Sunday, April 30, 2006

President of Afghanistan Offers Olive Branch to Taliban

The Washington Post reports that Afghan President Karzai essentially is asking the Taliban, especially it's moderates to cease fighting and join with the Government to rebuild Afghanistan. The Post goes on to quote Taliban Commander Akhund, speaking by telephone from an undisclosed location,who said the United States and its allies toppled the Taliban and installed a "puppet government" after intense bombing," and that "The Afghan people should stand up.. and join the Taliban in the freedom struggle and force out foreign troops like Soviet forces,".Wow, deja vu about what was said about the Afghan Government at an earlier time under Russian military occupation!
Interesting, why doesn't the Canadian Press report the fact that President Karzai is offering an olive branch to the Taliban (who by the way now call themselves freedom fighters)? Is it at all possible to 'give peace a chance'? Are the Taliban a group that can be reasoned with? Are they that big a threat to suddenly elicit an appeal to consider peace from President Karzai? Certainly not the impression our western leaders have been giving us. The impression we are being given in the West is that they are just a small bunch of loose terrorists that we are just mopping up. What is really motivating President Karzai to ask the Taliban to accept the olive branch? This seems like a pretty dramatic appeal. Why?....

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Fallen Soldier's Dad Critical Of PM Harper

CP reports and quotes fallen soldier Mathew Dinning's father at his eulogy saying "Now I'd like to show you some of the video that Mr. Harper wouldn't let you see close up of Matthew's arrival home,". He also only weeks before his son's death penned a letter to Harper decrying the government's refusal to lower flags on Parliament Hill for fallen soldiers.

Letter To The Editor - April 29, 2006 - From Peter Adamovich - Re: School Closure Procedures Review

LFP will post Letters to the Editor prominently. Send Email letters to EDITOR-LFP.
I'm very glad the school district will review their closure procedures. The current process fails to inform all parties of the ultimate goals of closure.

During the South Carvolth review process, district administration informed trustees and parents that the reasons were not financial, which is good because closing the school would have recovered less than 1% of the district's overall budget, even if all the students had stayed in the district. Since more than half of South Carvolth'sstudents are enrolled in Surrey schools, the District is not even saving that 1%.

The administration cited declining enrollment, and prior to the review South Carvolth actually had 3 more students enrolled for September than were graduating and moving on to High School. Under-utilization was also mentioned, but the school that was closed had 77% utilization where other schools in the district are currently around 60% and are projected to have even more empty desks in the future.

The District's policy states they can review any school when there is room in the surrounding schools for the students that would be displaced. Any other considerations are secondary, although there are eight clear points listed. Only one of those 8 is measurable. Any change in the process that would make it clearer to all parties involved what the benefits and drawbacks of closing a school will be an improvement.

I do hope any future process also includes some sort of requirement to adhere to the process itself, however. The current process states that alternatives to closure must be presented, and in the case of the South Carvolth review the total number of alternatives presented was zero. None. The fact that the vote actually took place when the districts own guidelines were not being followed should concern all of us,not just those directly affected.

Peter Adamovich
South Langley

Letter To The Editor - April 29, 2006 - From Peter Adamovich - South Carvolth Kids going to Surrey School

LFP will post Letters to the Editor prominently. Send Email letters to EDITOR-LFP.
As quoted in the Langley Times of April 28, School Trustee Sonya Paterson characterizes the decision by many parents to enroll their children in a small rural school as a threat. It wasn't a threat, and choosing a school that suits our ideals isn't really "jumping ship" as she believes. The parents and students of South Carvolth told the trustees and administration what we value. The board voted 5 to 2 in favour of not providing that sort of service to our community. The trustees were informed of that intention prior to voting, and they essentially voted those students (and the provincial funding that goes with them) out of the district.

In my case, another issue is distance: Halls Prairie Elementary in Surrey is actually the closest school to my home after South Carvolth closes. While not everyone in a rural community can hope that their children can walk to school, my daughters could have. That option is no longer available, but if I have to choose between sending them down the street or 6 km away, I'll choose down the street even if there happens to be a school district border between here and there. I'm free to send my childrento a school (or district) that I believe shares the values I do.

There doesn't happen to be an appropriate private school in the area, otherwise I may have considered that an option. Would that constitute "jumping ship" as well? The district administration and the trustees seem to think that's a good option for the families that will be moving into the Highpoint development, and not having those potential students in the district didn't seem to be a good enough reason for the board to keep South Carvolth open. That includes Trustee Patterson who voted to close the school.

The school district has decided it does not want to be in the business of running a small school. The parents of the children that enrolled at Halls Prairie have made it clear that is the kind of school they want. While Trustee Patterson may think the parents and students have abandoned the school district, it is a two way street, isn't it?

Peter Adamovich
South Langley

Friday, April 28, 2006

Mexico Decriminalizes Pot, Cocaine - Yup You Heard Right!

According to Reuters, Mexico beat Canada to the punch in decriminalization of marijuana, cocaine and even heroin which will no longer be a crime in Mexico if they are in small amounts for personal use. What is the punitive big bad USA going to do about this since it was touted as inconceivable for Canada to do so as their immediate neighbour! Don't worry purists Harper in his 8 to 12 month government will never move to do so with his new sell out buddy George Bush who he just gave $1 billion , softwood limits, duties and apparently Provincial forestry veto rights to.

Softwood Lumber Agreement Unraveling Already - Impinges On Canadian Sovereignty

Yahoo CP reports that the so-called anti-circumvention clause in yesterday's U.S./Canada Softwood agreement allows the U.S. government a veto on changes to provincial forestry policies, impinging on Canadian sovereignty. LFP told you so yesterday! Meanwhile, 'the Bush administration heralded the softwood lumber deal as the dawn of a productive new era in Canada-U.S. relations following years of distracting disputes.' as reported by CP. I guess the Bush Boys love this type of deal making with the Harper Government! Bend over some more why don't we!....

Sweden's Muslims Demand Separate Laws For Muslims!

LFP just had to post this. The Local reports that Sweden's largest Muslim organisation has demanded that Sweden introduce separate laws for Muslims! Needless to say the response from Swedish government officials and others has no been overwhelmingly positive!

Ken Dryden & Gerard Kennedy Makes It Ten Little Indians

Hockey legend, ex Montreal Canadians goalie Ken Dryden has officially joined the crowded race for the federal Liberal leadership per CP. Gerard Kennedy, the 45-year-old, former Ontario education minister has also officially declared as per the London Free Press. See previous posts on candidates.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Do We Really Still Have A Valid NAFTA Agreement Anymore?

