, meaning that it was supported by more than two-thirds of French lawmakers.

Israel immediately responded, saying that the motion would “harm the peace process,” AFP reported.

Read the Full Report from RN News

Green energy sector jobs surpass total oil sands employment

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Blackwell-Globe & Mail reporter filed this story. I have yet to see either the  BC Liberals or the BC NDP embracing this growing industry in a meaningful way.

This is the future for our planet and our economy, but not in BC where the politicians are all gaga about fracking LNG in spite of the ever growing mountains of evidence condemning the practice.

Doug Routley’s Facebook Post Supporting Liberal’s LNG Taxation Sellout–Along With My Response

I started off the morning reading Doug Routley’s post on Facebook that had been forwarded to me.

Now, while I am responding to Doug, he is not alone.

These are the talking points and frames from NDP communications folks.

We will be hearing similar from NDP MLA’s all across the province

Here is MLA Doug Routley’s Facebook post in part…

Doug Routley NDP MLA

Doug Routley NDP MLA

We have always supported LNG, done right. Our conditions are:

1) That the air, land and water be protected.
We propose to subject the industry to a
scientific review to ensure that condition.

2) That BC workers build it. We demand 100% BC
workers and oppose the use of any temporary
foreign workers.

3) That BC receive a fair share of the benefits
as owners of the resource. The BC Lib claims of
a prosperity fund of $100 billion were never
anything but fantasy and we repeatedly said so.
We also knew that the Premier staking her
government’s future on the industry eliminated
the strength of BC’s bargaining position.

We never believed that she would achieve the 7%
tax they initially claimed and we said so. We
also said that this bill was less than what BC
should receive, but that we would support it to
support the industry moving forward to the next

John Horgan also said that he would
consider revisiting these tax rates when we
form government. The emissions bill is an
abject failure to meet the basic requirements
for BC’s environment and GHG emission targets
and we voted against it.

The LNG tax bill is a marginal failure that we felt should be
supported to move the industry forward to the
point of considering the other issues we have raised.

Read Doug Routley’s full post and comments on BC NDP’s support for the BC Liberal’s LNG Tax Plan here

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

This is such utter drivel. We do not need to study fracking. It has been proven to be a disaster for the environment, requires massive amounts energy and water, produces a lethal chemical soup that pollutes our aquifers, causes numerous health problems, and emits damaging methane gas that counters any claim of LNG being a clean environmentally friendly fuel.

This is  about handing over our resource wealth while bringing down austerity for BC.

The tax legislation is an unprecedented sell out, that counters are own positioning of a “fair share” not to mention the complete capitulation to the Liberal re-election platform.

The BC NDP let British Columbians down badly. Many of the MLA’s including their leader John Horgan spoke eloquently in the legislature and elsewhere but when it mattered they sold us down the river with merely a whimper.

BC NDP Leader John Horgan spoke eloquently against Liberal sell-out, then supported it!

BC NDP Leader John Horgan spoke eloquently against Liberal sell-out, then supported it!

They gave the Liberals an easy ride allowing this massive giveaway at bargain basement rates and failed to do their job as opposition by countering the Libs, point by point and offering an alternative to their proposals. That is what opposition is obligated to do under the parliamentary system.

The notion advanced that an NDP government could renegoiate, while technically possible on paper would be a tough run in reality. Winding through those trade agreements, production development contacts and the like would bring about massive lawsuits and harangue that could haunt us for years, many years.

The time to fight inch by inch was in the legislature and the NDP rolled over.

Even the BC Liberals were surprised. Any respect or credibility that they had for the ‘Official Opposition’ has evaporated.

Borrowing Christy Clark’s signature message ‘We must grow the economy’ was humiliating at best.


Like Horgan said: We have to Grow the Economy!

The BC NDP Communication folks spun out the talking points and frames that Doug Routley offered and I expect most of the caucus are rolling out. It does not cut it, and they know it.

