Here's a great video about the simple safety lesson taught to drivers in the Netherlands. It would be worthwhile introducing it in BC if it could help save the life of a cyclist or prevent serious injury. Check it out here.
It was a busy Rotary day today! Right after the painting of the benches at the Arboretum I attended the final meeting for the 15th Annual Tip ‘n Taste which will be held on Friday, 7 July 2017 at the Coast Hotel & Convention Centre in Langley, BC . This is a fundraising event operated by the Rotary Club of Langley, Rotary Club of Langley Central and the Rotary Club of Langley Sunrise. The main beneficiary of this year's event is the Salvation Army Gateway of Hope.
Grab a friend, or two or three and come down and sample the craft beer.
Don't forget to say hi. I'll be there helping out the other Rotarians that have volunteered their time for the community.
A big thank you to my fellow Rotarians from the Langley Club that came out to sand and varnish the benches in the Derek Doubleday Arboretum. I'm glad I was of some help with the brush today!
Interested in joining the Rotary Club? Drop me a line and I'll let you know how to go about it!
There are like minded people throughout the world that wish to see an end to the radicalism that is used to promote hatred and gain power for those that do not deserve to be in a position of authority. This ad is apparently very popular during Ramadan this year.
A huge THANK YOU to those that came out to our event at the Langley Events Centre. The Royal United Services Institute - Vancouver saw that the intent of the Department Of National Defence to gather input from Canadians interested in the future policy required to guide the Canadian Armed Forces closely matched the Aim of the Society:
It's still not too late to get your input into the Department of National Defence. Simply go to their website and join in their forum discussion before the end of July.
Would you like to get involved on an ongoing basis? Check out the RUSI Vancouver website for more details.
Canadian Land Forces Command soldiers aboard nine Mercedes light utility vehicle-wheeled convoy to the instrumented range at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., June 21, 2008. — Image Credit: U.S. Air Force Photo
by Kelvin Gawley - Langley Times
posted Jun 5, 2016 at 7:00 AM— updated Jun 7, 2016 at 1:58 PM
Your voice could have an effect on Canada’s defence policies, if you attend a new kind of town hall meeting in Langley next week.
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan is fulfilling one of the Liberal Party’s election promises by ordering a series of events across the country, inviting members of the public to share their views on what the armed forces should and shouldn't be doing, leading to the development of a new national defence policy.
The Langley installment will be held on June 11 at the Langley Events Centre. It was organized by 42-year military veteran and former Liberal MP candidate Leon Jensen (who lost to Conservative Mark Warawa in the Langley-Aldergrove riding).
When asked what the average Canadian walking into the event can contribute to defence policy, Jensen answered: “Everything.”
“Because the military consists of Canadians that don't have all the answers, so there are lots of great answers from retired military members [and] just the ordinary Canadians citizen.”
The questions being asked of the public fall into three categories: “the security environment,” Canadian approach to defence,” and “defence capabilities and the future force.”
Jensen said one aspect of the armed forces’ role that is often overlooked is response to domestic disasters, such as the wildfires that have devastated parts of Fort McMurray and northern Alberta in recent weeks.
“Where do you expect the military to step in and be there for you? The big one out here, in B.C., is the earthquake preparedness because they are what we call the ‘force of last resort,’” he said.
“When the big earthquake hits, we have certain expectations of the military to come in and do their role. And we just have to define that a little bit more. What are those expectations?”
There are presentations planned from Canada’s air force, army, military and navy, including videos, talks and question and answer sessions.
Attendees will also be able to view military vehicles on display that have been used in Canada’s involvement in the Korean War, the War in Afghanistan and the Second World War.
A similar event is being hosted by Cloverdale-Langley City MP John Aldag on June 10 at the Royal Canadian Legion branch in Cloverdale (on 57A Avenue) from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Catherine and I are members of the British Columbia Exchange Teachers Association (BCETA), an organization that promotes the exchange of teachers between various countries around the world. We were on an exchange in 2011 to Bendigo, Victoria, Australia where Catherine taught at Catholic College Bendigo while her exchange partner took over her duties at St. Matthew High School in Orleans, ON.
