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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Salvation Army drops $1 lunch cost

After a meeting held with the S/A last Thursday at which nothing was resolved another meeting was scheduled for yesterday the 15th. Prior to the meeting yesterday Wallace Malay, of the Creative Awareness Collective, and myself decided to organize a protest to be held in front of the S/A. The Collective and I got the word out to those who were being affected by the $1 charge and turnout of about 20 people with posters rallied across the street. While this was going on Wallace and a couple other members of the collective, as well as the City of Nanaimo, the S/A and others met to discuss the issue. The link that follows is the upshot of what happened at the meeting and while by no means a perfect outcome it is a step in the right direction. Personally I am hoping that people will call the S/A head office in Burnaby;

Major Brian Venables Divisional Secretary for Public Relations and DevelopmentBritish Columbia DivisionAddress:The Salvation Army 3833 Henning Drive, Burnaby BC V5C 6N5Phone: (604)296-3821Fax: (604)291-0345Cell: (778)227-7291E-mail:

and let them know that the charge for the meal should be lifted permanently.

While they say no one will go hungry and can access meal tickets through their Family Services program one has to ask how many appointments for tickets can be handled, on top of their regular intakes, each day?

Salvation Army suspends unpopular $1 fee for lunch
Small group of protesters says the charge is unfair
Salvation Army suspends unpopular $1 fee for lunch
Dustin Walker, Daily News
Published: Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009


This is fairly lengthy but I encourage people to read on and comment.

On December 1st the Salvation Army in Nanaimo, under the guize of promoting dignity, implemented a $1.00 charge for its lunch program. I have to ask is that what they believe a persons dignity and self worth is? This is another shameful act on the part of one of the biggest and richest global NGO's on the planet, an organization that posess so much wealth it should never have to panhandle to the public again.

I have been helping protest with a small group of Advocates, Community Awareness Cllective, headed up by Wallace Malay by collecting and distributing pennies to those who cannot afford the new $1.00 charge. After the first day or two the S/A said they would no longer take the pennies unrolled and were turning people away.

I e-mailed the following to a friend who has a number of lists and touched a nerve in the BC Division Head Office.

Good day. Some may and others may not realize that the Salvaation Army has recently started charging $1.00 for lunch when for the past 6 years it has been free. It is also useful to know that about 6 months ago they also started charing $2.00 for their dinners, they to were free for aprox. 6 years. This is an organization that takes in untold thousands and millions in donations and yet they want the poor to fund their programs as well.

Part of the Salvation Armies rational for charging for lunch is that they feel it will increase the persons self worth and dignity by contributing. In reality what it will do is remove one of the very things from the reach of the poorest of the poor that keeps them alive, many will be reduced to panhandling or other means to obtain the cost. In a province that has had the highest child poverty rates six years running, the implementation of the cost for lunch and dinner will only serve to push those in need further into the depths of poverty. Attached is a poster from a group trying to raise pennies for the poor and giving them to people so they can get a lunch. Please express your disappointment at the Starvation Armies policies by calling their offices at the following numbers;

Community Services: 250 754 2621
New Hope Centre: 250 714 1142
Admin: 250 753 8834
PS. Just informed that the Salvation Army has been telling people they will not take the pennies unless they are rolled. This is to put it mildly Bull Shit. Please call the above numbers, e-mail Rob Anderson or Martin McCarter or mail thier administration offices at 505 Eighth Street, Nanaimo, BC V9R 1B5 and speak out.

You can also contact and express your disgust with this new policy:
Major Brian Venables
Divisional Secretary for Public Relations and DevelopmentBritish Columbia Division
Address:The Salvation Army 3833 Henning Drive, Burnaby BC V5C 6N5
Phone: (604)296-3821
Fax: (604)291-0345
Cell: (778)227-7291

I will say one thing for him he did gaurantee that people would not have to roll the pennies. So on the protest goes and has served an average of 50 people daily by giving them the funds to access lunch. If you wish to donate drop your pennies off between 10:30 and 1:30 at the Vault Coffee Shop on the corner of Wallace and Albert St. downtown Nanaimo.

Below are links to the Nanaimo Daily News stories and letters to the editor on the subject.

News Stories

Penny protest targets $1 Salvation Army lunch fee
Cost designed to reduce problems with neighbours
Penny protest targets $1 Salvation Army lunch fee (1)
Penny protest.......(2)
Dustin Walker, The Daily News
Published: Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Darrell Bellaart: Pennies are welcome
Darrell Bellaart: Pennies are welcome
Darrell Bellaart, The Daily News
Published: Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Letters to the editor

Salvation Army should not charge for lunches
Edith Cartwright, The Daily News
Published: Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Costs should not come from those most in need
Wallace Malay, The Daily News
Published: Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Salvation Army decision not based in Christianity
Madeline Bruce, The Daily News
Published: Thursday, December 10, 2009

Buck is better spent on a meal than on cigarettes
David J. Payne, The Daily News
Published: Friday, December 11, 2009

Salvation Army's reasons don't make sense
Gordon W. Fuller, The Daily News
Published: Saturday, December 12, 2009

All the needy should not be painted the same
Andre Mollon, The Daily News
Published: Saturday, December 12, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

One of my favourites written in 2002

This was the second post to the blog. It is one of my favourite writings and thought I would repost it.


It started well before birth in the stygian depths, fetid dank moistness, of our mothers’ wombs. A self projected on us prior to conception by the abject dysfunctional behaviours of our parents and past generations. Spewed forth from the dark crevasse between our mothers’ legs we grew up fast, tormented by the misbegotten memories of incessant generational abuse and neglect. Hidden away in murky corners of basements and closets we escaped into the twilight gloom of dimly lit streets and alleyways. Sleeping in shadowy alcoves, desolate corridors, refuse and needle strewn rooms of long deserted buildings haunted by the ghosts of those gone before us. Abandoned we walk the night. Eyes glazed, legs, cheeks, and mouths wide, we take in the disease-ridden jism from the corrupt underbelly of the cold dark unforgiving city.

* And We Dream! *

Gordon W. Fuller, April 11/2002

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Harmonized Sales Tax

The Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) will apply to more than twice as many things (by value) than are taxed by the provincial sales tax (PST) shifting more of the tax burden onto the average working person. This seems to have been the pattern established by the Liberal Government of BC since coming to power in 2001. Those that will benefit from the implementation of the HST will be the large corporate interests ie., big business.

