Thursday, 13 March 2014

Local Stable's Yearling Tops Thoroughbred Auction

Submitted by Lorrene Soellner

White House Stables in North Saanich sold the sale topping yearling at the Canadian Thoroughbred annual auction for $102,000.  A second horse foaled and raised by this farm, Herbie D, for Cobble Hill owner George Robbins has been nominated for "Canadian Horse of the Year".

These are very prestigious moments for this small breeding farm in North Saanich run by Norm and Nicky Wylie, whose landlady, Pat Johnston is a partner in 4 of the 5 mares currently on the farm and has supported their various farming enterprises. On average they produce 2 - 3 foals a year, whilst also foaling out a couple a year for clients.

White House Stables also operates a farm feed store selling products to local livestock and poultry producers in the area on Friday, Saturday and Sundays They also raise their own cattle, hogs, poultry and eggs for local consumers and grow fruit and vegetables for sale.

Farm tours are available by previous arrangement. They also teach courses occasionally on various farm related topics including backyard chickens, organic gardening and horse nutrition.

Call 250-656-8701 for inquires or check out their website at or follow them on Facebook, White House Stables Farm.

Not Too Early to Think Election

Campbell River Courier-Islander, Editorial, Feb. 14, 2014

It's election time again this year. This time around, it's a November date with the polls to select our next set of city councillors and school trustees.

Slowly but surely, names are being floated in the community as possible candidates for city council.
That makes sense, because council's decision affects us all, and stakes are high. However, we virtually hear nothing about potential school trustees.

Should we even have school trustees? We never seem to think about possible trustees, until just before voting day, anyway. That's a conversation for another day.

It's now February, leaving nine-and-a-half-months until the Nov. 15 decision day. It's getting to the point where, if a potential candidate's isn't lifting their hand up above the masses, they're in danger of being out of the race before it starts.

In what can amount to a popularity contest, with the most recognizable name becoming the landing spot for an 'X', time is of the essence. If you're thinking about running for council, or school board, you'd best be warming up and trial-ballooning intentions now.

Which brings us to the point: Why would you want to run for council or school board? What makes you think you'd serve the public well on either team? In our democracy, there are few prerequisites at all, which is both good and bad. If you want to run for council just because you want to, you can.

You don't need a lot of money, experience, or an impressive resume. That's probably a recipe for not getting elected, but go ahead and try. To that end, a conversation has been started called The Municipal Governance Project, headed by well-known politician Preston Manning.

They're trying to gather criteria that, hopefully, will produce a better-qualified list of candidates to govern our cities.

"One of our functions is to strengthen the knowledge and the skill level of these folks that want to run for elected office," Manning said recently in the Victoria Times Colonist.

This time, perhaps more than ever, we need to know who is running, why, and if they're up to the task.

Mixed Reaction to Term Increase

Victoria News, March 07, 2014

The province is considering B.C. Liberal party legislation proposing an increase of municipal council terms from the current three years to four.

Reaction among Saanich Peninsula politicians is mixed, with some saying they like the idea of more time to get the job done, while others say the time commitment could deter new or younger people from running for their local town councils.

“I think it sucks,” said North Saanich councillor and former mayor Ted Daly.

He said at four years the commitment could mean the loss of potential candidates, especially younger people with families. Four-year terms, he continued, might mean more for larger cities with career politicians. In his own case, Daly said a change to four years will affect his decision to run again in North Saanich come November.

North Saanich Mayor Alice Finall, too, said a change to a longer time commitment is detrimental to public service. She did add, however, this was the same reaction when terms went from two to three years in the early 1990s.

Sidney town councillor Steve Price said he likes the idea.

“This job is tough enough without having to re-prove yourself every three years.”

He said one more year will give people ample time to do the job they want to on council.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Four-Year Terms

Times Colonist Editorial, Mar. 4, 2014

The B.C. government is proposing that municipal elections be held every four years, instead of every three. While it will likely benefit larger municipalities more than smaller ones, it’s generally a good move, providing it includes an effective means to get rid of bad apples. Four years is a long time to be stuck with a Rob Ford.

The government plans to introduce legislation this spring that, if passed, will take effect following the November municipal elections. It would apply to all elected municipal bodies, including municipal councils, school boards, regional districts and parks boards.

The measure has broad support. Four-year terms were recommended by the Local Government Elections Task Force, and the change has been endorsed by the Union of B.C. Municipalities and the B.C. School Trustees Association. Its supporters include mayors Dean Fortin of Victoria, Frank Leonard of Saanich and Barb Desjardins of Equimalt.

Leonard says his community formulates five-year strategic plans, and longer terms in office will enhance the implementation of those plans. More time between elections also means a smaller proportion of the term will be spent politicking, he said, and councillors will have time to be better versed in municipal operations.

(When Leonard entered municipal politics in 1986, elections were held yearly, with half the councillors running every other year.)

Mayor Larry Cross of Sidney is a little more cautious about the change, noting that while it will help continuity in government, a four-year commitment might dissuade some people from running.

And it will be a hardship for small communities, says Mayor John Ranns of Metchosin. Elected officials in communities such as his are paid little for their service, and the longer term might discourage younger candidates.

A longer term could also be a hardship for residents of a municipality where an elected official goes rogue, behaving in ways that hinder municipal operations or bring disrepute on a community. Toronto’s boorish mayor looms large over Canadian municipal politics these days. While Ford is the exception, he is an example of what can happen when the next election is the only way to remove a wayward politician.

B.C. Community Minister Coralee Oakes said the government is developing tools, including an oath of office, to remove problem politicians. That oath should include a code of conduct that, if violated, allows for a practical process to remove a person from office without a protracted bureaucratic tangle.

Perhaps recall legislation, implemented on a provincial level by B.C. in 1995, would be appropriate.
Some U.S. states have recall legislation, which has occasionally resulted in some rather silly scenarios, but it hasn’t been abused in B.C., the only jurisdiction in the Commonwealth to have such legislation. Elections B.C. has approved only 24 petitions for recall since the legislation was implemented in 1995. Twenty-three of those failed to collect enough valid signatures.

But the one petition that made it all the way proved the process can work. Seeing the handwriting on the wall — or the petition, as it were — the errant politician, Parksville-Qualicum MLA Paul Reitsma, resigned.

While a longer term has the potential to enhance the effectiveness of municipal boards and councils, constructive change comes not from electoral reform, but from the people involved — the elected officials and those who elect them. No amount of legislation will change the fact that B.C. has a dismal record when it comes to voter turnout for municipal elections — the provincial average in 2011 was less than 30 per cent, with several of the region’s municipalities well below that mark.

If people want effective representation, it’s up to them to ensure they are effectively represented.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Santa's Revenge: Climate Change

Santa’s revenge: new evidence supports link between climate change, severe weather

CHICAGO — The Globe and Mail

Article:  Santa's Revenge: Climate Change

NSCV Commenting Policy

There has recently been a lot of new information and discussion about the use of comment sections on forums and blog sites.  Many sites have been plagued mercilessly by nasty trolls and mean-spirited, poorly informed commentators.

The net effect of these attacks is to drive away those who would like to add to their own store of knowledge and contribute information and well-founded opinions themselves.

Popular Science has found the problem to be so severe that they have closed down all their comment options on their website.  Here is a link to their article:

Popular Science: Why We're Shutting Off Our Comments

The NSCV is taking a cautious approach to accepting comments.  Comments are welcome but only accepted through the feedback form on the homepage.  This policy may be reviewed in the future; thank you for your understanding.