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

Cowichan Conversations: Janice Macalister – Running for CVRD Director Area E

Janice Macalister

Running for CVRD Director Area E Vote November 15th at the Eagles Hall


I have lived in the Cowichan Valley for 22 years, the last five in Sahtlam (Area E). I work part time at Volume One books in Duncan. My previous political experience was as a Trustee, Vice-chair and Chairperson on the Cowichan Valley School Board from 1999-2005. During this time I sat on many committees including the joint committee with the CVRD that explored, and recommended, the changes to the original Fairgrounds and the relocation of VIU. I have been on a variety of Boards (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Loren Duncan Seeks Re-Election In Glenora-Sahtlam-Cowichan Station




Loren Duncan

Incumbent Candidate – Glenora-Sahtlam-Cowichan Station


About myself: It has been a pleasure and honour to serve the constituents these past 15 years as Director.

I reside in Sahtlam on a riverside property owned since the mid 1980′s with my spouse Maureen.

I pay property tax’s in both Electoral Area “E” & “F”.


Politically I am more Green than anything else…belonging to the party both Provincially and Federally, but I recognize that party politics is not the appropriate flag to fly at the local government Board table.

When I wander in the political wilderness (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: I’m Damir Wallener, and I am Running for Mayor of North Cowichan.

Damir Wallener

A thriving municipality is built on three pillars – accountability, community, and healthy economic development. Accountability ultimately comes from voters, so they must be given tools to make the job easy. Open door access to the Mayor and to Councillors as well as citizen oversight of budgeting, procurement and contracting are part of that. So are consistent and transparent enforcement of bylaws. Ensuring there is opportunity and safety for all residents, especially our kids and elders, is the basis of community. And healthy economic development recognizes the importance of looking at the jobs of the future, as well (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Jon Lefebure Faces John Khoury and Damir Wallener For the Top Prize in North Cowichan

Jon Lefebure

The North Cowichan political scene has certainly been sparked up as candidates vie for positions at the council table and the mayor’s chair.

Incumbent Mayor Jon Lefebure is seeking re-election but first he will have to garner more votes that the two hard charging challengers Damir Wallener and veteran councillor John Khoury.

John Khoury

Wallener ran for the BC Conservative Party in the 2013 Provincial Election and now is eyeing North Cowichan’s top prize.

Damir Wallener now seems to be offering a green-red tory approach and has made a deliberate shift away from the hard right posture held (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: First West Credit Union Takeover of Island Savings Must Be Stopped. Vote No!

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

The rapidly growing and expanding First West Credit Union has been gobbling up smaller Credit Unions over the last few years. Now they are poised to take over our Island Savings Credit Union and the members are only hearing the positive side of the story.

Bigger is not always better!

Slick and glossy promotional brochures and videos do not tell the real story. We are paying for the demise of our locally owned and controlled Island Savings unless this takeover can be stopped.

Informed members voting to deny permission for this hijacking is essential, or we will (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Politics, Hockey, Fall Sitting at the BC Legislature and Local Elections-Game on!

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

We are moving into autumn, our glorious climate change driven summer is wrapping up even though our confused tomato plants refuse to stop providing even more ripe tomatoes.

Last night our beloved Vancouver Canucks warmed our hockey deprived souls with a win in the season opener against the Calgary Flames at the Saddledome.

BC NDP Leader John Horgan is determined even as he is smiling.

Our BC Legislature has been a scene of activity featuring accusations and highly partisan posturing in a rare fall legislative session is in gear. NDP’s new leader John Horgan finally has the (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: North Cowichan Councillor Kate Marsh Is Running Again!


My Vision An aware, involved and resilient community, sharing ideas openly and working collaboratively to make our future strong.

Taxes I’d like to briefly address the inaccurate statement that North Cowichan has the highest taxes on Vancouver Island.

In truth North Cowichan has the 8th lowest taxes out of 23 municipalities on Vancouver Island. (Civic Info)

My Commitment

Continue to initiate better, earlier and more thorough communication and collaboration with residents, community groups, First Nations, the CVRD, City of Duncan, Ladysmith and senior levels of government.

Continue to work to create real economic health and a more local, resilient and (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Let’s Keep Island Savings Credit Union Under Local Control

Here is a timely post from Don Skerick about the (insider Board of Directors) proposed amalgamation of Island Savings with First West Credit Union head quartered on Langley, BC.


Let’s Keep Island Savings Local

I urge all Island Savings Credit Union members to carefully consider their proposed merger vote with First West Credit Union, and join me in voting NO so we can keep Island Savings local. The purpose of Credit Unions is to keep and put community money in the local community.

