Goodbye July, Hello August
July 31, 2022 - Newsletter #3, One-man show, Hot weather, Hope and 'goodbye' Murder Hornets
Welcome to another scintillating (surely) Northern Beat newsletter.
It’s hot and it’s summer (hopefully, you are far from the wildfires), so we’re keeping it short this week. I’ll pitch a few stories against the wall and see what sticks.
Let’s start with the BC NDP leadership situation. Not a race per se unless you call a one-man show a contest. With only Attorney General David Eby officially declared (so far), it’s looking like a coronation.
It’s hard to imagine that no one else in the NDP has leadership ambitions, or that the rank-and-file are 100 per cent behind an acclamation. As the party that trumpets the need for diversity and inclusion, so much so, that it developed its own equity rules stipulating who can and cannot run and in what order, this process seems oddly off message. Although, as Vaughn Palmer noted earlier this month, there may be internal party interest in using this as an opportunity to elect a “climate champion.” As it stands, 48 members of the NDP caucus have already chosen solidarity over competition, uniting lock-step behind Eby. Only Nathan Cullen, Selina Robinson, Roly Russell, Michele Babchuk, Brittny Anderson, and George Chow kept their options open (as of Eby’s launch day), reserving judgement perhaps in case this leadership exercise develops into an actual race.
Staying on the leadership front, Rob Shaw noticed a strange absence in Opposition communications last week. On the day Eby threw his hat into the ring, both the BC Greens and BC Liberals swiftly issued statements attacking Eby, but neither mentioned Premier John Horgan. Horgan was absent from the conversation as Opposition members aggressively targeted Eby and “his government.” (Eby’s government?) For a glimpse of Eby’s approach to governing, view this video interview he did with Global News Morning BC shortly after declaring his candidacy.
Rob Shaw also gives us an update on hot weather emergency readiness suggesting the provincial government may have learned from last year’s tragedies and heeded the months-long battering of advice from the Opposition to get in front of any potential heat waves this summer.
A couple other stories this past week caught my attention. Eby’s ministry of housing is in a tizzy, as reported by Jen St. Denis from the Tyee. Eby replaced nearly half the commissioners on the BC Housing board after an external review of governance and program outcomes, among other things. We’ll stay tuned to this unfolding story to understand the long-term implications these changes will have on the NDP’s ambitious housing commitments and the overall functioning of this mega ministry. Then there’s the ongoing Clean Coast, Clean Waters initiative which recently announced $3.8 million in new funding to clean up about 1,000 kilometres of coastline this summer. The initiative has facilitated some great work since 2020. Partnering with local communities and marine restoration organizations, 1,000 tonnes of debris, including 86 derelict vessels, were removed from nearly 4,000 kilometres of coastline. (Yay for our beautiful coastlines.)
If you want to slow things down a notch, try this smooth-flowing narrative written by Jeff Davies. Jeff sat down with several veteran tree fallers to hear their thoughtful and sometimes surprising reflections on a sticky topic du jour – old growth logging. Regardless of how you feel about old growth logging or the activism that has sprung up against it, these elder tree fallers should be heard.
And for an upbeat closer (it’s a beautiful summer week after all), how about a story on Hope (and hope) by Geoff Russ? Besides being the district where Geoff’s grandma lives (Good genes, Grandma, he’s an upstanding young man), Hope is where the rest of us stop for coffee, gas or a meal on our way back-and-forth between the Lower Mainland and the Interior. A function the community likely served even before it became a Hudson Bay trading post and a stop-over for the Fraser River Gold Rush crowd in the mid-1800s. Despite its name and past prosperity, the future hasn’t always felt bright in Hope. It’s known some modern troubles: declining forestry and mining, high opioid overdose fatality rate, ebbing population, and more. But things are looking up. Thanks to post-pandemic inflation, outrageous housing costs and a controversial resource development project, Hope’s population is increasing, and many residents are newly optimistic. Read Geoff’s story to find out why.
One last note… on hornets. The world’s largest hornet to be exact. Formerly known as the Asian giant hornet or the murder hornet, the insect – originally from Asia – has been renamed the northern giant hornet (presumably to reflect its adopted homeland in North America?). According to a report from the CBC, the decision to rename the hornet was driven by a desire reduce fear and stigma. All of which seems to have been driven by the Entomological Society of America’s new 2021 guidelines for acceptable insect names: “Common names with words that unnecessarily incite offense, fear or promote negative emotional reactions … are strongly discouraged. Descriptors of cultures, populations, ethnicity, race, and industries/occupations are generally not acceptable.” There you have it.
That’s it for this week!
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Until next time, stay safe, stay cool and enjoy the weather!