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  1. Jan-Feb 2019 Focus.pdf 4 VICTORIA’S DIMINISHING URBAN FOREST | Leslie Campbell Residents are mobilizing to protect one of the City’s greatest natural charms, increasingly threatened by development. 14 SEX, LIES, AND TRIPLE-DELETED EMAILS | David Broadland An email unearthed by an FOI request raises fresh questions about the Elsner investigation. So do all the deleted emails. 18 ALARMED | Ross Crockford Downtown residents question the $34-million deal for a new fire hall. 20 ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT RECONSIDERED | Judith Lavoie BC’s new Environmental Assessment Act needs teeth and scientific certainty to avoid disasters of the past. 22 CLEANBC PLAN NICE ONSCREEN, BUT HAS SERIOUS PROBLEMS | Russ Francis The BC government’s concerted efforts at message control nearly overwhelm its new climate plan. 24 LOGGING MADNESS CONTINUES | Briony Penn Nothing has changed in BC forestry practices under the BC NDP government. 26 SENIORS TARGETED WITH HIGH-DOSE FLU VACCINE | Alan Cassels The government doesn’t pay for it yet, but the pressure from Big Pharma is on. 28 BRIDGE BUILDER SUES CITY FOR BAD DESIGN | David Broadland The City has always denied the new bridge has any problems, thus limiting its ability to assert itself in legal fights over the project. 30 LIGHT OF DAY | Aaren Madden Ray Ward’s landscape paintings celebrate the ever-changing skies and moods of the West Coast. 34 THE ART AND LIFE OF ELIZABETH YEEND DUER | Kate Cino This Anglo-Japanese artist illustrates the fascinating blend of cultural themes at play in the 1940s in Victoria. 48 SPEAKEASY: HOT JAZZ ON BROAD STREET | Mollie Kaye Your once-sleepy Tuesday nights may never be the same. 52 ON THE PATH OF AN OIL PIPELINE | Monica Prendergast Bears is a great example of the resurgence of Indigenous theatre in Canada. 54 PATRICIA ROY’S THE COLLECTORS | Stephen Hume As this historian shows, the Royal BC Museum has proved a resilient, adaptive and unusually far-sighted institution. 58 DOWNTOWN HAS IT ALL-ISH | Gene Miller Downtown has 1000s of new units, yet it feels unwelcoming to many. 60 BALANCING PROGRESS AND PARKLAND | Maleea Acker Julian Anderson and Cuthbert Holmes Park. 62 ENVISIONING A PLASTIC-FREE ZONE FOR THE NEW YEAR | Trudy Duivenvoorden Mitic Victoria is tackling the bags; now let’s move on to single-use plastics.
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    Chantal New: be honest. but don't

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    “untitled” Chantal New, drawing Xchanges Gallery This series of installations and drawings document the internal narrative of the female experience and the anxious thoughts that often define puberty and womanhood. Chantal New (BA in Art+Design, Trinity Western) is an emerging artist working in mixed media drawing and painting. Her minimalist drawings explore the importance of place and memory and the intersections between environmental and cultural geographies. Opening January 4, 7-9pm; otherwise Sats & Suns 11am-4pm. 6E-2333 Government St, 250-382-0442, www.xchangesgallery.org.
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    Vancouver Island Vanguard

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    “In the Spirit” (detail) Charles Elliot (TEMOSEN) ALCHERINGA ENTERS THE NEW YEAR with new ownership and an exhibit recognizing some Vancouver Island-based artists whose innovative work has made a resounding impact on the contemporary art canon of the Northwest Coast, yet who are not as well known as many other artists. Mark Loria, a local arts and culture advocate, and his wife Mary Loria, a ceramic artist and educator, have taken over the gallery from its founder and director of 30 years, Elaine Monds, who established Alcheringa as one of the top Indigenous art galleries in the world. The Lorias are committed to supporting Northwest Coast-based artists, and Monds will help in an advisory role. For the Vancouver Island Vanguard exhibit, artists such as TEMOSEN Charles Elliott, Delmar Johnnie Seletze’ and Mark Henderson will be a major focus alongside Beau Dick, Art Thompson, Susan (Sparrow) Point, Roy Henry Vickers, Art Vickers, Harris Smith and Pat Amos. Of TEMOSEN, Professor Dr Robina Thomas writes: “Having been awarded the Order of British Columbia, and having international success, Coast Salish artist Charles Elliott’s (TEMOSEN) art work is like examining the old masters. However, a quick search for Charles Elliott displays minimal results at best. The tension in his elongated forms, his storytelling within the work, and the influence he continues to hold over young Salish artists is undeniable. He created the Queen’s baton used in the 1994 Commonwealth Games and a talking stick presented to Nelson Mandela.” TEMOSEN will give an artist talk at the closing event, March 2, 4-6pm. Professor Thomas also mentions Mark Henderson (1953–2016), who “created sophisticated multi-colour silkscreen prints that have a whimsical, painterly quality to them. There is always movement, and flow, landscape and motion, form line and nature. It is pictoral in a way; he took the current style and made it approachable, recognizable, and ultimately fun.” In all, over 30 works from the influencers of the burgeoning renaissance of Coast Salish contemporary art will be on display. Opening on February 2, 4-6pm with smudging ceremony. 621 Fort Street, 250-383-8224, www.alcheringa-gallery.com.
