National Newswatch

Many B.C. liquor branch contracts don’t comply with government standards: audit

Jul 10 2019 — Dirk Meissner — VICTORIA — Staff at British Columbia's liquor distribution branch should receive contract management training, says an audit that revealed contracts totalling millions of dollars were awarded without competition. Auditor general Carol Bellringer said Wednesday several contracts awarded by the province's liquor branch did not comply with procurement policies, including some that were awarded without an open bidding process. […]

Ride-hail firms can apply to operate in B.C. Sept. 3, ahead of launch this year

Jul 8 2019 — Dirk Meissner — VICTORIA — The journey to bring ride-hailing to British Columbia came closer to a destination Monday as the provincial government announced it will start accepting applications in September for companies to enter the market. Safety, insurance and penalty rules and regulations were updated, but still to come this summer are rules covering fares that drivers can charge, vehicle boundary […]

Plans to save threatened B.C. caribou on hold as NDP mends fences

Jul 6 2019 — Dirk Meissner — VICTORIA — Premier John Horgan's New Democrats continue to face widespread criticism in northeast British Columbia over the government's attempts to introduce plans to save threatened caribou herds. Political friends and foes say deep concerns remain about plans to save jobs and the caribou, calling last month's introduction of an interim moratorium on new resource development […]

Vancouver Island treaty agreement in principle includes West Coast trail lands

Jun 28 2019 — Dirk Meissner — VICTORIA — A popular British Columbia backcountry trail known for challenging hikers is slated to become part of a treaty agreement in principle between the federal and provincial governments and two Vancouver Island First Nations. Portions of the 75-kilometre West Coast Trail and Pacific Rim National Park Reserve are included in the proposed land, cash […]

B.C. teen overdose inquest recommends improvements in substance abuse treatment

Jun 27 2019 — Dirk Meissner — VICTORIA — A British Columbia coroner's inquest jury recommends improvements in provincial substance abuse treatment, detection and prevention services for young people following an inquest into the overdose of a Victoria-area teen. The jury cites B.C.'s health and education ministries and the Vancouver Island Health Authority in its recommendations after hearing from more than 40 witnesses into […]

Indigenous drummers lead pipeline protesters on 22-kilometre march in Victoria

Jun 22 2019 — Dirk Meissner — VICTORIA — The government approval of the Trans-Mountain pipeline expansion won't stop efforts in British Columbia to halt the project, protesters gathered outside Victoria's city hall said Saturday. About 300 demonstrators were adamant in their commitment to fight the pipeline twinning project, approved this week by the federal Liberal government, as they prepared to embark […]

B.C. home support for seniors is unaffordable, which boosts care costs: advocate

Jun 19 2019 — Dirk Meissner — VICTORIA — Most seniors in British Columbia can't afford the public home support system to keep them in their own homes for as long as possible, says a report from the province's advocate for seniors. Isobel Mackenzie said Wednesday data compiled by her office concludes home support service is too expensive for thousands of seniors and many end up […]

Victoria council to fund Remembrance Day ceremony; offers apologies to veterans

Jun 14 2019 — Dirk Meissner — Victoria council dropped its plan Thursday to seek federal funds to cover Remembrance Day ceremony costs, deciding apologies to veterans and those currently serving in Canada's Armed Forces were in order. A council committee voted last week to approach the Defence Department and Veterans Affairs Canada about helping with policing costs for Remembrance Day events, but […]

It’s spring, but B.C. already sounds drought alarms; fish, water, fire threats

Jun 11 2019 — Dirk Meissner — VICTORIA — The likelihood of a drought in British Columbia is rising as warm weather melts away what's left of a minuscule mountain snow pack and spring rains fail to appear, say provincial wildfire and forecast experts. Drought level warnings for Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and B.C.'s northeast have already increased to the voluntary water-restrictions stage, […]

Victoria council debates asking Ottawa to help fund Remembrance Day

Jun 7 2019 — Dirk Meissner — VICTORIA — A move to seek federal funding for Victoria's annual Remembrance Day events may have backfired, the city's mayor said Friday. Lisa Helps said she expected council members would rethink their positions following widespread public backlash over a committee motion that moved Thursday, the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Invasion. Reaction to the committee's plan to approach the Defence […]

West Coast voyage explores remote sites visited by Spanish explorers in 1770s

Jun 7 2019 — Dirk Meissner — VICTORIA — Two British Columbia kayakers are set to depart from a remote Vancouver Island beach known as Rugged Point on Sunday for a month-long voyage retracing the passage Spanish explorers took in the late 1700s. Jacqueline Windh, a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and her husband, Dave Gilbert, plan to hike and kayak the […]

B.C. premier rejects Liberal calls to dump legislature Speaker Darryl Plecas

May 30 2019 — Dirk Meissner — VICTORIA — The British Columbia legislature became embroiled in political turmoil Thursday as Premier John Horgan rejected calls to replace the Speaker after the Opposition Liberals accused him of conducting a clandestine security probe. B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson told the house Darryl Plecas has embarked upon "intrusions" of employees at the legislature, which includes examining workplaces and data stored on their computers. The secretive conduct […]

B.C. post-secondary schools at risk of money laundering: minister

May 28 2019 — Dirk Meissner — VICTORIA — Post-secondary institutions in British Columbia were warned Tuesday to be on the look out for possible student money launderers in the province's ongoing fight against illegal cash. Advanced Education Minister Melanie Mark said she has sent letters to almost 370 public post-secondary institutions and private career training institutions advising them to no longer accept large cash payments […]

B.C. Greens introduce bill to ban conversion therapy; seek all-party support

May 27 2019 — Dirk Meissner — VICTORIA — A proposed new law in British Columbia would ban the controversial practice of attempting to change a person's sexuality. Green Leader Andrew Weaver tabled legislation Monday that would stop the use of so-called conversion therapy in the province for those under 19 years old. The therapy is abusive and damaging to people and the Sexual Orientation […]