Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Summer Star Parties!

What happens at a Star Party? 

My favourite part is that super-keen and knowledgeable volunteers with the Royal Astronomical Society set up their telescopes and share the stars with you. 

On most nights there are also tours of the awesome Dominion Astrophysical Observatory. 

There are also Astronomy lectures and presentations and displays from the Centre of the Universe. 

Some nights there is even music! 

And thanks to the hard work of volunteers with the Royal Astronomical Society and the great folks at the National Research Council, it is free! 

Tickets are limited and are reserved well in advance so you need to be on the ball to go!

Tickets are available for reservation eight days before the event, starting at 1pm on Fridays. They seem to be all snapped up within a few days. (The August 6th date is already sold out) But there are two more opportunities, the 13th and 20th. 

Tickets for August 13 are available starting at 1pm on August 5.

Tickets for August 20 are available starting at 1pm on August 12.

Click here for more information and to reserve tickets.

A huge THANK YOU to the many RASC-Victoria volunteers and the National Research Council for sharing with us the wonder and science of the cosmos!

Hope to see you there!!! -Lana

PS. These events are very close to my heart as I worked all out to restore public access to the Saanich Observatory in 2013 and 2014. More info on that is here: http://saanichobservatory.blogspot.ca

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Summer Update

Dear Friends,

I hope you are all well and enjoying the summer.

I’m writing to update you about my work as the Member of the Legislative Assembly for Saanich South.

My volunteer team and I have knocked on more than 3,000 doors in the last six weeks. I’ve done this kind of community outreach every summer since first being elected. I love it! By the end of the summer I will have worn out a couple pairs of shoes but I will also have a deep understanding of what is going on in the constituency and where people want me to put my energy.

In addition to my regular MLA work, I’ve also taken on a bi-weekly column in the Saanich News. Here are links to the articles I’ve written so far:
I know there are many fun activities happening this summer but I can't resist giving a plug for one: Summer Star Parties at the Saanich Observatory! (These events are very close to my heart as I worked all out to restore public access to the Saanich Observatory in 2013 and 2014.) What happens at a Star Party? My favourite part is that super-keen and knowledgeable volunteers with the Royal Astronomical Society set up their telescopes and share the stars with you. On most nights there are also tours of the awesome Dominion Astrophysical Observatory (DAO). There are also Astronomy lectures and presentations and displays at the Centre of the Universe. Some nights there is even music! And thanks to the hard work of many volunteers and the great folks at the National Research Council, it is free! But tickets are limited and sell out well in advance so you need to be on the ball to go. Tickets are available for free reservation one week before the event. So this Friday (tomorrow) tickets will be available for the next Star Party, on July 23rd. There are parties on July 30th and August 6th, 13th and 20th. Click here for more information and to reserve tickets.

In addition to my work in the constituency I am also very active in my duties as the Official Opposition Spokesperson for Agriculture and Food. Here are three examples.
1. As one of the leaders in the effort to stop Site C, last weekend I travelled to the Peace River to speak at a large rally of local farmers, residents, indigenous people and environmentalists.  If it isn’t stopped, this unneeded BC Liberal project will cost taxpayers at least eight billion dollars (expect the planned 28% rate increase to your BC Hydro bill to continue or increase if Site C goes forward); it will also permanently destroy more than 4000 hectares of BC’s best farmland, land that could feed a million people. The First Nations in the area are also strongly against the project and they are challenging it in court. (More information on perspective on Site C is available here.)
2. I continue to Chair the Opposition Standing Committee for Agriculture and Food. We’ve held six public meetings across the province, most recently in Cranbrook and Kelowna. This non-partisan Committee of six MLAs has heard from dozens of farmers and food-industry people across BC to gather the best ideas on how agricultural production can be increased and made more sustainable. We already tabled one report in the Legislature and will do another one before the end of the year. (Visit www.bcagcom.ca for more information.)

3. A few years ago I was working throughout the Cariboo and started to hear about a crazy situation. A UK based corporation was purchasing ALR land and using it to “green wash” their company by planting trees on farmland. This doesn’t sound so bad until you realize what was actually going on.

