Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

Cowichan Conversations: Artificial Turf Controversy Fuels Dispute Over Health Concerns In North Cowichan

Don Maroc

Michelle Hutton-Marinier, in a letter to the Cowichan Citizen newspaper, voices her disappointment n North Cowichan Council’s decision to delay for a couple of weeks signing a contract to install an artificial turf field to replace one of the grass soccer pitches on Sherman Road.

Her son plays for the U13 team in the Cowichan Valley Soccer Association. She downplays the possible health concerns of using some artificial turf, noting only the dangers of suffering concussions.

When North Cowichan Councillor Robert Douglas requested taking a short timeout to study the health consequences for players, especially young children, using (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Charlie Smith’s Memo to Keith Baldrey: Democracy is Already Imperilled

Richard Hughes-Just another Political Blogger

MSM legislative Global TV guy Keith Baldrey is a master on Twitter. He is not without a developed sense of distortion, as is clear in this provocative deviation from reality highlighted in Charlie Smith’s memo below.

In truth, the blogosphere is multi dimensional in its coverage, much of it well researched and penetrating, going places where the MSN would be strangers.

Bloggers seldom need to pander to government or corporate advertisers. Certainly in my case as I do not carry ads, few do.

Here is a partial list of alternate sites and blogs for readers to peruse at their (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Time to Regulate the News Media

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

The Tyee’s Associate Editor Shannon Rupp wrote this thorough analysis regarding the state of the media, published in August 2014.

It seems timely to post it once again when on Vancouver Island we could soon be facing Black Press papers from one end to another.

In the Cowichan Valley where two papers the Cowichan Citizen and the Cowichan News Leader Pictorial competed, more for advertising that news coverage, we could soon see Black owning both papers.

He may fold one, probably the News Leader where the staff have been on strike for over 100 days. Represented by Unifor, (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: A Look Back To Loren Duncan’s Stated Concerns About Runaway Senior Staff Salaries

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Longtime CVRD Director Loren Duncan put his concerns about CVRD senior staff salaries on record in June 2013. As a semi recovering politician I have an appreciation for not only his insight but for stating it publicly.

The group or table dynamics are such that it is difficult to break ranks, but it is essential that elected officials remember and speak for the citizen residents who they were elected to represent. Loren did that often and for those who think that is easy, I assure you that it is not.

Loren Duncan’s Letter June 2013

By Loren (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Naomi Klein- ‘The Economic System We Have Created Global Warming’

Naomi Klein

I am beginning to detect a growing trend towards changing the capitalist economic model from one in which profit is the only priority to one in which wellness is the priority, and profit must be made within that paradigm.

The fact that this interview should appear in one of the most prestigious and influential German publications just as the European powers are meeting to address climate change, should not go unremarked.

Can we still stop global warming? Only if we radically change our capitalist system, argues author Naomi Klein. In an interview with SPIEGEL, she explains why the (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Will Maroc and Wallener Find Common Hi Tech Ground In Cowichan?

Don Maroc

by Don Maroc

Damir Wallener is a charming guy, he’s hip to high-tech, understands high-risk financing, and is currently busy pushing Silicon Valley type development for the Cowichan Valley.

No one in the Cowichan area would disagree with him about finding ways to keep our kids near to home after they complete secondary school.

We may have trouble competing with educational institutions like Stamford, Cal Tech, UC Berkeley, and hyper-high-tech jobs like those at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab but UVic, VIU, and Camosun could give it their best shot.

Like Damir, most everyone would like to see our (Read more…)

Song of the Watermelon: The Case for ‘Yes’ in Metro Vancouver’s Transit Referendum

Well, anybody could have called this one.

According to a new survey by Insights West, 53 per cent of residents plan to vote No in the upcoming 2015 Metro Vancouver Transportation and Transit Plebiscite. Only 38 per cent say they will vote Yes to the proposed half-percentage-point sales tax increase to help fund more buses, new rapid transit lines, improved walking and cycling networks, road and bridge upgrades, and more.

The once mighty Yes campaign’s decline is a regrettable development, but no one can honestly claim to be surprised. Though referendums can be useful exercises, they are out of (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Bill C-51–Trudeau Liberals and Mulcair New Democrats Put Party First-Canada Second

Richard Hub Hughes-Political Blogger

I am a life long New Democrat and I am appalled at the ‘weak as water’ positioning that the Thomas Mulcair led NDP have offered in regard to the Harper anti terror Bill C 51, a bill that will, if passed, turn Canada into a CSIS Police State.

