Thursday, June 13, 2019


Old Growth Forests
One of the many things that connects me to my constituency is shared values and the passion that we have for issues that arise from those values. Saanich Southites are an informed, passionate and engaged constituency of people. It's why I feel at home here, it's why I connect with this community so deeply.

Many of our shared values are around equality, dignity and respect. Respect for each other, and for our earth.

It is with these shared values as guides that we, as government, create policies and make decisions that affect an entire province of families, and ultimately generations of people. It is these shared values that we hold dear in our approach to protecting biodiversity and managing our amazing old growth forests. Values that we must balance as we care for our earth and while we ensure that workers and communities are supported.

And, Saanich South, I have heard from many of you that you are concerned about this balance. I hear you when you say that you understand that we have an industry, communities and families that have been neglected for far too long and need our support, and, as well, I hear that you treasure our old-growth forests, as I do, and that we have a duty to protect the precious bio-regions that we are the custodians of.

I have heard you, and we're still listening.

Our government is working to protect much of the old growth on the Coast, in the Great Bear Rainforest and on Vancouver Island. On the Island there are about 520,000 hectares of old growth forests that will not be logged (the equivalent of over 1,700 Cathedral Groves). Our old growth forests are protected in parks and other protected areas, wildlife habitat areas and old growth management areas. Old growth management areas are designated specifically to protect the biodiversity found in old growth ecosystems.

Over 50% of old growth forests are already protected on Vancouver Island and the Coast and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations is working on a new old growth strategy. Discussions are happening with stakeholders, and they will be launching a public engagement process in the near future.

The previous BC Liberal government cut the Forest Service, and allowed the export of raw logs to skyrocket. Part of our strategy includes increasing monitoring, modernizing management practices, and ensuring we are getting more value out of every log. The forest sector is vital to the economy of Vancouver Island, generating more than 24,000 direct jobs and $3.1 billion in gross domestic product. We have just seen several hundred workers lose their jobs in the Interior, in part due to lack of logs. A moratorium would ultimately lead to more job loss on Vancouver Island. Ending logging in all old growth forests on Vancouver Island would shut down the forest industry. Lumber from old growth trees is used to make value-added wood products, such as doors, mouldings, flooring, and decking. Products made from old-growth timber are valued for their strength (tight grain) and beauty.

We believe we can find a balance between protecting the health and sustainability of our forests, and ensuring a robust forest industry that supports good-paying jobs for people across BC.

BC Timber Sales has plans to log less than 900 hectares of old growth forests on Vancouver Island this year.  The estimate of 8,800 hectares released by Sierra Club is not accurate.  BC Timber Sales has published preliminary maps in areas they intend to log over the next 10 to 15 years.  These are NOT final cutblocks or timber sale licences. The actual areas to be logged will be much smaller as plans are developed.

In BC, we plant three trees for each one that is harvested - and young trees can often take up carbon faster than mature stands. Over time, companies will need to transition to second-growth stands, but that can’t happen overnight. To begin with, there is limited second-growth available on the island, and harvesting those stands too early would mean in the next decade or two we would be facing timber shortages again. A second consideration is that most mills on the island are set up to process larger logs. Re-tooling those mills to process smaller logs would be costly and can’t be done overnight.

We're working on it, and it takes time. 

While ensuring supply is one component of stabilizing the economic situation, our government is also looking at changes to practices that will make better use of materials. This could make hundreds of thousands or even millions of cubic metres of fibre available to small producers and pulp mills - creating and sustaining small producer jobs.The San Group has communicated its plan to build a new mill in the Port Alberni area, which would process second growth logs.

Achieving that balance is key.

Right now we are working on a new old growth strategy. Initial amendments to the Forest and Range Practices Act passed in the spring. These amendments protect endangered plant communities from logging. Public engagement on a second set of changes to the act began in late May, with the amendments likely to be introduced in 2020.

We want to hear from you! 

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development is conducting a Review of the Private Managed Forest Land Program (also known as the Managed Forest Program). The review is one of several policy reforms announced as part of the Coast Forest Sector Revitalization Initiative.