Planting trees really meant putting barbed wire fences up around hundreds of hectares to keep the community out, putting “no trespassing” signs up at entrance gates, taking down infrastructure to reduce property taxes, installing video surveillance equipment on trees, cutting rows and rows of huge trenches into beautiful ranch and range land making it dangerous for livestock and wildlife and destroying it for future farming, spraying herbicides from the air to control weeds for the newly planted trees with no regards for neighbouring farms that had livestock like sheep, failing to address natural fuel (grass) building up in the fields that are known to be forest fire hazards, etc., etc., etc.

I met with residents from Quesnel to Vanderhoof on this issue. I held two public meeting where residents could tell their stories. I arranged for the Standing Committee for Agriculture and Food to be in Williams Lake so residents had an opportunity to present their story to more MLAs. I brought the issue into the legislature in Question period and during any debates. So what happened?

First, BC Liberal Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick denied there was a problem. He mocked my calls for immediate action and downplayed the extent of the problem by thousands of hectares. Finally, the numbers of hectares became undeniably apparent and he had to admit there was a serious problem but he again mocked my calls for changes in legislation to control the problem and said the Agricultural Land Commission had the tools they needed to address the situation.

At this point public awareness on the issue had grown to the point where the UK company had to come to BC to try and control the bad publicity. They met with local officials and tried to come to a truce.

Minister Letnick claimed he met with this corporation and they “promised” not to continue this practice. The minister basically allowed a foreign corporation to decide our BC land use policy with a lick and a promise……that was good enough for the Minister.

I’ve been told recently that the tree planting activity is continuing regardless. I haven’t done any site visits myself but I will be travelling into the Cariboo again soon to verify this information as soon as possible.

Last week the BC Liberal government very quietly noted they would change regulations so that the ALC would have a new tool to possibly control a situation like this.

Let’s review the actions over a couple of years from the Minister of Agriculture shall we?
1. He denied there was a problem for months and months.
2. He down-played the situation and officially mocked my concern in the legislative chamber.
3. Next he became informed and expressed ‘shock’ at the extent of the problem.
4. He pushed back and said the Agricultural Land Commission had the tools to deal with the problem so don’t worry about it.
5. Next he met with, and allowed a foreign corporation to decide ALR land use policy.
6. Yesterday, he finally made a half-step to address the problem by giving the ALC a tool they can use to try and control this from happening again.

There is no reason to believe the BC government is serious about addressing this problem or that the change introduced this week will be an effective deterrent. This government has demonstrated over and over again that it will cash out the long-term value of the Agricultural Land Reserve for its own short-term political advantage. Background on this issue is available here.

Thanks for reading! To find out more about my work please visit my website, www.saanichsouth.ca. I’m also active on facebook and Instagram.

As always, if you require assistance with matters related to the provincial government please contact me. I’m here when you need me.


Lana Popham
Member of the BC Legislative Assembly for Saanich South
P: 250.479.4154 | | F: 250.479.4176  |  4085 Quadra, Victoria BC V8X 1K5
lana.popham.mla@leg.bc.ca  | facebook  |  saanichsouth.ca

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Saanich News: More must be done for struggling British Columbians

Reprinted from the Saanich News, July 5 2016

Are you earning a low wage? Or living on a fixed income? Are you unable to work or unable to find a decent paying job? Are you struggling to get by or take care of your children and aged parents, or both at the same time?

If so I have a message for you: I’m your ally. I’m fighting for you.

As the Member of the Legislative Assembly for Saanich South, I hear from people almost every day who say the “game” is rigged against them. And in many ways it is. According to the Broadbent Institute, B.C. has the highest rate of wealth inequality in Canada. And it’s growing.

People who are struggling to take care of their most basic needs are suffering more and more.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Saanich News: Diversity of Maltby Lake is worth protecting

Gillian Harvey, left, Carmel Thomson, Patrick Brown
and MLA Lana Popham stand outside the B.C.
Supreme Court in February 2015.

Image Credit: Jane Brown Photo
Reprinted from the Saanich News, June 21 2016

This week, I’m excited to introduce you to one of Saanich’s hidden gems: Maltby Lake.

Few are aware of this extraordinary place even though it’s in the heart of Saanich and just 10 kilometers from downtown Victoria. There is no place closer to the provincial capital that surpasses Maltby Lake in terms of ecological value or wild beauty.

Freshwater jellyfish and sponges have existed in the lake for thousands of years and the area is home to painted turtles, horned owls, beavers and many other local and even endangered species.

