Pollen blasts ‘corrupt political process’

by Gregory Hartnell, CCC President

The auditorium at my old high school was not quite packed, but there were so many people at the meeting at Victoria High School tonight that many participants parked their cars on the running track of the adjacent field.

I went over after stopping off at Our Place to check out the scene there first.  Two big buses were parked in front of the homeless peoples’ home on Pandora Avenue, one of them emblazoned with NDP leader Carole James’ face.

Inside, the place was packed with an expectant crowd and what looked like a dozen tv cameras.  I noticed that the candidates were already up on the stage, ready to speak and answer questions.  I saw Saul Anderson whom I remember from the last election.

I approached the anarchist cab driver, shook his hand, and told him “I am seriously considering voting for you.”  He smiled, and was friendly.  “I’ll give you a call for an interview,” I said as I headed over to the Vic. High meeting.

Back at my old alma mater, I sat near the back of the auditorium, right in front of former Victoria Councillor Alastair Craighead and Ray Zimmerman, a well-known conservationist.  Later, Mrs. Martin Segger (wife of former Victoria City Councillor Martin Segger) sat next to me. The Vic. High meeting was chaired by Terry Milne, a former Social Credit candidate, if my memory serves me well, and a vociferous opponent of the planned sewage treatment mandated by the BC Liberals and the Harperites.

Mr. Pollen was sitting alone behind a long table set up on stage.  There were about 8 or 9 chairs set up behind this table, but Mr. Pollen was the only one sitting on one of them.  It looked odd.

Mr. Milne started on the wrong foot by introducing a young Olympian rower who was probably unknown to most greyheads in the audience, which made up the majority.  This young man made a somewhat self-indulgent speech which seemed more about his own sports history than the issue at hand.  He encouraged us to pay close attention, but didn’t really address the marina itself.  I was confused as to why this young man was even invited to speak, as he made so little sense.

 Then Mr. Milne introduced former Mayor David Turner, a New Democratic Party stalwart, who proclaimed that the Victoria International Marina (VIM) was not in the public interest.  He said that governments were designed to protect the public interest, and that all three levels of government should oppose this plan as it is not in the public interest.  Then he seemed to disappear for the rest of the evening and did not join Mr. Pollen behind the table.

Next up was the great man himself, looking frail, but distinguished, even in a bright yellow t-shirt with a slogan against the VIM emblazoned on the front.  In a voice that was barely audible, he quickly listed a number of reasons why he was opposed to the project, but seemed most appalled by the pathetic public process to date, which he called ‘political corruption.’

After Mr. Pollen’s brief remarks came Dianne Carr, representing the Victoria West Neighbourhood Association, who read a letter from NDP Menber of Parliament Denise Savoie, who could not attend the meeting as she was in Ottawa.  Savoie’s letter was long on self-congratulation, and left this writer wondering why she would want to brag about an ‘in camera‘ meeting she organized at City Hall last week, a meeting to which neither the public nor the developers were invited.  

She hoped that the Federal Government would follow through on a promised open public meeting.  She says she is opposed to the project, but at the same time it seems that she is just going through the motions, effectively just trying to stall what might be inevitable.  Instead of saying anything critical about the silence of what Mr. Pollen calls the ‘mute Council,’ she seemed happy to know that the federal, provincial and City bureaucrats are all now supposedly better informed about the proper process after her secret meeting with her old friend Dean Fortin, present Mayor of the City of Victoria.  Frankly, there is always something not quite real about the way Denise Savoie expresses herself. Her language is always very carefully parsed.

Then came a real surprise.  Former Victoria Mayor Alan Lowe, a Liberal as far as anyone can tell, expressed his opposition to the placement of the VIM at this particular site.  This earned him a round of applause.  He gave some history of the site from the eighties when the Songhees development first started, and later emphasized that he is not opposed to ‘luxury yachts’ (as he called them) per se.  He said nothing at all about the City losing a lawsuit over the same site some years ago, and at the same time suggested that the current timidity of the Council had something to do with that history.  He gave the impression City Hall bureaucrats are more informed on this history than the present Council, which is apparently receiving legal advice to basically be quiet until the province makes a move.  Frankly, it was strange, but gratifying, to see him sitting next to Mr. Pollen, who has been one of his fiercest critics over the new arena.

