Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Provincial State of Emergency Declared

Our government has declared a state of emergency to make sure we have all of the resources necessary to keep British Columbians safe.

With over 560 fires now burning, BC continues to experience heightened wildfire activity, and there are over 3300 personnel now supporting wildfire response efforts. My deepest gratitude and appreciation to everyone who is working to contain the wildfires and caring for those who have been affected.

To prepare your farm for emergencies, start here:

No matter where you are in the province, please remain vigilant – it’s imperative that we each do our part to prevent wildfires. Please click here to read the full news release from earlier today

Friday, August 10, 2018

Nuts about Hazelnuts!!

Many of you will know how much I've been chatting up hazelnut production in our Province over the past 10 years! This Summer I was able to launch a hazelnut revitalization project from my Ministry with hopes to relaunch an industry that has so much potential. 

Guess who noticed my enthusiasm? 

A company you will know as Ferrero who makes many sweet treats including Ferrero Rocher chocolates, Nutella and Kinder Surprise! Hazelnuts are very important to their operations and so today I met with Jorge Acevedo from Ferrero Luxembourg and Barb Yates who works for Ferrero as a Hazelnut Agronomist. Looking forward to our follow up meetings to come!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Report from Committee for Revitalizing the ALR and ALC Received!

I’m happy to share that the independent Minister’s Advisory Committee for Revitalizing the Agricultural Land Reserve and Agricultural Land Commission has submitted its interim report!

I’m so thankful to the members of the Advisory Committee for their hard work, and I’m looking forward to reviewing their recommendations. Committee members did significant work to engage British Columbians in the development of these recommendations, and this report is an important contribution to the conversation we’ve been having in our province to build a strong and resilient agricultural sector for generations to come.

The committee identified 13 recommendations for legislative and regulatory change, 4 recommendations for action to protect the ALR, and 14 key issues still under consideration for its final report.

The committee also submitted a second “what we heard” report that summarizes the findings from stakeholder meetings and public engagement that occurred over multiple months. You can access both documents by clicking here! 


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Great Times at Saanich Sunday Farmers' Market!

I had so much fun at the Saanich Sunday Farmers' Market this past weekend! Not only did I end up with a big bag of amazing produce and goods from the market (including the bag itself!) but we also passed out some #BuyBC swag as well! If you haven't been able to check it out this year there are still 3 more market days left this season - I highly recommend you stop by!


Thursday, August 2, 2018

Awesome News for Agricultural Innovation!

It was so awesome to be at Kwantlen Polytechnic University to announce one of the coolest things ever: a new research farm and seed lab!!

Our government is investing $670,000 to fund world-class research and innovation that will help local organic farmers grow sustainable and healthy food options for British Columbians to enjoy.

This funding will help farmers develop better seeds, crops and growing methods. More importantly, it will lead to more healthy, nutritious food that’s grown right here in BC and produced sustainably!

The research farm is going to be 8.1 hectares – bigger than 15 football fields put side-by-side! I truly can’t wait to see the amazing work comes out of this new facility.

For even more details you can visit the following link:

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

New additions to our team!

So excited to update you with some new additions to our team! Many of you folks already know Maureen Rogers as one of my amazing Constituency Assistants, and I'm super happy to let you know that Ravi Parmar has joined our community office as a full-time Constituency Assistant as well!

Also pictured are Sam Godfrey (one of my amazing Ministerial Assistants) and Chris Wieczorek, my fantastic interim Executive Assistant. Whether it's constituency or ministerial work I'm so happy to have these guys (and so many more!) on my team!

Monthly Micro-Actions: Plastic Alternatives

*MLA’s note* I’m so happy to introduce Laska Paré! Laska is one of our amazing constituents in Saanich South, and is also a monthly guest blogger on my website! She writes about tips on small changes we can make in our day-to-day lives to encourage us to live more sustainably. Read on below to find out more! -Lana 

No one knows exactly how much plastic waste ends up in the ocean. A 2018 National Geographic article featured this estimate made by an engineering professor: somewhere between 5.3 million and 14 million tons each year just from coastal regions[1]. While that’s a distressing estimate, the fact is the problem persists and not every location has the infrastructure to recycle. And while recycling may seem commonplace, it is important to remember that the first R is to REDUCE.

“But I can only reuse my toothbrush for so long and this is a hygienic necessity that I can’t reduce or eliminate.” Of course, we don’t want you reusing your one toothbrush forever, so the question then becomes how can I REDUCE the waste that comes from the products I use?

