Make Every Vote Count!

March 14th 6:30 – 9 pm
Stan Hagen Theatre, NIC

Guest speakers: Elizabeth May, Barb Berger (Fair Vote BC) and Sheldon Falk (NIC student and activist)

For free tickets click here

Come and find out how you can get involved in the Fair Vote Comox Valley campaign.

www.facebook.com/fairvotecomoxvalley
info: fairvotecomoxvalley@gmail.com

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Nanaimo Town Hall with Prime Minister Trudeau

Friday, February 2
Registration at 9:00 AM – first come, first served.
Vancouver Island University, Lower Cafeteria.
Building 185 – 750 Fourth St.  Nanaimo (The line-up is expected to start by 7 am)
The event will start at 11 AM in the Gymnasium.
This campus map will help:   https://www2.viu.ca/map.
There are several facebook pages – the most active seems to be
Fish farm activists: 
Questions:   if you are inside and get to ask a question, Alex Morton recommends that this one is key.
“Why is your minister of Fisheries, Dominic LeBlanc fighting in court to make it legal to put piscine reovirus-infected farm salmon into fish farms along the BC coast, when the laws of Canada prohibit this and the Federal Court already ruled against this behaviour.”
Background – fish farmers have told the courts 5/6 of their hatcheries are infected, and that their operations would be “severely impacted” if they were actually prohibited from transferring these fish into marine pens.  The virus is Norwegian, it is spreading to wild salmon and appears to make it harder for the fish to swim up the rivers.

Signs

  • LeBlanc’s face and “Stop allowing PRV-infected farm salmon into BC waters” . “Fish Farms Out”.   Eg.s of large signs for rally.
  • large signs will not likely be allowed inside the event, but people might be able to bring a smaller cloth one in their pockets, to open at an appropriate moment.  Careful with this strategy, so as not to derail Trudeau having to respond “our” questions.

Update on Fish Farm Opposition

FN’S Government to Provincial Government
The Chiefs of 5 First Nations from the Broughton Archipelago will meet Premier John Horgan and other provincial Ministers on January 30th in Vancouver. The purpose of this meeting is for the BC government to indicate how it will respond to the First Nations’ demands to not renew fish farm licenses on their territories when they come up for renewal in June.

Federal Government
• DFO is proposing to download responsibility for farmed salmon inspection to Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which has no mandate to protect wild fish.
• DFO’s conflict of interest – it can not, or will not protect the industry and wild salmon at the same time.
• Bill C262, NDP Bill to make all Canadian laws consistent with UNDRIP, is in second reading in Parliament. Liberals have indicated they will support it. Vote is in March 2018.

‘Namgis, Swanson Island Camp
• Issued eviction notices to Marine Harvest on January 20th.
• Chief Ernest Alfred observing a Swanson farm and occupying a camp on Swanson.

Musgamagw Dzawada’enxw, Midsummer Island Cedar Camp
• Monitoring 18 farms in their territory for re-stocking.
• Molina Dawson and Karissa Glendale observing farms and occupying Cedar camp on Midsummer.

Matriarch Camp, Victoria
• Tsastiqualus Ambers Umbas and Shawna Green were arrested on January 18, later released until their court date in Victoria on February 19.
• The camp will be moved to another location, details tba.

RALLIES & EVENTS

January 30, 8AM – 1PM, Rally, Vancouver . “Wild Salmon Forever Rally”. 300- 999 Canada Place, outside the meeting with Premier & Ministers.
https://www.facebook.com/events/152269392096879/

January 30, 6:30 – 9 PM, Evening Event, Vancouver. “From the Front Lines – Speakers & Footage”. Grandview Calvary Church, 1803 East 1st Ave,
https://www.facebook.com/events/940186349489767/

January 31, 7 – 9 PM, Evening Event , Victoria. “From the Fish Farms Front Lines”, Human and Social Development Building, A240, UVic.
https://www.facebook.com/events/160114201219714/?notif_t=plan_user_associated&notif_id=1516903915496858

February 2, Rally, Nanaimo. Justin Trudeau’s Town Hall. Time and location TBA. Updates on: https://www.facebook.com/events/367450533726704/

February 19, Rally, Victoria. Court date for Matriarch Camp protesters. Time and location TBA on “Fish Farms Out Now” facebook page.
https://www.facebook.com/fishfarmsoutnow/

PETITION

• Please sign and distribute the Lead Now petition “Remove open-net fish farms from our waters”  https://you.leadnow.ca/petitions/remove-open-net-fish-farms-from-our-waters

FUNDRAISING

• Fundraising is happening at all the above Events, and links are on many of the facebook or websites of the following organizations.

