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April

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    bcn
    Playing out today we have a clear difference between Leader John Horgan and Premier Christy Clark. John likes to talk to real peeps, in real time, on a real bus (not a bus with a BC Liberal logo painted on the side).....and this morning Christy is trying to get BC to support a trade deal that she hasn't even read. Who do you want leading this Province? .
    Apr 14, 2016 12:51 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    bcn
    Today Premier Christy Clark played her usual political games....she brought forward a motion for debate without much warning. The Premier forced an "ideological" debate on the Trans Pacific Partnership this afternoon. Basically she and her BC Liberals stated it's the very best thing since sliced bread and they support it 100%.....In response Leader John Horgan put forward a motion to refer such a discussion to the Finance Committee. This would allow for proper discussion and consultation. In response the BC Liberals came back and goaded us for a couple hours while trying to show our lack of support for such a trade deal. Here's the thing....nobody has read the fine print....nobody really knows definitively how BC would be affected by the TPP, but what most understand is that the "devil is in the details". The Premier is all politics all the time....and I want everybody to realize this. Leader John Horgan shows his intellect and humour with his response....and he shows us how much better this Province could be under his leadership come 2017.
    Apr 13, 2016 10:34 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    bcn
    One year from today, the Writ will drop and the 2017 provincial election will begin. Thanks for all of your support over the past 7 years....it means the world to me. I feel very grateful to have won the last two elections and I hope to continue representing Saanich South in 2017 - but the BC Liberals and BC Greens are already working to take me out of this seat. Imagine a government that believes sustainable agriculture can unlock prosperity in communities across the province. That’s what I believe in, and that’s what I’m fighting for everyday. I am the strongest voice for agriculture and food in the BC Legislature. You know me in the agricultural and food world and I hope you know how hard I have worked on this file. I am asking you to consider donating $10 /month to my campaign for re-election in May 2017. (That costs just $2.50/mo after the tax rebate.) https://secure.bcndp.org/donate/lanapopham/monthly Cheers, Lana Popham
    Apr 11, 2016 5:02 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    bcn
    "Mr. Horgan sought to refer his bill to a legislature committee to ensure the Liberals would be forced to debate the details. What happened instead was the next best thing, strategically, for the Opposition. In a standing vote in the House, the New Democrats, Independent MLA Vicki Huntington and BC Green MLA Andrew Weaver all supported the bill. The government side stood against the manoeuvre, a clear indication that the bill is destined to die on the order paper – just like the four previous versions that the NDP has introduced over the years."
    Apr 07, 2016 4:35 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    Today my colleague Adrian Dix is challenging Minister Bill Bennett in Budget Estimates on BC Hydro and Site C. Here is the link for this mornings transcript....and he is carrying on this afternoon. He is doing a spectacular job! https://www.leg.bc.ca/documents-data/debate-transcripts/40th-parliament/5th-session/20160407am-CommitteeA-Blues
    Apr 07, 2016 2:39 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    bcn
    Christy Clark a climate action plan failure. Bill 19 passed in the legislature tonight....a bill that exempts 70 per cent of LNG emissions from regulation and basically gives LNG Companies a "get out of jail free card". Her Government continues to lower the environmental bar just to attract investment by LNG corporations. "This is a government who's leading, not on the climate change file, but I think it's on the file of entitlement. In this case, I believe it's because they're so desperate to fulfil campaign promises that aren't going happen that they're really throwing away our future in this province. It's a selfish, selfish decision. They're not legislating like we're in one of the most important races of our lives, and that's the race to slow down the effects of climate change on our planet. This is not a joke. It's not something that should be built around election cycles. We are in a race for our lives with climate change. Other areas of the world are acknowledging that. At the same time that they're acknowledging that, we're passing legislation that basically greenwashes climate change legislation with reckless, empty rhetoric that doesn't mean anything. And it's very, very dangerous." Lana Popham on Bill 19, April 6,2016
    Apr 06, 2016 9:55 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    bcn
    VICTORIA— New Democrat Leader John Horgan introduced the Campaign Finance Reform Act today, a bill which would ban corporate and union donations as well as limit the amount of personal donations to a political party. In an immediate vote, Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberals voted unanimously ‘no’ on this bill, refusing to debate it and choosing to keep big corporate money in their pockets. “Other provinces have instituted strict rules on campaign financing, but in B.C. the Christy Clark government is going to extreme lengths to allow the pork barrel to continue,” said Horgan. Legislation introduced today by Horgan would ban corporate and union donations, taking big money out of politics. “While New Democrats are working for regular British Columbians, Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberals are working for large corporate donations. If you look at the numbers, the BCNDP raises 82 per cent of their money from individuals, whereas the B.C. Liberals rely on corporations for 60 per cent of their money. Clearly the New Democrats work for British Columbians, but it makes you wonder who the Clark government is really working for. “It’s past time that we took action to restore faith in our political system, and to ensure that British Columbians are at the heart of that political system. This bill takes the essential first steps.”
