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Leslie Campbell

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  1. Outraged by the tactics and behavior of the RCMP at Fairy Creek, Ray Zimmerman, is manning a sign which quotes the court decision in front of the entrance to the RCMP Victoria building (2881 Nanaimo St). His intention is to inform the public and remind the RCMP of the court decision. He will be there every work day possible between noon and 1PM until the injunction against the old growth defenders is lifted. Company will be welcomed.—Pete Rockwell, photo by Pete Rockwell too.
  2. Thanks for your comments Ruben. Ms Callo will answer some of your complaints shortly. Meanwhile readers can look at earlier comment by Ms Callo that goes into more detail about how the 8-metre track seems to have been sacrificed due to the needs of the Caledonia project for a firelane, as well as a report on the development.
  3. These lovely fall days are perfect for a walk in the woods. If you fancy some poetry with your dose of nature, register now for our popular event, the Forest Poet-Tree Walk. Check out our full schedule to register for all events and buy tickets. Scroll down for author Q&A's with Isabella Wang and Linda K. Thompson. Both Isabella and Linda will be reading their poems at the Forest-Poet Tree Walk. About this event Unique to the Victoria Festival of Authors, the fourth annual Forest Poet-Tree Walk places you in a West Coast landscape. This poetry reading under the trees unfolds at Mary Lake Nature Sanctuary in the Highlands. Surrounded by fir and arbutus, passing alongside creeks and the lakeshore, this is an immersive sensory experience. Led by Yvonne Blomer and Beth Kope, the poets Dallas Hunt, Linda K. Thompson, Isabella Wang, and Terence Youngwill offer their own explorations of landscape and memory. Their poems will illuminate, lament, and celebrate the natural world. Be prepared to walk, be prepared for any weather, be prepared to find the magic in the forest. Be aware that the audience may well include flickers, a heron, an otter, or mink. Captioning available for livestreamed event. Sat, 2 October 2021 at 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM PDT at Mary Lake Nature Sanctuary, 1772 Millstream Road Check out all of our events to buy tickets and register. Buy tickets now!
  4. Linda makes a good point about the fish farm question. But the report by the Pacific Salmon Foundation—which by the way has advocated for all fish farming to be “contained” since 2018—indicates more data is needed to make conclusions about its role in relation to wild salmon health in the Salish Sea. Read the full report here: https://marinesurvival.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2021PSF-SynthesisPaper-Screen.pdf As for the federally-funded “Local Journalism Initiative,” funds to hire reporters are distributed via arms-length organizations like (in the case of the National Observer), News Media Canada. Other media like FOCUS are granted the right to re-publish such stories for free. The government has no direct influence on the stories produced. Here's a story re the federal government and fish farms by Rochelle Baker:
  5. In the US, where children are already back at school, the Guardian reports today: "On a state level, local leaders have noticed a sharp uptick in cases among children. In Maricopa county, Arizona, home to Phoenix, children under 12 make up one-sixth of the county’s Covid cases, and 6% of hospitalizations are children. In Tennessee, children under 18 are making up nearly 40% of cases in the state, with over 14,000 cases among children. Texas has reported 20,256 positive cases in the new school year, along with 7,488 cases among staff. "By the end of August, children represented about 15% of all Covid-19 cases across the country."
