Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

Cowichan Conversations: Hey Steve! Why Are You Spying On Us?

Harper cranks up broad surveillance spying on law abiding Canadians

Cowichan Conversations: LNG, Fracking and BC’s Energy Future: Nanaimo Event-Wednesday 7PM

Damien Gillis filmmaker and Rafe Mair’s partner in the CommonSense Canadian will be speaking at an event at Beban Park Social Centre, 2300 Bowen Road, Nanaimo, BC   LNG, Fracking and BC’s Energy Future: Nanaimo eventThe Common Sense Canadian’s Damien Gillis and retired KPMG partner and chemistry Ph.D Eoin Finn will be in Nanaimo Wednesday night to discuss the province’s energy vision.

Finn has been a leading voice on the economic and safety risks of the proposed Woodfibre LNG plant near Squamish. Drawing on his MBA and years of experience at one of the world’s largest accounting firms, (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Alistair MacGregor Won the Cowichan-Malahat-Langford NDP Nomination Today.

Alistair MacGregor will represent the Cowichan-Malahat-Langford NDP in the Upcoming Federal Election

Four hundred and fifty-five New Democrats filled up the Cowichan Secondary Gymnasium this afternoon, while another 30 or so gathered at the Langford Legion to nominate Alistair MacGregor to represent the NDP in the upcoming Federal Election.

More to follow.

Cowichan Conversations: Solar Panel Show and Tell at the CVRD’s Regional Services Committee-Jan 28th 6PM

Don Maroc

Cowichan’s premier cheerleader for climate change mitigation, Peter Nix takes the promotion of roof-top solar electric panels to the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s (CVRD) Regional Services Committee next Wednesday (Jan. 28), at 6 pm.

Shawnigan Lake’s Blaise Salmon will join Nix asking the CVRD directors to assess the best methods to provide financial help to home and business owners for installation of solar panels.

As an incentive to help pry the lid off the regional district’s treasure chest, they will suggest that the solar panel technology offers a way to achieve the CVRD’s stated Green House Gas (GHG) (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Duncan Mayor Phil Kent’s Uncharacteristic Haste To Ignore OCP Hard To Fathom

Don Maroc – Cowichan Conversations Blogger

While late Christmas shoppers slipped into panic mode on December 22, a development-at-any-cost foursome on the Duncan City council ramrodded through fourth reading of a motion to permit Vlado Brcic’s Dakova Group to build a 36-condo, five-story monster, with street-level retail shops at Duncan’s prime intersection of Canada Avenue and Government Street.

Brcic, who operates out of Edmonton, does not even own the land where he wishes to build. The quartet of councillors, a former retail merchant, a former crash councillor with ICBC, a former car dealer, and a financial advisor invented a new (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Duncan OCP Ignored By Mayor Phil Kent

Don Maroc

While late Christmas shoppers slipped into panic mode on December 22, a development-at-any-cost foursome on the Duncan City council ramrodded through fourth reading of a motion to permit Vlado Brcic’s Dakova Group to build a 36-condo, five-story monster, with street-level retail shops at Duncan’s prime intersection of Canada Avenue and Government Street.

Councillor Sharon Jackson

Brcic, who operates out of Edmonton, does not even own the land where he wishes to build. The quartet, a former retail merchant, a former crash councillor with ICBC, a former car dealer, and a financial advisor invented a new zoning category, C-1B, (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: The Real Canadian Superstore Squeezing the Poor for More Profits is a Big Mistake

Russell Davies

Guest Post- By Russell Davies   The Real Canadian Superstore squeezing the poor for more profits is a big mistake and shows no consideration for low income customers and those of us that are less fortunate.

The recent change of policy on reduced produce shows lack of empathy for people of limited resources. The elderly and those of limited funds are the majority of the shoppers lined up to get bargains in the morning when doors open.

Three weeks ago Superstore changed its reductions from fifty percent off to thirty off stale produce; a slap in the face (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: California Was Fun But Nothing Beats The Cowichan Valley

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

We recently returned from our winter reprieve with friends in Sunny California. It was a great get away and we were treated to wonderful food, music, the occasional wee glass of wine and some day trips around the San Jose area, Monterrey and also squeezed in visits to see longtime friends in the San Francisco Bay area.

Kicked off our visit with a NHL game at the ‘Shark Tank’ where our Canucks came in and managed a 3-1 victory. I wore my Canuck jersey and I was not alone. Canuck Nation lives. It was fun high living (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: In the First Game of the New Season at Duncan City Council the Guys Beat the Girls 4-3.

Don Maroc

In November, with the council ready to okay 4th and final reading of a rezoning to allow Edmonton-California developer Vlado Brcic to proceed with the purchase of the prime Duncan real estate at the corner of Government St. and Canada Ave. and construction of a five-story, $11 million, 36 unit condo building.