The proposed HST sales tax will apply to all goods and services that the GST currently applies to as well as the many items that were not subject to PST. All goods and services currently covered only by the 5% GST will now be taxable at the rate of 12 percent. For example the tax on the food and beverages in the restaurants will go up from 5 to 12 percent.

Sure there are tax rebates and credits thrown into the mix; the Basic Personal Tax Exemption will rise to $11,000.00 from $9373.00 and individuals making under $20,000.00 and families under $25,000.00 will qualify for an annual BC HST rebate of $230.00. Approximately 15% of people will qualify for the rebate with the other 85% unable to. What the government doesn’t tell you is that with the number of new items being taxed the average person and family, even those who qualify for the rebate, will be taxed at a far higher rate than either of the above will compensate for.

GOODS: Residential fuels (electricity, natural gas) and heating; Basic cable TV and residential phones; All food products (only basic groceries will remain exempt under new tax); Non-prescription medication; Vitamins and dietary supplements; Bicycles; School supplies (books will continue to be exempt); Magazines and newspapers; Work-related safety equipment; Safety helmets, life jackets, first-aid kits; Smoke detectors and fire extinguishers; and Energy conservation equipment (e.g., insulation, solar power equipment).
SERVICES: Personal services such as hair care; Dry cleaning; Repair services for household appliances; Household maintenance such as renovations and painting; Real estate fees; Membership fees for health clubs; Movie and theatre tickets; Funeral services; Professional services such as accounting and home care; and Airline fares within Canada.
Personally I estimate my pocket book to be hit by another 1500 – 3000 dollars a year. Is the HST really a benefit to lower income wage earners? Why would the government implement the HST if they aren’t planning to increase their revenues?

Yes small business gets a harmonization and an elimination of the PST, but they, their family members and their staff all get hit when purchasing items newly covered under the HST. The government says many products will go down in price because businesses will receive a 12% tax credit for the HST they pay. Will they really? If the owners and their families are paying higher taxes on personal purchases the business will then have to make an even larger profit.

My distaste for the HST rises as the government try’s to propagandize the implementation of the tax as a benefit to lower income individuals. The bottom line is everyone will pay more even the poor.

Finally I say Gordon Cambell


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

HST Rally in Nanaimo

Really hope to see a lot of people at this event. I would love to see the basic tax exemption raised without the HST. The HST would cost the financially challenged far more than they would benefit from an increase in the tax exemption. This event is being held in conjunction with many others throughout the province.

Harmonized Sales Tax Rally
Organizer - Janet IrvineEMAIL:
LOCATION: Maffeo-Sutton Park, Lions Pavilion
TIME: 1:00PM for this event.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Holy Crap am I tardy

Been 2 months since I posted anything, one would think nothing is happening in this fair city. Been very busy with a number of things one being the Neighbourhood Plan for the Southend. Check out the South End Community Associations blog , we have had a number of great comments from the other Neighbourhood Associations. Kudo's to Barbara Densmore, Larry Gambone and former Nanaimo resident Anne Thompson (who helped design it for SECA) for being dilligent in getting it out every month. We are probably the most active community association and have a great group of directors and volunteeers throughout the community.

I just noticed that links in my blog to stories from the Nanaimo Bulletin don't seem to go anywhere. Bummer and will check it out to see if I can rectify it. Speaking of the Bulletin, a month or so ago I had spoken to Toby Gorman (reporter) regarding the comment option for the Bulletin
not being as user friendly as the one in the Daily News . We had a few e-mail exchanges over the subject and I completely forgotten about it, except to note it remained a pain in the ass. Today I noticed the Bulletin has now improved theirs so am now hoping to be able to view comments to their stories without the hassle of signing in. The comments are one of my favourite reads but be aware that as the story moves on one needs to click on it to view any comments added after you have initially viewed them.

Anyway will once again attempt to post on a more regular basis.


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Affordable Housing?

Was reading this story from the Bulletin City eyes row housing option thinking great this could be another means of creating affordable housing in the city. Reading on I found that in Langford some of these homes are as small as 400sq. ft. good enough for a single person or possibly a couple, but a family likely not. In Langford the cost of these homes, meer inches from each other, would begin at $199,000. Councillor Holdom says he worries about maintenance costs of homes so close together, me I would worry about safety in the event of a fire. One would hope there would be some kind of regulation to amend this concern.

Getting back to the affordability; my question is affordable for whom? With no money down a person would be looking, even with interest rates being as low as they are, at roughly $1200.00 a month. When you add phone, hydro, insurance, etc you would be looking at a minimum of $1600.00 per month. If a person were to make $12.00 an hour every cent earned would go to pay for the mortgage and bills. If one looks at over %30 of income towards housing as an indicator of poverty this person would be destitute. To afford payments like these one would have to be making over $20.00 an hour or at least have a combined income of such. So again one would have to ask, in this economic climate and even in better times, affordable to whom.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Poverty, Rising Unemployment and Cuts to School Meal programs

The links below are to a few stories that have been in the Daily News of late.

I am convinced that Nanaimo is the best place to live in BC but it has always had high levels of unemployment and poverty. Part of this is the high number of part time jobs, almost half the jobs in Nanaimo, large proportion of single parent families and growing numbers of seniors living in the community. What once was a resource based economy with decent wages, has moved to more of a service based economy with lower paying jobs and part time positions.

For a number of years the economy was doing well but a result was increased property values, a shrinking rental market and increased rents for what little was available. One standard when looking at determinants of poverty is paying more than 30% of ones income towards shelter. Approximately 53 percent of renters in Nanaimo, as well as many low-income homeowners in Nanaimo, are paying far more than 30 percent of their income towards rent. When you look at those on income assistanc and pensions that percentage rises to more than 50% of their income going towards shelter.

With the economy spirally ever downwards we have seen major businesses, as well as smaller business, shut their doors. The results have been huge numbers of people applying for both Employment insurance and Income Assistance. Food Bank and other free meal service use has skyrocketed. Through it all the commitment of volunteerism and donations to services has not waned, another reason that this is such a great community, its people. I am still convinced this is the best place to live and my commitment to making it even better has not waned.