  6. until
    2021 Pacific Baroque Festival Makes Triumphant Return September 8-13 Live Music Returns to Victoria with a Festival of Chaconnes and Passacaglias Victoria, BC - After a lengthy delay, the 17th annual Pacific Baroque Festival, presented in partnership with EMV: Pacific Baroque Series and the Victoria Conservatory of Music, will be held once again in Victoria this September. ‘From the Ground Up: Chaconnes and Passacaglias,’ features a dazzling series of concerts that highlight this uniquely virtuosic Baroque music, including stunning works by Claudio Monteverdi, François Couperin, Dietrich Buxtehude, and Georg Philipp Telemann. “We are so grateful to finally be able to present this wonderful series of concerts,” says Brian Groos, Managing Director of The Pacific Baroque Festival. “This music is beautiful and profound; an experience that will be enhanced when hearing these musicians play it in a live performance.” To interpret this captivating line-up, Festival Artistic Director Marc Destrubé will lead an ensemble of the west coast’s leading early music artists including violinist Kathryn Wiebe, cellist Natalie Mackie, harpsichordist Christina Hutten, and member of the Order of Canada, soprano Suzie Leblanc. The Festival opens with a recital by celebrated organist Mark McDonald. “This year’s theme is based on Chaconnes and Passacaglias. These are both types of pieces that use an approach called a ‘ground bass,’ or a repeating bass line,” explains Destrubé. “It’s like a modern-day chord progression in a pop song. This year’s Pacific Baroque Festival gives us the opportunity to explore the many ways in which composers such as J.S. Bach and Arcangelo Corelli used the universal appeal of the chaconne and passacaglia. These forms suggest that the wheels of life just keep on turning, which is the perfect sonic balm for these unsettled times.” The Festival will feature performances at the Alix Goolden Performance Hall and Christ Church Cathedral, with limited seating and Covid safety protocols in place. EVENT LISTINGS: ‘The Master’s Masters: Teachers of the Young Bach’ Wednesday, September 8 at 8:00 PM Christ Church Cathedral (Quadra Street at Rockland Avenue) Mark McDonald (Organ) The pieces in the Andreas Bach Book and the so-called Möller manuscript, two significant collections compiled by J. S. Bach’s eldest brother and keyboard teacher Johann Ernst Bach, are a treasure trove of the greatest composers of the day and shed light on the early musical education of the young J. S. Among the many great names in the collections – Pachelbel, Froberger, Lully, Albinoni – are two of Bach’s greatest influences, the celebrated organists Dieterich Buxtehude and Georg Böhm whom Bach would seek out in his early years as a budding musician. Take a musical journey through the sound world of the young Bach, whose own early works in the collection, like the great Passacaglia in C minor, show his ascension from studious pupil to master in his own right. ‘Italian Passion’ Thursday, September 9 at 8:00 PM Alix Goolden Performance Hall, 907 Pandora Ave Marc Destrubé (Violin); Kathryn Wiebe (Violin); Natalie Mackie (Viola da gamba); Christina Hutton (Harpsichord and Organ); Suzie LeBlanc (Soprano) Explore the brilliant music of the violin virtuosos of 17th and 18th century Italy. Early Italian composers were masters in defining genres, from Monteverdi’s operas to Frescobaldi’s toccatas to Corelli’s sonatas. This concert highlights the versatility of Italian expression over an ever-steady ground bass. ‘German Depth’ Friday, September 10 at 11:00 AM Alix Goolden Performance Hall, 907 Pandora Ave Marc Destrubé (Violin); Kathryn Wiebe (Violin); Natalie Mackie (Viola da gamba); Christina Hutton (Harpsichord and Organ); Suzie LeBlanc (Soprano) The music of 17th century Germany was highly influenced by the Protestant Reformation. With a new approach to writing for the church, composers explored the depths of their own beliefs through music. Drawing from new musical ideas and forms that emerged in other regions, such as the chaconne and passacaglia, the brilliant composers of our German Depth concert skillfully adapted them to their more profound local tastes. ‘French Elegance’ Saturday, September 11 at 8:00 PM Alix Goolden Performance Hall, 907 Pandora Ave Marc Destrubé (Violin); Kathryn Wiebe (Violin); Natalie Mackie (Viola da gamba); Christina Hutton (Harpsichord and Organ); Suzie LeBlanc (Soprano) In the Palace of Versailles, the Sun King, Louis XIV, presided over a court widely known for its extravagance. He celebrated the arts and employed many musicians