Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society provides grassroots leadership and an inclusive process, with a voice for all community members, to ensure that our community grows and develops in a way that incorporates an environmental ethic, offers a range of housing and transportation choices, encourages a vibrant and cultural life and supports sustainable, meaningful employment and business opportunities.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Harper's Abuses of Power Contd. 31-40

On August 11th we published the first part of this article from the Tyee.  

Tyee staff and contributors have compiled a list of 70 government assaults on democracy and the law.  As a list of 70 is pretty difficult for anyone to verify all at once we have been posting a few at a time.  To read the entire list at once go to this link.

Lapdogs Appointed as Watchdogs
The most controversial was the case of former Integrity Commissioner Christiane Ouimet. Her office reviewed more than 200 whistleblowing cases. Disciplinary action followed on none of them. Ouimet's own angry staffers blew the whistle on their boss. The auditor general found Ouimet intimidated her employees, took "retaliatory action" against them and may have breached their privacy, all part of the Harper appointee's "gross mismanagement." Ouimet was paid more than $500,000 to leave her post.

This election began the minute the last one ended. Since his first day as PM, Stephen Harper has reinforced his party's 'brand' by rewarding cronies, slapping the Conservative logo on government cheques, perfecting the no questions photo-op, instructing bureaucrats to start calling Canada's government "the Harper Government." The flip side has been relentless monitoring, muzzling and attacks on anyone who might tarnish the image. Here are 22 instances of power abused to build the Harper brand.
PMO Attempts to Cover up Video Leak Putting Troops at Risk
On an Iraq visit, the PMO was caught lying to try and cover up the leak of a promo video, which constituted a security breach. The PMO, noted a National Post editorial, "stumbled from blunder to evasion and falsehood in the service of shamelessly manipulative partisanship, especially in using our troops as PR props."

The 'Harper Government' Labelling Deception
Public servants were told to use "Harper Government" instead of "Government of Canada" in publicity releases. The Conservatives denied it was happening -- until internal memos revealed by the Canadian Press revealed the denial to be without basis.

Conservatives Place Party Logos on Government of Canada Cheques
Once "caught red-handed," they backed off. The federal ethics commissioner, adopting the exasperated tone of an adult lecturing a child, noted: "Public spending announcements are government activities, not partisan political activities, and it is not appropriate to brand them with partisan or personal identifiers."

Record Amounts of Partisan Political Advertising, on the Public Purse
Several media reports told how the Conservatives used taxpayer money for partisan political advertising in record quantity, costing the public treasury $750 million since Harper became PM. In one instance, the Tories spent lavishly on ads for the promotion of a jobs grant program that had yet to be made public or presented to parliament or the provinces. Even more nakedly partisan, a mailed blast, charged to the taxpayers, targeting Justin Trudeau.

Conservatives Stack Their Own Ridings with Infrastructure Funds
In a display of brazen pork barreling, the Conservatives arranged for no less than 83 percent of infrastructure fund projects go to Conservative ridings.

$50 Million Spending Deception as Documented by the Auditor General
The auditor general ruled Conservatives diverted $50-million from spending slated for border infrastructure to political spending on projects in Tony Clement's riding at the time of the G-8 summit. Parliament was willfully misled.

Patronage Run Amok
After promising a new way, the prime minister dismantled his newly created Public Appointments Commission and reverted to old-styled patronage by the barrel. In June 2015, the PM made 98 patronage appointments. That included stocking the National Capital Commission with loyalists in advance of decisions on the controversial monument to the victims of communism.

Undermining Statistics Canada, Killing Data
Against pleas from everyone who needs and uses data from the long form census, the Harper government scrapped it, prompting the Statistics Canada chief to resign in protest.

Government Muzzles Science Community

Top scientists came under such heavy monitoring by the Conservatives that they staged "Death of Evidence" protests for being denied freedom of speech. The Conservatives sent out chaperones or "media minders" to track Environment Canada scientists and report on them.