Canada, U.S. agree to softwood lumber deal
says the CBC headline. But read the fine print. 'Certain Canadian export restrictions will kick in. Producers would have to pay an export tax of five per cent if there's a small drop in price. If it's a larger drop, they would have to pay as much as 15 per cent. Exporters who don't want to pay the tax will have to limit their volume of exports.' Finally we only get $4 of the $5 billion the U.S. collected in duty back!

OK, so how is this free trade? Are we missing something or did Canadians essentially lose on this dispute agreement and did the U.S. actually win despite all the rulings that said we were in the right on this dispute? I thought NAFTA was supposed to be an agreement to end these types of darn ad-hoc sidebar agreements and countervailing duties! Nothing substantially has changed. What good is NAFTA to Canada any more if its not worth the paper its written on?

Canoe reports that the opposition parties quickly attacked the deal. NDP Leader Jack Layton called it a "sellout," and Liberal Leader Bill Graham sarcastically said it was "a great day - for the American industry." Not a real resounding endorsement from our own B.C. Forests Minister Rich Coleman who said a deal this complex is full of tradeoffs. "You have enthusiasm in some sectors, you have ambivalence in others and you've got some people who are just sort of heaving a sigh of relief and saying we've finally got this done and now we can work within a deal for stability," he said.

Why are we all celebrating, especially our Harper Conservative Government, if this is no longer free trade as per the North American Free Trade Agreement Mulroney's Conservatives signed? The bigger question is what more did PM Harper negotiate away that has not yet been revealed? Is our energy next? What about our water?

B.C. Government Introduces Legislation to Limit School Class Sizes

Education Minister Shirley Bond says the bill will set out new class sizes for Grades 4 to 7 and for students with special needs. No classes in Grades 8 to 12 will have more than the current district-wide average maximum of 30 students. Reported by Global BC.No classes in Grades 4 to 7 will have more than 30 students and no more than three special needs students unless the teacher and supervisors agree.

3 Way Liberal Leadership Race

Michael Ignatieff, Bob Rae and Stéphane Dion are the only 3 that can win the race. Chantal Hebert reports in her Toronto Star column today that these 3 are the only Liberal Leadership candidates on the organizational map in Quebec and they are head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to communicating in french. Even money bags Belinda Stronach saw the writing on the wall this time around on needing Quebec's support to win and decided not to run this time. LFP agrees with Chantal and suggests that the strong friendship between Rae and Ignatieff will result in each sending their support to the other in a run off. LFP further predicts that the strongest contender and momentum in the Liberal Leadership race will be in favour of Michael Ignatieff.

Voters Like Idea of a Liberal-NDP Merger

CTV reports that a Decima Research poll found that 25 per cent of Canadians believed the two parties should unite. The Decima poll suggests luring voters away from the NDP will be crucial if the Liberals hope to recapture power.

Bob Rae, a former NDP premier of Ontario, advocates uniting "progressive'' voters while Michael Ignatieff, a rookie Toronto MP and acclaimed scholar, is urging the party to plant its flag firmly on the centre-left of the political spectrum. Both are very good friends and both are declared candidates seeking the Liberal Party leadership.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Letter to the Editor - April 26,2006 - From Tom Ouellette - Honour Our Troops - Red Fridays

LFP will post Letters to the Editor prominently. Send Email letters to EDITOR-LFP.
Red Fridays

RED FRIDAYS ----- Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing Red every Friday. The reason? Canadians who support our troops used to be called the "silent majority". We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for God, country and home in record breaking numbers.

We are not organized, boisterous or over-bearing. We get no liberal media coverage on TV, to reflect our message or our opinions.

Many Canadians, like you, me and all our friends, simply want to recognize that the vast majority of Canadians supporting our troops. Our idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect starts this Friday -and continues each and every Friday until the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that every red-blooded Canadian who supports our men and women afar will wear
something red.

By word of mouth, press, TV -- let's make Canada on every Friday a sea of red much like a homecoming football game in the bleachers. If every one of us who loves this country will share this with acquaintances,co-workers, friends, and family. It will not be long before Canada is covered in RED and it will let our troops know the once "silent" majority is on their side more than ever, certainly more than the media
lets on.

The first thing a soldier says when asked "What can we do to make things better for you?" is...We need your support and your prayers. Let's get the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example; and wear some thing red every Friday.


Tom Ouellette
c.c. Aldergrove Star, Langley Times, Langley Advance

Tom Ouellette ran unsuccessfully against the incumbent in the past November 2005 Langley Township Municipal election. While not successful, his showing was impressively close to the incumbent.

Total Taxes For Average Canadian Family Increased 1,600 % Since 1961!

CTV reports that the total tax bill for the average canadian family has increased 1,600 % since 1961 as released by the Fraser Institute. The Fraser Institute study finds that Canadians now pay more annually in taxes than they spend on shelter, food and clothing combined! By the way these are all taxes combined. British Columbia at 49.1 percent imposes the heaviest tax burdens in Canada. You should be happy to know that Langley Township's property tax increases of 5% this year and upcoming compounded 5% tax increases in the next 2 years following are not included yet in these numbers! Joy. Don't you feel better now?....

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

"Happy Fun Kid's Club" - by Rick Mercer

Don't know where to park your kid with the $1200 from Stephen Harper's Conservatives for child care. Rick Mercer's solution is "Happy Fun Kid's Club".

Monday, April 24, 2006

Are The Harper Conservatives Essentially Censoring Our War Dead Images? Why?

Is the Conservative Government afraid that Canadians, seeing the bodies, seeing the coffins, seeing our flags at half mast may turn people off on the mission? It seems to LFP that is clearly what is concerning them as reported by CTV. Also see the National Post. Looks like Harper is still working from George Bush's playbook on politics and governance.

Bloggers Are The New Sherpas

The Philadelphia Inquirer states the obvious. "Each morning, we awake to new mountains of information. Bloggers are the new Sherpas, leading their readers through those various ranges. Newspaper reporters and editors are the old Sherpas. Lots of folks - especially liberals and elites - still like the old Sherpas. The mainstream media - MSM - are populated overwhelmingly by left- and hard-left-leaning writers and editors(LFP thinks not in Langley!), and few people even bother to argue the point anymore. American newspapers are not unlike American car companies: Market dominance made them lazy and uninterested(LFP thinks in Langley!) in their customer base, and a lot of that base slowly melted away, even before the new media arrived. When blogs and talk radio and cable arrived and offered a choice to news consumers long disgusted with biased(LFP thinks in Langley!) product, remaining center-right readers began to bolt." LFP says that the new "Sherpas" are especially an up and coming force on the local scene. Howvere some blogs are just personal political career glorification sites (look at me-me-me site!) disguised as the new sherpa! Please consider LFP, one of your local Sherpas from now on! Our rates and quality are better! And we know the quickest and most accurate way throgh the dangerous mountain range of information!....

