Dec. 24, 2023

What's in Santa's bag?

It's the day before Christmas and all through the house. . . some people are difficult to shop for, but for some the obvious quickly kicks in. Here  are my idle thoughts on Christmas Eve.

Leonard Krog, mayor, the wisdom of Solomon in dealing with the extremist majority on council.

Nanaimo city council, new pot hole repair equipment. Natural gas heaters won’t be necessary, they produce enough of their own. Besides, natural gas is banned in Nanaimo.

David Eby, premier, real housing solutions for the homeless, drug addicted and mentally ill, which have been out of reach. It’s been patchwork so far.

Adrian Dix, Health Minister, about a thousand health care workers returning to work after they were fired for refusing to be vaccinated.

MLA Sheila Malcolmson, more staff to answer the phones in her constituency office. Answering machines are great for politicians but not for constituents.

John Rustad, BC Conservative leader, a way to convert poll numbers into Legislature seats in the October, 2024 provincial election.

Kevin Falcon, Opposition leader, Dale Carnegie communications courses.

Sonia Furstenau, Green Party leader, a simple reality check. Idealism doesn’t pay the bills.

Lisa Marie Barron, Member of Parliament, freedom from the constraints . . . of the Liberal party.

Bill Sims, City Public Works director, a place to call home – a new public works facility which has been pushed off the budget table for ages.

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister, an early retirement would look good under the tree.

Pierre Poilievre, leader of the Opposition. Public opinion polls that translate into votes in 2025.

Jagmeet Singh, federal NDP leader, a divorce from the ties that bind him to Justin Trudeau.

For all of us, government that works for the people, not for the politicians.

For those I forgot, Merry Christmas and a great New Year.


Comparing health care in Mexico

and we're coming up short

Who in their wildest dreams would have considered comparing Canadian health care to the Mexican variety? I got a note from a Nanaimo snowbird nesting in Mexico for the winter.


He relates a story about a friend of his whom he played hockey with for more than 45 years and was in desperate need of a hip replacement.


“He  was told that it would be 18 months on a waiting list. His pain was so bad, he was in a wheelchair. 


“I contacted the surgeon here in Mexico online; he got back to me in 46 minutes! My friend was in a wheelchair when I picked him up at the airport. He had the hip replacement and two weeks later returned to Canada with his new hip.


“In September, he was riding his Harley again and earlier this week returned to the ice to play his first hockey game.


“So in six months he went from wheelchair to Harley to back on the ice. If he had waited for Canadian health care, he would still be in a wheelchair and still have another year to be on wait list.”

My personal comment would be that we're comparing health care to that in a Third World country and we're coming up short.


Back To The Future
on Canada's housing crisis
To get where you’re going, sometimes its best to look where you’ve been.

Canada’s housing crisis come in part from the red tape that slows the process and adds to the cost. Now the federal government is looking back to the past, a Second World War-era housing plan to speed up home construction in Canada. The program, which was run by Wartime Housing Ltd., provided standardized housing blueprints to builders. One catalogue, take your pick and put shovel in the ground.

It has never made sense that each house has to have blueprints from the ground up. Though architects might disagree, it should be possible to have choices ready to go. Pick your design and hand it to a builder.

Housing Minister Sean Fraser said often the wartime homes were built in as little as 36 hours. The program, and later Canada Mortgage and Housing, saw hundreds of thousands of homes built from pre-approved plans between the 1940s and the late 1970s.

Fraser said the new program will create pre-approved designs for multiplexes, mid-rise buildings, student housing, seniors, residences and other small-to-medium scale residential properties. This will include garden suites and laneway homes and different kinds of houses.

The catalogue of pre-approved designs is going to be tied to the National Building Code, to mirror the requirements of provincial building codes. Hopefully that will streamline the permitting process.

Mike Moffatt, senior director of policy and innovation at the Smart Prosperity Institute, believes pre-approved housing plans could cut down construction timelines by as much as 12 months.

Hopefully that will also short circuit local municipal red tape which sees some projects held up for years while bureaucrats make life difficult for builders.

That being said, it will still not be peaches and cream. Land costs and financing remain at challenges.


This one could

give you indigestion

The climate zealots in Ottawa have come up with a new scheme for farmers to make money by selling offset credits from cow burps.

Environment and Climate Change Canada published a draft protocol Sunday to “encourage beef cattle farms to reduce enteric methane emissions by improving animal diets, management, and other strategies that support more efficient animal growth.” They said nothing about cattle farts which until now have been blamed as the biggest contributor to climate change.

Each credit represents one tonne of emission reductions, and the credits can be sold to facilities to help them meet emissions reduction requirements or to other businesses to meet their climate commitments, the government said.

And what about the diet changes? It depends whether you are buying or selling.  Somebody is going to be making a pile of money.

A version of this was tried with a carbon trade market that resulted in some people getting richer and richer. I can’t get over this feeling that something bad is in the air. 1212



A letter to the Prime Minister

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister’s Office

House of Commons,

Ottawa, Ontario


Dear Prime Minister,

I accompanied my wife on her weekly grocery shopping adventure this morning. Needless to say, I almost choked at how prices have escalated.


I am aware that you have brought the major grocery chains to account for the high prices, but that misses the point. That is like blaming them for what you created. Inflation throughout our economy comes in large part from the excessive spending and borrowing by your government. Canada pays $46.5 billion interest on the ever-climbing federal debt. That doesn't produce anything and only benefits financial institutions.


You likely have no personal idea about grocery shopping since you have “people” doing that for you and submitting the bill as part of the cost of operating the prime minister’s residence.


Might I be so brave as to suggest something you’ve never done and give your “people” the day off and personally go shopping at a grocery store. Go to any supermarket in Ottawa, or you could go to Hull.



Taxpayer Merv


A failing grade

on health care

Ho hum, another weekend closure of a hospital emergency department in B.C. Nicola Valley Hospital in Merritt shut down due to limited physician availability.

Let’s look at that again, with the operative word being emergency. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as “a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action.”

This past weekend, Nicola Valley residents requiring immediate action were directed to Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. All other services at the hospital continued as normal at Nicola Valley Hospital.

A preliminary diagnosis of health care shows that it is in dire straits, and that is not good enough in a province like ours. In government everything is about money, even more than politics. But it is the politics that directs spending. Too much is spent on frivolous things to gain political favour with special interests.

It’s a question of priorities. What is more important than life and death emergencies? You don’t have to be an expert to suggest that cost should not be the determining factor on whether emergency medical services are provided.

The provincial health department needs to look at importing emergency personnel when necessary. Bring staff in from larger centres for short-term duty, regardless of the cost. You can’t put dollar figures on a life saved in an emergency, it is worth whatever it might cost.

Heading into an election in eleven months, the B.C. government is failing on the health care portfolio. They have a lot of work to do, and the sooner the better.

The solution is the problem in living costs

A pet chasing its tail can be amusing. The faster the chase, the less likelihood of finally catching it. The more money we spend the more the need increases, never being able to catch up.

A lot of today's financial challenges are rooted in government spending, which has to be paid sooner or later, through rising taxes. The carbon tax is an excellent example of government taking money, thus increasing the problem. The escalating tax becomes a burden on everything from food to housing and virtually everything else we do. It costs more to produce food on the farm, and then more to get food from the farm to the market due to fuel costs and higher labour costs for everyone along the line.

