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Cowichan Conversations: Alexandra Morton’s Full Report on the Mount Polley Mining Disaster-Videos

Alexandra Morton-Marine Biologist


I have been posting blogs on my onsite investigation into the situation around the largest mining disaster in history that tragically entered Quesnel Lake, where 1/4 of the Fraser sockeye rear.

Full updated post available here

The BC government’s first response was that all the grey slurry pouring out of the mine was just sand, no different than an avalanche and that we got “lucky” – the water is safe to drink. That is not at all what the situation looks like and the people in the area and downstream have virtually no (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Pretend News vs Real News

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

The superficiality of much of the news provided by the corporate media is not only insulting, it is a conditioning mechanism. Latest figures out of the US (probably about the same in Canada) show the large corporate media outlets have lost 50 percent of their market share in 2013.

Have your news reading, watching, listening habits changed over the last few years?

Cowichan Conversations: The Corporation-A Must See Doc Even If You Have Seen it Before-Enjoy

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

I realized that I wanted to watch ‘The Corporation’ again, and you can as well. There also may be other videos that you would like to see. Clip on the ‘Video” tab at top of the page for a growing seection of, worth your time moves, documentaries and videos.

Cowichan Conversations: Cowichan River Water Quality Advisory Lifted

Nice to read good news from time to time. The concern over drought conditions that threatened our cowichan River was troubling and Don Bodger’s report is a comfort.

By Don Bodger-Cowichan News Leader

The water quality advisory for recreational use on the lower Cowichan River has been rescinded.

The advisory was put in place Saturday for the area of the Cowichan River downstream from the Allenby Road bridge to the mouth of the river. That’s an approximate six-kilometre stretch.

According to Val Wilson of Island Health Communications, samples of the river taken on Monday demonstrated it had returned to its (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Rafe Mair: Why Bill Bennett Needs to Resign

The tradition of responsibility is a concept that has in the past served our parliamentary system well. Strong emphasis on, in the past.

The BC Liberals under Christy Clark are a destructive, negative and corrupt force. I honestly wonder if she will last her full term or will her mishandling of the province result in her stepping down or even dumped well before the BC Liberals will have to face a rejuvenated John Horgan led BC NDP.

Rafe Mair

Tradition decrees he take ‘ministerial responsibility’ for Mount Polley mess on his watch.

Mining Minister Bennett: Quitting would send a message (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Alexandra Morton On The Banks of the Hazeltine River

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: Liberals refuse to release Mount Polley Mine documents

BC NDP Leader John Horgan

Liberals refuse to release Mount Polley Mine documentsTen days after the tailings pond failure, the B.C. Liberals have still not released the most basic documents about the Mount Polley Mine, say B.C.’s New Democrats.

“We have been calling for the full release of documents related to this mine for more than a week, and we’ve seen nothing from the B.C. Liberal government yet,” said New Democrat Leader John Horgan.

Horgan noted that the mines ministry response to a request on behalf of the Official Opposition for a copy of the (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Cowichan Valley Election Activity Is Already Underway

Mayor Jon Lefebure

This fall could actually bring excitement and change to our local government elections.

There is a mayoralty race going on in North Cowichan.

Uncompromising tax miser Councillor John Koury has thrown down the gauntlet and declared his intention to serve as the next Mayor.

Koury has substantial support from the mostly conservative crowd.

Councillor John Koury seeks Mayor’s Chair

But a ‘fight on the right’ has developed as former BC Conservative candidate Damir Wallener has declared his intentions to also seek the mayors position.

Wallener has distanced himself from the hard right crowd and offers more of (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Bill Dumont Blows the Whistle On CVRD Directors Failure Over Salary Review

Bill Dumont is a professional forester with a keen eye for local government expenditures. The issue of excessive CVRD management salaries has particularly riled him and in this commentary piece he makes that crystal clear.

Bill Dumont-Financial Watchdog

Nobody should be surprised that the CVRD board and staff want to carry on as usual with excessive salaries and increases, year after year with no consideration for the taxpayer’s ability to pay.

The Board’s salary review committee never cared one whit about the reality of continually increasing our taxes to support grossly overpaid positions in the CVRD compared to local wages (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: John Horgan’s Show and Tell — The Importance of Public Education

Cowichan Conversations: Free Palestine-Stop the Killing

Cowichan Conversations: Noon to 1PM Stand In Vigil-Demonstration Saturday Near the Duncan Train Station

This message is from Harry Berbrayer of Duncan

I’m a Canadian Jew, and lived and studied in Jerusalem for almost three years. My last visit was for most of December 2008, during which time I was in East (which is Palestinian) Jerusalem and in cities and towns in the Israel-occupied West Bank.

I try to work for justice and genuine peace, and for Palestinian self-determination, which requires an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and domination and oppression of Palestinians.

We are against the Israeli attacks on Gaza, and call for an end to the Israeli blockade of the (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Alexandra Morton — More Trouble on Our Coastal Fish Farms

Alexandra Morton-Marine Biologist


Last week I returned to Gold River with three dedicated and intrepid friends. We were there to ground truth the statement by the CEO of Grieg Seafood, Morten Vike that the salmon in his pens in beautiful Nootka Sound are “fine.”

After two days and extraordinary effort we got film of what is really going on.

The investigation continues because the fish that are still alive in those farms are being trucked across Vancouver Island and processed on Quadra Island, where the bloodwater can flow over the Fraser sockeye that are now returning to this (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Rafe Mair: Mount Polley Mine Proves Liberal “De-Regulation” Doesn’t Work

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Today we are facing matters of tremendous significance from the Ukraine conflict to the Israeli right wing militants genocidal attack on the Palestinian’s. We are seeing the meltdown horror show in Iraq and at home the predictable but still disastrous environmental disaster at Mount Polley.

One common dimension in all these issues is the dismal failure of the MSM to look into the reality of the issues of the day and as a result they are guilty of spreading propaganda and although I still look to the CBC for the standard, but sadly in truth, little to (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Government allowed massive production, toxin increase at Mount Polley Mine before tailings pond disaster

This man made catastrophe is the result of Mine owners Imperial Metals greed, and unbelievable disregard for the environment, wildlife and people of BC.

The blame is to be shared with the Christy Clark government and Minister of Energy & Mines Bill Bennett whose callous disregard for regulatory protection contributed to this disaster.

Here is Kevin Logan’s story also carried in the Common Sense Canadian.


Kevin Logan-Cowichan Conversations Contributor

Mount Polley’s tailing pond breach is the worst environmental disaster in BC History. It will be a BC Day that goes down in infamy and, from the environmental perspective, may be (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Duke Point Cited As LNG Shipping Point For Island Fracked Gas

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Several months back Cowichan Conversations contributor Don Maroc posted this story about potential LNG fracking on the island.

Stories in Nanaimo media point to an ambitious future for Duke Point expansion including facilitating the shipment of LNG to Asia.

CC readers please continue forwarding any information that you have on this issue. We must be vigilant.

Thank you


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: Canadians deserve more honesty than Prime Minister Harper is willing to give them.

Canadians deserve more honesty than Prime Minister Harper is willing to give them.

He’s too busy defending Big Oil to tackle climate change, or even tell the truth about it.

And that’s what has Dr. Jaccard — and many other Canadian scientists — so upset.


Read his whole essay here 

Cowichan Conversations: Koch Bros. – They’re The Evil Thing!

Parody of “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing” – the classic Coke commercial from the early 70′s, targeting the billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch.

Cowichan Conversations: The Ballad of Rivka and Mohammed

Cowichan Conversations: Toxic Algae Bloom Leaves 500,000 Without Drinking Water in Ohio

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Water shortages are a serious concern in the Cowichan Valley with record low levels in the Cowichan River threatening salmon survival. Water use regulations restricting use have been kicked into place throughout the valley as we pray for rain.

Yes, it is a challenge and one that promises to become the norm as hotter, drier summers seem to be our new reality. ‘Climate Change’ is delivering altered weather patterns.

So far it seems that we have lucked out compared to the prairies and even Ontario where they have been beleaguered with floods and storms uncommon for what (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…)