Not only is Maltby Lake phenomenally diverse but it also plays an important role in our regional waterway. The lake itself is filled with drinkable water continually recharged by multiple underground springs and it is at the headwaters of the Tod Creek Watershed – the second largest watershed in Saanich.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Constituency Report - Cooking Show!

Hi all,

For my Spring 2016 Constituency Report I decided to do something a little different... and more fun! Hope you like it. :) - Lana

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Saanich News: Risk of real estate bubble

Reprinted from the Saanich News, June 7 2016

In the B.C Legislature, one of the most important obligations of the “official opposition” is to expose the failures of the governing party.
Currently that party is the B.C. Liberals, led by Premier Christy Clark. To be blunt, there are many failures that I could write about, but today I want to focus in on one that has the potential to seriously impact us right here in Saanich: the failure to adequately regulate the real estate market.
In Vancouver, this failure has taken on crisis proportions. Average house prices in the city are increasing more than 20 per cent a year.
Currently a modest detached house in Vancouver routinely sells for well over a million dollars. This is a real estate bubble and it has been created and is being perpetuated in part by a lack of regulations in the real estate industry and, in particular, a lack of control on foreign cash pouring into the market
The negative consequences are very significant. Real estate bubbles can burst and create devastating economic consequences that reverberate throughout the economy. And even if that worst-case scenario doesn’t happen there are many other harms to consider: property taxes increased to match the speculative value; dangerously high debt loads for new homebuyers; and young adults or those of modest means being completely priced out of the market.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Saanich News: Island residents need better access to family doctors

Reprinted from the Saanich News, May 24 2016

This week I’d like to talk about an issue that affects us all: the lack of access to family doctors.
A family doctor is one of the best tools at your disposal when caring for the health of you and your loved ones. Regular check-ups performed by a general practitioner can catch many problems while they are still easily treatable. A family doctor will know both you and your medical history personally; this significant advantage is not available at walk-in clinics. A family doctor is a great first resource should trouble arise. They can refer you to specialists, ensure continuity of care and identify urgent or serious conditions.
And yet there are many people who desperately want and need a family doctor, but cannot find one. Currently there are 57 unfilled permanent family doctor positions available on Vancouver Island alone.
The current provincial government has repeatedly promised to address this problem. And they have repeatedly broken those promises.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Bill 24 and the ongoing fight to protect the Agricultural Land Reserve

Dear Friends,

Over the last two weeks I’ve received over a hundred emails from people across the province who are outraged about Bill 24 and demanding that everything possible be done to stop it from becoming law.

I regret to share with you that Bill 24 – a piece of legislation designed by the BC Liberals to weaken the Agricultural Land Commission and gut protections in the Agricultural Land Reserve – was passed into law two years ago.

A 2014 open-letter penned by the indomitable Corky Evans somehow gained a second life last month on the internet and is inspiring a lot of people to write.

I really appreciate the input – the passion shown reminds me how important the ALR is to the people of British Columbia.

Please know that I worked very hard with my colleagues in the Official Opposition, and with farmers and farmer-supporters all over the province to try and stop it.

As the images to the right show, this campaign took on a life of its own under the hashtags #KillBill24 and #Farmers4ALR.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

MLA Lana Popham introduces the BC Local Food Act

Dear Friends, today I stood in the BC Legislature to introduce a Bill named British Columbia Local Food Act, 2016. 

This legislation advances five initiatives that would benefit us all by strengthening the agricultural sector and farming communities throughout BC:

(1) Eliminate the two-tier ALR created by the current government by transferring all ALR areas currently categorized in zone 2 into zone 1 and eliminating the zone 2 designation.

(2) Establish a legislative standing committee on food and agriculture which will have a voice in determining the chair and other members of the Agricultural Land Commission.

(3) Mandate this committee to prepare, in consultation with the Agriculture Minister, a plan to increase local food production, marketing and processing. The plan would set targets and initiate policies to meet those targets, which would be reported annually to the Legislature.

(4) Implement a comprehensive strategy to increase how much local food is purchased by hospitals and other public institutions.

(5) Reintroduce the successful Buy BC program.

The BC Local Food Act defines many of the agricultural priorities and commitments of the Official Opposition. It would also undo a significant amount of the damage done by the current BC government. It would bring the voices of farmers back into the BC legislature, restore the ALR, increase agricultural production, strengthen food security, contribute to climate change goals, and develop a stable market within BC for BC-grown products.