Remember, just because we recycle doesn’t mean it makes it to the recycling station or gets turned into something new and useable. This is why we have to explore the opportunity to reduce everyday plastics, like toothbrushes!

Did you know a person may use 160 toothbrushes over their lifetime? And that’s just the result of 1 person using 1 instrument. There are over 7 billion people in the world, most of which brush their teeth with a typical plastic toothbrush. That’s 160 toothbrushes X 7,000 000 000 000 people totaling… Yikes!!

The good news is alternative solutions to plastic are popping up everywhere and are becoming more readily accessible.

Bamboo for the Win

Switching to a bamboo toothbrush means not only reducing plastic but utilizing a product made from the fastest growing plant on the planet. Bamboo is known to grow over 4 feet a DAY in the right conditions; as such, it’s considered a sustainable resource.

My journey to reduce plastic in my life began with a toothbrush realization I had while living in Hong Kong. In this video, which aired on Shaw TV earlier this year, I share details about my Zero Waste journey and highlight companies doing great work by offering plastic-free alternatives for consumers. 

Micro-Action For August

We’re addicted to plastic at a planetary scale, and solving the plastic problem will be incredibly challenging on a global level. We can, however, REDUCE our dependence on plastic at an individual level.

This month, when you go to the store to make a purchase consider if there’s a plastic free-alternative available. Thanks to Smartphones, you can do a quick Google search in the store and learn about the options available to you. 

Also, feel free to Email Us if you’d like to know of a plastic alternative to something you use every day! I’m happy to address reader feedback in my next blog.



Friday, July 27, 2018

A Coffee Break to Remember...

It’s been a really busy week – from representing our government at the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region’s 2018 Summit in Spokane, Washington to touring farms and orchards around Oliver, BC – but I was so grateful to find a few moments to have coffee with the indomitable Corky Evans.

For those of you who don’t know, Corky served ten years as an MLA and held several different cabinet positions over his time in office… including as Minister of Agriculture!

And just in case you were wondering about what Agriculture Ministers do once they leave office, this is Corky processing garlic on his farm during our visit this morning! Even after a few years out of politics his passion for agriculture and our province’s food security is still as strong as ever.

Thanks for the chat, Corky.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

New Campsites for Parks Day!

Today is Canada’s Parks Day, and visitors to BC Parks and forestry recreation sites have an additional reason to celebrate: we’ve added 431 new campsites throughout the province!

Folks within Saanich South and from all around the province are certainly passionate about spending time in our world-class provincial parks. Our parks system – the third largest in North America, behind only the United States’ National Park Service and Parks Canada – receives an astounding 21 million visits a year!

The new campsites have been added in areas with the highest demand, which includes Vancouver Island. Along with the new campsites, existing facilities and infrastructure have also been upgraded in many campgrounds.

Still trying to plan a last-minute summer getaway? Of the 10,700 campsites BC Parks manages 55% are reservable, while the other 45% remain on a first-come, first-served basis! You can visit the BC Parks link below to find out more!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Loving Food and Reducing Waste!

Did you know that 47 percent of food waste in Canada happens at home?! Or that the average Canadian household throws out almost 140 kilograms of food per year, at a cost of more than $1,100? Or that Canada’s 2.2 million tons of avoidable household food waste is equivalent to 2.1 million cars on the road?

Thankfully it’s not all bad news! The BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, the CRD, and other municipal, provincial and non-government partners across Canada have come together to support the Love Food Hate Waste Canada campaign!

The campaign offers super practical and easy tips for keeping and storing fresh food, using up existing ingredients, and planning better to avoid over-purchasing food.
What’s even better is this campaign has a demonstrated track record of success! Love Food Hate Waste is modelled on a similar campaign that ran in the UK. In its first five years across the pond, it helped to cut avoidable food waste by 21 percent – leading to savings for UK consumers of almost 22 billion dollars!!

I would definitely encourage you to check out the campaign’s website, which I’ve linked below! There’s a lot of great information, tips, and even recipes! Not only can you #BuyBC and support our amazing local farmers and producers – you can do it without excess food waste as well! 

To learn more, click here or visit 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Fire Ban Starts Tomorrow

Just so you know: effective noon on July 18 (tomorrow!) open burning fires – including campfires – will be prohibited within the Coastal Fire Centre’s jurisdiction, which includes all of Vancouver Island.

This ban will help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety. High temperatures and no rain in the immediate forecast are both reasons the Coastal Fire Centre has implemented this ban.

