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Cowichan Conversations: Furstenau–Shawnigan’s Contaminant Risk Will Loom Forever

Shawnigan’s CVRD Director Sonia Furstenau is on a mission to persuade the BC Liberal Cabinet to stand up for the Shawnigan comminities, watershed, lake, creek. aquifer and drinking water.

This is from a letter to the editor-Victoria Times Colonist

Re: “Guard the water supply,” editorial, March 24.

Sonia Furstenau- Shawnigan’s CVRD Director

The people of Shawnigan do not want “careful monitoring” or “well-designed emergency plans.”No amount of human engineering can compensate for the total unsuitability of a contaminated dump sitting above an aquifer and next to a stream that feeds into the lake that is our source of drinking water.

(Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Rather Than Considering a “Communications Officer”, It Would Seem That Certain Regional Directors Would Derive More Benefit From a Hearing Aid.

Richard Hughes- Political Blogger

Lavonne Huneck is one of my favourite political free thinkers in the Cowichan Valley. Here is her take on the CVRD and the confusion that lives there.

It appears that a number of our regional directors are unaware of the final outcome of the Eco-depot. This is disquieting. To be on record at a Regional District Board meeting opining that “had the public only known” appears either disingenuous or simply a failure to understand that a private citizen requested a legal judgement regarding a CVRD bylaw.

I doubt that the judge who made the decision really (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Who’s More Dangerous, Me Or Fox News? Russell Brand The Trews

Cowichan Conversations: Oh! Oh! Canada

Cowichan Conversations: How Harper Turned Canada into a Rogue State

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

How Harper Turned Canada into a Rogue State

It was not easy for those who went before us to build Canada into the remarkable and much respected country that it has been until now, until the reckless and unbalanced power hungry Prime Minister Steve Harper has grabbed Canada by the throat.

Crawford Kilian’s article, presented in the Tyee is a most worthwhile read.


As Economy Stumbles, Our Self-Styled Wartime Prime Minister Bets On Fear.

By Crawford Kilian-The Tyee

Stephen Harper’s greatest booster for the 2015 federal election unfortunately can’t vote for him: Michael Zehaf-Bibeau died (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: It Has Now Been 100 Years Since Vancouver Won a Stanley Cup

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

I have been following the Canucks since about 1956 when they played in the Western Hockey League. Jim Cox was still doing play by play on CKNW and then later a young Jim Robinson stepped to broadcast Canuck games. Jim was behind the mike from 1958 until he retired in 1994.

Don Maroc – Still loves to retell the events of that game

I was not around when the Millionaires won the Stanley cup but I do recall some very good Canuck hockey prior to them joining in with the NHL in 1970.

Don Maroc saw the (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Cowichan Politicians Reject Staff Driven Bid For Hiring PR Spinners-Slash Budgets

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

It is too easy to poke at our politicians of all stripes and all stations but recently encouraging signs have emerged that show our elected folks are paying attention.

At the CVRD table perhaps it is an injection of newly elected Directors that is making the difference. They actually turned down the budget a couple of weeks back sending it back for further adjustment and trimming.

Last night they lopped off a chunk headed for the black hole known as the Economic Development function.

Too bad they did not just deep six the entire Economic Development operation. (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Austerity-driven cuts ignite protests in Montreal

By Stefan Christoff

Last night on the streets of Montréal thousands joined a spirited protest against austerity, targeting the violent cuts to the public sector currently taking place under the Liberal government of Philippe Couillard, occurring within the wider context of the Conservative austerity hammer coming down across Canada.

“On avance, on avance, on ne recule pas!” chanted thousands together while departing from place Émilie-Gamelin, the now iconic gathering point for night protests in the city.

In real terms, a collective move forward is taking place, tens-of-thousands of students are now striking, as community groups and activists (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Shawnigan Community Fights Against Contaminated Soil Dump

More than 200 residents from Shawnigan Lake showed up to discuss last week’s decision by the provincial government to allow a company to dump contaminated soil near Shawnigan Lake

CHEK TV reports

Shawnigan area residents jammed into an overflow room at the Community Centre to get updates on their failed effort to reverse the permit to dump 5 million tonnes of contaminated soil in the Shawnigan Watershed.

The Environmental Appeal Board, controlled by the BC Environment Ministry rejected the communities efforts to protect their watershed, creek lake and drinking water.

Cowichan Conversations: Rocco Galati in court to challenge how Bank of Canada does business

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

The mysterious world of money, making it, printing it,spending it. There has been contrary views regarding the role of banks in controlling our money supply since the Bank of Canada stepped away from providing debt free money to cities, town and municipalities.

Across the country, budgets are being prepared at all levels of government. Local boards and councils wrestle with funding facilities and services for their communities. The impacts of interest free money should gather considerable interest. Why was the role of the Bank of Canada changed from its established direction and purpose?

We should look at (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Harry Smith the 92-year-old anti-austerity campaignerIs Coming After Harper

Harry Smith has lived through the good times and the bad times. He sees a return to the lean mean 20’s of his youth and he is going to go after Steve Harper. Inspiring, he tells it like it is. By Jerry Nuttall

Harry Smith: ‘Since Harper has come into power, everything has gone downhill.