Yes, we need to grow the economy, the economy fuelled by harnessing, and encouraging the sustainable options like Wind, Solar, Geo Thermal, Tidal and other options that will not poison our land, our oceans, lakes, rivers, fish and wildlife and lastly ourselves.

This is a bad deal at every level and by every measure and could well spell or at least significant diminishment the end of the BC NDP as a force.

Remember 2001!

Remember 2001!

Remember in 2001 when the NDP elected only two MLA’s following voter dissatisfaction. It could happen again, or worse.

They have failed us and now are just taking up air and space on the centre left side of the political spectrum.

Nature abhors a vacuum as we shall see in the coming year or so.

Cowichan News Leader Workers Are On Strike!

The picket lines are up at the Cowichan News Leader. Black Press is trying to impose a two-tier wage system. 


Here is the CHEK TV NEWS Report

By Andrea Rondeault–Cowichan Valley Citizen

Twelve employees at the Cowichan News Leader Pictorial newspaper in Duncan took to the picket lines on Monday in a dispute over proposed changes to their pay structure.

The strike is about blocking the implementation of a two-tier wage system by management, said Unifor Local 2000 representative Peter McQuade.


Photograph By Kevin Rothbauer

Right now, employees’ wages increase over time through a classification system. Management is trying to eliminate the top wage classifications for any new employees coming in, McQuade said.

Employees voted 100 per cent in favour of strike action.

McQuade said it was possible the paper would not be able to put out an edition for Wednesday. He had no indication when the strike might be over.

Calls to the News Leader Pictorial’s editor and publisher were not returned Monday morning.

A Dear John & Carole Letter-You Have Lost Me Now.

Dorothy Field

Dorothy Field

Dear John and Carole,

I have to say you’ve lost me now. There is already much study
done on fracking and it shows it’s a bad idea –
bad for the environment, poisoning ground water.

And many, many people with rock solid information
you could consult — Andrew Nikiforuk is the
first who comes to mind but there are others.

I understand your concern that the NDP can’t
always be saying NO but there is so much you could be saying YES to:



YES to making sure our MINING OPERATIONS


At the moment, all over BC people are raging
against the pipelines. Why not harness those
feelings for a visionary NDP?

After years of stumping for the NDP, if there’s a credible Green
candidate in Victoria-Beacon Hill, that’s where
my vote will go.

Here in BC, we don’t need Christy-lite. We need evidence-based forward
thinking and I have no doubt the votes are out there.

I respect both of you and the work you’ve done
for many years. Given that, I send this with deep
regret knowing there’s really no turning back now from the path you’ve chosen.

Dorothy Field
Victoria–Beacon Hill


A Present for Christy

Our take: Second look at Dakova plan is the right move

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

This Cowichan News Leader editorial is bang on and hopefully will result in encouraging a sober second look at appropriate development of this important corner. The public has spoken, but Mayor Phil Kent has not been listening to their concerns.

This decision is far too important to be jammed through without further scrutiny and public involvement. This must include a well publicized public hearing allowing for full input.

City of Duncan Councillor Sharon Jackson

City of Duncan Councillor Sharon Jackson

Editorial – Cowichan News Leader


For the past decade or more, we’ve heard Duncan council talk multiple times about the need for gateways.

These magical, mystical (some would say mythical) creations were the key to eliminating the negative image the highway strip has fostered for Duncan.

They were going to be signposts that would make those driving through town want to stop, get out of their cars and start to explore.

Despite their high profile in a variety of consultant reports and campaign speeches over the years, these gateways have been as elusive for Duncan as a Sasquatch sighting.

Perhaps until now.

Long-time councillor Sharon Jackson has caught a rare glimmer of a gateway through the haze of the Dakova Square development proposal and she is determined not to see it bound away into the forest of cookie-cutter condo complexes.

And for that, she should be thanked.

Duncan has been waiting for a gateway for so long, it has forgotten what one it is supposed to look like.

We’ve never seen one, so we probably shouldn’t comment. But we are pretty sure it doesn’t look like the drawings we’ve seen of The Dakova.

