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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…)

Cowichan Conversations: At Convergence 2014: Protecting Our Sacred Waters march, Grand Chief says Harper may delay pipeline decision

The clock is ticking as British Columbians countdown the time for a decision from of PM Steve Harper, but wait there is more, or perhaps less.

Photo by Valentina Ruiz LeotaudSpeaking in front of a large crowd gathered for the Convergence 2014: Protecting Our Sacred Waters rally on Sunday afternoon, Grand Chief Stewart Philip said the federal government may delay its decision on the controversial Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.

“We’ve heard through the grapevine that the Harper government is going to announce a delay,” said the Chief Phillip said to the hundreds of people gathered to protest the bitumen (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Control Freak PM Steve Harper Is Monitoring Anti Fracking Protesters

Richard Hughes


With our paranoid PM Steve Harper it is all about control and with this reality in mind we head into what promises to be a hot summer of discontent.

He has empowered his ‘Government Operations Centre’ to monitor all anti fracking protests.

Monitoring is really just a polite term for spying. Canadians have come to expect this from a desperate PM Harper who is under ever-increasing pressure to deliver on his promises to Chinese government investors as well as major oil and gas corporations who have invested heavily in what can properly be described as the worlds (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: CVRD Finally Approves Increased Compostables For The Fisher Road Recycling Facility

Richard ‘Hub’ Hughes- Recycled, Reliable, Rejuvinated

Cowichan Citizen Editor Andrea Rondeau’s front page story in Friday’s Citizen regarding Fisher Road Recycling (FRR) being allowed increased capacity to accept feedstock may or may not mark the end of a long drawn out struggle between Owner Dave Laing and CVRD’s Cobble Hill Director Gerry Giles.


Cobble Hill Director Gerry Giles calls the approval of an amendment that will allow Fisher Road Recycling to take in more compostables in spite of community concern about odours and groundwater “disappointing.”

The Cowichan Valley Regional District gave the go-ahead this week, increasing the firm’s (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: BC LNG: Promised Land of Prosperity or Gas Fueled Race to the Bottom?

Kevin Logan-Cowichan Conversations Contributor

On this the first day of BC’s much ballyhooed International LNG conference, it is worth noting, comparing and contrasting BC’s LNG “model” and that of competing Nations around the world in the natural gas industry.

Particularly noteworthy is today’s announcement that Russia and China have signed the biggest gas deal in the “history of the world.” (watch this before reading the rest of this piece)

This is of importance given the reliance the current government has with China as a destination market, and its strange propensity to sanction Russia over the contentious Ukrainian issues that (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: The BC Liberal Government Is Foolishly Moving To Allow Fracking On Farmland-Videos

Long time Cowichan activist Bill Woollam has offered this guest post critical of fracking and David Black’s refinery proposal.

Bill has his own blog that covers wide-ranging issues. It can be found here.

Bill Woollam Guest Post

I recently wrote to David Black, newspaper owner/manager, in response to his support for the oil/gas pipelines and refinement industry. After watching the ‘Gasland part 2? documentary, even he had to admit the toxicification of our aquifers by fracking for natural gas is, quote, “Alarming”.

In one out of every five completed hydraulic fracking shafts, the concrete which encases (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: BC Premier Clark’s LNG Dream is Turning into a Nightmare!

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

The bubble is about to burst for BC Premier Christy Clark who will be unable to sustain the colossal con job that was the BC Liberal’s election campaign of just one year ago. Riches for all they proclaimed, trillions to be made just as easy as pie!

Slick is as slick does and Christy Clark’s hard hat tour, where she toured the province grinning like a sheep eating thistles, was the daily fare that eclipsed anything the BC NDP brought forward under the direction of then BC NDP leader Adrian Dix.

Premier Clark a friend of Oil (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Hang on to your Hats-Here comes Horgan!

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Look for a rejuvenated BC NDP under Horgan’s leadership. He will engage and entertain voters so tired of seeing a dull plodding uncertain opposition. Yes, politics in BC is about to become interesting again.

The Damien Gillis piece above focuses on the foibles of the ‘Christy Clark Choir’ singing in unison about the riches that will soon be a reality in their magnificent LNG con job.

BC NDP Leader John Horgan will bring spark and substance back to BC politics

BC NDP’s acclaimed leader John Horgan will soon be in the saddle and the LNG file is one (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Here Is A Worthwhile Challenge For All Communities!

Every community could take on this challenge by identifying the threats to bees and eradicating them.

Elections are coming in November perhaps some candidates will stand up and show leadership on this issue by banning pesticides and taking other bee and people friendly initiatives.

Cowichan Conversations: David Black Starves His Local Papers and Want Us To Trust Him With An Oil Refinery

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Black Press owner David Black is using his newspapers, including the Cowichan News Leader, in an attempt to spread his sticky propaganda about the benefits of supporting him in his efforts to build an oil refinery in Kitimat.

He cheats the communities he serves with his papers by cutting back newsroom staff and capacity, but of course still manages to suck advertising dollars out of the small communities where his papers have a foothold.

If he ran a refinery, like he runs his papers, we would have a spill a week.

Here is the link to David (Read more…)