Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Government takes action to strengthen consumer protections


Today our government announced more measures to strengthen consumer protections and improve affordability for BC’s most financially vulnerable people.

Over the last few years, I’ve unfortunately heard from too many constituents who were living paycheque to paycheque, and who were sometimes forced to seek high-cost loans to pay for unexpected or emergency expenses. These loans from alternative lenders often came with terms and conditions that were almost impossible to meet, ensnaring folks in a negative feedback loop of debt payments and increasing interest charges.

Our government has already introduced tougher rules on payday loans and cheque-cashing fees, and the new regulatory framework announced today provides stronger protections and safeguards for folks using these services, including set limits on the total cost of borrowing, creating borrowers’ rights and remedies, and prohibiting certain fees and chargers. There’s also an educational component so folks can be more informed when they choose to borrow money.

More information about the proposed changes is available here: 

And for more info about borrowing money in general, click here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/family-social-supports/borrowing-money

Friday, February 22, 2019

BC Ferry Rates Remain Frozen!


Great news today for folks who rely on BC Ferries to get to Vancouver, Gabriola, Salt Spring, or any number of other beautiful destinations in our province: fares will be frozen for the second year in a row!

This announcements builds on government's previous work to reduce fares on smaller routes by 15 percent, and to bring back the Monday-Thursday 100% discount for seniors last April.

And the good news keeps rolling in: the BC Government is also moving to increase service on 10 ferry routes that were cut in 2014, restoring 2,700 round-trip sailings this coming year!

The ship is definitely turning around thanks to government's action, and it's now going full steam ahead! In fact, the Province announced today that it will be amending the Coastal Ferry Act to ensure that the ferry model is putting people who rely on the service first.

More information is available here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2019TRAN0019-000257

Friday, February 15, 2019

Fun Activities for Family Day!


Pssst…. Family Day is coming up this Monday! Not sure how to spend the day? There are a bunch of amazing things in and around Saanich to take advantage of! The BC Government is funding free admission to one of my favourite places ever: The Royal BC Museum! AND they have a new Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit that just opened, and you can visit any time from 10 am to 5 pm! The Arts Centre at Cedar Hill Rec is also having a free Family Day Festival from 11 am to 3 pm with a wide variety of activities led by staff and guests from the Victoria art community! And for good measure, Saanich Commonwealth Place also has a bunch of activities, including fun swims from 10-12 and from 1-4 with a special family rate. No matter how you choose to spend the day I hope it’s filled with rest and relaxation!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Happy Year of the Pig!

It was bright, brisk and beautiful in downtown Victoria today!! I was joined by my colleagues Carole James, Rob Fleming and Mitzi Dean as we visited folks in Chinatown and celebrated the Year of the Pig at the Lion Dance Parade! Thanks to the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association and all the amazing volunteers for their work in putting this wonderful event on!







Monday, February 4, 2019

Monthly Micro-Action: Reuse, Repurpose and Get Your Craft On!

*MLA’s note* I’m so pleased to introduce Laska ParĂ© - one of our amazing constituents in Saanich South, and a monthly guest blogger on my website. Laska provides tips on subtle changes we can make day-to-day to live more sustainably. Read on below to find out more! -Lana

I love crafting. It’s an opportunity to focus all my attention on a project in a quiet, contained environment and create a masterpiece! It’s also the perfect opportunity to get my imagination and inspiration pumps flowing without breaking a sweat. Though I do love a good workout, sometimes you just need to create something with your hands and feel really good about it.

When I started leaning into a zero-waste lifestyle, I became more conscious of a product’s life-cycle. While diverting material from the landfill is a good thing, I questioned some of the materials in my craft kit and was worried these materials were doing more harm to the environment and I would have to STOP crafting.

Cue sad emoji. ☹

Instead of seeing this as a set back, I decided to utilize my environmental awareness to come up with unique craft creations.

Turns out, there are a lot of materials I can use without producing waste, and here are a few suggestions:

1. Use materials found in nature like shells, seed pods, leaves, nuts, dried flowers and pebbles.

2. Use new materials that are made from nature like jute, cotton, cellophane, cardboard, metal and glass.

3. Reuse and repurpose materials obtained second-hand.

You’d be surprised how much of a rush you get out of finding something natural and turning it into something completely different that looks expensive. Behold my most recent creation, a Beachwood wreath!


Micro-Actions For February

Now it’s your turn to experiment! Both children and adults can benefit from crafting – science indicates there are numerous health and mental benefits – and collecting materials directly from nature is one way to do that. It also helps you avoid single-use packaging, which can be tricky when making purchases from a store.

The best news?

You don’t have to compromise your crafting passion or the environment’s health.

Laska

Friday, February 1, 2019

Tackling the Root Causes of Poverty


Recently, I’ve had conversations with my constituents in Saanich South about the causes of poverty in a province that’s as lucky as ours. After years of neglect under previous governments, it’s shocking to learn that our province has the second-worst poverty rate in Canada. And even sadder is that 20 percent of those living in poverty are children.

These are more than just numbers – they’re peoples lives.

Unfortunately, for sixteen years life got harder under the previous government. Housing prices skyrocketed, calls to raise welfare rates were ignored, and life became less affordable.

We're doing our level best to change that. Last fall, our New Democrat government passed historic legislation that set bold poverty reduction targets. We’ve taken significant action already to reduce poverty. We’ve announced record funding for affordable housing and childcare, have over 2,000 modular homes under construction, and cut MSP premiums in half.

We know that poverty can negatively impact health and education outcomes, creating a negative feedback loop that can be incredibly difficult to break. But by investing in children and their families, we’re working to break the cycle that keeps people impoverished from one generation to the next. When you invest in children, you lift up their entire family – and their future.

We know there’s more work to do. Our Poverty Reduction Strategy will be released in the coming weeks, and we’ve committed to reducing the overall poverty rate by 25 percent, and the child poverty rate by 50 percent, in the next five years.

For the first time, BC has targets and timelines in place to hold government accountable for reducing poverty. That’s a huge and important step forward. The work has only just begun, but I’m proud of the work our government is doing to create a more equitable province for all British Columbians.