(OTTAWA) – Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and Member of Parliament for Saanich – Gulf Islands, expressed her opposition to today’s announcement by the Harper Conservatives to extend and expand the mission in Iraq:
“We’ve learned the dangers of shortsighted thinking from the ill-conceived military action in Libya, which made the terrorist threat across North Africa even worse. Once again, the Harper Conservatives have no clear direction, end-goal or exit strategy for the Iraq mission, which grew from a non-combat role to a combat mission on the ground, and now would include airstrikes in both Iraq and Syria.
“The Green Party has been clear from the beginning: We must not engage in military operations of uncertain scope and purpose that are not in Canada’s national interest and do so little to strengthen global peace and security.
“Instead, we must immediately sign the UN Arms Trade Treaty to reduce the flow of conventional arms that fuel these senseless tragic conflicts, crack down on the money flowing to ISIS and other terrorist groups, and collaborate with our allies to relieve the immense humanitarian suffering.
“Ultimately, as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has said, ‘Over the longer-term, the biggest threat to terrorists is not power of missiles, it is the politics of inclusion.’”
Unfortunately, Conservative Party MPs blocked Ms. May from speaking to these points in the House of Commons earlier today.
Here’s part II of our “Cruising Cambodia Series”. I call this one “The Many Roads to Campong Cham”.
Thanks for sending this in Duncan. Fun to see!
If other redaers want to send in photos or vids of their travels, please use the Contact Tab at the top of the blog and we’ll make some easy arrangements.
… The consuming fear that you’re about to blow it on “Wheel of Fortune.
*from the Washington Post’s The Style Invitational where the challenge was to make up a term incorporating the letter block T-A-X-I, in any order.
India test-fired a nuclear-capable ballistic missile Thursday, just hours after signing a deal to buy 3,000 tons of Canadian uranium. Prime Minister Stephen Harper this week welcomed the uranium deal. With the Canadian agreement, India effectively joins the five permanent Security Council members whose arsenals are recognized and grandfathered by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty — a treaty that India has still not signed. Is this the kind of Canada “open for business” the we signed on for?
A picture is worth ten-thousand words when a 3 year-old is telling you about it.
* From the Huffington Post’s Best Parenting Tweets of the Week
Check out Jim’s latest post (April 16 2015) over at his Shuswap Passion Blog.
It has been 20 years since I last hiked to the top of the Enderby Cliffs, so it was a real treat for us to make the climb recently and experience the vastly improved Tplaqin trail. In 2010, thanks to the collaborative efforts of BC Parks, the Shuswap Trail Alliance and the Splatsin Band, the steep, eroding sections were removed and replaced with long switchbacks that provide a pleasant route to the 1100 metre ridgeline.
It’s been announced that the BC Court of Appeal will be rendering a decision this Thursday on the long-standing legal battle between the BCLibs and the BCTF. The link to recent judgements is here.
The BC Supreme Court ruled that class size and and composition clauses were illegally stripped by Gordon Campbell and then Minister of Ed. Christy Clark way back in 2002. On top of that, the judge used extraordinarily strong langauage in determining that the provincial government bargained in bad faith.
Of course the BCLibs appealed (that’s what this decision will be all about) and whoever loses this time is expected to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. More to come but an important decision looms this week for public school educators.
On top of this, specific ratios linked to the # of students at a school for specialist teachers (librarians, counsellors, learning assistance, speech language pathologists etc) were eliminated when that contract was ripped up.
Now what do we see? – Larger classes with more needs, more split classes, fewer course options and key courses at the high school level unavailable because the reduced blocks are already “filled” to name a few outcomes. I’m predicting that this will be next shock parents and students will see in their high schools.
School boards continually downsize important support services each budget year because they are no longer adequately funded.
Ripped up contract and subsequent chronic under-funding = eroded supports for students no matter how one attempts to bend the facts.
School District #83 DPAC Has Some Blunt Suggestions for Trustees about the Upcoming District Budget Considerations
Graphic below from their FB page here.