    Apr 06, 2016 4:01 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre

March

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    bcn
    Hot off the press from our visit today! “The pressure George and Lana are putting on in the Legislature is getting us more mileage than anything else,” said Price, who met with Shuswap Liberal MLA Greg Kyllo for two hours in Kyllo’s hometown of Sicamous on Monday to discuss the matter. “I’d say they’re getting to the government.”
    Mar 29, 2016 5:38 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    bcn
    From my colleague George Heyman: We were honoured to meet so many residents of Hullcar Valley as well as Spallumcheen Township and Splatsin First Nation councillors today. The issue of nitrates contaminating the water is serious and the government's response that they need more 'study' is no comfort. People want action taken now - levels are already 30% higher than Canada's drinking water guideline. The area media have been very interested in this story and Lana Popham, Scott Fraser, and I will continue tomorrow the government for accountability when the legislature resumes next week.
    Mar 29, 2016 4:55 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    bcn
    Heading out bright and early tomorrow morning with my colleagues MLA Scott Fraser and MLA George Heyman to visit Hullcar and Splatsin residents to discuss high nitrate levels in the local aquifers. Christy Clark and her government have known about the problem for two years, but they have failed to take action. Instead, they stood by while nitrate levels rose. Today, nitrate levels are more than 30 per cent above the guideline for Canadian drinking water quality.
    Mar 28, 2016 10:29 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    bcn
    Youth soccer festival this weekend! Best wishes to all participants and a big THANK YOU to all the parents and volunteers who make it possible.
    Mar 24, 2016 4:16 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    bcn
    VICTORIA— New Democrat leader John Horgan and New Democrat environment spokesperson George Heyman released the following statements recognizing World Water Day: John Horgan “Today on World Water Day we celebrate a major victory for Shawnigan Lake residents who have been fighting for years to protect the safety of their water." "In 2013, the Christy Clark government granted permission for a company to dump 100,000 tonnes of contaminated soil uphill from the community’s water source. On Monday, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled that soil dumping is not a permitted use on the property. It’s great news for Shawnigan Lake residents and for all those who have supported them. “Here in British Columbia, protecting fresh water is a growing concern. Water is life – it is of fundamental importance to ecological health and sustains our communities and economies across the province. On World Water Day, let’s celebrate our wealth of magnificent rivers, lakes, aquifers, and watersheds, and acknowledge that bad decisions can put this life-sustaining resource at risk. George Heyman: “Many others in British Columbia are still waiting for the Christy Clark government to step in and protect their right to safe drinking water. “In Spallumcheen, the Christy Clark government has allowed a local farmer to continue to spray liquid manure on property above the local aquifer, despite knowing that this practice has led to elevated nitrate levels in the drinking water and has caused a water-quality advisory to be issued by Interior Health. Despite the dangers, the Christy Clark government has refused to release important public health information to the residents of the Hullcar Valley, Spallumcheen and the Splatsin First Nation. “There are also widespread issues of high lead levels in communities across the province. In the North West, Ministry of Health staff flagged possible water contamination in schools four years ago, but it wasn’t until last month that elevated lead levels were discovered in the drinking water of four Prince Rupert schools. In Pemberton, the municipality has issued a warning to residents that their tap water may have high levels of lead. “Protecting our right to clean water is one of the most critical jobs a government has. This World Water Day, let’s celebrate our province’s wealth of water, and keep fighting for the clean, safe, accessible water that all British Columbians deserve. British Columbians deserve a government that makes protecting fresh water a priority.” Lana Popham's photo.
    Mar 22, 2016 11:08 am | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    bcn
    Clark appoints someone who doesn't quite believe in climate change, to create BC's climate change plan....
    Mar 22, 2016 10:40 am | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    bcn
    I'm wondering....do you like the BC Liberals spending your tax money to tell you how great they are? John Horgan and the BC NDP believe that Govt advertising should be vetted through the BC Auditor General. What would that do? It would stop partisan advertising with taxpayers money a year before an election like we see now. "The Christy Clark government is bombarding the TV airwaves with a new series of feel-good commercials telling you what a great job they’re doing. The government calls it a “public information” campaign. But the NDP opposition is furious, calling the ads a partisan waste of taxpayers’ money. "It’s March madness,” fumed NDP leader John Horgan. "You can’t get away from these commercials. It’s saturation advertising and it’s costing taxpayers a fortune.”
    Mar 20, 2016 2:28 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    Mar 20, 2016 1:07 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    BC Liberal Party job requirement: 1. You must be able to delete emails. 2. You must be able to double delete emails 3. You must be able to triple delete emails If you meet these qualifications, congratulations, you are so re-hired!