Then There Were Eight - Bob Rae & Carolyn Bennett In Liberal Race

Canadian Press reports as well as CTV that former NDP Ontario Premier Bob Rae and Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett as reported in Yahoo have joined the slew of Canadian liberal leadership candidates as reported in summary by the CBC. P.S. we at LFP just love Carolyn's website, different, easy & cool(click on her tabletop change for instance). By the way, pity, all the candidates are from Ontario with only Dion and Brison from Quebec and Newfoundland.

Four More Coming Home As Threat Getting Worse

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Then There Were 6 – Scott Brison Is In

Scott Brison ( Brison website), a previous floor crossing Conservative and Liberal cabinet minister, joins Joe Volpe, Stephane Dion, Maurizio Bevilacqua, Michael Ignatieff and Martha Hall Findlay as officially declared candidates to succeed the previously elected Paul Martin as Liberal leader at the December convention. See previous posts for more profiles. Great CBC summary site.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Tories Will No Longer Lower Our Flags For Canadian War Dead In Afghanistan

Too choked to comment too much on this one! The Tories will no longer lower our flags for our Canadian boys & girls killed in Afghanistan! "We have returned to the 80-year tradition of remembering all casualties of war or operations on one day - Nov. 11th," Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor said. What is the tragic message that our Government is sending us by this action? How many more casualties can we expect? You respond the way you personally feel (if at all) to Canadian Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor. This is his email if you want to comment to him. Or phone his office here.

Canadian Afghan War Dead Tally - In Honour & In Grief

To view details on Canadian Soldiers killed in the Afghan war to date link to either CBC or Below is partial list started from LFP before it started to get too large.

  • Capt. Nichola Kathleen Sarah Goddard was the first ever female Canadian Soldier killed in combat. See LFP posting. Captain Goddard was a 26-year-old CFB Shilo-based soldier and was killed during a firefight with Taliban insurgents May 17, 2006.
  • Four soldiers were killed today April 22,2006 in what could be the worst one-day combat loss for the Canadian army since the Korean War.
  • Pte. Robert Costall, age 22 died and three other canadians were wounded during a firefight with Taliban insurgents north of Kandahar early Wednesday morning March 29, 2006.
  • A soldier was killed and another later died from his injuries after their armoured vehicle ran off a road in the Kandahar area on March 2, 2006. Six others were injured.
  • A Canadian diplomat was killed and three Canadian soldiers were wounded in a suicide bombing near Kandahar on Jan. 15, 2006.
  • One soldier lost his life and four were injured when the armoured vehicle they were travelling in rolled over on Nov. 24, 2005, near Kandahar.
  • One soldier died in a suicide bombing on Jan. 27 2004 while on patrol near Kabul. Three others were wounded.
  • Two soldiers were killed and three were wounded in a roadside bombing southwest of Kabul on Oct. 2, 2003.
  • Four soldiers were killed and eight were wounded in a friendly-fire incident near Kandahar on April 18, 2002. A U.S. F-16 fighter jet mistakenly bombed the Canadians, who were on an training exercise.

Then There Were Five - Liberal Leadership Race

Former immigration minister Joe Volpe has joined the other 4 formally announced candidates to succeed Paul Martin as the elected Leader of the Canadaian Liberal Party. Volpe has a lot of support from new MP 's such as Surrey's Suhk Dhaliwal. See previous article re other declared candidates.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Muriel's Thoughts - April 20, 2006

Township Council Approves Parklane Development In Fort Langley

Despite the protests of many citizens from the Township, Langley Township Council recently approved the Parklane development on the former Interfor lands. While attending thepublic meeting last week, I listened to a number of Fort Langley citizens who spoke passionately about their concerns regarding increased traffic, illegal suites, visual disturbances for current property owners and the noise from frequent train traffic. While I agree that all of these are major concerns, I am surprised that very little attention has been paid to the very real threat of flooding in the area. I am wondering how many others question the wisdom of placing hundreds of new homes on a recognized floodplain?

While on Council, I referenced all of my decisions regarding the appropriateness of development on management guidelines based on the “WestwaterResearch Centre” report prepared for the Township. Reference to that comprehensive report indicates that the lowlands around Fort Langley have floodplain status and that construction should be avoided due to potential flooding problems.

The view concurs with the findings of The Fraser Basin Council which has published information regarding the risks associated with development in the floodplain of the Lower Fraser River. They point out that while there have been no catastrophic flood events on the Fraser River since 1948 that the risk of “the Big One” remains. Their report refers to a one-in-three chance that a Fraser River flood of record will re-occur within the next 50 years and that given the “significant development” in recent years within the Lower Fraser floodplain that a flood of this magnitude could be catastrophic.

They advise that the most effective method to reduce this risk is to have local governments take into account flood risks and to regulate development on the floodplain in order to ensure that development occurs on the least hazardous lands to ensure public safety and protection of property(1).

Based on this criteria alone, why did Council support this development? When the inevitable happens, who will be left to pick up the pieces and pay the price? Parklane? The Municipality? The Provincial Government? In a worst case scenario, I believe that we would all be left holding the bag as a result of the failure of our local government to deny development on lands which are not suitable. I believe that we all deserve better.

Sincerely, Muriel Arnason

Muriel Arnason was Langley Township's longest serving Councillor and in December 2005 decided to take a break from Council. She cares very much about the people and now shares her thoughts in LFP regularily.
(1)The Fraser Basin Council


David Emerson Frustrated as a Conservative And More! Minister's Office Denies Remarks

Shocking revelation from the Toronto Star today. The Star says David Emerson's complaints are that the government is too partisan and too tightly controlled under Prime Minister Stephen Harper and "They hate the f---ing Liberals and they're doing everything they can to screw them,". Wow, sounds like some newspaper Editors! He further is reported as saying that he is frustrated being a member of the Conservative government. Even more dramatic statements were attributed apparently to Emerson saying that Harper is a hard-ass, that he is incredibly focused but has no people skills. Well this news will certainly result in damage control and have big ramifications! Watch the spin on this one it should be great! Nothing like press like this to endear yourself with the Conservative caucus especially if you used to be a Liberal Minister before. The Toronto Star article does say that the Minister's office denies the remarks. UPDATE: PM Rejects claims Emerson frustrated ..see CTV. Told you it would spin!

