T. J. WATT: ‘Vancouver Island has the potential to be the Costa Rica of the north, with a thriving eco-tourism market’

The February 20 Raeside cartoon [in the Victoria Times Colonist] is a perfect representation of the Liberal government’s stance on the fate of our world-class ancient forests.

The cartoon depicts Gordon Campbell promoting the province to Olympic tourists by showing off our spectacular old-growth forest.

The tourists, upon returning next summer to take photos, find a field of giant stumps.

This continues to be the fate of many of our last stands of giant trees in southern B. C. and shows a lack of understanding of what draws many people to the best place on Earth.

Vancouver Island has the potential to be the Costa Rica of the north, with a thriving eco-tourism market that brings in tourists from all over the globe to see our amazing temperate rainforests.

These dynamic ecosystems clean our water, fight climate change and contain mammoth 1,000-year-old trees with trunks more than six metres wide and 90 metres tall.

The government is complacently allowing the clearcutting of these rare gems and their subsequent conversion to much smaller and ecologically simpler second-growth plantations.

People are not travelling from across the world to see plantations and clearcuts.

The government needs to say enough is enough in regard to logging our natural old-growth heritage and protect what little we do have left, while ensuring a sustainable second-growth, value-added industry.


T.J. Watt



CCC BLOG reprint:

Victoria Times Colonist: timescolonist.com

Old-growth forests could bring tourists

Friday, February 26, 2010

Page A11



ALLEN YOUNG ON JOHNSON STREET BRIDGE ‘REPLACEMENT’ STUDIES: ‘Leads one to wonder what the $919,000 spent to date achieved’


The article on the need to spend an additional $840,000 to analyse options for the Blue Bridge leads one to wonder what the $919,000 spent to date achieved.

“Whether or not your position is that you want the bridge replaced or refurbished, you have to examine both options in order to come to the right conclusion,” Councillor Pam Madoff is quoted as saying.

[Victoria City] Council should have adopted this approach from Day 1.

You would certainly expect any government being approached to assist in funding this project to request this comparison.

Allen Young 



CCC BLOG reprint:

Times Colonist: timescolonist.com

Bridge studies long overdue

Friday, February 26, 2010

Page A11



DIANE McNALLY: ‘The entire captive orca industry is an atrocity and must be shut down’



Tilikum was sent to Florida from Victoria, has been driven crazy and can’t take it anymore.

Of course there is a human tragedy in this , and I’m sorry for the family.

But Tilikum was stolen from his family, the L-25s from Iceland, at a young age, has grown into a strong, angry, bored, lonely adult, has no lasting friendships, doesn’t speak  the same language as anybody he’s been forced to live with and is confined to a kiddie-pool sized tank in comparison to the whole of the Icelandic coast that is his family’s home.

He is used, and I mean used, in the captive breeding progam at Orlando.

This does not involve temporary but possibly fun liaisons with female orcas.

It involves handlers and electrodes and sedation and collection tubes.

Is this a life you’d want, or wish on anyone?

And the babies produced — is it OK to raise intelligent mammals in water-filled cages?

Is it OK because “it’s all they’ve known”?

Would it be OK to raise a human baby in a cage if you made sure that was all he or she was going to know?

The entire captive orca industry is an atrocity and must be shut down.


Dianne McNally



CCC BLOG reprint:

Victoria Times Colonist: timescolonist.com

Captive orca industry is an atrocity

Friday, February 26, 2010

Page A11



Gordo Campbell on Jane Thornthwaite’s impaired driving charge: ‘People make mistakes, and I’ve made them myself’

In B.C. Liberal Premier’s strange worldview,

a tragic disgrace is an ‘opportunity’


Premier Gordon Campbell, who pleaded ‘no contest’ to a number of serious impaired driving charges in Maui in 2003, says that one of his own newly-elected MLA’s, Jane Thornthwaite, ‘should not resign her seat,’ according to an unsigned Canwest News Service story in the monopoly daily Victoria Times Colonist today.