Food prices are just one example. Housing costs go up in part due to the high interest rates and extra taxes and red tape along with rising labour and material costs. Inflation is going up faster than wages, leaving Canadians in the wake.

BC United and the BC Conservatives target rising costs and the burden of the carbon tax. And here comes the tail-chasing component. Finances are a simple concept, income and expenses have to balance to create a bottom line. When you decrease government income and the expenses don’t drop you get the problems we face today. Eliminating the carbon tax would simply shuffle the deck on where governments get their money to make up the difference.

Social Development and Poverty Reduction Minister Sheila Malcomson partly blamed global inflation, beyond our control. She argues that income supports put more money in people’s pockets, which is why the minimum wage was raised along with social assistance rates and child care. But handing out money amplifies the problem, creating greater need by government to raise taxes.

British Columbia is the least affordable province in Canada for housing, public transit, gas, clothing and most-difficult to obtain health and dental care. Our minimum wage of $16.75 an hour does not cover the rent or put food on the table.

The living wage for a worker in Nanaimo shot up by 11.6 per cent this year to $22.87 per hour. A living wage is what someone working full time needs to earn to pay for essentials including food, housing, transportation and childcare. It is based on two employed adults and two children and does not include expenses related to debt repayment or factor in saving for retirement or post-secondary education or rising taxes.

It becomes a double-edged sword, the more taxes government takes the more it drives up the cost of living. The alternative is to reduce government spending, especially by prioritizing programs. Every government program or handout in fact increases the cost factor. That's what drives the taxation engine, translating in an even higher cost of living.

The dog never does catch its tail.

Blame misplaced for social media news ban

Social media giants are refusing to deliver Canadian newspapers because they don’t want to pay for the privilege.

I spent my working years in the news media, so I know a little about it. 

First off, this is no back breaker for Canadian news readers, they can easily go to their search engines and look up the links for the local paper in any community in Canada.

Let’s put this into perspective by starting at the beginning of newspapers. An industrious local person usually started from the ground up and produced a newspaper. To get revenue, that meant attracting readers who were willing to pay for the latest news, good old circulation numbers. Remember the carrier boys who delivered newspapers door to door.

Then came another revenue source – advertising. It was simple, place a message in the newspaper where customers could read about your products and services. That meant the more readers – circulation – you had the more you could charge for advertising.

Quite simple, really, it was all about circulation, and that’s what sustained newspapers for ages. It was the same with radio and television, the more listeners and viewer you could offer, the more revenue came from advertising. It worked for ages.

But somewhere down the line the cost factor put some sand in the gears, something called the internet. Circulation numbers couldn’t be sustained, so advertising revenue fizzled.

Maybe a little late out of the starting gate, most media began introducing internet versions of their product. Some have done away with their printed versions altogether.

Advertising has also jumped ship, going to the internet as well with viewer numbers in the multi-millions. Newspapers used to rake in billions from flyers alone. Many of them don’t arrive with your newspaper any more, you can find them on the internet.

The transition has been a bumpy ride so they went cap in hand to Justin Trudeau to bail them out, and so he did to the tune of millions of taxpayer dollars to profit-oriented media conglomerates. When they became comfortable with that shot in the arm they began looking for more, and the good prime minister couldn’t grease their palms fast enough.

The huge media empires found that social media was taking a good run at the news business, the public prefers social media, reliable and factual or not. Social media was linking to regular news sites so readers actually wound up at those newspapers. Links mean circulation. But the media figured they should get a cut. Instead of being grateful for the additional accesses to their web pages, they wanted money for that.

Thus the News Protection Act was born, requiring U.S.-based social media to begin paying for those links. Facebook head honcho Mark Zuckerburg and other social media giants did not become gazillionaires by being stupid, they just cut the links to any Canadian news sites.

This is where we go back to step one – the number of people who view your Canadian media webpages. The more views, the more advertising revenue. The elimination of the U.S. social media links to Canadian news sites, bringing reader numbers, is crashing their number of readers, cutting into revenue streams. They crapped the bed, as it were, derailing their own gravy train.

They’ve got it bass akwards – the media giants should be paying Meta – the newspaper carrier boys of today. We went through this exercise a couple of years ago when television stations wanted cable service providers to pay for showing their programs. Again, this was a case of cable providing the viewers to those stations, boosting advertising revenue for those networks.

Without links to their sites from social media, newspaper circulation numbers are plummeting. The newspaper carrier boys are no longer delivering. That was borne out by Premier David Eby’s plea to the social media to put Canadian links back on because British Columbians were not getting up-to-date information on the wildfires in the province. His phone call should have been to the prime minister’s office.

It remains to be seen how they will react knowing they can always run back to Mr. Money Bags for more bailout.

We're never too old to learn expensive lessons

I’ve learned that you’re never too old to learn when it comes to expensive lessons. Life’s experiences make sure of that.

A case in point. Last week we needed a faucet replaced in our kitchen. Plumbers are hard to find nowadays, most busy on major housing projects, but I found one. I should of have questioned why one was so readily available when all the others are busy from dawn to dusk.

After he arrived he informed me that the labor rate was $350 for the first hour and $240 per hour for each hour after that. It was an opportunity to back out but I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. The faucet was spraying all over the place and I am the world’s worst tradesman when it comes to connections dealing with water. I had turned off the main water line.

The end result was a bill for $828.99 for replacing a kitchen tap. Bbout $600 of that was for labor. The rest was for the faucet, which the plumber agreed they mark up “a lot.”

After paying the bill I learned one more thing. My son informed that he has done many faucet replacements and would have done the labor for free. An expensive lesson learned.

The battle for impressionable young minds

The leftist Woke phenomenon is sweeping society in an unprecedented wave. It’s been easy, they just borrowed the successful method to gain control. It’s called “teach the children.”

This is not a discussion about the rights and wrongs of the deviant lifestyle, but how they have been able to get the huge buy-in on climate, LGBTQ and other issues the don't agree with and conveniently label as racist. These zealots have been on the fringe for years, now they are engaging in all-out war through mind control.

There are countless religions in the world, some of which have been around for thousands of years. How do they last? How do you get masses of people to buy in to the belief they are right and all the others are wrong? Yes, herd mentality plays into it.

It’s cradle to the grave, beginning at birth for most, teaching the beliefs and structures of the parents. Most Christians, Sikhs, Islamists, Hindus and others, “know” they are right. It starts even before formal education, in the home and all the surroundings.

The new woke “religion” we’re talking about is grounded in the education system which has been usurped by those who blindly push for a new world order.

The classroom is where indoctrination begins. They dismiss intolerance in the name of inclusion. It’s not that long ago that the first subtle moves had educators and politicians gushing over trans-gender bathrooms in schools. That ballooned to such an extent that teachers in some schools, especially in the United States, are pushing impressionable, vulnerable children into gender-change surgery without the parents’ knowledge or approval.

Drag queen performances in schools attempt to brainwash children, portraying them as "normal."

It also becomes a question of parenting rights. Some politicians on school boards are pushing the idea that the children belong to them and parents have no rights. When that form of mind control is imposed on vulnerable children, and perpetuated into adulthood, they are well on their way to winning the battle.

None of the religions above support these beliefs, so it will be interesting to see if they combine to defend their own beliefs. 23-08-07.