Since April 1, 2018, 69% of wildfires in the Coastal Fire Centre region have been human-caused. These fires are preventable and can divert critical firefighting resources away from natural occurring wildfires.

I know many folks have plans to take advantage of our province’s amazing natural beauty this summer – whether it’s going camping, planning a road trip, or just getting out to the beach these activities are always the best part of summer! No matter what you’ll be doing in the coming weeks it’s really important that everyone respects these prohibitions.

To report a wildfire or open burning violation, you can call 1-800-663-5555 (toll free) or *5555 on your cell. I’ve also posted a link to news release with more information and a map of the areas currently under the fire ban – please feel free to share and spread the word.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Buy BC and British Columbian fairs: A Perfect Match!

The fair and exhibition season has definitely started all across BC and I couldn’t be more excited!

Not only are they tons of fun, but fairs and exhibitions connect British Columbians to all the amazing products being grown, raised, processed and produced in our province.

This year, I’m pleased that fairgoers will be encouraged to visit Buy BC-themed exhibits at participating fairs to learn more about the importance of supporting local producers and farmers.
Tom Harter, president of the BC Association of Agricultural Fairs and Exhibitions says “as more consumers become better connected to where their food comes from, this campaign will be a great platform to educate fairgoers on the important role agriculture plays in almost everything that goes on the dinner table.”

Fairgoers and exhibition attendees are encouraged to post photos on social media of the Buy BC-themed exhibits with the hashtags #BCFairs and #BuyBC. For a full list of participating fairs and exhibitions this year – which includes the Saanich Fair! – click here.

Friday, July 6, 2018

First Saanich Sunday Farmers' Market This Weekend!!

Amid all of the amazing events happening in and around Saanich South this weekend (Saanich Strawberry Festival, Victoria Pride Parade, and more!) I wanted to put in a reminder about the Saanich Sunday Farmers’ Market!!

The first market of the season takes place this Sunday, July 8th. It runs every Sunday from 10 am – 2 pm at Braefoot Park, 1359 McKenzie Avenue.

In addition to the talented local musicians, there’s of course an all-star team of vendors and local food producers! Whether you’re looking for some fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, baked goods, or maybe even some BC wine and cider there’s something for everyone at the market. Take some time to #BuyBC and #EatDrinkLocal - your taste buds will definitely thank you!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

How we can help

As the MLA for Saanich South, my job is to represent the 55,000 residents who call this beautiful region home in the BC Legislature. A really important piece of this work is my community office, located at 4243-260 Glanford Avenue. I often receive questions about what exactly my community office can help constituents with and so I’ve tried my best to set out an overview below!

In broad terms, my community office and the small but mighty team who work there can help residents of Saanich South who need assistance resolving issues related to the provincial government or issues related to branches of the provincial government.

We regularly help people with challenges relating to health care, education, small business, senior services, and housing and transportation. For instance, my office recently worked to resolve an issue for a constituent who was having problems with BC Hydro.

Our community office also regularly organizes public events that are free of charge and open to all residents, such as community open houses and panel discussions about important issues.

As well, our office has a boardroom that can accommodate up to 40 people! It’s available to community groups in Saanich South free of charge to use for meetings. If you or someone you know is interested in using this space, give our office a call at (250) 479 4154 or send an email to for more information.

I have included a more extensive list of the ways my community office can help below. One caveat is that our office’s mandate is to assist residents in the riding of Saanich South. If you’re unsure which riding you are in or who your provincial representative is, you can easily find out by clicking here and entering your postal code or doing a manual search.

Ways our office can help:

1. Provide information on locating government services and contact information

2. Assist in understanding provincial government policies and services and legislation and the impacts on the community

3. Assist in navigating through government bureaucracy

4. Ensure that due process is being followed

5. Attend community events and causes by promoting events and organization in the community through our website, newsletter and the community office

6. Provide congratulatory messages signed by the MLA for special birthdays, anniversaries and achievements

7. Provide government documents, legislation, discussion papers and other web-based forms if you don’t have Internet access

If you have any questions or are unsure if our office would be able to provide assistance, please get in touch! Our approach is non-partisan and solutions-oriented, and my staff will treat you with dignity and maintain your privacy.

All the contact information for my community office is available by clicking here. The office is open Monday to Thursday from 9-4, and on Fridays by appointment.