The review will examine how well the Private Managed Forest Land Program is meeting its goals to:
  • encourage private landowners to manage their lands for long-term forest production, and 
  • encourage sustainable forest management practices, including the protection of key public environmental values.
You can participate in a couple of ways - an online survey or you can request to make a written submission.

The opportunity for public comment ends July 9, 2019.
Input received from this engagement process is an important part of the ministry’s review of the program. To determine where the program is most effective, and if improvements are needed, the ministry wishes to understand the different views and concerns of all British Columbians. The ministry plans to develop recommendations for fall 2019.
To provide input:
We're also reaching out to the forest and range industry, communities and organizations for their feedback on how we improve legislation on sustainably managing our forests and rangelands.

The Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) governs the sustainable management of B.C.’s public forest and range resources. It covers planning and practices that protect environmental resources and public safety, as well as public oversight and administrative fairness for those who hold rights to forest and range resources.
Together, the Act and its regulations are the foundation for competitive forest and ranching industries, partnerships with Indigenous peoples, and stability for forestry and ranching-dependent communities.
We want to improve the legislation to ensure it will continue to sustainably manage our forests and rangelands. Guiding principles for proposed changes include putting the resiliency of the land first, public trusts, reconciliation with Indigenous Nations, scientific knowledge as well as flexibility.

Forest and range industry, communities and organizations are encouraged to provide written comments through stakeholder submission to engagefrpa@gov.bc.ca 

Feedback will be accepted until July 15, 2019 at 4:00 p.m.

Feedback from the engagement process will inform changes to the Forest and Range Practices Act and regulations that are planned over the next two years. A What We Heard Report will summarize comments received and be publicly available in fall 2019. We will post a link to that report as it becomes available this fall.

I invite you to visit the engagement site for more info on how to provide input: HERE.

Your government is trying to achieve a balance that works for all British Columbians - based on our shared values. We know there is still a lot of work to do, and we’re committed to moving forward and doing more to protect our old growth forests. 

Please stay engaged, informed, and in touch.


Tuesday, June 4, 2019


How does the Budget get put together? Is there an opportunity for input?

The answer to that is YES! 

And - this year that opportunity is earlier than it has been in the past.
Our government wants to make sure that we include the input that we'll receive from British Columbians when we're making the decisions that we need to make around Budget 2020 and to do so, we need to hear from you, earlier.

Here's how it works...

A parliamentary committee of the legislative assembly, called The Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services, annually invites British Columbians to share their priorities and ideas for the next provincial budget. This process is meant to ensure that the priorities of the people of BC are included in the decisions that this government makes around financial priorities.

While the consultation has in the past taken place in the fall, this year it will take place in the summer to enable the committee to deliver its report earlier in the budget process. As such, the process opened on Monday, June 3, 2019. 
"Every year, the committee hears diverse perspectives and suggestions on a number of topics," said Bob D'Eith, committee chair. "Moving the consultation to June will allow for more time to review and consider this input and the recommendations put forward by the committee."

There are many opportunities and ways to participate. All BCers are encouraged to take part and share their views on the issues affecting their families and communities. That's individual citizens - like you - or larger groups from schools, neighbourhoods, communities, causes or organizations.

British Columbians can provide their input in several ways - whatever is most convenient and comfortable. We want to make this an inclusive process. It is, after all, your Budget!

You can submit input by speaking with the committee in-person or via teleconference at a public hearing; by providing a written, audio or video submission; or simply by filling out an online survey. HERE is the link for submission info.

Public hearings are being held all over the province. The public hearing for the Capital Region will be held in Colwood  on Monday June 10, 2019 from 8:45 am - 4:00 pm in the City of Colwood Council Chambers at 3300 Wishart Road. 

Registration for public hearings is open now via the committee's website HERE

Teleconference opportunities and interpretive services can be requested by calling 250 356-2933 or 1 877 428-8337 (toll-free in B.C.).


The deadline for all input is Friday, June 28, 2019, at 5 p.m. (Pacific time). The committee intends to release its report in late July or early August.


The members of the committee are:
  • Bob D'Eith, MLA Maple Ridge-Mission (chair)
  • Dan Ashton, MLA Penticton (deputy chair)
  • Doug Clovechok, MLA Columbia River-Revelstoke
  • Rich Coleman, MLA Langley East
  • Mitzi Dean, MLA Esquimalt-Metchosin
  • Ronna-Rae Leonard, MLA Courtenay-Comox
  • Nicholas Simons, MLA Powell River-Sunshine Coast
AND -  this is the first year that BC Government has multiple languages provided for 2020 budget consultation papers.  See HERE for non-English documents.

It's YOUR Budget - get involved and have your say!



Thursday, May 30, 2019



Recycling in the Capital Region

The Saanich South Constituency Office has been getting lots of e-mails about recycling this month so we thought a blog post was in order. Please do feel free to share it!

Please know that while it may be a little less convenient for some, there are lots of options for making sure that our plastics, metal, glass and papers stay out of the landfill.

First of all - Blue Box. Not a lot has changed there – it is still a pretty comprehensive resource. And there is some confusion about what is accepted (yes - clam shells are still accepted!). See the full list HERE.

We realize that our good friends (and neighbours!) at the Bottle Depot are no longer accepting any Blue Box items or plastic wraps and bags, stryofoam or flexible plastic packaging, BUT please rest assured that they are still accepting can and bottles that offer refunds. And – at their Glanford and Queens locations they still accept batteries, light bulbs and lighting fixtures, small appliances and electronics. For their full list go HERE.

Hartland Depot still accepts ALL recyclable items for FREE – including the small propane tanks, plastic overwrap and styrofoam. They're open until 2 pm on Saturdays for your convenience (and throughout the week as well. Check out their hours online).

Plastic bags and overwrap, foam packaging, and other flexible plastic packaging can also be returned to London Drugs locations – yeah London Drugs! See all the details HERE

Please know that RecycleBC changes will see that all recyclable items that were accepted – are still accepted – just at different locations. The Victoria area recycling info can be found HERE – with a Return-it Depot on Ellery Street in Esquimalt.

As well, Pacific Mobile is still operating at Reynolds School on the 4th Saturday of every month – as well as other locations around the CRD. You can find out more info HERE.

Please know that this government is committed to working to not only recycle responsibly – but to reduce waste at all stages of product life. BC is a leader in sustainable environmental management and we understand that effective waste management procedures and solutions contribute a great deal to preserving our environment. This is an ever-changing opportunity – and challenge – and this BC government is working hard to see that we are doing the best we can to manage product and packaging life responsibly.

Find out more here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/waste-management

I hope this is a helpful resource for you. Don't hesitate to contact our office if you have any questions at all! We're happy to help.


Monday, May 27, 2019



Good Food = Good Health. Seems simple, right?

On a Friday in April, an idea that I have been working on for many years finally came to fruition. It's literally a dream come true for me. 

I was in Pentiction to announce Feed BC, our new initiative that ensures more of the food served to people that are in the care of our government facilities is grown, harvested or processed in B.C. Penticton and the Interior Health seemed like the perfect place to launch this exciting initiative.
Hospitals in Kelowna, Kamloops, Vernon, Penticton, Oliver, Salmon Arm and Williams Lake
photo from Global News
will benefit from this initial launch of the initiative.
By using B.C. ingredients, Interior Health is improving the patient experience while at the same time supporting B.C. growers, producers and processors from all over the province.

We’ve partnered with Interior Health to encourage, inspire, and support a shift to more BC foods in health-care and other government facilities! This is a true game changer – not only does it benefit our agriculture sector, but healthy, great-tasting, and locally-sourced meals can also help people during recovery. 

It’s a win-win scenario, and I'm so excited that this pilot could easily serve as a model that can be implement in other public institutions across the province!

Learn more about the Interior Health launch HERE. We're hoping to make more announcements - closer to home - soon!

Friday, May 17, 2019


This week is all about the Bees!

Our community office is honouring the amazing little creatures – and all the essential pollinators – by helping the community create some nourishment for them.

Bring a garden pot or two* by our office parking lot on Sunday May 26th between 11 am and 1 pm. We’ll fill them with wildflower seeds and local potting soil from our friends at TufTurf so we can co-create some beautiful flower offerings for our local pollinators.

Sunday May 26
11 am - 1 pm
4243 Glanford Ave.


Ever thought of beeing a beekeeper? We'll have Nairn Holloster from the Capital Region Beekeepers Association on hand to answer your questions about all things beekeeping! As well as displays from our friends at the Island Pollinator Initiative.

We're serving up local honey lemonade and have some honey sticks for the kids from Urban Bee.

Bring the whole family – and your pots!

Bee there!

Just can't get enough of this bee thing? After you have your pots filled - head over to see our friends at Swan Lake nature Sanctuary as they celebrate Bee Day on Sunday too - from Noon to 3 pm

You'll learn about how you can encourage bees in your backyards, about Bee songs, they'll have bee crafts and eve some bee spit to taste (really?)

Find out more on their website.

* This is while supplies last. Limit of two reasonable size pots so there's some for everyone. We'll have some small pots to give away as well - perfect for window sills. 

Monday, May 13, 2019


Special Project on children with neuro-diverse special needs. 


Do you have a child or work with children that have Autism or neuro-diverse special needs (e.g.: ASD, FASD, Developmental Delay)?

Your government would like to hear from you on June 3 - or before June 7!

The Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth invites all British Columbians to participate in their special project on assessment and eligibility processes for children and youth with neuro-diverse special needs.

You are invited to share your input, experiences and recommendations by speaking with the Committee at a public hearing or by making a written, audio or video submission. Specifically, they would like to know your thoughts on how assessment and eligibility processes
for children and youth with neuro-diverse special needs can be improved.

The public hearing will be taking place in Victoria on Monday, June 3, 2019 from 9am-4pm at the Parliament Buildings - in the Douglas Fir Committee Room. The Committee is hoping that constituents and organizations in Saanich South may be interested in participating. Spots are still available for this public hearing and teleconference can also be arranged for those unable to attend in person.

Registration to reserve a speaking time is available on the Committee’s website HERE, or by calling the Parliamentary Committees Office 250-356-2933. Speaking times are 15 minutes – 10 minutes for the presentation and 5 minutes for questions from Committee Members.

Interested constituents and organizations can also provide input by making a written, audio or video submission HERE.

The deadline for input is Friday, June 7 at 5:00 p.m.

The Committee will consider all input and make recommendations to the Legislative Assembly in a report which is expected to be released in the early fall.

The Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth is one of ten permanent all-party committees of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. The Committee works to foster greater awareness and understanding among legislators and the public of the B.C. child and youth-serving system. The Committee also provides a public forum for discussion of reports by the Representative for Children and Youth.

Further information on the work of the Committee is available on the Committee’s website HERE.

Sunday, May 5, 2019


Touring Haliburton Farm.

What a thrill it was to be able to do a farm tour – in my own neighbourhood this weekend!

I'm so proud of the farmers at 
Haliburton Community Organic Farm and very grateful for the time they took at this busy time of year to show me what's new and what's happening.

Not only is Halliburton a feast for the eyes, it turned out to be an actual feast! I took home some incredible produce, including crispy radish and delicious, sweet arugula picked fresh by farmer Kevin Allen.


I also managed to get a start on my own garden with four beautiful tomato plants from the Hali Plant Sale. So looking forward to eating fresh, organic tomatoes – straight from the vine!

Thank you for taking such great care in feeding our community Haliburton Farm!



Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Donations at Bottle Depot support Cool Aid for the Entire Month of May


Look for special bins at all three Bottle Depot locations to donate your beverage containers to our friends at Cool Aid this month (including our wonderful neighbours here on Glanford Ave)!

Sunday, April 14, 2019


Celebrating Provincial Funding for the Sikh Khalsa Diwan Society Gurdwara!

“The historic Topaz Sikh Gurdwara is an important part of the Greater Victoria community and provides a welcoming place for people of all faiths,” said Premier John Horgan. “In the spirit of Vaisakhi and the Sikh practice of sewa, or selfless community service, this funding will allow the temple to make much-needed upgrades so that it can keep serving thousands of people each year.”
The KDS Gurdwara (temple) opened in 1912 in Victoria and is one of the two oldest operating Gurdwaras in North America. It requires upgrades to meet modern accessibility standards and the needs of a growing and aging community.