Pay without work has become too easy

We live in a strange world. We have untold numbers of able and capable unemployed people while at the same time we have a labor shortage, not being able to fill the vacant jobs.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure this one out. If you’ve been out shopping recently, especially at fast food outlets, they are all loaded with recent arrivals from other countries. Yes immigrants, and they’re working their buns off making a living. Look around and you’ll see cashiers, clerks, counter personnel putting in the proverbial nine-to-five with a smile.

Those newcomers to Canada will become great contributors to our country but sadly it will be their taxes which will prop up those who are sitting on their butts.

A vicious circle spinning out of control

We are in the vortex of a violent cyclone and we keep adding fuel to the vicious pressure it puts on our every day lives.


When the cost of living goes up, people need to earn more money. When wages go up, the cost of living goes up. It’s a virtual perpetual motion machine.


Government spending devalues the money we earn, pouring fuel on the fires of inflation. That spending, money the government doesn’t have, adds to the federal debt, further devaluing our purchasing power.


When your pay cheque is no longer large enough to cover your costs, the solution is in increase your income. Raising labour costs force producers to increase their prices in order to cover those and other added cost.


Voila, more inflation, further devaluing our earning and spending power.


Government solutions are always aimed a reducing spending by the general population, but not government spending. Governments have the tool of fighting inflation with interest rates, thus reducing our buying power, slowing down the economy and the attendant cost increases.


The most obvious is how the interest rate affects housing. When rates go up and up, fewer people can qualify for mortgages. That results in a slowdown of the housing industry at a time when we have severe shortages right across Canada. Not only does the construction industry bear the brunt, the real estate industry, suppliers and contractors all wind up with less work and less income, resulting in fewer people working.


How do we stop the cyclone? Government spending, in the name of the Covid Pandemic, created the problem. It all goes back to our elected officials to reel in their mad spending ways and live within all of our means.

Changing your address can be
a life-altering, challenging experience

I’ve developed the Rodney Dangerfield Syndrome – I don’t get no respect. With advancing age, my wife and I recently downsized and moved to a new address. You’d never think that something as minor as a change of address would turn into such a Herculean task. Where do I start?

Everything is supposedly computerized nowadays, but in reality computers can’t talk to each other, except when you don’t want them to.

I changed our information with the online Island Health webpage, and it was simple enough. That was until we got to our new location in a different health authority. Nothing was accessible, nothing had been transferred, and as one clerk told me, health authorities can’t connect into another jurisdiction, you have to do it all over again.

That of course carried over to our doctors. We got lucky, we got a new family physician before we even moved, only to discover they were not able to get our medical history simply transmitted from our Nanaimo doctor. A written request had to be mailed and then a long wait for a response from our Nanaimo doctor.

Moving and getting rid of a lot of our “stuff” meant we have to buy new “stuff” for our new address. You can no longer go to a store and buy what you need, they stock very little with the majority of their inventory being online. That leads to shopping for items you can’t see or touch until they arrive at your doorstep, too late to reject. You have to go through a long process of returning the item. (Try repacking something after you’ve opened it.) It can take days or weeks for delivery.

Tell me about online shopping and how easy it is. You know, find what you think you might want, press a few buttons and voila, wait for FedEx to deliver to your door. Hold the phone, one of my first experiences was a website showing a reputable Canadian online retailer. What really happened, when it came to placing the order for patio furniture and providing the credit card information, it was diverted to a site in Korea selling women’s hair products.

You guessed it, not only did the billing amount of about $150 show up on my credit card immediately, it was punched in twice – $300.

That’s easy, go to your credit card account and challenge the billing, or so I thought. Finding a phone number was a challenge, but then came the press one, press two . . . When you finally get through you get “all agents are busy, please try again” message. In fairness, when I finally got to talk to a human everything was smooth as silk and the phony billing was cancelled immediately.

I did try to move my bank account but the response from the new branch was “we don’t do that here. Go online.”

If your head is spinning but you want to share in my further misery, we decided it was time to down size to one car instead of two. That meant going online to determine what’s available. Auto dealers I checked don’t post their full inventory any more. If you want anything specific you have to sign in and give them your life story – and contact information so they can pursue you until the cows come home.

Most dealers I looked at also have a pop-up for a chat, but that was also nothing more than a personal information gathering gimmick so a sales representative “can call you back.” 

I visited one dealership in Nanaimo. When a salesman came out I told him what I had in mind, mainly window shopping. He asked that we step into the office so he could “pre-qualify” me.

Communications companies don’t communicate, their customers are just an unnecessary evil they try to put off in hopes that you’ll just give up and go away. Their pop up direct messages are totally automated, you don’t get to talk to a human.

There are more examples, but you get the message. Most address changes were fairly simple but the prize winner for all is Canada Revenue Agency. I don’t owe them anything and they keep sending me money to buy groceries and to refund some of my goods and services taxes, but try to change your address. My bank didn’t change, so the money keeps flowing.

The CRA online site expounds on how easy it is to register. Guess again. Up pops a form to fill in your social insurance number, no sweat. My date of birth, I know that so no problem. Then the total from line 12100 from my last tax return. Again easy, right? Not a chance, you get a reply that the information you supplied is incorrect. No, it isn’t, I know my social insurance number and my date of birth has not changed. I have my last tax return in front of me, so that should also be correct.

Finally in desperation it’s a call to their listed telephone number. “All agents are busy, the waiting time is approximately two hours.” After a one-hour wait the line goes dead, you’re hooped.

All that to change an address. Businesses seem to have no respect for their customers any more. They just want you to buy and then shut up. I would publish my new address here, but heaven forbid, they might find out! Or they might call me Rodney

Voters are sticking with Eby and NDP

despite unsatisfactory performance rating

One quarter of British Columbians are happy with Premier David Eby’s NDP government in handling major issues. But despite criticisms and a decade-low performance rating, the NDP is facing little backlash in terms of voter intention.

For someone who loves statistics, the latest data from the Angus Reid Institute is manna from heaven. It shows the government facing heavy criticism on a number of fronts. Staffing crisesin health care remain and the NDP continues to search for answers toincrease the province’s housing stock to increase affordability.

This poll was conducted prior to the provincial byelections in Langford-Juan de Fuca and Vancouver-Mount Pleasant which the NDP won easily in party strongholds, contrary to the province-wide polling numbers. B.C. Conservatives surprisingly came in second in Langford while B.C. United finished fourth.

The NDP rates poorest on housing affordability with a negative 85 per cent. And the government continues to add to that cost with its property transfer tax for home buyers. On the cost of living, 79 per cent say the government is doing either a poor or a very poor job while only 13 per cent rate it as good. It’s a similar response on health care, with 77 per cent rating it poor or very poor.

While these individual measures are dramatic, perhaps even more so is the NDP’s over all Government Performance Index, the lowest in a decade at 27.

Asked how they would vote if an election were held, half of B.C. residents – 47 per cent – would support the NDP, while 29 per cent back B.C. United. The B.C. Greens sit at 14 per cent while “other party” rates at 10 per cent, possibly indicating a resurgence of the B.C. Conservatives.

B.C. United leader Kevin Falcon sits at a 48-per-cent unfavourable rating with only 20-per-cent favourable. That party obviously has a lot of work to do before the next provincial election in 2024.