to perform ballets, operas, and at official ceremonies for the entertainment of foreign guests. French Elegance is a programme of music from this period, exuding the glory of France as exemplified by the mighty chaconne. ‘Choral Evensong’ Monday, September 13 at 5:00 PM Christ Church Cathedral (Quadra Street at Rockland Avenue) (Voluntary Offerings) The Pacific Baroque Festival concludes with the annual tradition of Choral Evensong at Christ Church Cathedral. This year’s Service of reflection and prayer will feature the music of England’s Henry Purcell and Lübeck’s Dieterich Buxtehude.” LISTING INFORMATION 2021 Pacific Baroque Festival – From the Ground Up: Chaconnes & Passacaglias Dates: September 8 – 13, 2021 Tickets: $25 + fees for all ages Box Office: www.pacbaroque.com/2021-pacific-baroque-festival
  7. In regard to the recently announced new measures for schools and universities, a recent press release states: UVic unions (CUPE 951, CUPE 4163, the UVic Chapter of the Professional Employees Association (PEA), and the UVic Faculty Association) welcome the BC government’s announcement today about mask mandates in post-secondary institutions, and the requirement for vaccinations for students in residence, food services and other “non-essential” spaces on campus. But, despite these positive measures, the updated guidelines ultimately come up short when it comes to protecting the health of students and employees. “These new rules will protect many of our members,” said CUPE 951 President Kirk Mercer. “However, UVic unions remain very concerned that universities cannot require vaccinations for students in classrooms. This is the most important measure needed to help protect the health and safety of students and employees.”
  8. This article by Trudy Duivenvoorden Mitic includes a video of the RCMP's recent pepper-spraying behaviour at Fairy Creek blockades:
  9. This photo, supplied by Rainforest Flying Squad, shows RCMP carrying a protestor in an unnecessarily painful position. Photo credit: @arvinoutside Rainforest Flying Squad reports "Violent arrests have escalated in the past two weeks, say forest protectors at Fairy Creek, on unceded Pacheedaht ancestral territory. They have included sexual assaults, and recklessly taking down a double tripod causing it to collapse, dropping two young protestors 15 feet to the ground. Protestors say RCMP also shoveled gravel on top of two women in a trench blockade, and are twisting thumbs, wrists, legs or arms to near dislocation or breaking point. "RCMP continue to ignore the court's ruling on access for media, legal observers and protestors. "With the use of these extreme tactics against people practicing nonviolent civil disobedience, protestors fear losing River Camp today. "RCMP and the BC government are criminalizing forest protectors. Our group has been denigrated as a bunch of hippies or unemployed people. Far from it. Many of the people trying to protect these precious old-growth forests and their ecosystems come during their time off, or have taken leave: An airline pilot spent his holidays here. There are quite a few doctors and many nurses, as well as scientists, teachers, professors, landscapers, retired folks, disabled folks, youth fighting for a better climate future, and Indigenous people fighting for choices about their ancestral territory. "We understand the 'green guys' we often see now at the blockades may be from the RCMP's Emergency Response team. "The Emergency Response Team deals with situations where extreme danger/firearms are above the ability of detachments or other policing partners. Team members are highly trained and are specialized experts in weapons and a variety of tactics." From: https://bc-cb.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/ViewPage.action?siteNodeId=23&languageId=1&contentId=5611 "But what is the danger? What is the emergency? Teal Jones' desperate need to make more money? Or is it that RCMP are trying to clean protestors out before the injunction expires -- Sept. 26th at midnight. Teal Jones has already applied to extend the injunction, and Rainforest Flying Squad lawyers are appealing an extension. The case will be heard the week of Sept 13th during a two-day hearing. "In protest against RCMP's extreme violence and unlawful exclusion zones, a province-wide protest, called RCMP Stand Down, will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. on Monday in towns that so far include: Burnaby, Victoria, Sooke, Duncan, Nanaimo, Parksville, Courtenay, Nelson, Sechelt and Vernon." Total arrests will top 700 by the end of the day today.
