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Monthly Archives: June 2019

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B.C. election 2017: Columbia River Revelstoke riding

This riding has been won by the NDP in four of the last six elections, the last three by Norm Macdonald, who is not seeking re-election.

In 2013: NDP Norm Macdonald won his third straight victory handily, defeating Liberal Doug Clovechok by more than 1,600 votes, 48 – 36 per cent.

In 2009: The NDP’s Macdonald won his second straight election in this riding, defeating Liberal Mark McKee by over 2,000 votes, 55 – 38 per cent. The BC Conservatives took 1,162 votes, and have yet to field a candidate.

HangZhou Night Net

History & Geography: Columbia River-Revelstoke comprises the northeast portion of the Kootenays, guided by Highway 1 from just before Revelstoke to the border, and Highway 95 from Golden to the northern outskirts of Cranbrook. It’s a descendent of the old Columbia River riding that the Socreds held for decades, much of it under James Chabot from 1963-1986. But it has gone NDP in four of the last six elections, with the party doing very well in Kimberly and Golden.

Candidates

BC Liberals – Doug Clovechok: An educator, Clovechok is the manager of the Invermere Campus of College of the Rockies. He lived in Calgary for over two decades, founding the Calgary Educational Partnership Foundation, and now lives near Fairmont Hot Springs.

NDP – Gerry Taft: The Mayor of Invermere, his nomination was the subject of some controversy over the effectiveness of the NDP’s equity policy. Taft claims he’s bisexual, so he qualifies as a member of the LGBTQ community, even though he’s a white man with a female partner and a child.

Greens – Samson Boyer: At 18, he is one of the youngest candidates running in this election. Works in the hospitality and tourism industry and is a beekeeper.

Independent – Justin James Hooles: Longtime Kimberley resident, he says he wants to run as an independent as he has a “distaste for party politics.”

Libertarian – Rylan Kashuba: The Libertarian party is running 30 candidates, four times as many as in 2013. They have been running candidates in B.C. since 1986, but have never come close to winning a seat.

Independent – Duncan MacLeod: MacLeod is a teacher who runs the Rocky Mountain International Student Program in Kimberley.

2017 Stats: Columbia River-Revelstoke

Population (2014): 31,907 (81st)
Population Deviation from Average: -39.9 per cent
Area: 37,704 sq km (8th)
Pop Density: 0.8 (81st)
Average Age: 44.4 years (23rd)
English as Second Language: 9.92 per cent (74th)

Top 3 Second Languages:
German – 2.68 per cent
Italian – 0.72 per cent
Dutch – 0.51 per cent

Article

B.C. election 2017: Penticton riding

Held by BC Liberal incumbent Dan Ashton, who boosted his party’s vote by 1,200 in the last election, but the NDP went up 2,900 (probably because there was inexplicably no Green candidate; the Greens received almost 3,700 votes in 2009 and will be running a candidate in this election, which should hurt the NDP more than the Liberals).

HangZhou Night Net

This riding demonstrates how hard it may be for the NDP to get over the finish line. It’s only won this riding when the vote was split on the centre-right. The NDP’s hopes were given a boost from the party’s good showing in this area in the last federal election. Depending on how other ridings split, the NDP may need to win this riding to form a government.

In 2009: Liberal Bill Barisoff won his fourth straight election, defeating NDP candidate Cameron Phillips by over 3,000 votes, 44-31 per cent.

History & Geography: A descendant of the old Similkameen riding, Penticton was made the centre of its own riding in 1991. In that year the riding went to the NDP in a three-way race, but otherwise has gone to the Liberals. The riding’s current boundaries include Peachland, Summerland, and Chute Lake to the north. Historically, the city centre of Penticton has been a swing area, while Summerland, Peachland, and the Penticton suburbs have supported the Liberals.

Candidates

BC Liberals – Dan Ashton: Incumbent. Parliamentary secretary for the Minister of Finance. Before entering provincial politics, Ashton served two terms as mayor or Penticton and three terms on council.

NDP – Tarik Sayeed: A Penticton city councillor, Sayeed was born in Bangladesh and came to Canada to study engineering, earning an undergraduate degree and an MBA. He founded a tech company that translates sign language into text and audio.

Green – Connie Sahlmark: An Okanagan College student in her third year of the Sustainable Construction Management Technologies program.

2017 Stats: Penticton

Population (2014): 56,722 (46th)
Population Deviation from Average: 6.8 per cent
Area: 1,908 sq km (29th)
Pop Density: 29.7 (59th)
Average Age: 50.5 years (6th)
English as Second Language: 12.76 per cent (55th)

Top 3 Second Languages:
German – 3.14 per cent
Panjabi (Punjabi) – 1.44 per cent
Dutch – 0.80 per cent

Article

Nova Scotia public schools to have new attendance policy by September

Nova Scotia public schools are expected to usher in new attendance rules this fall to address high absentee and tardiness rates among students.

