Tag Archives: british-columbia

In which I am prescient

Last week, I tweeted this:

Today, I give you the second sentence of this Gary Mason interview.

House of worship

Premier Christy Clark, speaking to a Christian audience earlier this month:

“I really do think the tragedy of our society is actually not there are so many atheists — because atheists often express themselves as generously as non-atheists — it’s the fact people don’t go to a place of worship every week and get reminded anymore of how important it is that we care.”

You know, maybe it wouldn’t be a terrible thing if some British Columbians, especially in leadership positions, could go to a special place more often and get reminded of how important it is that we care. But for that to happen, it would have to be open a little more than 19 full days in nearly a year.

Turning mild-mannered supporters into super-powered fundraisers

The BC Children’s Hospital is on the lookout for a Super Community – a group of people doing something extraordinary to raise funds, raise awareness and support the hospital’s work caring for British Columbia’s children.

And to do that, they’ve created an online space where communities can organize at SuperCommunity.ca. You’ll find tools for collecting donations, emailing contacts, and sharing stories, videos and photos.

But they aren’t just offering tools – they’re offering some context as well: stories, ideas and tips for putting those tools to work, and fundraising and organizing online. We’ve helped them pull together their Super Community Resource Kit, which lives on their blog at bcchf.wordpress.com.

Be sure to check it out… and consider it just a beginning. Add your comments, ideas and links to other helpful resources, and help BC Children’s Hospital’s supporters do even more to help kids when they need it most.

(Oh, and while you’re in the mood to help BC Children’s Hospital, please do fan them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and check out the personalized superhero video and Facebook application we helped them build!)

Personalized video, Facebook widget raising funds for BC Children’s Hospital

As causes go, you can’t get much closer to our hearts than with a children’s hospital. The thought of having to take one of our kids there is wrenching, and I’m sobered by the fact that thousands upon thousands of children – and their parents – go through that every day.

We want those kids to get the care they need swiftly and effectively. We want our best medical knowledge brought to bear, and we want clean, quality facilities that promote good health as well as healing sickness.

So we jumped at the chance to work with the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, helping them chart a social media strategy for engaging their audiences and raising money. The focus is their “Be a Superhero” campaign, in support of their $200-million plan to create one of the world’s top centres for children’s health.

Our first efforts are now live online, centered around what we believe is the first use of personalized video as a donor recognition and fundraising tool. The Be a Superhero video shows a newscast – using the donor’s or prospect’s name – that either thanks them for being a hero to BC kids, or invites them to step up to the plate.

Superhero Facebook applicationBut it doesn’t end there. You can add your superhero video to your Facebook profile and launch your own Facebook-based fundraising campaign, inviting your friends to be superheroes as well.

(We’ve also been helping the hospital engage their fans on Twitter – you can follow the foundation at @bcchf.)

It’s still early days, but we’re excited about breaking new ground for the hospital, and helping kids like ours across BC… and we’d love it to succeed. If you’d like to help, too, here’s how:

  1. Watch the video, and send it to as many of your friends as you can.
  2. Add the Facebook application, and install the fundraising widget on your profile.
  3. Become a fan of the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation Facebook page.
  4. Follow BCCHF on Twitter.

And finally…

Vancouver’s Twestival is coming on September 12, organized by the amazing Rebecca Bollwitt, aka Miss604.

Rebecca has launched an online poll to decide which local non-profit should be the beneficiary of the Twestival’s fundraising efforts – and the BC Children’s Hospital is a strong contender.

Voting closes tomorrow (Friday), so if you could take just a moment and vote now, or using the poll on the right-hand side of this page, we’d be delighted… thanks!


Dawn Black says goodbye to Ottawa

A good friend is leaving the House of Commons for a run at the B.C. legislature. Here’s her farewell speech from April 2; in it, you’ll find a lot of what made her such a great MP:

Ms. Dawn Black (New Westminster—Coquitlam, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, this might be my last opportunity to stand and speak as a member of Parliament since the House will adjourn tomorrow. I want to announce that I will be resigning my seat on April 13.

You and I were first elected, Mr. Speaker, in the 1988 election, although I must say I am rather envious of your win-loss record. I have had a couple of losses along the way and you have maintained your seat since 1988.

It has been an enormous pleasure and honour to serve the people of New Westminster, Burnaby, Coquitlam and Port Moody.

When I was first elected, Ed Broadbent was the leader of my party, and he remains a very close friend and confidante.

I was a member when my party elected the first woman to lead a national party in our country and was and still am so proud to have served with Audrey McLaughlin. She is a women of tremendous courage and determination. She has also continued to provide me with encouragement and support over the years.

I have been very honoured to be part of an NDP caucus, led by the member for Toronto—Danforth. His boundless energy, ability to think outside the box and to take the road less travelled has been an inspiration not only to me but also many Canadians.

I am proud of my record. I introduced a private member’s bill, which was adopted by the House, to declare December 6 a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

I was part of a committee that I suggested do a groundbreaking study on all of the issues around breast cancer, which led to real changes in the treatment of women with that disease and their families.

I brought forward a private member’s bill on anti-stalking legislation, which the government of the day passed into law. That is now part of the Criminal Code of Canada.

I have a couple of other private members’ bills on the books right now on body armour and non-returnable warrants. I invite the government side to take them over and present them as its own legislation.

Hon. James Moore: Ask for unanimous consent.

Ms. Dawn Black: I may ask for unanimous consent.