It's time to cut the bull on homeless, mental illness and addiction issues

It’s time to put away the spade and haul in the front end loader to deal with all the bullsh*t on the street disorder in communities across the province. If the language is upsetting, it’s meant to be.

We have fellow citizens living on our streets, suffering mental illness, drug addiction and poverty. Government policies focus on harm reduction rather than on treatment and recovery. Almost 600 people died from overdoses in the first three months of 2023. Their harm was not reduced.

Calling it something else doesn’t solve the problem. Sloganeering is another way of avoiding creating solutions. Buzz words like mental illness, compassion, safer drugs, stigma don’t help one single victim off the streets.

First, it’s not a mental health issue, it’s a mental illness issue. They are sick and need treatment.

We’re constantly told to have compassion. That means fixing it not blowing smoke. Compassion is when you help people in spite of their problems.

There’s no such thing as safe drug supply. They are still drugs and they are still harmful. Government-sanctioned drug supply to the victims is beyond excuse. Fact: nobody will die a safer death.

Another buzz word that really means nothing is “stigma” which means a negative label. Drug use is negative, there’s no other flowery label possible. Stigma will not make addicts feel worse about themselves.

The homeless are victims of all the failed policies, they are not responsible, they are not capable of being responsible. They are the victims, they need help, especially when they are unable to make decisions in their own best interest.

Calling a homeless person “unhoused” or “living with homelessness” is utter crap, even if the media buys into it. It still does not provide them a place to live.

Rob Shaw reports from the Legislature that recent budget estimates for the Ministry of Mental (Illness) and Addictions show how slow actual progress has been.

The province promised 123 new youth substance use beds in 2020, billed as “the single largest increase in youth treatment beds ever made in B.C., so more young people can get the care they need, when they need it, close to home.”

Okay, in May 2023 BC United critic Elenore Sturko had a simple question: “How many of these beds are operational?” The answer is 32. After almost three years, only 32 actual, useable, real beds.

That’s what I’m talking about. How long have politicians preached about solving the problem and there’s virtually nothing to show for it?

Until they actually do what is needed – involuntary treatment for addiction and mental illness and housing for those who are victims because of poverty.

This rests on opposition leader Kevin Falcon just as much as premier David Eby. They all need to quit dancing around the rosebush and actually solve the problem. It is possible, but it will take courage.

Pundits are already talking about parties positioning themselves for the next provincial election in about a year and a half. It’s up to the voters to hold political parties to account with real action rather than more babble about safer this, or compassion that, and more meaningless methane gas.

The parties have an early opportunity – two byelections have been called for June 24 and that will give both parties a grand stage to strut their stuff. Will they offer real accountable solutions or more finger pointing and misdirection?

The manure pile is getting higher and higher. COMMENT HERE

Run away health care challenges

British Columbia’s health care system may be beyond redemption, there isn’t enough money to fix it. B.C. Budget 2023/24 totals $81.2 Billion and health care takes a $31-Billion bite – 38% per cent. Then education at $17.6 billion takes another 22 per cent. Sixty per cent of the budget goes to health and education. All the rest of government operations have to divide up the remaining 40 per cent.

Diverting cancer radiation treatments to U.S. is a very small part of a much bigger picture and it’s not a solution, it’s a temporary band aid. It was tried for a short time in 1996 and didn’t solve the problem. It does nothing to shorten the waiting lists for diagnosis and all the other levels of the cancer story before it ever gets to radiation treatment.

The government cannot throw enough money at the lack of family doctors. There just isn’t that amount of money or the number of available doctors. It spreads across the system – nurses are also operating short staffed.

Homelessness and mental illness are part of the challenge but the only solution is government with enough financial resources to fix what’s wrong.

It’s not a New Democrat issue, nor a B.C. United issue – both have played this game over decades without success.

We’re getting constant spending announcements, almost daily since David Eby became premier, but it remains to be seen how many of the promises eventually see cheques written.

Obfuscation does not help. Health Minister Adrian Dix recently claimed 3,800 new health care workers have been hired by government. He failed to mention that many of those may not really be new, but rather workers from the private sector who were absorbed when the government assumed control of seniors health facilities and those staff went on the government payroll.

It's impossible to even throw a ball park figure on how much more money is needed, and I haven’t seen anyone make projections, likely because it’s so far out of reach it hasn’t even been pursued.

Can government ever get enough money and at the other end, would we be able to pay the level of taxes needed to solve the problem? Think along the lines of doubling income taxes, plus a lot of other supply lines you could tap into and it still might not be enough.


Soon we won't know who

or how it really happened

230519 – Many of us know history. Future generations may never know the true story of the past but instead a sanitized reversion comfortable with today’s narrative. The woke-washing of history is running amok.

The latest examples come from Parks and Heritage Canada and our Passport Office.

Creating the most stir has been the deletion of Terry Fox from Canadian passports while Parks Canada is busy sanitizing plaques at historic sites which point out Canada’s past.

Politics is at the forefront in both cases. Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre condemns the Liberals for the passport redesign, while standing in front of the National War Memorial, which has also been removed from future passports. He calls the new passport Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “colouring book” because it features images of a squirrel eating a nut and a man raking leaves.

This is not new, it’s been going on with government changes forever. Liberals tend to take Canada in a more independent direction, and Conservatives in a more historical direction.

For instance, former prime minister Stephen Harper repainted the government plane red, white and blue with “True North Strong and Free” written on it, and put “royal” back into the names of the Royal Canadian Air Force and Royal Canadian Navy.

Plaques and story boards are affixed to old buildings where someone important used to live. Or they’re mounted on a rock overlooking where something once happened.

Fort Langley is one of the sites slated for historical cleansing along with other fur trade forts  such as Manitoba’s York Factory. Others relate to the War of 1812, like Queenston Heights in Ontario.

About one third of the 2,192 plaque texts are considered high priority for change. That includes Indigenous portrayal or language such as “Indian” or “Eskimo.”

Controversial beliefs held by historical figures are also being cleansed from plaques. They include one of the Fathers of Confederation, our first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald who has been the target in other campaigns as well.

History is supposed to be a depiction of what happened, not what some wish had happened.

Thank goodness, the last time I renewed my passport I opted for the 10-years version. Terry Fox will travel with me for another half dozen years or so rather than some nut-chewing squirrel.

Attempt to ban natural gas

is delusional and hypocritical

230518 – The green gang on city council appear to have their heads some place where they’re getting a lot more natural gas than sunshine. On top of blowing tons of money on an imaginary climate “crisis”, they are trying to find a way to ban natural gas installations in the building permit process. That’s right, they want to ban natural gas in Nanaimo.

The green team voted 5-4 to have staff find out whether they can legally get away with this in the first place, and failing that, how they can coerce the provincial government to take that route.

It’s hypocritical and delusional. Many of them still travel in their carbon-fuel-guzzlers in their screwed-up traffic patterns beside unused bike lanes on their way to lecture us. They are a majority on council so their misguided logic carries the day. They are obsessed with saving us from what we don’t need saving from. There is no crisis, it’s a figment of the imagination.

Nanaimo has a long history with natural gas. A city committee worked its fingers to the bone to bring natural gas to Vancouver Island in the 1980s. The late Geoff Matthews, Larry Hume and Dean Finlayson devoted countless months and years making it happen. They went right to the top, engaging Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Premier Bill Vander Zalm.