READ MORE: Province to implement 8 recommendations by N.S. classroom conditions council immediately

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The draft rules aim to give teachers some “teeth” to tackle what has become a chronic issue in some classrooms.

“Teachers have asked to have some teeth in an attendance policy,” said Liz Brideau-Clark, part of the 14-member Council to Improve Classroom Conditions created in February following a lengthy labour dispute that saw the province impose a four-year contract on more than 9,000 unionized teachers.

“There are different issues in different schools but we’ve tried to come up with something that hopefully will allow schools to have a little bit of the decision-making to work with students and get them back in the school,” said Brideau-Clark, a teacher at Bayview Community School in Mahone Bay.

Pamela Doyle, guidance counsellor and registrar at Lockview High School in Fall River, said attendance issues will be addressed on a case-by-case basis, and solutions will be tailored to individual student needs.

“A student who has a mental health issue is very different than a student who is in the cafeteria playing cards,” she said. “You can’t just have an all-in-one policy for every student.”

Individual attendance plans can include a carrot and stick approach, Doyle suggested.

“Some students might need an opportunity to go for a quick walk in the hallways or in elementary school have some extra play time,” she said, adding that consequences such as detention could be used as a last resort when incentives don’t work.

WATCH: After an initial round of meetings, the Council to Improve Classroom Conditions already has 18 recommendations to improve classroom conditions in Nova Scotia. Jennifer Grudic reports.

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development released a draft of the attendance policy Thursday.

“Teachers have told us that poor attendance and late arrivals are growing issues that are impacting the classroom environment for all students,” Education Minister Karen Casey said in a statement. “Students need and deserve to be in the best environment to learn and prepare for their future.”

The draft policy defines an excused absence, how absences need to be explained to schools, and how a school will go about addressing absences and chronic lateness. This may include loss of course credits at the high school level.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia classroom conditions council off to good start: teacher

In 2014-2015, almost 30 per cent of students missed 16 or more days of school.

In addition, about a quarter of students are regularly showing up late for class, Doyle said.

“Those 25 per cent coming late to class are disrupting the learning of those that are already there and engaged,” she said.

The 14-member classroom improvement committee – made up of teachers, parents and students – hopes to gather feedback on the policy in time for its next meeting in May in order to finish the policy by June and implement it in September.

The committee is asking principals to share the policy with staff and school advisory councils.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia classroom conditions council members chosen in wake of Bill 75

The council, which has a $20-million budget over two years, will also be examining issues such as class sizes, assessment and evaluation and student discipline.

Read the draft policy below: 

View this document on Scribd

Article

Rana Plaza disaster: Canadian Tire, other major brands urged to fully report supply chains

Nearly four years after the Rana Plaza disaster that killed more than 1,100 people in Bangladesh, Canadian Tire and its subsidiaries, Mark’s and Sport Chek, still haven’t introduced full supply chain transparency say human rights and labour rights advocates.

Ken Neumann, the Canadian director of the United Steelworkers, travelled to Bangladesh for the one-year anniversary of the April 24, 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse that killed roughly 1,129 people and injured more than 2,500 garment workers.

A mourner grieves for her relative, missing and presumed dead, at the scene of the April 24 Rana Plaza garment building collapse during the one hundredth-day anniversary of the disaster in Savar, on the outskirts of Dhaka.

(Photo credit: Getty Images)

Neumann recalled how even a year later human bones and scraps of clothing could be seen among the rubble of the garment factory.

“It’s hard to comprehend,” he told Global News Thursday. “A tremendous amount of stench even though the building was completely destroyed.”

He said in many cases bodies of workers were never recovered and were buried along with concrete from the building.

“It was heart-wrenching when you come across a mother that has a photo of her daughter and tears running down her eyes,” Neumann said. “In many cases families never had closure.”

Now with the four-year anniversary of one of the world’s deadliest industrial accident approaching, the United Steelworkers launched its No More Operating in the Dark campaign Thursday urging Canadian apparel companies, specifically Canadian Tire, to fully disclose where their products are made.

WATCH: Thousands protest on an anniversary of Bangladesh Rana Plaza disaster (2015)

HangZhou Night Net

An international group of nine labour rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch and the Toronto-based Maquila Solidarity Network, also released its Follow the Thread report which asked 72 major clothing brands to agree to a Transparency Pledge – a set of standards that includes publishing the full names and addresses of the factories making their products, and an estimate of the number of workers employed in each factory.