My main concern is losing local control of our Credit Union. We will no longer have a (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Why Not a Community Investment Fund for the Cowichan Valley?

Rob Douglas

Since 2001 the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) has operated an in-house economic development body to help the regional economy prosper and grow.

With an annual budget exceeding $800,000, Economic Development Cowichan (EDC) now employs several staff and oversees a range of activities to expand the agricultural sector, market tourism and attract the film industry.

While some would argue EDC is succeeding on a number of fronts–including building a strong regional brand, producing a number of impressive economic development studies, and hosting events such as the Cowichan agricultural fair—others have long questioned its value.

Critics point to EDC’s (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Alexandra Morton-Mystery Film On Quesnel Lake

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Kevin Logan accompanied Alexandra Morton on this trip to investigate what Premier Clark would just as soon you do not see. They have provided a great deal of film and information otherwise not available.

The original spin was too quick to say that the water was safe to drink and most everybody knows that. Christy Clark is so far out of her depth that it is both embarassing and frightening.

How often is the water being tested and is it really safe? The response to the disaster has been so inept and incompetent that it leaves you (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: CVRD Is Setting New Records For Idiocy and Obstruction

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

We have all seen some pretty amazing stunts from the brain trust at the CVRD but this latest manoeuvre takes the cake.

Following the Boards refusal to back the Balme’s efforts to move to full processing at their proposed gravel pit on the Cobble Hill-Cowichan Bay border the Balme’s have proceeded to apply to Energy & Mines to allow gravel removal.

Local residents are understandably concerned . The Energy & Mines ministry has shown such incompetence over the SIA contaminated site proposal in the Shawnigan Watershed and of course the Grand Daddy of all cockups, the Mount Polley mine (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Shawnigan’s Fight Against Contaminated Soil“ This is Crazy!”

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Shawnigan resident Sonia Furstenau has been following the South Island Aggregates (SIA) efforts to import 5 million tonnes of contaminated soils to their Stebbings Road property in the Shawnigan Watershed from the outset.

She attended the Ministry of Environment-Environmental Appeal Board hearings and has written this account of the hearings, making them available for Cowichan Conversations readers.

We appreciate her efforts and look forward to reading more of her observations in the future.


Sonia Furstenau

Two years ago, the people of Shawnigan Lake were informed of a proposed plan to turn a quarry, located on Stebbings (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: ‘Cowichan Taxbusters’ Should Change Their Name to ‘Confused Taxbusters’

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger of the left persuasion.

Seems as the so-called ‘Cowichan Taxbusters’ are beating up the tight-fisted rightwingers on North Cowichan Council. Now I could find plenty to argue about with my friend Al Siebring but I had to laugh reading his latest posting.

Yes folks fall elections are now underway. It seems that confusion in the ranks of the ill-informed far right ‘Cowichan Taxbusters’ will provide heartburn to the real tax tightwads Siebring, Koury and Woike. Ripley wouldn’t believe it!

Check out Councilor Al Siebring’s blog for more information and clarity from the right.

Apparently he is not (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: iPolitics–Is Mulcair Just Another Harper With a Beard?

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

In the quest for power Federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair has abandoned previously held NDP principles and beliefs and that is causing heartburn on the left, and centre-left.

The shift to the right that has taken place has left many NDP supporters wondering if the NDP is where they want to be. Others have already turned and walked away.

New Democrats for ‘Fairness and Transparency (nd4ft) posted this piece where Anne McGrath promised hands off fair and open nominations.

In truth and reality the National Director, Anne McGrath has banned two long time members, Paul Manly and Laurie (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Rafe: With fracking, tankers “world-class safety” is a weasel word

It is great to read more from Rafe Mair once again. He is still on the mend but has come a long way and is reading and writing once again.

I had believed every word from our Premier but Rafe has set me straight! I feel so much better now. Enjoy.

BC Premier Christy Clark touts “world-class” safety for fossil fuel projects (Canadian Press)

Many times I have referred to Premier Clark’s demand that Enbridge and others have “world-class” cleanup processes in place. To repeat myself, these are “weasel words” and mean absolutely nothing. “World-class” firefighting procedures doesn’t mean the (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Colonist Editorial Nails It-Provide Homes for the Homeless

It is encouraging to read commonsense and compassionate words from the mainstream media. The Victoria Times Colonist Editorial Department is one of the most progressive and responsible in the country. Well done.