Mulcair has said he opposes Bill C 51, but so far lacks the passion and commitment necessary to have his concerns registered as significant.

Justin Trudeau just choked and offered his support right from the beginning.

PM Steve Harper salutes Canada

If Mulcair and Trudeau not going to go to (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Two North Cowichan Councillors Are Proposing Ways To Ease The Residential Property Tax Burden.

Don Maroc

Two North Cowichan municipal councillors, who some consider to represent the opposite ends of the left-right political spectrum, are proposing ways to ease the residential property tax burden.

Council veteran Al Siebring suggested a direct assault on the tax rates, while council freshman Rob Douglas wants a workable but indirect solution.

NC Councillor Al Siebring

Douglas made his move as a notice of motion for the February 18, regular council meeting.

Siebring dropped his two motions on the table at the February 4, meeting and was met with diluting amendments and a motion to send them to the (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Support Rally For Striking Cowichan News Leader Staffer Was Solid

Richard Hughes- Blogger

The wind and rain challenged the scheduled rally to support striking News Leader workers but it seemed to have little if any effect. Local citizens, trade union leaders and politicians gathered and offered their support for the folks that put out the paper, under increasingly stressful conditions. That, thanks to their tightwad owner David Black media tycoon.

Black is trying to tighten their belts further and impose two tiered salary caps on future employees. He has refused to budge or negotiate unless the bargaining unit, represented by the powerful and progressive union UNIFOR, roll over.

Last I (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Cowichan News Leader Workers Are On Strike!

This just in. The picket lines are up at the Cowichan News Leader. Black Press is trying to impose a two-year wages system on new employees.

Here is the CHEK TV NEWS Report 

Cowichan Conversations: BC Liberals LNG Tax Bill equals Unprecedented Wealth Transfer and Will Pass Unopposed

Kevin Logan-Cowichan Conversations Contributor

The LNG Tax Bill currently winding its way through the BC legislature will impact the very fundamentals of this Province and paves the way for a massive transfer of wealth extending decades into the future.

It’s an unprecedented time.

The BC Liberals had to prorogue the house and start anew with a Throne Speech that completely rewrote everything they built their re-election campaign on.

In other words, they were forced to halt proceedings, rewind the clock on their election platform and instead of delivering prosperity, strong arm British Columbians into accepting the dictates of foreign oil (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: This is Going To Be A War-Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan


Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan has gone to court challenging Kinder Morgan’s efforts to proceed contrary to Burnaby’s bylaws. If the court upholds the by-laws then Kinder Morgan will have to cease their work and leave the area.

This is going to be a war-says Corrigan.

Cowichan Conversations: Robo-Calls come to Duncan

Appallingly, robo-calls have come to the City of Duncan.

The calls, in a voice that no one recognizes, allegedly say,” Please vote for our friends, Mayor Phil Kent, Martin Barker, Rodger Bruce, George Nielsen, Travis Peterson and John Horgan.”

The problem being that Mayor Phil Kent never gave his permission to be included in either the recent ads in the paper or in the robocalls.

Apparently the Mayor will be contacting Elections BC after the election and will be making a formal statement.

Cowichan Conversations: The Nanaimo-Duncan Labour Council organized a debate for the three candidates vying for the North Cowichan mayor’s chair

Don Maroc – Cowichan Conversations

by Don Maroc

The Nanaimo-Duncan Labour Council organized a debate for the three candidates vying for the North Cowichan mayor’s chair, at the Cowichan Community Centre Sunday afternoon at 2 pm.

Richard Hughes-Moderator

Maybe it was because the Cowichan Valley’s unreformed political pitbull Richard Hughes was the moderator, or maybe it was because North Cowichan’s irrascible councillor John Koury made a quick statement and bailed out of the debate. More likely it was a result of two very honourable and respectful men debating issues facing residents rather than taking cheap shots at one another that (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Island Savings Vital to Island Communities

Please cast a vote against the takeover. Vote No!

John Restakis

With three days left in the voting for the proposed merger of Island Savings and First West, many questions remain unanswered for Island Savings members. It remains unclear just exactly how a larger credit union will actually benefit Vancouver Island communities if they lose control of their credit union in the process.The key to local investment in a credit union is always local control. This is the heart and soul of a truly successful credit union – one that lives its co-op principles. Lose this and all bets (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: First West Credit Union-’Salary Budget Reductions’– Unfair Labour Practices

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

The following information was waiting in my inbox this morning. It is of significance to all Island Savings Credit Union members and staff who value job security and the benefits of working with a collective agreement.