“When there are workers rights violations you can bring them to all of those companies, all of the brands and retailers and they together can try and ensure there is corrective action,” said Bob Jeffcott, a policy analyst with the Maquila Solidarity Network. “That is the value of that level of disclosure.”

READ MORE: What has been done to prevent another Rana Plaza disaster?

Four Canadian companies contacted for the report were: Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), Hudson’s Bay Company, Loblaw, owner of Joe Fresh, and Canadian Tire, owner of Mark’s and SportChek

The report found Mountain Equipment Co-op came close to meeting the full transparency pledge standards, while Hudson’s Bay disclosed the names and addresses of some of the facilities producing their branded products.

After Joe Fresh clothing labels were found among the ruins of Rana Plaza, Loblaw moved to disclose the names of factories and countries of the manufacturer, but not the factory addresses, according to the report.

Canadian Tire, which sells clothing brands like Denver Hayes through its Mark’s stores and sports attire at Sport Chek outlets, did not agree to publicly disclose any information on its supplier factories, the report said.

“If [these CEOs] had seen and witnessed what I had and to see the conditions that some of these people live and toil under I don’t comprehend how people could go to bed with a clear conscious,” Neumann said.

READ MORE: There are 6,500 slaves in Canada, nearly 46 million worldwide: charity

Ten apparel companies including Armani, Forever 21, and Ralph Lauren Corporation did not respond to a letter from coalition according to the report, while 15, including Canadian Tire, Foot Locker and American Eagle Outfitters made no commitment to publish supplier factory information.

Jeffcott says that since Rana Plaza collapse, many leading companies, Nike, Adidas, H&M and Patagonia have begun regularly publishing information about their supply chains.

“If you look at the power of those particular companies and the fact that they are setting this example, we feel there is momentum for this kind of disclosure.

A spokesperson for Canadian Tire said in an email the company uses third-party auditing firms to monitor factory compliance.

“Through our Supplier Code of Business Conduct we clearly outline our published standards with the vendors with whom we work around the globe,” the spokesperson said. “We were a founding member of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety since its inception, demonstrating our commitment to sustainable change.”

However, Jeffcott points out the companies involved in the Rana tragedy used third party auditors and says “self-regulation and private-sector factory audits” just are not working.

“Canadian Tire has to catch up with other leaders in the industry,” he said. “The attitude of saying ‘just trust us’ isn’t good enough anymore.”

Article

B.C. election 2017: Surrey-Newton riding

In 2013: NDP Incumbent Harry Bains handily won re-election, besting his BC Liberal challenger Sukhminder Virk by more than 3,000 votes (56 per cent – 38 per cent).

In 2009: Harry Bains won this riding over BC Liberal Ajay Caleb by over 6500 votes, 69-26 per cent.

HangZhou Night Net

History & Geography: The boundaries of Surrey-Newton have shrunk slightly, which, based on 2013 returns should give the NDP a slight bump, but Bains should easily win re-election once again. One of the three ridings created for the 1986 election when Surrey grew out of its one original two-member riding (White Rock-Cloverdale and Guliford-Whalley were the other two), Surrey-Newton is the smallest of the Surrey ridings, spanning from Scott Road to 152nd Street, going as far north as 80th Avenue and far south as 64th Avenue.

Candidates

BC Liberals’ Gurminder Singh Parihar is a CGA and CPA. He is a partner with Parihar & Associates accountants. Over the past few months, he’s been a key player in bringing together the government and trucking industry. Has served on several boards of governors, including the BC India Business Network and the BC College of Optometrists.

NDP’s Harry Bains is most recently the Opposition critic for Forestry. Bains was first elected in 2005. He was a union official with the Steelworkers for over fifteen years before entering politics. Bains was on Kwantlen’s board of governors in the 1990’s and has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity.

Green Party’s Richard Krieger is a co-founder and the first CEO of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, and one of the founding Directors of the BC Green Party. Krieger moved to B.C. from San Francisco in 1975 and was involved in the efforts that led to the creation of Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve.

Balpreet Singh Bal is running as an independent candidate. He is the owner of Bal Realty Services.

2017 Stats: Surrey-Newton

Population (2014): 58,340 (33rd)
Population Deviation from Average: 9.8 per cent
Area: 12 sq km (82nd)
Pop Density: 4,861.7 (6th)
Average Age: 34.7 years (85th)
English as Second Language: 64.71 per cent (7th)

Top 3 Second Languages:
Panjabi (Punjabi) – 43.09 per cent
Hindi – 4.41 per cent
Urdu – 3.05 per cent