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 November 2014 | Today's Tweets reposted live! A view to the world, from Sooke. News & views that 'put it all together' for inquisitive readers.

 

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Regional & national breaking news DIGEST  

Sooke LOCAL BREAKING NEWS

 

Sat. Nov.22. Nine more school districts and more than 4,000 support staff CUPE workers have recently ratified new agreements under the BC government's 2014 Economic Stability Mandate. To date more than 29,000 support staff workers in 55 school districts have fully ratified agreements in place. This represents about 87% of the total support staff workers in BC School districts. The remaining districts are working to ratify agreements.

 

Fri. Nov.21. The November 21st "Election Results" edition of Sooke Voice News is now online. PAGE 1 stories: Maja Tait was elected Mayor of Sooke by a wide margin. See results list  | PAGE 1 also includes the YES results of the two referendum questions that were on the District of Sooke Municipal ballot. PAGE 2: Editorial about how a candlelight Christmas will help save you money. |  Editorial about the election results.   PAGE 3:  SD62 trustee election results. | New EMCS Society Board | SD62 school planning council in Sooke next week | Old Age Pensioners group folds after 50 years  | Election aftermath for Herb Haldane PAGE 4: Businesses in BC didn't feel all that well represented in the municipal elections (CFIB).  To receive the PDF by email, order your digital subscription by email or phone 250-642-7729.

 

Thurs. Nov. 20. An evening of learning, planning and collaboration will be held by the Sooke School District 62 School Planning Council (SPC) next week to develop, monitor and review school plans for student achievement in consultation with the school community.  School plans are developed annually (for a 3 to 5 year span) as part of a provincial accountability framework to improve student results.  School planning councils reach out to all members of the school community including parents, students, teachers and support staff.   The SD62 meeting will be held on Wednesday, Nov 26 at Edward Milne school, 6:30-8:30pm.  About 150 people will attend, says SD62 assistant superintendent Roberta Kubik (photo) who will host the evening. School trustees are welcome, and school board superintendent Jim Cambridge will attend. "The school goals that emerge or enhanced by this process help keep us all focussed," said Kubik with reference to school board, staff, and parent advisory councils.

 

Wednesday, Nov. 19 . McDonald's Restaurants is rejecting the use of genetically modified potatoes for its fries, it was reported online today and tweeted out by @SoilAssociation. A company called Simplot -- an agribusiness conglomerate in the same league as Monsanto -- is the main potato supplier for McDonald's, which in turn is the largest purchaser of potatoes in the USA. The GMO potato was engineered to bruise less, keep longer, resist browning when exposed to oxygen, and contain less of an amino acid called acrylaminde (speculated last decade as carcinogenic). 

 

Tuesday, Nov.18. NDP leader John Horgan maintained the availability of flu shots for seniors on the lower mainland, after Fraser Health Authority pulled the free clinic shots availability apparently without much if any notice. The BC Health Minister reversed the scenario back in favour of seniors after Horgan addressed the topic today during question period in the BC Legislature.

 

Tuesday, Nov.18. The federal government is investing in the Kensington Venture Fund "to support a vibrant private sector-led venture capital sector in Canada", it was announced today.  The initial private-sector partners of the $160 million fund ($107 from institutional, corporate and individual investors, alongside $53 from the Canadian government) are: BMO, CIBC, OpenText Corporation, Richardson GMP, Royal Bank, Scotiabank, TD Bank, individuals.  "Canada needs a robust venture capital ecosystem that helps increase private sector investments in startups across Canada," said Joe Oliver, Minister of Finance. "We all want the next global leaders -- and the jobs that will come with them -- to founded here in Canada," he said in a news release today.

 

Tuesday, Nov.18. The federal government has announced a $280,000 contribution to support work on new innovations in environmental monitoring. The contribution is being provided to the University of New Brunswick's Canadian Rivers Institute toward the advancement of watershed sciences and ecological sustainability.

 

Monday, Nov.17.  In the aftermath of a long, hard campaign that produced positive results for now mayor-elect candidate, Maja Tait is taking a week off. Today Mayor-elect Maja Tait told Sooke Voice News: "I would like to thank our community for the vote of confidence, my team and volunteers for all their time and efforts, and all the candidates for stepping forward and running an excellent campaign."  Tait says: Congratulations to those elected. I'm looking forward to the next four years with you." Incoming Mayor Tait is setting a serious but positive and productive tone: "The hard work is about to begin. I welcome the challenge and the responsibilities," Tait said today before she heads out of cell phone range tomorrow.