Click here to read the Local Food Act.

Lana Popham
MLA Saanich South

More information on agriculture in BC is available at www.bcagcom.ca.

Saanich News: Saanich MLA still in touch with farming roots

by  Hugo Wong Reprinted from the Saanich News

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Saanich News: Education requires renewed investment

Saanich resident Mona Malik with her two daughters
Yashel and Anayah Cheema, who are just beginning 
their public education in the Saanich School District
Reprinted from the Saanich News, 10 May 2016.

Do you agree that all young British Columbians should have access to an excellent education?
I’m a parent with a child who is graduating high school next month after 12 years in the public education system. To be honest, “excellent” is not a word I can use to describe the totality of his experience, nor that of his peers.
And the statistics bear out that observation.
B.C. has dropped from the second-best funded education system in Canada to the second-worst. This has led to more kids crammed into the classroom. That makes it harder for teachers to teach and allows for very little individual attention. This year alone there was a 25 per cent increase in the number of classes with more than 30 students. Since 2002, B.C. has lost the equivalent of 3,500 full-time teachers.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Summer Star Parties are back!!!

Dear Saanich South,

I'm very excited to share the news that "Summer Star Parties" are back at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory. All the details are on the poster below. These free events will "sell out" so be sure to reserve your tickets beforehand. They are available for reservation one week before the party date. -L.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Saanich News: It’s time for dialogue on assisted dying

Reprinted from the Saanich News, April 26 2016

In this column I would like to write about a difficult and intimate subject of personal relevance to all of us: physician assisted dying.
This is a federal matter in part because helping someone commit suicide is a crime under the Criminal Code of Canada. But it is also a challenge that B.C. MLAs must address: medical care – up to and including our last breath – is a provincial responsibility.
And this is an issue that is especially important to us in Saanich. Approximately 10 per cent of Saanich residents are over 75 years old compared to an average of six per cent in the rest of B.C. and Canada. And in the next decade more than 45 per cent of the population of Saanich will be age 60 or older.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Art Show & Open House

Dear Residents of Saanich South,
Please join me this Thursday, April 21st, from 4-6pm at my Community Office for an Art Show & Open House. We are featuring the work of Nancy Alexander, a remarkably talented potter! We will have refreshments too. 4085 Quadra. -L.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Saanich News: Explaining the role of an MLA

Reprinted from the Saanich News

It is a pleasure to pen the first piece in what will be a regular “MLA column” in the Saanich News.
I look forward to communicating with you about important provincial issues that are directly relevant to our community.
Believe it or not, I have on several occasions been asked if “MLA” is some kind of fancy real estate title – so I thought I would begin this series by describing what MLAs are and what we do.
The province is carved up into 85 constituencies, each with approximately 50,000 people. Every four years, residents of each constituency elect one person to represent them in the B.C. Legislature.
Once elected, a “Member of the Legislative Assembly” (MLA) of B.C. is expected to represent all constituents, regardless of differences such as age, social standing, political views or income. In my opinion the job of the MLA is to advance projects that improve our shared quality of life.
I was elected in 2009 and re-elected in 2013.
Provinces have power under the Canadian Constitution to make laws that govern everything from health care to agriculture, education, business and the environment. (Other matters such as immigration, criminal law and national defence are the responsibility of the federal government.) Legislation is created through a public process requiring MLAs to present, debate and vote.
As a member of the Official Opposition, I also have a responsibility to oppose government actions which in my view are wrong, and expose failures and misdeeds by the governing majority. I am also the opposition spokesperson for agriculture and food. As a former farmer, agriculture is my passion and one of the main reasons I entered politics. I work to strengthen the agriculture sector in the constituency and throughout the province.
A big part of my job is advancing solutions for widespread problems that exist in the constituency. For example, I worked hard to improve safety at the intersection of Pat Bay Highway and Sayward Road. It was once one of the most dangerous highway intersections on the South Island but after community-driven safety improvements ($3 million, Ministry of Transportation), the most recent data shows a marked decrease in the accident rate. I also regularly put on free community events such as one last year that brought rarely seen treasures from the Royal B.C. Museum to Cordova Bay.
Another important part of my job is helping people who are struggling with issues governed by the province. For example, in the last few months I have helped a young person with a severe disability access much-needed services; helped a senior regain a driver’s licence that had been unnecessarily cancelled; helped a family secure residential complex care for an aging parent; and helped secure housing for a family at-risk of homelessness.
If you have not been well-served by the operations of a provincial government agency, contact me and I will do my best to assist you. The office can also help navigate the ever-changing maze of government services to make sure you are accessing the best provincial programmes available. Your dignity and privacy will always be respected.
I welcome your feedback on any provincial matter. Your insights and opinions helps me better represent the community and determine my priorities.
Contact me at 250-479-4154 or by email, lana.popham.mla@leg.bc.ca.
Lana Popham is a Saanich resident and the MLA for Saanich South.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Example of my work as Opposition Spokesperson for Agriculture