Then There Were Four - Liberal Leadership Race

Maurizio Bevilacqua is the 4th to officially join the race to succeed Paul Martin as the federal Liberal leader as reported by the Globe and Mail. He is staking out the centre-right position as a candidate for the convention in December in Montreal. See previous LFP report for other candidates.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Local News Review Langley Times - 4/19/06

The Translink board is meeting today at our new Township Hall Council Chambers and will discuss the Translink parking tax. Dear God in heaven, please help Kevin Falcon get rid of these morons, pleaseeee! Hope the Translink board bureaucrats had a tough time getting across the Port Mann this morning! They sure didn’t take the bus I bet. Mayor Dianne Watts of Surrey is forwarding a motion to ‘park the tax’ that will probably not go to far because of the big northeast of the Fraser urban majority on the Translink board. Best idea yet is park the Translink Board itself! If these bozos had to run for public election for the Translink board most of them would lose including our beloved appointee Mayor Kurt Alberts. Anyhow read the Times Editorial which just reiterates the obvious. Langley and the south of the Fraser folks are always screwed by Translink! Then read the Al Irwin article about Mayor Alberts on the Parking tax where it seems to me that he lolly gags around in circles on the topic. Our Mayor should unequivocally simply say it is just B.S. At least it appears he will most likely vote against the parking tax.

Meanwhile Gas prices are going through the roof with no end in site because George Bush and his Mini Me Harper are sabre rattling about Iran! Which means more out of the way trips to Abbotsford Fraser highway gas alley where we have to line up with the masses to get cheaper GVRD tax free gas. And if you can tell me what the Editor's message is in his editorial today on I think, this topic, you win the Gumby award for dechipering! Does rambling come with boredom or time or both?

Meanwhile obviously the paper had a dearth of good letters to the editor and once again dug up a letter on divinity. Ever notice that they love to publish this pablum with glorious lines like "vastness of space and the nano-universe" ? Also get this wonderfully creative headline added by the I assume the editor on this letter, "Editor: Faith in God can be a wonderful blessing or a curse". Very pertinent to Langley ain't it? When can we expect equal opportunity divinity letters for other religions? Not bad though, consider sometimes fully one quarter to one third are divinely inspired letters!

A really great letter says it all though that the abundance of jobs out there are probably low paying minumum wage and part time jobs!

Proof that times are tough for people are that hard working crooks now climb telephone poles to cut high tension telephone cables for their copper resale value! Maybe this experience now better qualifies them as telephone repairmen!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Local News Review Langley Advance - 4/18/06

The editorial today suggests that both provincial parties “put politics aside” and work together to implement the 62 recommendations that Judge Ted Hughes suggested clean up B.C.'s child protection system. I don’t think so! Nice try anyhow. Imagine.. two political parties working together! LFP reported on the base story before.

Councillor Richter in a news story by Matthew Claxton suggests that the entire Translink parking tax should be cut and that "It's about time people got upset about this,". Where is our silent mayor on this item? He occupies one of the 12 seats on Translink and is a decision maker!

I don't know about you but something is desperately wrong when municipalities start relocating/diverting our rivers, creeks & brooks. Why not just divert them all into our culverts or better still into one straight river in Langley!?

Duh, Township folks' "satisfaction with Township services has slipped" according to a Township commissioned survey. Yet Councillor Bob Long in the column responding to the survey says "The results gave him confidence council is generally headed in the right direction with the current budget..". Wonder what Bob had in his coffee when he said that? Lets see 5-5-5 % municipal tax hikes in the next 3 years. So if satisfaction slips even more in the next survey does that mean Council is heading in an even more right direction then Bob? Like I said ..Duh.

Meanwhile South Carvolth Kids are on the move with many going to go to a Surrey school. Sad.

By the way kudos to the Langley Advance on listing all their archive issues for viewing on their web page and our favorite article of all for 2005.. Nov 18th! Ah yes.. the questionable advisory committee!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

BC 211 Telephone Service Coming Soon

211 is a three digit telephone number that links people to community, social, health and government services answered by live operators as described by Civicinfo BC . What is it? Kudos to the Provincial Government and the United Way on a great iniatiative. I may donate again every year!

Friday, April 14, 2006

New Harper Tories - Get In Line Or Get Fired

CP reports about the muzzling of a Federal Government bureaucrat on his novel about global warning just as Harper's Tories axe 15 Kyoto research programs. The report also says, "Paradoxically, the incident takes place during the same week the Conservatives unveiled new 'whistleblower' protection, designed to shield outspoken public servants from intimidation and threats to their livelihood." See also "Loose lips sink careers" report by CP for more elaboration on Harper's Tories muzzling. Ahh... the more things change, the more they stay the same!....

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Another Point Of View On Afghanistan War

Eric Margolis on his website provides a different point of view on the Afghanistan war elaborating on the 3 Big Lies justifying the war in Afghanistan. The lies are, selfless crusade to defeat the 'terrorist' Taliban, implant democracy, and liberate Afghan women. He says none are true. Surprisingly, never heard before anywhere, are his comments that we should be working with the moderate elements of the Taliban as opposed to the war lords and their ilk. Read the comments to his comments as well. Excellent food for thought. Refreshing to get a different perspective. I think I am going to get his book!....

Do You Really Want To Keep Eating Hamburger?

CP reports that a six-year-old dairy cow right here in the Fraser Valley farm could have Canada's latest case of mad cow disease. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says about this finding, "This case, if positive, has no bearing on the safety of Canadian beef,". Really!? Could have fooled me! Gotta go now and get a Big Mac!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Vecchiato's Voice - April 12, 2006 - DUMP THAT DIRT HERE, SIR!

Langley Township is in need of a fill site to have excessive loads of dirt dumped. Engineering put out a bid for tender to various companies to fill a former gravel pit at approximately 32nd and 203. The circumference of the pit has renaturalized, and the middle holds a seasonal lake. One portion in the southwest corner holds water year-round, thus I am thinking that it is spring fed or the aquifer surfaces at this point, as if does at Latimer Lake further southwest of this area.

The engineer in change is Phil LeMay (604-533-6146), who was helpful in giving information. I informed him that the lake portion of the pit was year round and was home to fish and amphibians. Great blue herons can be seen feeding on the creatures who manage to find the water instead of ending up in a dry-up zone. Although heron habitat is not protected, their nests are protected throughout the year by the Provincial Wildlife Act. Because of the fish and amphibians, DFO should be contacted if any changes are made to this portion of the site.

From my understanding, Firehall Number 5 backs onto this parcel, and having dump trucks pass on a constant basis would pose concern to those whose job is to save lives. Having seen the massive increase in truck traffic, I can understand the concern.

Mr. LeMay and I did discuss residential concerns that have arisen due to fill being dumped on properties. Numerous stories have crept up recently, with township giving approval to filling properties, which then puts neighbors at a lower grade. He expressed his opinion that it’s their property and they should do what they want. I didn’t feel it was appropriate for a civil servant to voice such a strong opinion on property rights, when I have heard horror stories from all quadrants of Langley Township. If Engineering is approving grade changes that affect neighboring properties, they should rethink their approval process.

Any suggestions or comments on the issue are welcome.