In 2008, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled the bylaw deprived the homeless of life, liberty and security in violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Photograph By ADRIAN LAM

People who live near Kings Park in Fernwood are unhappy that the park is being used as a campground by homeless people. They have every right to be upset — camping where camping was not intended can (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Opinion: Compromise is a two-way street. BCTF has moved a mile, the government not one inch

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

The BC Liberal Premier Christy Clark embraces the anti education, anti academic, anti-intellectual posture of a true Philistine.

Let’s not beat around the bush. This attack is a part of a larger plan to continue dismantling our civil society and commonwealth.

It is all about wealth transfer to the corporate side of the ledger. It is dangerous and it is wrong!

Here is an opinion piece from BC Federation of Labour President Jim Sinclair that was published in the Vancouver Sun.


. . . → Read More: Cowichan Conversations: Opinion: Compromise is a two-way street. BCTF has moved a mile, the government not one inch

Cowichan Conversations: CVRD Acting CAO Raimondo’s Oral Report About Legal Opinion On Balme Gravel Application

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Exclusive audio report that the CVRD did not want you to hear. 

Cowichan media coverage of local government affairs is scanty, when covered at all.

Both the Cowichan News Leader and the Cowichan Citizen corporate owners have stripped proper staff complements, especially in the newsrooms.

Shaw Cable had for years covered and broadcast the Board and Council meetings throughout the valley. They have quit covering CVRD Meetings but the Regional Government set up their own video system that can be watched online.

While their video streaming is is not as user-friendly as watching it on channel (Read more…)

Song of the Watermelon: It’s the Climate, Stupid!

Not two weeks since the federal government’s long-anticipated approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline, the magnitude of the obstacles faced by the project are becoming clearer by the day.

There is widespread public hostility — both in Kitimat, envisioned as the pipeline’s end location, as well as across British Columbia more generally. First Nations and environmental groups have launched several court challenges, with more expected to come. Massive protests and civil disobedience are inevitable. Efforts will soon be underway to initiate a province-wide referendum. The government of BC, which must provide about 60 permits, is ambivalent about the (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: CCPA Looks at BC Liberals Claims That Teachers Would Benefit With Better Economy

Here is Iglika Ivanova’s look at the BC Liberals economic rationale.

The disconnect between economic growth and teachers’ wages

We are being governed by an anti public education Premier Christy Clark, who it seems has embraced her pique at being caught cheating in SFU Student elections.

Cowichan Conversations: Rafe Mair: Why I’m for Massive Civil Disobedience

We are indeed in for the struggle of our lives.The Enbridge pipeline proposal is just one arm of the current energy frenzy that has gripped Alberta and British Columbia, but even alone it could cause irreperable harm on an unimaginale scale.

Rafe Mair is as knowledgable as any in BC regarding the threat that we face. Here is his analysis on what we face and how we can push back against it.

Gateway approved, now ‘British Columbians will learn the stuff they’re made of.

By Rafe Mair

The Conservative government’s decision to approve the Northern Gateway pipeline is the (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Christy Clark and Peter Fassbender On a BCTF Union Busting Mission

Maggie HughesTeacher

Guest Post by Maggie Hughes

All Union Members and indeed all people who value democracy should be very upset at one of the proposals in the ongoing dispute between BC teachers and BC Public School Employers Association (BCPSEA)which is appointed and controlled by the Provincial Government.

Back in 1998 BCTF negotiated a contract with the then NDP Government, putting teacher control of class size and composition into the contract, in exchange for accepting no wage increase at all for the next 3 years.

Premier Christy Clark

During the next contract negotiation, in 2002, the Liberal Government headed by (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: LNG -Through a Gas Darkly

Richard HughesPolitical Blogger


Here is an excellent assessment of the BC LNG reality that, like it or not, is the dominant theme, damn near the only theme of today’s BC Government.

Peter Ewart links in the LNG influenced decision to reduced protection for the ALR, exploitation of natural resources in our parks and restructuring education to serve the needs of the ‘Petro State.’

Well worth the read as it reflects, perhaps darkly, the road ahead under the questionable pursuit of fracking LNG under the direction of Premier Clark.

Peter Ewart

“For now we see through a glass, (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Guest Speaker on Canadian Health Care System

The Cowichan BC NDP has invited Guest Speaker Dr.Damien Contandriopoulos to speak on the Canadian Health Care System today.

Dr. Contandriopoulos is an associate professor at the University of Montreal Nursing Faculty and researcher at the University of Montreal Public Health Research Institute will address the sustainability of the Canadian health care system.

His main areas of research are focused on the analysis of health policy-making processes, the use of evidence in decision-making and the analysis of highly performing models of healthcare delivery.

Current research projects examine the policy debate on the privatization of healthcare services, the characteristics of (Read more…)