    Mar 17, 2016 5:01 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    bcn
    It's becoming clear that BC Liberals are madly trying to appoint their pals to board positions. Here is a great example. A gentleman by the name of Phil Hochstein was recently appointed to the Turkey Marketing Board. Who is Phil Hockstein? Phil Hochstein is the President of the Independent Contractors and Businesses Associations (ICBA) and has played a significant role during provincial elections bashing the NDP with expensive television ads. The Minister of Agriculture tries hard to explain why Phil is the best person for the job......but as we all know, it's a political appointment for political reasons. The turkey industry deserves better.
    Mar 15, 2016 5:14 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    bcn
    I had the honour of addressing the Wild Sheep Society of BC this weekend in Kamloops during their 23rd annual convention. This annual conference raises awareness about the importance of our Wild Sheep and the challenges that face them. Thanks to Chris Barker I have been kept up to speed over the years on a tragic disease that domestic sheep transfer to wild sheep called Mycoplasma Pneumonia. Once contact and disease transfer has taken place the results are devastating. The Wild Sheep die a long and painful death...eventually suffocating and drowning in lung fluid. This disease has no cure on the Wild Sheep side and the only way we can stop the transfer is complete separation of domestic and wild sheep. Education is the key here. There are Ministry staff working hard on this file and small steps are being made but like most situations with the Ministry of Agriculture it comes down to eroding the basic services a Ministry of Agriculture should have in place and then watching the chicken come home to roost. We should have dedicated field service officers and extension services for all commodity groups in agriculture, and domestic sheep production is on that list. But we don't. Without a continual transfer of scientific based knowledge to growers and producers we find ourselves behind the eight ball when it comes to disease management and production levels. This will have long term effects which in the case of Wild sheep may mean extinction. Over the past 150 years the Wild Sheep population in North America has dropped from 2 million to less than 100,000. In 1999 we saw a massive die-off in BC. This is a serious situation that needs some serious attention. Thanks to the Wild Sheep Society of BC for working so hard.
    Mar 13, 2016 7:54 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    bcn
    There’s a great event returning to Lochside Park this Easter Weekend! The World Cups Festival is a fun three day youth soccer tournament held March 25-27. The Festival runs on the support of many volunteers from lunch time bbq’rs to team coaches. They are looking for volunteers - check it out!
    Mar 10, 2016 4:17 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    Are you a BC Farmer? Do you know how to use email? Or do you prefer a rotary phone?
    Mar 09, 2016 10:40 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    bcn
    A statement for International Women's Day on women who farm: Mary Alice Lee Johnson, Heather Pritchard, and the passing of Cathleen Kneen and Mary Forstbauer. This morning, all across British Columbia, there are women hard at work doing what they love: farming. There has been a remarkable trend in agriculture in B.C., as more and more young women are establishing themselves in the agriculture sector. To me, farming is one of the most important jobs in our province. I want to salute the women in agriculture and thank them for all the hard work they do, because we all benefit. Today is also a day to acknowledge the tremendous hard work of the women who prepared the earth for today's new farmers. There is a generation of senior women farmers who I know are joining with me today to marvel at how normal it has become for young women to farm. It's women like Mary Alice Johnson and Heather Pritchard, who contribute to farm, mentor and contribute to the vibrancy of agriculture in B.C. Also women like Mary Forstbauer and Cathleen Kneen, who have sadly said goodbye to us this year, but whose contributions we continue to benefit from. I recently spoke of Mary Forstbauer in this House, but I want to take a moment to acknowledge the great loss of Cathleen Rosenberg Kneen who died on February 21. There is not a more fitting day to do this than International Women's Day. Cathleen Kneen was one of Canada's leading activists, beginning her on the campaign for nuclear disarmament in the 1960s. She campaigned tirelessly for women's rights and was the executive director of the Toronto assaulted women's help line for many years. Cathleen Kneen moved to B.C. in the 1990s. Many of us already knew her as a leading force behind the influential Ram's Horn newsletter. Kneen helped start farmers markets in Mission and Sorrento, and she was the founder of the B.C. Food Systems Network. She also helped found Food Secure Canada and was its chair for many years. In the words of Abra Brynne, now we all have to adjust to a world without that warm voice, wonderful laugh and boundless wisdom in service of community and people. She brought out the best in each of us and helped us understand the role we can each play in nourishing our communities. Please join me in acknowledging the remarkable life of Cathleen Kneen, and thank all the women in B.C. who are growing our food and nourishing the land for future generations.
    Mar 08, 2016 3:03 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    Happy IWD 2016!