Vancouver Island got the pipeline, but former Mayor Gary Korpan insists we got screwed, and he’s got the proof. He’s on a continuing mission to get the same gas franchise fees that Mainland communities have had over the years. We’ve been shorted by millions of dollars and Gary is not walking away from it even though his message has on deaf ears from successive Social Credit, Liberal and New Democrat governments. The figures are there in black and white.

While we’ve got climate zealots trying to shut it down the provincial government is investing tons of money in natural gas development in Northern B.C. That would be squandered if the misguided greens and their followers foist their woke mentality on the rest of us.

On top of that, we’re sitting on top of a vast pool of natural gas riches, under ground in the Cedar area. All it needs is a little fracking.

How do people like this get elected? Actually quite easily. When the majority of voters don’t turn up at the polls a small number galvanizing around a specific issue are elected. Only 24 per cent of eligible voters turned out at the last election, but do the 76 per cent who didn’t bother deserve what they got?

See the special report by Mark Mills, senior fellow of the Manhattan Institute on Prager University TV with the real future of oil and gas.


The real future of oil and gas

Is skipping class becoming

a problem for city council?

230512 - Idle thoughts of an idle fellow. Whatever happened to the attendance reports for city council? I remember when they were a regular part of the process and we knew who the truants were. Are all council members putting in their hours or are there sluggards? We don’t know, maybe we should.

On top of that, has high tech created voting by cell phone instead of personally showing up?

UPDATE - As I waxed eloquent yesterday about voting records on each issue I learned they are available at the city's website HERE. They are just not in the local news media any more. It may take a little while to learn to use the site but save this link and keep track of what's happening.

Get it right the first time

230507 - The old adage is to never look a gift horse in the mouth. The city is getting $1.8 million from the federal government to develop a gun and gang violence prevention strategy which city council has endorsed.

Any program with this intent should be good news, but only if it’s effective with the right focus. It’s easy to take federal money, but will the program achieve its intended purpose? Too many such programs turn out to be window dressing for political show? Will there be definitive results or simply a string of committees and meetings?

Coun. Sheryl Armstrong said the strategy does not include targeting youths already in organized crime. The rest of council should be paying close heed to her concerns, she knows what she’s talking about based on her extensive experience as a member of the RCMP working with gangs. Focussing on street gangs misses the point, she says. Many of the main gangs with the weapons come from more-affluent families.

Council endorsed the plan in spite of Armstrong's caution and that underlines the concern that it may be a half-baked project which may look at only part the problem and result in nothing more than a public relations exercise rather of a workable strategy.

Why should taxpayers foot the bill for rich folks to drive around in fancy, pricey electric cars? A news release from the city says 99 per cent of privately-owned homes do not have electrical vehicle charging wiring but our virtue-signalling Council has decided to give them $150 each to install this type of appliance for personal use.

How about filling in a few potholes instead? A reader adds EV owners don't even pay for the cost of roads. 230504

Farnworth in a pickle with

Surrey policing decision

Kicking the can down the road seldom resolves a problem. The Surrey policing decision is a shining example of indecision leading to more problems.

Attorney General Mike Farnworth was given the impossible task of pleasing everyone at the same time, and his verdict left just as big a mess as he was tasked with cleaning up. As is most often the case, the taxpayer is stuck with the outcome.

Lackluster voter turnout in the 2018 election gave then-Mayor Doug McCallum the green light to create a new municipal police force, replacing the RCMP. McCallum ran on that as a major platform plank and won the election.

Surrey went ahead and formed Surrey Police Service, putting the infrastructure in place at the costs of millions of dollars.

Mccallum’s political opposition mounted a campaign to reverse the decision and keep the RCMP. It got quite nasty and McCallum was unseated by Coun. Brenda Locke who became the new mayor. She moved quickly to make it official, keep the RCMP and disband the new police force which had already hired management and officers at the cost of millions of dollars.

That’s when Farnworth was forced to step in, and try to invoke the wisdom of Solomon by “urging” the retention of the SPS and dismissal of the RCMP with the province dumping in $30 million a year for five years to pay part of the mess. Now other municipalities are chanting "me too" to the government payout, despite the province alredy doling out $1 billion in funding for infrastructure.

Locke being no political pushover quickly declared she was ignoring what turned out to be merely suggestions by Farnworth. She was going to push ahead to reinstate the RCMP.

Farnworth’s recommendations were no walk in the park – about 500 pages in all with virtually unlimited wiggle room. It was no easy task. Voters had tacitly approved the policing switch and then changed their mind. Now the rest of the provincial taxpayers are stuck with the outcome.

This is one case where the attorney general might have been better off by making a definitive ruling even though that meant drawing the wrath of supporters on either one side or the other. But that’s why we elected people to government, to make decisions, popular or unpopular.

Remember, you can please all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.


Government is not working because

politics keeps getting in the way

It is an indisputable fact that governments no longer function to achieve our needs, leading to contradictory and impossible ambitions. 

There are countless examples, but let’s look at the most obvious in our daily lives. Close to home, governments dangle political philosophies to deal with increasing crime, drug use, mental health and housing.

They apply band aids to an open wound. They say they want to solve the problems – but they are afraid to apply real solutions for fear of hurting feelings. They use words like stigma when responding to street drug use, they plead human rights when it becomes a question of mandating institutionalization of the victims of those criminal activities.

Political posturing has led to the decriminalization of drugs, increasing their availability, only multiplying the problems. They must surely know they are failing the victims but remain true to their mantra. There’s no such things as “safer” drugs.

It’s an unarguable fact that you can’t have law and order without crime and punishment.

For more than a hundred years politics has dragged on the issue of indigenous people in our country, stretching it on and on without a resolution, only dumping tons and tons of money at it. After a century government should long have solved the claims issues, they have been there all that time and many are coming to light just recently. In essence, it’s become an industry operated by lawyers.

The modus operandi of politics is diversion – changing the subject and talking about anything else. Like the myth of “solving” climate change. It’s a smoke screen to cover their shortcomings. Or the new "woke" religeon.

Our prime minister insisted that billions and billions of public dollars for an electric vehicle battery factory came about because “everybody demands it.” That is simply flat out not true.

U.S. tranpsortation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is taking the obfuscation to the extreme, preaching that streets and roads are racist because they transport more white people than others. C'mon, Pete.

Or fueling a national debate about whether we are male or female or something in between. In the meantime people are still huddling in tents, subsisting on drugs without proper medical treatment.

It’s not the Liberals, it’s not the Conservatives and it’s not the New Democrats, it’s all of them taking their turns with meaningless bafflegab. They just take turns shuffling seats in Parliament and Legislatures.

Another example I ran into is an individual trying to develop his property for housing but is forced to endure endless red tape and expenses at the government level. Each of those steps costs the developer a lot of money. That’s especially evident when one municipality on Vancouver Island can approve building projects within weeks while in others take up to two years and more.

That is countless trips to municipal government hearings and bureaucracy, at all of which specialists have to be paid for their attendance. Again and again. It adds up to a significant portion of the cost of housing.

Then comes the hypocritical action of government adding significant taxes to the sale of homes, the total costs of which then take many prospective buyers out of qualification for financing. As long as the provincial government keeps the property transfer tax they are not serious about housing affordability. On today’s average selling price of a home that adds about $12,500 to the cost of buying a home.

