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.

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Story of Bill C-14 – Medical Assistance in Dying, MP Stetski

June 24, 2016

The Story of Bill C-14 – Medical Assistance in Dying

Earlier this year, I said that there were three bills coming to Parliament that would, if approved, fundamentally change our lives as Canadians: medical assistance in dying, the legalization of marijuana, and electoral reform. The first bill, related to medical assistance in dying, has just cleared the House of Commons and the Senate and is now law. Here, with the help of my colleague and NDP Justice Critic Murray Rankin, is a summary of how it got there.

A special all-party committee of both the House and Senate met in January 2016 to hear from experts and develop recommendations on the government’s response to Carter v. Canada. The Supreme Court of Canada had given Parliament until June 6th of this year to come up with a new law. The committee held 11 hearings, calling more than 60 expert witnesses and reviewing the work of recent studies that together had consulted more than 13,000 Canadians and 100 organizations nation-wide.

In the end, a majority of the committee agreed on 21 recommendations, including that the law should allow competent Canadians who receive a long-term, degenerative diagnosis, such as Alzheimer’s, to make advance arrangements for their future care, including specifying the conditions in which they request assistance in dying. Recent polls have shown that 85% of Canadians support the right to make an advance request.

The committee also found that the Supreme Court’s words on eligibility were clear and should not be altered. The Carter decision included patients with “a grievous and irremediable medical condition” or “enduring and intolerable suffering”.

The NDP pushed for the federal government to work with provinces to develop a pan-Canadian palliative and end-of-life care strategy. While palliative care is not applicable in all cases where assistance in dying may be sought, it is vitally important that the government seize the opportunity to offer every Canadian the quality palliative care they deserve at the end of life.

Bill C-14 was introduced by the Liberal government in mid-April. The bill ignored or rejected more than half of the all-party committee’s recommendations. The most important differences were that:

    • Bill C-14 explicitly ruled out advance requests, leaving the matter to a future study with no planned start or end date; and
    • Bill C-14 effectively limited access to medical assistance in dying to only patients with terminal conditions by requiring that their natural death be “reasonably foreseeable”.

After being passed at Second Reading, Bill C-14 was then sent for review to the Justice Committee. Over the course of Bill C-14’s consideration at the Justice Committee, a growing number of legal experts testified that, by limiting access only to terminal patients while excluding those suffering with incurable, non-terminal conditions, the bill did not meet the requirements of the Supreme Court. They argued that Bill C-14 would continue to infringe the Charter rights of those patients and was therefore likely unconstitutional.

At the end of witness testimony on Bill C-14, the Opposition parties put forward amendments to improve it. New Democrats tried to amend the bill to allow advance requests—or even just open the door so that the provinces could create systems for advance requests, if they wished. The NDP also proposed to remove the government’s additional eligibility requirements and to instead use the words of the Supreme Court ruling in the law.

The first day of the Justice Committee’s clause-by-clause review ended with every Opposition amendment rejected. By the end of several days of review, a handful of changes were accepted, but most were minor or technical in nature.

New Democrats did, however, broker agreements on two key amendments, which were adopted unanimously. The first added new commitments related to palliative care, care for dementia patients, and appropriate services for Indigenous patients. The second clarified that health practitioners would never be compelled to provide assistance in dying, and that their conscience would be respected if they did not wish to participate.

On the matter of the controversial eligibility requirements, the NDP proposed that the government resolve the argument by referring the matter to the Supreme Court, to decide whether or not it matched the terms of their ruling and respected patients’ Charter rights. The government refused.

Though it was a free vote, every NDP MP voted against Bill C-14 at 3rd reading, refusing to support the passage of a bill that violated the Charter rights of patients. The bill was passed by the Liberal majority and then referred to the Senate.

During testimony in the Senate, Professor Peter Hogg – Canada’s foremost constitutional authority – stated that Bill C-14 would be found unconstitutional unless the end-of-life requirement was replaced with the broader eligibility criteria of the Supreme Court Carter decision. The lead counsel who won the Carter case, the Canadian and Quebec Bar Associations and court decisions in Alberta and Ontario all reached the same conclusion. The Senate voted to send the bill back to the House with 7 amendments, including the right to seek assistance in dying if suffering from irremediable and intolerable pain.

When Bill C-14 returned to the House, the government accepted some of the Senate amendments, but rejected the key amendment about eligibility. The Liberal government once again used their majority to approve the partially-revised bill, sending it back to the Senate. With the government refusing to back down on the core provision in the bill, the Senate relented and accepted the government’s version of C-14 on June 17th, which was swiftly given Royal Assent and passed into law.