The city has not done a good job at attracting development, but that does not mean the first time one shows up, council should agree to whatever the developer asks for.

The Dakova lot is a prime location. Its development is a prime opportunity. The city should be neither giving in to the developer’s whims, nor throwing up roadblocks.

It should be working with the developer to create a signature development that says welcome to downtown.

It should be creating a gateway.

Retirement for three busy Cowichanians spells work on things they enjoy most.


Good life: Retirement? What’s that?

By  Peter W. Rusland


Image Credit: Peter W. Rusland

For Richard Hughes, retirement just means more time to break out the pitchforks. -
Retirement for three busy Cowichanians spells work on things they enjoy most.

Wealth isn’t common among filmmaker Tom Shandel, sailboat captain John Dook, and blogging gardener Richard Hughes.

They share a love of staying mentally and physically active in their community, while living mostly on pensions and savings.

“I don’t know anyone who’s retired that isn’t busy. You wonder how you ever could have had a job,” Shandel, 75, said from his home editing studio in Cowichan Bay.

“I took an early retirement,” said Dook, 74, a former NWT education department staffer, living aboard his 44-foot Inukshuk.

“I love the Arctic and the people, but I got tired of the weather, and decided I’d rather rust than freeze.

“I always loved the sea and wanted to play on a sail boat.”

Hughes, 68, a former realtor and Cobble Hill director, loves tending his garden beds.

“If you’ve got your basics covered, retirement’s wonderful. The job just screws up the best part of the day,” he said. “Retire as soon as you can, and enjoy life.”

Shandel enjoyed saying he’s “not retired because I’ve never been tired.”

“I never had a job; I’ve always been a free-lancer.”

The former miner and actor landed federal film contracts. Later, he was a PBS executive producer in Detroit. Now, Shandel edits and makes documentaries, and helps run valley non-profits.

“I’m editing some old documentaries of mine, and uploading them onto YouTube. I do some corporate docs, and do technical things requiring lots of manual reading.”

He’s recently made a series of short videos about 10 authors for B.C. Book World (visit bcbooklook.ca) and worked with Peter Davis on their documentary called Spanish Earth.

Community-wise, Shandel chairs the congregational council at Sylvan United Church. He also started Cowichan Co-operative Connections with Rob Douglas and Roger Hart — between dances with wife, Connie, a doctor of pharmacy.

“One thing that keeps me young is my spouse. We do ballroom dancing at the gold level. It’s a tremendous, invigorating experience.”

Capt. Dook’s early experiences anchored his desire to retire on the water.

“As a kid, I lived on a houseboat on River Crouch in Essex,” the Londoner said. “It’s something that’s in my blood. I’ve been interested in the sea and boats all my life,” said Dook, a former Fort Smith town councillor who sailed the Northwest Passage, and on Great Slave Lake.

He and wife, author Catherine, do chores and maintenance around Inukshuk — planning summer trips on the craft costing far less than a home on land.

“Living on a boat can be very uncomfortable; it’s definitely not for everyone. But most of your neighbours have the same interests. Everyone knows everyone and when someone gets into trouble, everyone’s there to help out; it’s a lifestyle.”

Hughes’ lifestyle is writing his Cowichan Conversations blog, and growing his own grub.

“What do old radicals do? They blog.”

Wife, Maggie, teaches part time.

“We’re certainly not wealthy, but the roof doesn’t leak, the hydro’s paid, there’s food in the cupboard, and you can pretty much do the things you want,” said Hughes.

Like growing pears, apples, figs, raspberries and more on his acreage. Aspiring retirees should plan ahead while still working, Hughes advised.

“I bought new appliances; cover yourself from big-ticket expenses that will pop up.

“We also put in a new septic system. But when you’re not working you’re not spending as much.

“There’s nothing like retirement — I just love it.”

Vaughn Palmer: NDP’s Support of Gas Tax Looks Good for the Greens


Some voters might disagree with Horgan’s shout out to resource development


By Vaughn Palmer-Vancouver Sun


Photograph by: Arlen Redekop , PNG


NDP leader John Horgan defended his decision to support the LNG tax legislation, saying,


“I believe we need to grow the economy.”