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    If you don’t think you could ever sit through—never mind enjoy—an opera, you might want to test your theory and go see Pacific Opera Victoria’s February staging of Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata. POV conductor Timothy Vernon says it’s a good “gateway opera” because “it moves quickly, like an arrow. It doesn’t flag. There’s not any part where you think, ‘Ugh, let’s get through this bit.’ It’s inspired, it’s moving.” It’s also relatable, he says, and exciting: “The [libretto] framework is society life in late 19th century Paris, so it’s fun. Champagne and bubbles…who doesn’t like a party with champagne?” In this staging, among the the tuxedos, flapper ballgowns, and glass flutes emerges a tragic tale of love in the face of social cruelty in the roaring 20s. La Traviata (Italian for “the fallen woman”) is adapted from a novel by Dumas, and has “a wonderful sense of psychology of the characters; Violetta (main protagonist, sung by soprano Lucia Cesaroni) is…a victim of incredible, hypocritical ostracism. She is willing to sacrifice the love of her life for propriety, to protect the family.” Even though it is the most performed opera in the world, it can be challenging to find soloists for the four main roles who have a particularly specific and versatile “fach,” an opera term for the combination of a singer’s vocal range, character and timbre. The success of any production of La Traviata hinges on the casting, says Vernon. “All you need are the four greatest singers in the world,” he laughs. Besides directing, Vernon was charged with the task to cast this sumptuous co-production with Manitoba Opera, Edmonton Opera, Pacific Opera Victoria, Vancouver Opera, and Opéra de Montréal. He says his real “casting coup” is the tenor he landed to sing the role of Violetta’s young lover Alfredo—Canadian Colin Ainsworth. “He sings quite a lot of Baroque opera,” Vernon says, and has the perfect “fach” for this plum role, even though he’s never sung it before. Vernon, a Traviata veteran who has conducted over 300 performances of this beloved piece, says, “You get a different kind of buy-in when singers are new to the role. You can figure it out together. Freshen it up.” Surtitles, a Canadian invention, are projected above the action on stage for those of us who may not be fluent in Italian, but still want to be in on every nuance of the story. Accessibility is a theme, and Vernon invites all comers. “Nobody should feel they’re going to have an estranging experience, or that you have to go and rent a tuxedo. This is an opera that anyone with any feelings at all can get right into.” La Traviata runs February 14-24 at the Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton St. Pre-performance talk one hour before curtain. For tickets, www.rmts.bc.ca or 250-386-6121. —Mollie Kaye
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    The catalytic moment that started a fine flourishing of Baroque music here in Victoria began in Brussels over 15 years ago. Brussels? Yes, that’s where Pacific Baroque Festival founder Brian Groos used to live, and first got a gleam in his eye about the sort of exciting, early-music happenings he could create back here on Vancouver Island. “I favoured going to period performance concerts throughout Belgium and Europe, and thought it would be a nice festival to bring to Victoria.” At a concert one night in Brussels, “I recognized the concertmaster, and it turned out to be [Marc] Destrubé from Victoria, performing with the Orchestra of the 18th Century. I told him my idea, and he seemed interested.” Once back in Victoria, Groos was at a crossroads. “I said to myself, ‘You going to do something about this idea, or spend the rest of your life wondering if you should have?’” Marc Destrubé Groos did it. Destrubé came on board and became the artistic director of the Pacific Baroque Festival, now producing its 15th anniversary offering. Each concert references significant moments from past years’ festivals, says Groos. “We’ve taken elements from the character that we’ve created, and tried to represent them in the program.” This year’s five-concert lineup includes Vivaldi’s Gloria, with Victoria Children’s Choir and the Pacific Baroque Festival Ensemble; Ensemble La Modestine performing rarely-heard gems from the Düben Collection; and the PBF Ensemble and St Christopher Singers performing works by Henry Purcell. Fifteen years ago, Groos says, “there weren’t many institutions in Victoria performing this music [on period instruments]. Now there are other groups who are interested in continuing this work, over and above the festival,” One such inspiration is the new partnership between the Pacific Baroque Festival, Christ Church Cathedral, and Early Music Vancouver, who are co-producing the inaugural year of a brand-new annual Pacific Baroque Series they launched this fall in Victoria. “I am thrilled the Pacific Baroque Festival is deepening its collaborations,” Groos says. “Victoria is now recognized as a vibrant centre for Baroque music.” The Pacific Baroque Festival’s five concerts are held at the Victoria Conservatory of Music’s Alix Goolden Hall and Christ Church Cathedral. Festival tickets: pacbaroque.com/festival, 250-590-0523. —Mollie Kaye
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    Concussion

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    Life after a traumatic brain injury is never the same. Without realizing it, we are silently surrounded by many who are adapting to a different, post-concussion existence. Victoria dancer, mother, and three-time concussion survivor Stacey Horton is the creator of Concussion, a multimedia dance performance that aims to build community around an experience so many share, yet so few talk about. “It’s an invisible condition. We forget it exists. So many people tell me that they, or someone they are close to, have suffered with this.” Horton’s piece is a non-linear telling of her life inside three separate concussions. A melange of dance, spoken word, music and soundscapes created by film industry sound designer David Parfitt, Concussion illuminates Horton’s myriad daily challenges, and evokes the confusing distortions of perception and unpredictable inner terrors she’s confronted in her post-brain-trauma life. “I’ve created sequences of visceral sensation of being inside the concussion,” she explains, “recreating my physical sense of the brain—when it’s damaged, when it’s healthy—and showing these differences.” Horton workshopped the piece and won the Crystal Dance Prize awarded by Dance Victoria. She applied for and received an equity grant from the CRD, which then led her to partner on the production with the Cridge Centre. “They have a brain injury department,” Horton enthuses. “I wouldn’t have connected with them unless I’d applied for the grant; it’s been amazing to learn about the services they offer for the families and supporters of those who have been affected by traumatic brain injury.” ASL will be provided for the performances, along with a brand-new form of live, spoken audio that describes dance for the blind. “As much as possible, we are making it accessible,” she says. Her intention is to make the performance “immersive” for audiences, so she has chosen the Intrepid Theatre Club downtown. “We’re setting up 35 chairs in the round,” she explains. “It’s a tiny space, and we’ll fill it with sound, lights, and projections” as well as “ping pong balls that end up bouncing around in the space, to give that impact of…being in a world that is slightly more traumatic or bombarded than an everyday peaceful living experience.” Jan 24-26 at 7pm; Jan 26 at 2pm (discussion to follow) at Intrepid Theatre Club, 1609 Blanshard St. $15 suggested donation, door only, reserve seat by emailing concussiondance@gmail.com. —Mollie Kaye
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    Concussion

    Life after a traumatic brain injury is never the same. Without realizing it, we are silently surrounded by many who are adapting to a different, post-concussion existence. Victoria dancer, mother, and three-time concussion survivor Stacey Horton is the creator of Concussion, a multimedia dance performance that aims to build community around an experience so many share, yet so few talk about. “It’s an invisible condition. We forget it exists. So many people tell me that they, or someone they are close to, have suffered with this.” Horton’s piece is a non-linear telling of her life inside three separate concussions. A melange of dance, spoken word, music and soundscapes created by film industry sound designer David Parfitt, Concussion illuminates Horton’s myriad daily challenges, and evokes the confusing distortions of perception and unpredictable inner terrors she’s confronted in her post-brain-trauma life. “I’ve created sequences of visceral sensation of being inside the concussion,” she explains, “recreating my physical sense of the brain—when it’s damaged, when it’s healthy—and showing these differences.” Horton workshopped the piece and won the Crystal Dance Prize awarded by Dance Victoria. She applied for and received an equity grant from the CRD, which then led her to partner on the production with the Cridge Centre. “They have a brain injury department,” Horton enthuses. “I wouldn’t have connected with them unless I’d applied for the grant; it’s been amazing to learn about the services they offer for the families and supporters of those who have been affected by traumatic brain injury.” ASL will be provided for the performances, along with a brand-new form of live, spoken audio that describes dance for the blind. “As much as possible, we are making it accessible,” she says. Her intention is to make the performance “immersive” for audiences, so she has chosen the Intrepid Theatre Club downtown. “We’re setting up 35 chairs in the round,” she explains. “It’s a tiny space, and we’ll fill it with sound, lights, and projections” as well as “ping pong balls that end up bouncing around in the space, to give that impact of…being in a world that is slightly more traumatic or bombarded than an everyday peaceful living experience.” Jan 24-26 at 7pm; Jan 26 at 2pm (discussion to follow) at Intrepid Theatre Club, 1609 Blanshard St. $15 suggested donation, door only, reserve seat by emailing concussiondance@gmail.com. —Mollie Kaye
  8. Nov-Dec 2018 Focus.pdf 4 Leslie Campbell | THE HEART AND SOUL OF FOCUS It’s an understatement to say that a lot has changed in Focus’ 30 years, but there’s been at least one consistent thread. 14 David Broadland | THE MAYORS’ MIlLION-DOLLAR COVER-UP Did Stan Lowe defame Mayor Helps and Mayor Desjardins? Or did the Police Complaint Commissioner pull his punches? 18 Ross Crockford | GREAT POLITICS VS. GOOD GOVERNANCE What will close the divisions laid bare by Victoria’s election? 20 Judith Lavoie | TENT CITIES MAKE THE HOMELESS MORE VISIBLE Anger is often directed at the leaders of tent cities, but they seem to get results. 22 Russ Francis | LNG CANADA—A STRANDED ASSET? Canada’s biggest-ever white elephant may never produce one gram of LNG—if we’re lucky. 24 Briony Penn | FEDS MOVE TO DIVIDE AND CONQUER LOCAL FIRST NATIONS Some local First Nations leaders fear the next rounds of “consultation” around the Trans Mountain pipeline may be even worse. 26 Russ Francis | VOTING FOR DEMOCRACY The horrors of proportional representation? Faster climate action, more women elected, lower debt, increased voter turnout. 28 Stephen Hume | ORCAPOCALYPSE The perils faced by killer whales forewarn of an uber threat—the unravelling of the ecosystems upon which humans also depend. 34 Kate Cino | CREATING ORDER OUT OF CHAOS Martina Edmonson begins each new piece with an internal investigation. 48 Mollie Kaye | ROCKIN’ OUT TO ANCIENT MUSIC Modern day minstrels, the Banquo Folk Ensemble is about to release another CD. 52 Monica Prendergast | HOW HISTORY HAUNTS THE THEATRE Echos of past performances reverberate through the years in our theatre spaces. 56 Amy Reiswig | MAMASKATCH: A CREE COMING OF AGE Recently nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Award, Darrel McLeod’s memoir will break hearts in the best possible way. 58 Gene Miller | WHAT, ME WORRY? To solve homelessness we need to build homes for the marginalized and support them. The only thing holding us back is… 60 Maleea Acker | ROBIN HOOD’S DREAM In the face of ecological disasters, art and science together can lead to hope and resilience. 62 Trudy Duivenvoorden Mitic | EVERY THING WE DO COUNTS Until governments get serious about tackling greenhouse gas emissions,citizens must take the lead.
  9. Will Victoria’s Old Town become a facade? Leslie Campbell’s article on Victoria’s Old Town is excellent! It addresses all the key issues. It should be required reading for anybody interested in Old Town. I write as a member of the Heritage Advisory Panel, and as a relatively new Victorian, a transplant from Vancouver. The Heritage Advisory Panel has been holding special meetings to discuss how we may encourage the City to pay proper attention to Old Town and respect the many regulations and guidelines that are already in place. Hal Kalman On reading Leslie Campbell’s lament over the “hollowing out” of Victoria’s historical architecture, mostly in favour of what amounts to Joni Mitchell’s “little boxes made of ticky-tacky,” I could not help but be reminded of China’s so-called Ghost Cities, where no apparent reason (at least from a western perspective) can be conjured up for their existence. All it will take here in Victoria, is that the appeal for these modern edifices becomes focused elsewhere (whereupon the developers will disappear like swamp gas) and voilà…we will have what amounts to the makings of our very own “ghost city,” with no apparent reason for its existence. Richard Weatherill Thank you for your well-written and most fair review of this matter. I can assure you there are few, if any, heritage buildings about to fall over or are in particularly poor shape. They can virtually all be redeemed to their earlier glory, and because an individual paid too much for a property does not entitle a new owner to simply up the density and change the overall character of the neighbourhood and city. Chris Le Fevre Heartfelt thanks for your extensive and conscientious review of the complex issues in play for the future of an historic precinct. “Will Victoria’s Old Town Become a Facade?” is indeed a very worthy topic as our community moves to a new City council. Also a salute to Stuart Stark and Pamela Madoff for continuing to uphold their important ideals and objectives for maintaining this unique and invaluable urban area. It is indeed a daunting challenge for these times in downtown Victoria, to come to grips with an array of evolving and interdependent