Empty coffer, hungry kid: Funding cut for school meal programs Published: Thursday, June 25, 2009

While harsh I believe my comment below, I love the comment option on the interweb version of the Daily New, is appropriate. Check out the strory for comments from others.

"This is just another slap in the face of those least able to make ends meet in our disintegrating economy. The two most important things to move families and individuals forward are safe affordable housing and access to food. Many families and individuals rely on food programs in the schools, and in the community, so they can afford the exorbitant rents caused by the past economic boom. Cuts forced on the school district by gluttonous members of government will no doubt result in BC maintaining the highest child poverty rates in the country. When the government returns from its extended paid vacation and if they propose another excessive raise in pay they should be taken out by the citizenry, tarred and feathered."

Unemployment lines grow longer Published: Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Vacancies are up, but so are rents Published: Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Welfare rolls jump again Published: Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The following was submitted as a letter to the editor today and could apply to all of the above though I wrote it in response to the first story.

To the Editor;
Poverty is not a choice but an unfortunate reality for many in Nanaimo and British Columbia . Food Bank and Community meal program use is rising at such a rate that many programs are being overwhelmed and with little government funding are being forced to rely more and more on the very communities and people affected by government policy and the economic downturn.

Whether 30, 50, 80 or 180, those students who relied on meal programs in schools, funded through Community Link, will be adversely affected. There can be no doubt that losing access to meal programs of any kind will put added strain on families already stretched to the very limit of meeting just the basic needs of food and housing. Nanaimo is seeing huge increases in the numbers of people having to apply for income assistance and employment insurance, a fact that is likely to get worse as more businesses lay off employees in order to survive or simply close their doors because they can’t.

With the dubious distinction of the highest Child Poverty rate in Canada 6 consecutive years from 2002 - 2007, my guess that 2008 will surely be the 7th, decisions like the School District of Nanaimo will no doubt nudge BC towards its seventh consecutive year. It is high time the Liberal Government started providing adequate funding to school districts as well as increasing the minimum wage to at least allow peoples income to rise above the poverty line. The government of BC should be ashamed of a track record that has simply furthered the widening gap between the financially able and financially challenged.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

This should be it re Empire

The posts to the Daily News below will likely be the last on this subject.

Just to re-iterate, no one who spoke against the name of EMPIRE wants to see the parade and other events cancelled but simply(yes it would be simple) the name changed to be a more positive reflection of the many cultures, especially first nations, who have contributed to the History of Nanaimo.

No one denies the extreme amount of volunteer commitment needed to put on the parade, in fact the Lions Society not only helps with this but does so much more throughout the year for the betterment of our society.

As for the parade, I personally thought it was not up to the former standards which I have seen in the past. Seemed to be less floats and bands and far shorter than usual. My opinion.

No place for antiquated 'Empire Days' namesake Published: Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Empire Days society is grateful for all support Published: Saturday, June 20, 2009

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Empired Out

The two letters below are from the Bulletin, one from June 4th. This has been the most published feedback on the subject of Empire Days ever and whether positive, from my point of view, or negative it has been worth while discussion. My favourite, perhaps this one was not so worthwhile, was the letter that stated Simon Schachner and I were Professional Activists. Golly gee, if I could get paid for this does that mean I can quit my day job?

Perhaps even better was a phone message I received one day, have kept it for posterity. It went like this; Are you the activist that is trying to destroy Nanaimo's heritage by eliminating(pregnant pause) Empire Days? Well if so why don't you get your life together, get your act together, and get a fucking job. Guess if I was to quit my job he might actually have something.

Anyway through discussion comes change and while it may seem slow it is in the longrun inevitable.

From the Bulletin:

Nothing shameful about our history published June 4, 2009
(This comes in a three pack and is the third letter down, a good one re homelessness 2nd down as well)

Colonizers took land Published: May 29, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

More of the Empire

Below are more entrys into the great debate. The event put on by the PPM after the parade was pretty successful, one suggestion would be more of a variety of music and FOOD. Speakers are also good but must have a time limit put on them, many people left during some of the delegations.

A lot of the letters seem to talk about erasing history. This is in no way what those that seek a change of the name are trying to do, in fact we must remember the past so we do not repeat it. The following is from a letter I wrote in 2005;

The word Empire is defined as "a group of nations, states or peoples ruled over by an emperor, empress, or other sovereign,"(Random House Dictionary, 1991). In no way does a vague definition such as this define how those nations, states or peoples came to be controlled under such sovereign rule. Histories however show that empire is primarily achieved through conquest and seldom do independent nations voluntarily join.

To impose its will over others and become the greatest Empire of the last five hundred years the British Government, yes that even of Queen Victoria, participated in the conquest and genocide of many peoples. One only has to look at Canada as an example. In its war against the French, in Canada, in the 1760's the British used germ warfare, spreading smallpox by infected blankets, against the Indian population. Sounds horrible but it is fact supported by actual letters in the British Manuscript Project, at the Library of Congress in the United States.

During Queen Victoria’s reign and with the collusion of the Canadian Government the Residential School System for First Nations peoples in Canada came into being. Attendance became compulsory for children between the ages of 7 and 16; parents not placing their children in these institutions could be jailed (Barman, et. Al. Indian education in Canada: the legacy [1996]). In 1907 Dr. Peter Bryce, Medical Inspector for the Department of Indian Affairs cited an average death rate of 40% in the residential schools (Bryce, Dr. P.H., The story of a national crime: Being a record of the health conditions of the Indians of Canada from 1904 to 1921[Ottawa, 1922]). He reported children being deliberately infected with diseases like tuberculosis, and left to die untreated, as a regular practice.

Horrible as these instances are they are but a few in a litany of what we would now call Crimes Against Humanity.

As I say I am not totally against the celebration of Victoria Day, but to celebrate “Empire” I think I will pass.

