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Top 10 issues British Columbians are talking about going into the federal election

As September. 20 approaches, what are the top ten issues British Columbians are most concerned with?

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Rumours of a federal election surfaced in early July, when the prime minister visited British Columbia to announce $1.3 billion in federal funding toward the Surrey Langley SkyTrain extension project, as well as $3.2 billion over the next five years to create a $10 per day child care program for kids under six.

During the same time Jagmeet Singh and Erin O’Toole were conducting tours of their own, furthering the narrative a federal election was nigh.

There were promises from the leaders of $8.7 million for a University of Victoria-based oceans program’s climate research, $10.3 million for 21 Vancouver Island projects and $11.3 million for social housing in the capital region.

It was apparent election giddiness was in the air and on Sunday, the rumoured snap election was announced and now Justin Trudeau will attempt to turn his minority government into a majority.

As September 20 approaches, what are the top 10 issues British Columbians are most concerned with?

The following list – which is set forth in no particular order – is curated from polls, interviews, and a wide variety of sources.

Opioid crisis.

Five years ago British Columbia declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency.

In May 2021, there were 160 suspected illicit drug toxicity deaths, according to a report from the BC Coroner Service. This equates to over five deaths per day on average.

Drug toxicity deaths per 100,000 people is at its worst rate since at least 1995.

Housing.

The topic of housing, homelessness, and poverty have been important to British Columbians going into past elections, and these concerns have only ramped up during COVID.

In addition to homelessness and poverty issues, there has been a focus on absentee landlords buying up properties. The need for restrictions on foreign purchase and ownership of land is frequently mentioned, predominantly for those living and working Metro Vancouver.

Reducing foreign investment.

Reduced foreign investment in favour of building industries and infrastructure at home.

Health care.

Interest in health care, and more specifically long-term care, is of significant focus.

The federal government announced Friday it’s investing close to $134 million in long-term care facilities in BC.

The money will be spent on single-bed rooms, improved ventilation and air quality, and more.

On Thursday, the BC provincial government announced those working in long-term care or assisted living facilities in British Columbia will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine, one day prior to the federal money being announced.

Indigenous reconciliation.

Polls show British Columbian’s view indigenous reconciliation issues as a top priority.

This comes after the discovery this year of human remains found at a former residential school in Kamloops, BC, followed by several more similar findings in Western Canada.

Wildfires.

Every summer BC is savaged by wildfire.

Nearly 1,500 wildfires have started since April 1, which has resulted in the burning of more than 6,600 square kilometres of land.

While the focus of many British Columbians tends to lean towards oversimplified solutions relating to climate change, more are beginning to question what role the forest management system is playing in the growth of wildifre.

Economic recovery.

The next government is facing massive economic problems.

British Columbia experienced 17,350 business closures in April of 2020; a more than 200% increase from 7,623 in 2019, according to Statistics Canada.

COVID-19.

Likely the most divisive topic of our time, COVID-19 is still a concern for many.

With a significant portion of British Columbians petrified of COVID-19 variants, they want to be assured that their elected prime minister will do all in his power to “protect them.”

On the other end, a meaningful percentage of those living in BC want all COVID related measures killed, and will vote for whichever candidate promises to respect issues such as vaccine choice.

Being a highly emotional topic, the truth is often clouded by outrage. Politicians can be expected to weaponize this going into the election.

Climate change.

Much like COVID-19, the discussion surrounding climate change is no stranger to disagreement.

Most will agree that the climate is indeed changing. Where the dispute comes in is whether or not the changing of the climate is anthropogenic (human-caused), and, if so, how much can be attributed to said human influence.

As with COVID, this is an emotionally charged topic which will continue to be aggressively utilized by the candidates.

Civil liberties.

An increasingly large number of British Columbians – most of whom feel they have not been given a voice in the mainstream political realm – are predominantly focused on the topic of civil liberties going into the election.

This comes in response to the series of COVID related restrictions that have been taking place since March 2020.

Reid Small is a BC correspondent for the Western Standard
rsmall@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/reidsmall

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Timothy Boyle

    August 17, 2021 at 11:28 am

    Unfortunate that the surveys leading to the article didn’t attempt to prioritize the issues. For instance, it would be most interesting to know how climate change, which will undoubtedly be the most expense government program ever undertaken in human history, is viewed by B.C.ers. The 9th place that is accorded to it by the article suggests it the second last of the big 10 concerns but is that just clever (or biased) editing or can we conclude that CC is not the burning issue with Canadian voters that the Left bias media suggests it is?

  2. K

    August 16, 2021 at 7:14 am

    BC is even worse off than Alberta. Yikes. Hippies, boatloads of foreigners, and wildfires. Not a good mix. When will they learn?

  3. Seven-Zero-One

    August 15, 2021 at 11:03 pm

    Liberal majority government. Game over in Alberta. The punishment is coming.

  4. Steven

    August 15, 2021 at 5:14 pm

    Now that the election is called will Trudeau live up to his lofty taxpayers cash to BC? Lot’s of platitudes from fibber Trudeau, that’s his chaste character isn’t it?

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BC healthcare worker says she’s still suffering adverse effects six months after COVID shot

The 39-year-old youth crisis worker is told she must get her second dose, despite having suffered adverse effects.

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Dawn Slykhuis, a 39-year-old youth crisis worker has been told she must get her second dose of COVID-19 vaccine, despite still experiencing adverse effects following dose number one.

Slykhuis, who tested positive for COVID-19 in 2020, got her first shot in April 2021.

“I waited a full six months to make sure that I wasn’t going to have a reaction,” Slykhuis told the Western Standard.

“I got the dose on April 28, and then on May 18 I experienced acute sharp pain in my head, like someone was shooting lasers through my brain.”

Slykhuis said the pain lasted for about a week before settling into a more chronic dull pain, and so — fearing the possibility of cancer — she sought medical attention amid an unrelenting series of bad headaches coincided with a sporadically spiked heart rate.

“They expected nerve damage,” said Slykhuis, who began losing feeling in her left arm.

“It got so tingly yesterday I had to go for a CT. I’m waiting to see a neurologist on November 8.”

Dr. Steven Pelech, president and chief scientific officer at Kinexus Bioinformatics Corporation, and chair of the Scientific and Medical Advisory Committee at the Canadian Covid Care Alliance, has been voicing concern over potential health risks COVID-19 vaccines may impose — specifically myocarditis.

“Contrary to what a number of people have said, there is no such thing as ‘mild myocarditis,’” Pelech told the Western Standard in an August interview.

“It’s the destruction of the myocytes, the heart cells that contract. When those cells die, they are not replaced in your body and are instead replaced by scar-tissue, which is from fibroblasts — skin cells which don’t have contractile activity, so the remaining muscle cells have to get a little bigger in order to compensate.”

Dr. Charles Hoffe, a physician who practiced in Lytton, BC for over 20 years raised similar concerns to that of Pelech, and he reported patients suffering severe adverse neurological and cardiovascular effects after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

“It is now clearly apparent with medical evidence from around the world, that the side-effect profiles of the various gene modification therapies against COVID-19, have been vastly understated by their manufacturers, who were eager to prove their safety,” wrote Hoffe in an open letter to BC Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Interior Health Authority (IHA) suspended Hoffe’s emergency room privileges and he is currently being investigated by IHA and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC (CPBC) for promoting “vaccine hesitancy.”

Hoffe is represented by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF).

Several European countries suspended the use of the Moderna vaccine for people under the age of 30, citing heart inflammation as well as inflammation of the membrane surrounding the heart.

Iceland has halted the Moderna vaccine for all ages.

“I am a healthy 39-year-old that’s never had nerve damage and all of a sudden I have chronic head pain, nerve damage, and I’m experiencing cognitive deficits as well, which is really hard to talk about because now I want to cry,” said Slykhuis.

“I’m like an old lady seeing my brain slip away. Making errors, dropping things. It’s pretty scary, well, it’s terrifying… to be experiencing these symptoms and still be forced to get another dose to keep my job in healthcare.”

Reid Small is a BC correspondent for the Western Standard
rsmall@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/reidsmall

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It’s down to the wire for AHS employees as deadline looms for vaccine mandates

Although the statement from AHS says their COVID-19 vaccine policy is mandatory any “employee who is unable to be immunized due to a medical reason or for another protected ground under the Alberta Human Rights Act will be reasonably accommodated.”

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Tomorrow is deadline day for AHS workers.