Cathleen Vecchiato has been an outspoken environmentalist for the past 5-1/2 years. She is a very well recognized champion of the environment and a community activist in Langley as well as in other adjoining communities. Cathleen formed and leads the Langley Conservation Network. Editor-LFP

BC Legislative Police Raid - Where Are The Media Questions?

Bill Tieleman in 24 Hours reports once again on the former provincial ministerial aides David Basi and Bob Virk and former communications aide Aneal Basi who face serious charges, including breach of trust, fraud, accepting bribes and money laundering. This is the second time that Tieleman is asking excellent questions that should be asked by the media. He summarizes his concerns almost pleading that the big media start digging and is concerned, "Because the biggest political scandal in B.C. is still a huge mystery and the B.C. Supreme Court trial scheduled to start June 5 may not provide all the answers." Think about it folks the police raid on the Legislature as well as many individual homes occurred on December 23,2003!

"Live the adventure in Afghanistan" - Join Tim Hortons Kandahar

The Province reports that the Canadian Forces are advertising for Tim Hortons seeking employees who will make $15,500 to $17,000 during their six-month stint (based on a 37 1/2-hour week), plus a $1,800-per-month, tax-free stipend with room and board included for those willing to serve Tim Hortons donuts and coffee to our troops in Kandahar. They further advertise that the job will "take the challenge to the edge" with a "change from the everyday routine." Wow I can hardly wait to apply for the job!

Now Only 3 Running To Replace Paul Martin

CP reports that MP John Godfrey has pulled out of the race for the Federal Liberal Leadership Convention scheduled to be held December 2 and 3 this year in Montreal. He declared personal health reasons for withdrawing. As previously reported herein in LFP that only leaves three formally declared candidates, MP Michael Ignatieff, MP Stephane Dion and Martha Hall Findlay . Gerard Kennedy, Ontario's popular education minister and former Ontario NDP premier Bob Rae are also widely expected to soon announce their formal intention to run as well.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Harper Models Press Conference After Bush

The battle between the Canadian Press and Conservative PM Stephen Harper is heating up to almost war like proportions! The Ottawa Citizen reports on today's press conference that Harper's media approach is starting to resemble President Bush's media approach. The media is not happy. Will the media retaliate in their coverage of Harper? Does Harper really care? Should he? Will the media become biased? (Of course we don't see any media bias in Langley, do we? ;-)

Rabble Rousers Rrr Rocking reports that Rabble fired moderator Audra Trower Williams. is a site that amongst other things has gotten a large reputation as a prominent moderated national comments site that is well know in political circles. Rabble leans too far to the left but this reader has noted comments that were too far right at times! For those in the know, Williams basically made what it is today and is now let go. For those who don't know about Rabble, go visit browse and comment!

U.S. Army Officer's Top 10 Reasons For Canada To Stay In Afghanistan

Today's National Post reports Canada's Afghanistan war comments from Stephen J. Mariano who is a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army and a Visiting Defence Fellow at the Centre for International Relations, Queen's University. His top ten reasons to stay in the war are summarized by your editor below;

10. Oil to Benefit Canada ( The US too?).
9. Poppy (heroin) Industry back in Afghanistan ( Eliminated under the Taliban!).
8. Prevent human-rights abuses (Hey, I can buy this one).
7. Protect fledgling Democracy in Afghanistan (Hope it holds).
6. Canada's chance of success better in Afghanistan (Than what?)!
5. Support NATO's(USA) self defense clause treaty obligation (legal contract!).
4. "A secure Afghanistan means a secure Central Asia" (yeah right!)!
3. Prove to the US we can & will, "it's good to accentuate the positive" (suck up)!
2. Prove to the world we are not a "soft, outmoded 'peacekeeping' force" (suck up more).

And the # 1 reason for Canada to stay in Afghanistan is;

1. "Better to halt bacterial growth in the petri dish now rather than letting it grow and one day infect our shores." (fade out to a star spangled banner...).

I don't know about you, but U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Stephen J. Mariano has provided me all the reasons to formulate my opinions on Canada staying in Afghanistan. How about you? I'm so glad he's here in Canada helping educate our students!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Vecchiato's Voice - April 10, 2006 - HIGH POINT OR LOW POINT?

An open house held for the High Point Development Thursday evening brought mostly homeowners in the Brookswood/Fernridge area who are afraid the impact of sewer will allow massive rezoning, and “Willoughby-ize” an area that is unique with its forested lots.

Consultants from Aplin Martin, the consulting firm said that the sewer was inevitable, whether high point is constructed or not. The tie-in with High Point is that the developer must pay for sewer down 200th, and will be reimbursed over 20 years as businesses and home hook up to the sewer. There was a feeling that if staying on septic allows the neighborhood to stay the same, and then septic it is. The pro-sewer people—usually who have bought property on speculation or people whose septic fields are nearing their end—did not appear to be in attendance.

The development itself extends from Zero Avenue to Eighth Avenue and from 196th Street along Surrey’s border to approximately 205th. The lots are large and surrounded by trails for equestrian use. The plans looked like an ideal community, or at least for those who can afford million dollar homes. Personally, the development isn’t one that will allow total clearing as we’ve seen in Willoughby. Sidewalks are not part of the development plan, and with Brookswood’s excellent drainage, re-infiltration is planned for any storm water run-off. Please remember that one of the worst offenders to streams is storm-water sewers that spew road pollutant water into salmon-bearing streams.

A little brake dust on your salmon tonight, sir?

Comment sheets were available for attendees, as were individual petitions for voters to halt the project. These must be signed and hand delivered (no faxes) to township hall by April 20, 2006. They can be obtained through the township. I am not thorough enough to know if the form can be downloaded from the internet if you are adamant about the development not going through.

Several astute followers of local politics were available, and the main argument against the development was that the Planning directive, written in 1995 by our former planner and current mayor, recommends development in one area at a time. This is far more financially prudent than allowing road construction, sewer and water lines, police stations, street lights, and the rest of the servicing that comes in a development package in more than one place. servicing is expensive, and the DCC's from High Point are in place to cover the sewer...for now.

My own personal concern is that $20 million is a lot for a developer to shell out for sewer, so it will encourage hook up along 200th and throughout Brookswood and Fernridge sooner than most residents would like it. I would like a guarantee that any new development is far different than what we are seeing in Willoughby and throughout Surrey.

Cathleen Vecchiato has been an outspoken environmentalist for the past 5-1/2 years. She is a very well recognized champion of the environment and a community activist in Langley as well as in other adjoining communities. Cathleen formed and leads the Langley Conservation Network. Editor-LFP....