More from the news media:

Harbour City Star

It's disheartening that some try to spoil the fun of others Published: Friday, May 22, 2009

Perhaps it's time for the empire to get more civilized Published: Friday, May 22, 2009

Protest didn't rain on parade Published: Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Daily News

Paul Walton: Nanaimo Heritage about far more than empire Published: Thursday, May 21, 2009

Parade followed by protest Published: Sunday, May 17, 2009

Letters D/N

Writer reveals smugness in his historical analysis Published: Monday, May 25, 2009

Tolerance in order for any group having a parade Published: Monday, May 25, 2009

English is universal but a second language helps Published: Monday, May 25, 2009

Many things more vital than the name of a parade Published: Saturday, May 23, 2009

Nothing shameful about British Empire Legacy Published: Friday, May 22, 2009

Empire days deserved more coverage in paper Published: Thursday, May 21, 2009

British Empire heritage something to celebrate Published: Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Disheartening that some try to spoil others' fun Published: Wednesday, May 20, 2009

No one should demand we negate our history Published: Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Canada is in danger of becoming homogenous Published: Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Empire opposition eager to talk with organizers Published: May 20, 2009


More names will need to be changed Published: May 25, 2009 3:00 PM

Empire consisted of men asserting power over men & Empire opposers standing up for their beliefs, cause Published: May 22, 2009

City’s past celebrated & Dispute over celebrations name silly Published: May 20, 2009

Letters (3)
Name controversy appalling Published: May 18, 2009

Use discussion to settle name Published: May 13, 2009

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Empire Days

Nanaimo boasts the oldest annual continuous community celebrations of Empire, 143 years, and, other than Cumberland which will celebrate their 111th celebration, is the only city still lauding the subjugation of conquered nations by the former British Empire. Interestingly Britain stopped calling the Victoria days celebrations Empire days in 1958 and even the school system no longer places focus on the former empire. Those communities in the commonwealth that do simply celebrate a holiday celebrate Victoria Day in remembrance of Queen Victoria’s birthday.

For the past 6 years a number of people and organizations have been working to take the Empire out of Empire days and make it more culturally respectful and appropriate, Nanaimo Heritage Days for example. On April 20th council passed a proclamation that May 11th - 18th be designated Empire Days week, I have since found out that council actually has no choice but to ratify proclamations submitted to them. This is all a result of the Community Charter, initiated by the provincial government, that came into being a few years ago and has in many cases given municipalities no options when dealing with certain items that are in the purview of said municipalities.

Also on the 20th Council Agenda was a letter from the Multi-Cultural Society requesting council change the name of Empire Days to Nanaimo Heritage Days. As is typical council simply made a motion to accept correspondence, passed the motion, and did nothing with it. At question period I asked council if they had plans to deal with the letter and after some verbal diarrhea, on both our parts, Councillor Unger stated that if I was to submit another letter to council he would make a motion towards effecting change. Below is my letter to council followed by the original from the Multi Cultural Society.

This was done and cc’d to both the Popular Participation Movement, who for the last 4 years have been trying to affect change, as well as the Multi Cultural Society. The Popular Participation Movement, for a couple years, infiltrated the parade as "Slaves of the Empire' and last year started a counter event, United Against Empire: Rally for Peace Justice & Equality.

There has been more publicity this year than any other though the Multi Cultural Society has born the brunt of some borderline racist calls. The other day when I checked my answering machine the following anonymous message was there. "Are you the activist that thinks we should abandon our heritage and drop Empire Days? Why don't you get a grip on life, get your act together and get a fucking job." The call was amusing from my perspective, I get the odd negative call regarding mys activism, and in case the caller ever sees this I have a F'ing job. I really value open debate and hope that we don't see too much of the hate based. After all it is one of those aspects of empire that has given us cause to seek change in the first place.

Any who; I have attached my letter to council; a letter I wrote to the editor, published in both papers, is included in the links to all of the newspaper media coverage for your perusal. Check it out, especially the comments following some of the D/N stories, you may find many of the comments amusing and perhaps agree with some of those speaking against our activism on this subject. Where will it go from here, I don't know but suffice it to say that if there is no change we will be back at it next year.

Hope to see a few posts to this, positive & negative, and I will publish them all.


May 5, 2009

Nanaimo Mayor and Council
455 Wallace Street,
Nanaimo, B.C.
V9R 5J6

Dear Mayor Ruttan and Honourable Councillors,

I am writing to you to discuss the possibility of a new way of celebrating Nanaimo’s history more inclusively. The following is about changing the focus of Nanaimo’s celebration of ‘Empire’ to that of a celebration of NANAIMO. I and others do not expect this to happen this year, as you have already proclaimed May 11th - May 18th Empire Days, but we would hope this council enlightened enough to give serious consideration of a change within the next year or two.

I write this in part due to my, as well as a number of other individuals and organizations, opposition over the past 5 years to the celebration of "Empire Days" in Nanaimo. I write this also at the request of councillor Unger who in response to my questions, with regards to correspondence (attached) from the multi cultural society, at the council meeting of April 20th stated he would make a motion to the effect of considering a change in the name from Empire Days to some other more inclusive alternative.

As a proud citizen of Nanaimo I believe it is the right of all varying cultures in this great city to celebrate their presence and contributions. Where I have a problem is when that celebration, in the broader context of "EMPIRE", actually celebrates the conquest of one nation for the direct benefit of another. I also see a dilemma in that a small group of people, the Empire Days Society, resist with the blessing of council a change that would more effectively and inclusively show respect to and benefit all cultures living within the City.

In the early years of the colonization of Nanaimo, by the “EMPIRE”, there was a native village at the mouth of the Millstone River; a village that may well have been there for hundreds or thousands of years. If you go down to the site today it is easy to picture why such a village would exist in this location. The discovery of coal initiated colonization to meet the all-consuming "Empires" need and greed for the abundance provided by these lands and within a matter of but a few years this village was gone.

First celebrated in Nanaimo in 1863, "as a means for many of the miners and their families to celebrate their connection with home and the British Empire", Empire Days became a tradition celebrated throughout the community to this day. Through a search of the internet I can find only one other community that continues to celebrate "Empire", Cumberland whose celebration has run continuously for 111 years. I find it interesting to note that even in the British Isles "Empire" is not focused on when teaching its history to the people. This, primarily because of the negative aspects of the conquest of other nations for the benefit of the mother country through the subjugation of those nations; negative aspects recognized and associated with all Empires throughout human history.

Perhaps it is time in Nanaimo that we also, while respecting the heritage aspect of the celebration, move from the focus of “Empire” to something that is more inclusive. This is after all a community now made up of many cultures some never associated with and some, after gaining independence from, wanting no association with the British Empire.