Based on the fact that the during the public hearing for rezoning Duncan residents and business people had universally condemned Brcic’s design plans, veteran Councillor Sharon Jackson moved to table the motion, with specific requirements:

Duncan City Hall

“I move that we table this until we (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Paul Manly Now Seeking Green Party Nomination in Nanaimo-Ladysmith

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

The Federal NDP has turned their backs on many NDP values and shifted to the centre under the leadership of Thomas Mulcair.

A disturbing number of NDP member activists have been blocked from even seeking nominations.

What has happened to today’s NDP federally and provincially was once unthinkable.

Is this a harbinger of what lies ahead ?

Paul Manly


On Facebook Paul Manly was asked “What has changed?”


I will tell you what changed for me. You will know from my film work and my community organizing that I am solid and unequivocal on a (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: This Changes Something

This fills in the blanks on many levels. Some folks will be tad upset with the ‘Reality Check’ but it is time to defrag and tune up grass roots response to criminal corporate destruction of the environment.


Naomi Klein Takes on the Big Greens


Emily McGratten

In Jonathan Franzen’s bestselling novel Freedom, the main character accepts a dream job from a billionaire philanthropist. He is charged with partnering with coal companies in West Virginia to set aside 100 square miles as pristine habitat for the Cerulean Warbler, an endangered songbird that is further threatened by coal mining operations. (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Maroc-Black Days Ahead For Cowichan Newspapers

Don Maroc – Cowichan Conversations

Six weeks of trying to keep warm by a small propane fire. Six weeks of carrying picket signs, of waving at horn-blowing motorists, explaining to passers-by why they are outside the offices of the News-Leader-Pictorial, when their jobs are inside the building.

These selfless people, from advertising, newsroom, production and distribution, who have long brought the community a newspaper twice a week are on the outside looking in because David Black, millionaire owner of the News-Leader, has decided to change their pay scale. The employees are a Unifor union shop and they say no to (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Canada Needs Proportional Representation Now

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Here is Rafe’s latest piece tackling the outdated ‘First Past the Post’ system of electing dictatorships to govern Canada.

Frankly I do not know how we could design a worse system than the one that entrenches unassailable power in the Prime Minister’s office such as we have in Canada today.

Rate Mair makes the point that we cannot wait for perfection in change and I agree wholeheartedly.

Fix our democracy’s mess, ignore boo birds’ silly myths.

By Rafe Mair,

We have a dictator at 24 Sussex Drive. So was Trudeau. So was Chretien. In fact, (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Prime Minister Harper’s Ugly Evangelical Capitalism

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

The transformation of our country that Steve Harper foreshadowed has been underway for sometime and the results have been devastating. The war on science, scientists, the environment and environmentalists has been ruthless and unrelenting.

Canada, once an internationally respected nation that excelled at peace keeping and demonstrated to the world that solid environmental stewardship and a kinder, gentler approach to governance was both possible and achievable.

PM Steve Harper-The Ugly Canadian

That was some time ago. Today the term ‘Ugly Canadian’ has become a valid description of our Prime Minister and applies equally to the obedient supporting (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Perhaps A Beer Pipeline Would Meet With Public Approval

Blaise Salmon

By Blaise Salmon

While historically B.C.’s economy was resource-based, by 2012, only three per cent of B.C.’s GDP came from oil, gas and related services, according to the B.C. Economic Accounts.

Many other sectors of the economy — finance, construction, tourism, high tech and even green jobs — are now more important.

By the same token, the famed Alberta oilsands make up only two per cent of Canada’s GDP, while providing 112,000 jobs. In comparison, a 2013 Conference Board study showed that more jobs, 163,000, were provided by Canada’s beer industry — including (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Heading South For A Bluegrass Jam — New Years Eve Party

Richard ‘Hub’ Hughes-Outstanding in his Field!

Well now that Christmas is over and the offer of spending New Years with our friends Paul and Fran in California is before us, I will bid you all farewell for a couple of weeks.

I hope that you enjoyed the holiday break and the celebration with friends and family, although with our kids spread all over North America and beyond, that is not always possible.

A big day for me is December 30th. That was the day that I quit smoking 10 years ago, and to celebrate and mark the occasion Paul has picked (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: B.C. Almanac host Mark Forsythe signs off after 30 years

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

We will not easily forget Mark Forsyth who became part of our day on CBC’s ‘Almanac’ where he broadcast for 30 years.

He is a person of quality and that came through, as did his knowledge and love of British Columbia and its citizens.

He deserves a happy and busy retirement. Now he will be able to pursue his many interests more freely.

Happy Trails Mark.