The gurdwara provides a place for people to gather for community celebrations and prayer services. It also serves vegetarian lunches to thousands of people of all religions, cultures and nationalities throughout the year. The temple is an important place for children and youth to connect with their culture and receive support from other members of the community, including the more than 300 seniors who attend the temple regularly.
“The Sikh Khalsa Diwan Society has been providing services to people in Greater Victoria for more than 100 years and we want to help them continue to reach out to everyone,” said Rob Fleming, MLA for Victoria-Swan Lake. “The gurdwara is in dire need of upgrades to the facilities and this grant will improve accessibility and ensure it can continue to welcome people from Victoria and around the world.”
The provincial grant, distributed through the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, will support accessibility and safety upgrades to the gurdwara’s kitchen, common areas, main entrances and outdoor decks.



Quick Facts:
  • In 2012, the KDS Gurdwara celebrated its 100th anniversary.
  • The gurdwara currently serves more than 600 meals, free of charge, to people in need in downtown Victoria each weekend.
  • The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing distributed end-of-year contingency grants for 2018-19 for infrastructure projects in four B.C. communities.
  • In order to access this one-time grant funding, eligible organizations submitted proposals detailing the scope of their project, budget breakdowns and how the funding would meet the needs of their community
  • B.C. is home to one of the largest Sikh populations outside India.
  • The KDS Gurdwara (temple) opened in 1912 in Victoria and is one of the two oldest operating Gurdwaras in North America. It requires upgrades to meet modern accessibility standards and the needs of a growing and aging community.
  • The gurdwara provides a place for people to gather for community celebrations and prayer services. It also serves vegetarian lunches to thousands of people of all religions, cultures and nationalities throughout the year. The temple is an important place for children and youth to connect with their culture and receive support from other members of the community, including the more than 300 seniors who attend the temple regularly.
  • “The Sikh Khalsa Diwan Society has been providing services to people in Greater Victoria for more than 100 years and we want to help them continue to reach out to everyone,” said Rob Fleming, MLA for Victoria-Swan Lake. “The gurdwara is in dire need of upgrades to the facilities and this grant will improve accessibility and ensure it can continue to welcome people from Victoria and around the world.”
  • The provincial grant, distributed through the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, will support accessibility and safety upgrades to the gurdwara’s kitchen, common areas, main entrances and outdoor decks.

Saturday, April 13, 2019


Opening the 2019 Little League Season in Style 

It was a double header of opening days in Saanich South on Saturday!

The rain didn't stop Lakehill Ball from their 2019 opening ceremonies this morning as the park filled with excited players, families and fans – including me! 

But it's nit just great ball and community that make Lakehill such a great place to be. Tucked away on Ambassador Ave, Lakehill Ball Park is also home to a not-so-well keep burger secret – Chef Dave's Dugout Concession...which I declared the best concession in British Columbia! Just look at that menu! Sixty years of volunteering has kept this park thriving.
It was great to be invited to participate at the opening ceremonies again with Saanich Councillor Susan Brice! We have been opening Lakehill Baseball together for years. It was a great way to start a Saturday!




My next stop was Layritz Little League's season opener – with another excited crowd of fans! The rain started pelting down as Mayor Fred Haynes and I each threw opening pitches. I'm happy to say no children were injured!  

The excitement for the season couldn't be dampened by the weather, and neither could the excitement for 2020! 

Layritz will be hosting the Canadian National Championships in 2020 and it’s a pretty big deal! If you’re interested in getting involved or becoming a sponsor more info is available HERE.


DID YOU KNOW: The land for Layritz park was donated by Richard Layritz in 1953. He wanted it to be used specifically for kids to play. Decades later I'm pretty sure he would be super proud of how the community has embraced his dream.









Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Renovation this year? Check out the incentives for energy efficient home upgrades, as well as tax credits for home improvements for seniors and persons with disabilities.

Thinking Energy-efficiency?