Many families in Nanaimo, from many different nations, “go back” generations. They are all proud of their long histories on this land. With respect to the many cultures, especially First Nations, represented in Nanaimo a more appropriate and inclusive name for the weekend could be, as suggested in Ms. Schlosar's letter, Nanaimo Heritage Days.

Recognizing that Council, on April 20th, proclaimed May 11th to May 18th "NANAIMO EMPIRE DAYS WEEK" in the City of Nanaimo no one expects this to be dealt with this year. We do hope that today a motion is made and passed to have this issue go to committee and the public for feedback in hopes of seeing a change in May of 2010 or 2011.

Council has the power to make a decision towards change. Let’s celebrate inclusively both the short history of Nanaimo, since first contact, and the much longer history of the Snuneymuxw now & before.

Best regards;

Gordon W. Fuller – Community Advocate
604 Nicol St.
Nanaimo, BC
V9R 4T9


Nanaimo Daily News

Protest targets Empire Days Published: Monday, May 11, 2009

May celebration should be more inclusive Published: Tuesday, May 12, 2009

City Log Published: Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Imperial anachronism? Debate over empire name continues Published: Saturday, May 16, 2009

What people are saying on our website Published: Saturday, May 16, 2009


Protesters only oppose empire, not having fun Published: Wednesday, May 13, 2009

If empire is just a word, then it is easily changed Published: Thursday, May 14, 2009

Empire Days reflects the reality of our history Published: Friday, May 15, 2009

We should be proud to honour Canadian roots Published: Saturday, May 16, 2009

Nanaimo Bulletin

Empire opposition voiced Published: May 13, 2009 3:00 PM


Time to move on with name Published May 14th

City celebrates British heritage & Empire Days name suitable for former British colony Published May 16th

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cable Bay a sham

On April 2nd 2009 a public hearing was held to redesignate 'Industrial' land owned by Island Timberlands to 'Resort Centre' so that the property could be added into the Cable Bay development.

The process of the Cable Bay development has been a sham from the get go.

Brief (I tried) History:

Nanaimo's Official Community Plan went up for its 10 year review in March of 2006;
'Official community plans have been described as the "constitutions of land use regulation." British Columbia Planning Law and Practice by William Buholzer states that this metaphor is:
"… intended to convey the notion that official plans are expected to enshrine principles that are above the daily politics of rezonings, variances, and development approvals. They are meant to govern the overall direction of development and its pace at a policy level without descending into detail, which is left to regulatory instruments such as [zoning] bylaws and permits."
One of the goals of the Ten Year Review is to ensure that the OCP continues to be a policy document that guides the overall growth of the city and is long range in focus. This may require revision of some of the more detailed
or specific policies which are contrary to the broad nature of the Plan.' (City Manager Report 2006 -Mar- 18)

During the process of review major developments came to light in South Nanaimo and Cable Bay. Council in its infinite wisdom, despite huge opposition, ammended the OCP to extend the Urban Containment Boundary (meant to control urban sprawl) to the very edges of City Boundaries in order no doubt to accomodate both potential development.

Two new designations, 'Urban Reserve' and 'Resort', were proposed to be included in the revised OCP.

Public Hearing June 19th 2008 re adopting the revized Official Community Plan.

In July the City of Nanaimo attempted to bring a hundred acre section (owned by Cable Bay Developments) of the Regional District into City Boundaries using the alternative approval process. This process allowed no input from residents of the RDN and meant that if you said nothing you were deemed to agree. To have this squashed 10% of voters from the City of Nanaimo would have to sign forms to that effect. With much effort over 8000 signatures were collected and the motion was defeated.

Public Hearing September 4th 2008 re Bylaw No. 6500.001:
The bylaw if adopted will make text amendments to the City of Nanaimo Official Community Plan to provide for a comprehensive mixed use resort development of recreational, commercial and residential uses.

The proposed amendments wil provide for development of a golf course, and residential and commercial uses within the area known as Cable Bay Lands. The new ‘Resort Centre” designation is intended …………………

This bylaw, if adopted, will also add Schedule G to include the Cable Bay Plan as part of the Official Community Plan. ……………

My contention at this public hearing was, how could we redesignate the property to a designation that was contingent on the adoption of revisions to the OCP. I also contended that because the ratification of the OCP had already gone to public hearing we were not allowed to communicate to council with regards to revisions of the OCP after the hearing was held and that because this public hearing for the redesignation of Cable Bay Lands was contingent on the ratification of the OCP we were doing just that.

From the City of Nanaimo website regarding Public Hearings:
Please note: All written submissions must be received no later than 4:00 pm on the day of the Public Hearing, to ensure their availability to Council at the public hearing. Following the close of a public hearing, no further submissions or comments can be accepted by members of City Council, as established by provincial case law. This is necessary to ensure a fair public consultation process and provide a reasonable opportunity for people to respond to an issue.

Now we come to the April 2nd 2009 Public Hearing:

BYLAW NO. 6500.004:
This bylaw, if adopted, will amend Map 1 (Future Land Use Plan) of the "OFFICIAL COMMUNITY PLAN BYLAW 2008 NO. 6500" by redesignating a portion of 950 Phoenix Way from 'Industrial' to 'Resort Centre' to provide for a comprehensive mixed use resort development of recreational, commercial and residential uses.

Excerpt from the Minute of the Public Hearing

Gord Fuller - 604 Nicol Street - Opposed

Asked Staff to confirm that the 'Resort Centre' designation came into effect with the ratification of the amendments to OCP.

Mr. Tucker corrected the speaker by noting that the redesignation to Cable Bay was the first amendment to the newly adopted OCP. The new OCP was ready for adoption and the Cable Bay application had not yet gone to Public Hearing; therefore, the OCP was adopted with an 'Urban Reserve' designation over the subject property, which was then amended to 'Resort Centre'.

Mr. Fuller stated his belief that if the subject property were to be redesignated as 'Resort Centre' it would be the only property that is legitimately designated due to the previous adoption being against Council policy.