Bank of England's Carney warns of climate change risk, 29 September 2015, From the section Business

Watch the interview with Mark Carney and read the article at the link above.

The Bank of England governor has given a stark warning that climate change poses a huge risk to global stability.
At a gathering of leading insurers at Lloyd's of London, Mark Carney pointed out the rapid increase in weather-related catastrophes and the jump in both the physical and financial costs.
He said the challenges currently posed by climate change "pale in significance compared with what might come".
He said this generation had little incentive to avert future problems.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Stop Being Scared, You Live In The Safest Time In Human History

Stop Being Scared, You Live In The Safest Time In Human History

An article to read, a video to watch - both will reassure you if you choose to be reassured.

Q: What about during elections?
A: There can be political benefits to scaring people. Whereas there doesn't seem to be the same benefit in saying "everything is OK, don't worry about it."
Q: What is the negative impact of this unfounded fear?
A: Although threats are less than they used to be, I think they could be less still. I do not see how invading Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, or the bombing in Libya have done Canadians the slightest bit of good. So we've spent billions of dollars and we probably made ourselves less safe. It's very hard to prove this stuff and there are many, many, many factors which cause domestic terrorism but the shooting in Ottawa, he made it very clear that this was related to the bombing of Iraq.
And by giving increased power to the security services, we restrict our liberty.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Hangers On

These flowers all hang on well into fall and provide easy pickings for some colour in the house and in the garden of course.

Bergamot with Tiger Eyes Sumac in the background

Fall Gentian

'Clara Curtis' Chrysanthemum

Rugosa Rose


Globe Thistle with Fall Aster

Friday, September 25, 2015

'Capitilism is great but it won't solve the next big crisis' by Gerry Warner

Capitalism is great, but it won’t solve the next big crisis
Perceptions by Gerry Warner
Ain’t capitalism wonderful! When it comes to making money, there’s no system like it. 
Good ol’ free enterprise. Look at what it has done. Huge fortunes. Huge buildings. Huge profits. Hell, it even produces huge people like Donald Trump! Look at the huge fortune he accumulated and all the huge buildings he’s built. One is going up in Vancouver right now and maybe he’ll build one in Cranbrook someday. And Trump may even become president.
Wouldn’t that be huge!
And Trump isn’t the only huge capitalist. Why there’s Martin Shkreli, a 32-year-old hedge fund manager on Wall Street who was hugely in the news last week after his New York-based company Turing Pharmaceuticals jacked up the price of its anti-infection drug Daraprim from $13 to $750-a-pill after acquiring the company that originally made it. Then he boosted the price of an HIV pill by 4,000 per cent, an increase far beyond the mere word “huge.” Asked by a reporter about the gargantuan increases, he replied they were “a great business decision” for the share-holders and then called the reporter a “moron” for asking.
Arrogance like this knows no bounds.
Then there’s Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn who resigned this week after it was revealed that special software surreptitiously installed by Volkswagen enabled  das diesel bugs to emit up to 40 times the legal emissions limit. Need I say that’s a huge increase and one that’s going to cost Volkswagen billions in fines, legal suits and engine fixes and possibly the company itself.
Free enterprise may be free, but it doesn’t come cheap.
And in case you think the Volkswagen debacle is no big deal consider the ignition switch scandal that engulfed General Motors for almost a decade and cost that company $900 million to fend off criminal prosecution and $575 million in civil suits. Now you may say that’s a huge amount of money and the company got its just desserts. But did you know that by cooperating with the prosecutors GM avoided billions more in criminal fines and suits for an engine defect that is linked to the loss of at least 169 lives?
Consumer advocate Clarence Ditlow, head of the non-profit Center for Auto Safety, said GM officials “walked off scot-free while its customers are 6 feet under." According to court papers GM engineers knew of the ignition problem as far back as 2005, but company officials higher up decided to stay silent and “manage” the bad publicity that arose from public complaints. And this is the company that taxpayers in Canada and the U.S. spent billions on to bail out after it went bankrupt in the Great Recession of 2008-09.
Doesn’t that give you a huge amount of satisfaction?
I could go on, but I think you get my drift.  The free market, demand-driven, capitalist system that we live in today has produced the richest society the world has ever known. Even the poorest among us living on welfare and food banks are “rich” compared to the billions in the world living on a dollar-a-day. And our top two per centers are rich beyond what what the rest of us can imagine. Yet there’s something wrong with this picture.
The West is rich, but the bodies of children are washing up on the beaches of Europe while we attend to our investment portfolios and indulge in consumerism that fill up our houses and yards with “toys” that we don’t really need. This is a global disparity that can’t go on forever. The poor and wretched of the world are moving towards us in the thousands and soon in the millions.
And that’s going to be a “huge” problem in the near future unless we start tempering capitalism with compassion and empathy because capitalism alone doesn’t care. It only cares about making money.