Troops To Stay in Afghanistan For Years: Harper

PM Harper permitted debate this evening in parliament on Canadian troops in Afghanistan and he said that our troops will remain in Afghanistan for the next few years as quoted by Yahoo News. He also refused an NDP suggestion that a vote be held to extend the Canadian troops participation beyond early 2007. Harper further said he would provide a say to parliament on future deployments but this would apply only to new hot spots and not to Afghanistan. CBC reported that Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor said in the same debate that Canada's security depends on battling terrorists harboured in Afghanistan. The Globe and Mail reported that O'Connor said “Our security begins very far from our borders.” NDP Leader Jack Layton asked,
—What is Canada's role?
—How long will it take?
—How is victory to be defined?
The NDP also criticized the fact that the mission is supposed to be operating under a NATO command, not under the umbrella of the United States.

Top Canadian General Hillier Wants More Muslims in Our Military

CBC reports that at a Sunday night dinner hosted by Ottawa's Muslim Association, our Canadian forces Commander called on Muslims to join the military to increase our military's diversity. A young muslim present was quoted as saying he needed a "clearer idea of why Canada is in Afghanistan before he would consider a career in the military". He also said, "First of all, I'm a Muslim, so I don't like to fight," said Kaddoura. "So unless there's a clear purpose for me to go there, to change it, then I wouldn't do it, you know what I mean?"

Sunday, April 09, 2006

'When we kill enough(Canadians) ... they will quit' Says Afghanistan Taliban

Canadian Press reports that insurgent spokesman Qari Yuosaf Ahmedi said the Taliban are convinced the resolve of the Canadian people is weak. He further is quoted, "We think that when we kill enough Canadians, they will quit war and return home,". It is obvious to LFP that this rhetoric by the Taliban will result in even more Canadian Government countering rhetoric which we predict will say that we are winning the war and our resolve will never weaken. Hopefully we will not have escalating Canadian deaths that will escalate with the political rhetoric.

CP further reports that a poll survey by Decima Research found 45 per cent of Canadian respondents considered the deployment a good idea while 46 per cent viewed it as a bad idea. It is also quoted as saying 25 per cent of respondents said the troops should stay as long as it takes to complete the mission. Another 10 per cent said they should stay another year or two, while 15 per cent were willing to see them stay up to five years.

Friday, April 07, 2006

BC Lib Govt To Blame For Child Protection Mess

CP reports that the independent review by Judge Ted Hughes puts the blame directly at the Liberal Government's feet for British Columbia's child protection system becoming an unstable mess. He is quoted, "I don't think there's any doubt that the core review of 2001 and 2002 took the knife too far,". CP further reports that if the government doesn't do something about it soon, Ted Hughes said he'll take his concerns public, speaking across the province in an effort to shame the government into action. Pretty damming report and lousy PR for BC Liberals! Not to mention tragic for kids at risk!....

Its Official, Ignatieff & Dion Vie To Succeed Paul Martin

The Toronto Star reports that both the 58 year old Rookie Liberal MP Michael Ignatieff and former federal environment minister Stephane Dion will face off against each other to succeed Paul Martin as the elected new leader of the federal Liberal party. They join 63 year old Liberal MP John Godfrey , Martha Hall Findlay and Gerard Kennedy, Ontario's popular education minister for a total to date of 5 who officially have hit the floor running for the federal Liberals to be elected as their new leader in early December in the Montreal convention. More candidates are rumoured to join. Belinda Stronach announced yesterday she would not vie for the job this time around.....

First sponsorship Sentence Handed Down - 18 Months In Jail

Montreal advertising executive Paul Coffin will serve 18 months in jail unless he appeals, as reported by CTV. His initial sentence was for only two years of conditional community service but the Crown appealed saying it was not harsh enough. The Crown succeeded today in making him the "poster boy" example for receiving $1.6 million from the sponsorship program while doing next-to-nothing in return. Coffin pleaded guilty to 15 counts of fraud.

"Preston-for-Premier" Gains Steam

The Globe & Mail reports that "Preston-for-Premier" is growing having raised $50,000 for his campaign in just two days. LFP predicts Preston Manning just like his father will be one of the three longest serving Premiers of Alberta! Jim Dinning is also one of at least six contenders for the leadership of the Alberta Progressive Conservatives.

Pierre Trudeau’s Son, Justin Leads Liberal Renewal Task Force

The Montreal Gazette reports that Justin Trudeau, 34, is to head a "youth task force" as part of a renewal project examining how the federal party can rebuild itself after its recent election defeat. Looks like Justin is finally wading into Liberal politics maybe in time for the election after the next one!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Richter Report - April 5, 2006 - Warawa Promises "Complete Response"

Regarding my March 30/o6 Richter Report, Langley MP Mark Warawa responded (see below) to my previous email to him regarding my concerns on the Federal Government's new "Boots on the Ground" campaign in Washington D.C. I look forward to his promised "complete response" and I will post it here as soon as I receive it.

From: Mark Warawa, M.P.
Date: Friday, March 31, 2006 9:32 PM
To: 'Kim Richter'
Subject: RE: Canadian Military Advertising in Washington DC

Dear Ms. Richter,

Thank you for your e-mail, outlining your concerns about the possible direction the federal government may take Canadian Forces.

To answer your concerns comprehensively requires a look at our national policy on foreign affairs and national defence. I will write back soon with a more complete response that I trust will reassure you of the Conservative government’s motives regarding Canada’s military.

Mark Warawa
Member of Parliament, Langley


From: Kim Richter []
Sent: Thursday, March 23, 2006 2:09 PM
Subject: Canadian Military Advertising in Washington DC

Dear MP Warawa:

I am writing to you as a concerned resident of the federal riding you represent. I recently discovered that the federal government is advertising its military presence in the US. Please follow the attached link

I am very uncomfortable with the military direction that Canada now seems to be taking. This advertisement is adding to my concerns.

Why are we spending money on this? Do you support the change of Canada's peace-keeping role to what now seems to be an increasingly aggressive military stance? Were you aware of the spending taking place on this ad and related website: . What is the "endpoint" or positioning of our military that this government has in mind?

We used to be respected internationally as peace-keepers. Is this role changing?

I would appreciate a response from you at your earliest convenience. Thank you for your time.

Yours very truly,

Kim Richter.

Kim Richter is in her 3rd term as Langley Township Councillor and also is a Professor of Business at Kwantlen University College. She holds a masters degree in health administration and was a health care management consultant.

Legislative Raid Charges Expand To Alleged Influence Peddling By Previous Provincial Liberal Ministerial Aides

Bill Tieleman in his Tyee article asks, "Perhaps the biggest question is this - what the hell is going on here?". LFP suggest you go to the TYEE links such as the Sooke Sunriver Estates ALR controversy. This whole case smells like it has very long legs ready for a big marathon! The Sunriver estates project quoted was taken from ALR lands despite considerable protests and concerns at the time in Sooke. The NDP in the legislature today started to turn up the heat on the Liberals asking pointed questions on these issues. We can all expect to hear much more as I expect the major media will focus their investigatve journalists on this. Some politicians will feel very uncomfortable for a while.....

