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Cowichan Conversations: Opinion: Will future of food be an election plank?

This piece comes from the Edmonton Journal and applies to all of Western Canada, very much including our Cowichan Valley. We can look back and see significant increases in our food production and array of

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Cowichan Conversations: The CVRD Has Amended Their Petition Over Bylaws To Halt SIA’s Contaminated Site Facility

Here is the CVRD’s late Friday release. In communications circles late Fridays are the time to deliver unpleasant news, firings, and the like.

I spoke with CAO Brian Carruthers and he confirmed that the change

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Cowichan Conversations: Steves–BC Doesn’t Need Site C Dam

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

It is incredible that our BC Liberal government, prodded along by the foreign owned LNG corporations, are still pushing ahead with building a massive Site C Dam.

We do not need

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Cowichan Conversations: Who Killed The Cowichan News Leader Pictorial?

Cowichan Conversations: *Big Idea No.2: Anchor Institutions*–Rob Douglas-Roger Hart On Local Economic Development in the Cowichan Region.

Rob Douglas and Roger Hart have rolled up their sleeves and prepared economic development options for Cowichan that are a refreshing alternative that makes a good deal of sense. Well worth the read and your

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Cowichan Conversations: You Can Change The World- Pied Pumkin-Joe Mock-Rick Scott & Sherri Ulrich- A Timely Classic

Cowichan Conversations: Should political parties get inside information on whether you voted or not? – Part 1 By Peter Ewart

Peter Ewart


Peter Ewart offers thoughtful well researched and reasoned posts on

This 4 part series takes a look at issue of identifying those voters who cast ballots and that information is

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Cowichan Conversations: This Alberta Election Is Actually Exciting! Will A Shift to the NDP Hold?

Rachel Notley setting the pace

We are living in tumultuous times and shifts can, in such circumstances, turn into tidal waves sweeping out the old and embracing the new. But new as in New

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Cowichan Conversations: Harper, BC Tory MPs have oil on their hands from English Bay spill

Richard Hughes-Cowichan Conversations

It is when events like the recent bunker oil spill in English Bay take place that the value of independent writers, thinkers, and bloggers like Rafe Mair display their real value.

Here is Rafe’s take on this mess in English Bay that has spread around the harbour.

It is a disgusting, but only a drop in the bucket to what lies ahead if we do not put a halt to the insane notion of shipping oil, refined or compressed from Tar sands products, through our coast and harbour.

Whether it be by water or rail the certain accidents will (Read more…)

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…)