A poll in the U.S. recently showed only 25 per cent of voters support the Democrat party and 25 per cent back the Republicans. The rest? They are looking at independents who earned 50 per cent  popularity. But forming a party of independents would simply wind up in another party.

Running around community to community handing out money is not a magic wand, it does not solve problems. It only addresses the fears of the moment, if even that.

There is no argument that we are headed in the same direction. Our politics is based on personal attacks rather than actually solving problems. The NDP hates the Conservatives, the Conservatives hate the Liberals, and the Liberals . . . you know that tune. All the while, nobody is taking care of business like they are elected to do. 

Meanwhile hospital emergency departments continue to be shut down over weekends, and many people can't find a family doctor. That spells the failure of politics.

First Nations Health Authority is

proof there's more than one way

2330416 -When is two-tiered health care acceptable and when is it not? The style of health care delivery has been an ongoing debate over private clinics versus public facilities. It been tested in the courts unsuccessfully a number of times.


We already have a two-tiered system. The federal government has committed $8 Billion in renewed funding for The First Nations Health Authority. There’s good reason for this separate tier in the health care system. Indigenous people have a lower life expectancy than the general population and also experience higher rates of illness, including mental health and substance use disorders.


It hopes to change that by taking on more responsibility for delivering health services for Indigenous communities. The federal government has renewed its agreement for 10 years. It grants the health authority control planning, management and delivery of health programs in 200 B.C. communities.


This level of service is an excellent example of how need has to be met by service, and that includes utilizing the private health care solutions. MORE

Electric vehicles could pose danger onboard ferries

230412 – A Norwegian shipping company has banned electric, hybrid, and hydrogen cars from its ferries after concluding  the risk to safety was too significant. Fires in electric vehicles can not be extinguished.

The risks for ships from Electric cars have been discussed since the ferry “Felicity Ace” sank off the Azores, Portugal, last February. E-vehicles on board caught fire and could not be extinguished. The ship sank with thousands of electric cars, including Porsche and Bentley “green” vehicles.

Capt. Rahul Khanna, global head of marine consulting at Allianz, a marine insurance specialist, explains that the problem with EVs is that lithium-ion batteries in the cars can actually propagate the fire, igniting more vigorously as compared to conventional cars. A single vehicle fire could prove catastrophic.

According to a report by the Trade Winds shipping news service, Havila’s Chief executive Bent Martini said the risk analysis showed that the fire in an electric car required a particularly complex rescue operation. The crew on board could not afford this. Passengers would also be at risk. This is different for vehicles with combustion engines. A possible fire is usually easy to fight by the ship’s crew.

Even Greenpeace warned against e-cars on ships: “In general, electronic components and especially electric vehicles pose a risk for every transport.”

Electoral boundary revisions come as a surprise for many

Hundreds and hundreds of us in Lantzville and North Nanaimo are about to move – to Courtenay and Alberni. And we appear to have been asleep at the switch.

Granted, there were numerous opportunities to address the question but not too many voters were aware. The last public submissions were received in June last year.

That’s the plan of the Electoral Boundaries commission, and it’s too late to voice your opinion, the deadline has passed. I cannot recall the report of the commission being made public in the media and advertising, or any opinion in the public realm from our elected officials. Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Lisa Marie Barron made a written submission, raising concerns about chopping out part of our community and moving it to Courtenay-Alberni.

It's like crying over spilled milk. There’s one slight opportunity and that is through a member of Parliament, with a deadline of March 7, that’s Tuesday. MPs have one last go at it, not that it's a likely result.

The proposal is to transfer Lantzville and basically the area north of Hammond Bay Road to the Courtenay-Alberni federal riding. It’s based on population and Nanaimo’s growth has put us on the upper edge of that number.

 It’s a numbers game. There are complicated numerical formulas which have resulted in part of Courtenay being moved to North Island, thus making room for those being transferred from Nanaimo. The report makes reference to Nanaimo’s population growth, arguing that we will be under represented.

To me that raises the question of how well we would be represented by a member of Parliament based in Port Alberni or Courtenay instead of here in Nanaimo even if the numbers were out of whack?

There are numerous legitimate arguments against this move.

Dover Bay school has been used as a polling location for municipal, provincial and federal elections for years, we’ve become accustomed to it. Sure, it could still be used for those who transfer north, but all the Nanaimo voters south of Hammond Bay Road will have to go to a new location to vote.

As well, that area is represented in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District, making a convenient unit.

All our municipal connections are with the City of Nanaimo, and lopping off part of the city could create unnecessary havoc, especially when dealing with Ottawa.

Some argue that the same applies to the Regional District, but the district is situated largely in the riding to the north to begin with, so the impact would be minimal.

As some have suggested, it would be simpler to move Ladysmith to the Cowichan-Malahat-Langford district. It may make geographic sense but not the numbers game as the southern riding is also over-populated at this point.

So, welcome to Courtenay-Alberni, for at least the next ten years after which we go through the process again. By then we will likely need another electoral district on Vancouver Island due to growth, and that will mean shaking up the boundaries again.

The target population for EDAs is 116,300
The average Vancouver Island total is 123,052, illustrating how far we are over the limits.

Current populations for Island EDAs
Courtenay-Alberni, 1222,753
Cowichan-Malahat-Langford, 124,115
Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke, 120,170
Nanaimo-Ladysmith, 122,857
North Island-Powell River, 125,840
Saanich-Gulf Islands, 122,147
Victoria, 123,482

Following is an excerpt from the report of the commission

Vancouver Island is represented by seven Members of Parliament. Its population has grown over the past 10years, and done so unevenly, leading to an average electoral district population in the region over the province's quota. While the Commission has not increased the Island's number of electoral districts, for the reason stated above, it considers that in the interests of voter parity significant discrepancies in population among certain electoral districts must result in some boundary adjustments to reduce the variations among districts. The result is a set of electoral districts on Vancouver Island with minimal regional variation in population.

Two areas are currently in particular need of some reconfiguration to be faithful to the Commission's task. These are the boundaries affecting the mid-Island, a matter that has ripple effects on the neighbouring electoral districts, and the appropriate electoral boundaries within the Saanich Peninsula. The area of highest provincial growth, the City of Langford in the current Cowichan—Malahat—Langford electoral district, is fortunately within a district that has been able to absorb the increase without greatly exceeding the regional average, and, accordingly, that electoral district has only minor changes, consistent with public suggestions. The Commission has agreed with submissions that the existing boundaries of the Victoria electoral district should remain unchanged.

The mid-Island area presents particular challenges for existing Nanaimo—Ladysmith and its neighbouring districts. Nanaimo—Ladysmith has experienced high population growth, and the City of Nanaimo is a major trading and service centre, creating a strong community of interest in the region. Yet the population of Nanaimo—Ladysmith is the highest on Vancouver Island, and the interests of parity and proper weight for the constituents' votes require a response to bring the population more into conformity with the other Island electoral districts.