issues: shifting retail, employment, and housing needs; escalating real estate pressures; seismic precautions; long-term strategies for tourism; refurbishment of historic buildings; and care for that ephemeral component of the soul of a city—community memory. In 1971, as a Victoria High School student, I first became involved in the early campaign to recognize, protect, and reuse the historic architectural buildings of downtown Victoria—collectively, the rare asset of an intact, contiguous 19th-century commercial city centre. Through my subsequent career as a Victoria architect and urban designer, the maintenance of Victoria’s Old Town remains a central concern. As a city planner, I worked centrally on the preparation of the Downtown Core Area Plan—and know fully that one of its primary intentions was to retain the physical character and the authenticity of Downtown’s vintage districts. A set of strategies were instituted, to encourage development to expand Victoria’s downtown east of Douglas Street—with greater allowances for building height and density in these areas, while tightly constraining increases in height and allowable density west of Douglas Street. Analysis demonstrated that growth of over 10,000 new residents and considerable office and commercial expansion (over a million square meters of new building floor area outside of the historic commercial district) was achievable, without compromise to the retention of older districts. Adaptation and renewal of our ever-struggling, but august Downtown is not a simple exercise: some innovations and compromises will be inevitable, but to what degree, and with what safeguards? At what point of change or redevelopment does an historic urban area begin to loose its essential integrity? What precautions are needed so that land speculators and developers do not begin to undermine or demolish delicate older buildings, in expectation of easy up-zonings, and for the convenience of parking lots (as have consumed so many older North American downtowns)? Use of a Bonus Density Transfer System is often applied by cities to help conserve historic areas and to pay for rehabilitation, while at the same time using transferred densities to help support desirable new development in under-utilized areas—such as Victoria’s North Douglas/Blanshard Corridor. Worthy places such as Quebec City, Old Montreal, and a multitude of historic European cities, hold to strict and intricate constraints to protect their antique centres—areas integral both to their tourist economies, and to their cultural identity. Without similar disciplined self-defense, in a time of hungry real estate appetite, Victoria runs risks of broiling its own Golden Goose. Chris Gower Landslide Lisa’s record as mayor Your article on Lisa Helps’ first term is difficult to see as anything other than a hatchet job. That’s because you selected three “moments” as defining her term and find that in all she lied, evaded her responsibilities, or did a bad job. Almost as a grudging afterthought, in two paragraphs within a 6-page article you write that it’s a tough, contentious and complex job, and she’s done good and bad things for the City. It’s a hatchet job because all of the “moments” concern relatively ephemeral matters which will be relegated to footnotes in a few years, if remembered at all. What’s glaringly missing are the things that she’s done that will last. They generally aren’t “moments.” They are the things that really matter, changing and affecting the lives of citizens and the health and liveability of Victoria. They are many and impressive. They aren’t acknowledged at all, let alone discussed… Each of the three episodes that you examined are interesting and, knowing your careful analytical skills, I accept that they are probably very accurately described. But will any of the three matters have a long-lasting impact on the City? Is your portrayal of character complete and rounded? And really, are they the best way to understand and evaluate the Mayor’s record prior to an election? In your opinion, is there really almost nothing that she’s done that’s positive? Because that’s the general message you conveyed. Surely that’s not credible. You know what change there’s been during Helps’ term. It’s been huge. She’s not responsible “personally” for all that, most particularly the economic boom, no mayor could be, because City governance is a group exercise with a lot which is out of the control of any municipality. But leadership is critical. She has led and not held back, and must be given credit or blame (depending on your views) for what Council has done overall. What do you think of the changes in the economic health of the City over that time, or the cycling network, or work on affordable housing, or on finally getting the sewage system in place, or the densification and influx of new residents and enterprises into the City, or the quality of public services, or the culture at City Hall with respect to the public, or collaboration with other municipalities or levels of government, or fiscal responsibility, or whether the council is forward-looking, or the nature and quality of development—always the biggest thing that any municipality has control over? And a whole lot more, obviously. Those are the things that have a lasting impact, some more than others. What do you think of her performance as the face and voice of the City? As you say, she has a tough and complex job and one which is inevitably contentious. I’m not a fan of everything she’s done. She’s done some things, like the statue removal, as a personal project and very flat-footedly. But on balance her motives have been sound. She’s been an intelligent, forward-looking, inclusive, open, gutsy and strong leader in a time of great change as this city matures. The city is better for it. Rob Garrard David Broadland replies: At the time we published the story, Police Complaint Commissioner Stan Lowe had not released his final report, which appeared on September 26. Lowe was very specific about what Mayors Helps and Desjardins did to cover up former VicPD Chief Frank Elsner’s misconduct. The mayors lied to journalists and they tried to hide allegations of sexual harrassment against Elsner from Lowe’s office. They were also provided with evidence about Elsner’s own attempt to cover up his misconduct. This latter conduct was judged to be the most serious of Elsner’s misconduct and warranted, in retired Judge Baird Ellan’s opinion, “dismissal from policing.” Yet Helps and Desjardins ignored this evidence. The mayors could have fired Elsner for cause. Instead, Mayor Helps, in spite of knowing the details of Elsner’s misconduct and hiding them from Lowe, told journalists that Elsner was the “best thing that’s happened to this town and Esquimalt in a long time.” The legal process that followed cost Victoria taxpayers close to $1 million. It’s true that Mayor Helps’ conduct was just a series of “moments.” But detailing such moments of serious political misjudgment and holding Helps accountable for those lapses are far more necessary to the long-term health of our municipal democracy than acknowledging Helps’ support of urban densification or protected bicycle lanes. See page 14 of this edition for a full account of Lowe’s final report. David Broadland Mayor Barb Desjardins told Black Press, “As two female mayors, I can tell you that I would not have allowed that not to be investigated.” She