Cheers, Lana

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Monthly Micro-Action: BYOBAG

*MLA’s note* I’m so happy to introduce Laska Paré! Laska is one of our amazing constituents in Saanich South, and is also a monthly guest blogger on my website! She writes about tips on small changes we can make in our day-to-day lives to encourage us to live more sustainably. Read on below to find out more! -Lana 

July 1st and it’s finally here: Victoria's new bylaw banning businesses from providing single-use plastic bags at the checkout.

Did you know?

Each Victoria resident uses approximately 200 single-use plastic bags a year[1]. For a population of 85,000 (and growing!), this equates to 17 million plastic bags, making up more than 15% the waste at the Hartland landfill! And that’s just Victoria. Check out the June cover of National Geographic where they pose the ominous question, Planet or Plastic?

Like an iceberg looming on the horizon, plastic poses a threat in the unknown. What impact are plastics having on us, and our environment? What is the scale of the impact both now and in the future? How can we begin to untangle ourselves from our relationships with plastic, and will this be enough?

Part of understanding the plastic problem lies in understanding the ‘solutions’ that are currently available. One challenge is that while solutions do appear to exist, closer examination shows they aren’t necessarily effective at addressing the problem. “But this bag is biodegradable!” “Biodegradable” is often advertised on products or food packaging. By definition it means “to decay and become absorbed by the environment”. Do plastic bags biodegrade? Yes, they do break down into smaller and smaller pieces of plastic when exposed to sunlight and water. But they do not decompose into elements found in nature. No wonder people are confused. To most of us, “break down” sounds like a good thing. But what many of us may not realize is if the components are not from nature, they will only degrade so far and could become ingested by smaller life forms. But what many of us may not realize is that degraded plastic is still plastic, and once in the environment, this can have devastating results. For example, fish.

In 2015, the United Nations Environment Programme identified biodegradables as an “unrealistic solution” and concluded that “the label ‘biodegradable’ may actually encourage littering.”

Tackling the iceberg

We each have a role to play in reducing the burden of plastic on our planet. July 1st marks the first day of the new BYO Bag bylaw, which affects all businesses in the City of Victoria (for more information about the bylaw see here. Think of this as your first day with less plastic, and a great time to start your reduced-plastic frame of mind.

The City of Victoria has launched a contest seeking out creative and compelling ways to promote reusable shopping bags. Being the eco-warrior that I am, I took on the challenge and created a fun rap in support of the new bylaw. Check out my entry!

Micro-Action For July

Ditch the plastic and bring your own bag. Make it part of your daily routine to remember at least one reusable bag whenever you leave the house, and keep a spare (or two!) in the car and at work. Remember, incorporating one small change into your life and routine is how we all collectively tackle the proverbial plastic iceberg. Micro-actions are all about taking small steps toward meaningful goals.



Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Congratulations to Serenity Farm!

It was such a privilege to attend Feeding Ourselves and Others at Serenity Farm's community open house!! Many of you have probably driven by hundreds of times and not even realized it… it’s located at 4575 Blenkinsop Road on the grounds of the Seven Oaks Facility.

At the farm participants and community volunteers work side-by-side to produce organic vegetables and fruit which are provided free to the participants and community agencies, as well as sold to the community. Between April and October last year working two days a week they grew 4000 lbs of produce… that’s incredible!

What you might not know is that Serenity Farm provides a therapeutic environment for marginalized people struggling with certain challenges. The most moving part of the open house was learning from the volunteers and participants about how much the farm meant to them and how much they have learned from each other – and about themselves – through this project. The passion and dedication every single person brought to the farm was extraordinary and truly inspiring.
The project is a true community effort, and the amount of people who keep it going are too many to name! The farm receives support from the John Howard Society, Island Health, United Way, Vancouver Island Health Authority, the Victoria Integrated Community Outreach Team and so, so many more. This project also wouldn’t have been possible without many individuals, including David Stott and Dave Johnson, as well as the participants and community volunteers and supporters.

It’s days like this that I love most… the sun is shining in beautiful Saanich South and people have gathered together to celebrate a program that benefits us all and improves our shared quality of life. And it’s even centered on farming! Congratulations again to everyone involved in making Serenity Farm such a success – I’m excited to see the amazing work continue!

Monday, June 25, 2018

Buy BC Back With Vengeance!

I was so happy over the weekend to announce at the Moss Street Market that the Buy BC program has officially been revived and is back with a vengeance! 

This popular marketing program was a game changer when it was first introduced over 16 years ago…but it was cancelled in the early 2000s.