  10. Stephen Hume has a new story on the subject of reconciliation and in direct answer to some above commenters here.
  11. New cases of COVID-19 have been found on another mink farm—and government is taking action. Here's the government press release just in (bolding mine): Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries INFORMATION BULLETIN Mink test positive for SARS-CoV-2 ABBOTSFORD - Two mink have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans, on a farm under quarantine after it had mink test positive in May 2021. Five additional mink samples from the same farm have initially tested positive at the B.C. Animal Health Lab, with final results pending from The National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease in Winnipeg. The two positive mink were identified through a co-ordinated wildlife surveillance project led by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, in co-operation with the One Health Working Group. One of the main objectives is to assess the potential for virus transmission to free-ranging animals from an infected premise. In this instance, four mink had escaped their cages and were captured on-farm. As a result of the latest infections, a provincial health officer's order has also been issued to all mink-farm operators in the province, placing a moratorium on any new mink farms in B.C. and capping existing mink farms at their current numbers. The order is effective immediately. Each farm is required to report the total number of mink, both breeding stock and non-breeding mink, to the provincial health officer and the medical health officer in their health authority. The Province is conducting a review of its policies and regulations with respect to fur farms, while ensuring the recommended mitigation measures are in place and enforced to protect both public and animal health. Three B.C. mink farms have had mink test positive for SARS-CoV-2 since December 2020. All three remain under quarantine, with no mink being moved to or from the properties. Fraser Health, WorkSafeBC and the Province continue to ensure biosecurity measures are in place to protect workers and families on mink farms, as well as making sure each farm is taking all necessary precautions to reduce the risk of spreading SARS-CoV-through human-to-animal or animal-to-human transmission. The nine B.C. mink farms, all located in the Fraser Valley, employ approximately 150 workers. The exact locations of mink farms are not being released as per Section 16.1 of the Animal Health Act, which prohibits the disclosure of information that would identify a specific place where an animal is located. Learn More: Provincial health officer's order on mink farms: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/covid-19/covid-19-pho-order-mink-farms.pdf
  12. "We thought your purpose is to serve and protect Canadians. Instead, you have used your paramilitary force of trained personnel, helicopters, tracking dogs, threats and intimidation with increasing brutality and harshness." See the Open Letter to the RCMP from the Rainforest Flying Squad, and it's lengthy, disturbing rapsheet.
  13. According to the Canadian Association of Journalists, a major victory for press freedom has just been won:: "In his decision, Justice Thompson agreed with the press coalition, stating: “I am not satisfied that geographically extensive exclusion zones, and associated access checkpoints, have been justified as reasonably necessary in order to give the police the space they need.” He continued: “I exercise my discretion to make the order sought by the media consortium, on the basis that in making operational decisions and exercising its discretion surrounding the removal and arrest of persons violating the order, the RCMP will be reminded by the presence of this additional language to keep in mind the media’s special role in a free and democratic society, and the necessity of avoiding undue and unnecessary interference with the journalistic function. “This is, without question, a watershed moment in the history of Canadian press freedom advocacy,” said Brent Jolly, president of the Canadian Association of Journalists. “The RCMP have now been told by two different courts, as well as their own oversight body, that their treatment of journalists is unacceptable in a free and democratic society. It is our hope that this latest defeat will prompt the RCMP to reexamine their approach with regards to allowing journalists to do their jobs.” "
  14. SINCE THE FIRST DAY OF ARRESTS at the Fairy Creek old-growth defence blockades, the RCMP have been employing vast “exclusion zones.” On July 20 a BC Supreme Court judge ruled those exclusion zones are not legal, according to a lawyer for the Rainforest Flying Squad. Justice Douglas Thompson told lawyer Matthew Nefstead that the RCMP may arrest and remove people who violate an injunction order, but may not deny access to everyone simply based on the possibility that someone may violate the order in the future. Justice Thompson agreed that the order issued April 1 by Justice Frits Verhoeven was clear in its protection of public access and the right to participate in lawful protest, and that important liberties were being compromised by the RCMP’s enforcement actions. Chief among these actions are the