Geography allows only two solutions: moving the southern boundary northward, so as to assign residents in Nanaimo—Ladysmith to Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, or moving the northern boundary southward to assign residents in Nanaimo—Ladysmith to current Courtenay—Alberni. The southern-boundary alternative would have a domino effect around the Malahat area more disruptive than the northern-boundary alternative. The Proposal had redrawn the northern boundary of Nanaimo—Ladysmith to assign Lantzville and the adjoined area of north Nanaimo to Courtenay—Alberni. The Commission received many comments questioning this concept and stressing the strong ties that Lantzville and the Nanaimo area have with the remainder of the present electoral district. Presenters asked that the City of Nanaimo be kept whole.

The Commission has considered these concerns, but is ultimately of the view that the proposed alteration represents the most appropriate response to the district's current divergence from quota. The Commission agrees with the suggestion that an area of Nanaimo in the Brannen Lake vicinity, which was proposed to be included in Courtenay—Alberni, should remain in Nanaimo—Ladysmith, and it now proposes to adjust the Courtenay—Alberni and Nanaimo—Ladysmith boundary to more closely follow the Nanaimo city boundary in this area.

Assignment of Lantzville and the adjoined area of north Nanaimo to Courtenay—Alberni has a ripple effect, giving Courtenay—Alberni an unduly large population. In turn, this required the Commission to examine Courtenay—Alberni's northern boundary with current North Island—Powell River. That present boundary divides the three neighbouring municipalities of Cumberland, Courtenay and Comox by including Comox within North Island—Powell River, at present the most sparsely populated electoral district of Vancouver Island. In response to the ripple effect created by reducing the Nanaimo—Ladysmith population, the Commission had proposed dividing Courtenay at the natural boundary of the Courtenay River, joining the eastern portion of Courtenay with Comox in North Island—Powell River and keeping the western portion within Courtenay—Alberni. The Commission appreciated that this proposed change would be controversial, and so it has been.

At public hearings and in written submissions, residents questioned assigning the City of Courtenay to two electoral districts. Some presenters acknowledged the need to address the large divergence of population in Nanaimo—Ladysmith from the quota, and suggested that population room in the mid to north Island districts could be created by transferring Powell River to an electoral district on the Mainland. The suggestion to transfer Powell River to a Mainland electoral district provoked a number of submissions from residents of Powell River, resisting the idea and commenting positively on Powell River's current placement in North Island—Powell River.

You can see the FULL REPORT here.

Reconciliation is only the first step toward truth

Reconciliation has become a household term in relation to history involving indigenous people and those who took over by invasion. Other than a fancy buzz word, what does it mean?

The dictionary defines reconciliation as the action of making one view or belief compatible with another: any possibility of reconciliation between clearly opposed positions. That is only the first step. It sounds and looks good on paper but there are other steps without which there can never be resolution.

Restitution and reparation are very similar. The history of the United States shows that alone will not settle the issue. They have gone past that stage to restitution, the act of giving back something that was lost or stolen, or of paying money for the loss. Numerous jurisdictions in the U.S. are now developing reparation plans to compensate for slavery many generations ago.

Retribution is probably the oldest justification of punishment. It is the fact that the individual has committed a wrongful act that justifies punishment, and that the punishment should be proportional to the wrong committed.

Then comes the truth. Governments are falling all over themselves trying to reconcile, not making it clear that the next stages inherently come after the first stage.

Reclaiming rights
for the homeless

The enablers of homelessness cite victims’ rights in their failure to tackle the problem head on.

Whose rights are being taken away? In reality, those who argue against involuntary institutionalization are denying the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for those unable to help themselves. By not helping them when they are incapable of making sound decisions, rejecting the services that can help them, that’s how their rights are denied.

For many living on the streets is a choice between seeking the help they need or continuing with their addictions. Once you’re hooked it’s not an easy choice but rather a priority of when and where to get the next fix. It’s not simple, drug addiction and mental health issues go hand in hand. By not treating the victims we are in fact accomplices by not helping them to reclaim their rights.

Attaching other labels does not solve the problem. Being homeless and being unhoused are the same thing, but some insist that the word change removes the stigma. It’s a stigma only for those who preach it, to the victims it makes no difference. Linguistic gymnastics don't improve the lot of the homeless.

Creating more programs that let them stay on the streets is not helping them. Building homeless shelters without the necessary services is an abdication of responsibility by those who could restore their rights. It is not a virtue to turn a blind eye to their plight by slapping up more bricks and mortar. It doesn't help either to label people who don't subscribe to voluntary treatment as not caring. That’s cop-out.

Less work for same pay does not add up

Less work for the same pay. Now there’s a tantalizingincentive for workers. The B.C. Green Party’s proposal for a four-day work weekpilot project demonstrates how out of touch the party is with reality.

Less work for the same pay boils down to a 20-per-centincrease is wage costs for employers. And as is so often the case with GreenParty schemes, they want the taxpayers to pick up the tab through tax creditsfor participating businesses.

They point to the United Kingdom where this has been tried, claimingit’s been very effective.

This comes at a time where we already have a labourshortage, we can’t find enough workers to fill the present need. Cutting backto four days would mean another hit on being able to fill staffing needs, a20-per-cent increase in job vacancies.

Party Leader Sonia Furstenau argues we need to put thewell-being and the work life balance of people at the centre and if we have ahealthier and more well work force we’ll see a decrease in costs on ourhealthcare system on our public safety system. How? Does she have the facts toback that up?

Not surprisingly, not everyone is in favour. David Screech ofGregg’s Furniture And Upholstery in Victoria says it would hurt, not benefit,his small business.

“Medium-sized and small businesses are already strugglinglike mad in this climate. The idea that we can lose a full day of productionand pay our staff the same amount of money in a competitive market makes nosense at all,” he argues.

Hopefully saner heads will prevail in the NDP and BC Liberalparties in the Legislature.

Tolerance means including everyone, not just a select few

The woke gospel is beginning to test my tolerance. If you’re not singing from their songbook apparently you are evil and doomed to purgatory. We used to be able to disagree and still respect each other. Now the self-righteous in our midst spew hate when opinions clash. Media preach tolerance and love but do not follow their own sermonizing as they preach hate and intolerance.

That vitriol is coming out after NHL player Ivan Provorov chose not to participate in a social engineering ceremony before a game. It doesn’t matter what the topic of the event was, that’s not the issue.

The bleeding heart political correctness in sports leagues and media screams inclusivity while in practice they exercise exclusion. Diversity and inclusion mean including everyone of every stripe and color, not just the selective flavour of the day. We can all have our own thoughts on any issue, and we have a right to our beliefs.

This is not a commentary on the event which the player opted out of, but the lecturing that nobody has a right to a differing point of view, especially when based on religion. Shame on these condescending twits and their venomous delusionary belief that their views are on a higher plane.

Thankfully, reason appears to ride with the majority. After the furor over the incident, Povorov’s Philadelphia Flyers jersey sold out immediately on internet marketing sites – I’m told at $235 Canadian, eh?

You're only as good as

the promises you keep


Politicians and promises are synonymous. It’s the same story with politicians and broken promises.

When David Eby was a candidate for the leadership of the B.C. NDP and the premiership he was very generous with promises of what he intended to for our province.

Now he’s doing a fancy two-step. It didn’t take him long to backtrack on what he had offered. 

Rob Shaw, who covers the Legislature, writes Eby is walking back two key promises from his leadership campaign – a new provincial mental health facility, and a proposal to involuntarily detain people who overdose for medical treatment.