Gerry Warner is a retired journalist and free thinker.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

First Forum, Focus Aboriginal Issues

A crowd of approximately one hundred attended the first Cranbrook Forum for the upcoming Federal Election, which took place in the Ktunaxa Building Gym last evening September 23rd.  All local candidates attended.

The format enabled a very sedate presentation of issues of particular interest to the aboriginal population. However considering the Reconciliation  Report and that many of the issues are also of interest and certainly affect the population as a whole, it was disappointing to see many sectors of the community unrepresented in the audience.  

Moderator, Joe Pierre in the centre with the panel from left, Bill Green, Green , Wayne Stetski, NDP. Don Johnston Liberal, David Wilks, Conservative.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Fall on the doorstep

A true sign that Fall is just a day away - a misty morning.  
Early practise at at Gordon Terrace School
photo - Stewart Wilson

Butt Out Butt In Clean Up Effort

Volunteers Needed: Butt Out Butt In Clean Up Effort
September 23rd, 10am-12pm

Wildsight Kimberley/Cranbrook would like to invite you to take part in the Cranbrook City-Wide Cigarette Butt Clean Up on Wednesday September 23rd. We will be rallying at the bandstand in Rotary Park Downtown (near the Cranbrook Farmers' Market location) at 10am, dividing collection bags and rubber gloves and setting off to clean up the park.
At the end pf the day, all the bags will be combined and taken to the big tent in front of the former Target store for weighing. All the collected butts will be sent to Terracycle, a company that uses the cellulose in the butts to create park benches, flowerpots, and other useful products.
If you would like to join the effort, please contact Andrea Chapman at or 250-427-9325 x221. If you would like to take part in the effort on your own schedule, please stop by the Tamarack Centre office or Wildsight office to pick up collection bags and gloves.

Presenting 'Jumbo Wild'

Patagonia presents Jumbo Wild, a Sweetgrass Productions film. 
In two weeks, the North America-wide Jumbo Wild film tour kicks off right here in the Kootenays. Get excited and watch the film trailer here!

Kootenay Screenings
Premiere Screening: Invermere
Invermere Community Hall 
October 6, 7:30pm
This screening is free, so plan to get there early for a seat!
Facebook event details here

Key City Theatre
October 7, 7:30pm
Facebook event details here.

The Civic Theatre
October 13, 6:30pm and 8:30pm
Facebook event details here.

The film will also be screened at the Vancouver International Film Festival and the Banff Mountain Film Festival. 
For full tour dates and locations, check out the full schedule.  


Published on Sep 21, 2015
Coming to theatres Oct 2015 - Patagonia presents Jumbo Wild – a gripping, hour-long documentary film by Sweetgrass Productions that tells the true story of the decades-long battle over the future of British Columbia’s iconic Jumbo Valley and highlights the tension between the protection of wilderness and the backcountry experience and ever-increasing development interests in wild places. Set against a backdrop of incredible backcountry ski and snowboard footage, Jumbo Wild documents all sides of a divisive issue bringing the passionate local fight to protect the Jumbo Valley to life for the first time. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Harper's Abuses of Power continued 21-30

On August 11th we published the first part of this article from the Tyee.  