    Mar 08, 2016 8:58 am | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    Today Bill 11 went through committee stage in the legislature. This bill was touted as a Bill for Certified Organic farmers. The Minister claimed that this Bill made sure farmers who claimed to be "organic"....had to actually be "certified organic" giving consumers confidence in what they buy. This is a change that the Certified Organic stakeholders have wanted for quite some time. When I looked over the 35 page Bill I realized that the word "organic" or "certified organic" was not mentioned once. The Minister claims that all those little details will be added by regulation at a later date.....so in other words....don't worry, just trust us. I think it's disingenuous for the Minister to be making claims about something the Govt really hasn't done..... I submitted an amendment to the Bill today asking for the terms "organic" and "certified organic" to be added to the definitions and the following line to be added to ensure the intent of the Bill was established in legislation.... Section 3 is amended by adding the following subsections: (e) in order to be labeled “organic” a food must be certified by meeting the prescribed quality or production standards, known as “certified organic” in British Columbia. No surprise, the Minister turned me down.....his "organic" Bill will be passed with not a mention of "organic" in it.
    Mar 01, 2016 9:46 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    bcn
    We went after the water contamination situation in Spallumcheen again today. As you can see I'm dealing with a Health Minister who would rather be spiteful and partisan rather than address a serious problem. My colleague MLA George Heyman also took the Minister on: https://youtu.be/_L7eCVQyJws
    Mar 01, 2016 2:03 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre

February

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    bcn
    Each day since the Budget 2016 address we have had to listen to the BC Liberals rattle on about giving people a hand up....when really everybody else in the province knows what they have really done and nobody believes their repetitious rhetoric. Really....NOBODY believes them.... You don’t have to look far to find the real story: “What they gave on the one hand, they took almost all of it back with the other… It’s callous and it’s mean-spirited – and if you’re going to give an increase, give an increase.” – Faith Bodnar, Inclusion BC (Globe and Mail, Feb. 19, 2016): “It’s a mean-spirited move. The province should acknowledge its error and restore the bus-pass program.” – Editorial (Times Colonist, Feb. 23, 2016) “A government with compassion would have given disabled people the increased benefits they deserve and left their bus passes alone.” – Michael Smyth (The Province, Feb. 23, 2016) “This clawback of the bus pass, people are uniformly seeing it a mean-spirited and very unkind measure.” – Jane Dyson, Disability Alliance BC (Vancouver Sun, Feb. 19, 2016) “Give them back the damn bus pass … it looks mean.” – Vaughn Palmer (Inside the Ledge, VancouverSun.com), Feb. 19, 2016) Seriously....Christy Clark is simply giving with one hand, and taking with the other. Nice work BC Liberals.
    Feb 24, 2016 8:39 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    Feb 24, 2016 9:39 am | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    "The B.C. government had lots of money to help those who could have really used it. It decided it had better things to do with it." Here is an article that ran in The Globe by Gary Mason. It worth reading as it nails what we are up against in the next election... "But the provincial government isn’t too worried about a backlash because it believes these same young people won’t take out their revenge at the polling booth. And by and large that is true. It’s the same for those poor people on disability and income assistance. Sure, the government has ignored you for years, but what are you going to do about it? Not much. And the government knows this. So the Opposition can rail on in the legislature about how horrible it all is, and columnists can take great umbrage over what is happening, but sadly not much will change. The poor and disadvantaged are the people you walk past on the street every day without ever acknowledging. Or the ones who live their lives largely inside their homes, relying on the mercy of others to take care of them. They are invisible." If you are a BC Liberal voter does this budget make you think twice about who you traditionally support?
    Feb 20, 2016 10:03 am | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    Water.....
    Feb 18, 2016 5:31 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    Equal Voice UBC 2016 visit to the Legislature.
    Feb 17, 2016 3:17 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    Here is a clip from Question Period today. You may have been reading about a polluted water aquifer in Spallumcheen.This has been going on for years and the Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Health, and Minister of Environment have all been pointing fingers at each other....My colleague MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert followed my question with two of his own. The sequence of questions and answers just proves this Govt isn't interested in the safety of our water. Spencer's questions are here: https://youtu.be/K_FNt1mKRBE
    Feb 15, 2016 5:02 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    Lion Dance 2016
    Feb 14, 2016 3:37 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    New Democrats have been speaking out for years saying MSP premiums are nothing more than an unfair tax. A person making $30,000 shouldn’t pay the same amount as a person earning $300,000, or even $3 million. Yet that’s exactly what happens. Every other province uses the existing tax collection system to pay for health care. But Premier Christy Clark doesn’t get it. Since she became premier, she has continually increased MSP premiums every single year. This unfair tax was increased on January 1 for the seventh year in a row. Monthly rates are now $75.00 for one person, $136.00 for a family of two and $150.00 for a family of three or more. That means B.C. families pay $1,800 per year for the unfair medical services tax. That’s more than double what they paid in 2001 when the Liberals formed government. Christy Clark is planning to tinker around the edges of this unfair tax in next week’s budget. New Democrats will be fighting for real change to this unfair tax.