Save Hullcar Aquifer Team spokesperson Al Price (left) and Brian 
Upper, chairperson of the Steele Springs Water District (right), 
share the history of living with a water quality advisory for two 
years with visiting NDP MLAs George Heyman (from left), Lana 
Popham and Scott Fraser Tuesday in Spallumcheen. 
— Image Credit: Roger Knox/Morning Star
“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.

As the Official Opposition Spokesperson for Agriculture and Food, I work on farming issues around the province. Often this work is covered extensively by local media but does not get as much coverage elsewhere.

The article below by Roger Knox and  reprinted from the Vernon Morning Star is one example. My colleagues and I have repeatedly raised this matter in the BC Legislature and we are continuing to work actively on this file. 

March 29, 2016 · 2:13 PM 
Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/373902571.html

They've been putting pressure on the B.C. Liberal government during Legislature sessions to do something about the quality of drinking water in Spallumcheen.
On Tuesday, a trio of NDP MLAs had a first-hand look at what they’ve been asking questions about.
George Heyman (Vancouver-Fairview), Lana Popham (Saanich South) and Scott Fraser (Alberni-Pacific Rim) visited Spallumcheen, where a water quality advisory was issued two years ago for the Steele Springs Water District, private well users and Splatsin Band members who use the Hullcar aquifer as its main water source after high nitrate levels were recorded.
A large dairy farm operation above the aquifer has been identified as the “likely” source of the contamination, caused by the spraying of liquid manure.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

BC Government is failing to fight climate change

There is only one true measure of climate leadership: Are your carbon emissions going up, or are they going down? Under Premier Christy Clark they have grown steadily and are on track to grow more.

Here is the undeniable evidence that shows how Christy Clark is making B.C. a climate failure:

Emissions have gone up, not down

Even Christy Clark’s ministers can’t deny it. Environment Minister Mary Polak said on February 29 2016 in the legislature, “Emissions are going up again, and we are going to have to do more if we're going to see them start to trend down.”

The fact is, under Premier Christy Clark, emissions have gone up every year – they've risen by more than 4 per cent since she became premier.

Emissions are expected to get worse under Christy Clark

Current policies in B.C. would see emissions climb 32 per cent between 2013 and 2030, according to a recent Environment Canada report to the UN. In other provinces like Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia, emissions are projected to go down.

The Christy Clark government’s own working group, the Climate Leadership Team, says we’ll miss our 2020 target, even if we implement all of their recommendations. They recommend that B.C. cut emissions 40 per cent by 2030.

Premier Clark refuses to take important steps on carbon

The premier brought in a bill that exempts 70 per cent of LNG emissions from regulation, gutted the energy conservation LiveSmart program, issued a generational blow to transit in the Lower Mainland through her made-to-fail referendum, and froze the carbon tax for at least five years.

British Columbians were promised better by this government and they deserve better.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Dying with Dignity

Dear Constituents, 

If you were in “grievous, unending pain”, do you agree with the Supreme Court of Canada that you have a constitutional right to end your life with help from a Doctor? It is seems that Premier Clark doesn’t: there are only four provinces in Canada that are dragging their feet on this issue, and BC is one of them.

More info from MLA Judy Darcy:

Supreme Court ruling on end-of-life care

VANCOUVER — Opposition spokesperson for health, Judy Darcy, released the following statement in response to today’s Supreme Court ruling allowing a four-month delay in new laws to address end-of-life care.

“Today’s decision only serves to underscore the failure by Christy Clark’s government to take decisive action towards effective regulations to address dying with dignity.