B.C. Almanac host Mark Forsythe hosts his final show on CBC Radio One on Dec. 24. (CBC)


Broadcaster and author Mark Forsythe hosted his final show on B.C. (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Plummeting oil prices, petrol-state club. rapidly declining Canadian dollar, house sales could decline,

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Well here we are just a few days from Christmas and as you may have noticed my time for writing has been curtailed.

While this is good news on several fronts the events that affect us have not slowed as is demonstrated by this excellent Andrew Nikiforuk interview with international oil expert Terry Lynn Karl.

We are on a ride to nowhere with few options as our governments continue pursuing greed and riches with a gold rush mentality.

They, and as a result we, are missing the boat by concentrating on a volatile commodity that lacks the (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Democracy Now-Big Oil-Bad Air

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

The tide is turning in the US and Canada regarding the pitfalls and dangers of fracking and the entire LNG play.

Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, New York, the list of jurisdictions standing up for citizens and the environment is growing and shows no sign of letting up.

As the manipulated price for gas and oil plummet the politics that have driven this turn about are in full swing.

The alternate green technologies will and must replace this madness. The public are demanding it and there will be no turning back.

Here is the latest Democracy Now (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: New York State Just Banned Fracking!

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

In BC residents face a BC Liberal-BC NDP united front in favour of fracking and all things LNG.

Prices are dropping, mounting evidence of a give away grows daily, an abdication of responsibility on every level becomes irrefutable.

Premier Christy Clark has a free ride as BC NDP leader joins her arm in arm in a bi-partisan endorsement of the most massive give-away in our history.

It is remarkable that in spite of the eloquent NDP arguments against fracking prior to 3rd reading and the vote when it mattered, they rolled over at the direction of leader (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Black Press Goes On A Buying Spree-Buys Cowichan Citizen While Cowichan News Leader Workers Strike Continues

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

The Vancouver Island Community Newspaper Group has been sold to Black Press; this includes the Cowichan Valley Citizen.

Black Press and The Vancouver Island Community Newspaper Group have shuffled the deck that may well be a lump of coal in the Christmas stockings of striking workers picketing the Cowichan News Leader.

Will Black continue to run both papers in the same market? Will he drop the News Leader and shut it down in favour of entrenching the Cowichan Citizen with its lower wage operation.

Personally I think that it is time that we had the option of (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: South Cowichan Echo Hit Mailboxes in Cowichan Bay-Mill Bay and Cobble Hill

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Newspapers day has passed! Cowichan residents like people elsewhere have embraced the ‘Digital Age.’ My first reaction was what the hell was Chemainus Courier publisher Warren Goulding thinking when along with Editor Mile D’Amour, Sales Manager Shelley Rousse, and Associate Publisher Connie Manning they launched the ‘South Cowichan Echo’ that appeared in our mailboxes Friday.

I had been asked to do some columns for them and so I though sure, and as the idea sunk in I realized that as with most challenges timing is everything. The areas south of the Cowichan River to the Malahat (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Without Libby Davies, What Course will the NDP Chart?

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

The announcement that long serving NDP MP Libby Davies has decided to step back from Federal politics after serving as the Vancouver East MP since 1997 will leave a big hole in the NDP ship.

She was a fearless leader of those in need and fought the battles that most politicians tip-toed around.

It is doubtful that she will roll over and settle into her rocking chair.

Could she be looking at provincial politics next?

Fred Wilson wrote the following article that has been published in

Fred Wilson

The New Democratic Party’s political boat is (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Warmer Pacific Ocean Could Release Millions of Tons of Seafloor Methane

Richard Hughes- Political Blogger

It is getting harder each day to ignore the escalating reports of environmental destruction, global warming, extreme weather and utter disregard by most of our politicians.

US President Obama has turned the corner somewhat but in Canada PM Steve Harper is displaying the most ignorant responses as he presides over unnecessary destruction and ever increasing damage from the greed driven pursuit of oil and gas.

Water off Washington’s coast is warming a third of a mile down, where seafloor methane shifts from a frozen solid to a gas. Calculations suggest ocean warming is already releasing significant (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Who exactly is crazy here, Mr. Harper?

Richard Hughes- Political Blogger

PM Steve Harper is causing irreparable damage to our environment, and international reputation. We are increasingly being seen as the’Ugly Canadians’

Steve is a crazy man and must be stopped.

A Liberal-NDP-Green Coalition -Strategic Voting or straight out blending the parties together into a new party committed to saving Canada is needed.

Indulging in partisan party illusions will only result in Harper being elected. We cannot let that happen,

Kevin Grandia is in Peru covering the United Nations climate change talks for the Vancouver Observer.

Harper calls climate regulations on oil and gas sector ‘crazy economic (Read more…)