So what happens now? While we applaud all Parliamentarians for the many good aspects of this bill, and for the respectful manner in which much of it was debated in Parliament, we continue to call on the government to immediately refer the law to the Supreme Court so that concerns about its potential violations of patients’ Charter rights can be resolved quickly – without forcing the most vulnerable Canadians back to court.

Wayne Stetski
Member of Parliament

For more information, please contact:
Laura Branswell: 250-417-2250 or

Law Making, MP Wayne Stetski

June 16, 2016
Law Making

One of the major roles for Members of Parliament is to draft laws that impact all Canadians. The reality is that these laws come from a mix of politics and require a thorough understanding of the implications of what is being proposed. Let me explain:

A recent example was Bill C-223, An Act to establish the Canadian Organ Donor Registry, which proposed to coordinate and promote organ donations throughout Canada. This is a critical issue for some of my constituents and has my full support. Had Bill C-223 been approved at second reading, the next step was for it to be sent to the Standing Committee for Health for discussion and improvement. However, before it could get that far, it was voted down by the Liberal majority.  Bill C-223 was proposed by a Conservative Member of Parliament, and similar bills have been proposed by the NDP in past Parliaments. Politics?

Another bill, C-239, provided an example of a situation in which understanding the details is critical to creating good public policy. Bill C-239, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (charitable gifts), proposed to increase the tax deduction an individual is entitled to when they make a donation to a registered charity. I have been a volunteer with, and a donor to, many charitable organizations, so from a political perspective, how could I not support this bill? As the old saying goes, the devil truly is in the details.

The Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO), which undertakes independent analysis of the financial implications of proposed legislation, found that the implementation of Bill C-239 would cost the federal government $1.7 billion in 2016 and $1.9 billion in 2020. This raises the important question: Which social programs could be cut to make up for the loss in revenue?

The PBO also found that taxpayers who make more than $91,000 in taxable income would benefit the most from Bill C-239, since the only proposed constraint on giving was a donation ceiling of 75% of net income. In short, while implementing this bill would potentially help some charities who have wealthy donors, it would likely not be helpful to charities who rely on donations from the average Canadian, would be very costly to the federal treasury while mainly benefiting the wealthiest taxpayers, and could result in government withdrawal of important services to Canadians.

In the end, Bill C-239 was not supported by a majority of the Members of Parliament. I would like to see government find alternatives to help fund the amazing work being done in our communities by charities – without reducing the scope of the government’s delivery of services to the people of Kootenay–Columbia.
As you can see, law making is not easy, and nothing illustrates that better than Bill C-14, Medical Assistance in Dying. I will update you on it in a separate article once we see where it goes over the next two weeks.

Wayne Stetski                           
Member of Parliament                             
 Unit B 111 7th Ave S Cranbrook BC V1C 2J3
(T) 250-417-2250 (C) 250-464-5509  (F) 250-417-2253

What's Happening....

