Ph: 250 754 6389 / Cell: 250 797 0531 / e-mail:

SUPPORT CHLY (FM 101.7) Independent Radio. Call 250 740 1017 or 250 716 3410 to make a donation or become a member.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Couple Letters - Unemployment & Poverty

A recent story in the Daily News Nanaimo welfare rates up, provincial numbers down mentions an 8% increase in income assistance application since the same period last year. This is a bit misleading in that it only talks about those applications in the expected to work category. Truth be told there are approximately 13,000 people or more on income assistance.

Another story Jobeless rate in Nanaimo drops 1% in one month for which I wrote this first letter seems to contradict the above though reality is without proper disclosure of numbers pretty much anything is up for interpretation. The 2nd letter briefly mentions the higher rate Jobless rate in Nanaimo climbs over last years numbers but also talks about BC's record of longstanding Child Poverty.

In a society such as ours it is shameful the rates of poverty and homelessness exist in the numbers they do.

July 16, 2010
Unemployment Rates

The fact that unemployment in Nanaimo dropped from 9% to 8% in June may not be cause for jubilation. Generally an increase in employment usually takes place during the summer though these are primarily low paying service based jobs with little likelihood of permanency. Still there are no real statistics to say an increase in employment in Nanaimo is the reason for the decrease and so perhaps other reasons should be explored.

One reason might be apparent when looked at in conjunction to the rise of the vacancy rate in Nanaimo to 4.4% in June. A correlation between the drop in unemployment and the rise in vacancy rates is not unfathomable and perhaps both are due simply to people leaving the community for better prospects elsewhere.

Then, of course you have those on EI whose claims may have run out and until they apply and are catalogued as Income Assistance recipients will be in limbo statistically. That is of course if they aren’t already among those who have migrated elsewhere.

One thing that is evident is the decrease to unemployment will have little or no effect on the endemic poverty that exists in the community. As a service based economy Nanaimo is affected by lower wages and part time employment, both of which affect the living standards of families

As summer wanes the jobs created for the season will end and unemployment will climb in Nanaimo as it inevitably does.

June 25, 2010

Re Child Poverty Rates

So once again BC tops the provinces for the highest child poverty rates in Canada. Since coming to power in 2001 the Provincial Government of BC has ensured this dubious honour being imparted for one of the longest continuous periods of any province.

While the Child Poverty numbers may have dropped, it is important to note the statistics this is based on are from the boom times of 2007, across BC they in no way reflect the reality of today in Nanaimo. At 9% Nanaimo has one of the highest unemployment rates in the province.

This is based on employable income assistance and employment insurance recipients. It does not take into account the many income assistance recipients categorized as persons with persistent multiple barriers, persons with disability or the many families that are exempt from searching for work if they have a child under the age of three. With all of the above we are looking at over well over 13,000 people.

Nanaimo’s overall poverty rate, when one takes into account low income cut offs, the income a person or family needs to be categorized above the poverty line, or based on a person or family spending more than 30% of their income on housing, would put poverty rates at close to 50% for the population in Nanaimo.

Don’t get me wrong, and lest I paint too bleak a picture, Nanaimo is a great place to live overall and its citizens would likely be well above average when it comes to volunteerism and giving.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

HST Petition faces court challenge

Had the note below e-mailed to me. It appears Cambell & his Cronies, through a coalition of business groups, are challenging the HST Petition. This adds a whole new dynamic to the process in that if they fail there is the possibility the HST could be struck down as unconstitutional. Would love to see that happen and what a slap in the face of the Fiberal Government it would be. I hope the Fight HST group still plans to do a recall of certain MLA's, Nanaimo Parksvilles Ron Cantelon would certainly be one and one that has every chance of success.

Our Fight HST Citizen’s Initiative petition to eliminate the Harmonized Sales Tax is under legal attack by a so called “coalition” of business groups.
We all know it is really the Gordon Campbell-BC Liberals using their corporate friends to try to have our petition thrown out by the court despite 705,643 BC voters signing it.
We are not going to let them!
We have hired noted BC lawyer Joseph Arvay, Q. C. to defend our citizen Initiative petition, and to challenge the legality of the HST in BC.
If Mr. Arvay is successful, the HST could be struck down by the courts as unconstitutional because the BC legislature never passed legislation to implement the HST – they only removed the Provincial Sales Tax. Every province with an HST has passed legislation to implement the tax, except BC where it was done simply with the stroke of the finance minister’s pen.
The government desperately wants to stop the people's voice from being heard. They do not want their MLAs to have to vote on the HST - because they know it could result in an open revolt that has the potential to bring down the government.
Every move the government makes raises the stakes even higher in the battle to defeat the Hated Sale Tax in BC. But we must win - for the sake of our families, the sake of our businesses, and the sake of our democracy.
We are approaching business groups, labour groups and individuals to help us fund our legal case. We are asking people to help in any way they can – your donation of $25, $50, $100, $500 or whatever you can contribute will give us the funds we need to win and eliminate the HST.
But we need your help now! Please provide whatever you can, as soon as you can, so the people's petition can proceed and the HST can be defeated.
We can't let the self interests of a narrow group on behalf of an undemocratic government get their way over the wishes of over 85% of the people.
Please send cheques or money orders made payable to:
HST Legal Challenge370 East BroadwayPO Box 95023Vancouver, BCV5T 4T8
You can also donate on-line via Pay Pal using your credit card at
Thank you for your support – together we will defeat the HST!
Bill Vander Zalm

Related News

HST Legal Challenge Part One: In opposition of the HST
HST Legal Challenge Part Two: In support of the HST

Times Colonist
Legal bid to block petition launched

Vancouver Sun
Court challenge to HST petition will reignite public anger

Alberni Valley Times
Why are associations fighting HST petition

Anti HST team files court challenge

Friday, July 9, 2010

Cheri (Cheryl Lynn Sim)

The death (murder) of Cheri (Cheryl Lynn Sim) has affected me pretty hard since word came on june 29th of her death. I have been working with the homeless and those in poverty for about 15years and in those years I have known quite a number of people who have passed away. Usually this happens from misadventure or health problems related to street life. What makes Cheri's death particularily sad is the sheer senselessness of it.

I give kudoes to Sue De Ballinard, a neighbour in the vicinity of where Cheri was murdered, who with myself arranged, in the matter of two days, to have a Vigil/Memorial for Cheri near the location of her death. Over 100 people from all walks of life showed up and I am certain that given more time the number would have been over 200. It was a great celebration of life and a tribute to Cheri from the many people she came into contact with in her time in Nanaimo. Cheri was only on the street for approx. 2 years but in that time her soul touched many including myself. I will forever cherish the hug she gave me on the day of her death.

Kudoes also to the RCMP. The RCMP have been throroughly investigating this and I hope when a suspect is finally arrested the evidence is there to put the person away for life. Also many thanks to Danielle Bell and other reporters for not letting this story die. You have kept in in the news for over a week and in doing so help to keep Cheri's memory alive. Thank you all.

In the News: