Transparency and Accountability  In the interests of transparency and public accountability, I want to share the Elections BC link with you, that provides detailed information on funding related to expenditures and donations, for my last municipal election campaign for Oak Bay Mayor. Please click on this link for my spending details: http://bit.ly/1MZ1sLC

Putting a Lid on Municipal Election Campaign Spending Needed Local election campaign spending is back in the news again, with the release this week by Elections BC, of candidates’ campaign spending.  The recurring theme is that as spending continues to go up, the ability of ordinary citizens to participate (especially young people), goes down.  Raising … Read more

HOME IS WHERE THE HERITAGE IS Do you own an Oak Bay heritage designated or registered home?  Are you planning some renovation, maintenance or restoration work this year?  Then hurry on down to Oak Bay Municipal Hall for a 2015 Heritage Grant application and a copy of grant policy, because you may be eligible to … Read more

“Deeply moving and profoundly engaging…” (Mary Evelyn Tucker, Yale University) The film “The Wisdom to Survive:  Climate Change, Capitalism and Community,” is presented on Friday, February 27, 2015 at 7:00 PM, St. John’s United Church, in Deep Cove, across from Deep Cove Elementary School. Described as compelling and thought-provoking, the film examines “the scope and … Read more

A recurring theme across our region is lack of housing affordability     Media reports, the Victoria Foundation’s annual Vital Signs Report and story after story on homelessness and poverty all point to one undeniable reality — Greater Victoria’s housing is expensive, pushes up the overall cost of living and creates real barriers, not just … Read more

Mark your calendars for Tuesday, February 24, 2015, 7:00 PM at Windsor Park Pavilion, to hear local resident, historian and Oak Bay Heritage buff Ben Clinton-Baker, present a historical retro-spective on Oak Bay Village, the heart of our community.  This is one in a series of lectures on topics significant to Oak Bay’s history and … Read more

“Nothing About Us Without Us” In his first large Town Hall Forum on Poverty and Homelessness, MLA Andrew Weaver welcomed over 200 people to the University of Victoria to participate in what was dubbed “The difficult conversation.”  I was asked to moderate the Forum (a real privilege for me) and was impressed with the large … Read more

“The only real expert is the one who has experienced it.”  (Gloria Steinem)

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I am pleased to be the moderator for MLA Andrew Weaver’s Town Hall Forum on Poverty and Homelessness — The Difficult Conversation, at the University of Victoria’s David Turpin Theatre, from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm February 4, 2015.

Having worked with “people on the margins” for a large part of my career, I know that many of us living in relative comfort rarely have positive opportunities to connect with those of us living in extreme discomfort.  The homeless and vulnerable among us have a difficult and challenging time having their voices heard, often because when they reach out, they encounter indifference, fear or ignorance.  No, it’s not easy.

But many local individuals, agencies and organizations are helping to make it easier by doing just that, by reaching out and working hard to help the homeless and vulnerable with daily care, meals and shelter.  Facilities such as Our Place, the Mustard Seed, the Salvation Army, the Dandelion Society and Rev. Al Tysik, to name just a few, are part of an amazing helping network that puts people first and serves them from the front lines of where they actually live — on our streets.  Other volunteer groups from across our region also dedicate many hours to fundraising and other activities that help support facilities and programs that would not otherwise exist.

Did you know:

  • On February 5, 2014, according to the Coalition to End Homelessness’ facility count that day, 1,167 men, women and children used emergency shelters or temporary accommodation in the Capital Region (included 70 families and 116 children)?
  • On that same date, 78 people were turned away, 11 of them children.
  • In October 2014 alone, Our Place served over 58,000 meals, a staggering 62% increase from the same month the previous year.
  • Downtown core facilities are seeing unprecedented levels of use and operating hours are being extended to keep up with the ever increasing demand.

I hope that you will join MLA Andrew Weaver and the panel for an evening of talking about poverty, homelessness and hopeful next steps.  I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday night, February 4, 2015 at 7:00 PM, David Turpin Theatre, University of Victoria.

Please bring a cash donation or non-perishable food item for Victoria’s Mustard Seed Food Bank or for Our Place.