The new Australian High Commissioner, Tony Negus, was in Vancouver for a few days to introduce the new Australian Global Alumni program. We were part of the teacher exchangee group that was invited to Canada Place for a wonderful evening of wine, hors d'oeuvres and networking. It was a great evening and it looks like he'll be inviting the exchangees to Australia House during their upcoming conference in the Nation's Capital.
It's time to get some miles under our trusty Roadtrek and check out the Southwestern USA.
Our campervan travelling is a habit we picked up in Australia. It's an awesome way to see the countryside at ground level, wander along the route at a leisurely pace and meet everyday people along the way. With our loose itinerary, we find all sorts of great adventures.
There was a lot of beach time during this trip as I'm still trying to make up for the loss of beach time during the summer of 2015. We were just way too busy campaigning to take a day off and find some time. Last month in Mexico was nice, but Catherine can never seem to get enough of the waves and the sand.
California has some great campgrounds along the ocean but it is all about timing and sometimes they are filled to capacity. But we found some ideal spots to stay for the night. Not too close to the elephant seals! They seem to take up an awful lot of real estate.
We also headed inland, checking out such interesting places as Palm Springs, El Paso, the Grand Canyon (do you know how cold that place is in February! Not many tourists so you don't have to worry about any line ups), Death Valley (to warm up again after the Grand Canyon...Brrrr...) Las Vegas, Hollywood, San Diego....
We also saw a lot of desert....more cacti than I could possibly count.
We passed through El Paso the day the Pope was giving a large Mass across the border in Ciudad Juarez. We passed by Donald Trump's plane in Las Vegas and we caught the largest bloom in Death Valley in ten years. I'll just share the photos of the beautiful bloom because we didn't actually stop in and chat with the first two guys.
We covered a lot of ground and also ran into a few situations that cause one to stop and think about the differences between our two nations:
Border Security - Ten to twenty miles inside the USA, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has permanent stations set up on the interstate where they check every vehicle registration and passenger travelling on the highway. There is no need for any suspicion that a crime has been committed, every vehicle is stopped. The justification may have originally been the apprehension of illegal aliens, but the checkpoints now post signs advertising the number of criminals that they have apprehended, the quantity of drugs seized, the number of illegal weapons found and other criminal apprehensions. Unfortunately, it reminds me of the checkpoints set up by the warring factions in Yugoslavia at the height of their war.
Weapons Carrying - I barely notice the weapons carried by law enforcement personnel in any interaction that I may have with them. However, stopping in a MacDonald's in Arizona for an iced tea, the fellow beside me was dressed all in black, including a black ball cap and black boots with what appears to be a Glock in his holster. No markings on his outfit, wispy chin beard. Did he make me feel safe? Not in the least! My senses were on full alert wondering what his issue was and what my options were if he was to decide he was having a bad day and should share it with the rest of us. Not pretty. Let's not ever go there with our society.
The Wall - The wall is already there in places along the USA/Mexico border. It's a rather sad statement on the world that we live in that we need to erect these barriers to impose control along a border between two nations. My generation saw one wall come down between East and West Germany. There must be more that we can do to minimize the need for the false security that the wall provides. Is it to keep out economic refugees? Let's work towards creating a stable economy in their home country. Is it to stop the flow of illegal drugs? Let's treat drug addiction as a health issue and dry up the demand for smuggled in product. Is it to stop the illegal trafficking of weapons? Let's get to the root cause of why those weapons are manufactured and why they're needed. I doubt the wall works that well at preventing their movement.
posted Jan 8, 2016 at 1:00 AM
Editor: At long last, José Figueroa was able to leave the Langley church that he has not left for two years.
He could not leave because the previous government had decided that he should be deported to his native El Salvador.
His crime? He had been a member of a resistance movement that was fighting against the military dictatorship that at that time ruled El Salvador.
If a dictatorship took over in Canada, I would step forward to fight to overthrow that government. Democracy matters.