Now, we’re relaunching BuyBC to connect more British Columbians with fabulous food, beverage and seafood products from here and across the province.

Agriculture and food production contributes so much to our society in terms of food security, economic activity and community strength.

I announced $2 million dollars per year for 3 years in support of cost-shared funding that is available not only to agricultural producers and processors, but also to relevant industry associations as well as fairs and markets within B.C.

As well, logo licensing agreements will be available for B.C. agriculture and seafood companies wishing to use the Buy BC logo to help consumers easily identify local products. 

More and more, British Columbians want to explore and taste what is grown and produced in B.C., and we’re helping provide the map to doing that by branding BC products with the Buy BC logo.
Our government is committed to doing more to help British Columbians understand the impact of their food choices. We want them to know that choosing to support local agriculture has positive impacts on B.C. farmers, fishermen, brewers and winemakers, to name a few, our health and also on our local economies.

When a consumer picks up a product with the Buy BC logo at their local grocery store or farmers market, the message will be clear!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Wildflower Seeds Available!

My community office received a super exciting delivery today! At the Day of the Honey Bee a few weeks ago MLA Ravi Kahlon had his own special “pollinator blend” of seeds that help support our native and domestic pollinators, and I knew I had to get in on the act. You might say he “sowed the seed” for this idea!  

I can’t wait for members of the community to plant these all around Saanich South in the coming weeks and months! I’ll be handing out seed packets at events all over the community, including Cordova Bay Day this coming Saturday!

I’ll also save some seed packets to keep at my community office, located at 4243 Glanford Road (Unit 260). It’s open from 9-4, Monday to Thursday – stop by if you’re in the area and pick up a package to plant in your garden!  

Friday, June 15, 2018

Public Education Set To Benefit From New Investments

Personally, I’m a huge believer in our public education system. A strong public education system is a benefit to all of us, and one of the most meaningful investments we can make in our kids and in our future.

What’s more, public education doesn’t just start at kindergarten and stop at Grade 12. Our province’s pre-primary and post-secondary education systems also play an important role in ensuring our future generations are equipped with the skills they need to thrive.  

Our government is committed to supporting every part of our education system, and I’m proud of the work we’ve been doing. Just today, we announced that School District 63 in Saanich will receive nearly $200,000 this year for needed upgrades and new equipment in trades classrooms!

This investment will allow students to learn on the most up-to-date technology and provide early exposure to some of the most rewarding and in-demand careers in our province. This investment is just part of $3.5 million being distributed across the province and many school districts, including SD 61 in Victoria, are set to benefit as well.

We’ve also taken meaningful steps to support the pre-primary child care sector. As just one example, for the first time in the Province’s history child care providers will be able to access repair, replacement and relocation funds. Whereas providers previously had to pay out-of-pocket for repair and facility upgrades, they can now focus on providing the quality care that so many families need.
Finally, we’ve been continuing to support and work with our partners at the post-secondary level. My colleague, the Minister of Advanced Education, Skills, and Training been leading this file for our government.

Just two examples of the action we’ve taken includes a $1.5 million funding announcement to increase accessibility funding at 20 post-secondary institutions across the province.  This funding will ensure education and employment training is accessible and works for everyone.

A little closer to home, our government announced a new $2.25 million graduate-student scholarship fund at UVIC that will help spark innovation, economic growth, and research that benefits British Columbians throughout the province.

Summer vacation will soon be upon us, but that doesn't mean the work will stop! I'm excited to continue on the progress we've made, and can't wait to see how these investments will impact our education system for years to come.

My colleague, the Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training Melanie Mark, announcing new graduate funding at UVIC

Friday, June 8, 2018

Thank You For An Amazing Open House!

To all of you who came out to our Open House this past Tuesday, thank you! The event was a huge success – we had over 70 folks show up to say hi, check out the new office, enjoy some delicious local food, and talk about all that we’ve accomplished over the past ten months. It was fantastic to see so many new and familiar faces!

If you weren’t able to make it out, please feel free to stop by the new office at your convenience! We’re located at 4243 Glanford Avenue, Unit 260. It’s right between the Red Barn and the Bottle Depot. As a reminder, our community office is able to provide assistance on a wide range of matters relating to the provincial government and provincial government agencies.

One more reminder: our new office has an amazing boardroom that can hold up to 40 people! It’s available to community groups in Saanich South free of charge. To find out more, drop by or give my office a call at (250) 479 4154.


With Zac and Ryan, two amazing young men and Saanich South constituents

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Day of the Honey Bee a Big Success!

