2020 BC Provincial Elections Preliminary Results for Saanich North and the Islands

While CBC news is predicting that the BC NDP will form government during this year's election, it also appears that Green Party incumbent MLA for Saanich North and the Islands, Adam Olsen is poised to hold his seat for our community. "Never before have so many voters voted before election day in British Columbia electoral history," Elections BC's chief electoral officer Anton Boegman told reporters on Friday. The following are preliminary voting results from initial count. Final voting results will not be available until after the conclusion of final count. The timing of final count will be announced as soon as possible following the completion of initial count. Final count results are expected approximately 13 days after the election to ensure adequate time to count the unprecedented number of mail in ballots. Preliminary Results for Saanich North and the Islands as of October 24, 2020 9:33 PM from CBC Preliminary Results for Saanich North and the Islands as of…
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ASK Salt Spring with Islands Trustee, Laura Patrick

With rain predicted, nine hearty Salt Springers gathered to welcome Islands Trustee, Laura Patrick, as our special guest in the United Church Meadow. Other than gusty winds that blew over a few of the unoccupied chairs, the weather was practically-perfect for our last Friday in the Meadow for this season. And it has been so good! Participants have clearly enjoyed our summer gatherings in the lovely Meadow - a welcome change from our spring of self-isolation and, for many, far too much Zooming about. We actually measured greater participation - average attendance has almost doubled during these summer months! After a heartfelt acknowledgment of our journey of Reconciliation offered by a participant, the question about the Local Trust Committee’s (LTC’s) Housing Challenges and Solutions planning process began. Recently, the LTC adopted this planning process as a priority. While Laura was pleased that this is being made a priority, she cautioned that more support is needed…
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2020 BC Provincial Election Candidate Profile - Stephen Roberts

The 42nd British Columbia general election is scheduled for Saturday, October 24, 2020. To help our community get to know the candidates who are running in our riding we're sharing profiles of each candidate. All candidates have been invited to share a profile with the Salt Spring Exchange and we’ll be featuring profiles on each candidate as they become available. This profile is for Stephen Roberts, who is running to be a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Saanich North and the Islands with the Liberal Party. About Stephen Roberts I was born in Sidney and grew up on Salt Spring. After graduating University with a degree in Economics and Political Science, I worked in accounting, law and finance. I retired as a COO of the research division for a large international investment bank overseas and moved back home to Salt Spring where I now live with my partner and our fantastic dog Sidney. I've been involved in a number of community organizations on Saltspring and t…
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Watch: 2020 BC Election Candidates for Saanich North and the Islands Video Debate

Candidates running in the upcoming provincial election for the riding of Saanich North and the Islands, Adam Olsen-Green Party, Stephen Roberts-Liberal Party and Zeb King-NDP answer questions from the public and talk about their passions going into the election On October 24th, 2020 during an online zoom call arranged to accommodate physical distancing requirements. Moderated by Tarah Stafford with an introduction and technical expertise by Jason Mogus of NetChange. Our thanks to Media Partner Salt Spring Exchange and to Country Grocer for their support. https://youtu.be/aPLKYbnkRRE
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An Urgent Plea to The One Million People Living in Canada Who Are Eligible to Vote in U.S. Elections

Opinion: Close to a million people living in Canada still retain the ability to vote in U.S. elections. The potential influence of that many voters is profound and the stakes could not be higher. My great-grandparents came to the U.S. by ship as refugees, arriving at Ellis Island in New York with only the clothes they were wearing. My great-grandfather supported his young family as an itinerant salesman travelling by horse and wagon, peddling mules and eyeglasses. The family eventually settled in southern Delaware, where they were able to do what would never have been possible in their home country: own land. They purchased farms, opened a store that provided supplies and free advice to local farmers, and eventually created an enterprise so successful that the family was able to send my father and his siblings to college, another impossible dream. In 2001, when my wife and I decided to immigrate to Canada, a choice that our relative privilege allowed, my father simply cou…
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2020 BC Provincial Election Candidate Profile - Adam Olsen