WHO IS INVOLVED IN THIS ‘MOVEMENT’

• Five Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations in the Broughton Archipelago: Musgamagw Dzawada’enxw, Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis, ‘Namgis, Gwawaenuk, and Mamalilikala
• Cleansing Our Waters
• Fish Farms Out Now
• Wild Salmon Defenders Alliance
• Council of Canadians
• Gathering Allies
• Alexandra Morton
• Clayquot Action
• Ocean Outfitters
• Watershed Watch, Watershed Sentinel

MSP Fee Replacement Solutions

This month, the NDP Government fulfilled one of its pre-election promises by cutting MSP fees by 50%, with a promise of eliminating them completely within four years.

Currently, the MSP fee is a “flat” fee (ie same rate paid by everyone) and disproportionately affects working class British Columbians. B.C. is the only province in the country that relies on a flat fee to raise revenue for health care.

While cutting MSP fees is a great step, revenue is necessary to pay for essential health care services and other programs–and ideally that would be raised through the tax system.

It is imperative that the government receives significant support for the idea of replacing revenues through the tax system. Big business and anti-tax advocates will be sure to lobby the government for not replacing revenues through progressive means.

Please send a submission to the MSP Task Force by January 31, 2018 at 4 pm. You can modify or use this MSP Word Activist letter. Further information is available in the BC Health Coalition’s submission to the Task Force.

The Task Force’s final report to government is due by March 31, 2018.

Please also use the email tool on the BC Health Coalition website and share it with your friends.

Electoral Reform in BC – Update

electoral reformAt our AGM on Nov. 23, Comox Valley Council of Canadians welcomed Terry Dance Bennink, chair of the Fair Vote Canada – BC Steering Committee (FVC-BC).

Ms Bennink gave the keynote address about what is happening with electoral reform in the province of BC. She spoke about the need for reform. Our current system is outdated and does not represent the diverse nature of our society. Proportional representation (PR) is a more democratic way to govern and almost every vote counts. You can watch her speech at this link.

The BC Government has introduced legislation to hold a referendum in the fall of 2018 which will ask British Columbians to decide whether B.C. should keep its current voting system (First Past the Post) or move to a system of Proportional Representation.

The most important thing you can do now is to participate in the government online survey before February 28, 2018.

FVC-BC steering committee has put out a guide to the survey in order to help answer questions that are difficult to understand.
The survey is asking for input from voters on key elements of the fall 2018 referendum.

It is also very important to sign the pledge to vote yes for PR in the upcoming referendum so that you can be counted on to help change the way we fulfill democracy in BC.

We have a very good chance to bring democracy into the 21st century for both British Columbia and the rest of Canada in the future.

2017 Community Action Award

The 2017 Community Action Award was presented to Project Watershed at the Comox Valley Council of Canadians AGM.

This award is presented annually to an individual or organization that has demonstrated progressive action in our community and promotes the values endorsed by the Council of Canadians. Recent recipients include Janet Fairbanks and Wayne Bradley, Walking with Our Sisters K’omoks, and activist Gwyn Frayne, posthumously.

A non-profit environmental society, Project Watershed’s mission is to “promote community stewardship of the Comox Valley watersheds through education, information and action”.

“In doing so”, noted Chapter member Linda Safford, “they are protecting our shared environment, our commons, for the public good and future generations.”

Bio-remediation to protect Baynes Sound, salmon studies and enhancement on the Puntledge River, eel grass restoration, salt-marsh construction, and the lagoon breech at the Airpark are a few of the many initiatives Project Watershed has spearheaded over the past 24 years.