The deadline of October 31 for Alberta Health Services’ (AHS) vaccine mandate is just over two weeks away when all employees and contracted healthcare providers will have to be fully immunized.

The AHS policy was released on August 31 and stated, “the latest an employee could receive their second dose to be in compliance with the new policy is October 16, 2021, which allows for the two weeks that must pass to be considered fully immunized.”

The Western Standard has heard from a number of lawyers representing thousands of clients on many fronts who are looking for legal support in pushing back against these workplace and post-secondary institution vaccine mandates.

One of those lawyers, Jeffrey Rath, of Rath & Company, was recently retained by MyAPSChoice, a group consisting of over 4,000 public service and government employees.

Based on a number of legal claims including violations of constitutional rights and freedoms, employment laws, human rights laws and breaches to the Freedom of Information Act, Rath has been advising his clients to not cooperate with the mandates.

Rath has also released a “generalized open letter” for anyone to use in any workplace or post-secondary institution where a worker or student is facing a mandate to be vaccinated “against their will.”

The letter states: “It is my legal opinion that any policy that vitiates the consent of an employee (including staff, students, volunteers, contractors, and other persons acting on their behalf) by threatening to either terminate or suspend them in order to coerce the employee into being vaccinated is a violation of Canadian Law.”

The letter goes on to cite laws protecting one’s medical privacy and highlights courses of action available including exemptions.

Rath also advises that people do not reply electronically or provide their consent for access to their private medical information and that demands for proof of vaccination be responded to in writing via regular or registered mail.

Page six of the document includes a legal letter that can be used by anyone wishing to claim a legal exemption based on “the illegality of the policy under section 7 of the Charter (of rights and freedoms).”

“This is my generalized legal opinion without reference to any one individual personal circumstance,” said Rath advising that people are welcome to email him if they have more specific circumstances that may require legal assistance or if they are interested in registering as a class-action litigant.

Although the statement from AHS says their COVID-19 vaccine policy is mandatory any “employee who is unable to be immunized due to a medical reason or for another protected ground under the Alberta Human Rights Act will be reasonably accommodated.”

“This is an extraordinary but necessary measure to help protect our vital frontline healthcare teams and help us maintain a safe environment for all patients and clients” said Dr. Verna Yiu, President and CEO of Alberta Health Services.

An AHS official told the Western Standard that “AHS employee requests for accommodation will be reviewed by an Accommodations Adjudication Panel” which includes members from Human Resources, Employee Relations, WHS, Ability Management, and Organizational Ethics.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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WS EXCLUSIVE POLL: Vast majority of Albertans will vote in Senate election

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Near seven out of every 10 Albertans are prepared to mark their ballots in the provincial Senate elections on Monday, according to a new poll done exclusively for the Western Standard.

The Mainstreet Research polls show 67% of Albertans said they would vote in the race to elect three senators-in-waiting.

Courtesy Mainstreet Research

Only 16% of Albertans said they would not participate in the election while another 17% were still not sure whether they would vote at all.

The polling shows a Conservative slate of candidates are currently in the lead, garnering the support of 30% of those surveyed.

Independent candidates are sitting at 17%, People’s Party of Canada candidates at 13% and 28% are still making up their minds.

A total of 12% said they would vote for a combination of candidates.

For those who intend to vote for the UCP in the next election, 75% said they would be voting for the Conservative candidates. For NDP supporters, 37% said they would vote for Independent candidates.

Courtesy Mainstreet research

PPC candidates were the favorite choice of 43% of those aiming to vote for the Wildrose Independence Party.

Mainstreet President and CEO Quito Maggi said while he “expects a slate of Conservatives to be elected” he “was surprised at the number of people who were going to select a mix.”

A full list of the candidates can be found on the Elections Alberta website here.

The analysis in this report is based on results of a survey conducted on October 12-13, 2021, among a sample of 935 adults, 18 years of age or older living in Alberta. The survey was conducted using automated telephone interviews (Smart IVR). Respondents were interviewed on landlines and cellular phones. The survey is intended to represent the voting population in Alberta. 

The margin of error for the poll is +/- 3.2% at the 95% confidence level. Margins of error are higher in each subsample. Totals may not add up 100% due to rounding.

Tomorrow: The Western Standard‘s exclusive poll on party support in Alberta.

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