 Dr. Keith Martin, now a federal Liberal, was next.  He mentioned the basic medical service idea from the Hippocratic oath of ‘do no harm.’  He said that he opposed the VIM plan because it will harm the City of Victoria and its Inner Harbour.  He said that it was inevitable that there will be a fatality at some point if the project goes through, mentioned that the Inner Harbour is very busy already, is the only harbour-airport in the country, and cited the astounding number of plane and helicopter trips in and out of it every year.  He encouraged people to write to Federal Minister John Baird.  Mr. Pollen thinks that Federal Minister Gary Lunn is the man to approach.  There is apparently some confusion as to strategy among the members of the newly-formed Victoria Harbour Defence Alliance.

Next came Maurine Karagianis, an NDP Esquimalt City Councillor for nine years, who is seeking election now for that socialist party in that neck of the woods.  She seemed very well versed on this issue, citing a letter from a former BC Liberal minister (John Hagen, now deceased)  that she said indicated clearly that the provincial BC Liberals support the VIM project and have done so for a number of years.  She said that candidates in the present election should be asked by their constituents whether they support the idea of the ‘selling of the Victoria Inner Harbour.’  She was the last person to fill a seat beside Dr. Keith Martin, Alan Lowe and Peter Pollen.  The rest of the chairs on stage were left empty, which again I found looked strange, as if they had been anticipating other big shots who didn’t show up.

Questions from the floor followed.  Only one person spoke in favour of the proposed VIM.  That was Jane King, who identified herself as a person who lives on her sailboat.  She said that when John Travolta brought his luxury yacht to Victoria, they spent a lot of money fixing the thing up, even employing a friend of hers to varnish the woodwork.  She basically cajoled the audience with a kind of cheer-leader rhetoric, ‘Come on, Victoria, get with the international business that this will bring to our city.’  She was booed, which did not impress me, but I must say that it took courage on her part to face that hostile Vic High crowd.  

One heavy-set middle-aged woman painted a completely horrific picture of the type of people she thought would be likely to own these luxury yachts.  She said that she had partied with some questionable characters on such yachts when she was younger in Florida (this must have been 35 – 40 years ago, judging by her age).  

She suggested basically that they were mostly likely to be drug dealers, gun runners and other such bad actors that we ‘would not really want to meet at midnight.’  It was right after that lady’s remarks that both Mr. Lowe and Mrs. Karagianis emphasized that they were not opposed to berthing luxury yachts on this island completely, only not at that particular site.  Mrs. Karagiannis mentioned Ogden Point as a more suitable site.

Only one member of the present Victoria City Council had the temerity to address the audience, although two were there (Chris Coleman did not speak).  Councillor John Luton got up to the mic to say that the Victoria City Council had received a nice letter from a provincial bureaucrat, and that the Council were concerned about legal matters, and therefor could not do much more at this time.  Mr. Pollen dismissed Mr. Luton’s assertions as ‘nonsense,’ saying that he was never subject to a lawsuit the whole time he was in the Mayor’s seat, and basically he condemned again ‘this mute Council.’

Before I left, I got in line to ask a question.  I posed it to Mr. Pollen.  I introduced myself as representing the CCC, said that I very much appreciated Mr. Pollen’s efforts to get the meeting organized, and that I had the highest regard for him, and commended the other dignitaries who were sitting next to him for supporting him.  I said that although I was opposed, like most in the audience, to this particular project, I noted that two people that have recently written about this matter to the CCC BLOG were not there tonight, Denise Savoie and Lachlan MacLean, one of the developers.