Clean BC and Budget 2019 have brought in incremental support for increasing the energy-efficiency of BC homes.


EfficiencyBC is a new Provincial program offering financial incentives, information and support to help households and businesses save energy and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by switching to high-efficiency heating equipment and making building-envelope improvements. The $24M program is co-funded with the federal government under the Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund.

Examples of qualifying renovations or alterations:
  • Heat Pump and Electric Water Heaters*
  • Natural Gas Furnaces, Boilers, Fireplaces and Water Heaters
  • Windows and doors
  • Insulation

You'll find what incentives and support are available to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in new and existing homes and buildings at the following websites:


Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) funded programs:

Utility Energy Efficiency Programs
*Bonus! - Saanich is offering a Heat Pump Top-Up (Limited time-offer) Find out more HERE

Thinking Safety, Utility & Comfort?

The Home Renovation Tax Credit for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities can offer financial assistance to homeowners wanting to make their home more comfortable - and safe. The renovation assistance is intended to help seniors or persons with a disability improve access to the home or land, improve mobility and functions within the home or land, and reduce the risk of harm within the home or land. 


Examples of qualifying renovations or alterations:
  • Bathtubs – walk-in
  • Counters/cupboards – lowering existing ones
  • Counters/cupboards – installing adjustable ones
  • Door locks that are easy to operate
  • Doors that are widened for passage
  • Drawers and cupboards – touch-and-release
  • Flooring – non-slip or to allow the use of walkers or wheelchairs
  • General renovation costs – necessary to enable access for seniors or
    persons with disabilities to first-floor or secondary suites
  • Grab bars and related reinforcements around the toilet, tub and shower
  • Hand-held showers on adjustable rods or high-low mounting brackets
  • Hand rails in corridors
  • Lever handles on doors and taps, instead of knobs
  • Light fixtures throughout the home and exterior entrances
  • Light switches and electrical outlets placed in accessible locations
  • Lighting – motion-activated
  • Pull-out shelves under counter to enable work from a seated position
  • Showers – wheel-in
  • Sinks – alterations to allow use from a seated position
    (and insulation of any hot-water pipes)
  • Swing clear hinges on doors to widen doorways
  • Taps – hands-free
  • Taps – relocation to front or side for easier access
  • Toilets – raised
  • Wheelchair ramps, stair/wheelchair lifts and elevators
You can find all the details on the BC Government Website: HERE

Some restrictions apply to all grants, incentives and rebates. See the associated websites for full details. This post is meant as general information and not an offer of any kind.

IN THE NEWS: Thousands of dollars in rebates for energy-saving measures in B.C.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Important Information on Vaccines

Immunize your kids! The goal is to immunize as many people as possible before the end of the school year. The purpose, ultimately, is to reach an immunization rate of 95% as recommended.
I admire very much the work my colleague Minister of Health Adrian Dix is doing on the immunization file. He is launching a measles immunization catch-up program to help B.C. families ensure their children are protected from measles.The program will run from April through June 2019.
"With outbreaks of measles occurring globally and here in B.C., we know we will see threats of further outbreaks and can be doing more to raise immunization rates," said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. "That is why we are launching a catch-up program to immunize children from kindergarten to Grade 12 who have not previously been immunized against measles and to provide a dose for those who may not have received both doses.
Health authorities will deliver the program. The program will be made available in schools to children (from kindergarten to Grade 12), public-health units, community health centres and mobile community clinics in select regions. The program will be delivered similarly with some regional variations. By offering it in schools, public-health units and community health centres, the catch-up program is designed to make it simpler and stress-free for parents to ensure their children are adequately protected from measles. Pharmacists will also be part of the efforts to increase immunization rates.
"Safeguarding the health and well-being of children, staff and teachers who come into our classrooms and their family members at home is one of our highest priorities," said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. "The K-12 education system plays a critical role in raising awareness of the importance of childhood vaccines and increasing immunization rates. We are continuing to work across government, and with our education and health community partners, to help curb preventable outbreaks and increase student safety."
For this catch-up campaign, the Province is initially purchasing $3 million in vaccine - the equivalent of a one year supply of vaccine.
The catch-up program is the first step in government's two-phase plan to educate people about the importance of immunization and help them become aware of their immunization status. Offering the measles immunization catch-up program now will also help prepare parents for the mandatory reporting of vaccination status, which is planned for the fall of 2019.


https://immunizebc.ca/?fbclid=IwAR3UENiZweVnUTRGvbLyDHpLlH4SheVnGJK-91ezjvsnr6TMlHZH_4APdf0

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Saanich Fire Department Unveils Centennial Truck!






