Friday, June 30, 2017

Canada at 150

Just a century and a half ago, Canada as we know it was created by confederation. We have achieved so much since then.

Over the last 150 years we have built a diverse country that shines as a beacon of opportunity for people throughout the world. 

We have worked together to make Canada  a safe and prosperous country that prides itself on how we take care of each other.

Today is a day to celebrate how far we’ve come since confederation. We have much to be proud of!

It is my hope that on this day we will also redouble our commitment to take on the challenges that await. Let us be inspired by the accomplishments of the past 150 years to seek a better future for the next 150 years.

We must do more to recognize the rights and titles of Indigenous peoples who have called this land home for thousands of years. We can do more to address the wrongs committed in the creation of Canada and create true reconciliation with the First Nations of this land.

And we need to continue to fight racism, discrimination and social injustice to ensure our communities are fair and offer opportunities to everyone.

Furthermore we must do much more to address the great challenge of our time: climate change. The impacts of human-caused global warming could be devastating to our environment if we don't act now. 

Today let us celebrate what is wonderful about Canada!


Thursday, June 22, 2017

41st Parliament begins today

Oath ceremony with Leader John Horgan, 8/6/17
Dear Constituents,

Thank you for your support!

It is an honour to continue serving Saanich South in the BC Legislature!

This morning the 41st session began with the election of a Speaker. In just a few minutes I will take my seat in the House to hear the BC Liberals Throne Speech. They are trying to show they have the confidence of a majority of the MLAs elected in BC and have promised a speech full of big promises.

A big problem for them is that they most certainly DO NOT have the confidence of the House. Christy Clark and the BC Liberals are pursuing a strategy of delay and distraction. BC deserves better than that.

A majority of voting British Columbians chose the BC NDP or the Greens in the election last month. The BC NDP has signed an accord with the Greens and we are ready to govern.

I'm excited to get to work in a new BC NDP government. There is a lot of important and urgent work to be done - there is no more time for BC Liberal games. British Columbians voted for new leadership that works for regular people instead of just those at the top.

We’re ready to deliver it.

While all this drama continues at the Legislature, I am working hard with my team in the Saanich South Constituency Office. For example, here is a column I wrote this week for the Saanich News. It is an update on remediation efforts for Elk and Beaver Lake.

Warm regards, Lana

MLA Saanich South

Monday, June 19, 2017

Saanich News: CRD shores up remediation for Elk and Beaver lakes

MLA Report
By Lana Popham
Reprinted from the Saanich News, June 18, 2017

I’m pleased to report that progress is being made on remediation efforts for Elk Lake and Beaver Lake.
This is an issue that’s been close to my heart for quite some time – I wrote an opinion piece for the Saanich News close to a year ago highlighting the problems these two environmental treasures face.
Blooms of noxious cyanobacteria have become increasingly common over the past years, due to high level of phosphorous in the water. The resulting blue-green algae blooms can be poisonous to both dogs and swimmers.
Many of you may have noticed that the lakes have been regularly closed to the public because the health risk is too high. The health of fish in the lakes is also declining, and harmful aquatic weeds are spreading rapidly.
The deterioration of Elk and Beaver lakes is especially concerning given their importance in Saanich, and indeed, across the entire Capital Regional District. Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park is the most heavily-used park in the CRD with an astonishing 1.46 million visits in 2016. The lakes are also home to the National Rowing and National Triathlon teams, and are popular with recreational fishers and boaters as well. Walkers and runners (including myself!) frequent the trail that goes throughout the park, and the swimming beaches are so popular it can be hard to find a spot in summer.
One thing is clear: Elk and Beaver lakes need to be protected.
That’s why I’m pleased to see the CRD Regional Parks Committee is voting June 21 on two recommendations aiming to do exactly that.
The first recommendation is specific to Beaver Lake, and suggests purchasing an aeration system at a cost of around $40,000. This system would work to minimize algae growth, promote aquatic plants, discourage invasive species, and improve the recreational use of land. These are all desirable outcomes.
The second recommendation is specific to Elk Lake, and involves developing a business case for purchasing a high-efficiency, deep-water oxygenation system for Elk Lake. This system would be significantly more expensive – a one-time cost of $700,000 would be needed to purchase and install the equipment, and maintenance and operation costs over a 10-year period could average about $85,000 a year.
Although developing a business case (essentially a drawn-out cost/benefit analysis) means that Elk Lake will likely not receive a specialized system until at least the next fiscal year – which is disappointing – I am happy that the CRD is performing its due diligence to evaluate all options. This should ultimately minimize the cost of the project for taxpayers, as grants and external funding sources could be pursued. It is my hope, however, that progress will continue at a fast pace. Simply put, we don’t have time to lose.
I will continue to monitor this issue closely, and will provide more public updates as new information becomes available. Let’s work together on this issue to create a better Saanich, and a better British Columbia.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Working together to make life better for people


Dear Constituents,

Today the BC Liberal government announced it will recall the Legislature on June 22nd. The first order of business must be to elect a Speaker. The BC Liberal Government then intends to 'test the confidence of the House'. 

Tomorrow I will be sworn-in and will then formally be the MLA for Saanich South. 

Below is a message from Opposition Leader John Horgan. 

Last week B.C. New Democrats reached an historic agreement with the B.C. Greens to bring the change in government that B.C. voters told us they want. This agreement is about people and the change they voted for. It’s about getting things done for families. It’s about making exciting changes that will make life better for people.

We’re going to make life more affordable. We’re going to fix the services people count on. And we’re going to build a sustainable economy that works for everybody, and delivers good, stable, family-supporting jobs.

From health care to housing, from defending our coast to caring for our kids, we will work together to deliver change on what matters most to people.

Whether it is getting rid of unfair tolls, banning big money from politics, or ensuring our schools are equipped with basics like playgrounds and school supplies – there is so much a New Democrat government can do to make our province better for families.

I am very much looking forward to the coming weeks, when we will finally get the opportunity to form government and get to work for people.

Families have waited 16 years for high quality care for our vulnerable elders, and better access to family doctors. They have waited 16 years for their children to get out of portables and into real classrooms. They have waited 16 years for a government that takes our housing crisis seriously and takes real action to make life affordable for families.

In just a few short weeks B.C. New Democrats and B.C. Greens will work together to bring the change that British Columbians voted for. After 16 long years of waiting for solutions to so many problems, help is on the way.

Voters clearly said they want a government that works for people. A government that works together. And we will deliver on that government.

B.C. New Democrat and B.C. Green MLAs are not going to always agree on everything – but our agreement will give British Columbians a stable government, even should we disagree. I’m optimistic and excited for the future – because we agree on so very, very much.

New Democrats put forward a great platform during the election. It was a platform I was extremely proud of. It was about people and families and what matters to them the most. 

I intend to deliver on the commitments we made to the people of B.C., and on the priorities we share with the B.C. Greens.

Together, we have the confidence of the legislature, and the ability to govern. We can offer people the stability they want, the solutions they need and the results they deserve.

After 16 years of a government working for those at the top, we will have a government that works people. With the support of the B.C. Green MLAs, we will make life better for everyone in B.C.

I can’t wait to get started.