VICTORIA — When the B.C. Liberals finally brought in the tax regime for the liquefied natural gas industry last month, the New Democrats denounced them for caving to industry pressure and reducing the tax.
The February budget proposed a tax on LNG levied at a rate of “up to seven per cent.” The enabling legislation tabled Oct. 22 halved it to a maximum of 3.5 per cent.

“A failure of negotiations,” complained Opposition critic Bruce Ralston. “The LNG tax legislation introduced today was written by industry and for industry.”

Opposition leader John Horgan echoed those concerns and more. “All the premier has wanted to talk about for as long as I can remember is liquefied natural gas and the fairy tales that go along with it,” he told the house.

“But if you make a commitment to the people of B.C. you should follow through with it. The minister of finance said in February in his budget that the tax for LNG would be seven per cent. ‘We negotiated hard,’ said the premier — and now it’s 3½ per cent.”

Other New Democrats kept the theme alive over the ensuing weeks.

“I keep looking at this bill and reading through it,” said MLA Claire Trevena.” What keeps coming back to me is that it’s a sellout. It’s a sellout for B.C.”

MLA George Heyman saw the rise and fall of the government’s promise-making on LNG in terms of a Greek tragedy: “The central characters riding on top of the world, creating a fantasy about everything good that has happened and will happen in the future, and, as events unfold, they are brought crashing down to earth, often with a very heavy thud, often with very tragic circumstances.”

But at the end of the day, most of the crashing back to earth happened on HIS side of the house, as the Opposition swung round and supported the LNG tax legislation, flaws and all.

The New Democrats voted against a companion piece of legislation establishing standards for greenhouse gas emissions from LNG plants, on grounds that the controls were inadequate.

But Horgan realized the NDP had better support the main legislation, lest it substantiate B.C. Liberal accusations of being “the party of no” on LNG. The stance crystallized on Monday of this week, on second reading (approval in principle) of the LNG tax legislation.

“I support this initiative, and I will be standing in support of this bill,” declared Horgan on behalf of the Opposition. “It falls way short of what was promised. It falls way short of what I believe we could have accomplished. But that is that.”

As for the Liberal “desire to say that the NDP is against everything — well you won’t be able to say that with (this) bill, because we’re going to stand side by side with you and vote in favour of it. As deficient as it may be, it does provide us with an opportunity to reduce some of the uncertainty that has been rampant on this file.”

He closed on a grace note: “I want to thank those members on the other side for giving me the opportunity to stand, genuinely, and put forward how I feel about this very important issue.”

The moment was reciprocated by Liberal house leader Mike de Jong: “The leader of the opposition stood up today and said, I think with a measure of pride and certainty, that the official Opposition intends to support the legislation. I am grateful for that.”

But of course it couldn’t last as de Jong climbed back into his partisan message box:

“British Columbians understand there was but one group which was committed with a singular determination to take the steps necessary to attract a vibrant liquefied natural gas sector in British Columbia. All of the protestations, all of the lurching from position to position, all of the flip-flopping that we’ve heard and will continue to hear in the days ahead will not alter that fact.”

When the vote was called on second reading Monday, the LNG tax bill passed 76 to one, with only Andrew Weaver, the Green MLA dissenting. The legislation passed third and final reading Thursday, after the house turned down by a vote of 77 to 2 a delaying motion from Weaver that would have sent it to committee for further scrutiny of what he denounced as a legislative rush job with multiple loopholes and meagre justification. (Independent MLA Vicki Huntington cast the other vote in support of Weaver’s motion.)

Meeting with reporters Thursday, Horgan defended the decision to support the legislation.

“I believe we need to grow the economy,” he said. “As an MLA that’s had the good fortune of travelling to resource communities, I understand the importance of resource development.”

Not to say the bill didn’t fall well short of what he would have done. “We have concerns about the tax bill that was brought forward, we raised those in debate, that’s our responsibility,” Horgan continued.