was referring to the sexual harassment claim against then Police Chief Frank Elsner that she and Mayor Helps investigated. Persecuting consenting personal behaviour, while masquerading as morality, to politically manipulate the public is a fascist tactic. The Me Too movement is critical for womens’ justice. But this one doesn’t clearly fit the mold. The Office of the Police Complaints Commission (OPCC) effectively saying to “trust us” is condescending and arrogant. We’re not hearing that a subordinate’s dignity or physical security was threatened, or their employment jeopardized. We deserve evidence that Chief Elsner’s tweets undermined public or personal security. That doesn’t require releasing potentially embarrassing material. I met Chief Elsner a few months into his new position. He was the first police chief to visit Our Place. He was invited by the Victoria Committee to End Homelessness (VCEH). Chief Elsner compassionately and humanely listened for two hours to the homeless, the poor, and their allies giving their experiences. He took to heart VCEH’s call to end “policing poverty”: end poor profiling, possession seizure, indiscriminate ticket issuance, “loitering” harassment and systematically arresting street substance users. Chief Elsner pledged to change policy. It was clearly starting to happen. A restorative justice approach is sufficient discipline—taking responsibility for immature social media and making amends, yes. Dictatorial guard changing, no. Mayors Helps and Desjardins were using this approach and it was working. They should have remained the ultimate arbiters, being democratically elected officials, presiding over their police departments. Maybe input from the Victoria Committee to End Homelessness, Together Against Poverty Society, Society of Living Illicit Drug Users and the Alliance Against Displacement should also have been included. Until actual personal or public harm is revealed, the effective outcome of the OPCC’s (sham?) “investigation” is the apparent coerced loss of a public official whose community benefit vastly outweighed his acknowledged indiscretion. Herding dispossessed people like cattle away from the civilized citizens’ glitzy new downtown—whether it’s Camp Namegans’ residents or just Victoria’s daily sufferers without privilege shuffling through our streets —is fascist. Some people of influence may not have liked Chief Elsner’s challenge to this Old Guard approach. That seems to be the real cover-up. Larry Wartels I wanted to share with you the response from Councillor Alto on September 18 to a query about why minutes were not taken of the City Family meetings. Mayor Lisa Helps was originally contacted but deferred to Councillor Alto, who answered: “When council approved the Witness Reconciliation Program in June 2017, it endorsed a program of work that was unlike anything the city had attempted before. In particular, the program acts in respect of the traditions shared with us by our nearest Indigenous neighbours, the Songhees and Esquimalt. Those Nations, like many of their neighbours, hold primarily to oral history and communication, using story telling as the primary means to share information, exchange ideas, and make important decisions. “Council acknowledged that this new way of working would be challenging for us, as we would need to put aside our dependence on the written word, and open our minds to different values and ways of working together. We would need to learn to trust an entirely different process. “In that spirit, there are no ‘Minutes’ in the conventional sense of our Western processes. We are present in the moment of gathering, and bear witness to the sharing conversation, understanding that one of our tasks is to act as a bridge, or translator, between the two conventions.” I think it’s important for Victorians to understand how Mayor Helps’ approach to governance is fluid and autocratic. She appears to have no issue with dismantling certain foundations of transparent governance. Particularly for work in which certain citizens were paid an honorarium for their contributions. I fail to see how minutes can be construed as an element of colonization, which is how Mayor Helps categorized the act of minute- taking in her request to contact Councillor Alto for comment. Anthony Danda Here is a response I got from one member of the City Family as to why minutes were not available for the public to read. It happened only after I accused them of secrecy. Charlayne Thornton-Joe wrote: “The City Family did not have minutes mostly because we were respecting the First Nation’s Tradition of oral history. Which means we talked, we continued to talk, we went to the Songhees First Nation Chief and Council and spoke, then to Esquimalt Nations Chief and Council and spoke. Our conversations were witnessed by those in attendance which we then shared with Council in a report.” I find this response unsatisfactory, to put it mildly. The monies came out of the public purse, to which we all contribute. Reconciliation is of supreme importance to all of us. City Family must be accountable to all of us, not only to one group, otherwise reconciliation can be turned into a double-edged sword. Anna Cal Fresh out of Domani In Focus’ last edition, Gene Miller suggested that there is an accelerating drama playing out in the communities of Greater Victoria, as he puts it, a “cultural battle about how to live with strong implications for land use.” My regular dog walks around north Gonzales in Victoria and over into Oak Bay seem to confirm this, judging by the lawns and utility poles festooned with signs exhorting passersby to “Stop Over Development by Oak Bay United Church—Respect our Neighbourhoods” and “Say No to Large Urban Village.” Clearly these proposals are seen by many residents as threats to their sense of home and community and “the social connections and relationships these places foster.” Why can’t we, as Gene once asked me in the checkout line at Capital Iron, just let people living in Fairfield and other established neighbourhoods put in secondary suites and the occasional garden cottage, rather than have to accommodate townhouses, and apartment buildings too? As he notes further in his column, story comes first, policy follows, as we try to make the story come true. As the “technocrat” who led the planning team at the City of Victoria which developed the Official Community Plan in 2012, rather than trying to foist some mechanistic abstraction on Victoria, we were trying to put into bylaw language the story about Victoria’s future that emerged through a year-long consultation with more than 6,000 city residents. The story was about the value Victorians put on the quality of this place, and how it could grow and change over time in a manner that respected its essential character, becoming even more a city with a lively, walkable downtown surrounded by humane neighbourhoods, each with a village centre that put a nugget of urbanity and a focus for community life within walking distance of everyone. Turning any vision—whether of a city’s future or, as I have been involved in for the past two years, a house—into reality requires shifting narrative gears to something more like a script, with inevitable and essential quantities and metrics. In other words a strategy. The strategy proposed in Victoria’s OCP calls for accommodating half of the forecast growth for the next 25 to 30 years, about 