Their current undertaking, Kus-kus-sum, is one of the largest, most high-profile initiatives in local conservation history. It is a partnership with the K’omoks First Nation and the City of Courtenay to “unpave paradise” and restore the former Fields sawmill site on the Courtenay River to estuary saltmarsh and riverside forest. The name Kus-kus-sum honours an early First Nations village in that area.

“After more than a century of industrial service and decline in ecological function, we have the chance to live with this section of river in a way that’s better for everyone,” said Chair of Project Watershed Paul Horgen, who accepted the Community Action Award on behalf the organization.

LINK ARMS WITH US

FISH FARMS OUT From First Nations’ Unceded Territorial Waters

Support the Observers!

In late August, First Nations people of the ‘Namgis, Mamalilikala, Lawit’sis and Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw began observing two Marine Harvest salmon farms on Swanson and Midsummer Islands in their traditional Broughton Archipelago territories. Their actions sound alarms about:
• the collapse of the west coast wild salmon population
• governments’ inaction on the U.N. Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People. They have never given their consent for these farms to operate in their territories. They are calling on governments not to renew Marine Harvest’s licenses.

Donations:
• Swanson Observers: https://www.gofundme.com/maya-xalaxan-sawinakola\
• Cleansing Our Waters: https://donorbox.org/fish-farm-occupation-fund-1
• c/o Alexandra Morton: www.gofundme.com/last-stand-for-wild-salmon

Petition:
“Remove Open Net Fish Farms From Our Waters” You Lead Now Petition.

TAKE ACTION !!

Call on Marine Harvest and governments to drop Marine Harvest’s application for injunction against the observers.

Call on provincial and federal governments to NOT renew Marine Harvest’s licenses on the contested farms.  Sample letter

Do not buy farmed Atlantic salmon.

Who to contact:
• Hon. John Horgan: premier@gov.bc.ca (250) 387-1715
• Hon. Lana Popham,AGR.Minister@gov.bc.ca (250) 479-4154
• Hon. Dominic LeBlanc, Oceans, Fisheries & Coast Guard: dominicleblanc@parl.gc.ca (613) 992-1020
• Ian Roberts, Marine Harvest: communication@marineharvest.com (250) 850-3276

On-going Information:
• Midsummer Island Observers: www.cleansingourwaters.com; www.facebook.com/fishfarmsgetout/
• Swanson Island Observers: www.facebook.com/kwakwabalas
• Alexandra Morton: www.facebook.com/alexandramorton.wildsalmon/
• Comox Valley Supports Cleansing Our Waters: www.facebook.com/groups/512585169103558/
• Comox Valley Council of Canadians: www.facebook.com/ComoxValleyCouncilofCanadians/

 

Chapter Youtube Channel!

The Comox Valley Council of Canadians has launched a YOUTUBE CHANNEL!

The first post, Link Arms With Us, is the inspiring video shot while covering our trip to the Broughton Archipelago. We are standing in solidarity with the First Nation observers at Midsummer Island, who are now facing the next step …. in Courts … as Marine Harvest seeks an injunction to end the peaceful occupation of the fish-farming facility.

“For me it was one of the most powerful actions I have participated in, in my many years of activism,” says Dawn Christian of PDAC.

Please view this powerful video, subscribe and like it at: https://youtu.be/clSAJUl-jLU

Thank you to Clayoquot Action for their great photography and Ed Carswell for editing Link Arms With Us. Together and in gratitude to Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw Cleansing Our Waters and Molina Dawson thank you for standing so strong for all of Canada.

Solidarity with Wild Salmon Defenders

The Council of Canadians brought messages of solidarity directly to salmon farm observers on Midsummer Island on Saturday, November 4.

Five Comox Valley chapter supporters and two Clayoquot Action activists left from Merville to meet captain Lennie John and Ocean Outfitter’s boat at the dock in Port McNeill. Our Chapter supporters included Sally Gellard, Dawn Christian, Claire Gilmour, Dave Talbot and Charlotte. The folks from Clayoqout Action were Dan Lewis and Bonnie Glambeck. The weather changed dramatically over the previous couple of days, and they travelled into cold winds, rain and choppy water. They were greeted on Midsummer Island by Molina Dawson, the remarkable young woman who is firm in her determination not to leave until the farm is removed.