Restructuring, Rightsizing & Changes At Radio CKNW 980

Sean Holman's Public Eye Online reports that 12 people were affected in changes at radio station CKNW yesterday. Weekend talk show host David Berner was reported as one of those affected. Gee, how come restructuring doesn't happen at my favorite local paper?! Corus Entertainment is a corporate communications giant that broadcasts over TV and also owns over 50 radio stations in canada, including CKNW, and had revenues in 2005 of over $683 million. Wonder if this restructuring had anything to do with them also losing the Canucks game broadcasting revenues? Their stock prices while dipping a bit look pretty robust.....

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Throne Speech Outlines Harper's 5 Points +

CBC news reports on the new Government's action plan (throne speech). The whole actual speech can be read here by the diligent federal politics watchers. CP however reports that the Conservatives have backed away from a sweeping set of reforms to Access to Information laws! Ho hum... now let's see how the opposition parties deal with the Harper plans. Watching the post speech interviews though, both Duceppe and Layton sent clear signals that they want to work with the Conservatives to get things done that they want. And of course the Liberals harken the end of times with this throne speech! Prediction. No election until next spring, earliest this November and I bet the Conservatives will be the ones that push for an election then.....

Klein Calls It Quit By Year End

CP reports that Ralph Klein will resign as soon as another leader is elected by the Alberta Provincial Conservatives. He obviously took his cue from the recent leadership vote of his party that saw him only getting 55% support to remain on until the latter part of 2007. Speculation that Preston Manning may be the man to beat as the next Alberta Conservative Leader as reported herein previously.

Live Streaming Video & Audio Of Island Nesting Eagles!

3 million worldwide viewers a day are watching the live streaming video of a pair of nesting bald eagles on B.C.'s Hornby Island. View them live here or on Windows viewer here. (Note, You have t o view a 40 second ad first.) Discussion forum on nesting eagles is here. PS the AUDIO works too! Turn up your speakers to hear them. CBC provides the background story here. No Tree Bylaw and unrestricted tree clearing in Brookswood will eliminate our Langley Township Council's obvious similar nesting bird problem right here in Langley! sic..

Should Richmond School District Help Hand Out Bibles To Students?

News 1130 reports that a Richmond mother is upset her son brought home a newsletter from his public school offering free bibles to students saying the public system is no place for organized religion and should be "neutral zones".

Langley RCMP Officer Resigns Over Child Porn

CKNW reports that a Langley RCMP officer accused of looking at child pornography at work has resigned. No charges have been laid as of yet and an investigation continues.


CHANTAL HÉBERT suggest in her Toronto Star column that of the 309 MPs in Ottawa the ones to watch in this Parliament session are the following 9. Rona Ambrose (minister of the environment), Monte Solberg (immigration), David Emerson, Michael Ignatieff(rookie Liberal MP & Lib Leadership hopeful), Ralph Goodale (former Lib. finance minister), Olivia Chow/Jack Layton (2nd parliament husband-and-wife team) , Gilles Duceppe (Bloc Québécois leader) and of course Stephen Harper.

Provincial Lib's Basi, Virk Warrant Information Released

CBC reports as well as the National Post on two former B.C. Liberal ministerial aides who are criminally charged with alleged pay-offs while working as an aide to Provincial Liberal Government Ministers. Basi was the aide to the former Liberal Minister of Finance at the time.

Liberals Don't Need A new Leader To Fight Another Election

The Liberal Party is “perfectly capable” of fighting an election even without a new leader in place if the need arises, said Interim Leader Bill Graham Tuesday as quoted in the Globe & Mail.

Ralph Klein's Wife Warns Palace Revolt May Backfire!

Colleen Klein is quoted by the Calgary Herald that she was appalled at how the tory party members voted against her husband saying that he "has given his life to his province." and what goes around comes around. She is obviously angry at the only 55% support that Alberta PremierRalph Klein got at the recent party leadership review and convention. Klein is expected to comment on his future intentions in a press conference today as reported in Macleans.

Did Friendly Fire Cause Deaths in Kandahar?

Pte. Robert Costall aged 22 an American and Afghani soldiers may have been killed by friendly fire reports CBC and The Toronto Star. An investigation is under way.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Vecchiato's Voice - April 1, 2006 - Personal Property Rights? Township’s Doublespeak

During the election, the majority of candidates stated that they would support a tree by law. The question that was never asked was: What kind of by-law?

I had seen a lot of promise in some candidates, who professed environmentalism, who professed environmental integrity with a religious slant, and who distributed campaign fliers with the candidate cuddling infant wildlife. Yet all the rhetoric suffers a painful death the moment the ballots are counted.

I would name names, but you may be able to guess.

I heard the typical line about supporting personal property rights the same week I received a call from a distraught resident, actually a neighbour, whose own property and that of four others are in peril because one person exercised his personal property rights and cleared every tree from a forested 1/3 acre lot. With the threat of stump removal, the root system would cause neighboring trees to fail; it would collapse septic fields, around which lines the roots had become a part; even foundations are threatened.

What I read is that placating one man’s personal property rights puts neighboring properties in total jeopardy.

My next call was from a long time Willoughby resident, who sold his land under duress to the township. Should he had chosen not to sell, township would have expropriated the land. Any court date had the potential for a judge deciding the case, where the scales of justice could allow township to only pay assessment value for the property. As you stand on his family’s heritage site, you look down the hill at a sea of new rooftops with the only green being an adjacent stream that is planned for possible rerouting. The rooftops themselves are contentious at best. They replace a 216 tree forested parcel that was cleared without a single wildlife survey. The clearing, tragically, took place in the midst of breeding season—it was July 2004.

I had corresponded with the CEO of the development company earlier that year, and received a letter from him, stating that his company did, indeed, provide habitat. Habitat for mammals—the two-legged kind. The sarcasm dripped from the page without a single regret for the type of development he was condoning, money that would alter the face of our town while he could attend gala functions in the city and donate money to the arts and get a philanthropic reputation and a snapshot in the paper.

The majority of the previous council that continue to dominate the decision making process voted in favour of this development. None had ever taken the time to read the tree protection policy, which requested nesting bird surveys when clearing occurred during the March-August window. By the way, the new draft tree by-law, a part of the subdivision by-law, has since deleted any reference to surveys.