 

Monday, Nov.17.  Lawyer Justin Hanson ran for the Pro-Amalgamation Party in the 2014 Sooke municipal election. In the November 15 election, Hanson received 1,029 votes out of 3,881 ballot cast which is 26.5% of voters tipping their hat to Hanson and/or the pro-amalgamation agenda. "The Pro-Am party considers Justin's votes a success... over 25% of the voters felt it was an issue to be looked into," says campaign manager Emily Hanson.

 

  Monday, Nov.17. In Sooke, 41.5% of eligible voters cast a ballot in this election -- there were 3,881 votes cast on November 15, 2014 out of 9,354 eligible voters.  Presuming everyone who voted also cast a vote for one of the three mayoral candidates, successful Mayor-elect Maja Tait received 65.1% of those votes (2,527 votes cast to her name).  Contender mayoral candidate Herb Haldane received 32.5% of the votes (1,263 votes cast to his name), and David Shebib (who ran for Mayor in all 13 municipalities in the Greater Victoria area) received less than 1% of the vote (26 votes cast to his name).  Campaign photos from left: Maja Tait, Herb Haldane, David Shebib

 

Sunday, Nov.16. The District of Sooke's new Council appears freshened, but five of the seven seats are held by councillors who served in 2011-2014.   Mayor Maja Tait is joined by four incumbents -- Kerrie Reay, Rick Kasper, Kevin Pearson and Bev Berger, and two new councillors -- Brenda Parkinson (who has been a Councillor before) and Ebony Logins.  The new Council will be sworn in during the Inaugural Meeting of Council on December 1, 2014 in Council Chambers, 2225 Otter Point Road. Inaugural meetings usually include Mayor and Councillors' Oath of Office, the Mayor's inaugural address, and recognition of members of the previous Council. Council meetings are webcasted at www.sooke.ca .

 

Sat. November 15. Tonight's election results bring in Maja Tait as the new mayor of the District of Sooke, winning with about twice as many votes as her contender and former Council-mate Herb Haldane.  District of Sooke election results as announced by the Chief Electoral Office at the Voting Station at 8:25 pm on November 15, 2014:  

SOOKE MAYORAL CANDIDATES # of Votes Elected
Maja Tait 2,527 YES
Herb Haldane 1,263 -
David Shabib 26 -
SOOKE COUNCIL CANDIDATES # of Votes Elected
Kerrie Reay 2,171 YES
Ebony Logins 2,116 YES
Brenda Parkinson 2,034 YES
Kevin Pearson 1,870 YES
Rick Kasper 1,847 YES
Bev Berger 1,807 YES
Jeff Bateman 1,783 -
Kel Phair 1,430 -
Mark Whiteson 1,031 -
Justin Hanson 1,029 -

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See Local Breaking News for more details.

 

Sat. Nov.15. The turnout for municipal voting has been robust in Sooke today so far (2 pm). One voter said to the election officials: "I'm not sure how, but it's more exciting than in previous years!"  Details: Sooke Local Breaking News

 

Sat. Nov.15. Today municipalities across BC will be voting in municipal elections for Mayor and Council, as well as school board trustees. Several communities also have local referendum questions on their ballots.  This has not been a calm election campaign period; many council shakeups are likely in the works -- a sign of the times when people are concerned about the direction their communities are heading.     Sooke local news

 

Fri.  Nov.14.  The Nov 14th edition of Sooke Voice News is now online this is the final pre-election edition. Three editorials to help voters decide before election day: The mayor's race. Composition of Council. The role of media in an election campaign.  Includes list of wreaths from the Sooke Legion Remembrance Day 2014.  Includes VOTER CHECKLIST  -- all candidate names (Mayor, council, SD62 Milne's Landing Zone; and also two referendum questions (see page 3) Includes links to the two mayoral candidates' videos on YouTube. Apprentice Job Match online tool has been launched by BC to promote trades training.  Vital Vittles will celebrate 11th anniversary.  List of all Christmas Bureau donation-collection dates at the grocery stores and Shoppers (volunteers wanted).

 

EDITORIAL: Nov.13. The economy of Sooke is really not healthy. Small businesses struggle, young families send one or more members off to Alberta for good earnings, and retail ekes by at best. No large commercial is attracted here. Real estate is not the deal it seems when you add on the cost of commuting, garbage pickup and having to shop outside the town for a full range of goods and services.  The vision for Sooke has not crystalized. A new mayor may pull off a hat trick, but the global economy is shaky at best, and no town is immune from broken economic systems that presently see the successful economic players always do better and those who don't fit the mold slip farther into economic disrepair. Three editorials about the 2014 municipal Sooke election coming tomorrow in the Nov 14th weekly Sooke Voice News print/PDF edition:  the local Sooke mayoral race, the best hope for a council that can take solid action, and the role of media in an election campaign (much misunderstood this time around by many of the candidates).

 

Nov.12. Advance Voting in the Sooke municipal election is open today Wednesday November 12 from 8 am to 8 pm, at Sooke Community Hall. Use the door off Eustace Road (into the 'dining room'). The ballot offers three names for Mayor of Sooke (you can make 1 choice), for six Councillors (you can make up to 6 choices from the list of 10 names), and for three school board trustees in Milne's Landing Zone/SD62 (you can make up to 3 choices from the list of 6 names). There are also two referendum questions -- your answer options are YES or NO. One of the referendum questions is about a community center and the other is about oil tanker traffic off the coast.

 

Nov.9. The BC Government has provided a total of $9 million to 22 BC public school districts for the purpose of buying a total of 76 new school buses.  Over 1,000 buses are owned and operated by school districts with student transportation services costing more than $90 million annually, said a Ministry of Education news release last week. Districts will receive the new buses in spring 2015.

 

Sat. Nov. 8. There's a ton of Sooke Election news in the November 7th weekly print-PDF edition of Sooke Voice News. FRONT PAGE: SD62 trustee candidates get into the nitty gritty of how to turn around the funding for BC Education. Page 2: two editorials about the municipal Sooke election Page 4 & 5: update on the candidates this week Page 6: Community grant process changed over the past few years | BC Government announces roundabout progress for Sooke during municipal election Page 7: Someone is planning not to vote (letter) | Remembrance Day coming up at Sooke Cenotaph   Page 8: Six new school buses for SD62

 

Sat. Nov. 8. The BC Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure today chose mid-municipal-election to make their announcement about their involvement with roundabout funding for Hwy14 (Sooke Road) in town centre, including a quote from Mayor Wendal Milne who is openly supporting mayoral candidate Maja Tait. Even though then-Mayor Janet Evans in 2011 was announcing the roundabout as a 'soon to be coming' thing, here we are in 2014 hearing the same thing from an outgoing mayor, as a third mayor in the chain (Maja Tait or Herb Haldane) comes in.  The news release from the government makes no mention of the amount of funding being provided. Mayoral candidate Herb Haldane who (like Tait) has been on Council for six years, knows that only $300,000 is coming from the BC government.  They also know that project manager services will be provided by MOTI, something that was not in the news release. Both Mayor candidates also know that the necessary piece of land for making the roundabout even possible is owned by Parnters REIT (owners of Evergreen Mall) and they are not engaging in conversations with the District of Sooke according to Mayor Wendal Milne last week in a discussion after the Nov.3 council meeting. You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to wonder about the location of the land needed for the roundabout as being the very same as where the front portion of the Evergreen Mall burned to the ground in 2013. That fire scattered the RBC Royal Bank far and wide (they are still in a temporary location) and caused upheaval for several other businesses including the Sooke News Mirror, Hub International Insurance, and Sooke Dance Studio.  Mayor Milne's involvement in the BC Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure news release and his support of candidate Tait this week with a large ad in the Black Press' Sooke News Mirror (not this independent newspaper), may all add up to some backroom politics that is not uncommon in our current corporate-political system. Land on the other side of Sooke Road (Hwy 14) that has recently been purchased from local resident Randy Clarkston (whose property design company is involved in much of the land surveying that goes on in the Sooke area), was another quiet piece of the puzzle.

 

Fri. Nov.7. Water tests conducted at Ell/Beaver Lake Regional Park have tested positive for blue-green algae bloom. "Visitors are advised to avoid areas near the visible blue-green sheen, which appears as a surface scum. Pet owners are advised to keep animals on a leash and prevent them from drinking or swimming in either lake," said CRD in a public service announcement today.

 

Thurs. Nov. 6. Today Premiers Christy Clark, Jim Prentice (Alberta), and Brad Wall (Sask) will be hosting a news conference to discuss the outcomes from the New West Partnership Transportation Infrastructure Summit. The New West Partnership was established in 2010 and has brought British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan into a trading region of more than nine million people with a combined GDP of almost $550 billion.
 

 

Nov.5. Advance Voting was available in municipalities across BC today (8am to 8pm), and will again be open on Wednesday November 12 (8am to 8pm).

 

Nov.4. Colwood citizens, numbering 180, listened attentively to mayoral and council candidate responses to topics on amalgamation, the traffic 'crawl', attracting business, amenities, infrastructure improvements, sewage treatment and top priorities at the All Candidates Meeting held this evening Tuesday, November 4, at the Colwood Pentecostal Church.

 

Nov.4. BC is launching a social media campaign to encourage the adoption of over 1,000 children and teens "who are currently waiting for a forever family".  Of those awaiting adoption, many are school-age or teens and may also be part of a sibling group that needs to stay together.  The campaign features a "build a family" app at www.1000familiesbc.com . 1-877-ADOPT-07

 

Sun.Nov.2.  Back to STANDARD TIME for the winter (until March 2015). Did you turn your clocks back one hour at 2 am this morning? Digital devices like computers and mobile phones will change on their own, but wall clocks, ovens, and watches may need your help! This suddenly produces a darker sky for after-work commuter traffic this week.

 

Nov.1. The October 31st weekly print edition of Sooke Voice News is now online, featuring official statements by all 13 candidates running in the District of Sooke Council election (3 for Mayor, 10 for the six seats on Council). Front page story is about a fire at an aging elementary school that was caught just in time; education budget for school upgrades and replacement is strained, and this is one example where danger could have resulted if not for fast action by the custodian and the fire department.

 

Nov.1. Media coverage across Canada is all abuzz (as is Twitter) with updates about the Jian Ghomeshi situation, which now sees an investigation underway by Toronto police. The now-dismissed CBC radio host has been accused of assault and sexual assault by nine women, three of whom have come forward and identified themselves so that a police investigation could be initiated. The main issue of interest to most news-followers is over the issue of whether the 'dates' described by these nine women involved consensual sex, or not. These women are saying these were violent assaults, not in any way consensual, and in some cases not sexual at all. Ghomeshi's behaviour appears to be an acting out of abuse he may have witnessed as a child, given a few reports from women that he would turn a teddy bear around saying the bear "shouldn't see this", before beating the woman he was 'dating'.  Hashtag on Twitter is #jianghomeshi .  Apparently his 'Likes' on Facebook have been sinking fast (as many as 100 to 500 per hour according to CBC).

 

Oct.31. Happy Halloween! This is the night when, it is said, the veil between this seen world and the unseen world is a little thinner than usual, so that spirits can more easily move between the two. Spooky-Boo!

 

Oct.30.  Just one more sleep until Halloween! The usual safety warnings are out -- yes, be sensible when trick-or-treating in the dark. Children should always be accompanied by an adult, and everyone outdoors at night should wear reflective clothing or gear. Of course, the candy industry does well at Halloween! All the good stuff sells before Oct31, but there are still after-Halloween clearance sales.

 

Oct.30.  Girls have been vaccination guinea pigs in BC?  BC Health today announces that only two vaccines for the sexually-transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV) are now required for girls in Grade 6, without requiring a third vaccine in Grade 9. Until now, a 3rd vaccine was given to Grade 9 girls.  Some parents have declined these vaccinations for their girls in previous years, following an innate sense of caution.  The vaccination rate for HPV is 69% in BC, and the government today says the money they save with dropping the Gr9 vaccination program will be used to promote more participation in the HPV vaccination program.  HPV causes about 70% of cervical cancers, 80% of anal cancers, and other cancers such as the mouth and throat, penis, vagina and vulva.  HPV also causes genital warts. The HPV4 vaccine (Gardasil) is provided free to girls in Grade 6 (two doses, given six months apart); girls born in 1994 or later who missed getting the HPV4 vaccine may get the immunization at no cost through their health care provider.  The HPV2 vaccine (Cervarix, which covers the cancers but not the genital warts) is not routinely provided for free; however the BC government is providing HPV2 [see garget virus in photo] for a limited time program to women age 26 and younger (and born before 1994). Grade 6 is the target year for girls (approximately age 11) to receive the HPV4 vaccination, before girls are sexually active.  Males are presently not given the vaccine. Regular PAP tests (usually every 2 years) are recommended for women, as the HPV vaccine does not prevent against all cancers of the cervix, says the BC Government in a news release today.  More info: www.immunizebc.ca/diseases-vaccinations/hpv

 

Oct.28. Today BC Education Minister Peter Fassbender attended an event at the construction site of Royal Bay Secondary School in Langford, to greet Belmont Secondary School trades students who are working and learning on the job site. Fassbender outlined the significant progress made in the K-12 sector to re-engineer education and training since BC's Skills for Job Blueprint was launched size months ago.  [Photo was tweeted out by Education Minister Peter Fassbender.]  Construction at Royal Bay is 90% complete. The school is set to open for students in September 2015. Langford is one of BC's fastest growing communities, now with a population of over 30,000.  A massive grade reconfiguration will take place in the Sooke School District 62 (SD62) seeing elementary schools giving up Grade 6 to the new middle schools (Gr. 6 to 8), and two new high schools opening in Fall 2015 -- Royal Bay, and a new Belmont high school.

 

Oct.27. Lt Gov Judith Guichon will receive the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion BC/Yukon Command's 2014 Poppy Campaign, in the drawing room at Government House tomorrow, Tuesday, October 28.    Funds raised in the annual Poppy Campaign support veterans, their families and dependents, seniors, education and Remembrance programs.

 

Oct.26. The October 24th print-to-PDF edition is posted online [subscribe to receive full PDF by email]. Front page carries story about October 22 attack on Ottawa, including an interview with Randall Garrison, MP who was in the NDP caucus room when shots were heard. On page 5 see the full text of speeches given by Prime Minister Harper, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. On page 4 see the District of Sooke's "Notice of Election by Voting" with all info about who is running for office in the November 15 municipal election, how to vote (on voting day, on advance voting days, by postal mail), and where to vote. On page 6 read about flu season and the free flu clinic at Sooke Community Hall on Nov.4.

 

Oct.25. There are very strong winds in the Sooke area this Saturday night, blowing things around. The temperature at 10:15 pm is 9°C but feels like 5°C with the wind (WeatherNetwork). The Government of Canada weather warning for Greater Victoria as issued at 6:49 pm this evening, says:  "strong winds that may cause damage are expected or occurring". The report says: "This is due to an intense low pressure system moving northeastward across Puget Sound, causing winds to increase to westerly 70 kph near Juan de Fuca Strait near mid-evening. Loose objects may be tossed by the wind and cause injury or damage. Winds will begin to ease overnight as the low weakens and moves inland." About two hours later (8:53 pm) they reported that "the remains of tropical storm Ana will approach the BC coast early in the week" but didn't connect tonight's wind directly to that storm.  Visit www.weatheroffice.gc.ca or follow (and post wind info) on Twitter with hashtag #BCStorm .  See report on tonight's power outages in Sooke

 

Oct.22.  Prime Minister Stephen Harper addressed Canadians this evening, saying that the 'brutal and violent attack" in the Parliament Building this morning was an attack of terrorism, intended "to make us more fearful," but has made Canadians closer and stronger. "Canada will never be intimidated," Harper said in his statement that was widely televised and streamed online. The House of Commons will be open for regular activity tomorrow.  Federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair also addressed Canadians, saying the shooting was a "cowardly act, design to strike at the very heart of our democracy -- at the heart of who we are... but it has failed." Mulcair continued: "We woke up this morning in a country blessed by love, diversity and peace, and tomorrow we will do the same."

 

Oct.22 (posted 4:30pm / updated 5 pm Pacific). Prime Minister Stephen Harper was to address Canadians at 4:45 pm Pacific Daylight Time tonight (7:45 pm Eastern Time), regarding the tragic events that unfolded on Parliament Hill today starting around 9:52 am (tonight the lockdown has been reinstated for anyone still at Parliament Hill and nearby buildings). The delivery time will now be later this evening (as of 5pm). The address will be streamed live online on several TV websites includes CBC, CTV and Global. 

 

 BREAKING NEWS FROM OTTAWA. [Story as built from 7 am to 4pm Pacific Time] Oct.22. [as summarized from various media sources via Twitter]: This morning at 9:52 am Eastern Time, a solider on guard at the National War Memorial was shot and taken to hospital, where he since died. This afternoon the slain soldier's name was announced as Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, age 24 [photo from Facebook], a reservist based out of Hamilton, Ontario. He was a member of the Canadian Forces. The shooter then ran to Parliament Hill; that man has been identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, age 32, of Quebec (he also had lived in Vancouver); the shooter was found in the hallway between the Government and Official Opposition caucus rooms, where after a short exchange of gun fire with Parliamentary security officers, he was shot dead near the Parliamentary Library by the House of Commons Sargeant at Arms Kevin Vickers. Parliament Hill was put on lockdown [photo as posted on Variety.com], and then evacuated. Prime Minister Stephen Harper was relocated to another location. Trudeau and Mulcair were also removed to other secure locations.  RCMP, Ontario police, a canine unit and others were almost immediately on what is now a crime scene in the nation's capital. The War Memorial which is a few hundred metres from Parliament [photo of wounded soldier Oct 22, by National Post], is guarded by two soldiers daily; after shooting the solider, the gunman ran toward the Parliament Buildings. Liberal MP Marc Garneau didn't hear the shooting in the parliament buildings but was told by someone else that it sounded like automatic gunfire. Witnesses say several dozen shots fired inside Parliament buildings after Canadian soldier shot at nearby War Memorial. 10:50am Eastern - Police are telling media on Sparks Street to "move back, they're targeting first responders", according to Tweet by John Ivison. CBC reported early in the event (via Canadian Press), that there may have been two or three shooters.  A larger swath of streets was cleared in downtown Ottawa as the hours unfolded.  Confirmation by CBC TV at 11:18 Eastern Time that one of the shooters was shot dead in the Parliament Buildings. As at 12 noon Eastern: All Canadian Forces offices across Canada have been closed to public access (per CBC TV).  As at 12 noon Eastern: no official statement has been made to media from any level of government or law enforcement.  As at 12:15pm Eastern: The Prime Minister's office released a general statement, and says a statement by Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be given later today (evening); Harper's planned attendance at a Nobel Peace Prize event in Toronto for this event has been cancelled.  Shooting may have also occurred *near* the Rideau Centre in downtown Ottawa; retail stores in the mall were on lockdown (still at 12:30 pm Eastern), but soon after that were opened again.   Military officers across the country are being asked to not wear their uniforms today, as military appears to have been targeted in this attack.  CTV News says the FBI may now be involved in the investigation, even through the White House said around 1:45 pm Eastern that the 'terrorism' label has not yet been applied.  At 2:15 pm Eastern: media is standing by for the first official statement at RCMP national headquarters, for an official statement.  RCMP news conference at 2:16 pm Eastern: Gilles Michaud, commanding officer of RCMP national division, Ottawa says people should stay away from downtown Ottawa.  He says all resources were immediately deployed upon several 911 calls coming in about the incident at the war memorial. The Ottawa Police are the lead investigators.  People are to report suspicious activities to local police.  Mayor of Ottawa Jim Watson says this is "a sad and tragic day for our city and our country".  As of about 3 pm Eastern -- buildings in downtown Ottawa that had been in lockdown were opened up and people were mobile again in the downtown core, just about at the evening rush hour to head home. Several members of parliament and staff -- depending on their location -- were still in lockdown until every room and location was checked for intruders. At about 4 pm Eastern -- US President Barack Obama said from Washington that "we need to remain vigilant about acts of senseless violence or terrorism". Obama said Canada and the USA have to be "entirely in synch" with regard to security and safety, and that the USA is "standing side by side with Canada during this difficult time". At about 5 pm Eastern -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to make a statement to Canadians this evening.  As of 7 pm today (Eastern Time) the lockdown was reaffirmed and everyone asked to stay in place (though some people were seen being ushered to waiting buses); anyone still in the Parliament Buildings (including MPs, and children in the parliamentary day care) must remain in the building until further notice.

 

Oct.21. Today October 21, 2014 in the BC Legislature, the government introduced Bill 6 - the Liquefied Natural Gas Income Tax Act. Finance Minister Michael de Jong said the bill give proponents of the LNG industry "the certainty they need to make investment decisions while ensuring British Columbians receive the revenues they deserve from this new industry".   "The LNG tax legislation introduced today was written by industry and for industry," says Bruce Ralston, the BC NDP spokesperson on LNG. It cuts in half the LNG tax the premier said was fair in the February 2014 budget. Moreover, the new corporate income tax credit and deductions for pre-construction costs will also cut into the public's share that Christy Clark promised just eight months ago," said Ralston. The tax rate on net income from LNG facilities in BC will be 3.5%, effective for taxation years beginning on or after January 1, 2017. During the period when net operating losses and the capital investment are being deducted, a tax rate of 1.5% will apply and is creditable against the 3.5% tax. In 2037 the LNG Income Tax rate will increase to 5%. The Liquefied Natural Gas Income Tax Act is subject to the approval of the legislature, where the BC Liberal government MLAs have the majority of seats.

 

  Oct.21. The BC Government has selected Pacific Housing Advisory Association to be a Homeless Prevention Program (HPP) provider in Victoria. Participants will receive monthly rental supplements. The program is available in six communities and soon will expand to more than 30 communities throughout BC.  Over the next five years, the government estimates that up to 4,000 people will receive rental assistance and support services through the program, according to a news release today from the Ministry of Natural Gas Development and Responsible for Housing.   "Having this program is an important step to helping prevent homelessness in Victoria," says Rich Coleman, Minister Responsible for Housing [official photo].  More than 100,000 BC households benefit from a range of provincial housing services each year. Since 2001, the BC government has invested $4 billion to provide affordable housing for low-income individuals, seniors and families in communities around the province. 

 

Oct.20. Today in BC the new fines for distracted driving came into effect. Now, anyone caught talking on a hand-held electronic device while driving is subject to three penalty points in addition to a $167 fine. This penalty was already in place for anyone emailing or texting while driving.  Infractions include talking on, holding or dialing a cellular phone, operating a hand-held audio player (such as iPod or mp3 player), or programming a GPS.  Penalty points remain on a person's driving record for five years and can result in further sanctions, including prohibitions from driving. Distracted driving is the second leading contributor factor of vehicle fatalities in BC, says a BC government news release from the Ministry of Justice.

 

Oct.19.  Randall Garrison, MP (Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca) will be running for a second term as an NDP Member of Parliament. The name of the electoral area on Vancouver Island has been changed for the next election, to Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke, a move that Garrison played a major role in achieving. The riding name better reflects the areas that are included in the new boundaries of the electoral area and avoids confusion with the provincial electoral area name of Juan de Fuca.  The boundary changes essentially dropped growing metropolis of Langford from what is presently Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, giving Garrison a modified playing field in the next election campaign that stretches from the core of Saanich, along with Esquimalt (including the naval base area), along the west shore of the island all the way up to Port Renfrew. The next federal election is set for October 19, 2015 (though the date can change if the Prime Minister calls for a different date).

 

Oct.18. Former federal Interim Liberal Leader (2011-2013) Bob Rae says "Canadians are the losers" when politics has reached where it's at now. He tweeted @BobRae48 last week (Oct.9th): "Posturing, partisanship, personal attack - the trilogy of today's politics - Canadians are the losers.

 

Oct.17. The BC Government is relinquishing its tight grip on printing of official documents, to now start outsourcing most of its required print runs to printers in the private sector, it was announced yesterday. The change is part of the government's Core Review of costs and operations throughout the provincial government.

 

  Oct.16. Today's Great BC ShakeOut earthquake drill saw 730,000 participants province-wide, and 25.9 million worldwide.  www.shakeoutbc.ca

 

Oct.16. Concern about the spread of Ebola to frontline health care workers (particularly nurses) continues to grow in Canada and the USA. The first case was diagnosed in Dallas (in a visitor from Liberia), where two more nurses have since contracted the disease which is fatal in over 50% of cases. State of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (neighbouring state to Texas) says all flights incoming from Ebola-stricken countries should be shut down.

 

Oct.15. The Government of Canada building at 90 Elgin Street in Ottawa will be named the James Michael Flaherty Building in honour of the former Minister of Finance who passed away on April 10, 2014. Prime Minister Harper made the announcement today along with Flaherty's widow Christine Elliott, and her sons John, Galen and Quinn. The building is a modern facility that will accommodate the Department of Finance and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. Flaherty dedicated eight years of his life to the financial well-being of Canadians, serving as the finance minister from February 6, 2006 to March 18, 2014.

 

Oct.15. A second health care worker has been diagnosed positive for Ebola in Dallas, Texas where the first case of Ebola in North America presented via a visitor from West Africa.

 

Oct.14 . New minimum training standards for BC's firefighters will provide a clear and achievable means of ensuring the safety of the men and women in the fire service, says a news release from Emergency Management BC. Under the new training standards (updated for the first time in more than a decade), local governments identify the level of service being provided and fire departments are then able to ensure their firefighters are appropriately trained to meet that level. This allows for an effective use of resources to meet the needs of the community without requiring unnecessary training.

 

  Oct.13. You can register for the Great BC ShakeOut earthquake drill which takes place October 16 (10:16 am) but do your drill another day, and still be counted! www.shakeoutbc.ca Businesses, organizations and individuals can register and get some emergency preparedness practice. It's an opportunity to practice "Drop, Cover and Hold On!". A major earthquake is considered inevitable: It's not if, but when".

 

HEALTH ALERT. Oct.13. [Updated Oct.14]. One person who arrived at Ottawa General Hospital this weekend with what turned out to be possible symptoms of Ebola, has been retained in hospital in quarantine, as reported by CTV news today. [They were later sent home after testing negative.]   A physician at Sunnybrook Medical Centre in Toronto says all hospitals across Canada should be prepared to accept incoming infectious disease patients, and if they are not prepared with the appropriate equipment and facilities, they should be. Oct.14: Ontario Nurses' Association says nurses not being offered all the equipment they might need to protect them from contracting the virus.  ONA president Linda Haslam-Stroud added that "airborne transmission has not been ruled out and this is the fundamental disagreement that we're having with the government" (as reported by the Ottawa Citizen).

 

Oct.12. Happy Thanksgiving weekend! Monday, October 13 is a statutory holiday, with banks, government and Canada Post closed.

 

Oct.11. The October 10th edition of Sooke Voice News is now online. Front page news as everywhere around the world -- man who brought Ebola to North America has died of the infection. BC committed to $3.5 million in equipment to send to West Africa to help contain Ebola. In Sooke, the front page news is the list of candidates running for Mayor, Council, and SD62 school board and of interest is how many candidates are running this time around.  This is Small Business Month. See Op-Ed from BC Minister of State for Tourism and Small Business, and an interview with CFIB-BC.  Check out Thanksgiving goings-on around town.

 

Oct.10. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau may have sealed an aspect of his political fate by deciding not to lead his party in the House of Commons vote in Ottawa on October 7, about sending military support to Iraq. As was so eloquently pointed out by public affairs critic Rex Murphy on CBC-TV News last night, the leadership performance of a country's leader or would-be leader is assessed by the populace on such large national issues of great importance like going to war.  Trudeau left in his stead the competent Marc Garneau to lead the Liberal debate against the combat mission. The vote on Tuesday night in favour of an air combat mission in Iraq passed with 157 MPs in favour and 134 against; Liberal and NDP MPs voted against the motion. 

 

Oct.9. One individual can stir the pot and get a lot of attention.  Filing nomination papers with most if not all municipalities in the Greater Victoria area, David Shebib [photo from his website] was the talk of the political community today as his name appeared on one list after another at Civic Info BC.  In Victoria, Colwood and Sooke he is running for Mayor, and in Langford (where so far no one is listed as running for Mayor where Stew Young has been the mayor for over 20 years), Shebib is running as a Councillor. Perhaps even more of an upset-candidate for Council in Langford (23,864 eligible voters) is Grant McLachlan [photo from Twitter], with NDP roots and who is by far the youngest candidate in that municipal race (he has been promoting himself on social media with other 'under-30 candidates' who are running for other positions) and who -- if he were to win a seat -- would be considerably outnumbered by the many long-time incumbents on Langford council.

 

Oct.8. A commitment to send up to $3.5 million worth of protection and treatment equipment to West Africa to help stop the spread of Ebola has been made by the BC Ministry of Health and health authorities throughout BC. The action is in response to the request by Federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose for provinces to donate medical equipment to help stop the spread of Ebola in West Africa.  The Ebola virus does not spread easily from person to person or through casual contact but is spread through direct contact with infected body fluids such as blood, sweat, saliva, vomit, urine or faeces, said a BC news release today.  Donated equipment includes respirator masks, face shields, gloves and gowns to help reduce the risks of coming into contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person as well equipment like syringes to help treat those who are infected "The response to Ebola has to be global," said BC health officer Dr. Perry Kendall.
 

Oct.7. The Times Colonist daily newspaper in Victoria had "issues with trucking" today, and as a result delivery of the print edition delivery has been delayed.

 

Oct.6. Today the BC Throne Speech offered nothing new, but stuck to its guns on LNG, exports to China, and adhering to working down the debt and cutting costs.  The speech essentially said that any comments to the contrary of this approach would be just for political expediency. Generalized platitudes about five years of labour peace in BC education and getting to the bottom of where there was a tailings pond breach at the Mount Polley Mine, were part of the speech. Municipal governments will be "given the tools" to help the government "control spending, find savings and balance the budget", which might be the only area for municipal candidates to really speak up in the this fall 2014 municipal election season.

 

Oct.6. The BC Legislature will sit for their Fall 2014 session starting today Monday, October 6. The Throne Speech by Lt Govt Judith Guichon commences at 1 pm. There will be six 4-day weeks this session (not sitting week of Oct 13 or week of Nov 10), wrapping up Nov 27.  Premier Christy Clark and Leader of the Official Opposition John Horgan are possibly looking forward to some meaningful debates on behalf of the voters and citizens of BC.  The BC legislative TV channel will carry the Throne Speech live. Webcast: www.leg.bc.ca./hansard/webcasts

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Sooke Voice News [ISSN 1925-2722] is an independent newspaper and online news service published by Brookeline Publishing House Inc, a BC company that is committed to quality news service, in support of a knowledge-based economy. Through news coverage we inform the community and through advertising opportunities we help support the marketing efforts of businesses and community organizations in Sooke.  We appreciate the support we receive from many leaders in business and the community in the form of subscriptions, sponsorships and advertisements.

 

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