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May 2015 | A view to the world, from Sooke. News & views that 'put it all together' for inquisitive readers.  Current PRINT PDF EDITION | See: LOCAL NEWS

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Tuesday, May 19. Highlighting Vancouver's growing technology sector, BC Jobs Minister Shirley Bond and BC Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk and other MLAs were at Victoria Square Games - a success story where the live-action adventure studio has been built on the strength of game-building skills.  The event was part of a four-stop digital media tour, including visits to Klei, SkyLabs, and H+ (Plus) Technologies.


Monday, May 18. Victoria Day, holiday Monday.   


Sunday, May 17.  BC is investing $100,000 over the next five years to enhance wildlife conservation throughout BC, as announced at the Ducks Unlimited Volunteer Convention yesterday. The funding is being provided to the Crown land securement partner program, a partnership that includes Ducks Unlimited Canada, The Nature Trust of BC, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Wildlife Habitat Canada, the Canadian Wildlife Service and the Province of BC.   The idea is to conserve land for its fish and wildlife habitat values, and to acquire private land and secure neighbouring Crown land for conservation purposes.


Friday, May 15.   The May 15th weekly print-PDF edition of Sooke Voice News is now online.   FRONT PAGE: Some cats went away, some stayed | Monday MVI backs up traffic on Hwy14 | Feeding wildlife now prohibited in Sooke   EDTORIALS: Rural postal services | Journalism troubles PAGE 3: Community Grant Review Committee pushes hard against the arts | Belmont School says farewell | NDP rally drew a crowd PAGE 4: Sheringham Point Lighthouse walking trail hopefully open by year-end


Thursday, May 14.   Tonight federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair will be at what has been a well-promoted rally in downtown Victoria at the Victoria Conference Centre.  "Rally for Victoria" starting at 6:30 pm will help promote at least two local MPs who are incumbents in the upcoming Fall 2015 election ~ Randall Garrison (running in the newly boundaried/named Esquiamlt-Saanich-Sooke) and Murray Rankin (Victorai). It will be an opportunity for NDPs both federal and provincial to celebrate last week's NDP majority win in Alberta. Summary of Alberta election results in May 8th Sooke Voice News including an exclusive interview with Randall Garrison, and quotes from BC NDP leader John Horgan.


Tuesday, May 12.   It's gone viral in social media today, that a female TV news reporter pushed back verbally at verbal abusers while she was covering a sports event in Toronto on Sunday [photo]. What seemed surprising to many during all the commentary on TV and online today, was that Shauna Hunt stood her ground, as much as the vulgarity of the comment seemed shocking.   It was a particular string of offensive words that has been apparently hurled at female journalists throughout North America recently (something that began as an Internet hoax last year), to which Hunt had 'had enough' after several minutes, and so she asked three men why they thought their comments were humourous. This particular incident happened to be caught on camera (hurrah for the camera operator!) and one of the men seemed surprised that it was being videotaped. That man has since been fired from his job with a major Ontario employer (Hydro One), it was reported on CBC TV today.  Sooke Voice News (on our @WestShoreVOICE Twitter stream), commented that it's long overdue for women to speak up in a *timely* manner about abuse -- and this was retweeted by the Vancouver Sun today.   In this scenario, there is the clear distinction that calling an abuser on his behaviour (actually it was a group of males) was immediate, compared to, say, the many years that went by before anyone said anything about the apparent abuse in the Gian Ghomeshi case (two of the eight charges against him were dropped today, as likely being 'no reasonable prospect of conviction based on the evidence', as the alleged events occurred relatively long ago).


Tuesday, May 12. Climate change leadership by the BC Government has been announced today in the form of a Climate Leadership Team that will produce a Climate Leadership Plan, it was announced today by Premier Christy Clark. The team brings together a group of 19 experts and consultants from business, academia, and environmental communities, as well as First Nations and local governments. The team is to consider the best actions "to keep us on track toward meeting our greenhouse gas reduction targets," the Premier said. The Climate Leadership Team's mandate is to be fulfilled by November 30 of this year, providing recommendations on maintaining BC's climate leadership; programs and policies to meet required greenhouse gas reduction targets while maintaining strong economic growth and successfully implementing the BC Jobs Plan.  Public input will be conducted after a draft framework is released in July, and in December during preparation of a draft plan.   Sierra Club BC says they welcome the new BC Climate Leadership Team. "We hope the Premier is sincere in her desire to take real action on the climate challenges we face," said Caitlyn Vernon, campaigns director with Sierra Club BC. However, the Sierra Club went on to say that "to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets while implementing the liquefied natural gas strategy puts the new Climate Leadership Team in the position of doing the impossible". According to Sierra Club BC, BC's emissions are increasing, not decreasing. "BC needs to follow the lead of the European Union and adopt a target of 40% reduction from 1990 levels by 2030," Vernon said in a news release today.


Sunday, May 10. Happy Mother's Day!    While Mother's Day has always been important across the nation (in the days of long-distance telephone calling, it was the busiest day of the year for phone companies), in recent years it seems to have taken on a new life of true recognition for the value of mothers and motherhood in broader society.  Trending on Twitter: #HappyMothersDay and #DedicatedtoMom


Friday, May 8. The May 8th "Orange Wave & Mother's Day Edition" is now online. Front page news:   Langford pushes further against biker gang in their neighbourhood. NDP wins big in Alberta.  Langford gets $2.5 million from BC government to expand highway access infrastructure.  Music Monday was celebrated in Sooke. Eager dozen: Grants Committee to hear 12 applications from non-profit groups for project funding. Happy Mother's Day to all mothers on Sunday, May 10! We are the strength of the world, the support for our loved ones, the innovators for peace and sustainability.


Thursday, May 7. Camping season has arrived, says the BC Government in a news release today. Camping fees have gone up in BC this year at the approximately 100 campsites around the province. A BC Parks 'passport' can be used to collect stickers and stamps at various parks, towards prizes when visiting provincial parks and visitor centres. Children can learn to cast their own fishing lines through the free Learn to Fish program offered in some provincial parks.


Wednesday, May 6. Island Health is recognizing May 7 as their first annual Mental Health and Substance Use Wellness Day. They will hold an event at Victoria's Royal Jubilee Hospital Patient Care Centre Atrium, 10 am to 2 pm.


Tuesday, May 5. After one hour of results in the Alberta provincial election tonight, it appeared that the NDP will form a majority government under NDP Leader Rachel Notley. Results as of 8:30 pm Pacific (1.5 hours after the polls closed in Alberta) show 54 elected or leading for the NDP, 20 for Wildrose, and 11 for the PCs.  The long-reigning Progressive Conservative (PC) government (in power for over 40 years), has lost badly under the leadership of Jim Prentice who called an election one year ahead of schedule. Several NDPs who were going to run federally switched over to be provincial candidates in Alberta for this election.  The NDP had only four seats when the election was called on April 7, and will now form a majority government. The Wildrose Party will form the official opposition. The PC party will be finishing in third place based on results one hour after the voting stations closed.  The plunge in oil prices was not helpful to PC prospects for a win in 2015. The PCs had put forward a budget that would have increased some taxes and allow for a $5 billion deficit in order to maintain spending in schools and hospitals amidst falling fossil fuel revenues. Royalties from oil and gas have long funded much of Alberta's budget. It's unclear how the NDP will be able to do anything different - numbers are numbers. BC Premier Christy Clark issued a release after the declared election win by Rachel Notley and the NDP: "Congratulations to Rachel Notley and her team on their election victory.  Canada needs a strong Alberta. I look forward to working productively with Ms Notley and her new government for a prosperous West and a stronger Canada". She also thanked Jim Prentice for his dedicated service to Alberta and to Canada.    Leader of the BC NDP, Leader of the Opposition John Horgan tweeted out around 9:20pm (PDT):  "So proud of @AlbertaNDP friends! What a victory! #orangecrush #orangeisthenewblue .  


Monday, May 4. Today there was celebration at the announcement of some Highway 1 access improvements in Langford. Speeches were followed by the unveiling of a display board took place next to the highway at 10 am this morning, with the grand moment handily executed in non-stop wind by BC Minister of Transportation & Infrastructure Todd Stone (in photo: left) and Langford Mayor Stew Young. Minister Stone said it is a priority project to improve Victoria-bound traffic as it leaves the Malahat area and passes through Langford. Mayor Young was grateful for the support of $2.5 million from the Province, to match the $2.5 million that Langford is pulling together for the project that is targeted for completion by year-end. Most of the construction will be done in evening and overnight, to reduce impact on daytime commuter traffic.  Construction will be centered on a new southbound off-ramp at the Leigh Road interchange on Highway 1, in addition to a new southbound acceleration lane from the Westshore Parkway onto Highway 1. Both upgrades are expected to significantly improve reliability and safety for all commuters travelling on the critical Langford to Victoria route.


Monday, May 4.  The newest member of the British Royal family is now known as Her Royal Highness, The Princess of Cambridge. This morning her personal name as decided by parents Prince William and Kate, is Charlotte Elizabeth Diana.  Her first name is to honour her grandfather Prince Charles (and Kate's sister's middle name is Charlotte). Elizabeth is obviously to honour Queen Elizabeth II, the baby's great grandmother. There had been concern that the name Diana might not be included in the mix, but indeed William's mother the late Princess Diana has been honoured in her granddaughter's name.


Saturday, May 2.  The May 1st Social Enterprise Edition of Sooke Voice News is now online. It's no small thing that the new business model of social enterprise, also called C3 -- or Community Contribution Company, has emerged in the struggling post-recession economy British Columbia.  Follow the discussion on Twitter with hastag #Impact4BC. Other news: Birth of the new British royal princess (May 2); also see below. Momentum seems to be happening in the south Vancouver Island real estate market.  Langford says biker gang not welcome. SD62 budget is approved for 2015-2016, seeing operational expenditures of over $85.6 million for the coming academic year.


Saturday, May 2.  The newest member of the British Royal family is a girl, a daughter born today May 2, 2015 to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge -- Prince William and Kate Middleton. The baby girl was born at 8:34 am GMT weighing 8 lb 3 oz. Prince William briefly left the hospital, all smiles, heading to Kensington Palace, to be with his young son Prince George who will turn 2 years old in July. Prince William returned with 21-month-old William -- both wearing shades of blue -- to visit George's new little sister. William is 3rd in line to the throne after his grandfather Charles (age 66) and his father William (age 32). The new princess will be fourth in line to the throne. That pushes Prince Harry to fifth in the accession lineup.  Around the UK, top bets for the princess' first name are reportedly Alice and Charlotte. There was Princess Alice of the United Kingdom (1843-1878), the third child of Queen Victoria. The name Charlotte is Kate's sister's middle name, and is the feminine version of Charles. On Twitter, the hashtag to follow this story is of course #RoyalBaby .  It was only 12 hours from when Kate first arrived at the hospital in labour, until she was on her way home with husband and baby. Well-wishers cheered outside the hospital as proud parents showed their new little princess to the world.


  Friday, May 1.  BC Kicks off their Social Enterprise Month, demonstrating an awareness that not all social missions can be achieved by governments or non-profits alone.  Social enterprises are a relatively new business model, but they are quickly expanding throughout BC and around the world, says the BC Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation. These are organizations, including for-profit businesses, that are committed to a social mission that direct their revenue to drive social change. In July 2013, BC created Canada's first hybrid corporate model -- the Community Contribution Company - to help social purpose businesses market themselves to both customers and investors.  #Impact4BC is the hashtag on Twitter for discussion online.


Thursday, April 30.  The answer is 'no' to a biker club that wants to set up shop in Langford.  Westshore RCMP says they are aware of reports that a motorcycle club called Devil's Army (affiliated with Hell's Angels) is constructing a clubhouse in Langford at 2775 Spencer Road.   A commercial real estate listing online for that property (showing 1,456 sq.ft. office on a 7,836 sq.ft. site, with 100-amp electrical service and six parking bays) shows as Sale Pending (date unconfirmed), with a purchase price of $475,000 and zoning of CS-1 (Service-Commercial). "The property is not zoned for that use," Langford Mayor Stew Young has told Sooke Voice News, regarding the biker club proposing to be active there. The Mayor said (on CTV-Island News last night) that a business licence would not be issued to anyone intending to operate that sort of activity in Langford.  Listing Realtors Rick Pettinger and Griff Lewis of DTZ Victoria Ltd for the property at 2775 Spencer Road have been unavailable today for comment. Langford Mayor Young says the biker gang is not welcome in his community. The previous tenants (a landscape contractor) at 2775 Spencer Road vacated that property in the fall of 2014.  The property is located across from Spencer Middle School (Grades 7 to 9, switching to Grades 6 to 8 as of September). Sooke School District (SD62) Superintendent Jim Cambridge says he has spoken with Westshore RCMP who have assured him that they situation is monitored and that any concerns will be reported to him. "School staff are to report any concerning activity directly to the RCMP," Cambridge said today. Signage outside the property says simply '41', which is a division of the biker gang system (D being the 4th letter of the alphabet and A being the first, hence 41).  Earlier this week, Premier Christy Clark made announcement about more funding to help prevent young people from joining gangs (targeted in that case, at the Surrey community). As in a news report by CBC, the nephew of NDP MLA Harry Bains was killed in a gang-related shooting about six weeks ago. Back in the BC Legislature this week, Bains said the province hasn't put enough money toward prevention of young people joining gangs, and implored politicians to set aside political differences on the issue.  The BC Ministry of Justice says that gang prevention is a public safety priority. They are trying to take away the profit motive from illegal gang activity through the use of civil forfeiture, having now invested $3.98 million in civil forfeiture proceeds for gang prevention and youth crime prevention initiatives since 2011. The BC government webpage at includes a toolkit for community planning and a quick-start guide to assist service providers, community leaders and others who are working to help prevent youth from becoming involved in gangs or to help them leave gangs. Videos in a series called End Gang Life - Myths & Realities are also on the website.


Monday, April 27.  The April 24th edition of Sooke Voice News is now online.  Page One is all about Emergency Preparedness, and a few other important and funky things of course.  Check out Earth Day statements from Premier Clark and Opposition Leader John Horgan (on page 2), and the District's 4-year strategic plan on page 3. Lots of activities on page 4 in "What's Going On". The British royal baby #2 is due any day now. That's on page 4, for posterity.





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