Mr Tucker's statement was false as the original Cable Bay public hearing was on Sept 4th 2008 and the revised OCP was formally adopted on Sept. 8th 2008. I still contend the original public hearing to redesignate Cable Bay Lands to 'Resort Centre' was held illegally and as such if the result of the Public Hearing on April 2nd 2009 is to redesignate Timberlands property from 'Industrial' to 'Resort Centre' it would be the only property that is legitimately designated due to the previous adoption being against Council policy.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Voices From The Street Rally

What a great day it was. The weather held out and though just a little chilly in the KRALL space we had a pretty good turnout. We wetre really fortunate to be able to have the group Trinitude show up to play their song Lamant to Paul Jackson. Paul and his fiddle were fixtures in the city and on the Island. Sadly, in 2006, he passed away while stayiong at the Salvation Army Shelter. I had spoken to him earlier in the day and there was really no indication it would be his last. Other musicians included the Cunningham Family, Bobbi Schram, Owl & Pussycat, and some young musicians from Woodlands School.

We had a number of excellent speakers focusing primarily on the Homeless & Activists. Herb Mountain, homeless, was the most powerful of the speakers talking about his life and how people portray the homeless. “We’re just people, we have a little more problems sometimes, and the only way we can deal with it is drinking,” he said. “[People think] that we’re all dirty, crazy out of control people… We’re generally harmless.”

The latter part of the rally was devoted to candidates in the upcoming election and 5 showed up including, Leoanard Krog(NDP MLA Nanaimo), Ron Cantelon(Liberal MLA Parksville Qualicum), Dog Routley(NDP MLA Nanaimo/North Cowichan), Jeet Manhas(Liberal Candidate Nanaimo) and Dirk Becker(Green Party Candidate Nanaimo). Not to bad of a showing at all. The best Question from the audience was posed to Ron Cantelon, "How much did your suit cost".

Couldn't have pulled this off without the help of a young activist Katie Durvin. This is a phenominal young lady who started out organizing STANDS while at Woodlands high school and continues to do so now that she is at VIU. Katie even got a grant to provide reusable bags for the clients at Loaves & Fishes Food Bank and now sits on their board of directors. I have been trying to get Katie more involved and that is how we got together to do the Rally. I have also invited Katie to come and speak, with me, to a grade six class at Aspengrove School. Katie's involvement really brings home that the younger generation wants to be involved in making this a better planet.

BCCLA Kontroversy

More on the Koruption scene, I certainly hope the BCCLA gets on this soon. Links to an editorial by the Daily News and a letter to the editor in the same paper. At some point this will all go away, just wish Korpan would let it go as it does neither him nor Tony and Angela any good to keep drawing it out.

Civil Liberties Union Has No Place In Suit

BCCLA would be correct to get involved in lawsuit

I am also posting below another letter to the editor written by a friend. More often than not his stuff doesn't get published, was actually blacklisted by the D/N at one point, and on this subject my letters don't as well.

To the Editor:

Re: Civil Liberties Union has no place in suit (editorial, April 1). Was this unintentionally amusing editorial an April Fool's day joke?.

The BCCLA's interest in the promised Korpan lawsuit against a couple of ordinary and by all appearances not very well off citizens should be obvious to anyone who's been subjected to ex-mayor Korpan's bully-boy ways. You fail to point out that Mr. Korpan initiated these law suits while still in office. You also fail to point out that he smeared people who had nothing to do with the bumper sticker in question and refused to apologize for doing so. He instead offered the outlandish argument that an apology was unnecessary because his smear didn't rise to the level of libel. Additionally, he claimed -- and I'm not making this up -- that an apology was unwarranted because it might prove harmful to his political career. Such absurd utterances should give him pause -- but plainly do not.

You also failed to point out that Nanaimo's voters have spoken very clearly on this essentially political matter: merely 15 percent supported the ex-mayor in 2008. On the other hand, one of the objects of Mr. Korpan's litigious desires, underdog fish and chip shop proprietor Angela Negrin, came from nowhere to very nearly claim a council seat. As the lawyers say, res ipsa loquitur -- the facts speak for themselves.

For a very long time Mr. Korpan has been in need of a reality check. That he still just doesn't get it about his often rude and intimidating behaviour while in office is even more lamentable than his law suit. Perhaps BCCLA involvement will provide the legal stimulus the electorate evidently couldn't provide for him to finally come to his senses.

Eric Ricker
Nanaimo, B. C.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Saturday April 4th 11:00 – 1:00

Diana Krall Plaza
(Commercial St. beside the library Downtown Nanaimo)

Speakers to include:
The Homeless
Candidates: May 12 Provincial Election
(This is a non-partisan event, all candidates will be invited)



Gord Fuller – 250 754 6389 E-mail:
Katie Durvin – 250-758 4746 E-mail:

Koruption Lawsuit Scrutinized more Kontroversy

Ex Mayors Lawsuit Scrutinized

Kudoes to the BC Civil Liberties Association on their win in Powell River and their consideration of taking on Angela Negrin and Tony Parkins case. I really loved the comment by Laura Langstaff that Mr. Korpan's response to the bumper stickers was petulant, pedantic, pedestrian, and plebian. Have to say I totally agree.

Hopefully this will be the last chapter in this saga and Korpan will drop the lawsuit.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Neighbourhood Planning

For a number of years the South End Community Association has wanted to do a neighbourhood plan. We were told that would happen this year for sure but it has been a waiting game even though assurances by City Staff were there. I wrote the following during the election in answer to the 1st. question posed to candidates by South End Votes

(1) The South End is changing. Would you briefly comment on your understanding of the changes here?
The South End has one of the most eclectic blends of residential and commercial as well as a little light industrial thrown into the mix. For me the diversity of people in the area is fantastic as is the commitment of those people living here to bettering the South End for everyone. Previously given quite a bad rap for its concentration of social issues the South End Community Association has been working to change and eliminate these perceptions. This is happening but slowly. We are seeing an influx of new families to the area and development of vacant space for housing is gradually taking place. Over the years a number of people in the area, including myself, have been pushing to get the city to decentralize its social services and avoid the concentration of services in the south end that has happened in the past. For a number of years SECA has been hoping to develop a neighbourhood plan and we have been told we would be next on the list. The city has in its yearly budget $60,000.00 to be put towards developing neighbourhood plans and yet we still wait. A neighbourhood plan will go a long way, working in conjunction with the city’s Official Community Plan, to move towards the removal of light industrial zoning in residential areas that has and still does cause problems for residents of the area. When elected to council I will push to have the neighbourhood plan process for the South End start immediately.