I told the audience that Mr. MacLean was quite upset at not being invited to either the Savoie-Fortin ‘in camera‘ meeting at City Hall last week, nor to this one.  I posed the question to Mr. Pollen: had the developers been invited, but he deferred to the M. C . Mr. Milne, who informed us that this was basically a meeting for people who were ‘concerned and opposed’ to the VIM.  Mr. MacLean would have been free like the rest of the public to attend, but the committee didn’t feel it needed to send them direct invitations.  He mentioned that the developers had already had a meeting of their own, and that the opponents had not been inivited to that.  I found that petty-minded answer insufficient, and silently lamented the stubborn pride of humankind.  

Just as I was leaving, the last speaker was good old Betty Gibbens, who commended Mayor Pollen for his current work which she says is in the same tradition as his work on the harbour when they were both members of the now-defunct Victoria Harbour Enhancement Society, designed to frustrate the building of three 35-storey towers below Bastion Square.  That group was co-founded by my late father Peter George Hartnell, and used to hold its meetings at the Queen Victoria Inn, as it was then known, and owned by our family.

Memories of those days came flooding back and I decided to leave with them.


For two Times Colonist articles on these two public meetings on Wednesday, April 29, 2009, please refer to the comments section below for links.


TWO IMPORTANT MEETINGS IN VICTORIA BEACON HILL TONIGHT: Victoria High School, 7:00 pm: Victoria International Marina; Our Place: 7:00 pm: All Candidates’ Meeting


Two very important public interest meetings are being held in Victoria Beacon Hill this evening.

There is a public meeting organized by former Victoria Mayor Peter Pollen starting at 7:00 p. m. tonight pertaining to the proposed Victoria International Marina.  That will be at Victoria High School at Grant and Fernwood.

The other is an all-candidates’ meeting on the subject of homelessness at Our Place on Pandora Avenue near Quadra.  The all candidate’s meeting starts at 7:00 p. m. also.

There are four declared candidates in Victoria Beacon Hill.  They are New Democratic Party Leader Carole James, the incumbent defending the seat; Dallas Henault, a 25 year old Liberal candidate; Adam Saab, who ran for the Federal Green Party in the last federal election and is representing the BC Greens this time; and independent Saul Anderson, a cab driver who stood for election to the Victoria City Council in the 2008 civic election.


CONSERVATIVES FIELD 24 CANDIDATES IN 2009 B. C. ELECTION – REFERENDUM: Abbotsford South + West, Chilliwack – Hope, Richmond – Steveston, Prince George Valemont + Vancouver False Creek now represented

Six more BCCP candidates announced since last CCC count:

Benipal, Chilton, Dhaliwal, Dickie,  Hutchinson + Mulder

by Gregory Hartnell, CCC President


The new ‘Conservatives BC,’ or British Columbia Conservatives now have 24 candidates contesting ridings all around the province, with one on Vancouver Island, but none in Greater Victoria.

Since our last count here at the CCC BLOG, when we noticed the BCCP had eighteen people signed up, six more have been added to the 2009 B. C. Election – Referendum 2009 official candidates’ list.

Below is a list of the most recent names and constituencies as announced today on the BCCP website which is conveniently found to the right in our CCC BLOGROLL.

1. Abbotsford  West: Dr. Dalbrir Benipal

2. Abbotsford South: Gurcharan Dhaliwal

3. Chilliwack – Hope: Hans Mulder

4.  Richmond – Steveston: Barry E. Chilton

5. Prince George Valemont: Gordon Dickie

6. Vancouver False Creek: David Hutchinson

For a list of the other 18 BCCP candidates in this election – referendum,

please check the comments section below for a link.




M. P. DENISE SAVOIE TO G. P. HARTNELL: ‘I REGRET THE CONFUSION AROUND … LAST FRIDAY’S “IN CAMERA” MEETING … to clear up discrepancies + insist on a clear + transparent process’


Full text of letter from New Democratic Party

Member of the Parliament of Canada

  Victoria, B. C.



The following letter was received as a comment at the CCC BLOG on April 28 in response to another earlier posting here called ‘What’s with all the secrecy, Dean and Denise?’  

Here the Member for Victoria tries to explain why the ‘in camera’ meeting about the Victoria International Marina held last Friday at Victoria City Hall, which her office initiated, was closed to the public, including the developers.

– Gregory Paul Michael Hartnell, President

Concerned Citizens’ Coalition



Dear Gregory:

I regret the confusion around the various meetings on the marina project.  Last Friday’s “in camera” meeting was initiated by my office to bring together the three levels of government, including three different departments at the federal level, to clarify misunderstandings and confusion about the project, the rules of approval and the process ahead.

Posing questions to any individual government department often gets a lot of buck-passing, and I was determined to ensure that no details, especially the public input and consultation process, fell through any bureaucratic cracks.

This was an important meeting to have between bureaucrats to clear up discrepancies and insist on a clear and transparent process.

During an election period as we have in BC, provincial officials could not make any public commitment regarding the process, hence the “in camera” nature of the meeting.

I have secured the commitment of the federal Minister of Transport to have a public meeting, at which we can now have a clear understanding of the rules and process ahead, after the BC election, before any approval of the marina project can proceed.

From the very beginning of this issue, I have tried every mechanism in my role as MP to increase public input and transparency of the process.

Again I regret the confusion around these various meetings.


Denise Savoie, MP Victoria






BISHOP REMI DE ROO: Muriel Clemenger’s apology ‘re: the financial problems, much publicized, often misrepresented, which haunted our diocese’


Former Roman Catholic Bishop of Diocese of Victoria

selects quotes from ‘my former diocesan financial officer

… while maintaining my  “no comment” stance with the media’

By ‘Greg’

This strange letter came by a very Roman method.  It was hand-delivered to our home at 1357 Rockland Avenue this afternoon.  In the upper left hand corner is a hand-written note: 


What do you make of this letter that is to call us into “healing.”

Jack Sproule’

The computer-printed letter below was not addressed to anyone, and was signed ‘Remi‘ in a different hand and different coloured ink.  I thought that the handwriting of the note supposedly signed by ‘Jack Sproule‘ looked familiar.  Just to check, I phoned my old friend, retired priest Father Jack Sproule, in Sidney.  

He told me that he had not written the note, but confirmed that his friend former Victoria Bishop Remi De Roo had printed the following form letter on Father Jack’s printer, that Bishop Remi had then given some of these to Father Jack, that Father Jack had then given some of these to Patrick Jamieson, editor of the Island Catholic News, and author of a hagiography of De Roo.

That was all the evidence I needed to know that Patrick Jamieson had resorted to the extraordinary old Roman trick of forging Father Jack Sproule’s signature in order to somehow get me to say something nice about ‘Remi.’

– G. P. M. H.



Nanaimo, B. C. 04/26/2009


The middle of March brought consoling good news! Muriel Clemenger, my former diocesan financial officer, contacted me and offered her apology, confirmed later in a letter, part of which follows.  This represents a major break-through after ten years of waiting for fuller truth to be made known re the financial problems, much publicized, often misrepresented, which haunted our diocese.

Muriel’s words speak for themselves, so I reproduce an excerpt from her statement here: “There do not seem to be words strong enough to convey to you the distress I felt and continue to feel over the serious damage done to your reputation and your ministry resulting from our business dealings with Joe Finley.  The fault was mine.  It was a very serious miscarriage of all that is just that you were made to take the blame publicly.  As we progressed further into the problems with the Lacey land, I failed to keep you in the loop as I ought to have done.  I am deeply sorry.  Your generous forgiveness when we spoke of these matters has done much to heal.  Thank you … Please share this statement with your family and friends.”

Personally, I consider this matter now closed, while maintaining my “no comment” stance with the media so as to avoid reopening old wounds and painful memories.  Forgiveness remains the best medicine.

More good news!  Our current bishop, Richard Gagnon, has invited me to participate in a concelebration at St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Victoria, on Pentecost Sunday May 31st at 3:00 p.m.  It is planned as a “reconciliation” service, incorporated into the traditional Sunday Vespers.  Liturgically and pastorally speaking, I see thisw as ideal, for it encourages involvement by friends of various religious persuasions.

Personnally, I would love to have you attend this joyous event.  Do also persuade other friends to come.  Join us too at the reception that follows at the nearby St. Andrew’s Elementary School on Pandora Street.  Should that prove impossible, please hold us all in prayer for special divine blessings.  God willing, this will help to heal some rifts afflicting our Diocese and free up vital energies for further spiritual growth.

My health story is also encouraging.  After multiple tests, requisitioned by several wonderful and increasingly intrigued doctors, my “exotic/rare” condition (autonomic neurotropy) has been definitively diagnosed.  Seems it is a condition in which some blood vessels do not respond appropriately to signals or stimuli from the nervous system.  Under some circumstances, fainting spells might occur, so I am cautioned not to travel alone.  There is still no known cure.  I follow a precise program of “preventive therapy” with daily exercising.  I remain fully active and lead a normal life.  I will spare you the details, although they might provide occasional entertainment over a cocktail!

Further news from you would be greatly appreciated.  Meanwhile, be assured of my best wishes and prayers for continued blessings as we wend our pilgrim way from Easter to Pentecost: good physical health, peace of mind and heart, joy in your soul with refreshment of spirit.

Fraternally yours,







By Gregory Hartnell, President

Concerned Citizens’ Coalition

Lachlan MacLean, a spokesman for Western Asset Management (WAM) and Community Marine Concepts (CMC), developers of a proposed controversial marina in Victoria’s Inner Harbour, says that neither group was invited to the recent Denise Savoie-initiated ‘in camera’ meeting with Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin, members of Victoria City Council and other federal and provincial representatives, nor have WAM or CMC people been invited to the Peter Pollen-organized meeting coming up on April 29 at Vic High.

In comments to another posting here at the CCC BLOG on April 26, Mr. MacLean wrote:

‘No representative of WAM or Community Marine Concepts was present at Friday’s meeting.  Neither WAM nor CMC sued the City over marina site rezoning in 1993, the suit was brought by the owner of the water lots at that time, Pacific National Investments.  The City paid $1.6 million to PNI.

‘Zoning for the two fee simple water lots owned by CMC and the Crown water lot are a matter of public record, and can be found on the City of Victoria’s zoning map.’

In another comment the following day, April 27, Mr. MacLean confirmed that WAM and CMC representatives had also not been invited to another public meeting on the Victoria International Marina, this time one organized, in part, by former Victoria Mayor Peter Pollen:

‘Neither WAM nor CMC have been invited to present or answer questions about the marina at the Peter Pollen meeting on April 29th.  When I found out about the meeting, I immediately wrote to Mr. Pollen and offered to appear and answer questions, but to date have not heard back from him,’ wrote Lachlan Maclean to the CCC BLOG today.

As President of the CCC, I have publicly opposed the placement of the proposed Victoria International Marina in the Inner Harbour site in question.

I now feel that in all fairness I must also condemn the grandstanding that has gone on by Ms. Savoie in her organization of the recent exclusive and discriminatory secret meeting at City Hall, and hope that my friend Peter Pollen, former Victoria Mayor, will not make the same mistake.

Someone from Mr. Pollen’s group, the Victoria Harbour Defence Alliance (VHDA), should definitely connect with Lachlan MacLean or some other member of WAM or CMC to make sure that these developers have ample opportunity to present and answer questions on the project, as they have graciously offered, and certainly have every right to do, at the planned meeting on the marina at Victoria High School this Wednesday evening.

And Denise Savoie and Dean Fortin owe all of the people of Victoria, including these developers, an apology for not allowing the public and the developers into their questionable little meeting last week.