RCMP’s checkpoints and geographically extensive exclusion zones—which have ranged up to 10 kilometres—which have limited the public from getting anywhere near the forest defenders’ logging blockades. This has meant the public could not show support or engage in civil disobedience by standing on the road. The exclusion zones also meant that media representatives were limited to having to be escorted in by RCMP members, at times the RCMP chose, in order to get close to the blockades and arrests. Those representatives had to prove to the RCMP they were credentialed. (Media access was the subject of another court application, which was also ruled on favourably by Justice Thompson, who stated the RCMP must: “keep in mind the media’s special role in a free and democratic society, and the necessity of avoiding undue and unnecessary interference with the journalistic function.”) Will RCMP gates at Fairy Creek blockades come down soon? Justice Thompson was responding to an application last week from Elders for Ancient Trees to amend or clarify the injunction the BC Supreme Court granted to logging company Teal Cedar Ltd on April 1. Thompson’s oral judgments today, on applications for access by the Elders and by the coalition of media groups, will be followed in the coming weeks by written reasons. “This is a major victory for the public and anyone who wants to express their disapproval of the destruction of some of the last irreplaceable old growth in the region,” said Susan Gage, a spokesperson for Elders for Ancient Trees. The application was prompted in part when a bus carrying 15 elders was forced to back down a logging road three kilometres in the rain after they were turned away from reaching a logging blockade in the Fairy Creek area on June 15. “We hope the RCMP will respond immediately to this court order and remove their blockades and checkpoints,” stated Gage. FOCUS contacted the RCMP for comment but did not hear back by publishing time. Saul Arbess, another elder involved in the application, noted that in past forest defence actions, such as at Clayoquot and Walbran, RCMP behaviour has been more respectful of people’s right to protest. “Each morning, supporters would be allowed to attend the blockade. The police would come and read the injunction to everyone and then ask, ‘Will you step aside?’ Those who did not want to be arrested would step off the road; those willing to be arrested would remain on it and be removed and arrested by the officers.” But in the Fairy Creek blockades, as in Wetsuwet’en, it’s very different, noted Arbess. Huge exclusion zones enforced with blockades and checkpoints established by the RCMP, block access to everyone on long stretches of logging roads—all on public land. Even tourists have been unable to get through. Lawyer Matthew Nefstead, who represented the elders group, told media it seems clear based on the wording of the injunction and oral reasons by Justice Frits Verhoeven that the intent of the injunction was to ensure access to the area for the public and for peaceful protest while also clearing the way for ­industry. The judge stated: “The protestors are free to protest, demonstrate, and attempt to influence the government in any lawful way they may choose.” Instead, Nefstead said, the exclusion zones prevented people who wanted to visit the area to participate in lawful protest, with no intent to violate the injunction, from being allowed to enter. These people were able to walk through an exclusion zone set up 10-12 kilometres from Waterfall blockade camp in late May. The RCMP chose not to arrest anyone that day. Lawyer Noah Ross told FOCUS in May that “Exclusion zones are only legal in certain limited circumstances in which there are serious public safety risks. It’s explicitly not allowed by the injunction,” said Ross. “It appears that the RCMP are once again willing to enforce exclusion zones that are not legally justified in order to make their job easier. They’re willing to overlook people’s civil rights in order to give industry access to their logs,” Ross stated. “It’s not legally justified.” This opinion was confirmed by the BC Supreme Court Even with the restrictive exclusion zones, well over 440 people have been arrested at the Fairy Creek blockades trying to prevent clearcutting of old-growth forests. With the new ruling against the zones, it seems likely more citizens will be able to show support and risk arrest in doing so. (In other legal news, arrestees may now face criminal contempt of court charges rather than just civil.) Leslie Campbell is the editor of FOCUS. She has visited Fairy Creek blockades three times, including in late May when she and hundreds of others—were able to walk past an RCMP checkpoint due to the sheer numbers and Pacheedaht elder Bill Jone’s advocacy. That story is here.
  15. Focus congratulates Reverend Al for his many years of service to the Victoria community through his dedication to the less fortunate among us. It has been a real pleasure to know him. I have gone out with him on some of his 5 am rounds and witnessed his genuine friendship, compassion and practical assistance he offered through the Dandelion Society. We wish him a wonderful retirement. It is great to know his work will carry on.
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