I was so, so excited to celebrate the Day of the Honey Bee this year! 
On May 29th the Legislature was really "buzzing" with activity. We had representatives of the BC Honey Producers Association, the Capital Region Beekeepers Association, Feed the Bees, members from 4-H British Columbia and local honey producers join us for an incredible afternoon. 
Almost everyone knows about the delicious honey that bees make, but did you also know that their role of pollinators is absolutely vital to our agricultural sector and environment? 

In fact, it's estimated that Honey Bees contribute an estimated $538 million to our provincial economy and $3.2 billion across Canada!

At the Day of the Honey Bee I was thrilled to announce BeeBC, a $100,000 program to support community-based research on bee health! Delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation, the fund will provide up to $100,000 over two years to support small-scale regional or community-based projects to research, explore, field-test and share information about best management practices associated with bee health. 

I'm happy to report that BeeBC is just the latest program that will support our beekeepers and pollinators. Our government has been steadily increasing support for the honey bee industry since summer 2017. Late last year, the Province signed on as a co-sponsor of a study to find solutions to the bee health problems of honeybee colonies involved in pollination, with a contribution of $25,000 to support that research. 

More recently, two new inspectors were added to the provincial apiculture team. These inspectors provide vital services to beekeepers throughout the province by testing hives for diseases, as well as performing outreach and educating beekeepers with the latest information.

For those of you who weren’t able to make it down to the Legislature to celebrate with us, I’ve included some photos from the day below!  

Friday, June 1, 2018

Monthly Micro-Action: The Power of (Dog) Waste

*MLA’s note*  Laska is one of our amazing constituents in Saanich South. This is the second of a series of guest blog posts to provide tips on small changes we can make in our day-to-day lives to encourage us to live more sustainably. Read on below to find out more! - Lana 

Laska and a four-legged friend!
What if I told you our future could rely on poop for energy? You heard me, poop!

There is no escaping the conclusion that fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) are non-renewable and are mostly depended on for our energy needs. But they are limited in supply and will one day be depleted. In order to tackle the energy crisis, we need to seek out new sources of clean energy. That calls for a little innovation and rethinking the way we manage waste.

Your dog might seem like an unlikely source of renewable energy, but the facts are (1) dogs produce a lot of poo (2) it’s an unlimited, natural resource.

Turning poop to power is a way of the future and one I hope to bring to Greater Victoria through “The Power of Poo” campaign.

What’s this? you ask.

Over the past few months, I have partnered with Shaw TV to develop short videos on varied environmental protection topics. While researching content for my recent video feature, Paws & Poop, I Iearned how big the poo issue is in Greater Victoria and the lack of sustainable options available to pet owners. I started to learn about what other cities are doing to reduce the amount of poo sent to landfills. Some of the more innovative solutions include using dog poo to power streetlamps, and human sewage to power buses. Naturally, I thought: Why can’t we do this in Victoria?

Our city is known for its progressive lifestyle, thriving technology sector, abundant parkland, and some of the nation’s best educational intuitions. My goal for “The Power of Poo” campaign is to maximize the potential of waste diversion by producing something useful and build connections between the small changes we can make at the local level, and the impact of these changes on our local environment. Imagine if the streetlamps in parks across Greater Victoria were powered by bio-gas from dog poo? How satisfying would it be to recognize our furry friends as a source for clean energy?

Dog owner or not, everyone has a role to play in helping us shape a sustainable city. This month, I’m inviting you to consider the potential of dog droppings by signing “The Power of Poo” petition. The goal is to rally support to encourage municipalities across Greater Victoria to pilot waste-to-energy projects that turn dog poo into energy and divert this waste from the landfill.

Let’s work together and use this petition as an opportunity to make affordable change! While signing a petition might seem like a very small micro-action, collectively it will have an impact. If you’re keen to do more, spread the word by sharing the petition with your networks and join the discussion online. Together we will create cleaner parks and green spaces for all to enjoy, and hopefully reduce the likelihood of you stepping in dog poo.


Friday, May 25, 2018

Spring 2018 Constituency Report

Dear Constituents of Saanich South, 

Here is the digital version of my Spring 2018 Constituency Report! Click on the 'full screen' icon to view a large version. The purpose of this document is to report out to constituents on my recent work in Saanich South. I've also included a calendar of just some of the amazing upcoming events in and around Saanich South, as well as information about my Community Office Open House on June 5th!