Saturday June 25th

Cranbrook Farmer's Market
Tenth Avenue adjacent to Rotary park
9:00am - 1:00pm

East Kootenay Outdoor Club Hike
Pilot Bay Peninsular
Shawna Soper

2016, Mt Baker Prom
Rotary Park

Thursday, June 23, 2016

It ain’t over until it’s over and it’s not over yet, by Gerry Warner

It ain’t over until it’s over and it’s not over yet
Perceptions by Gerry Warner
Politics is an “honorable profession,” East Kootenay MLA Bill Bennett used to say. Too bad he so seldom practised it.
Where does one begin? A good place to start is comments he made in a BC Business Magazine article in October 2014. In it, he donned his “Kootenay Bill” persona and spoke candidly about his career in which he was kicked out of cabinet twice, kicked out of his own party for leading a revolt against the Premier and split the Liberal cabinet to this day.  
After leading the insurrection, Bennett became so toxic that several cabinet ministers told incoming Premier Christy Clark they would quit if she let him back in the cabinet. But this didn’t bother “Kootenay Bill.”
“The vast majority of cabinet ministers hated my guts,” Bennett told BC Business writer Matt O’Grady. “Pat Bell and Shirley Bond told Christy that if she let me back in the caucus they were quitting. Rich Coleman wouldn’t talk to me.”
But this was nothing to what Bennett said in a bizarre news conference Nov. 17, 2010 after former Premier Gordon Campbell announced he was going to resign. Accusing Campbell of being abusive to cabinet members, he claimed there was a “battered wife syndrome in our cabinet.” And if that wasn’t enough, he also accused Campbell of spitting on him during an earlier angry confrontation “He was so angry, he got in my face. He actually spit in my face . . .” he said in the scrum as reporters gasped.
But temper tantrums, profanity-laced expletives and ad-hominen attacks were standard tools of the trade as Bennett practised the “honorable profession.” In 2007, he was forced to resign as Mines Minister after he sent an incendiary email to a Fernie constituent who accused him of favoring outside big game hunters over resident hunters. “It is my understanding that you are an American, so I don’t give a shit what your opinion is on Canada or Canadian residents . . .”
Kootenay Bill always went for the jugular of his political opponents, especially the NDP, against whom he never attempted to hide his distain, likening them to communists or fellow travellers as he did to NDP MLA Jagrup Brar after he returned from a holiday in Cuba. “Jagrup Brar expressed over-the-top- admiration for nanny state communist Cuba,” he fumed in a party release. And then he spread mud over every NDP member. “In this case, Jagrup may well have given us a glimpse into the secret desires of the NDP caucus.”
On another occasion, Bennett took to Twitter to call the NDP Opposition “turds.” But he saved his worst vitriol for his Kootenay neighborhood MLA rival Norm Macdonald, who he taunted with the F-bomb during legislative debate, a charge the normally mild-mannered Macdonald returned in similar fashion. Speaker Linda Reid described the behaviour of both members as “appalling.” Macdonald apologized immediately, but Bennett didn’t apologize until half an hour later and only then when the assistant deputy speaker asked him twice. However, “Kootenay Bill” calmed down the next day and told reporters he was “mortified” by what he said and added he was glad there were no children in the House.
Bennett didn’t like environmentalists either calling them “eco-fascists” when they criticized government plans for the Flathead Valley in the southeast corner of his riding. 
And “Kootenay Bill” wasn’t above using the race card in pursuit of electoral victory as his St. Mary Band opponent Troy Sebastian found out in the 2009 provincial election. The inflammatory ad authorized by the financial agent for his campaign was anything but subtle. “He’s one of us” headlined the ad in bold face type, “who pays taxes,” screamed the advertisement in a sleazy swipe at the fact that First Nations members on reserves don’t pay the same taxes as non-First Nations taxpayers do.
The Union of BC Indian Chiefs demanded an immediate apology and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip said Bennett’s nickname should be changed from Kootenay Bill to “Wild Bill.” But Bennett denied the ad was racist in any way and took to TV to say he wouldn’t apologize.
Time to cut to the chase. Bill Bennett is getting out just in time as years of bullying, take no prisoners politics and hyper-partisanship has made him toxic to any party. Bennett is a political relic, harkening back to the free-enterprise vs godless socialism era for which BC was so justly infamous for many years. But, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently said, “it’s 2015” and political dinosaurs have to go, especially of the Tyrannosaurus Rex variety. 
As well as this, Bennett blew the Mt. Polley mine breach big time, trying to downplay it at first and later lamely acknowledging it was a “disaster” that underlined the lack of safety oversight in his own ministry and the need to make up for years of cutbacks.  Meanwhile BC Hydro keeps upping its rates while swimming in debt and thanks to all the court cases launched against the $8 billion Site C project the dam isn’t yet a done deal.
The proposed $500 million Jumbo ski resort, which Bennett shamelessly shilled for in spite of being a minister, is also dead, killed by the government’s own bureaucracy despite all Bennett’s attempts to promote it.
And most importantly, Bennett has lost the trust of resident hunters in BC over the government’s clumsy handling of game allocations in the province. This may not sound like a big deal in the Lower Mainland, but in the Kootenays and the rest of rural BC it’s like spitting in the eye of a Grizzly, not a smart thing to do.
But despite all this, Bennett still has loyal core of supporters in his constituency, especially in Cranbrook where his tireless work for years getting millions in government funds to upgrade the East Kootenay Regional Hospital is deeply appreciated and justifiably so.
That’s why this writer doesn’t think the public has seen the last of Kootenay Bill. Several years ago when Bennett’s fortunes were at a low ebb he made overtures to run for the federal Conservatives in Kootenay-Columbia when the venerable and populist Conservative MP Jim Abbott was getting close to retirement. But Bennett was resolutely and rudely turned down by the Harper Tories and he has smarted over it ever since.
The next federal election takes place in a little over three years. Bennett is 66, not old for politics.  If I was Kootenay-Columbia NDP MP Wayne Stetski, I’d be looking over my shoulder.
After all, “Kootenay Bill” has some scores to settle.

Gerry Warner is a retired Cranbrook journalist that has covered politics long before Bill Bennett was on the scene.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Value of Trees

Neighborhoods look a lot prettier when trees line the streets, but the value of these trees goes well beyond the aesthetic… I’m talking cash, even! Researchers estimate that trees planted next to California streets generate approximately $1 billion in benefits for the state.
The Pacific Southwest division of the U.S. Forest Service conducted the study, which was published in Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, to get a firmer grasp on the kind of perks road-adjacent trees offer to the state. The money breakdown went like this:
  • Increased property values: $839,000,000
  • Energy savings (by offering shade): $101,000,000
  • Absorbing rain and preventing flooding: $41,500,000
  • Taking pollution out of the air: $18,000,000
  • Storing harmful carbon emissions: $10,000,000
Obviously, the figure the U.S. Forest Service quoted doesn’t account for the myriad of other services that trees offer to the planet. Realistically, trees are priceless to our ecosystem, but if it takes applying dollar amounts for more immediate, tangible effects in order for people to see that planting more trees is a good idea, I’m all for it

Read more:

Stay Away from My Young Ones

This noisy crow has been aggressively protecting his or her brood in one local garden this week.  As the fledglings leave the nest and get their wings in working order the family take turns in making sure they have safe space in which to learn to fly.  Some neighbourhood dogs have been banished to their homes and gardeners try to talk soothingly to the stressed parents.  A few peanuts let them know that most humans will refrain from hurling abuse or stones and that their young are not in danger everywhere!  The ordeal for everyone will be over soon, we hope.

The cause of the ruckus.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Something to crow about in difficult times, by Gerry Warner

Something to crow about in difficult times
Perceptions by Gerry Warner
Time to lighten up a bit. I just don’t have it in my heart today to comment on a world where people are slaughtered in a nightclub just for being themselves and a presidential candidate tries to spin the tragedy for political advantage or where a British politician gets murdered in broad daylight by another crazy with a gun.
What’s the world coming to? Cancel the question. I don’t want to know.
No, I would like to figure out a mystery in my mundane, mostly boring, little life. It happens almost every day when I head outside for my morning constitutional, a short run and several walks up and down the grotty, old wooden staircase by the Rec Plex connecting Upper and Lower Cranbrook where I live.
Apparently my actions greatly disturb the neighborhood crow that perches on a telephone pole aside my route and when the creature sees me coming breaks out into a veritable cacophony of crow cuss words as I try to run by without disturbing him.
But apparently it disturbs him greatly because no sooner have I jogged by his pole then he launches himself like a feathered missile and dive bombs me as I innocently jog by caw-cawing menacing threats at me in crow that I would be embarrassed to repeat here.
No kidding. It’s like a scene out of Hitchcock’s horror flick “The Birds” with this demented, kamikaze crow wheeling and soaring through the air as he zooms down from the heavens missing my head by mere inches. At least it feels that way. Thankfully, the air-borne assault continues for only a few seconds before the agitated avian returns to his lofty perch and waits for me to come back. I then do my circuit up and down the stairs for 20 minutes or so and jog back only to have my tormenter resume his aerial attacks until I’m safely out of sight at home.
At first I tried simply ignoring the grumpy crow, but to no avail. Then I tried the diplomatic approach, stopping in mid-run to talk quietly and soothingly to my winged attacker but that didn’t work either. Now when I run by I just give him the finger to show my disdain for his aerial bullying.
But this got me to thinking. Have I just come up against a deranged crow intent on enforcing its territorial imperative or is the species known for ill-tempered assaults on those that dare to enter their lofty domain? So I did what we all do in the Digital Age. I turned to Uncle Google for enlightenment and I got it in spades. Crows belong to the bird family corvids, which are the most intelligent bird family and are sometimes called “the birds that think like humans” because they can count, make tools (stick hooks) to catch their prey and recognize human facial features. I’ll say. Maybe I’ll try wearing a mask the next time I go out. In fact, crows brain-to-skull size almost tops the animal kingdom ranking right up there with chimpanzees and dolphins. Crows are known for dropping nuts to break the shell and eat the seed and storing food in up to 200 hiding spots and going back to eat the food that spoils first. They also can talk and in one case a pet crow was taught how to vocalize an operatic aria.
So what am I up against? The Einstein of the animal kingdom? It’s spooky.
Crows are emotional animals too, vocalizing anger, happiness and sadness so obviously I’ve done something to piss this crow off. Does he hate my beard? The sweats I wear or is it the green, hunting cap I wear? Maybe it’s my attitude though I bear no grudge against the crow or any other bird for that matter. It’s a frustrating mystery to me but it certainly beats thinking about the latest mass killing down South or Donald Trump.
So maybe I should be grateful for my crow companion. He’s simply dispensing a bit of morning therapy to me and he really knows how to make a guy’s day.

Fun Sam Steele Weekend of Saluting the Boots


Thursday, June 16, 2016

What's Happening......

It is Sam Steele Days Weekend!

To see what is going on and when go to:

Cranbrook Arts
Saddlery and Historical Photos Exhibit
1013, Baker St.

Sunday, June 19th
Father's Day Hike
Ellen and Dan Chase
Meet at Riverside Campground 10:00am

Exciting Announcement at The Cranbrook History Centre

Dr. Bob Gaines
As many local residents are aware, the area around Cranbrook is rich in fossils.  Dr. Bob Gaines drew a large crowd at the Cranbrook History Centre on the evening of Wednesday, June 15.  His lecture revolved around the Cambrian Period fossil discoveries being made in many areas of the Rockies, the Burgess Shale being one of the most famous although not the only one or necessarily the most valuable in terms of more recent scientific discoveries.  Dr. Gaines enlightened us about the exciting new and never before seen fossil discoveries being made in Kootenay Park and within our own Cranbrook area.

All fossil finds are property of the Crown.  However one local paleontologist through an agreement with the Federal Government has contributed a most significant collection to the Cranbrook History Centre.  On Wednesday evening Guy Santucci,  Museum Board Director and coordinator for much of the collaborative work around this donation, announced that Michel Plourde was the generous benefactor. The collection is considered to be so significant that The Cranbrook History Centre has received funding to set up a fossil lab with a coordinator. Many of these fossil finds make their way to The Royal Ontario Museum but it was Mr. Plourde's specific wish that this collection remain in the area from which the fossils originated.

Thank You Michel Plourde!

Guy Santucci, Michel Plourde and partner

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Banff Town's solar program wins prestigious Emerald award for innovation

Posted on: June 10, 2016

Town of Banff’s solar program wins prestigious Emerald award for innovation

The Town of Banff’s Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Production Incentive was recognized June 8 by the Alberta Emerald Foundation at the 25th Annual Emerald Awards, which celebrate outstanding environmental achievements across all sectors in Alberta.
Banff’s program won in the Emerald Challenge: Innovation category, which recognizes individuals or organizations who develop new methods, ideas or products that positively impact the environment, and ground-breaking concepts that will be a catalyst for growth and success.
Banff became the first municipality in Canada last year to offer a production incentive (feed-in tariff) for solar PV systems. Property owners who apply and qualify for the program make the initial investment to install the solar system, then receive a production-based top-up payment over the next seven years.
“This is an incredibly successful program and we’re thrilled to be recognized by the Alberta Emerald Foundation,” said Banff Mayor Karen Sorensen. “Council saw the benefits of investing in a program unique in Canada that would encourage residents to install solar panels on their homes and businesses. As a community, we strive to be an environmental role model and I’m proud of how well this has been received.”
Energy consumption from the grid is Banff’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. In the first year of this program, Banff saw over 100kW of new solar PV systems installed on homes, multi-family units and businesses. With the town’s previously installed solar systems on Town Hall, public washrooms and Banff Community High School, Banff generates 21 watts of solar PV per person, more than 16 times the Alberta average.
“The community really responded to this program and made a big step towards embracing renewable energy,” said Banff’s Environmental Services Coordinator Chad Townsend. “We’re grateful for the recognition of this award, and hope the success of this program encourages other municipalities, or even the province, to look at creating a production incentive for solar power.”
In 2015, 47 applications were received for the Solar PV Production Incentive and 16 properties were selected through a lottery system. The application process has closed for 2016, but the town will begin accepting applications again in early 2017.
For more information about the Town of Banff’s solar program, visit
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Production Incentive

City unveils next step in Nelson Downtown Urban Design Strategy

June 9, 2016

City unveils next step in Nelson Downtown Urban Design Strategy

Upcoming public Design Fest events aimed at refining broad array of feedback on vision for downtown core’s next generation

Nelson — Following up on last month’s first stakeholder meeting and community workshop, the City of Nelson is inviting the public to take part in Phase Two of the community engagement for the Downtown Urban Design Strategy.

The project is an effort to further enhance Nelson’s outstanding downtown district, and will include strategies for the public realm including, signage, sidewalk patios, lighting, street furniture, bike parking, public art, landscaping and amenities like electric charging stations and public washrooms.

“The creation of an Urban Design Strategy is so important to the future of our downtown,” says Mayor Deb Kozak. “And we are seeking public input.”

Two Design Fest events are scheduled: Design Fest: Hands-On Community Workshop to Develop Urban Design Strategies Saturday, June 18 Adventure Hotel 3:00 to 5:30 pm (pre-registration starts at 2:30 pm)

 Design Fest: A Presentation of Early Design Ideas for Downtown Nelson Monday, June 20 Capitol Theatre 6:00 to 8:30 pm (pre-registration starts at 5:30 pm) “Baker, Victoria and Vernon streets make up the City’s commercial, cultural and heritage heart,” adds Mayor Kozak. “And Nelson needs a comprehensive plan and vision — a road map — to maintain and enhance the downtown district. We also have to be prepared for the upgrade of downtown infrastructure like water and sewer systems, both of which are nearing the end of their lifespans.”

Mayor Kozak says an Urban Design Strategy will ensure that City Council will be well-positioned to invest in enhancements and maintenance over time. The City will be launching a website next week at City staff are also planning a series of pop up displays throughout the city this summer, for people who want to provide feedback on various strategies for Nelson’s downtown.

 Media Contacts: Mayor Deb Kozak — 250-352-8236 / Senior Planner, Megan Squires — (250) 352-8221 /

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Lights, Camera, Action

So it was for Jen Johns on Friday, June 10th, when The Food Network was in Cranbrook from Toronto to film a piece featuring Jen Johns of 'Cookies, Cupcakes and Cardio'.

  Jen Johns and her partner are well known for their You Tube videos and blog titled Cookies, Cupcakes and Cardio.   With the downtown core as their focus, the team filmed sections showcasing Cranbrook, and some of our well- loved eateries including Sakura, Max's Place and Heidout.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

A great boxer and an even greater humanitarian, Gerry Warner

A great boxer and an even greater humanitarian
Perceptions by Gerry Warner
It took me a long time to warm up to Muhammad Ali and that’s strange because I’ve been an aficionado of the “sweet science” as far back as the glory days of Rocky Marciano and Sugar Ray Robinson, two of the sport’s greatest.
I knew the Champ was close to the end of his tumultuous life, because I’d been following his post-boxing career for a long time and his brave battle with Parkinson’s, one of the few defeats he had in his storied career.
Still, when I heard the sad news on the radio as I was getting ready for my morning run I was stunned as if I had been hit by an Ali blow myself. Honest to God, Ali was such a hero to me, it was like when President Kennedy was assassinated, the Twin Towers fell and Michael Jackson would moon dance no more.
Say what you want about the Excited States of America. They sure know how to produce legends bigger than life down there. Tall buildings too.
But as I said at the beginning, I initially didn’t like Ali at all. He was far too brash and arrogant for me. Just a big bag of hot air and braggadocio to me. He talked a good line alright, but as someone who’d seen boxer braggarts before, I thought it wouldn’t be long before someone knocked the wind out of this sails and he’d hit the canvas like a sack of spuds.
That was my thinking when the yappy 21-year-old challenged Charles “Sonny” Liston, a burly, ex-con with attitude, fists like pistons and the most menacing stare in boxing. Ha, ha, I thought. The “Louisville Lip” will join Sputnik in outer space when Liston gets through with him. But Liston was no match for the speed and agility of Ali, or “Cassius Clay,” as he was then known, and quit on his stool after six memorable rounds. In the rematch, Ali knocked Liston out in the first round, standing over him yelling at him to “get up” in one of Life Magazine’s most iconic sports pictures.
There must be something to this guy after all, I thought and I didn’t call him by his slave name Cassius Clay anymore. Nor did almost anyone else. But this was only Act 1, of the most remarkable career in boxing history and Ali soon transcended the sport itself becoming a Black Muslim to oppose racism and sentenced to jail for refusing to be drafted at the peak of the Vietnam War. “I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality . . .”
His eloquence enraged the boxing establishment and he was stripped of his title and didn’t fight for almost four years. But his courage and principled stand inspired millions and struck a devastating blow against a war that ignited student activists and anti-war protestors around the world and drove one of the best US presidents – Lyndon Johnson – out of office and played a major role in ending an unpopular war that almost tore the US apart and was one of the key events of the transformative 1960’s.
Not bad for a poetry spouting, US black man, who won almost every battle he fought in the ring and inspired millions of every race to oppose war and racism wherever they found it. No wonder he called himself “the greatest.” After he returned to the ring he fought titanic battles against Joe Frazier, “The Thrilla in Manila” and George Foreman “The Rumble in the Jungle,” who he was not expected to beat, but did with a spectacular knockout in the eighth round. But Ali couldn’t beat Parkinson’s and who can forget his shaky hands as he lit the Olympic flame in Atlanta and raised millions to fight the dread disease.
And now he’s gone and the world is the poorer for losing one of its greatest athletes and personalities – but most of all – humanitarians.

Gerry Warner is a retired journalist and a long time boxing fan and fan of humanitarians.

Friday, June 10, 2016

On Jane Jacobs Centennary

Don't Leave City Planning to the Planners

Why non-experts should have last say in changing neighbourhoods.
By Michael Kluckner, 3 Jun 2016,

Who should have the last say in our cities' planning decisions, the planner experts or the non-expert citizens who must live with the results?
If I wanted to make the case for the role of the non-expert, I could say just two words and then stop: Jane and Jacobs. The great urbanist author was the ultimate skeptic and analyst, a non-professional, an observer, and we have been celebrating her centenary and legacy in recent weeks. In the pre-architecture courses I took at UBC around 1970, all the professors were modernists and so told us to read the mega-project loving Le Corbusier and study Brasilia for ideas about the future. Reyner Banham with his love of Los Angeles was similarly fashionable, partly for the novelty of endorsing something as outrageous as a car-captive lifestyle in an architecturally kitschy landscape.
But all I wanted to read was Jane Jacobs. I wanted to live in a diverse, fine-grained, citizen-centric community like the one she described, and found a Vancouver equivalent in Kitsilano in the early 1970s. 

It's Jane Jacobs' Centenary, and Her Urban Dreams Live On

Happy 100th birthday to the urbanist writer. A look at her influence today.
Submitted by Christopher Cheung, 8 Jun 2016 
Vancouver equivalent in Kitsilano in the early 1970s."
There have been many celebrations of Jacobs this year, what would have been the year of her 100th birthday. Many have mused how her criteria of livable cities -- pedestrian-friendliness, mixed-uses, constant evolutions -- are still relevant today.

What's Happening.....

Saturday June 11th

Cranbrook Farmer's Market
Opposite Library beside Ktunaxa Gym
10;00am - 1:00pm

Cranbrook Community Orchestra
Knox Presbyterian Church

Key City Theatre
The Little Jazz Orchestra
Lobby Lounge Stage

East Kootenay Outdoor Club Hike
Kiakho Mountain
Lorne Sinclair 250-426-8864

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Scottish parliament votes narrowly in favour of ban on fracking

Scottish parliament votes narrowly in favour of ban on fracking
Scotland correspondent

The Scottish parliament has voted narrowly in favour of a ban on fracking, after Scottish National party MSPs abstained following a debate that gave a strong indication of the changed nature of the new Holyrood chamber.
Scottish Labour had tabled an amendment in support of a full ban as part of an environment debate headed by the new cabinet secretary, Roseanna Cunningham.
The SNP announced a moratorium on fracking in Scotland last January, but has stopped short of an outright ban to allow for further consultation and a public health impact assessment.
After SNP members abstained, the motion was passed on Wednesday by 32 votes to 29, with Scottish Greens and Liberal Democrats joining Labour to defeat the Conservatives.

World Oceans Day and All Days

Today is World Oceans Day:

Top 11 issues affecting our Oceans!

It is not very often everyone agrees on anything. Remarkably, the world’s top scientists and marine researchers virtually all agree on the issues facing our oceans health, and the demands being placed on what is arguably life’s greatest resource on the planet. Here are 11 of the top issues facing the health of our oceans, and our planet.
The oceans are among our biggest resource for life on earth, and also our biggest dumping grounds. That kind of paradox could give anyone an identity crisis. We seem to think we can take all the goodies out and put all our garbage in, and then expect them to keep happily ticking away indefinitely. However, while it's true the oceans can provide us with some amazing eco-solutions like alternative energy, they're are undergoing some serious stress factors. Here are the some of the biggest problems facing the oceans. Making changes in our daily lives often starts with awareness. Solutions are as simple as eating the right sort of seafood, to ensuring garbage stays out of our waterways and Oceans.
1) Overfishing
Many marine scientists consider overfishing to be the worst impact humans are having on the oceans. The Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that over 70% of the world’s fish species have been entirely exploited or depleted. By capturing fish faster than they can reproduce, we are harming entire ecosystems that interact with those species, from the food they eat to the predators that eat them. These losses make the ecosystems more vulnerable to other disturbances, such as pollution. A complete overhaul of fishing policies, requiring global cooperation, is needed to achieve a sustainable system.Overfishing is having some serious impacts on our oceans. Not only does it work towards wiping out a species, but also the other species of marine animals that are dependent upon those fish for survival. It's been shown that overfishing can cause marine animals to starve, since we're taking food from their mouths in too large of numbers for them to be able to get their fill. It is also estimated that most seas alreadyneed long term fishing bans if certain species are to recover at all.
There is much to be desired in the ways we fish. First, we humans use some pretty destructive methods in how we pull catches, including bottom trawling which destroys sea floor habitat and scoops up many unwanted fish and animals that are tossed aside. We also pull far too many fish to be sustainable, pushing many species to the point of being listed as threatened and endangered.
Reasons for overfishing are obvious in some ways, in that there are a lot of people who like to eat a lot of fish. The more fish, the more money for the fishermen. However there are other elements at work that promote overfishing that are less obvious, such as promoting the health benefits of one fish over another, or the health of fish oils.
Knowledge of what seafood can be sustainably eaten, whether that is the species of seafood or the method by which it is caught, is a must in order to help keep the ocean's fisheries healthy. It's our job as eaters to question restaurant servers, sushi chefs, and seafood purveyors about the sources of their fish, and read labels when we buy from store shelves. There are helpful tools that can assist us in buying and ordering seafood as well, from handouts to carry in our wallets to FishPhone. And of course there are our sustainable seafood slideshows that will show you what you want to look for when you're choosing your next meal, and what to avoid.
2) Irresponsible Fish Farming
Fish farming, or aquaculture, is the growing response to wild fish stocks rapidly depleting. While it sounds like a good idea in theory, it unfortunately has many negative consequences due to poorly managed operations. Nutrient and chemical pollution can occur easily in open-ocean operations when fish feed, excrement, and medication is released into the environment. Farmed fish accidentally released into wild populations can also have destructive effects, such as loss of native stocks, disease transmission, and damaging changes in habitat. Unfortunately, the biggest hindrance to overcoming the challenges of an industry that supplies nearly 50% of the world’s fish food supply is that it currently remains relatively unregulated.
To continue.....

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Renewable energy surges to record levels around the world

Renewable energy surges to record levels around the world

New solar, wind and hydropower sources were added in 2015 at the fastest rate the world has yet seen, a study says.
Investments in renewables during the year were more than double the amount spent on new coal and gas-fired power plants, the Renewables Global Status Report found.
For the first time, emerging economies spent more than the rich on renewable power and fuels.
Over 8 million people are now working in renewable energy worldwide.
For a number of years, the global spend on renewables has been increasing and 2015 saw that arrive at a new peak according to the report.

Falling costs key

About 147 gigawatts (GW) of capacity was added in 2015, roughly equivalent to Africa's generating capacity from all sources.
China, the US, Japan, UK and India were the countries adding on the largest share of green power, despite the fact that fossil fuel prices have fallen significantly. The costs of renewables have also fallen, say the authors.
"The fact that we had 147GW of capacity, mainly of wind and solar is a clear indication that these technologies are cost competitive (with fossil fuels)," said Christine Lins, who is executive secretary of REN21, an international body made up of energy experts, government representatives and NGOs, who produced the report.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Out and About with Stewart

Heads down, paparazzi!

Wayne's World - Riding Time

June 1, 2016
                                    Wayne’s World – Riding Time

“We’re going to have to buy some tissue for constituents coming into the office.”

One week into opening our office in Cranbrook and my assistant was already experiencing how emotional some of the issues are that we deal with. I now have offices and staff across three time zones, and every day they work with me to provide service for our 107,589 (2011 census) constituents, many of who are dealing with difficult personal situations.

Kootenay-Columbia (K-C) is one of the largest ridings in Canada at 64,336 km sq with a driving time of just under six hours from corner to corner, quite a contrast to some urban ridings which you can drive across in 20 minutes! K-C incorporates three provincial ridings, Nelson-Creston (MLA Michelle Mungall), Columbia River-Revelstoke (MLA Norm Macdonald) and Kootenay East (MLA Bill Bennett). In a riding this size being “home” often means I am on the road.

While I am in Ottawa six months of the year, my four great staff in Cranbrook and Nelson are busy answering thousands of emails, hundreds of phone calls and meeting one-on-one with constituents. The most common topics raised relate to accessing and understanding federal government services like Employment Insurance, Immigration (including Syrian Refugees), Child Tax Credits, Canada Pension Plan and access to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program. We do our best to help people individually while also working to improve how the federal government operates long term.

My staff help me to hear what issues are most important to you, so that I can give you a voice in Ottawa. So far I have heard most about the need to fight climate change, the desire for proportional representation voting, eliminating tax loopholes for the rich, stopping the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, the desire to have Canada-wide child care and pharmacare plans, better pensions for seniors, the need to have both a healthy economy and a healthy environment, reducing student debt, and concern over Canada’s growing budget deficits.

What do my staff in Ottawa and the riding like best about their jobs? “Working with constituents. Advocating for good public policy. Learning more about, and strengthening, our communities. Making a real difference for people on issues that matter to them. Helping people where I grew up. Building understanding about political and democratic processes and educating people on how to better participate in these processes. Advocating for National Parks. Working each day to help build a better Canada.” I am so fortunate to have great staff who truly care about helping people!!

Parliament takes a break from the end of June to mid-September so I look forward to connecting with many more of you in Kootenay-Columbia in the coming months. To find out when I’ll be in your neighborhood please go to or email us at . Have a great summer!