Tyee staff and contributors have compiled a list of 70 government assaults on democracy and the law.  As a list of 70 is pretty difficult for anyone to verify all at once we have been posting a few at a time.  To read the entire list at once go to this link.

Harper Government Sued by Justice Department Whistleblower
Time and again the Harper government proposes bills that end up being shot down by the courts, prompting critics to say such legislation is more about making political statements than lasting policy. The wasted efforts bothered senior justice department lawyer Edgar Schmidt so much he finally sued the government for breaking the law by inadequately evaluating whether proposed bills violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He was promptly suspended without pay.

Conservatives Block Accreditation for Opposition MPs
In another example of partisanship taken to new heights, the PMO blocked opposition members from being accredited for international environment conferences and from visiting military bases.

Tactic Borrowed from North Korea's Dear Leader
Ostensibly neutral public servants were used as stooges, falsely posing as new citizens in a staged Citizenship Renewal public relations exercise by the Immigration Department. Media critics had a field day comparing the charade to practices undertaken by North Korean dictators.

Clampdown on Freedom of Speech of Diplomatic Corps
Ottawa's diplomats must get all communications approved from Conservative political operatives. Under Harper, the country's ambassadors are hardly heard from any more. In a recent speech, former United Nations ambassador Stephen Lewis said our political culture under the Conservatives has descended into "a nadir of indignity."

Marine Science Libraries Decimated
The Harper government's downsizing of federal libraries included sudden closing of seven world famous Department of Fisheries and Oceans archives. A leaked memo revealed the destruction and consolidation would save less than half a million dollars. Scientist patrons of the libraries, who witnessed chaotic chucking of rare literature, called it a "book burning" with no logical purpose other than to restrict environmental information. The Harper government claimed vital works would be digitally preserved, but never provided a plan or cost for doing so, nor any proof it had happened. No scientists interviewed by The Tyee believed digitizing would or could replace what was lost.

UN Blasts Canada's Treatment of Immigrants
Changes made to the Canada's immigration and refugee system under Harper were investigated by the United Nations Human Rights Committee, whose report blasted how thousands of migrants are detained indefinitely without due process, many for over a year or more, as well as poor mental health support for those incarcerated.

Harper Government Denies Khadr Basic Rights
Defying court rulings, the Conservative government refused to accord Omar Khadr basic rights such as access to media. Editorialists of right and left persuasion described the move as unbefitting a democratic government.

Illegitimate Prorogation of Parliament, Twice
Prorogations are a legitimate procedure that can be abused depending on motivations. The Harper government provoked 60 protests across Canada and beyond its borders in 2010 after shutting the legislature's doors to escape condemnation on the Afghan detainees' file. It was the second prorogation in a year's period.

Undue Interference with Independent Agencies
Command and control system was extended to meddling in bodies like National Energy Board and CRTC whose arms-length autonomy is significantly reduced. A special target was the Parliamentary Budget Office, which was hit with condemnations and budget cuts for its critical reports.

Billions Borrowed without Parliament's Permission
The auditor general sounded alarms about the "prodigious" growth and size of federal borrowing. Those billions in "non-budgetary" spending used to get Parliament's oversight, but no more. The finance minister can borrow what he wants without Parliament's permission. Why? A loophole buried in a 2007 Harper omnibus bill. 

Out and About with Stewart

Life goes on at Idlewild 
Water Ouzel or Dipper

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Will Cranbrook continue to shortchange itself politically?