“But ultimately, we need to say to British Columbians: this is a bipartisan issue. The Liberals like to stand up and say otherwise, but I think when we stood with them to vote in favour of a bill that was deficient — in terms of what I believe the returns should be — it sends a signal to British Columbians that we want to see this proceed.”

Agreed. But in a province where many have expressed doubts about LNG in general and natural gas fracking in particular, Horgan’s stand probably leaves him open to poaching of support by Weaver and the Greens.



BC NDP Jump into Bed with the BC Liberals–There is no way back, the deal is done, the sellout is complete!

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

What a sad turn of events for British Columbians it is to see John Horgan, leader of the BC NDP, stand up and sing off the same song sheet as Christy Clark and her crew selling out our economic sovereignty and our future environment to foreign state owned corporations.

BC citizens are not buying what either of the major parties are selling us on this discredited fracking LNG debacle.


Two-thirds polled don’t trust B.C. gov’t over LNG:

BC’s lone Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver and  Independent Vicki Huntington voted against the sellout.Weaver offered this response to the BC Liberal-BC NDP Pact on LNG.

LNG tax legislation rushed at expense of British Columbians


Green party’s Elizabeth May wants new investigation of 2011 election robocalls

Ottawa Citizen’s Glen McGregor  has filed this story that has Elizabeth May  calling for new investigation of 2011 robocalls. |

Elizabeth May

Green Party leader Elizabeth May has asked the Commissioner of Canada Elections to reopen his investigation into 2011 election robocalls based on two related court decisions that found the Conservative Party’s voter-tracking database was likely the source of misleading calls.

May wrote to Commissioner Yves Côté on Thursday to make a formal complaint about what she alleges is “widespread, co-ordinated voter fraud in at least eight electoral districts during the 2011 election.”

The request comes as Côté’s office says it is no longer investigating the robocalls case after former Conservative Party campaign worker Michael Sona was last week sentenced to nine months in jail for his role in the robocalls sent to more than 7,000 voters in Guelph, Ont. The office said it could not investigate unless it received a complaint based on new information.

Sona, whose lawyer is planning to launch an appeal of his conviction and sentence, is being held at Maplehurst Correctional Complex in Milton, Ont. He released a statement through a friend stating that he had “no involvement” in the calls, and doesn’t know who did.

Ottawa lawyer Howard Krongold filed a notice of appeal on Tuesday, stating he intends to appeal both the verdict and the sentence.

Côté had previously reported that he could find no evidence of a wider scheme to send misdirecting calls to voters in ridings other than Guelph, though critics noted that the investigation was based on only a small fraction of complaints for which Côté’s investigators could trace telephone records.

In her letter to Côté, May refers to judgments in the Sona case as well as the judgment issued in 2013 in a Federal Court legal challenge of election results in six ridings, which was backed by the Council of Canadians, a left-leaning public-interest group.

In those cases, Judge Richard Mosley found insufficient evidence to overturn the election results in the ridings but did find a “concerted campaign by persons who had access to a database of voter information maintained by a political party.”

In the Guelph case, Judge Gary Hearn found Sona had been involved in the automated calls arranged using the pseudonym “Pierre Poutine,” but also said it was likely others were involved. Hearn also said it appeared the list of identified non-Conservatives supporters came from the Conservative Party’s Constituent Information Management System.

Hearn didn’t say who else he thought was involved but pointed to evidence related to Guelph Conservative campaign manager Ken Morgan, who has moved to Kuwait, and deputy campaign manager Andrew Prescott, who was given immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony against Sona.

“The fact that two different judges agreed that the likely source of the phone calls was the Conservative Party database, it’s rather stunning,” May said at a press conference Thursday.

May said she had personally complained about robocalls into her British Columbia riding in 2011 but was never contacted by Elections Canada.

“If the Commissioner of Canada Elections is prepared to ignore the findings of two judges, I think that will speak very poorly of the powers of investigations we have in this country to explore electoral fraud.”