Jane Thornthwaite says ‘her actions were inexcusable,’ but apparently her boss has just excused her.

Meanwhile thousands of intoxicated young British Columbians are congregating every night in downtown Vancouver, showing their supposed Canadian pride and patriotism for the ephemeral thrill of seeing Canadian winter sports medals won by pampered professional athletes, while hundreds of miserable hardcore addicts wander about the Downtown Eastside looking for their next fix. 

The premier has a family history of alcoholism, is known to have gone to 12 step meetings after his arrest, and apparently did not drive for about three months after the Maui incident.

It is not clear to this writer at this time whether he still is sober, whether he continues to attend 12 step meetings or whether he has resumed driving, but if he was adhering to such a healthy regime, I am quite sure we would hear about it from his spin doctors, although attendance at 12 step meetings is supposed to be an anonymous activity.

I hate to say it, but I suspect that the premier is up to his old monkey business, as the attempt to paper over Jane Thornthwaite’s serious criminal activity is an instance of what is called ‘deep denial’ in addictions recovery circles.

Nevertheless, his government’s deplorable inadequate action to attend to the health and housing needs of the poorest and sickest of our fellow citizens prior to receiving visitors from around the world in the supposedly ‘Best Place on Earth’ is frankly an international embarrassment.

He compounds his lack of credibility on issues of substance abuse by not having had the decency and common sense to resign after his own crime.

Now he makes his fellow British Columbians relive that shameful history by attempting to exonerate the ‘inexcusable’ behaviour of one of his favoured B. C. Liberal drunk driving buddies.

Premier Campbell has used the excuse that his infraction was a ‘personal matter,’ and therefor didn’t warrant resignation from the highest public office in the province.

A spokesman for the B. C. Liberal Party caucus also used the same flawed rationale to suggest that the newly-elected North Vancouver MLA would not be subject to any internal party disciplinary action.

Prior to the Games, Liberals announced they would be attempting to attract potential business ‘opportunities’ with representatives of corporations who had been given expensive free tickets to attend some events.

Many of the seats for these corporatists were noted to be empty by scanning tv cameras, while taxpayers end up paying for them, all the while being told that events were ‘sold out.’

This is reminiscent of the same nonsense that happened during Victoria’s supposedly popular Commonwealth Games.

No suggestion has been made by either Jane Thornthwaite or Gordon Campbell that she may have been trying to find those sorts of ‘opportunities’ while staying out late getting hammered.

But she did extol the supposed virtues of the local plonk by twittering two days before she was stopped at a roadside check that ‘B. C. wine’s [sic] are the best!’

 Gordo calls her disgraceful behaviour ‘the opportunity now to earn back the respect and trust of her constituents, and that’s what she should be given an opportunity to do.’

The proper time for the neophyte politician to earn the respect and trust of her constituents was while she was campaigning to be elected.

Now is the proper time for both of them to admit that they continue to have problems with addiction issues, to resign to maintain the honour and integrity of the high offices they hold, and to seek help.

In a number of days, the post-Olympics hangover will start, when people will be forced to endure the nauseating spectacle of the amazingly inept Liberals bringing down their next provincial government budget.

That will be characterized by more cuts to critical health, education, housing and environmental programmes, and the introduction of a new controversial so-called ‘Harmonized Sales Tax’ (HST) designed to offset the huge and growing deficit that will be created by the horribly inflated and non-transparent costs of the two week Olympics folly.

This will be sheer torture for most of the sober and prudent people in the province who didn’t vote or support these disgraceful decadent Games.


Gregory Hartnell, Editor

Concerned Citizens’ Coalition Weblog


ROSZAN HOLMEN: ‘”People doubt what our staff say…(and) doubt the professionalism of what the experts say,” Mayor Dean Fortin said’

[Victoria City] Council approved a one-year delay and an extra $840,000 to get more accurate estimates of the cost and public support for both replacing and fixing the Johnson Street Bridge.

The goal is to be able to compare “apples to apples,” Councillors agreed on Thursday.