Derek Spalding, of the Nanaimo Daily News, did a little write up shortly after viewing the answers by all of the candidates and commented that though living in the area I didn't know it well because the City had stated SECA would start their plan in January. Well, as we had heard on a number of occasions the plan would be started and knowing how city staff and council works I was a bit skeptical. Derek, turns out I was right eh!

The idea this year was for the City to do 2 plans concurrently, the South End and Brechin Hill/Newcastle plans. Turns out we will now have to wait for council to pass the 2009 budget and rumour has it that in order to cut taxes the $60,000 for neighbourhood planning may be one of the things cut. The Neighbourhood Network, umbrella group consisting of members of the various neighbourhood associations is currently drafting a letter to council, which will be followed up by individual association letters, requesting that this item be left in the budget.

SECA is currently working to set up a steering committee for the project if and hopefully when it happens. As it is never boring in the neighbourhood we even have a bit of controversy happening around this. I will keep you posted on this saga as it is both amusing and pathetic at the same time.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Kontroversy continued

The saga it doth continue. In the Friday February 27th issue, link below, of the Daily News former Mayor Korpan states, "we are proceeding".

'Koruption' suit still going ahead

Most of the comments I seem to get are on the Koruption issue. In the last, see comments in Kontroversy When Will It End, John Dawes agrees Korpan should drop the lawsuit but only if Ms. Negrin and Mr. Parkin offer him an appology.

I would put it to John that Angela and Tony are but two of hundreds to display the bumper sticker and should not have been singled out for doing so. In one of the early news stories about this Gary said he would track down all of those displaying the sticker and yet the focus has been on only the two. I'm sorry to say but at this point I can only see the continuation of the lawsuit as self serving. The only appology that needs to be offered is by Mr. Korpan to Tony and Angela.

Letter to the editor sent earlier today;

Former Mayor Korpan’s ongoing vendetta against Tony Parkin and Angela Negrin must stop.

Why has the focus been on these two when Mr. Korpan at one time stated he would track down all of those displaying the bumper sticker? While he has alleged that Mr. Parkin produced the sticker he has never provided the evidence to back this up and yet evidence exists that he himself may be responsible for its prevalence. During his initial threats to sue members of Friends of Plan Nanaimo, including myself, an e-mail was sent by him that had a picture of the offending sticker embedded in the document. I have no doubt that his e-mail was forwarded on to others and that any number of people could have reproduced it.

I have to ask, is this what Mr. Korpan wants to be remembered for or would he rather be remembered for his many years of valued public service? Please Mr. Korpan, end this now and Free "Nanaimo from Kontroversy".

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Am I just lazy?

Have to ask myself the above question as it has been over a month since I posted anything and yet there is so much going on that I have been involved in. Minimum Standards of Maintenance, Homelessness, Block Watch, SECA, Council Pay Increases, the Downtown Nanaimo Partnership & BIA Renewal and the list goes on.

One interesting tid bit regarding the ongoing Cable Bay issue came up at the Plan Nanaimo Advisory Committee on the 17th.

7. Old Business
ii. 950 Phoenix Way (Cable Bay Lands) – PNAC Recommendation

This is one of those times my brain isn't quite in gear. Either Timber Lands or Timber West were hoping to get a recomendation to council for a partnership with the Cable Bay Group. They own some property, zoned Industrial, with a deep sea port that borders the Cable Bay Lands. They wanted to get a portion of it rezoned Resort so they could lease it to the Cable Bay group so they could use it for a couple of holes on the planned golf course as well as give them some space on the waterfront to put in a marina. Good news, PNAC did not fall for it and moved to not make the recommendation to council.

Please, if you have a subject you would like me to comment on let me know

The following are links to some, will add more later, news stories which I had some feedback in.

Activists call for housing

Plan may boost low-cost housing availability

New home for the 7-10 Club

7-10 Club will stay on Prideaux Street

Struggling economy has Nanaimo charities worried

Recently published Letters to the editor (my version not the edited versions published)

Regarding the BIA & DNP

I have been a member of the Downtown Nanaimo Partnership's Housing Design & Development subcommittee since 2002. While I may not agree with everything the DNP has supported in the revitalization of the Downtown, the Convention Centre being one example, I believe they have done a pretty good job overall. As one, if not the only, member working in the Social Service sector I have chosen to work from within the DNP to advocate and educate regarding social issues in the downtown.

Spurred on by Rick Hyne, not a property owner but the minion of one, many businesses in the current BIA's are considering withdrawing their support for the BIA renewal. Mr. Hyne believes that the resultant loss of the DNP, if enough PROPERTY OWNERS are opposed to the renewal, could easily be accommodated by forming a new group. Would he also be alluding to himself being the head of this new group? If that is the case then I really fear for the outcome of revitalization.

Yes the DNP could be more open and accountable but eliminating it is not the answer. I believe the one good outcome of all the recent publicity will be positive change within the DNP and having met Matt Hussman, the DNP's new director, this will happen sooner rather than later.

Shelter closure may leave teens on street

To the editor;

This is just another example of Government bungling and ineptitude. There is no more valuable asset than the youth of a community, they are our future. Society is degrading to the point where more and more youth are simply unable to live at home, not to put blame solely on parenting, but at the same time have nowhere safe to go. Places like Friendship House are a much needed resource in communities and should receive priority funding. As a society we really need to implement more services for our youth, especially those in crisis, as well as looking at more permanent housing.

When I look at the amount of funds the current government has spent to host the Olympics, an event most people in BC are unable to afford, as well as what is spent to bailout corporations defaulting on construction commitments, I have to shake my head at these misguided priorities. In announcing that the government will be running a deficit the Liberals have stated we can expect cuts to health, education, and social services. Wake up folks, an election is coming so use your vote to show where your priorities lie.

Block Watch

I really have to give Doug and Tanya Hiltz credit for the effort and amount of time they have put in working to make the South End a better place. The amount of energy and their obvious commitment is commendable however as I have mentioned to Doug a few times they really need to set up some training, through the RCMP and Bylaws, for members of their group with regards to communication skills as well as the rights of the individuals.