The 42nd British Columbia general election is scheduled for Saturday, October 24, 2020. To help our community get to know the candidates who are running in our riding we're sharing profiles of each candidate. All candidates have been invited to share a profile with the Salt Spring Exchange and we’ll be featuring profiles on each candidate as they become available. This profile is for Adam Olsen, who is running to be a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Saanich North and the Islands with the Green Party. About Adam Olsen For the past three and a half years I was the MLA for Saanich North and the Islands. Before that I was the interim leader of the BC Green Party, a Central Saanich Councillor for eight years. I am a professional communicator and I have worked in amateur, collegiate, and professional sport, public and media relations. What brought you to the area? My family has lived, worked and played in the Salish Sea since time immemorial. What one thin…
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ASK Salt Spring with NDP MLA Candidate Zeb King

Sixteen hardy folks braved the chilly winds on a rainy fall Saturday. They were well-rewarded, for they all got an opportunity to meet the NDP Candidate, Zeb King and ask him questions. Even though some freezing participants left before 1:00, it is safe to say that everyone left glad that they had met Zeb as well as all having a better understanding of why he wants to be our next MLA. The loud and clear message Zeb offered to us was of his commitment to both the climate and social justice as well as his tenacity, persistence, and unwillingness to give up these commitments when faced with opposition. He reminded us that the time to make needed changes to our environmentally-damaging habits is running out and that we simply must act immediately. He began by telling us that he lives in Brentwood Bay, a neighbour and good friend of Adam Olsen whom he recruited to serve on the Central Saanich City Council with him. (They served together for a short time until Adam left to be o…
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ASK Salt Spring with MLA Incumbent Candidate Adam Olsen

Thirty-six enthusiastic Salt Springers gathered in the United Church Meadow to welcome candidate Adam Olsen. While his visit to us was much like so many other times he has joined us at ASK Salt Spring, the spattering of green Adam Olsen signs signaled a slight difference in this gathering. The plentiful applause and the evident appreciation for him clearly illustrated the appreciation for Adam that has grown considerably these past few years. Later in the gathering, Adam shared his initial concerns (and, yes, even trepidation) coming to Salt Spring where involvement is widespread, intelligence prevalent, and opinions abound. He credited ASK Salt Spring as a reason that he now welcomes his regular journeys to Salt Spring. (Thanks, Adam!) Adam began by recalling the frequent journeys of his ancestors across the often-treacherous passages between islands, each with overlapping tribal territories but no clear boundaries. They made their passages in large - 40’ long by 7-8’ wide …
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ASK Salt Spring with Islands Trust Local Trustee Laura Patrick

Surprisingly, the weather gods smiled upon us and the rain cleared, giving 10 participants another lovely – and at times even warm - day in the United Church Meadow.  Islands Trust Local Trustee Laura Patrick began our gathering by speaking about her personal journey of Reconciliation.  She then noted that she had spent the week participating virtually in the annual Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) conference. While there were amazing moments, like listening to the keynote speech by Margaret Atwood, she admitted that she missed the energy and creativity that can happen when meeting together in person. A couple of takeaway messages from this year’s conference are: To respond to the climate crisis, COVID crisis, and income inequality, local governments need to reallocate their resources and deploy innovative solutions. The pandemic has kicked off a migration of people from urban to more rural settings. Salt Spring is already seeing signs of this migratio…
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Housing Working Group Proposes New Two Phase Housing Project

A small diverse group of Salt Springers, meeting since February, are proposing a creative and integrative approach to the Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee (LTC) to maximize the benefits and minimize the harms of housing on Salt Spring, including its ecological, climatic, and socioeconomic dimensions. The proposal is up for consideration at the next LTC meeting on October 6, and it must be made a priority to be resourced. You can find the Housing Working Group report in the September 1 LTC agenda package beginning on page 264.  How is this housing project proposal different?  Driftwood headlines from January 12, 1994, “Local lot prices register fastest rise in the country,” and from August 24, 2002, “Business owners considering action to avert housing woes,” reflect the myriad studies conducted over the past three decades on the issue of housing on Salt Spring.  Today, a well-recognized housing crisis has intensified, concurrent with climate and forest (land use) cris…
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ASK Salt Spring with MLA Adam Olsen

Twenty-three Salt Springers welcomed our MLA Adam Olsen to this gathering in the United Church Meadow. (Two others listened from a distance, but they never joined our circle nor our conversation.) While the air was smokey - a constant reminder of those in peril in the fires to the south - the rain gods held off to allow us to again gather in the lovely Meadow. Adam began by inviting us all to speak from our hearts when we begin our meetings with an acknowledgment of our unceded territory. We were assured that, if spoken from the heart, it will be exactly as it should be. It is only the rote phrases that are repeated over and over that are meaningless. He suggested we may want to acknowledge the unbelievably-destructive impacts the colonial system has had upon our indigenous peoples and our environment. We may want to also consider the impacts it has upon us all. Adam’s advise is that if we are feeling frustration about this antediluvian system, it is okay to share those…
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ASK Salt Spring Gathering with Gary Holman