Harry Smith Is Coming for Stephen Harper

Harry Smith Is Coming for Stephen Harper The 92-year-old anti-austerity campaigner, a UK sensation, sets his sights on Canada. By Jeremy J. Nuttall, Today,

By Jeremy J. Nuttall, Today,

A sparkling-clean nation where everyone willingly (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: CVRD Failed To Enforce Their Land Use Authority–Shawnigan Faces 5 Million Tonnes of Contaminated Waste

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Here is the CVRD response to the BC Liberal governments decision to allow 5 million tonnes of contaminated soil into the Shawnigan Watershed property on Stebbings Rd.

Truth is the CVRD blew it from the outset by refusing to enforce their land use authority.

The anaemic response by then Director Bruce Fraser, supported by the then mostly Liberal friendly CVRD Board proved to be a deadly combination.

When the finger pointing and blame game commences look first to the ‘do nothings’ at the CVRD. This should and must serve as an example of how the Board works, (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Quicksilvers Bankruptcy Stalls Fracking Operations On The Island

Don Maroc

It is never good form to gloat over someone else’s ill fortune, but when their loss is our gain it’s hard to maintain a polite composure.

Quicksilver Resources, Inc., and its 13 U.S. subsidiaries, have joined the line-up at a Texas bankruptcy court putting itself under the protection of Chapter 11 of U.S. law.

The Fort Worth, Texas, corporation’s action does not include their Calgary, Alberta, subsidiary Quicksilver Resources Canada, Inc. but it will certainly cut the blood supply from the U.S. fracking heartland.

We are going to be fracking rich! Oops!

Joining the (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: BC Libs OK SIA Permit, 5 Million Tonnes of Contaminated Soil Destined For Shawnigan Watershed

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

What a shame! Residents were duped into process with various government agencies, a mugs game at best. Polite, respectful and ineffective. Money talks.

The so called appeal hearing is a cruel and expensive joke.

The CVRD dragged their feet for months before they engaged in useless corroboration with the BC Liberal government.

Shawnigan Lake faces an uncertain future.

These fights are won or lost in the street, courts and appeals are for damage control.

Wake up and raise hell, engage in multi pronged civil disobedience to attract attention.

The entire CVRD Board of Directors dragged their feet when (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: Maroc–We Just Moved Several Meters Closer to the Edge of a Cosmic Abyss

Don Maroc

We just moved several meters closer to the edge of a cosmic abyss and no one is calling for a time out.

Last year the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China) quietly established the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as a counterweight to the US/UK controlled International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

With the US and Britain slowly sinking into a financial bog of their own design it meant Wall Street (US) and The City (London) could lose control of their stranglehold on the world’s money, and their hegemony over universal debt. Both their embassies around (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: BC Liberals Bailing Over Auditor Leak — Where is the Lipstick!

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Week in week out Black Press columnist Tom Fletcher was able to put lipstick on the BC Liberal pig. He usually spun such utter flapdoodle for the reigning Christie Clark gang that it made his columns laughable, but rarely digestible.

It generally was a column that I read half way through if at all.

His latest is a revelations and perhaps a gauge of the turmoil in the BC Liberal camp. When Fletcher pans the governing party you know that they are in the rough water.

Things are looking up for John Horgan and the BC NDP.

Somewhat surprisingly this (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: CVRD Directors Approve Consultant Driven Formula For Senior Staff Salaries

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

There has been a great deal of discussion regarding the pay levels of CVRD Senior Staff and Department heads over the last couple of years.

These key positions deserve to be well paid by qualified personnel, but the level of pay is disproportionate with the incomes of the taxpayers citizens footing the bill.

The corporate formulas and logic advanced by Julie Case, a Compensation Consultant from Vancouver based Tim Dillon & Associates showed a total disregard for local conditions.

CAO Brian Carruthers brought in consultant to advance case for high senior staff salaries

We have had ample first hand (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Chris Hedges–The Most Dangerous Woman in America

At a time when voters stay away from the polls in droves it seems new voices of relevance register with those who the politicians generally avoid.

Clearly the key for many successful younger politicians is to reach out to the disenfranchised, the unrepresented, the majority.

In Seattle a champion has risen and made her politics touch the many voters who usually did not even bother voting.

Chris Hedges tells the story in this ‘Truthdig’ post.

Chris Hedges

SEATTLE—Kshama Sawant, the socialist on the City Council, is up for re-election (video) this year.

Since joining the council in January of 2014 (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Ed Snowden Tells Us How To Take Back The Internet

Cowichan Conversations: CVRD-Board Ducks and Transfers Additional Power To CAO

Don Maroc

Getting toward the end of a three-hour meeting of the Cowichan Valley Regional District Board last Wednesday (11 Mar. 2015), Corporate Secretary Joe Barry tiptoed through the bylaws to be voted on.

It was routine stuff. Board Chair Jon Lefebure was almost chanting, “may I call the question? all in favour, opposed, motion passed.”

Then, halfway through the chant for Bylaw 3905, Alternate Director Blaise Salmon representing Mill Bay raised his hand. Suddenly everyone was awake, wondering probably what this Bylaw has to do with salary levels, since Salmon has made a study of what he considers (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Canada-wide Demonstrations Against Proposed Anti-Terrorism Law

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Perhaps there is a silver lining behind the storm clouds of oppression being waged by our Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Canadians from four former Prime Ministers, to Civil Liberties organizations, major MSM newspapers, even Conrad Black are calling out the Conservatives for these extreme and unnecessary restrictions on the freedom of Canadians.

Such extreme and hysterical statements from Harper such as ‘We are at War with Islam’ are beyond rational thought. He has managed to switch the narrative away from his miserable performance with the economy, abuse of the military personnel, unaccountable expenditures and secretive behaviour.

We (Read more…)