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Council of Canadians Stands with Wild Salmon Defenders

The following is a solidarity statement from Maude Barlow, Honorary Chairperson of the Councilof Canadians:

“The Council of Canadians stands in solidarity with the wild salmon defenders, water protectors and observers of the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw and Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nations.

We honour the strength and spirit of those who have been at Midsummer and Swanson Islands since August.

We recognize that these islands in the Broughton Archipelago off the north-eastern tip of Vancouver Island are unceded territories.

We hear the strong voices from these Indigenous communities who are sounding the alarm about the collapse of their food fishery, and the health of wild salmon and the ocean itself. This concerns all peoples and species on this coast, and across the country.

We recognize that the presence of Norwegian-owned Marine Harvest fish farms on these territories is a violation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples(UNDRIP), notably the right to free, prior and informed consent.”

The Council of Canadians will be asking its chapters, members and allies to support the following demands and actions:

* Premier Horgan and Prime Minister Trudeau engage in ‘nation-to-nation’ negotiations with the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw and Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis nations who are united in their legitimate demand to have these Atlantic salmon farms removed from their territories.

* The federal government to support independent scientific reviews on the environmental impacts of farmed Atlantic salmon, to have their promise to implement UNDRIP at the forefront of their engagement in this issue, and to act responsibly within their jurisdiction over fish farms to stop the spread of disease and the impact of sea lice on wild migrating salmon.

* The British Columbia provincial government to respect UNDRIP and not renew the licences for these fish farms when they expire in June 2018.

* Marine Harvest to remove their Atlantic salmon farms from these territories.

* All supporters of indigenous rights and wild salmon to stop purchasing farmed salmon.

We stand united with wild salmon defenders to protect the waters of the Broughton Archipelago and the Fraser River.

2017 AGM with Keynote Speaker

It has been another busy year for the Comox Valley Council of Canadians. On Thursday, Nov. 23, the Chapter invites you to attend their 2017 AGM and presentation Proportional Representation Gives Every Voter a Voice!

The evening will begin with the Chapter’s news and updates on their various campaigns and activities, in what has been an exciting year. We will also present our Community Action Award for 2017.

Keynote speaker Terry Dance-Bennink, chair of Fair Vote Canada-BC, will address how, by moving forward with proportional representation (PR), we can make sure every British Columbian’s vote counts.

“B.C. is a vast and diverse province and people want to know their values are being represented in the legislature,” says Barb Berger, member of the CV Chapter. “Canada is one of the last Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries yet to adopt a proportional voting system. It’s time we take this important step to bring our democracy into the 21st century.”

“We may just get our chance,” says Dance-Bennink, “when BC holds its referendum on PR next fall. With PR, parties will no longer be able to rely on ‘safe’ seats during an election.”

Dance-Bennick will highlight why we need to change our voting system. She’ll also discuss the benefits of PR and lay out the Fair Vote campaign strategy to win the 2018 referendum.

The Chapter invites you to bring your questions to our highly regarded guest speaker. Let’s talk and grow the PR discussion!

Everyone is welcome to what promises to be an interesting and informative evening – bring a friend – Thursday, Nov. 23, Lower Native Sons Hall, Courtenay 7 p.m.

Salmon Confidential: Solidarity and Fundraising Event

Salmon farms on the BC coast have catapulted to the top of the political agenda, as increasing controversy and pressure from wild salmon defenders now dominates the news. To support awareness at this critical juncture in BC coastal history, the Comox Valley chapter of the Council of Canadians will host an encore screening of the 2014 documentary Salmon Confidential on Thursday, Nov. 16, 7pm at the Stan Hagen Theatre at North Island College.

The film was produced by Twyla Roscovich, the young BC filmmaker who died earlier this year in Campbell River. Her provocative film follows biologist and coastal icon Alexandra Morton as she tackles the multinational salmon farming industry and contests government science which maintains, despite her evidence to the contrary, that Atlantic salmon farming is safe for the ocean and our food supply.

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