    Feb 11, 2016 9:19 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    bcn
    So we have some rules we try and conduct ourselves by while sitting in the legislative chamber. We have words that are considered unparliamentary language. In fact when you use them in the chamber you will most likely be ruled "out of order" and will be asked to withdraw your remarks. The word "Lie" is one of them. So help me out with this one...... Yesterday, the Throne Speech said "your government has grown the size of Agricultural Land Reserve"...when in fact last Spring the BC Liberals conducted the largest farmland exclusion in ALR history for Site C Dam. So what can this be called except for a blatant and deliberate lie?
    Feb 10, 2016 12:39 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    Twas the night before session and all through the House...
    Feb 08, 2016 9:04 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    Welcome to the team!
    Feb 02, 2016 10:24 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre

January

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    Getting ready for Year of the Monkey!
    Jan 26, 2016 4:13 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    bcn
    It's not about the price of cauliflower....it's about not planning for the future. It's about missed opportunities to ensure our provincial food security. Food security doesn't work by election cycles....it works if there is long term planning in place. GrowBC, FeedBC, BuyBC....it's not too late.....but it's overdue.
    Jan 21, 2016 12:45 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    bcn
    After the BC Liberals brought in Red Tape Reduction Day....they had to make it "look" like they were serious.....so between October 22nd and December 3rd, 2015, the BC Liberals "consulted" with British Columbians about reducing red tape. Most people probably missed it and I assume the BC Liberals were using the term "consulted" loosely......From that "consultation" they have come out with topics they may tackle or talk about tackling as we get closer to an election year. I have been arguing over the past couple years that Multi Material BC (MMBC) has been one of the most offensive forms of red tape for business we have seen. I've heard from countless BC businesses on how this new system is harming them. It's ironic that MMBC, a red tape monster, is not anywhere on the radar for the red tape reduction Minister. Here is a back and forth I had with the Minister of Red Tape Reduction back in October...... L. Popham: I had to come up and join this debate because when I was in my office watching the minister responding to the questions and comments from the official opposition and opposition, I noticed that the minister was becoming more and more frustrated and indicated that there might be a lack of understanding of the importance of this day in British Columbia. I can tell you why there’s a lack of understanding. I would say that most of us on this side of the House — maybe all of us — believe that this day is absolutely bogus and it’s a sham. This legislation does not need to go through the Legislature. We heard something very interesting from the minister in her last statement. She said that this day will give us the opportunity to showcase the work they have done. So really, red-tape-reduction day is a way for the government to celebrate themselves. As we lead up to an election, it occurs to me that this is a way that the government can give itself a pat on the back before we head into an election cycle. If the minister is absolutely committed to reducing red tape and making things easier for small business, I have one question for the minister. It will lead to others. Has the minister heard of MMBC? Hon. C. Oakes: Yes. L. Popham: That’s surprising, because the minister said that there’s going to be an authentic engagement process with small business to make sure that the government and small business have a way of communicating in order to reduce red tape. There have been businesses, small businesses across B.C., that have been trying to communicate to this government that MMBC is one of the worst policies ever brought in by this government. They did it because they didn’t consult. Let’s be clear on one thing: most consultation that this government does is never authentic. You’re not going to fool this side of the House into thinking that all of a sudden, because we have an official day in British Columbia, we are now heading into a different time, a new era of official consultation. We are not. My question to the minister is: will she be reviewing MMBC? Hon. C. Oakes: If it comes through the engagement process that we’ve launched, we’ll have a look at it. L. Popham: That’s interesting. The minister is saying that anything that’s happened previous to this legislation doesn’t count. I know the minister has heard from the communities across B.C. about MMBC. You can go into any community. Any community that every MLA in this House represents has businesses that are suffering right now from MMBC. They are going out of business. I’m sure that we all have businesses like Lordco, like M&M Meat Shops, like Buckerfields. These businesses are suffering due to bad legislation and severe red tape. This policy actually got an award from CFIB, the Paperweight Award, as the worst red tape in history in Canada. If the minister is very serious, then the minister, I believe, should be reviewing MMBC right now. We all know there’s a problem with it. Should I direct all the businesses that I’ve been talking to…? I can tell the minister across the way who implied I don’t speak to businesses, that’s mostly what I do with my job. I consult with small businesses. Is the minister wanting me to direct all the complaints about MMBC to this minister so she can immediately start reviewing MMBC? Is that what we’re supposed to do now? Hon. C. Oakes: There is a process of engagement, not just for small business. The member opposite may have missed that part in the dialogue that we’ve mentioned today. This is an opportunity for us to engage across ministries on necessary opportunities for us about ways that we can improve governance and efficiencies with the provincial government. We are excited to see the results of what citizens’ feedback they provide to us. We’ll be looking at what citizens are providing to us, and we’ll be passing that on to the appropriate minister. L. Popham: Does the minister want me to direct all complaints about MMBC to her ministry right now? Hon. C. Oakes: Could the member kindly repeat the question? L. Popham: Would the minister like me to direct all complaints about MMBC and the onerous red tape that it puts on small business…? Would she like me to direct all those complaints to her ministry as soon as possible? Hon. C. Oakes: As we’ve stated multiple times here, we welcome in this engagement process all policy reviews or regulatory items that citizens want to put forward. We welcome it. L. Popham: Does the minister want me to send every letter of complaint I’ve received since 2012 about MMBC to her so she can get caught up on this file? Hon. C. Oakes: The member opposite knows that, of course, that is within the purview of the Ministry of Environment. But again, this is an engagement process. Through the engagement process, if the member opposite wants to open up dialogue — as I encourage all members of this House — there is a process of Engage British Columbia. We’ll get you that information. We’ll make sure we circulate that information to members of both sides of the House to ensure that they understand the process for engagement. We’ll be reviewing all of the submissions that come forward on Engage, through this engagement process, on red-tape reduction for real people in British Columbia. L. Popham: From what I understand, then, the opportunity for engagement is quite narrow, and it comes with a lot of red tape. I just suggested that the minister review the problems with MMBC, and she deflected it off to the Ministry of Environment, when she just finished saying that this was a cross-ministry process. So what should businesses do when they have a problem with red tape? Do they direct their input right now to the minister or not? Hon. C. Oakes: If the member opposite would go to engage.gov.bc.ca, there is that opportunity. That engagement process has been opened up. We’ll be beginning a series of questions that start this week. It is citizen-based. It is reaching out to citizens in each of your communities. If the citizens in your community wish to put forward a recommendation, the process for that — which we have mentioned many times earlier in this House — is that we’ll be referring that to the appropriate minister. That is part of the process that we look at ensuring that we maintain our commitment to reducing red tape for real people in British Columbia. L. Popham: Okay. From what I understand, the minister is actually not consulting with businesses. If you were consulting, you would ask for input, regardless. The minister is saying that in this process, they’re going to ask businesses specified questions. Then they’re going to pat themselves on the back when they address the questions the ministry has asked businesses but not the other way around. This doesn’t sound like an open process. Tell me what would happen so I understand this legislation more clearly. If somebody who owns a small business, a regular British Columbian, has basically found themselves in a position where they’re going down because of MMBC red tape, where can that input go so that it is taken seriously and reviewed as soon as possible? Hon. C. Oakes: Again, I encourage the member to go to the website — engage.gov.bc.ca. It’s not just for small businesses. As I’ve said before, it’s for open citizen engagement. Engagement means that we put it out to citizens across British Columbia. If there are unnecessary pieces of red tape across ministries, we encourage them to put that into the website. I know that the member opposite is going to go back out and ensure that we’ve got a good engagement process, because I know how passionate the member opposite feels about engagement. She’ll be making sure that people in British Columbia know that there is that opportunity. And that information, as it comes in, will be reviewed by government. L. Popham: Has the minister already decided what the ministry and the government are going to pat themselves on the back about on the first red-tape-reduction day? Have we already made that decision? Hon. C. Oakes: You know, I hope that the member opposite isn’t suggesting that public engagement means that you come up and…. Public engagement is all about ensuring we go out to citizens in British Columbia to ask the questions. That is the process that we are embarking on. We have had significant success in this process with small businesses. We have been able to help support small business to eliminate unnecessary red tape. We know, through the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, that there is about 30 percent more regulatory reduction that we can look at. That is why our government believes it’s so significantly important to