The DPAC’s rationale and proposals :
School District #83’s latest Budget Update (April 14 2015) including overview, proposed cuts for consideration along with rationale is here.
Kudos to trustees and central staff for presenting potential budget changes (cuts) in a line by line format that permits more informed feedback. While this is a painful process, all parties are better off in the long run when data and implications are as clear and transparent as possible.
Updated: See the Observer article DPAC wants top-down cuts (Hughes: April 29 2015) for more coverage of the DPAC proposal and board responses).
Members of the District Parents Advisory Council have come up with their own ideas for making the $1.8 million cuts needed to balance School District #83’s budget – and they are wielding sharp pencils and not shying away from controversial topics.
“Parents have had enough,” says Kari Wilkinson, who became president of the District Parents Advisory Council (DPAC) earlier this month.
Upset about the school district’s proposed budget cuts, the DPAC decided to present its own version to school district trustees and administration at a meeting last week.
Love-Your-Trails Month continues in the Shuswap!
Huge thanks to everyone helping to clean up trail throughout the Shuswap. Incredible! Be sure to check out the Big Blitz out at South Canoe this weekend. Visit the events calendar at www.shuswaptrails.com for details on times and locations)
- April 25 – South Canoe: work to complete ‘Horsing Around’ loop if not already finished. Also: work on Troll Bridge trail, brushing, tread-building etc on trails not yet done
- April 26 – South Canoe: big volunteer day, with team leaders – BBQ lunch hosted by Skookum Cycle
- Also: May 4, 11, 25 – Rubberhead Trail Clean-up Evenings (6:30 pm)
Or grab some friends for a walk and help stick flick, conduct a trail inspection (see inspection forms online), and move blow down from the trails.
There is a useful link to obtain information about how to brush and clear trails online. Technique is important and safety for users a must. For a short slide set, go to www.shuswaptrailalliance.com/volunteer.php
And don’t forget to send trail issues and reports to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Love-Your-Trails and Build-a-Metre – support 2015 trail projects
This is the first video in our new series “Cruising Cambodia” our cycling adventure where we cycled from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh and back around Tonle Sap Cambodia’s largest freshwater Lake.
This video is from a side trip we made to “the floating village of Kompong Luong”.
I can’t believe that it’s actually been over a month since my last postings. It’s not that I haven’t thought about topics to post but there’ve been other priorities.
Family matters have taken up a big part of the last three months really. My father passed away 10 days ago after a prolonged battle with a progressive lung disease. His final round of hospitalization and passing has been the real focus these past dozen weeks.
Also, I’ve really had to ponder the nature of my contributions to the blog. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s tricky separating punditry from my new role – and it’s legal and operational requirements – as a councillor on Salmon Arm’s city council. That dilemma in itself has limited my posting as well.
I’m headed to Kamloops tomorrow for the annual SILGA (Southern Interior Local Government Association) conference. SILGA is comprised of elected officials from cities, towns, villages, districts and regional districts in South Central British Columbia.
The first workshop I’m attending is on the “Use of Social Media by Elected Members: Managing Risks“. Ideally, there’ll be some takeaways to help me further ponder things.
I’ll also be reporting back on other conference workshops and the resolutions that will be discussed and voted on. Stay tuned!
Some Conservative MPs stopped Green party Leader Elizabeth May from addressing the House of Commons on the ISIL motion Tuesday. Here’s her press release:
March 24, 2015
* From the CSRD’s Facebook page
Just a reminder …. important meetings starting next week.
Important Consultation . . .
The North Okanagan-Shuswap Board of Education is consulting with the public on changes being considered for September 2015:
• the possible closure of Silver Creek Elementary
• converting North Shuswap and Falkland Elementaries to Kindergarten to Grade 8 schools (from K-7)
• converting Ranchero to a Kindergarten to Grade 5 (with 6-7s going to Shuswap Middle)
• converting Parkview to a Kindergarten to Grade 5 (with 6-7s moving to Eagle River)
These recommendations are being looked at to help the district navigate through decreased enrolment, extra space in many of our schools, and fiscal responsibility. If you would like to share your rationale of why trustees should, or should not, consider any or all of these recommendations please email to email@example.com. It would be greatly appreciated if you could provide input by April 21.
There will also be public meetings for each of the regions:
March 31 – North Shuswap Elementary at 6:00 p.m.
April 1 – Falkland Elementary at 6:30 p.m.
April 7 – Eagle River Secondary at 7 p.m. (for Parkview and Eagle River)
April 8 – Ranchero Elementary at 6:30 p.m.
April 9 – Silver Creek Elementary at 6:30 p.m.
If you have questions about these meetings please contact the Secretary-Treasurer’s office at 250 832 2157.
* from the school district’s Facebook page
Good idea: Use power tools to keep your car functioning properly.
Bad idea: Use power tools to keep your ear functioning properly.
*from the Washington Post’s The Style Invitational where they asked readers to cite a “good idea” and turn it into a “bad idea” with a small wording change.
Check out Jim Cooperman’s full post Watershed protection must move forward (March 19 2015) over at his Shuswap Passion blog.
We cannot afford to go backwards. The current debate within local governments about how to fund the ongoing work of the Shuswap Watershed Council is almost too painful to observe. So much good work has been done, particularly the latest report that looks at farming practices, it would be absurd to lose the Council now because our local politicians cannot agree on where the funding should come from. The new report outlines a work plan that will lead to improvements, but the Council needs continued commitment, collaboration, and secure funding.
A GPS locator for kids would be great, but today I’m leaning more towards a mute button option.
* From the Huffington Post’s Best Parenting Tweets of the Week
Okanagan College’s “(Contemporary) Classics at the Classics” not-for-profit film series ends next Monday night (the 30th) with a closing night double bill at the historic Salmar Classic. At 5:00pm we are screening the animated, family-friendly Wes Anderson film “Fantastic Mr. Fox”, followed at 7:30pm with Terrence Malick’s magnum opus “The Tree of Life”. Admission to both of these films is free with a donation of non-perishable food items for the Second Harvest Food Bank.
“One of the aims of the series this year has been to select a range of films that will appeal both to OC students and to the wider Salmon Arm film-going community, so it is fitting that the series end with a night when we show two films that everyone in town can come down and enjoy regardless of their age” says Okanagan College Film professor Dr. Tim Walters, who introduces each film in the series. “As we’ve been the beneficiary of generous support of the series from OC, the Salmar Community Association, and the good folks at Pinz Tattoos, we are able to offer free admission to both films with a donation to the Second Harvest Food Bank, and I feel very fortunate and appreciative that we can end the season by helping out a group that do great work in our community.”
Wes Anderson’s 2009 hit “Fantastic Mr. Fox” is an animated adaptation of the beloved Roald Dahl novel of the same name, and follows the attempts by Mr Fox to save his family and friends from angry farmers. Featuring an all star cast of voice actors (including George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray) and the usual quirky Wes Anderson style and humor, this is a fun, smart, fast-moving film that will be enjoyed by kids of all ages.
The final film of the series is Terrence Malick’s 2011 epic “The Tree of Life”, a hugely ambitious and visually overwhelming film painted on a massive canvas which rightly earned the most sought after prize in the movie world, the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Starting from the story of a couple (Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain) raising two small children in small town 1950’s Texas, Malick’s film explodes in scope to follow the growth of this family in parallel with that of the entire history of life in our universe through stunning visual images and a magnificent orchestral soundtrack. Unsurpassed in the grandeur and beauty of its composition, and in its philosophical aspirations, this is a film for lovers of pure cinema. “I was very keen to end the series on a very high note,” says Walters, “and it doesn’t get much higher than “The Tree of Life”, which for my money is a stone cold masterpiece, a jaw-dropping experience in the cinema (which doesn’t happen nearly often enough), and the only film made in the 21st Century that is seriously in the conversation about being the greatest film ever made. It’s really that good.”