“In contrast with, for example, the decision by the Ontario government to begin crafting regulations in anticipation of laws we know are coming, the Christy Clark government has chosen simply to defer and delay.

“This is unacceptable and will leave people at the end of their lives without compassionate options while leaving their families and caregivers without a clear understanding of how to deal with some of the most difficult decisions of their lives.

“I am calling on the government to follow Ontario’s lead and begin making preparations for new laws around end-of-life care.

“The Select Standing Committee on Health, of which I was deputy chair, heard from hundreds of stakeholders from around the province last year. We crafted a thoughtful and balanced report, one which was almost unanimously supported by committee members of both parties.

“Then, apparently to satisfy an extreme view of a few members of her caucus, Christy Clark refused to adopt the report.

“The Supreme Court ruling, one year ago, made it clear that the law needed to be changed. We know that the law will be changed and that the provincial governments will be responsible for implementing the new laws.

“British Columbians deserve better than what they’re getting from Christy Clark’s government.”

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Mid-Term Constituency Report

Dear Constituents,

Here is a digital version of my printed mid-term report.

Warm regards,


PS. It might take a few extra seconds to appear below as it is a large file.

Monday, November 30, 2015

You're invited

Dear Constituents of Saanich South,

It is my pleasure to invite you to an Art Show and Open House this Wednesday, December the 2nd, from 5-7PM at my Constituency Office, 4085 Quadra.

There will be tasty snacks and desserts, as well as tea, coffee and hot apple cider.

In attendance will be two talented artists who live in the Blenkinsop Valley, Illarion Gallant and Tywla Rusnak. Their remarkable work – both paintings and sculptures – will be on display.

This event is also a fundraiser for two members of our community, a single mother and her young daughter. They have no extended family support, are struggling on a very low income and one of them has a severe and permanent disability. Help me raise the money necessary to buy them a laptop and a printer. This would be a great help to the school-age girl, and for her mother who would use it for language training as her first language is not English.

Last week I sent out a printed report summarizing my work as an MLA since being re-elected two years ago. It is also a request for input on my priorities moving forward. Please take a look by clicking here.

Warm regards, Lana
Lana Popham, MLA Saanich South

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Royal BC Museum visits Saanich South

A great part of my job is organizing and hosting community gatherings. My goal is always the same: to bring people together for an enjoyable event that also raises awareness about important ideas.

Last month, I held my sixth such event, an evening in Saanich with the Royal BC Museum. Professor and Museum CEO Jack Lohman joined us at the well-loved Beach House restaurant in Cordova Bay. 

Professor Lohman gave a riveting speech to a capacity crowd (200 people). He brought with him two of world-class curators, Dr. Kathryn Bridge and Dr. Martha Black, as well as rarely seen treasures from the museum's extraordinary collection. 

The three of them generously spent the evening with us, letting everyone get up close and personal with the items, and answering innumerable questions about their historical and cultural significance.

This event was advertised and free tickets were given out on a first-come-first-served basis. My office also organized a companion event earlier in the day for public school students at Claremont Secondary.

If you would have liked to attend but did not hear about, please contact my office and we will be sure to let you know about such events in the future.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Opinion: B.C. must become a climate leader

                               John Horgan, Leader of the Official Opposition   

                                     Photograph by: Arlen Redekop , PNG


The United Nations Conference on Climate Change, due to open in Paris in a few days, is one of the most consequential gatherings of world leaders in our lifetime.

The Paris talks are our best chance to slow and reverse the human-caused changes to our atmosphere that threaten our way of life. British Columbia must play an important role as Canada and the nations of the world reach for an accord and begin to take decisive action.

In British Columbia, we see the effects of climate change in the growing number of powerful storms that pummel our coast, record wildfires that destroy our forests, and water shortages that harm our agricultural sector. To the north, glaciers are in retreat. To the south, California has endured catastrophic drought. Greenhouse gas emissions in B.C. have increased every single year since Premier Christy Clark took office, and they are still trending upwards.

It’s not too late, but real action will only come with real leadership, and we’re not getting it from Premier Clark. The climate change plan she inherited has run out of steam. She imposed a five-year freeze on the carbon tax, refuses to use carbon tax revenue to fund climate solutions, exempted the LNG industry from calculating greenhouse gas emissions on 70 per cent of its operations, cancelled a home retrofit program, and derailed public transit expansion plans with a built-to-fail referendum.