10,000 people, in the downtown core area; another 8,000 in 12 urban villages (all focused on existing places); with the remaining 2,000 people scattered throughout the remainder of the city’s neighbourhoods. It’s always possible that more people could choose to move to Victoria, but these estimates are consistent with what we have experienced over the past 25 years. Contrary to what Gene Miller asserts in his column, a close reading of the OCP reveals a more nuanced understanding of community than simply as a collective market for local retail. Anyone who wants to know what a Large Urban Village (LUV) looks like just has to stand in front of the Beagle Pub on Cook Street and look around—Cook Street Village, and the surrounding residential area within a 10-minute walk composed of single detached houses, duplexes, four-plexes, townhouses, and apartments is the model. Victorians said unequivocally back in 2010-2012 that they wanted more of this—the sense of community, the local identity, the opportunity for face-to-face transactions with neighbours and friends—throughout the city. Also, they wanted to be able to reach shopping and community services on foot, which means that if you want a grocery store similar to the Thrifty Foods at Ross Bay, you need a local market area in the order of 15,000 people. Roughly what you find in James Bay. What strikes me in all these numbers, particularly with respect to the urban villages and neighbourhoods, is just how modest they are outside of Downtown: about 80 people per year spread across Victoria’s neighbourhoods; 320 across 12 urban villages. If we want to keep shopping, schools and community services viable in some of Victoria’s neighbourhoods, in particular places like my neighbourhood Gonzales, where population has been flat or declining for years, these numbers are not likely enough. Victoria may have to try, as Gene Miller once advocated back in his Urban Development Institute days, to grab a bigger share of regional growth than forecast. In my view, this distribution of new growth is too canted towards the Downtown and urban villages, where the predominant house form in the future will be apartments, whether rental or ownership. That works well for seniors and young singles, but less well for families with children. While some families are choosing to live in apartments, the majority would prefer a home with a yard of some kind, a challenge to provide in Victoria’s high-cost housing market, where a 5,000-square-foot lot with a modest house can cost upwards of $700,000 to $1 million depending on the neighbourhood. If we want to provide more opportunities for families to live in Victoria, we need to find room for more affordable ground-oriented housing—secondary suites, garden cottages, duplexes, four and six plexes, townhouses and freehold rowhouses—what current housing jargon calls “missing middle housing” in Victoria’s neighbourhoods, and not just in Burnside, Hillside-Quadra, Oaklands and Jubilee; in Fairfield, Rockland, and Gonzales too. I don’t know if the obvious intimations of societal collapse surveyed so well in Miller’s column are behind the land-use conflict in Victoria’s waterfront communities. Similar dramas have played out repeatedly over the 20-plus years I have lived and worked here. There is constant tension between the desire of residents for community stability and control, and broader civic and regional challenges related to growth management, equity and social inclusivity. All of these dimensions need to be taken into account as we work our way through neighbourhood change and try to ensure that we maintain and enhance the qualities of community and place we love. Saying “Stop” and “No” are not in the long run effective or fair strategies to ensure we get the communities we want. My worry, as I look around the room at community meetings on the Gonzales Neighbourhood Plan, and see a lot of people of my vintage expressing genuine hostility to the possibility of accepting even a few of these housing forms in the neighbourhood, is that what purports to be a concern for community character and respect for neighbourhoods is just plain old entitled exclusion. As Pat Carney once wrote about the Gulf Islands, the galvanizing ethos all too often seems to be: “I’m all right Jack, now pull up the ladder.” Victoria’s waterfront neighbourhoods have some of the highest quality of life in the region, with access to the finest parks and views, along with easy access to transit, community amenities such as schools and, yes, shopping, on foot and by cycle. Their populations have been flat for years, and other neighbourhoods have taken on the lion’s share of the civic work of accommodating rental and social housing. Those of us who live in them, many old guys like Gene and I, who had the great good fortune to buy in 20 or 30 years ago when prices were still relatively affordable, shouldn’t squat on these neighbourhoods like dragons on a hoard of gold. Young people express a lot more acceptance of different housing forms in these communities, seeing in them the only conceivable way that they could ever possibly afford to live here. For the sake of healthy community life now, and future vibrancy, we need to welcome more people into our neighbourhoods, and let them evolve into richer, more complex places. Mark Hornell Public land and Northern Junk proposal With regards to Ken Johnson’s letter “Public lands being sold to Northern Junk developer,” it seems to me that the real controversy over the Northern Junk property begins with the decision to preserve two abandoned buildings that are certainly old but that hardly seem to have any real heritage value. I am trying to imagine Victorians from the 1860s, or the 1910s, or the 1950s, or even the 1980s understanding why Victorians in 2018 would go out of their way to keep these two Northern Junk buildings standing. They were tiny little warehouses and, let’s face it, they aren’t that pretty and represent a bit of an eyesore at the “Gateway to Victoria.” It seems to me that a lot of people in this region would be quite content to see the Northern Junk building knocked down and have that entire property turned into a green space that would also open up the view of the harbour instead of the proposed multi-storey structure that does the exact opposite. When council finally gets around to having a referendum on the borrowing of money that might be required for the new Crystal Pool, they might want to consider killing two birds with one stone and ask Victorians what their preference is for the fate of the Northern Junk property. Trevor Amon Will Premier Horgan protect our water? “All you need is two eyes to see it’s a bad idea to put toxic soils in a watershed looking down on the drinking water for 12,000 people.” This was John Horgan speaking to the Save Shawnigan Water rally at the BC legislature in 2015. A huge pile of 100,000 tonnes of contaminated soil sits in a quarry a few kilometres above Shawnigan Lake, awaiting a government decision. The soil contains hydrocarbons, sulphur, arsenic, chromium, lead and other heavy metals, all known to be dangerous to human health. About 12,000 people rely on the Shawnigan Lake watershed for their drinking water. In January 2017, Justice Robert Sewell of the BC Supreme Court found so many deficiencies with the Shawnigan site’s permitting process that he ordered the permit to be sent back to the Environmental