Fifteen participated in this ASK Salt Spring gathering that welcomed special guest CRD Director, Gary Holman. (Three others listened outside the circle in the shade of the apple tree.) The focus of much of the conversation was upon affordable housing progress and the stumbling blocks impeding this progress. The discussion began with a question about the proposed CRD affordable housing on Drake Road, property donated by School District 64. We learned that, while BC Housing continues discussions with CRD about a project on a portion of that property, there has still not been a definitive decision that Gary can share. The developer of the proposed 30-home Dragonfly development spoke to us about recently obtaining water certification for this affordable housing development. (The process to get this certification from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development - FLNRORD - took two-and-one-half years to complete.) With a very high flow (…
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MLA Adam Olsen: Bring BC Ferries Back Into Government

The provincial government is responsible for the provincial transportation network including our ferry system, the critical service connecting coastal communities. That is why the BC Greens advocate for BC Ferries to be brought back into government. The ferries system connects us to our homes, our businesses and our communities. They are critical for the economic survival of coastal British Columbia. When an issue with the BC Ferries service arises, it is usually followed by an immediate and visceral reaction from the public. With at least a third of our provincial economy linked by our marine highways, the provincial government must ensure that the service is robust, reliable, convenient and affordable. This is a message I have heard consistently from my constituents in Saanich North and the Islands and across British Columbia. BC Ferries was deeply impacted when Dr. Bonnie Henry responded to the COVID-19 global pandemic by asking people to stay home and ordering stri…
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2020 North Salt Spring Water District Election Profile: Gary Gagné

About Gary Gagné I built my first home on Salt Spring in 1980 . As a bilingual retired marine officer, I’ve been a boat builder, sailor, Greenpeace Captain, and now a small scale farmer. This has all contributed to a very practical skill set which I have turned also to a great deal of volunteer work (30 years), with service to the environment (four years in Clayoquot Sound as a forest protector, campaigning for Elizabeth May, etc.) and community (on the board of directors for Island Pathways and several sub-committees: Partners Creating Pathways, Cycling Salt Spring and the newly formed Salish Sea Trail Network group; the past year on the steering committee for the Climate Action Plan 2.0 and its Transportation Working Group) and spiritual service (Open Gate Sangha). I am very happily married to artist, Cary Ennis. What brought you to the area? After building a sailboat and learning to sail in the Salish Sea in the early 1970's, I fell in love with the beauty and laid …
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2020 North Salt Spring Water District Election Profile: Garth Hendren

About Garth Hendren My life on Salt Spring has been filled with wonderful people and amazing opportunities. Although I have hardly ever worked on Salt Spring other than in volunteer activities in the public sector, it has been a very satisfying place to live for the past 30 years. I am particularly proud of the work I did to bring to Salt Spring our new public library. In my eyes it shines as an example of what our community can do if we put our mind to it. Mu work in the field of education has taken me off the island to develop privately supported kindergartens, a nationally supported publishing house and the opportunity to oversee the audit of school districts for the Ministry of Education in a neighboring province. What brought you to the area? At the time that I was considering resigning from my position in the Ministry of Education in Edmonton Alberta I was given the opportunity to live pretty well where I wanted to in Canada. I was married with two school aged so…
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ASK Salt Spring with Trustee Laura Patrick

Nine Salt Springers came to welcome Trustee Laura Patrick on a rainy August Friday. While this was an usually-low turnout, the rains and the winds whipping through the Portlock Picnic Pavilion go a long way towards explaining the smaller-than-usual group of participants. Did they ever miss a great discussion! Much of this discussion centred on housing and the imperative for our community to do the work necessary to guide us toward the future we need and deserve. Without that vision, according to Laura, we will be hard-pressed to maximize the benefits and minimize the harms of housing on Salt Spring, including its ecological, climatic, and socioeconomic dimensions. As an important step in this direction, Laura began by giving us some details about the Housing Working Group with which she has been working with since shortly before the pandemic. This group has written a report recommending a process for involving stakeholders and the community in an encompassing convers…
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ASK Salt Spring with CRD Director Gary Holman

A total of 23 came to welcome Gary Holman and ask him questions about the issues on their minds. When folks began gathering in the United Church Meadow, there was pleasure in the clear, sunny day. Soon after noon, some had started to wilt in the unaccustomed beating sun while others huddled (too closely) to participate from the shade of the apple trees. Questions began with the recent unfortunate incident in which a bylaw enforcement officer was hurt in Centennial Park. Some expressed feeling that things felt out of control and that the Park no longer felt safe. Gary understood and agreed that it was very troubling. The RCMP has recommended a charge of “assaulting a Peace Officer,” a very serious charge. The individual has also been banned from Centennial Park. Gary stated that he had supported gradual, but consistent, increases in the budget for CRD bylaw enforcement since his term began and that has he will continue to support such increases. Gary and CRD staff are also…
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ASK Salt Spring: Affordable Housing, Road Upgrades, Forest Protection and More with MLA, Adam Olsen

Last Friday, a total of 37 Salt Springers gathered at the United Church Meadow on a practically-perfect summer Friday to welcome our MLA, Adam Olsen. While some did stand just outside the circumference of the circle (too close to one another for my comfort), everyone who wanted to participate was able to join the gathering. While many stayed the entire time, some did come and go, so that total numbers at any time were in the high twenties. As Salt Springers initially seemed uncharacteristically-shy, Adam began with a recap of some of his legislative load - heavier than expected with several bills that have taken a great deal of work: Bill 22 (Mental Health Amendment Act) includes the involuntary detention of youth who are experiencing drug poisoning. Both the Chief Coroner as well as children and youth advocates raised concerns about this clause. Adam cited work that still needs to be done, including engagement with indigenous leaders, before the bill moves forward. If th…
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COVID-19: Hundreds of Contact Tracers to Be Hired in BC

The Province of British Columbia will hire approximately 500 additional health professionals to increase contact tracing around British Columbia, helping keep communities safe as it continues its COVID-19 restart plan. “We want to make sure people are kept safe in any COVID-19 outbreak, and one of the ways to do that is through strong contact tracing,” said Premier John Horgan. “These new contact tracers will provide an extra layer of protection by jumping into action as soon as there is an outbreak, and will start their detective-style work to find out who may be infected in order to protect all British Columbians.” Contact tracing works by following up with each person who has tested positive for COVID-19 to understand who their contacts may be and providing appropriate followup. Health authorities’ public health teams typically have staff who do contact tracing of communicable diseases as part of their regular work. However, given the scale of the response needed for C…
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On Salt Spring, Solutions for Environment Must Include People

A recent commentary might make Times Colonist readers think the beautiful and protected Gulf Islands are about to be destroyed by an unlikely villain — affordable housing advocates. “Development has put Gulf Islands in death spiral” wasn’t a very subtle headline. The writer is well-known on our idyllic but argumentative Salt Spring, and his favourite target of late is the affordable housing “lobby” that is set to ruin his little slice of paradise. I am one of those housing advocates, so allow me to provide a more complex picture of the pressures impacting both the island’s population and its ecology. Frants Attorp and I, like most Gulf Islanders, share great concern for the twin crises in biodiversity and climate change. Where we differ greatly is on the local issues making things worse, and who gets to benefit from the solutions proposed. Our volunteer advocacy group, Salt Spring Solutions, was formed three years ago when we saw multiple non-profit affordable housi…
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ASK Salt Spring with Elizabeth May, MP Saanich - Gulf Islands

Forty-four gathered to welcome Elizabeth May to the ASK Salt Spring gathering in the United Meadow last Friday, July 31. While we had feared a larger crowd (strictly adhering to social distancing as well as the BC limit of 50 for all gatherings), we were relieved to be able to welcome everyone who wanted to participate. Elizabeth began by expressing her delight and enthusiasm to be able to chat with us in the lovely setting rather than being confined to yet another one of her many daily Zoom meetings. She announced the good news that the Vista Coal Mine would now have to go through federal environmental approval before proceeding. She also announced that there would be no big oil company bailouts in the recovery funding, employing workers, instead, to clean up orphan wells. Her first question concerned the long-awaited Salish Sea Trail, sorely-needed bike lanes from Fulford to Vesuvius. Too long-awaited, these bike lanes would finally complete the trail linking communit…
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