In case you didn’t know, 2019 is Saanich Fire Department’s Centennial Year!!

100 years of keeping Saanich safe is definitely a legacy to be proud of and celebrate, and today the Department unveiled their Centennial Fire Engine to celebrate! As you can see, they’ve wrapped Engine No. 1 with photos from their first year of service, and on the other side are photos that are just
a bit more up-to-date!


I’m in Vancouver today to participate in the BC Tech Summit, but staff from my community office had a great time attending! Many thanks to Chief Burgess for his opening remarks and to Mayor Fred Haynes for his speech! I’m looking forward to celebrating this historic year at more upcoming events!



Monday, March 4, 2019

Claremont Musical Theatre Production starts soon!



Claremont High School’s Musical "The Addams Family" is opening on March 7th! The show runs nightly from March 7 – March 9, and again from March 13 – March 16 at 7 pm! There are also additional 1 pm matinees on March 9 and 16th! I know that everyone has been putting in a lot of work to make the production a success, and I’d encourage you to check it out if you can! Tickets are available by calling 250 658 6672.



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.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Fantastic News for Fair PharmaCare!



One of the things I’ve heard too often from families is that needed prescriptions were going unfilled because Fair PharmaCare deductibles were too high. That’s why I’m proud that our government has made the first ever changes to Fair PharaCare deductibles and co-payments since the program was created 15 years ago!

This is a long-overdue step that will improve the lives and health of folks in Saanich South, and BCers across the province. We’re investing $105 million so that households earning up to $30,000 in net income no longer have a deductible, and households earning under $45,000 now have a lowered deductible as well. Deductibles are also completely eliminated for seniors born before 1940 with an annual net income up to $14,000.

Frankly, no one should have to make the decision between their family’s health and putting food on the table or buying school supplies. With these new changes families will save more throughout the year, so that they can focus on the things that really matter.  

To learn more about Fair PharmaCare – including the enrollment process, which is super easy! – visit the following link: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/health-drug-coverage/pharmacare-for-bc-residents/who-we-cover/fair-pharmacare-plan

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Monthly Micro-Action: Plan Ahead

*MLA’s note* I’m so happy to introduce Laska ParĂ©! 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  
I used to see carrying my recycling to the curb as an opportunity to look at my waste and consider alternatives. However, recently I’ve found myself noting how many things in the blue box aren’t mine. As a single woman living by herself, it was easy to say ‘no’ to unnecessary purchases. But now that I have a partner and a dog in the home, I find myself saying ‘yes’ to sales on chicken breasts, even if it includes more packaging.

#ZeroWasteFail

So my circumstances have changed and I’m no longer the only planeteer under my roof. But that doesn’t mean I can’t grow my squad! After all, we all need to do our part to keep the pale blue dot we call home healthy. 


In looking at my waste, I realized that no one person was to blame, and most of it was the result of poor planning.

I sat my family down and noted my waste observations and what we could do to reduce not only our waste but how we could save time and money.

We decided to do a meal plan and plan all our meals for the week.

The result?

Not only did this give us a clear outline of our week – allowing for more productive days and relaxing evenings after work – we saved money, we saved time (taking less trips to the grocery store) and could ensure each of our meals were wholesome and nourishing.

Micro-Actions For January

Plan ahead!

Even if your life isn’t conducive to the zero-waste lifestyle (yet), use the New Year as an opportunity get into the habit of planning ahead. Whether that means packing your lunch for work, building in more travel time if you choose to walk instead of drive, or making sure to pack reusable bags with you for the grocery – learning to anticipate your needs, and taking the time to do so will help you manage your time better and be more organized!

Laska