We must change course, and we can. Last week at BCIT, I announced a bold, progressive plan for jobs and energy called PowerBC. Our plan includes an ambitious program of energy retrofits for public and private buildings, upgrades to maximize our existing hydroelectric dams, and an aggressive move toward renewable technologies like wind and solar power. Our plan looks forward, not back.

PowerBC would make energy retrofits a top priority of government, while creating jobs and supporting the economy in every community in the province. Energy retrofits of major public buildings like schools and hospitals are a direct way government can lead on energy conservation. But Premier Clark doesn’t see that. Empowering and enabling families to renovate their homes would not only reduce emissions, but would also save money. But Premier Clark cancelled a retrofit program in 2014 after British Columbians signed up for it in great numbers.

Right across B.C., there are more opportunities for us to take meaningful action against climate change. For example, we should be considering serious investment in infrastructure for electric vehicles, and expanding on programs that incent British Columbians to adopt this forward-looking technology. And we should be investing in our public transit system to reduce congestion and cut vehicle emissions. The game-playing on transit funding that has characterized Premier Clark’s leadership has to end. New Democrats have long argued that a portion of the money raised through the carbon tax should be used specifically to reduce carbon emissions through support for projects like transit expansion.

It’s time to move beyond talk and photo ops. This moment in our shared history demands leadership and political courage. It’s time for real action on climate change to ensure that we leave our children a province, and a planet, as bountiful and healthy as the one we were entrusted with.

John Horgan is leader of the B.C. New Democrats.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

You are invited: Bringing History Home

Dear Residents of Saanich South,

It is my privilege to invite you to a very special (and free!) evening event on Thursday October the 1st.

Professor Jack Lohman, the CEO of the Royal BC Museum, as well as two of the museum's top curators, Dr Kathryn Bridge and Dr Martha Black, will share and discuss rarely seen treasures from the museum's extraordinary collection.

Professor Lohman - an entertaining and erudite speaker - will also give a talk about our province's "intangible culture": the languages, songs, stories and folklore that define British Columbia.

This is my fifth large-scale "Community Gathering" as your Member of the Legislative Assembly. My goal with these events is to bring people together for an enjoyable event that also raises awareness about important ideas.

It is a great honour to work with the Royal BC Museum! This is the first event of this kind that they are doing and it will likely become a model for other constituencies around the province. The museum's collections includes more than seven million items, many of which are rarely seen. We are very fortunate that three of the finest minds from this world-class museum are bringing select treasures into the heart of Saanich and joining us for an intimate evening to discuss their historical and cultural significance.

The event runs from 7-9pm and is taking place at a landmark location in this constituency, the elegant Beach House restaurant in Cordova Bay. 5109 Cordova Bay Road. There will  be complimentary desserts and tea and coffee.

The event is free, but space is limited and your place must be reserved by picking up a ticket at my Constituency Office, 4085-B Quadra Street during regular office hours, 9:30 AM - 5:00 PM, Monday to Thursday.  (The office is occasionally closed during those times for outside events or meetings so you may want to call ahead, 250 479 4154).

We are also providing a related learning event on the same day for grades 11 and 12 students event at Claremont Secondary School.

Warm regards,

Lana Popham
Member of the Legislative Assembly for Saanich South

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

MMBC under review by Auditor General

Good news! The weakening of BC's residential recycling programme by the BC Liberal government will be reviewed by the Auditor General.

In her report released today, Auditor General Bellringer revealed that one of her priorities for 2015/2016 will be to begin a review of:
"The effectiveness of the Ministry of Environment’s oversight of product stewardship (recycling) with a focus on Multi-Materials BC."   
This is an important and necessary step that I have been working towards since 2014. I have raised many important criticisms of MMBC, including its structure, activities, and environmental bona-fides.

Earlier this year I met with the Auditor General and laid out my concerns about MMBC. My most recent letter to her is here.

Peace River & Site C

Dear Saanich South,

Two week ago I was on a working tour of the Peace River Valley. I met many people, including First Nation Chiefs, land-owners, hard-working farmers, community leaders - many fine individuals!

Last week in the BC Legislature I reflected on my experiences. Here is my two minute Statement: