It has been a busy couple of months! I have had the privilege of attending a conference in Vancouver, that was put on by the Columbia Institute, and the theme was “tools for inspired leaders”. I learned a whole variety of things from the many seminars and speeches so I will just mention some of the most powerful parts.
The first morning David Frisch and I attended a workshop titled “talking about taxes” with Seth Klein. Seth is the BC director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, an incredibly knowledgeable man, and he did an amazing job of explaining how taxes really work. I have heard that poorer people pay higher tax rates than wealthy people, and having it broken down step by step by an expert, while infuriating, was very helpful. He explained, for instance, that the Medical Service Plan actually has nothing to do with medical services; that is just THE NAME of the tax so people will feel better paying it. As many of you know that while MSP premiums have been steadily rising, corporate tax has been stealthily dropping. This is just one such way that the middle and lower class folks are taking the brunt of taxes.
The down side of this education is that one is reminded of what a mess we humans have made of the planet. The effects of climate change are upon us and will continue to impact our lives in bigger and more threatening ways. So while it can be sad and hard to really face the truth about where we are, it is also really inspiring. We heard a moving speech by Derek Corigan, the mayor of Burnaby. Burnaby is facing huge challenges with Kinder Morgan trying to force in a new pipe line, and it was refreshing to be in a room with hundreds of positive, people including one of my mentors, Doug Hillian, who have stepped up and got involved in this crazy life of politics.
Last month the Comox Valley Regional District organized a community to community event where all the local government and school board folks met with K’omox First Nation and we spent some time talking about how we can all work together in the future. It was a great day and I believe we all left feeling positive about moving forward together with understanding, communication, and respect. There are so many ways that everyone on our communities can support one another, but the first step is to actually get to know people and build friendships.
The Association Of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities (AVICC) had it’s AGM in Courtenay at the beginning of April. It was an honour for the city to host this conference in our centennial year and the staff at city hall (especially Susie Karvalics) did a wonderful job of organizing this important event where all the local leaders from Vancouver Island, The Sunshine Coast and Powell River, get together and vote on things that we feel are affecting all of our communities. There were some very progressive motions and I am happy to say that bills such as no tankers on the coast, enquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women, re-evaluation of raw log exports and many other great things, including the blue dot movement were passed. For more information on AVICC and all the motions please check out their website at http://avicc.ca
I managed to get out in the sunshine with my family and help Project Watershed with a few hours of planting eel grass at the Royston Salt Marsh Project, where they’re doing an amazing job of restoring some very needed habitat for the little salmon frys.