Appeal Board. The government cancelled the permit soon after Sewell’s decision, but it put off the decision on whether to remove the mountain of contaminated soil at the site. Over 18 months later, as the approaching rainy season brings increased risk of leaching, government inaction is making the Shawnigan community increasingly anxious. Sewell found that the conduct of quarry owner Cobble Hill Holdings (CHH) and its silent partner Active Earth Engineering “compromised the integrity of the approval process.” He also found that CHH co-owner Martin Block “was not being truthful in the evidence he gave with respect to the nature of the relationship between Active Earth and CHH.” “It is quite clear that the information provided to the [Environmental Appeal] Board by Mr Block was false.” Justice Sewell’s findings confirmed a secret 50/50 partnership between the company and the engineers. The Shawnigan community is united in wanting the soil removed, and the long delay has many residents worried. “The contaminated soil should never have come here in the first place,” said Sierra Acton, Shawnigan area director at the Cowichan Valley Regional District. “It was completely opposed by the community even before the misleading evidence found by Justice Sewell. If the soil is not removed, it isn’t a question of if poisons will leach into the Shawnigan community drinking water, it’s a question of when. The community will not stand for it.” Where does the NDP government stand on this? Premier Horgan is on record against the contaminated site at Shawnigan numerous times. The big question now is will Premier Horgan be as good as his word? Will he order the removal of the contaminated soil to safeguard drinking water, as his government should? Or will he do nothing, and leave the soil where it sits, setting the stage for much more expensive remedial action down the road. This much is clear: the government may have changed, but it is “business as usual” at the Ministry of Environment. Despite the obvious conflict of interest, the Ministry still does not require that engineers be independent from the projects they are monitoring for the government. The site monitoring reports posted on the Ministry of Environment website are stamped by an engineer who was a partner at Active Earth Engineering at the time of the secret agreement denounced by Justice Sewell. The Ministry still appears to see no potential conflict of interest with this monitoring arrangement. Will Premier Horgan walk his talk and order the soil removal himself? Clearly, the fate of Shawnigan drinking water is in his hands. Blaise Salmon, Shawnigan Research Group
  10. Sept-Oct 2018 Focus.pdf 4 WILL VICTORIA’S OLD TOWN BECOME A FAÇADE? Leslie Campbell | Victoria City council will soon be faced with a controversial heritage conversion and demolition project in the heart of Old Town. 18 LANDSLIDE LISA’S RECORD AS MAYOR OF VICTORIA David Broadland | For this reporter, three key moments defined Mayor Lisa Helps’ controversial first term. 24 JUST BELOW THE SURFACE Ross Crockford | Will Crystal Pool become an election issue? Candidates say “Yes.” 26 FISH FARM ACTIVISTS COMPLAIN OF INTIMIDATION Judith Lavoie | The battle of the Broughton continues with surveillance on the seas. 28 A FALSE DICHOTOMY Russ Francis | As LNG Canada’s Final Investment Decision looms, a fatal error sits stubbornly at the heart of the government’s case for LNG. 30 MEDIA AND MEDICAL INDEPENDENCE Alan Cassels & Jim Wright | Can we trust health-related media to deliver clean, clear health advice? 32 TAKING BACK CONTROL OF RESOURCE EXTRACTION ON PUBLIC LAND Briony Penn | Can we undo, or fix, the 17-year-old Professional Reliance Model used to regulate BC’s resource industries? 34 WHAT DOES MY NEIGHBOUR’S CAR MEAN? David Broadland | The distance travelled in autos each day by CRD residents continues to grow, but there is a surge in the uptake of all-electric cars. 36 UNDER THE BIG SKY Kate Cino | Brent Lynch aims to capture fleeting moments of special grace. 50 BRINGING MUSICIANS HOME Mollie Kaye | Performance venues are desperately needed—what about your place? 54 MOVING BEYOND THE (DEAD) WHITE MAN SYNDROME Monica Prendergast | A gender equity and diversity report card for local theatre companies’ 2018-19 productions. 56 UNPRECEDENTED CRIME Amy Reiswig | Authors Elizabeth Woodworth and Dr Peter Carter see climate change in terms of a planetary emergency needing global mobilization. 58 FRESH OUT OF DOMANI Gene Miller | Rome imploded because of a loss of purpose, identity and moral vigour. What are we doing to avoid that? 60 MARION CUMMING’S INDOMITABLE SPIRIT Maleea Acker | One woman’s commitment to de-colonization. 62 THE PERPLEXING WILLINGNESS TO IGNORE REALITY Trudy Duivenvoorden Mitic | Floods, fires and Summer Limb Drop are good clues as to what needs to be done. Yet…
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    The full release by the City of Victoria of Jonathan Huggett's records related to the bolted-on plates.
  12. July-August 2018 Focus.pdf 4 LUXURY CONDO DEVELOPERS CAN’T FIX AFFORDABILITY PROBLEM Leslie Campbell | A lack of balance on a June housing forum provides food for thought as to where the community needs to look for answers. 16 CITY MISLED ABOUT REPAIRS TO NEW BRIDGE David Broadland | FOIed emails show engineers forgot about a serious flaw until it was too late to fix properly. They then forgot that they had forgotten. 18 WHO ARE THE REAL PIPELINE FANATICS? Leslie Campbell | The fuzzy thinking of Canada’s mainstream political establishment is driving some good citizens to despair. 22 THE PEOPLE AT THE DIRTY END OF THE PIPELINE Judith Lavoie | Indigenous communities in the path of the oil sands and its pipelines have been left with no good options. 26 THE 100-YEAR FISHING WAR Briony Penn | The recent renewal of fish farm tenures is just the latest in a long saga of denial of First Nations’ fishing rights. 28 VANCOUVER’S ROLE IN THE CHINOOK-SEWAGE-ORCA DEATH SPIRAL David Broadland | Is Fisheries & Oceans Canada ignoring Washington State research on chemical contamination from sewage treatment plants? 30 CELEBRATING LIFE AND COLOUR Kate Cino | There’s a lot happening in Grant Leier’s bursting-with-colour paintings. 36 SHARING THE WEALTH Aaren Madden | First Nations artist Calvin Hunt’s first solo exhibition celebrates family, culture and a giving spirit. 48 COMING FULL CIRCUS Mollie Kaye | Aerialist Kaelyn Schmitt plans to ignite the circus arts scene in Victoria. 52 A SITE-SPECIFIC PLAY WITH STYLE, SUBSTANCE AND SCARES Monica Prendergast | Theatre SKAM and a cast of young people present the award-winning Concord Floral. 54 WINDOWS INTO THE WEIRD AND WONDERFUL Amy Reiswig | Writer Eve Joseph stretches herself and her readers’ imagination and intellect in her new prose poetry book Quarrels. 56 SUMMER READING PICKS Amy Reiswig | Wild Fierce Life: Dangerous Moments on the Outer Coast; Listening to the Bees; Anna, Like Thunder 58 THE PLACE FORMERLY KNOWN AS VICTORIA Gene Miller | Would amalgamation lead to the creation of a place we care less about? 60 GABE EPSTEIN AND THE GORGE PARK COMMUNITY GARDENS Maleea Acker | Digging, planting and watering together produces food, strengthens community and helps the bees help us. 62 CONNECTING THE DOTS AT THE COUNTRY FAIR Trudy Duivenvoorden Mitic | The heavy carbon footprint of most manufacturing processes gives added incentive for re-using material goods.