Will Cranbrook continue to shortchange itself politically?
Perceptions by Gerry Warner
On Oct. 7, Cranbrook voters will get a great opportunity to engage in participatory democracy in this most critical of federal elections. But should this be the only opportunity?
I don’t think so. Here’s why.
At 7 p.m., Oct. 7, the Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring what is billed as a “Federal All Candidates Forum” in the Heritage Inn and Conference Centre which seats about 250. In the past, the chamber has sponsored such forums in the Key City Theatre, which seats 602 in a town of 20,000, and is a much more appropriate size for such an event.
The forum is “open to the general public” according to the chamber’s ads, but is this forum really directed at the “general public?” Not really if you look at the format of the event.
I talked to Chamber Executive Director David Hull this week and he explained the format to me. The candidates will be given 20 questions in advance by a chamber committee and it’s a safe bet what most of the questions will be about. “The economy is the big issue in this election and our goal is to have all 20 questions answered during the night.”
During the forum, audience members will have to submit written questions in advance, and the questions will be vetted by chamber members for their “suitability and relevance,” Hull says. Asked if a forum focused mainly on one issue – the economy – and questions vetted in advance, rather than spontaneous, is  fair, Hull was adamant.
“The forum will be absolutely as fair and balanced as possible and there’s no basis for any comment like that  . . . The chamber does not support any particular party. We represent our members and we are dedicated to a strong and powerful economy.”
Now some may disagree with Hull’s comments in terms of fairness, but there can be no denying that the Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce is engaged in this election, which is more than can be said for any other organization in this politically apathetic town. Yes, apathetic! If you disagree, I ask you why every time an election rolls around it’s the chamber, or the chamber’s junior partner, JCI Kootenay, that sponsors anything remotely approximating an all-candidates forum or debate in Cranbrook?
We have other service clubs and organizations in town. We have a college where they teach political science. There are many groups in town that represent all kinds of interests that are directly affected by what governments do in Ottawa, Victoria or Cranbrook for that matter.
Well, where are they???
In fact, if there’s any organization in town you’d think would jump at the chance to sponsor an all-candidates forum it would surely be the East Kootenay District Labour Council. When I was a reporter at the Townsman, I asked them more than once why they didn’t consider sponsoring an all-candidates forum and they said they’d get back to me. They never did. I did it  again when I was running for Cranbrook Council with the same result. And I can say at this point is that I find it very disconcerting that the organization which represents hundreds of workers in this town – including their economic interests – can’t get off their comfortable butts and do something beneficial for their members like sponsoring  an all-candidates forum during an election, be it federal, provincial or municipal. Prior to writing this column I called the Labour Council office, but all I got was a recorded message saying they couldn’t record messages at this time. So much for their engagement with the community.
So what are we left with? Another election in which the only all-candidates forum in town will be sponsored by an organization that claims to be “non-partisan,” but at the same time describes itself as the “Voice of Business,” which is its perfect right, but at the same time is ignoring other important issues like health care, the environment, climate change and many others. However, as long as nobody is prepared to mount a challenge, the Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce will  continue to be the political arbiters in this town for better or worse.
Ever wonder why so many people are cynical about politics?

Voter Challenge

Saturday, September 19, 2015

After the First Frost

When the frost begins to thaw and drain off the plants, the colours and textures of many plants are enhanced and made even more beautiful.  All these plants are hardy to our zone 3/4 and even more attractive after the frost.
Flame grass, Miscanthus sinensis 'Purpurescans'

Cushion Spurge , Euphorbia polychroma

 Rosa rugosa hips

Friday, September 18, 2015

What keeps Wilks from attending All Candidate Debates?

What keeps David Wilks from attending All Candidate debates?

NELSON September 17th – More is being revealed about Kootenay Columbia incumbent MP David Wilks’ debate strategy, says NDP candidate Wayne Stetski.

“First, David Wilks claimed that he didn’t need to attend all the debates, because he won the last election without attending all the debates,” said Stetski. “He had a winning strategy in 2011, and he was going to repeat that strategy and win again in 2015.

“When asked to participate in a process that made it easier for community organizers to ensure that all the candidates could attend, David Wilks said he was too busy making funding announcements to think about a debate schedule.”

The reaction to these statements by the public was scathing, both in traditional and social media, with constituents and other candidates saying that this attitude was absolutely unacceptable.

“Second, David Wilks admitted that maybe he did need to commit to attending debates, so he made an edict that he would only attend debates that were hosted by the Chamber of Commerce, and all questions had to be submitted to the organizers in advance.

