Friday, June 20, 2014

Public Education is the foundation of Democracy

Dear Constituents of Saanich South,

As you know, public school teachers across the province are out on strike. They are demanding improved wages, smaller class sizes and better support for students with special needs.

As a parent of a grade 10 student in the public system I know how urgently improvements are needed in our schools …and I know how harmful this strike is to students, especially those in grades 11 and 12.

It is time for the government to come to the table and negotiate better terms for teachers. 

Instead, we see the government turning away from the breakdown in our public school system. In fact, we know from testimony made under oath in Court by the BC Liberal government’s own chief negotiator that the government’s explicit goal was to provoke the teachers into striking.

They pushed the teachers into this strike in order to create a crisis that they can use to justify forcing teachers back to work through punitive legislation.

No less an authority than the Supreme Court of BC has ruled – not once, but twice -- that the BC Liberals broke the law when negotiating with teachers. In the last ruling, made in January of this year, the Court even fined the BC government two million dollars for acting in bad faith.

This dispute has severely disrupted the school year and schools are now shut down with no end in sight.

That is why BC’s Opposition Leader John Horgan today called on the government to bring in an independent negotiator to help settle this dispute.

If the BC Liberals think teachers will put their tail between their legs and slink back to the classroom they are delusional.

Teachers have tried bargaining patiently for years. They have tried modest job action. They have tried rotating strikes. All of it has been answered by the BC Liberals with hostility and political manoeuvring.

To the BC Liberal Government, inflicting pain on students and parents and teachers in the public school system is better than paying the cost of addressing sub-standard class size and composition.

Thank you BC teachers for fighting for what is right!

With the public’s help, public educators will teach the BC Liberals a lesson:

British Columbians expect their government to fund a healthy public education system.

Email Premier Christy Clark a message and help her learn this lesson.

And join me in speaking out in support of public education. It is the foundation of democracy.


Lana Popham, MLA Saanich South

Thursday, June 19, 2014

7 free Saturday Night Star-Gazing Parties confirmed for 2014!

Guests waiting to enter the Observatory on what was
scheduled to be the final night of public viewing, Aug 24 2013 
Dear Friends,

The Dominion Astrophysical Observatory will be open for public observing on seven Saturday nights this summer.

The grounds of the DAO will open from 8:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. for the Saturday night observing sessions on July 5, 12 and 19, August 2, 9 and 16, and September 6.

On these evenings, volunteers will use their telescopes to show visitors the Moon, planets, stars and other objects in the sky. As well, these evenings will include audio-visual presentations and astronomy lectures inside the historic Plaskett Telescope. These inside activities will take place regardless of the weather conditions.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Gov't revamp of recycling sector should be subject of Auditor General investigation

To Whom it May Concern,

The BC Ministry of Environment has set up a scheme which uses recycling regulation to compel business people to pay over 100 million dollars annually to a corporation that is outside of public accountability mechanisms. The corporation is called MMBC, and is run by three people, two of whom are Vice-Presidents of Loblaws and Unilever respectively.

It is a matter of grave public concern when significant funds are collected through regulatory authority but are diverted outside of the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act, the Financial Administration Act and the Auditor General Act.

Last month I laid out my concerns in detail to the Auditor General in a four page letter. My position has been endorsed by successful business-people across industry sectors and across the province, including Mr. Kelvin McCullloch. Mr McCulloch is a former forensic auditor and current Chairman of the Board and CEO of Buckerfields, an award-winning BC
business with eight stores, over 110 employees and annual sales receipts above twenty million dollars.

We all understand that the BC Liberal Government's scheme should trigger action by the Auditor General because it is consistent with other attempts to funnel taxpayer funds outside of public accountability mechanisms that were eventually found to be illegal. The sponsorship scandal in Ottawa and the McKim advertising scandal in BC are just two examples.

Defend our Coast!

Yesterday the Federal Government gave significant approval to the Enbridge pipeline proposal.

This is definitive evidence that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative Government are not acting in the best interests of British Columbia.

The Northern Gateway Pipeline Proposal must not proceed. 

I join millions of others to demand that Premier Christy Clark respect the will of BC and oppose this project. 

It time for her to be true to her word: her “5 conditions” have not been met and therefore this project cannot move forward.

Then the BC Liberals can cancel a few meetings with their Big Oil lobbyist/donor friends and find more time to focus on what will create diverse long-term economic benefits: helping industry create more good-quality jobs that benefit BC communities, respects First Nations and protects our land, air and water.