The highlight for me of the 39th Parliament was an opportunity to travel to Afghanistan with the defence committee to meet with the men and women who were serving in the Canadian Forces there. I was very impressed by their determination, skill, high level of training and their commitment to Canada and the job they were being asked to do.

The defence committee wrote a report on the war in Afghanistan. I, it will not be a surprise to most members, presented a dissenting opinion on that report. I believe that dissenting report is as valid today as it was two years ago when I wrote it.

I mention these achievements because too often Canadians think there is no effective role for an opposition member of Parliament. Some think members in opposition cannot achieve anything. It is very important for Canadians to know that all of us in this place can and do achieve real results for ordinary Canadians.

Canadians only see question period reflected in the news cycle, so they can be forgiven for thinking that Parliament is a nasty kind of sandlot filled with testosterone-driven egos. The truth is that all of us on both sides of the House have more in common than what divides us. We disagree on some fundamental policy issues, and that is an important part of our democratic system.

I hold my values as a social democrat very strongly, just as others in this place hold different views. I only wish that we could debate these differences with a bit more civility.

I urge all my colleagues to tone down the insults and abuse. What has been hurled back and forth across the floor has often lacked wit and wisdom. This place has become less civil over the past few years and I believe that this is evident in the increasing cynicism all of us hear from voters when we go door to door. It is, ultimately, dangerous for our democratic system.

There is one other issue I must draw attention to, and that is the glacial rate of progress toward gender equality in this place. The first woman MP, Agnes Macphail, was elected in 1921. This was a breakthrough for my grandmother’s generation, my mother was not even born then.

Now in 2009, women represent just over 22% of the House of Commons. We have hovered around 20% for the last 15 years. At this rate of progress, and I have used the most up-to-date scientific calculations to determine this, it will take until December 4, 2100 to reach parity. That is darn near 100 years from now, and it is simply not good enough.

I urge all political parties in the House to get with it and nominate more women. After all, we are more than 50% of the population of our country. It is well past time. Our Parliament must more accurately reflect the Canadian population in every way.

I want to conclude with a few words of thanks. I am trying not to get emotional. I want to thank the Clerk, Audrey O’Brien, for all the assistance she has given me. It is a huge privilege for me to serve in a Parliament with the first woman to ever hold this prestigious and very important position.

I want to thank my staff in the constituency office, and all members know about this, because they are the front line people. They are the ones who face the sometimes angry constituents, the people who have issues around some of the government policies. They work so hard and I want thank them for all the work they have done for me over the years.

I want to thank to my staff on Parliament Hill, without whom I know I would not have been nearly as successful as I have been over the last few years.

I also want to thank some of the support people on the Hill: the drivers, the food services people, the postal workers, the messengers, the clerks, the interpreters, the security guards and the pages. All of these wonderful people make it possible for all of us to do our jobs. I know I could not have been nearly as effective without their help.

I want to thank my husband, Peter, who has sometimes taken abuse because of the road I have travelled and my choice to run for political office. I know at one point, while canvassing for me on the doorstep, one angry man said to him “What kind of man are you? How do you allow your wife to do such a thing?” I know that has been tough, and it has been hard to have me away. I appreciate his support all these years.

I want to thank my sons, Matthew, David and Stuart, their terrific partners and my seven very brilliant grandchildren.

There are some things I will not miss. I will not miss the weekly flights from B.C. I will not miss the jet lag. However, there is much I will miss here. I will miss my colleagues on both sides of the House. I will miss the work, especially at committee where great things are sometimes accomplished.

I wish all of my hon. colleagues in this place great wisdom and great compassion as they face the crisis that is affecting Canadians today. Finally, I want to thank the voters of New Westminster—Coquitlam for putting their faith and confidence in me.

Great Bear Rainforest: more to the campaign

I posted here yesterday about the Great Bear Rainforest, and the coalition of environmental groups pressing for its protection. I mentioned their online petition campaign, but it turns out there’s more.

Darren Barefoot, whose company is working with the coalition, posted this appeal for online support:

If you’re keen to help beyond signing the petition, consider any of the following:

Got government to sign a deal? Great Bear Rainforest case shows your fight may have only just begun

So your organization worked your collective butts off, applied pressure, deluged politicians with postcards, filled the streets with demonstrators and finally achieved your goal: the government sat down with you and hammered out a deal.

You both signed on the dotted line… and that was it, right?

Apparently not.

A few years ago, an intense campaign by environmentalists culminated in a commitment from B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell (as well as businesses, First Nations and others) to set aside a large tract of rainforest that the campaigners dubbed the Great Bear Rainforest.

Thing is, the agreement was to have the conservation plan take effect by March 2009… and, according to a site set up by environmental groups ForestEthics, Greenpeace and Sierra Club B.C., there’s a lot left to be done, and some critical milestones have slipped by.

This sort of thing happens more often than you might think. Signing an agreement is one thing, but working out the details and turning them into a reality on the ground – that’s another thing entirely. The best of intentions can be sunk by a lack of political will, recalcitrant stakeholders, behind-the-scenes lobbying, insufficient funding and staff, bureaucratic wrangling, incompetence or a failure to pay attention.

Which is why change doesn’t happen when the piece of paper is signed. And whether you’re a neighbourhood group that has petitioned the city for traffic-calming measures on your street, or an international coalition of large environmental groups, you have to keep the pressure up until the change you want to see has actually happened.

In the case of the Great Bear Rainforest, if you want to see this precious, spectacular area genuinely protected, you can sign this online petition, urging the B.C. government to keep their promise.

(Hat-tip to Darren Barefoot, who’s working with the organizations to spread the word)