“Every other candidate wanted to take questions from the floor. We wanted to have answers and rebuttals. And we were open to having debates organized by a range of community organizations. But David Wilks said no.”

A number of other debates were also organized that didn’t meet David Wilks’ strict requirements for participation, organized around important issues and by non-partisan groups. Because an election is about discussing all issues with all people, all three other candidates agreed to attend the MIR Centre Forum on Peace, Security and Climate Change in Nelson, a debate on First Nation Issues in Cranbrook, and a Youth Focussed Debate hosted by the Junior Chamber in Cranbrook.

“In a CBC Daybreak interview, David Wilks claimed that he was attending all the debates,” continued Stetski. “He said that last election he was new to the process and needed to pace himself – that’s why he didn’t attend all the debates.

“But this election, he says he’s ready to attend them all. Unfortunately, that statement isn’t true. He’s only attending the debates he thinks he can control.”

What do the MIR Centre Forum, the First Nations debate and the Junior Chamber debate have in common? It is simple. These debates involve answering questions that cannot be controlled. The formats for these debates include either unscripted questions from attendees, or questions submitted by other candidates.

“Mr. Wilks’ excuses are simply an insult to voters,” declared Stetski. “He began by saying he didn’t have to attend to win. Then he said he’s too busy to commit. Followed by a demand for strict rules in order for him to agree to attend. Followed by bizarre statements about how he was not ready to attend all debates when he first ran.

“And now to be making completely false, and immediately disproven, statements on the radio the morning after he has skipped a debate, is just too much. I cannot imagine that even the most committed Conservative would think that David Wilks’ behavior is defensible in this case.”

Editor's comment:
At this time Mr Wilks has now confirmed his attendance at this first all candidates debate

The First All Candidates Debate
Aboriginal Issues
Ktunaxa Nation Gymnasium

September 23, 2015
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Moderator:  Joe Pierre Jr.

David Wilks, Conservative Party
Bill Green, Green Party
Don Johnston, Liberal Party
Wayne Stetski, New Democratic Party

All Are Welcome
For information contact
Rosemary Phillips 250 919 4618 or
Joyce Green

Wilks attending all debates: Not True

To listen to Chris Walker's conversations regarding the interview with David Wilks MP go here:

What's Happening.......


Library Display
by Monique Bolduc

Cranbrook and District Arts Council
135 Tenth Av. S.
Exhibit "We paint' Group
'til September 25th

Friday September 18th

Key City Theatre Open House
4 -7:00pm

Saturday September 19th

Cranbrook Farmer's Market
10:00am - 1:00pm

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Reaction to leaders debate on the economy: John Ivison

One response to the Economy Debate held Sept 17th

It’s a unanimous decision — or it should be. Tom Mulcair, the NDP leader, won Thursday’s election debate rumble on points. There was no knock out blow but across a range of measures, Mulcair bossed the debate. Here’s a breakdown of how he scored:
Thomas Mulcair bashed both his rivals all evening. “Mr. Harper put all his eggs in one basket and then dropped the basket,” he said of the Conservative government’s handling of the economy.
He pointed out that Trudeau’s first vote in the House of Commons was for Conservatives’ corporate tax “giveaway.”
“Jack Layton and I fought that every single step of the way.”
He said that one of Trudeau’s last votes in the House was to support the Conservative Party’s anti-terror legislation, “which seriously compromises the rights and freedoms of Canadians.”
He boxed the Liberal leader’s ears over his comments where he called small business owners tax cheats. “I find that offensive,” Mulcair said.
Trudeau tried to land blows on Harper over the refugee crisis but it was Mulcair who drew blood when he responded to the Conservative leader’s accusation that the Liberals and NDP would open Canada’s borders to “hundreds of thousands” of refugees, with no regard to security. “That is undignified – Mr. Harper is fearmongering on the backs of people who need help most,” he chided.

To read the entire article from John Ivison on The National Post go to the link above.