Already, more than $900,000 has been spent on plans to replace the bridge.

With a similar level of detailed analysis on the refurbishment option, Council can make a more informed decision.

Councillor Pamela Madoff called for “absolute comparability of replacement versus refurbishment.”

Elements of safety and accessibility must be equal in both estimates, she said, pointing to features such as the multi-use trail, upgrades to the road approaches and seismic standards.

That means getting cost estimates for two levels of seismic upgrades (minimum standards and upgraded “lifeline” standards) for both replacement and refurbishment options.

Staff will also study the economic impacts of road closures to businesses under both options.

To give the public confidence in the results, all the analysis will be subject to peer review by an independent engineering firm.

“People doubt what our staff say… (and) doubt the professionalism and the ability of what the experts say,” Mayor Dean Fortin said.

“Let’s have that peer review … it’s about having confidence in moving forward.”

While most Councillors said they still feel replacing the bridge is the best option, all agreed it would be a bad idea to rush a referendum before doing the research.

With each new delay, costs are escalating, warned the report from staff.

Already, the City can expect to pay an extra $8 million due to an expired opportunity to take advantage of a low-interest-rate loan through the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

If interest rates continue to rise as expected, that bill could double.

Drawing on her nursing background, Councillor Sonya Chandler compared the process to pulling a Band-aid off slowly.

“It’s too bad that we are in a situation where we have to spend $800,000 to find out what we already know.”

In October, the City will hold a referendum seeking support for a bylaw authorizing a loan to complete the project.

CCC BLOG reprint:

Victoria News: vicnews.com

Roszan Holmen: rholmen@saanichnews.com

New analysis commissioned on Blue Bridge refurbishment

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Page A13

CHARLES HILTON: ‘If only City Council would just get off their new bridge high horse…’



How many cups of coffee is it going to cost for another ill-considered decision by this [Victoria] City Council (minus Geoff Young)?

Looks like $600,000-plus for the Rogers’ Chocolates debacle is nothing to laugh about.

If they had spent as much time on the Blue Bridge as they did on Rogers’ Chocolates, we might not have had to do the City’s work by having to do the petition.

How many cups of coffee is our heritage worth?

A lot, according to Jan Stovell, soon to be the owner of two heritage buildings on one side of Old Blue in Old Town.

Now, if only City Council would just get off their new bridge high horse, work with this real exciting herigage development plan and include the Blue Bridge in it.

What a project this could be in the end if the City puts their money where their mouth is: telling other people to restore while not doing so themselves.


CCC BLOG reprint: Victoria News: http://www.vicnews.com

Heritage hypocrisy in Council chambers

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Charles Hilton

Page A11


JANE THORNTHWAITE SHOULD RESIGN: Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell (Maui 2003 drunk driving conviction) + North Vancouver MLA set bad example


Jane’s Twitter two nights before 


Hard-partying Liberals just don’t seem to get that their drunken antics behind the wheel are not simply personal matters, but have serious ramifications for all of the people in the province.

Jane Thornthwaite, BC Liberal MLA for North Vancouver has practically admitted culpability for her crime, but has not had the decency or the common sense to resign, which would certainly be the honourable thing to do in the circumstances.

Nothwithstanding the terrible historical precedent set by her own dishonourable boss, one Gordon Campbell, premier of the province, who was arrested in Maui in 2003 for late night drunk driving, she should still resign of her own accord.

MADD is the only group that represents the public interest in these types of cases, and they are calling for the Liberal MLA to ‘step aside’ until the matter is resolved in the courts.

That might be the best that could be expected of this lax bunch, but it does not go far enough.

Opposition NDP should propose new legislation requiring any member of the legislature, whether in the government or the opposition, to resign is such circumstances, especially when the evidence is so compellling that there is no possibility of denial.

As long as Gordon Campbell and Jane Thornthwaite continue to sit in the legislature with these histories of criminal activity tarnishing their reputations, they are indeed in deep denial. 

– Gregory Hartnell, Editor

Concerned Citizens’ Coalition