Friday, August 13, 2010

Summer Update 2010 – Lana Popham, MLA for Saanich South

Dear Friends,

Community Office Aug 2010
I hope you are enjoying the summer.

Last spring I visited 6500 homes, connecting with the people of Saanich South. This summer, I am again working hard to hear more about what you want, and to give you an update on what I’m up to.

Far and away, the most input I’ve received over the last year has been disappointment and anger about how the government introduced and is pushing forward with the HST. I want you all to know that I fought hard to stop it. I took a leadership role in organizing the opposition of thousands of cyclists, and I voted against it at every opportunity in the Legislature.

I believe the HST mess just emphasizes how overdue it is for us – the public – to have a good honest discussion about the “what and why” of our provincial taxes.

My own view is that one of the HST’s biggest flaws is that it is not grounded in the principles of sustainability. We need tax policy that addresses the environmental crisis we are in…and this tax fails that test.

A government that raises taxes on green transportation choices like bicycles is a government travelling in the wrong direction.

A question I get a lot is, “what do you do?”.

My job is to represent the 50,000 residents of Saanich South in the B.C. Legislature. I work in a non-partisan way to advance issues that are important the community. As a member of the official opposition, I also challenge and propose improvements to ongoing government policies.

Further, with my community-office team, I work directly with people in Saanich South who need assistance resolving provincial issues. We regularly help people with challenges relating to health care, education, small business, senior services, housing and transportation.

I also organize community events. For example, I recently organized a very well-attended forum about the dangerous intersection at Pat Bay Highway and Sayward Road, bringing together municipal politicians, community leaders and officials from the Ministry of Transportation. The Ministry is insisting on doing expensive, long-term plans for a possible overpass. The community is speaking largely with one voice: they consider safety improvements more of a priority. This is a file that I will continue working on until there is a good resolution. I recently filed a FOI request for all the maps and planning documents that government has, but is unwilling to share with the public. I’m also pulling together an experienced group of local residents to create a short-list of safety improvements that we want to see put in place in the short-term.
Please email me if you would like to help out.

I’m working hard on issues important to the community such as healthcare and education. For example, I am helping a young boy in Saanich South named Brandon. Brandon has Type 1 Diabetes. With just a little assistance, Brandon can use an insulin pump at school and have the same education opportunities as other children. For more information, please visit www.kidswithtype1.ca.

In addition, I want to share with you that farmers in our community are extremely concerned about recent changes to honeybee importation regulations. The government is needlessly putting these critical pollinators at risk. Click here for more information. My background is in agriculture and I am working actively on a number of files, including the flawed slaughter regulations, the need to strengthen the ALR, Site C, and the inadequate funding to the Ministry of Agriculture.

I look forward to continuing to serve the people of Saanich South and working with you to improve our quality of life. Thanks for your support and please keep in touch.

Sincerely,

Lana.