ensure that we have a focus on that. That focus will be on red-tape-reduction day. That ensures that all of the work that we do throughout the course of a year through this engagement process…. We know that the member opposite is going to support and ensure that if there is unnecessary red tape — whether it’s through the Ministry of Agriculture, through the Ministry of Social Innovation and Development, through the Ministry of Health, through the Ministry of Technology — if there are opportunities for our government to improve on efficiencies and reduce red tape for the real people in British Columbia, there is an ongoing opportunity to provide that feedback through the website, which I have clearly laid out on multiple occasions to the member opposite, to engage citizens from across British Columbia. We remain committed to ensuring that the necessary work on reducing red tape remains a commitment and a focus of our government. L. Popham: That’s clearly not true. It’s not a focus, because these businesses have been complaining since 2012. The minister’s answers are extremely vague. I’m not talking about anything except the red tape of MMBC right now. This is a red-tape monster, and it has affected many, many small businesses. Some don’t exist anymore. Can the minister tell me: if the businesses that are affected by MMBC sign into the website and participate in Engage B.C. and discuss the problems they’re having, what happens next? Is this going to be a waste of time? Right now businesses are already wasting their time on all of the regulatory affairs of MMBC. They’re running out of time. How many more hoops do businesses have to jump through in order to have this red-tape issue addressed? Hon. C. Oakes: We know, and we’ve recognized and have stated in this House, that there’s more work for us to do. That’s why it’s critically important that we enshrine this in legislation. That is the legislation that we brought forward today. I encourage the member opposite to support this piece of legislation, because small businesses are the front line. L. Popham: I don’t think that minister understands the weight of MMBC on small businesses. Right now we’re talking about a day to celebrate everything that this government is going to do, a “pat yourself on the back” day for the government that we’re going to put into legislation — “pat yourself on the back” legislation. On the MMBC website — this is a heads-up for the minister — it instructs businesses to consult with their lawyers and regulatory affairs departments to comply with the rules of MMBC. Now, if you’re on the ground talking to small business — I’m not sure how many small businesses have those departments — they’re grappling with onerous amounts of paperwork. They believe in recycling. They believe in having a green company, but their paperwork is onerous. Will this red-tape-reduction day specifically address the onerous paperwork of MMBC? Hon. C. Oakes: The member opposite mentioned the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. I would like to take a moment to provide the member opposite with what they’ve said. “Over the past decade, the B.C. government has consistently been a leader in red-tape reduction and received the only A grade on the annual CFIB Red-Tape Report Card for the last four years. B.C. has cut red tape by more than 40 percent since 2001 and has committed to a no net increase in overall regulatory requirements through to 2019.” The reason why we continue with this engagement process is that we know that there’s more to do. We recognize that there is more work to do. That is why we are opening up the engagement process for all British Columbians, whether you are a small business, a teacher, an individual who works on a construction site or an individual that is just a passionate supporter in your community. We’re opening up the engagement to all British Columbians. We know we have more work to do. That is why we’re enshrining this legislation, the Red Tape Reduction Day Act, into legislation. L. Popham: The minister is vague, and so is the legislation. Right now we’re supposed to be getting some details. Is the minister going to address MMBC with red-tape-reduction day? It’s a simple question. Will the minister address MMBC with red-tape-reduction day? Hon. C. Oakes: The members have the opportunity, for the red-tape-reduction day, to go to the website. An Hon. Member: So the answer is no. Hon. C. Oakes: It is yes. The members have the opportunity. If the member opposite would kindly listen, the member opposite asked a yes-or-no question. Yes, every member and every citizen in British Columbia has the opportunity to provide the input to government on how we can look at reducing red tape.
    Jan 19, 2016 3:27 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    Fun campaigning with Jodie Wickens today in Coquitlam-Mountain!
    Jan 16, 2016 4:30 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    It's time to get to know Jodie Wickens! She is our amazing BC NDP candidate for the Coquitlam-Burke Mountain By-election! Jodie Wickens is a parent of two young children and is the Executive Director of the Autism Support Network. She is a fighter who will always put the needs of Coquitlam-Burke Mountain families first. We have 27 days to campaign so she can win and join our BC NDP caucus! Check her out, donate to her campaign, and join the hundreds of volunteers that will be working hard to win this seat! http://www.jodiewickens.bcndp.ca
    Jan 06, 2016 1:16 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    Time to delete the BC Liberals......