  13. May-June 2018 Focus.pdf 10 David Broadland | THE WOUNDED WHITE ELEPHANT We should call the new bridge what it is. 16 Leslie Campbell | OAK BAY NEIGHBOURS WRESTLE WITH 98-UNIT DEVELOPMENT Oak Bay United Church’s plan to build affordable housing raises questions about proper consultation and density. 22 Ross Crockford | TWO SORTS OF TRUTH The debate over density at 1201 Fort is sure to be repeated. 24 Briony Penn | DEAR JUSTIN AND RACHEL Charged with criminal contempt of court while protesting Trans Mountain, the author writes to these leaders about leadership. 26 Alan Cassels | SPINNING THE WONDER DRUGS Why hope, hype and headlines should never substitute for clean, clear analysis. 28 Judith Lavoie | THE LNG PIPE DREAM, PART 2 Will methane asphyxiate Green support for the minority NDP government? 30 Ross Crockford | VICTORIA NEEDS…WHO? Slates are readying candidates for council jobs that few may actually want. 32 Mollie Kaye | GUTHRIE GLOAG SCULPTS THE WILD A BC biologist and artist wants his work to draw attention to what is here…and what is missing. 48 Mollie Kaye | HIDDEN UPSTAIRS ON HERALD STREET Local artists’ studios rarely seen by the public offer a glimpse into a disappearing world. 52 Mollie Kaye | CUARTETO CHROMA Four musicians are Canada’s—and Mexico’s—first graduate-level string quartet. 54 Monica Prendergast | UNO AND OUT Intrepid Theatre’s May and June theatre festivals liven up the local landscape. 56 Amy Reiswig | SARAH COX: BREACHING THE PEACE Mythic dam battle at Site C is a showdown between “progress” and those who would preserve the valley. 58 Gene Miller | TICK, TICK, TICK… Victoria may be stuck in time, but that could be what guarantees its survival. 60 Maleea Acker | STEWARD OF THE OAK MEADOWS Colleen O’Brien is restoring Playfair Park’s Garry oak meadows—allowing the rest of us a walk back in time.
  14. Volume 30 Number 4 March-April 2018 Focus.pdf 4 Leslie Campbell | MATH AND ETHICS ARGUE AGAINST TRANS MOUNTAIN If we’re going to lower emissions, allowing Alberta to increase fossil-fuel-related exports will harm the rest of Canada. 12 Mary-Wynne Ashford | ONE NUCLEAR BOMB IS TOO MANY Addressing the generational gap in understanding around nuclear disarmament. 14 David Broadland | WHY ARE CITY COUNCILLORS ACCEPTING A WORLD-CLASS BODGE? The City is refusing to provide records that would show who knew what, and when they knew it. 18 Leslie Campbell | DEVELOPMENT BESIDE GONZALES HILL PARK RAISES ALARM Is the CRD failing to steward its only regional park in the core of the city? 22 Alan Cassels | “DRUG HOLIDAYS” AND DEPRESCRIBING The growing movement to wind back excess medication. 24 Briony Penn | DID SAANICH’S EDPA POSE A THREAT TO PROPERTY VALUES? Was a real battle fought over an invented crisis? 28 Judith Lavoie | SHOULD FARMLAND BE RESERVED FOR FOOD GROWING? Marijuana greenhouses, wineries and monster houses are eroding BC’s already limited capacity to feed itself. 30 Pamela Roth | ARE THE CITY OF VICTORIA’S MARIJUANA REGULATIONS WORKING? And what will happen next summer when recreational cannabis becomes legal in Canada? 32 Aaren Madden | FORM AS MEANING(S) Four First Nations curators bring new perspectives to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria’s Pacific Northwest prints collection. 45 Mollie Kaye | Dana Statham Painter circumnavigates Vancouver Island. 48 Mollie Kaye | PLAYS WITH PURPOSE AND MEANING Zelda Dean sees theatre as a way to break down barriers. 52 Mollie Kaye | ORCHESTRATING A LIFE Conductor Yariv Aloni lands, learns, and leads in Victoria. 54 Monica Prendergast | NOT IN OUR SPACE Harassment, bullying and theatre culture. 56 Amy Reiswig | THE STRENGTH IN VULNERABILITY Claire Sicherman delves into the silent stories of her family’s traumatic past. 58 Gene Miller | AMALGACIDE Is the call for political amalgamation of CRD municipalities, at its core, motivated by toxic social impulses? 60 Maleea Acker | LOOKING AT THE TINY THINGS Mary Haig-Brown wants us to see vital connections in the natural world. 62 Trudy Duivenvoorden Mitic | WE DESERVE EVERYTHING WE’RE GOING TO GET Site C will help power up cannabis hot houses, Bitcoin mining, and LNG!
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    What: World Water Day Film Screening and Panel Discussion—Treaty Talks: A Journey up the Columbia River for People and Salmon Who: Panellists Jay Johnson (Chief Negotiator and Senior Policy Advisor, Okanagan Nation Alliance), Kathy Eichenberger (Executive Director, Columbia River Treaty Review, B.C. Government), and Jesse Baltutis (Graduate Fellow at UVic’s Centre for Global Studies and Water, Innovation and Global Governance Lab) When: 7-9 p.m., Thursday, March 22, 2018 Where: Room 105, Harry Hickman Building, UVic Join us this World Water Day for a film screening and panel discussion exploring ecosystem health, salmon passage, transboundary watershed governance, and the Columbia River Treaty. The evening will begin with a screening of the short film Treaty Talks: Paddling up the Columbia River for People and Salmon. This film takes us on a 1243-mile journey from the sea to the source of the Columbia River in five dugout canoes, carved and paddled by native and non-native youth. As they journey up the river—at a time when the renegotiation of the 1964 Canada-US Columbia River Treaty is at a pivotal state—we hear conversations between shareholders of the river and see the efforts of citizens working to restore historic salmon runs above the Grand Coulee Dam. A moderated panel discussion and audience Q&A will follow the film, focusing on the upcoming renegotiation of the Columbia River Treaty, the role of Indigenous nations in a modernized treaty, and the numerous issues that have emerged since the treaty was introduced—including ecosystem integrity, cultural flows, Indigenous values, and climate change. Panellists Jay Johnson (Chief Negotiator and Senior Policy Advisor, Okanagan Nation Alliance), Kathy Eichenberger (Executive Director, Columbia River Treaty Review, B.C. Government), and Jesse Baltutis (Graduate Fellow at UVic’s Centre for Global Studies and Water, Innovation and Global Governance Lab) will offer their perspectives. This event is being hosted by the Canadian Freshwater Alliance; UVic’s Centre for Global Studies; UVic’s Environmental Law Centre; First Nations Fisheries Council; UVic’s POLIS Water Sustainability Project; UVic’s Water, Innovation, and Global Governance Lab (WIGG); Water Economics, Policy and Governance Network (WEPGN); and Watershed Watch Salmon Society. RSVPs are not required but are appreciated. Please email workstudy@polisproject.org if you plan to attend. More information at: https://poliswaterproject.org/polis-event-webinar/treaty-talks-film/
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