Côté has not yet responded to May’s complaint.

with files from Stephen Maher, Postmedia News



Horgan-Christy Clark wants to muzzle BC

BC NDP Leader John Horgan

BC NDP Leader John Horgan

From: John Horgan
Sent: Wednesday, November 26, 2014 8:55 AM
Subject: Christy Clark wants to muzzle BC


You won’t believe this.

Christy Clark is trying to change the BC Society Act to give deep-pocketed interests new powers to drag any community group that opposes them into court.

The changes would allow private interests to sue environmental and community groups for opposing their projects, tying those groups up in expensive court battles. Environmental organizations, neighbourhood associations, churches, you name it — they could all find themselves targeted if Clark’s plan goes through.

The potential impact of this policy is chilling. It could effectively muzzle free expression and public debate across British Columbia, striking at the very heart of our democratic values and giving unprecedented power to those with the deepest pockets.

This is wrong and the NDP is going to fight it. But we need your help. Please visit www.DontMuzzleBC.ca right now to add your voice and show Christy Clark that we won’t stand for this.

This plan affects over 27,000 groups across the province. It could bankrupt small community organizations, muzzle public dissent, and force non-profits to fight against constant legal proceedings from anyone who disagrees with their work.

The legislative session ends this Thursday, and we have a simple goal: get as many people as possible to join our campaign before the legislature adjourns.

Please add your name to www.DontMuzzleBC.ca now to send Christy Clark a message before it’s too late.

With your help, we can stop this.

-John Horgan
Leader – BC New Democrats

Rusland: Eleventh-Hour Effort Pushes Dakova onto New Duncan City Council’s Plate

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Citizens should always keep an eye on the last meeting or two of outgoing councils and boards.

This is often when controversial matters are jammed through. Once accomplished the newly elected group will be saddled with it, for better or worse.

It appears from Peter Rusland’s Cowichan News Leader story that the majority of the outgoing council were not about to be pushed into an 11th hour approval of this significant proposal and tabled this controversial application.

Would the public interest have been served by seeing this passed through by an outgoing council while many unanswered issues remained?


Image Credit: Courtesy: Dakova Group 


By Peter Rusland

Duncan council has pulled rezoning for downtown’s proposed Dakova Square project, and ordered reports about issues spanning drainage, ecology and more.

Duncan councillor Sharon Jackson’s motto about allowing imposing new buildings downtown could be ‘Make a list and check it twice.’

She shared her nagging doubts with council Monday about the proposed, five-story Dakova Square residential-commercial project, that had three rezoning readings for the Canada Avenue-Government Street corner and appeared poised for approval.

But Jackson’s urging saw the outgoing council park the rezoning at fourth and final readings, pending more information.

Jackson’s rezoning jitters were backed by councillors Michelle Staples, Michelle Bell, and and convinced Joe Thorne to reverse his earlier support for the project.

Duncan’s newly elected council will revisit the $11-million proposal by year’s end, explained incumbent Jackson.

“I move we table this,” she told council, “until we have received and reviewed, at a minimum, the planning department’s considerations of: a comprehensive traffic study, reviewing the positive and negative aspects of the proposal; a storm-water management plan, given the site’s high aquifer vulnerability; a geotechnical report; an environmental-impact report; (and) analysis of shadowing on our important Hoey Park.

This list didn’t end there.

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Frances Oldham Kelsey Will Be Remembered For Her Achievements And Her Principles



Frances Oldham Kelsey
Born 24 July 1914 (age 100)
Shawnigan Lake, British Columbia
Occupation Physician, FDA employee
Known for preventing thalidomide from coming to market in the United States
Spouse-Fremont Ellis Kelsey




Frances Oldham was born and raised in the South Cowichan area with both Cobble Hill and Shawnigan cited as her childhood home.

Shawnigan Focus writer Sally Davies, who is researching Frances Kelsey’s history, sent this background information in.


She was born and spent her earliest days on what is now “Plumtree Road” in Shawnigan Lake and the children attended Leinster Preparatory school, also in Shawnigan.