Although voting has already begun and will continue until November 12th at all Island Savings locations, this information is still useful, especially for those who have yet to vote..

Island Savings staff are constantly being fed the fairy tales of how First West Credit Union is such a great employer.

The BC Labour Relations Board ruled that First West had engaged in unfair labour practices (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Cowichan Local Elections November 15th–Choose Wisely–Heaven sort Hell




Heavenly Election



While walking down the street one day a Corrupt Senator was tragically hit by a car and died.

His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

“Welcome to heaven,” says St. Peter. “Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high officials around these parts, you see, so we’re not sure what to do with you.”

“No problem, just let me in,” says the Senator. “Well, I’d like to, but I have orders from the higher ups. What we’ll do (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Seventeen candidates vying for seven seats on the Cowichan School Board of Trustees

Don Maroc

by Don Maroc

Seventeen candidates vying for seven seats on the Cowichan School District Board of Trustees took the Quamichan school stage before about 75 residents on Thursday (Oct.30th) evening.

There were 17 individual pitches made by the candidates for the audience’s votes. But a majority of the candidates have aligned themselves in two slates. Seven candidates (Keith Chicquen, Barb de Groot, Rob Hutchins, Joanne de Lure, Cathy Schmidt, Candance Spilsbury, and Joe Thorne) make up the Students First Team. Opposite them the Group of Four includes Kayla Barrett, Connie Buckner, Deb Foster, and Ellen Oxman.

Deb Foster and (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Island Savings Takeover — A Bad Deal-Vote No


Keep Island Savings Local



By Don Skerik

Regarding the take over of Island Savings by First West. I have attended three of the ISCU membership meetings and at each it seemed there were more staff than members attending. At one meeting on two occasions I was in conversation with other members and had my conversation intruded upon by management. I wonder if this is the new culture being introduced by First West.

The information provided at each meeting seemed to consist of threats to the members and staff that if this merger does not go through (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Michelle Staples Seeks Re-election to Duncan City Council

Welcome to!!! This site is designed specifically for the re-election campaign of Michelle Staples, a long term Cowichan Valley resident living in the City of Duncan, a mother and self employed entrepreneur with a long history of bringing people together on projects that are important to the Cowichan Valley. Our hopes for this site is to provide people with information about Michelle, so enjoy the site and finding out why you should mark her on your voting card this coming November 15th!

If you have any questions for her, comments, concerns about the City or would just like to (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Cowichan News Leader Candidate Coverage for Election 2014

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger



The Cowichan News Leader is doing a good job with their Election 14 Coverage. I have posted their profile feature here. This is worth keeping around as we all try to sort out this amazing series of local elections.

ELECTION CANDIDATES Election News Election Candidates Candidate Q&As Election Information Electoral Region : —- All —- City of Duncan Municipality of North Cowichan Cowichan Valley Regional District Cowichan Valley School District 79

Click here to find your area

Mayor: Meet Phil Kent

City of Duncan: Kent, Phil — Mayor candidate (incumbent)

Meet John Koury

Municipality of (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: Cowichan Conversations: Cowichan News Leader Candidate Coverage for Election 2014

Cowichan Conversations: CKNW-Former BC Premier calls for a frank discussion of Canadian values

Former BC NDP Premier Ujjal Dosanjh

A former BC Premier says Wednesday’s terror attack in Ottawa is another sign of Canada losing the war on values.

Ujjal Dosanjh says it is time to forget being politically correct and have a frank discussion about our youth being radicalized.

“I think it has start in our schools. It has to start with every political and public leader being conscious of these issues and not pandering for votes and not being politically correct and I think that we need to speak to our children at home and we need to speak to our (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: North Cowichan Candidates Pitch Voters at Maple Bay All Candidates Meeting

Don Maroc-Political Blogger

by Don Maroc

A couple of hundred people jammed the Maple Bay Firehall for the election season’s first all-candidates meeting Wednesday evening, getting their first look at all 23 candidates competing for North Cowichan’s six municipal council seats and the mayor’s chair.

The issue on top of most candidates’ list was taxes, principally municipal property taxes. The voice that rang out the loudest and clearest was big Al Siebring, one of only two sitting North Cowichan councillors standing for re-election.

NC Councillor Al Siebring

The weight of Siebring’s pitch came in two promises to be kept within (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Amy Matamba Is Running For A Position On the Cowichan School District Board