But back to personal property rights. I am wondering how an elected official can espouse private property rights, and then expropriate private property, to be used for a four-lane road with the remainder sold by township to developers. How can he be part of the forthcoming rezoning of Brookswood, where many of us don’t want to be rezoned? How can any of them sanction clear cutting on property that is being purchased by an absentee landlord and will be held on speculation until the zoning comes it? If you are selling in Brookswood, watch who you are selling to. What was once your beautiful home will look like the new Willoughby.
So please don’t give me the rhetoric about personal property rights when you represent an administration hell-bent on rezoning and using eminent domain to obtain your property. Don’t tell me about personal property rights when you refuse to enact legislation to protect neighboring properties. Volumes of fill can be placed on a parcel, leaving yours at a lower grade level and doomed to flooding. All the trees can be removed, leaving yours at risk for wind throw and root extraction that will topple landscape and infrastructure of your own private property. Don’t show me pictures of a cute mammal that you cradle in your arms and then vote for every new development proposal, where the same small mammals are crushed under bulldozers.
May citizens realize their taxes on going up annually to subsidize poor development practices, archaic storm water management systems that are financially alleviated by the ever-increasing storm water tax.

And don’t bitch about what seems to be negative complaints by people like me. Would you prefer a “living sort of oblivion," commonly known as apathy?

Cathleen Vecchiato has been an outspoken environmentalist for the past 5-1/2 years. She is a very well recognized champion of the environment and a community activist in Langley as well as in other adjoining communities. Cathleen formed and leads the Langley Conservation Network. Editor-LFP

Letter To The Editor - April 1, 2006 - From Peter Adamovich - Re: South Carvolth Environmental School Closure Decision

LFP will post Letters to the Editor prominently. Send Email letters to EDITOR-LFP.

I thought I was done when the board voted. I suppose I'm not through yet. I wrote this to the Times and the Advance, but when I looked and saw that it was almost 1000 words, I realized they'd never print it. I'll send it to the Free Press as it stands, and send a shorter version to the Times and the Advance. The focus may be slightly different when it's shorter...


I've written to your papers throughout the closure review, so you may know what side I'm on already. As a parent, I'm dissapointed with the result, but we each seem to have our opinions on that. As a taxpayer, I'm disappointed in the process, and that should concern all of us.

Part of the district's review policy states that alternatives to closing a school must be presented. None were. Why wasn't this questioned? The criteria for selecting a school for possible closure (a candidate school to be reviewed) aren't objective or measurable, with one exception: 200 or fewer F.T.E. 4 schools in Langley have less than 200 students, so why was South Carvolth the only one to be reviewed? If the board had been presented with more than a single yes or no option by the administration, it would be more likely that the board could have made a decision
that made a difference to the district as a whole.

Trustees, senior staff, and even editorial staff at the Times have said that this difficult decision is in the interests of all the students in the district. Only barely: South Carvolth had 27 empty desks, a little more than one maximum capacity elementary classroom. Closing this school does less to reduce excess capacity in the district than keeping it open, since new registrations for September were already more than the number of students graduating from Grade 7. Supposing for a moment that all the students are going to stay in the district (and they're not), the excess capacity in the district overall goes down by 0.7 percent.

If the district's aim is to reduce the excess capacity overall, they should have considered closing Bradshaw elementary, currently running at 52% capacity with only 166 students and a capacity of 317. Bradshaw students likely could still walk to Belmont, Alice Brown or Noel Booth, and while I recognize that means closing a school for almost twice the number of students, I think the possibility should have at least been considered. Closing South Carvolth would essentially mean that if students stay in the district, they would likely all have to be bussed to school, and even then the other schools would still not be at or near capacity.

What about the resources that go into "keeping an expensive school open for a small number of students". It has been stated that South Carvolth is a small school, and therefore very expensive on a per-student basis. While it's not the most expensive in the district, it is among the top five. But step back a moment, South Carvolth is a small school. So even if the cost per student is high, the total cost is not as much as any other school in the district. Again, closing South Carvolth has a very small effect on the district as a whole. And as I mentioned above, many students will not be attending Langley School District public schools following the closure, so the cost savings will not be fully realized by the other students in the district.

However, as the trustees have heard and many parents, students, and teachers have stated, South Carvolth is a successful learning environment. How much is a good education worth? Businesses talk about return on investment. Surely learning ought to be the measure, more importantly than the price per student. And these are our children we're talking about. Economies of scale should not be more important to us than the quality of the result.

What about the subject of declining enrollment? The district as a whole does have a serious problem on it's hands. However, the district's own figures show that South Carvolth's enrolment has gone up and down in the last 10 years, not steadily declined as claimed in the review report. The school was poised to have more students in 2006/07 than this year. This is without any increase from the High Point development, or the potential increase from sewer and water along 200th street.

All of these points were raised to the trustees, mostly through the Site Committee. The answers to the Site Committee's questions were difficult to obtain, and in many cases the information provided by district administration were non-answers or merely quotes from district policy. My last letter was printed in both the Times and the Advance, and was sent to all the trustees, urging them to be sure to review Glenn Miller's submission which did more to address all the points that should have been part of the review than anything the administration put together. Alison McVeigh responded to my email ensuring me that she had reviewed the information. It did not matter to her that more information was presented from concerned parents than the
district's own staff. It didn't matter to the 5 trustees who voted to close the school that the criteria for review are not measurable. It didn't matter to the administration that their figures on enrollment projections were changed between the original recommendation and the final review report, at least not enough for them to present some justification for the differences. In the final analysis, the district doesn't care enough to put any effort into a "difficult decision."

And how much did this review cost the district, and ultimately the residents and students of Langley? Every dollar spent on this review is a dollar not spent on education. I don't know the answer to that, but whatever the cost in time and research, it's not likely to be of benefit to all students in Langley School District #35.

Peter Adamovich

Preston Manning Interested - Calls For Persuasion To Replace Klein

Ex Canadian Reform Leader, Preston Manning is said by CP to be interested in replacing Ralph Klein as leader of the Alberta Conservative party and essentially Premier of Alberta. LFP suggests this would be great for Alberta and Canada as Manning is respected across many party lines and would bring a strong and intelligent voice to Provincial as well as Federal Politics. This Editor was always a supporter of Preston and his grass roots Reform ideals. Unfortunately they are hard to find nowadays in our Canadian political landscape.

Will Ralph Klein Resign - Now?

The Calgary Herald reports that only 55% of his provincial party delegates voted to support his continuing as party leader until his previously announced deadline of October 2007. His spokesperson was quoted as saying, "He was a little shocked, and dare say, a little hurt," she said. "It's up to the premier to decide what he wants to do." Klein in his speech to the more than 1000 party faithfull at the Conservative convention said , "I ask you to give me -- for one final time -- your endorsement to achieve what I have laid out for the duration of this mandate,". We suggest he gracefully leave now and not at the end of 2007 as he planned.