Her family lived on a large parcel of land that would not have been named at that time. The B.C. Gazette of that era, lists the family as being residents of Shawnigan, but they would have received their mail in Cobble Hill.

The house is no longer in existence but the Shawnigan Museum has a photo of it which will appear in the next issue of the Shawnigan Focus and a copy of the B.C. Gazette from that time.

The confusion arises from the postal code (and the telephone exchange) grouping everyone in Shawnigan, even to this day, as living in Cobble Hill.



Her historical achievements and high principles resulted in a Mill Bay School being named in her honour. She travelled back to her childhood communities to take part in the opening of Frances Kelsey Secondary School.





Frances Oldham was a physician- pharmacist-scientist with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). She refused to approve the drug thalidomide from being approved in the USA..






1962: Frances Kathleen Oldham Kelsey receiving the President’s Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service from President John F. Kennedy


North Cowichan’s Existing Soccer Fields–Better, Safer and Healthier Than Artificial Turf!

Crumby Soccer Fields to be replaced! 

Don Maroc

Don Maroc

If someday you want to feel good about the ever-increasing property taxes you pay to the Municipality of North Cowichan just take a ride to the soccer fields at Sherman and Somenos Roads, especially on the weekend.

There, rain or shine, you’ll find hundreds of school-age boys and girls kicking a ball around a half dozen pitches. With them will be hundreds of parents and spectators. These well-used sports fields were built and now maintained with your tax money.

There are few facilities as well used and enjoyed as these fields. They are tax money well spent.

In addition, the past municipal council unanimously voted to make a huge improvement by installing an artificial turf field and doing it without using a penny of property tax money. It will be paid for with gasoline tax returned from the province. Maintaining the perfect grass fields we have now is a very expensive task. The artificial turf requires no cutting, watering, herbicide, or fertilizing. Talk about a win-win situation.

Now, because of some unhappy professional women soccer players, we may have to take a second look at the wisdom of tearing up one of our beautiful grass fields and replacing it with manufactured turf.

U.S. star forward Abby Wambach

U.S. star forward Abby Wambach

Led by U.S. star forward Abby Wambach, 18 world-class women players from 11 countries filed a gender discrimination case with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario last month, saying that the use of synthetic turf pitches to be used in six Canadian cities for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup constitutes discrimination.

Gender discrimination? What does Astroturf have to do with gender?

Well it seems that no game in the men’s FIFA World Cup play has ever been played on artificial turf. The guys don’t feel they play their best on the man-made turf, so they want no part of it in World Cup play. So the women say it’s discrimination to force them to play on fields the men want nothing to do with.

Why, the women ask should we suffer increased risk of injuries such as turf burn, turf toe, and knee and ankle sprains and tears. The injuries are bad enough but that’s not the elephant in the room. It’s been five years ago now since Amy Griffin, the assistant soccer coach at the University of Washington, started telling the world that the ground-up tires in artificial turf may be causing cancer in soccer players.


Amy Griffin

While visiting two women friends in the hospital, who were soccer goalies, Griffin learned from one of their nurses that she had cared for four goalies that week suffering from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. One of Griffin’s friends told she had a feeling her cancer had to do with the black dots.

There are now many brands of artificial turf, each with it’s own construction secrets but basically they all have green plastic strips to look a little like grass. They they take finely ground bits of tires to fill in around the “grass”, and give some cushion for the players. The fine pieces of ground up synthetic tire rubber are the “black dots” mentioned by Griffin’s goalie friend.

Writing for the University of Connecticut Health Center, Abram Katz noted that crumb rubber analysed by the state agricultural experiment station found they leached such tongue-twisters as benzothiazole, butalated hydroxyanisole, hexadecane, a phenol, zinc, lead, and cadmium.

After a game on artificial turf the players have to shake the tiny “black dots” out of their uniforms, their hair, and even from out of their cuts and scrapes. The goalies, who spend a lot of time sliding face-down end up with “black dots” in their ears and mouths.