Eby says that may not happen now that he’s taken office, despite the proposals being early centrepieces of his leadership bid and areas in which he’s made very specific pledges for action. “Eby said his leadership ideas were just that – ideas that he’s now turned over to more knowledgeable experts to figure out whether they are viable or should be shelved in favour of different solutions,” writes Shaw.

That’s not sitting well with a lot of people across the political spectrum who had high hopes for positive action on those two issues. An NDP friend of mine was unequivocal that Eby “bloody well better not back down. He has to step up or it will Premier Falcon. And I am so sick of all of this I don’t care who does it as long as they do it. Local small facilities I absolutely support but with secure involuntary care.”

That’s the reaction from more than just a few people. In the meantime our new premier is busy shovelling out even more goodies. They sound promising, all shiny and sparkling, but will be keep his word?

Read Rob Shaw’s full report HERE

There are statistics and then there are damned lies


A Toronto researcher was awarded a grant by the Canadian government to study the safety risks of unvaccinated drivers. The professor got a grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada titled "Encouraging Vaccine Confidence in Canada."

Statistics can prove anything you want them to. He looked at medical records of people who were hospitalized after car accidents, and found that 25 per cent of the accidents involved unvaccinated individuals. Let’s see now, that then means 75 per cent were vaccinated drivers.

He concluded that the "risks" might justify changes to driver insurance policies in the future. Ah ha, that’s the bottom line. FULL STORY.

Jews begin eight-day

Chanukah celebration


Sunday was the first night of Hanukkah or Chanukah, marked by Jews around the world. Central Vancouver Island Jews held a menorah lighting ceremony in Nanaimo on Sunday. The celebration ends on Dec. 26.

The eight-day celebration commemorates the rededication during the second century B.C. of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, where according to legend, Jews had risen up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors. Eight candles of the menorah symbolize the number of days that the Temple lantern blazed; the ninth, the shamash, is a helper candle used to light the others.

Families light one candle on the first day, two on the second, and so on, after sundown during the eight days of Hanukkah while reciting prayers and singing songs. Hanukkah lasts for eight nights to commemorate how long the holy light burned.

Crypto currency nothing

but monkey business


Crypto currency has been in the news quite a lot recently, what with one of the biggest companies crashing. I have never bought into the concept of buying smoke and mirrors, so I was really interested in an annonymous presentation I ran across recently. It totally lays out how crypto currencyworks, in Layman's terms.

Not long ago a merchant found a lot of monkeys that lived near a certain Village. 

One day he came to the Village saying he wanted to buy monkeys. He announced he would buy the monkeys at $100 each.

The villagers thought that this man must be crazy - how can somebody buy stray monkeys at $100 each? Still some people caught some monkeys and gave it to this merchant and he gave $100 for each monkey. The news spread like wildfire and people caught monkeys and sold them to the merchant.


After a few days, the merchant announced that he will buy monkeys at $200 each. The lazy villagers also ran around to catch the remaining monkeys. They sold the remaining monkeys at $200 each. 

The merchant then announced that he will buy monkeys for $500 each. The villagers started to lose sleep. They caught six or seven monkeys, which was all that was left and got $500 each. The villagers were waiting anxiously for the next announcement. 

Then the merchant announced that he is going on holiday for a week, but when he returns, he will buy monkeys at $1,000 each. He also said that his employee will be in charge, and would take care of the monkeys he bought pending his return. 

The Merchant went on holiday. The Villagers were frantic and very sad as there were no more monkeys left for them to sell it at $1,000 each as was promised by the Merchant. 

Then the Merchant's employee contacted them and told them that he would secretly sell them some monkeys at $700 each. The news spread like wildfire. As the Merchant promised on his return that he would buy monkeys at $1000 each, they would achieve a $300 profit for each monkey. 

The next day the Villagers queued up near the monkey cage. The employee sold all the monkeys at $700 each. The Rich bought monkeys in large lots. The poor borrowed money from money lenders and bought the rest of the monkeys. The Villagers took care of their monkeys and waited for the Merchant to return. 


However nobody came. Then they ran to find the employee. However he was not to be found. The Villagers then realized that they have been duped buying the useless stray monkeys at $700 each, and were now unable to sell them.

This monkey business is now known as Bitcoin.

A new approach needed

to affordale housing


A lot has been made of affordable housing for the past few years as prices soared into the stratosphere. Many people, especially politicians, wax eloquent about how we can get home ownership, or even rental, in the financial range of most people.

Governments keep poking into the home building industry with countless plans that never seem to amount to much, if anything. All are related to someone else picking up the tab, the concept of “government can fix all problems by throwing money at them”. The sad reality is it has not worked.

While I served as a city councillor in Nanaimo, one of my portfolios was working on homelessness, especially for people requiring low-barrier housing. My first co-chair was Diane Brennan, and in the next term it was Fred Pattje. Together with those two dedicated councillors, in the face of a lot of neighbourhood opposition, we were able to get close to 150 housing units for those vulnerable people in our city.

The concept at the time was quite simple. The city provided serviced and zoned land at no cost. The province paid for the housing to go on that land, with the management of those properties contracted out. There will always be slight hitches, but the projects in Nanaimo have worked well.

At the time we tackled this, homeless counts were usually close to 50 people at any one time. After the city and the province provided that housing for about 150 people, the census on the street reveals in the vicinity of 100 or more homeless people. Is it possible to ever provide enough services, will we ever catch up?

Reflecting on that experience and the focus on affordable housing almost everywhere, how can society lower the cost of housing in a free market? It’s easy to assign blame, especially to foreign buyers, but that’s not bringing us any closer to a solution. Blaming someone is easy, solving the problem is more difficult. Is it totally up to government to continue to write the cheques to cover the costs, with no end in sight? The concern over affordability is not about homeless citizens but those who are employed but the cost of housing is simply out of reach. They can and are willing to pay, but it has to be within their budget.

A new approach could very well draw on the experiences of the approach toward homelessness. For years developers have been required to set aside certain portions of their projects for park and recreation sites, their contribution to the community in return for the right to build. Parks are nice, a roof over your head is more practical.

How about changing that philosophy and encouraging developers to contribute to an affordability fund or actually building facilities to provide more affordable housing? As in the example above, the municipality could provide zoned and serviced land. The builder could put up the lower-cost housing as a contribution toward more affordability.

Designating city-owned land for such projects is one of the main planks in this concept. For many home owners in Nanaimo, this year was the first time that their tax assessments showed the land portion was greater than the house. That then tells us a lot more about affordability than the actual cost of construction.

The city of Nanaimo is land poor, but over a period of time could develop a land assembly process where it could build up its inventory. Nothing happens overnight, we have to start somewhere.

Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization that builds homes, often with municipal help, and makes them available to lower income families through “sweat equity” where the families that qualify earn their down payment. The only downside of this concept is that it is a non-profit and cannot meet the demand that exists throughout the province and the country. It results in a couple of projects a year, far from meeting the demand.

There may be some holes in the idea of having builder-developers giving a community contribution to the municipality for the opportunity to develop, and challenges for the municipalities, but nothing else appears to be working. Housing for the homeless has not been totally solved, but what was done has made a big dent in the problem. Why not give it a try as it relates to affordability, or at least devote serious investigation of the idea?

Does anyone have a better idea?