The group that Figueroa was supporting is now the democratically elected government in El Salvador.
Back in Canada, the previous government chose to treat Figueroa like he was some sort of terrorist who should be forced to return to El Salvador, leaving his wife and Canadian-born children behind. This from a government that claimed to believe in family.
This from a government that I am sorry to say I did support in the past (prior to the most recent election).
This brings us back to the present and the Langley-Aldergrove Conservative MP, Mark Warawa. Recently, I was driving along and heard him on a radio interview taking some credit for Figueroa’s release.
While Warawa did write some letters and try to work with his government to secure Figueroa’s rights, he refused to admit that his government was the one that forced Figueroa to stay in the church, away from his family, for the past two years.
I was disgusted with Warawa for taking to the airwaves at all. If he had been willing to admit his government’s error I would have had some respect for his efforts. Instead he chose to follow the party line of a defeated government. What kind of MP does that provide for Langley?
I give full credit to Jose's friends and supporters such as yourself, the City of Langley and the others that kept his name in the paper and on line. Glad to see that the community stepped forward and ensured that the process was stalled until the new government came in and ensured that the case was reviewed with compassion and concern towards the Figueroa family.
posted Oct 29, 2015 at 3:00 PM
Langley voters made modern history by voting in a Liberal MP to represent them in one of the two Langley ridings.
The last time that any portion of Langley was represented by a Liberal MP in Ottawa was 1953.
The Liberals have had little presence in the area since that time, although in 1968 there was renewed interest in the party when Pierre Trudeau was selected leader, and brought youth and vigour into a party which had been seen as largely the preserve of older men.
Shortly after Trudeau was named party leader (and prime minister, as the Liberals were in power as a minority government under Lester Pearson), he called an election.
As part of that campaign, he held a major rally at Fort Langley, likely the only time there has been a major political rally involving a Liberal prime minister in Langley’s history.
So there is no shortage of irony that under Pierre Trudeau’s son Justin, the Liberals have won 17 seats in B.C. after a similar display of public enthusiasm — 47 years later. Their Langley seat was easily won by John Aldag, who has been a senior manager at Parks Canada’s Fort Langley site.
In the 2011 campaign a much weaker Liberal Party, under leader Michael Ignatieff, received just nine per cent of the vote in the Langley riding in 2011 — 4,990 votes.
The candidate was Rebecca Darnell.
How did the Liberals go from such a poor showing to electing an MP in one Langley riding, and coming a strong second in the other against incumbent Conservative MP Mark Warawa, who won 64.5 per cent of the vote in 2011?
On Oct. 19, Warawa took 45.6 per cent of the vote in the redrawn Langley-Aldergrove riding which should, theoretically, have added Conservative strongholds to his riding.
Liberal Leon Jensen was less than 5,500 votes behind.
There is no question that many voters wanted change badly, and the Liberals were well-positioned to deliver it. They ran a positive campaign, had a younger enthusiastic leader in Justin Trudeau with a well-known name, and put forward policies that appealed to a lot of people.
In addition, the lengthy election campaign allowed them time to find their feet and respond strongly to the varying directions of the campaign. The Conservatives’ negative ads about Justin Trudeau rebounded to his advantage.
Many more people voted, and a lot of them were younger voters. Many had tuned out of past elections.
In Langley, although the Conservatives and predecessor parties have owned the area for decades, their national campaign was weak and there was a lot of unhappiness with party leader Stephen Harper.
Aldag is well-known in Langley and ran a very strong campaign. He also won because the majority of voters in the riding were in the Surrey portion of the riding, which has had a large influx of new residents, many of whom were ready to go to the Liberals.
He has a decent shot at being named to cabinet, although the new cabinet will be much smaller than the old one.
His lengthy experience in working with Parks Canada, and fluent bilingualism, are assets in his favour.
The Liberals will want to strengthen their hold in this area — something that even their most enthusiastic supporters probably can’t fully believe yet.
Frank Bucholtz recently retired as editor of the Langley Times, but he still shares his views on a wide range of topics at frankbucholtz.blogspot.ca.