Photo credit-Lexi Bainas-Cowichan Citizen

Photo credit-Lexi Bainas-Cowichan Citizen

Griffin started tracking down soccer players suffering from cancer. She soon had a list of 38 cancer cases and 34 of them were goalies. They all suffered from lymphoma or leukemia.

Of course the manufacturers of artificial turf, backed by the FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association say no connection can be established between tire crumb “black dots” and cancer. When you read their arguments it sounds a great deal like the old and now discredited statements by tobacco manufacturers.

Admittedly we don’t know the final answers to Griffin’s questions but before we send our kids out to play soccer on artificial turf where they can be in constant contact with crumb rubber, before they breath and swallow black dot dust, shouldn’t we wait for scientific tests to find out if it is safe or not?

For now let’s enjoy the health benefits of playing soccer on our beautiful grass fields on Sherman Road, while we look for turf made without crumb rubber or complete tests that prove it is benign.



BC Liberals LNG Tax Bill equals Unprecedented Wealth Transfer and Will Pass Unopposed

Kevin Logan-Cowichan Conversations Contributor

Kevin Logan-Cowichan Conversations Contributor

The LNG Tax Bill currently winding its way through the BC legislature will impact the very fundamentals of this Province and paves the way for a massive transfer of wealth extending decades into the future.

It’s an unprecedented time.

The BC Liberals had to prorogue the house and start anew with a Throne Speech that completely rewrote everything they built their re-election campaign on.

In other words, they were forced to halt proceedings, rewind the clock on their election platform and instead of delivering prosperity, strong arm British Columbians into accepting the dictates of foreign oil giants.

Massive Wealth Transfer

Massive Wealth Transfer


Moreover they removed any and all talk of “prosperity” for BC and instead chimed in with the corporate message sheets that demand we completely capitulate in the name of certainty for foreign profit.

Stunningly the BC NDP supports this and will be voting in favour of the Bill.

In doing so they will not only be supporting the government reneging on their election promises and the generational sell out of our resources, but they are also voting to support an unacceptable tax scheme that ties the hands of future governments if they are ever so lucky to become one.

Presumably the NDP is doing this so voters in “The North” find them more palatable. Or it could be that they simply are unable to find another way to counter the spin of their adversaries defining them as the party of “NO.”

fracking-300x225Either way British Columbians need to make noise now and in the very least communicate their disgust with the massive wealth transfer enabled by this bill.

Clearly voters have come to accept that politicians lie to get elected.

However the BC Liberals have broken all acceptable boundaries by promising prosperity only to deliver the largest fleecing we ever experienced mere months later.

If the opposition is going to let them get away with it, we are on our own and its up to us to demand accountability. In so doing we just might convince the NDP the right thing to do is oppose the Bill and stand against the unprecedented wealth transfer it ushers in.

Ian Mulgrew: Judge robbed Burnaby Mountain Protesters of Right to Civil Disobedience

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

There is a great deal at stake when the court acts as accommodators for the corporate interests while denying the civil rights of citizens to protest.

Ian Mulgrew has reported on legal matters for decades and he is not impressed with this highly questionable ruling. When due process is subverted then justice is denied. That is all that stands between violence, oppression and anarchy.

Injunctions like those used on Burnaby Mountain have been railed against for years by other judges



The B.C. Supreme Court smeared its robes with political tar sand by issuing the injunction in the Burnaby Mountain pipeline dispute.

In a bit of legal sleight-of-hand, Associate Chief Justice Austin Cullen robbed protesters of their right to civil disobedience, fettered their defences and sullied the court.

He ought to have known better: Members of his own bench have railed for years against this use of injunctions as a substitute for police doing their job.

Since the NDP government first adopted this policy to subvert environmental and First Nations civil disobedience, smart judges have slammed it.

First of all, civil contempt isn’t a criminal charge so the charged protesters have a restricted number of defences but they’re facing stiffer punishment.

They cannot argue the injunction violated their constitutional rights, for instance, because that’s considered an impermissible “collateral attack” on the court order.

These injunctions are like papal bulls.

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