Printed versions were also included in the Friday, May 25th edition of the Saanich News, and hard copies are available from my community office at 4243 Glanford Avenue, Unit 260. 

Cheers, Lana 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Saanich South residents to benefit from new hip and knee program

Just in case you missed it, I wanted to share some good news from the Ministry of Health: Saanich South residents are set to benefit from our government’s new surgical strategy!
New operating room resources – including a dedicated operating room at the Royal Jubilee Hospital – will significantly increase the number of hip and knee surgeries completed on the South Island each year.
It’s no secret that Saanich South residents are an active bunch: from enjoying the trails at Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park to biking the Lochside Trail or even working in the garden, being stuck on a surgery wait list can definitely impact one’s ability to enjoy a healthy and active life.
That’s why I’m so pleased that the new South Island program will result in an additional 800 surgeries for 2018-2019, with the total number increasing to around 2,400! This will significantly reduce the number of South Island patients waiting for hip and knee replacements, contributing to a greater quality of life for many.
What’s even better news is that the new South Island program is just one part of the government’s broader surgical strategy. Our government will continue to tackle surgeries with long wait times, while also ensuring that surgical programs and operating rooms are both properly staffed and run more efficiently to increase the amount of patients that can be seen.
As one of my staff remarked, hip and knee surgeries are something you don’t realize the importance of until you “knee-d” one for yourself. Not the best pun, to be sure – but some pretty good news overall for Saanich South residents.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Micro-Actions, Big Results.

*MLA’s note* I’m so happy to introduce Laska Paré! Laska is one of our amazing constituents in Saanich South, and over the coming months she’ll be writing a series of guest blog posts to provide tips on small changes we can make in our day-to-day lives to encourage us to live more sustainably. Read on below to find out more! -Lana 

Climate change: it’s in the news almost daily as the most pressing issue of our time. Yet for such an important issue it can feel out of grasp for most individuals. How can we engage or influence something we cannot see or feel? And while some regions of the world bear the brunt of climate change (think: submerged Solomon Islands in the Pacific), if we don’t see much change in our local climate, how much will it really impact our lives?

Climate is not seen outside the window – it’s not the weather. It’s a collection of data and patterns presented in a statistical construct. This can make it challenging to talk about a changing climate system; we have to realize that we’re not dealing with something tangible.
So how can ‘we’, regular people living our lives, take action and do something about this obscure ‘thing’?

Every day we make millions of micro-actions, the small, easy (sometimes unconscious) decisions that over time amount to real world impacts. What if we consciously decided to adopt micro-actions that would support sustainable practices? Imagine if you walked or biked instead of bussed or drove to work? What if you stopped purchasing products that came with additional packaging?
These micro-actions are small, but over time they become the data and patterns that build up the ‘statistical construct’ that is our global climate.

Decades from now, when your children or grandchildren ask, ‘Did you know about climate change?’ consider you want your answer to be: “Yes, and here are the micro-actions I took to help.”

Micro-actions for May

The first step in becoming more aware of your waste is to investigate yourself. One of the easiest ways to do this is by actually looking at your garbage and recycling. The next time you’re rolling the bin to the curb or carrying that blue box to the roadside for pick up pause, look at your waste, then ask yourself, “Can I eliminate one thing to lighten this load?”

A common household item often placed in the garbage are toilet paper and paper towel rolls. Empty toilet paper rolls often never make it into recycling bins because they get mixed with garbage. Make it easier to recycle these tubes by placing a small recycling bin in your bathroom; or why not ditch the bathroom trash can all together? Most bathroom bins are filled with items that can be composted, like hair, nail clippings and tissues. Having a bin supports the idea of bathroom trash. Try supporting a new narrative: no bin, no waste. Experiment for a week and see what happens. You might realize how unnecessary it is…

***Note: In the CRD, paper towel and toilet paper rolls go into the blue bag (along with other paper products)

- Laska 

Thursday, May 3, 2018

A 100th Birthday Party to Remember!!!

I was so excited to attend the Saanich Observatory’s centennial celebration today!  

