“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

  It is unfortunate that this issue continues to grind on in Oak Bay and the following “Letter to the Editor” expresses my ongoing concerns about how this deer management pilot strategy is being handled and how it’s affecting our community.   Letter to the Editor, Oak Bay News: As a veteran municipal Councillor who served … 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.

Be a part of the conversation with local MLA Andrew Weaver. His Town Hall Forum will tackle the issue of Poverty and Homelessness, Wednesday, Feb. 4 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the David Turpin Building, Room A120 – University of Victoria. You can get more information on this important topic here: http://bit.ly/1wtiTYZ

“Standard and social business practices are built on certain assumptions — shared understandings that have evolved from older beliefs and conditions.  And while circumstances may have changed since the start of these practices, their continued use tends to reconfirm the old beliefs.  For this reason, our daily practices feel right and true to us, regardless … Read more

When was the last time that you sat down, picked up your favourite pen and took the time to hand write a letter to someone?  In this new age of instant communication, mass media and the electronic device, is letter writing becoming a lost art?   I was pleasantly surprised on a recent visit to … Read more

CBC News covered a new study released by the non-profit group Catalyst Canada (promoting women in business), that shows that gender equality on corporate boards in Canada puts us in the “middle of the pack.”  As of October 2014, the study reveals that 20.8% of seats at the Board table of companies listed on the … Read more

Oak Bay Heritage has been going strong since the mid-1970’s in Oak Bay.  The Oak Bay Heritage Foundation and Municipal Heritage Commission work together to promote heritage and history every year through a wonderful lecture series organized by the Foundation and promoted across the community and region.  These lectures are always well attended, donations are … Read more

Women seem to be making a breakthrough in local politics in the Capital Regional District (CRD), especially during the 2014 municipal election cycle.  Two new female faces in the City of Victoria and in Sooke (Mayors Lisa Helps and Maja Tait) join other CRD women Mayors Barb Desjardins, Carol Hamilton and Alice Finall.  While this … Read more

Thanks to the Oak Bay News, a division of Black Press, helping local women in business make a bigger local impact in this community and across our region.  Watch for the feature in the Oak Bay News on Jan 30th.

The new Oak Bay Council announced that over the next three months, it will review roles and responsibilities of its advisory commissions and committees, avenues for meaningful volunteer involvement that signifies a commitment to citizen engagement.  A priority of mine during the last municipal election, it makes good sense to review, from time to time, … Read more

In case you missed it, a Provincial all-party Special Committee on Local Elections Expense Limits released its long-awaited report on December 15, 2014.  As stated in the press release, “the report contains results of the Committee’s public consultation on principles to guide the relationship between elector organizations and their endorsed candidates related to expense limits, … Read more