Saturday, 27 September 2014

Nasty Campaigns - Do We Have To?

           No Need for Nasty!

           In November, there will be municipal elections.  Locally, there have been predictions that “campaigning will be nasty”.  Really?  Why?  Says who?

           Negative campaigns have become more common in recent years -  negative in the sense of personal attacks.  Jean Chr├ętien was one of the first targets.  The Harper Conservatives tried to portray his facial deformity as an indicator of leadership deficiency.  Michael Ignatief and Stephan Dion were also attacked for personal qualities, not their actual abilities as leaders.

           We are told that, although people dislike negative campaigning, it works.  So someone is paying attention.  However, I don't think that means we in North Saanich must lower ourselves to these unkind and demeaning tactics.

           In municipal elections, where the issues and solutions are on our doorstep, serious voters want essential facts about these issues, not personal attacks against the candidates.  Would you like to be represented by someone who would demean and belittle his opponents with unkind and often incorrect remarks?  Do they really represent your values?  If you bring an issue to Council could you count on them to objectively assess your situation?  

           Those who lie and cheat to get your vote will likely continue to lie and cheat afterwards.  They believe that personal attacks on their opponents are worthy substitute for a substantial platform of their own.

           Real candidates are primarily focused on their own platform, surpassing their opponents by offering thoughtful and progressive ideas for the community.  They look good on their own, and don't rely on cheap shots to buff up their image.
           My associates and I are part of a group that encourages respect for the Municipal Official Community Plan, condones moderate growth and the enhancement of our agricultural community, all in atmosphere of civility and mutual respect.  Candidates that support our attitudes are adamantly opposed to negative and nasty campaigning and will only promote themselves to the voters using a consistently positive style.

           This does not preclude the necessity for them to attack the practices, policies and decisions of their opponents when warranted, but this will never extend to personal attacks upon those opponents themselves.  All candidates should only focus on the platforms of the candidates, not their personalities.

           So, if you hear nasty campaign remarks of a personal nature, identify the source and ask yourself if you share those attitudes and values.  Would you want them to represent you?  I suggest that candidates of that ilk do not deserve the honour of representing their fellow residents in the negotiation of Council business. 

           There are better choices than mean campaigners, and North Saanich deserves better.

Remember, there are no nasty campaigns, only nasty campaigners.

Friday, 26 September 2014

New B.C. study shows strong public support for local farmland

95% of respondents say the Agricultural Land Reserve should be preserved for green space and growing food

SEPTEMBER 17, 2014, Vancouver, B.C. – A public opinion study released today by the Real Estate Foundation of BC and Vancouver Foundation found that four in five (82%) respondents believe farmland is a vital public asset, like forests and water.

Three-quarters (76%) of respondents either agree or strongly agree that the B.C. Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) is important, not only for protecting farms, but also for protecting valleys and green space needed for wildlife habitat and recreational enjoyment.

Meanwhile, 71% of respondents believe that laws protecting the ALR should be strengthened or maintained.

The online poll of 1,704 British Columbia residents was conducted in July 2014 to assess public attitudes toward agriculture and food in the province.

The two foundations commissioned the study to inform discussion and decisions on the future of the ALR, a provincial land-use zone that protects farmland and land with potential to be farmed. The ALR currently makes up 5% of B.C's land base.

Among the survey’s other findings:

 When asked what priority uses for land in British Columbia were, respondents identified "natural freshwater systems" (83%), closely followed by "farming and growing food" (81%).

 80% of respondents are concerned about dependence on other countries for our food security.

 73% of respondents say the ALR is a cornerstone of food security and the B.C. economy.

"Local, sustainable food systems are a priority issue for the Foundation because of the link between food security and community well-being," said Jack Wong, CEO of the Real Estate Foundation of BC. "With challenges such as development pressure on agricultural land and changing weather patterns, it is of vital importance to have forward-thinking policies that protect land for growing food, now and for future generations."

“This study demonstrates that British Columbians believe strongly in safeguarding our farms and green spaces to ensure long-term health, well-being and resilience in our communities,”
said Kevin McCort, CEO of Vancouver Foundation. “The Agricultural Land Reserve is a vital public asset contributing to our ability to reliably produce fresh food, preserve local farmland and freshwater supplies, and to support local B.C. farmers and ranchers.”

Both foundations have a province-wide mandate and support projects that promote strong, resilient communities and natural environments.

The poll was conducted by Vancouver-based McAllister Opinion Research. The survey is accurate to within +/- 2.36%, 19 times out of 20.

Link to full survey results.

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About the Real Estate Foundation of BC:

The Real Estate Foundation of BC is a philanthropic organization that helps advance sustainable land use in British Columbia. It provides grants to non-profit organizations working to improve B.C. communities and natural environments through responsible and informed land use, conservation and real estate practices. Its funding programs support research, education, and law and policy reform. Since 1988, the Foundation has approved more than $67 million in grants. Learn more at

About Vancouver Foundation:

With over 1,600 funds and assets totaling $930 million, Vancouver Foundation is Canada’s largest community foundation. Each year, Vancouver Foundation and its donors make more than 5,300 grants, totaling approximately $50 million to registered charities across Canada. Since it was founded in 1943, Vancouver Foundation, in partnership with its donors, has distributed more than $1 billion to thousands of community projects and programs. Grant recipients range from social services to medical research groups, to organizations devoted to arts and culture, the environment, education, children and families, disability supports for employment, youth issues and animal welfare. To find out more about Vancouver Foundation, please visit

Celina Owen
Real Estate Foundation of BC
Direct - 604.343.2623 | toll free 1.866.912.6800 ext. 103

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Heather Gartshore - Councillor

Heather Gartshore Running for North Saanich Council

Heather Gartshore Running for North Saanich Council

North Saanich residents will have anexperienced community advocate as a candidate in the upcoming municipalelection. Heather Gartshore, a longtime resident and community leader, announced today that she will be running for a seat on North Saanich Council this November. ...