Why does Victoria Mayor Alan Lowe consort with Chinese Communist Party officials while Tibetans, Christians and Falun Gong suffer?

+++  Victoria Mayor Alan Lowe was conspicuous by his absence at the recent heated Parents’ Forum about the proposed move of the so-called ‘needle exchange’ at Saint Andrew’s Elementary School.  While standing in line with parents, neighbours and other Concerned Citizens to speak against the outrageous VIHA-AVI proposal, I asked Councillor Bea Holland if she knew where he was.  ++  Without battting an eye, and with a permanent if somewhat inappropriate smile plastered on her face, she answered in a matter-of-fact tone: ‘He’s away selling Victoria.’  ++  This answer didn’t surprise me, and I answered: ‘I’ll bet he’s selling Victoria, alright…’  ++  This week is ‘Sister City Awareness Week,’ according to a banner strung up across Victoria’s main drag, about three blocks from City Hall.  The so-called ‘sister cities’ in China and Russia are named on the banner.  I do not know the names of these cities and I doubt that more than a handful of Victorians do.  Most of those are probably accompanying our mayor, who happens to be a Chinese Canadian, on these useless, expensive and shameful junkets.  Meanwhile, the Chinese Communist Party ambassador to Canada makes himself a laughingstock by vilifying the Dalai Lama and our own government in Ottawa for supposedly interfering in China’s internal affairs for having the audacity to criticize the Communists for their outrageous and murderous human rights abuses, most recently in Buddhist Tibet, but also ongoing against various Christian denominations, Chinese Falun Gong meditators, and Chinese democracy advocates in Hong Kong, Taiwan, etc.  ++  The Mayor of Victoria has chosen a terrible time to visit his Communist friends.  These junkets would stop under a civic administration with a modicum of decency.  Sadly, that is not the case at the moment in the City of Gardens.  +++

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SUFFER THE CHILDREN: A young female St. Andrew’s Elementary School student starts a needle exchange survey

+++  A brave young female student from Saint Andrew’s Elementary School provided one of the highlights for many in the audience last night at the very emotional meeting held in the gym at Saint Andrew’s Elementary.  She said that although there was a request to parents that children not attend, she felt she had a right to attend and to be heard as a student directly affected by the proposed move of the needle exhange so close to her school.  She admitted that she was already afraid of the often strange  behaviour of addicts who hang around close to the school, that she had heard bad language, seen needles and seen some very bad things.  It was heartbreaking to hear this beautiful young  girl of about nine whose name I did not record, describe what it is like to be a child at St. Andrew’s these days.  She chastised the bureaucrats, the politicans and the policeman for what they were doing and asked them to change course.  She also said she was going to start a survey and ask all her school mates what they think about the situation, and once she gets the information will give it to whoever is in charge.  It was powerful revolutionary testimony in its heartfelt simplicity and stood as an admonition against the whole system.  She received sustained applause from the adults after she made her plea.  ++  It should be noted that by contrast, the Rev. Al Tysick who runs Our Place, is in favour of the move of the needle exchange next door to his facility and wants more money for a so-called ‘safe injection site,’ received very negligible applause from the angry, fearful and disappointed crowd of parents and concerned citizens.  +++

Nikki Ewanyshyn, CFAX News reporter, says St. Andrew’s Elementary parents expressed ‘understandable NIMBYism’ at Wednesday meeting

+++  After an hour wasted with David Hahn of the BC Ferry Corporation, Joe Easingwood finally got around to the real news of the day, a meeting attended by about 200 upset parents concerned about VIHA plans to move the needle-exchange kitty corner to the St. Andrew’s Elementary school located at the corner of Vancouver and Pandora.  CFAX News reporter Nikki Ewanyshyyn described the parents as displaying ‘understandable NIMBYism,’ concern about lack of due process, and siting the exchange so close to the school… ++  Mr. Easingwood described Dean Fortin as the mayoral candidate of the left, but in fact, I asked Dean Fortin last night point blank that question and he said that he had not yet made up his mind about the matter.  Councillors Young, Holland and Thornton-Joe were also in attendance.  The latter sat on the panel with the principal of the school Mr. Pollard, the representative of VIHA, and Bill Naughton, acting as the Chief of Police, while the real Chief is being investigated.  Mrs. Thornton-Joe did not commit to making a motion at the City Council meeting tonight or any other time to change the bylaw which currently enables the move to happen.  In the vague and ambiguous language for which she is infamous, she merely commited to conveying what she termed ‘all the diverse views’ expressed at the meeting to the Council, but admitted that no Council motions will be voted on pertaining to the matter tonight.  Mr. Fortin said existing bylaws allow the move, and he did not speak at the microphone, but only answered one woman’s question about the Council’s apparant inability or unwillingness to intercede on the parents’ behalf from the floor.  When I noticed him leaving before the meeting was over with Rob Fleming (next to whom he had been whispering all evening), I asked him why he didn’t go up and speak at the front of the room, he deferred to Mrs. Thornton- Joe as the Council’s designated representative.  I told him I was disappointed in him, and said forthrightly that I would encourage everyone I know never to vote for him.  He did not respond to this, but walked away with a stunned expression on his face.  +++

LA ROSA March 2008: new 8 pg. bxw paper available now @ Market on Yates, & Collected Works Gallery

+++  A new eight page black and white folding paper LA ROSA, dated March 2008, has been printed along with the latest issue of Island Catholic News (ICN), and is slowly being distributed in our hallowed ‘quirky and sporadic’ manner, as Robert Amos put it some time ago.  At present, I believe that it is still available at the Collected Works Gallery in Fernwood, and at the Market on Yates, where I left a stack (stuffed with back issues of ICN and La Rosa) yesterday in the black boxes containing community publications, near the recycling bins.  ++  I will be doing a real blitz of distribution around the Ides, my mother’s birthday, in anticipation of Saint Patrick’s Day, which is commemorated by one of my drawings on the cover (reproduced two years ago on the cover of ICN in full colour, if it looks familiar).  ++  LA ROSA MARCH 2008 contains a full page poem by CCC candidate David Burke (and picture of the Fairfield Bard smoking a pipe), Collected Works Gallery critique and gossip with photo of Isa Sevrain tilework, a review of the new James Fry ‘Ballads’ CD, an article on the need for a federal peace coalition to stop the war, a picture of Dorothy Day, a eulogy on Margaret Harris Jamieson by her son Patrick (2005 CCC candidate) with a picture of the late lady by Goyo de la Rosa, and an article on the old French press, once owned by the Franciscans at San Luis Rey Mission in California, which ended up being the first Catholic press on this island, and one of the first presses used in Victoria for the Colonist newspaper.  Large graphic of koi fish by Marshal Stokes is reproduced for a show that happened last month on the back cover. +++