    Jan 06, 2016 12:56 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    Year of the Monkey! Victoria's amazing Chinese festival is happening soon! There are traditional dancers, singers and musicians. This year there will also be two well-known performers from China! It starts at 7:00pm, January 30th, at UVIC's Farquhar Auditorium. Congratulations to the Victoria Chinese Community Association and the Victoria Chinese Students and Scholars Association. Tickets: Adult $15 Senior/Student $12. Tickets available here: http://events.uvic.ca/index.php?view=day&month=01&day=30&year=2016&cal=21&cat=alumni,athletics,conference,exhibit,film,lecture/seminar,music,theatre,other#event_heading_108032
    Jan 05, 2016 1:56 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    "The Great Thaw"
    Jan 05, 2016 1:56 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre

December

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    “When you’re spending billions of dollars of the public’s money, I believe any responsible premier of B.C. should ask is how many jobs can be guaranteed for British Columbians. But it looks like the only question Premier Clark asked was ‘When is the photo-op?’” said Horgan. Premier Clark spends nearly $2 billion on Site C, and in her rush to build a mega-dam B.C. doesn’t even need, Premier Christy Clark failed to guarantee British Columbians would get the jobs building it. http://bcndpcaucus.ca/news/premier-clark-spends-nearly-2-billion-on-site-c-with-no-guarantee-of-b-c-jobs/
    Dec 21, 2015 3:44 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    ’Twas a week before Christmas, a depressing year-ender, Metro mayors had just heard from Peter Fassbender They had asked for the power to plan transportation, But were left with the usual humiliation. “TransLink is great as it is!” said the minister, Though his hidden agenda bordered on sinister. “We want more transit, road pricing and density, We don’t get the province’s auto propensity.” “For decades we’ve had a great plan in the works, But one that is always derailed by these jerks.” Yes, the very same week they had sent mayors packing, The province announced something other than fracking. A giant new bridge, seven lanes of new traffic, It came with a really cool CGI graphic. And the price tag for this? Only 3.5 billion, Give or take overruns, what’s another few million? “The cost will be covered by tolls,” said Todd Stone, “The rest of the cost from a sizable loan.” “And we’re hoping the feds will step up and be seen, If I can convince them that highways are green.” And the groundbreaking for this historic erection? Some time around the next B.C. election. Meanwhile, 45 hundred klics north, Santa was pacing the floor back and forth. “With Arctic ice melting and polar bears croaking, What are those guys down in Vancouver smoking?” “Do they really think a new bridge is the answer? It’s like fighting a tumour by injecting more cancer.” Santa knew what it meant to live climate change, He found public apathy decidedly strange. “You can’t build your way out of traffic congestion, You’d have to be daft to even make the suggestion.” “Why can’t they see greenhouse gas is the culprit, Should I have to keep preaching from my now-thawing pulpit?” He rigged up his reindeer and prepared them to fly, Yes, a week early, but he needed to try, To convince politicians they’d better change course, That a fossil-fuel future they shouldn’t endorse. On his sleigh he took flight, just after dark, He plotted a course straight to see Christy Clark. The Premier was nestled, all snug in her bed, While visions of LNG danced in her head. When Santa arrived as he does with a clatter, She found herself facing a more serious matter. “Shush,” Santa said. “Yes, I am the real thing, I’m just here to talk, I don’t have any bling. “I sent you an e-mail. Didn’t you read it? Oh wait, let me guess, did you triple delete it?” “Very funny,” said Christy. “You don’t get this town. I make sure now I never write anything down.” “Well the gist of it was,” Santa said to the Preem, “That the future you’re plotting is not very green.” “Now I know what you’ve said, but I judge by your actions, And so far they’ve given me no satisfaction.” “A referendum on transit, then a new 10-lane span? Forgive me for saying, but that just doesn’t scan.” “And I get your motives, the votes you might win, But your us-and-them politics is wearing quite thin.” “To toll the main routes? To the south of the Fraser, Here, why don’t I hand you this political razor.” “You don’t need a psychic, or exotic soothsayer. Why don’t you just listen to your own mayors?” His logic was sound, his arguments clear, But it was something the Premier did not want to hear. “I’ll give it some thought,” she said with a yawn. Then rolled over and counted the hours till dawn. “She’s not even listening,” Santa said with a sneer, Then whistled and shouted and called his reindeer. Then a week later, on Christmas Eve night, Santa crept back to Christy’s – he was making things right. A big lump of coal, he left at her feet, And handwritten note that she couldn’t delete. “Please take this coal as a single small token, A reminder to you that something is broken.” “It’s not meant as a threat, there’s no need to report it, But if I know you well, you’ll try to export it.” Stephen Quinn is the host of On the Coast on CBC Radio One, 690 AM and 88.1 FM in Vancouver. VANCOUVER — Special to The Globe and Mail
    Dec 19, 2015 9:23 am | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    Had some interesting meetings over the past week. Here is one for your interest. This fur coat is made of domestic cat fur. It has been imported into Canada with no labeling. In Canada, we do not require labeling of fur origin. The United States and the EU has banned products made from Cat and Dog skins. Former MP Libby Davies brought forward a Private Members Bill asking for this to be addressed in Canada but of course under the Conservatives it was ignored. Labeling should be a requirement on all fur products. These days even when you think you are purchasing "fake fur" given the price....you might be shocked to find you have purchased real fur products. The price of cat, dog, and rabbit fur can be cheaper than synthetic fur. Truth in labeling is so important.
    Dec 15, 2015 3:01 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    Dec 03, 2015 8:53 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    More than 50 people dropped by my office last nights for delicious snacks (most of it home-cooked by Maureen Rogers!), remarkable art (thank you to Twyla and Illarion for sharing their paintings and sculptures with the community for the last few months) and good conversation.
    Dec 03, 2015 2:12 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    It's time to compost this current regime....
    Dec 03, 2015 8:22 am | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre
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    The BC Liberals have refused to re-instate the Select Standing Committee for Agriculture since 2001....so last November the opposition did it anyway....and tomorrow we are releasing our first report! May I suggest some reading material Minister?
    Dec 01, 2015 10:12 pm | British Columbia, Hamilton Centre

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