That the BC Block Watch Society withdrew their support should really come as no surprise. Sooner or later, with all the publicity, someone will question where the donations of goods and money that Doug and Tanya receive are going and as the parent group Block Watch Society BC could ultimately be liable for any wrongdoing.

I would suggest that if the group wishes to remain active they form a legitimate society keeping accurate records of receipts and expenditures. Knowing the passion that Doug, Tanya and other members of their group have I would really hate to see anything negative come their way.

Council Pay Increases

Congratulations to Mayor and Council for not going forward with proposed pay raises of 8% and 16% respectively. The decision to tie pay increases to the cost of living was a wise one, especially in these tough times, and shows a level of respect for the majority of people in Nanaimo who will see little or no increases to their own income.

With the failing economy, deficits being proposed by both the federal and provincial governments, tough decisions will need to be made by all. The recent 40 billion dollar economic bailout package by the feds does little for the most financially challenged and while they do propose a billion of that towards affordable housing it is a pittance when spread across the country.

The province has committed over 400 million dollars towards purchasing SRO’s and building affordable housing in the BC., 160 units alone in Nanaimo . With the failing economy and a provincial election looming we need to ensure this commitment is met by all political parties and levels of government.

Recognizing the commitment of our current city council I hope other levels of government will take their lead.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

KONTROVERSY, when will it end.

Actual post date January 29th: Being a bit lax on the blogging I had left this as a DRAFT, learned something new in that it posts with the original date of writing it.

The following column appeared in the Daily News a while back. I sent off a letter to the editor, below, but sadly it was not published. I hear through the grapevine that former mayor Korpan is still moving forward with the lawsuit and will update as I hear more.

Column: Libel laws may be outdated

Letter to the Editor (January 14 - 2008)

Other than the initial veiled threats to some members of Friends of Plan Nanaimo when the bumper stickers first appeared as well as the current Law Suits against Angela Negrin (proprietor of Pirate Chips), and Tony Parkin (long time advocate for Lifeguards at our public beaches and No High-Rises on our waterfront), I can find no instances of others being sued for displaying the Free Nanaimo from Koruption bumper sticker. Oddly enough, early on in his vendetta, former Mayor Korpan stated that he would track down and prosecute to the fullest extent those that displayed the Free Nanaimo from Koruption bumper sticker. So why pick the two he did? We may never know the answer to this but my guess is because both have been vocal on various issues within the city.

We may also never know who in reality created the bumper stickers but our former mayor can thank no one but himself for their interest in the public eye. His initial threat to some directors of Friends of Plan Nanaimo contained an imbedded copy of the very bumper sticker he is suing over. I for one, as an amused recipient, forwarded his e-mail to others and am positive I was not the only person to do so. A simple cut and paste of the picture would allow anyone to create the sticker.

I have one final thing to say on the subject, Mr. Korpan if you don’t want to be remembered by the public as a petulant whiner drop the lawsuit and apologize to Tony and Angela.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Live Aboard Boaters

The following letter was sent and published by both the Dailey News and the Nanaimo News Bulletin. Nanaimo is a fantastic place to live and for the Port Authority to try their best to eliminate one way of life seems ludicrous. Yes we want to make sure people don't polute our waters but to over-regulate to the point of making it almost impossible for many of those living in the harbour to continue doing so is simply put, STUPID. I for one have always enjoyed seeing some of the very interesting boats some people call home, I am sure there are many others that do as well.

This is a harbour city and with that comes people who will call the harbour home. For many this is a form of affordable housing, it is also a way of life. Is the Port Authority working to "gentrify' the harbour? With the proposed and currently under construction waterfront condo's is this a means to eliminate what some would call unsightly?

To the Editor
Regarding Live Aboard Boaters in Nanaimo Harbour .

I am continually puzzled by the rational of decision making used by many of this Cities Governing bodies. It would seem that whatever vestiges of character Nanaimo possesses, they are always under attack and at threat of being eliminated.

People have lived on boats in the harbour for years and are part of the character of any harbour city. Of course we want to make sure they are not dumping waste into the harbour, what even remotely environmentally conscious person would not? If live aboard, as well as tourist, boaters are not availing themselves of sewage disposal facilities then fine them and make it a hefty one that would deter them from polluting in the future. Otherwise lets live and let live and not try to over-regulate to the point of destroying a way of life that actually adds to the character of Nanaimo and its' Harbour.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Another Letter Published December 11th

Shortly after the letter below was published Nanaimo got hit with storm after storm, extremely cold weather and a dearth of snow (setting a record for Nanaimo). The extreme weather strategy came into play and lasted for a few weeks which was unexpected, most thought it might have to be implemented for only a couple of weeks throughout the winter. What it also highlighted was that the numbers of homeless in Nanaimo may not be as great as has been put out in the past. While the 20 emergency spots at the S/A remained fairly consistantly full there was usually space left of the 10 at the Unitarian Church.

Tent cities would only cause more problems

The Daily News
Published: Thursday, December 11, 2008
Re: 'One-woman campout for housing ends quietly' (Daily News, Dec. 9)

Creating tent cities would in no way address the issue of homelessness and could very well, as has been seen in other communities that have done so, cause more problems than they cure.
Nanaimo has an excellent, if costly, homeless strategy that the province has committed to support. The problem with this support is that it hinges on creating new supportive housing, 160 units, that will not see a tenant for at least two to three years.

It is well established that housing the homeless would save the province $8,000 to $12,000 per person per year. Subsidizing rents, yearly at $1,800 to $2,400, would still save the government upwards of $9,500 a year and house people much quicker. These subsidies are also a part of Nanaimo's action plan and in these tough economic times would seem a no brainer. Allowing for approximately 10,500 homeless throughout the province, some estimates are far higher, the savings would equate to roughly $100 million a year, monies that could then be funneled back into creating even more affordable housing.

If the choice in Nanaimo is to wait for the housing to be built then we, like many other communities, need a "cold wet weather strategy" that would provide extra beds for the homeless October through April. Currently, any extra beds will not kick in unless the weather is considered extreme, -5 Celsius for example, and that only for as long as deemed necessary. Solutions to get people off the streets exist and should be implemented.

Gordon W. Fuller

© The Daily News (Nanaimo) 2008