By Gregory Hartnell, President 

Concerned Citizens’ Coalition

Health Care tops the list of 10 concerns of the new Conservative Party of British Columbia or ‘BC Conservatives’  (BCCP) .  Wilf Hanni, leader of the BCCP, released the party’s 10 point plan for the 2009 provincial election – referendum last week on April 21.

Besides Health Care, the BCCP also lists nine other major concerns of the party: Aboriginal Land Claims, Environment, Economic Stimulation, Tax Reduction, Education, Infrastructure, Crime and Justice, Good Government and Freedom of Speech.

The BCCP would fast-track foreign-trained doctors and nurses into the system and train more to reduce wait lists.  Lamentably, embryonic, fetal and geriatric rights are not mentioned in the current party platform.  They should be.  Nor is there is any mention of so-called ‘safe injection sites’ or ‘needle exchanges.’  This party should oppose such bogus so-called ‘addiction treatment,’ and emphasize abstinence-based holistic therapy.

 It calls for a provincial referendum to have the federal government settle Aboriginal land claims in cash, opposes ‘Aboriginal title,’ but encourages private ownership by Aboriginals of their own land.

It would expand public BC Hydro projects; eliminate the carbon tax; opposes ‘cap and trade;’ develop tidal, wind, geothermal, biodiesel, ethanol and hydrogen; ban sale of lakes and rivers; but allow limited time leases by private entities for ‘run of river’ projects.  Lamentably, they do not address the issues of clearcutting ancient forests, or raw log exports.  They do call for a review of the present forest tenure system.  

The BC Conservatives would also stimulate the economy by reducing regulation and taxes, to create jobs and expand resource development, including, lamentably, off-shore drilling.  This last policy of proposed off-shore drilling is one with which I must now publicly and personally dissent as a new member of the party.  Off-shore drilling is certainly not in the public interest, and is opposed by most people on this coast.

The party proposes to reduce the PST by 1% in 2009; lower personal and corporate income taxes; eliminate the property transfer tax and eliminate excessive salaries to government employees and MLAs.

The Conservatives’ campaign plan also promises to provide education funding based on an equal per-student funding formula payable to the parents’ school of choice.  They would repeal the Corren Agreement and restore parental rights in the education system for B. C. children. BCCP promises to provide tuition assistance for qualifying post-secondary students.

BCCP would initiate province-wide infrastructure funding including light rail transit for southern Vancouver Island and eliminate discriminatory bridge and highway tolls.

‘BC Conservatives’ would reform the justice system and enhance personal security.  There is no mention of homelessness at all.  They call for tougher sentences, more timely court processing and hard work prison projects.  They would create and publish a Criminal Offenders’ Registry and revamp the B. C. Human Rights Code.  They say nothing about the dangers of Tasers, nuclear ship visits, or aviation shows, all of which are public safety issues of concern for residents here in Victoria.

Good Government is also a concern of the new party.  They call for MLAs to have free votes in the Legislature.  They oppose both the present ‘first past the post’ system and the proposed STV system (subject of the referendum) but would prefer to implement the alternative ‘preferential ballot’ electoral voting system.

On the important matter of Freedom of Speech, they call for the repeal of the controverial election gag law.

As a new member of the party, I find that I can support the general thrust of most of these policies, with the caveats mentioned in the article above and following.  The BCC party, to be really credible to social conservatives, must enhance its pro-life concerns, addressing abortion, embryonic stem cell research and euthanasia with compassionate and practical policies.

To expand its appeal to conservationists, it should condemn clearcut logging, oppose raw log exports and nuclear ship visits, and subsidize electric car research.

To attract those concerned about social justice issues, it should really speak out more about the horror of homelessness, addiction and mental illness.  It should prioritize the solving of these problems and condemn the Olympics spending that steals money from properly attending to the needs of the poorest of the poor.

 It should propose to shut down all needle exchanges and the Insite ‘safe consumption site,’ and replace them with a system of neighbourhood recovery houses based on strict abstinence.

The  complete BCCP campaign platform is found at the BCCP’s website, found in the CCC BLOGROLL to the right.

– Gregory Paul Michael Hartnell