100 years is an incredible milestone, but what makes it even more special is the story of how it all began.
Construction of the observatory began in 1914 under the leadership of Canada’s top astronomer of the day, John Stanley Plaskett.  
Two years later, the site was ready for the telescope’s 9.5-tonne polar axis. It took 12 draft horses a day and a half to cart it to the top. The final piece needed was an enormous Belgian-cast glass mirror that was carefully turned on its side and rolled like a dime into the Observatory. There it was silvered and mounted in place and the observatory captured its first images on May 6, 1918.
This Sunday will be the anniversary of the first day data was received from space by this amazing piece of equipment. 
It may surprise you that this old telescope is still used today for cutting-edge scientific work. A state-of-the-art digital back-end is now strapped to its enormous mirrored eye, making it 10,000 times more sensitive than when first built.
Mr. Plaskett obviously believed in the importance of science, but he also firmly believed that public access to science was just as important.  
For over a decade, the federal government funded excellent public-outreach efforts at the observatory. In 2001, it built an interpretive centre, the Centre of the Universe, and invested in public outreach.
That investment led to many activities, including public Saturday night star viewings, sci-fi movies projected on the side of the observatory, regular busloads of people on heritage and tourist visits, intensive youth summer camps and tens of thousands of public visits and school class trips.
Many children benefited enormously from witnessing high-level science in action and learning about the universe from top NRC staff and scientists. Many young people have been inspired to pursue the sciences from their experiences at the Saanich Observatory.
All of this outreach came to a crashing halt with an announcement by the federal government that, for the first time in its history, there would be no public access to the Saanich Observatory. 
The change was described by the government as a cost-saving measure, even though the expense was a minuscule 0.02 per cent of the $950-million NRC budget.
But the story didn’t end there!
Thankfully, our community came together and rallied to save this gem of an institution. My non-partisan community office worked with local educators and community leaders, heritage experts, UVIC professors and members of the public over many months to restore public access to the Centre of the Universe. 
The abrupt closure had an unintended consequence: it sparked thousands of people to learn about what they were losing and they soon came together to push for a better outcome. Media coverage of the impending closure led almost 1,000 people to try to visit on the final public night — and almost every one of them signed a petition calling for funding of public access to be restored.
When you wish upon a star in Saanich it seems that dreams really do come true! In 2014 Volunteers with the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) began setting up their telescopes for public gazing throughout the summer, and there were public tours of the Observatory itself. Momentum started to build and an organization called Friends of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory Society, a non-profit, was formed and from there we have seen amazing things happen!  
To this day, I am amazed – and exceedingly grateful – to our entire community for their efforts to re-open the Observatory for everyone to enjoy. 
I’ll soon be announcing more details about an event I’m holding to celebrate 100 years of space science in Saanich! 
Continue to watch my blog for more updates, but it will involve my new community office, the Observatory, local Saanich South artists, and of course, local food!  
In the meantime, I would encourage all community members to visit the Centre of the Universe for themselves. The Friends of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory (FDAO) and RASC Victoria Centre are hosting twenty Saturday evenings at the DAO, featuring guest speakers, solar and nighttime observing with telescopes provided by RASC Victoria Centre volunteers, tours of the historic Plaskett telescope, and more! 
Rain or shine, they will have something for everyone. More information about the Saturday Star Parties is available here , and you can reserve your tickets (which are totally free!) 
After a fantastic first 100 years, I can’t wait to see what the next century will bring! ​
Happy 100th Birthday to the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory! 
P.S. Here is a video link from 2013, the last night of public access....or so we thought! 

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

We've Moved!

We have moved! 

We've officially opened our brand new constituency office and we are open for business! 

260-4243 Glanford Ave
Victoria, BC
V8Z 4B9

Our hours are:

Monday - Thursday 9am-4pm
Fridays by appointment only

Monday, February 5, 2018

Looking for your Feedback on the Revitalization of the ALR and ALC

Here is a fantastic update on our advisory committee regarding the revitalization of the ALR and ALC! The committee has released its consultation paper and is seeking opinions and feedback.

The opportunity for British Columbians to participate in the public engagement on revitalization of the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) and the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) is now open. The paper and online survey focus on collecting opinions and views on 10 common themes:

1.       A defensible and defended ALR

2.       ALR resilience

3.       Stable governance

4.       Efficacy of Zones 1 and 2

5.       Interpretation and implementation of the act and regulation

6.       Food security and B.C.’s agricultural contribution

7.       Residential uses in the ALR

8.       Farm processing and sales in the ALR

9.       Unauthorized uses

10.   Non-farm uses and resource extraction in the ALR

This committee will also be hosting regional stakeholder meetings with invited representatives to hear directly from the local farming and ranching communities and organizations in Abbotsford, Cranbrook, Fort St. John, Kamloops, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Prince George, Quesnel and Richmond.

Please take the time to participate in the public engagement online or contribute feedback through email and mail submissions. For more information, please visit: