Wednesday, September 24, 2014

People of faith, thank you!

Faith in Action is a social-justice group made up of community leaders from different religions and faith traditions. The group has released an evocative 'social covenant' that defines our concerns and responsibilities as citizens of British Columbia. 

Please come to the front steps of the BC Legislature at 11:30am on Wednesday, October 8. Your presence will demonstrate the importance of these ideas.    

Friday, September 19, 2014

New poll confirms overwhelming support in BC for the ALR

As Opposition spokesperson for agriculture, I have very important news to share with you: a poll released this week shows that more British Columbians than ever want strong protections for B.C. farmland.
Commissioned by the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia and the Vancouver Foundation, the poll found an astounding 95 percent of British Columbians believe our Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) should be preserved for green space and growing food.
A full 80 percent of those polled were concerned about our dependence on other countries for our food supply.

Our society is stronger, safer and more productive when we support those in need

My office helped this family secure temporary shelter and I will keep working with them and others in Saanich South who are homeless or in crisis. Our society is stronger, safer and more productive when we support those in need. Lana
PS. Excellent editorial in Today's Times Colonist: "Housing worth public expense"


'We're at our breaking point:' Saanich family in housing crisis

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The fight for public education is far from over

It is excellent news that public schools may re-open next week. 

However, it is an absolute outrage that our kids have missed 5 weeks of school in total.
  
This has been the longest province-wide shut-down of schools in BC’s history.  

Teachers will vote today on whether or not to accept the tentative agreement reached between their union and the BC Government.

I offer a heartfelt "thank-you" to the teachers for fighting so hard for public education.
  
Every citizen of this province benefits from a well-educated population.  A sure way to “grow the economy” is to fund a public education system that allows the opportunity for everyone to reach their potential.

In my opinion,  we have a Premier and Education Minister who do not appreciate the value of what public school teachers do and do not understand the importance of public education.

The loss of teaching time has hurt our kids' education and is a shameful mark on the record of the BC Liberal government.


Regardless of the outcome of the current contract negotiations today, the struggle to protect public education in BC is far from over. 

As a parent of a public school student and as a Member of the BC Legislative Assembly, I will continue to fight for a public education system that we can all be proud of. 

Our kids deserve nothing less. 

-
My recent statements on the school shut-down:



Sep 10, 2014
As the parent of a child in public school (grade 11), I personally understand how unacceptable the current situation is. I am working with my colleagues in the Official Opposition to press the government towards a fair resolution.
We continue to advocate for arbitration. The government is currently rejecting arbitration. It is important to maintain pressure and rally the public to demand the government reconsider its rejection of arbitration ….

Sep 04, 2014
Tuesday should have been the first day of school in our province. It should have been the exciting beginning of a new year, but instead, it brought another day of frustration and disappointment for children and their families ….

Opposition Education Critic calls for education minister to step down

Aug 31, 2014
New Democrat education spokesperson Rob Fleming released the following statement on the breakdown of talks in the education dispute:
“With just two days left before the start of school, it is clear Education Minister Peter Fassbender has utterly failed kids and families in B.C. Either he should admit he is not up to the task and step down, or Premier Clark should remove him ....

Aug 07, 2014
I'm also a parent of a grade eleven student in public school. And I'm a citizen who believes passionately in the importance of accessible high-quality K-12 education for all, regardless of one's ability to pay. That is why I argue ....

Jun 20, 2014
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 ....

May 27, 2014
I'm also angry at how the BC government is treating our teachers and the school system. Premier Clark and her government have not only failed to negotiate an agreement with teachers, they have escalated the conflict with a ....

Feb 03, 2014
A child who entered kindergarten when Premier Clark was first made education minister will graduate this year having spent all their years in school in larger classes with fewer supports because of her legislation. Legislation ...


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The renaissance of "local food" continues to grow

New Residential Care Facility in Saanich South


Almost done: The Heights at Mt View is in the final stages of construction.
An opening ceremony is scheduled for October 16, 2014
Dear Saanich South Residents,

After much hard work, The Heights at Mt View is nearly complete! 

This  facility is located in Saanich South at 3814 Carey Road, will be a tremendous community asset, providing critical housing and complex care for more than 250 seniors. 

Click on the image to the right to see a live-cam of the building in its final stages of construction. 

I would like to congratulate Howard Johnson and his entire team at Baptist Housing. They have put in a million dollar donation and countless hours over the past decade to bring this project to life and will continue on managing the facility and providing care and related services with funding from Island Health. The project is part of a regional effort with excellent contributions from the Capital Regional District, Island Health, Saanich, the Mt. View Colquitz Community Association and the Province of BC. 

The Heights at Mt View will include 2 20-patient houses designed for seniors with early-stage dementia, 55 affordable housing units for seniors, 36 supportive housing units to reduce homelessness and 18 housing units available to middle- to low-income families. This facility will replace suites at Mount Edward's Court and the Central Care Home. 

Lana


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Premier, my son wants to go to school



Dear Saanich South,

As the parent of a child in public school (grade 11), I personally understand how unacceptable the current situation is. I am working with my colleagues in the Official Opposition to press the government towards a fair resolution.
We continue to advocate for arbitration. The government is currently rejecting arbitration. It is important to maintain pressure and rally the public to demand the government reconsider its rejection of arbitration.
Accepting arbitration is an excellent compromise by the teachers.  It would allow for a balanced solution and get kids back into the class-room immediately. (School could resume now, while the arbitration process unfolds.)
In my view, the government has been unwilling to compromise to end this dispute and must be held accountable for the longest province-wide shut-down of schools in B.C. history. 
Providing quality public education is a fundamental obligation of the provincial government and the BC Liberal government is obviously failing miserably in that regard. That is why we are calling on Education Minister to resign and for the government to adopt a new approach to this dispute. 
It seems clear to many that the Premier has no compunction about depriving children in the public system of education for weeks or months longer. That would be terrible for many BC families. We will need to work together to bring about a resolution. I encourage you to write (or keep writing) to the Premier (premier@gov.bc.ca).
Lana

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Chris Gainor reviews the Summer of 2014 at the Saanich Observatory



Chris Gainor
Check out this great blog post from the indefatigable Chris Gainor. Chris is a well-known writer and historian specializing in the history of space exploration and aeronautics. He is the Second Vice President of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society. He has authored four books and has a Ph.D. in the history of technology.


A great summer at the Centre of the Universe

The first summer of public outreach at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory since last year's closure of the Centre of the Universe educational centre has gone in the books as a major success.

Large crowds came out for Saturday night public observing at the DAO, and space camps held for young students were also well supported. Having said that, this year's public outreach was not trouble free, and a lot of work needs to be done in the coming months to ensure that public outreach continues on a more permanent basis.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Local recycling business forced to close after government changes to recycling sector

ANOTHER UPDATE!
Click here to sign my petition calling on the Auditor General to review MMBC.

UPDATE
Both the Times Colonist and the Black Press local papers picked up on this story. Visit the links to read more:

Times Colonist, Sept 9 2014
New provincial recycling program killed Central Saanich firm, says ex-GM

Peninsula News Review, August 30 2014
Starved of Plastics, Syntal Products on Keating closes

Syntal General Manager Brian Burchill and MLA
Lana Popham, August 2014

The provincial government continues to push forward with recycling regulations that are bad for the environment and bad for local business. In fact, the BC Liberals are breaking small businesses in the recycling sector by gifting a monopoly over residential recycling to a handful of mega-corporations. 

Example number one is the recent closure of Syntal Products, located on Keating Cross Road.

Over the last sixteen years Syntal has allowed residents to drop-off used hard plastics at no charge for recycling. Syntal took in thousands of tons of the stuff, diverting it from the Hartland Landfill. The company uses innovative green technology to transform the material into all-plastic lumber, which never rots and, because it is non-toxic, is a more-environmentally responsible product than chemically treated wood.

According to Syntal’s General Manager, Brian Burchill, 60% of their supply of residential plastics was cut off the day the MMBC program started. The company was not longer viable and has now been shut down and sold to a business in another province.

MMBC is demanding that all materials collected are siphoned off to specific big businesses it selects. That is why smaller operations like Syntal are being shut-down and why small businesses across the whole sector are very concerned about being pushed under.

The closure of Syntal is a significant loss: thanks to the monopolistic practices of MMBC, enabled by the provincial government, we have lost good local jobs, a great and green local business and an environmentally-friendly system to locally handle and reuse plastic waste.

I’m extremely concerned for the future of our BC recycling businesses. The BC Liberals claims they are pro-business, but here is an example of them meddling with the free market to ensure large corporations can profit from the residential recycling sector. Ultimately it is the environment and the people of BC who will be worse off.

MMBC, a contentious and much-criticized residential recycling program, was introduced by the BC Liberal Government and came into effect this spring. It is controlled by the Ontario-based Canadian Stewardship Services Alliance’s board of directors, which includes representation from Unilever Canada, Metro, Walmart, Tim Hortons, Loblaw Companies, Coca-Cola Canada and Procter & Gamble.

Please click here for background on this issue.

Lana

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Time for Premier Clark to set a new tone with teachers

Here is an Op-Ed from the Leader of the Official Opposition about the shut-down of public schools in BC. -L.
By John Horgan, leader, B.C. New Democrats, Sept 7 2014

Tuesday should have been the first day of school in our province. It should have been the exciting beginning of a new year, but instead, it brought another day of frustration and disappointment for children and their families.

Premier Christy Clark and her education minister have tried to say the things they think people want to hear – like that they are willing to meet 24/7, and that class size and composition issues are important – but their actions speak much louder than words. The premier’s only actions as the education labour dispute have been to inflame the situation further and show disrespect to our province’s teachers.