Federal election only two days before Economic Summit

Who will be winners? Who will be losers? The results will be in but what will it all mean? Will we be on the same path? Will we be taking an abrupt turn left or right? Majority of minority? Pipelines? Reconciliation? Taxes? Trade? Health? Social Justice? Interest Rates? Infrastructure? What will the future be likely to hold?

VIEA has invited two top political analysts to share their insights in a keynote presentation at the Summit - Shachi Kurl, Executive Director of Angus Reid Institute and Robert Asselin, Senior Global Director of Public Policy, Blackberry.

As Executive Director of the Angus Reid Institute, Shachi Kurl can be found offering analysis on CBC’s “At Issue,” Canada’s most-watched political panel, in the Wall Street Journal, the New York times, the Globe and Mail, and on the editorial pages of the Ottawa Citizen, among other places. Kurl is a recipient of the prestigious Jack Webster Award for Best TV Reporting. Along with former Australian and UK Prime Ministers Julia Gillard and Margaret Thatcher, she is an alumnus of the US State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program.
Robert Asselin joined BlackBerry in 2017 as Senior Global Director, Public Policy. Also in 2017, he was appointed Senior Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto and Fellow at the Public Policy Forum. From 2015 to 2017, he served as Policy and Budget Director to Canada’s Finance Minister.  From 2007 to 2015, Mr. Asselin was the Associate Director of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa. In 2014, he was a Visiting Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. Mr. Asselin was a Policy Advisor to Prime Ministers Paul Martin and Justin Trudeau.

'Since we will all still be digesting the results of the federal election, our Summit Program Committee thought this a great opportunity to hear, up close and personal, what experts have to say. Shachi and Robert are seasoned observers, close to Canada's political pulse, and refreshing in their perspectives. We're excited to hear what they will have to say.' -  Dan Hurley, VIEA Chair-Elect

Enhance your life, leave the chores to Caring with Kindness

Simple daily chores and errands can pose a real challenge for some people, consuming a large part of their daily lives. Relying on qualified, caring and kind people decreases stress, freeing their time to enjoy life’s pleasures.

Caring With Kindness is a new concept to provide any chore needed under one company with skilled and qualified domestic helpers by being only one phone call or message away, bringing community and relationships together by each helping the other.   

CWK recognizes even simple tasks can overwhelm. They have an unhealthy effect on families who lead a busy life – persons with a disability, women in their final term of pregnancy, recovering from surgery, full time family care givers, seniors, career people or a loved one. 

Every community has a large population of mature, able and responsible people who are for various reasons, and that’s where CWK comes in. Many of these domestic helpers have started a career with Caring With Kindness. They have these skilled, compassionate, accountable, reliable and trustworthy providers for almost any service. They are experienced in caring for children, parents and pets, cooking, cleaning, yard and garden work, errands, and companionship. They can house sit, do handy man chores, and more. They have been doing them all their lives.

Our domestic helpers come from all avenues of life and ages. Some are professional hairdressers and pedicurists to look after the customers in home. For social activities, they accompany clients for yoga sessions or maybe to the pool, and other social events. Younger domestic helpers perform the labour that requires strength or endurance or are a professional nanny/manny to care for the children. 

Caring With Kindness sources specialized trades  – roofers, electricians, movers, and more – to oversee work on behalf of clients.

CWK is a new concept to provide any chore needed under one company with skilled and qualified domestic helpers to perform the work by being only one phone call or message away, bringing community and relationships together by each helping the other.  

If you need help, need work – either part time of full time, they want to hear from you.

Help@CaringWithKindness.caor contact Shaunna Morgan at 250.616.6897 www.caringwithkindness.ca



Birthing, a new perspective on women's health

Dr. Whitney Wood joins VIU as the new CRC in the Historical Dimensions of Women’s Health.

By Rae-Anne Guenther
Vancouver Island University

0717 – Delving into the historical roots of childbirth experiences, VIU’s new Canada Research Chair hopes to improve women’s encounters with the health-care system during this critical time.

Home birth, water birth or hospital birth; medicated or unmedicated; doctor or midwife – the ways in which women give birth and perceive a “good” childbirth have vastly changed over time; however, women have always sought to exercise some control over the childbirth experience. Dr. Whitney Wood has long been interested in how women experience birth and are treated during labour. Wood will be sharing her knowledge and expertise on the history of childbirth and women’s experiences of labour pain in the 19th and 20th centuries as VIU’s new Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in the Historical Dimensions of Women’s Health. She will also be teaching as a professor in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

“Arts and Humanities is proud to have the opportunity to host Dr. Wood, an emerging but already proven scholar in the Historical Dimensions of Women’s Health. We hope to provide her with many opportunities for collaboration with her colleagues community partners,” says Marni Stanley, VIU Faculty of Arts and Humanities Acting Dean.

Wood first became interested in the history of childbirth while taking a history of medicine class during her undergrad at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

 “I learned about the history of Twilight Sleep – a form of anesthesia given to labouring mothers during the first decades of the 20th century, and I became instantly curious as to why this type of delivery had gained such popularity,” she recalls. 

Wood continued to explore her curiosity about childbirth and labour pain during her PhD studies at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo and with her first book, which is currently under contract with McGill-Queen’s University Press.

She is the editor for Canadian and histories of medicine and reproduction content at NOTCHES: (re)marks on the history of sexuality, an international collaborative blog that aims to bring the history of sexuality to wide public audiences. Wood is also the English-language book review editor for the Canadian Bulletin of Medical History, the flagship journal for Canadian historians of medicine. Wood is looking forward to building on these experiences at VIU.

“I am excited to collaborate with researchers across faculties, especially the editorial team of Gender & History, a leading international journal housed right here on campus,” says Wood.

The Gender & History editorial team includes Cheryl Krasnick Warsh, a renowned historian of gender, medicine and popular culture in 19th and 20th century North America, and VIU’s first Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada

During her first five-year term as Canada Research Chair, Wood will focus on three main projects that explore the history of women’s pain in modern Canada. She hopes to expand on her post-doctoral research on natural childbirth on Vancouver Island, Canada and around the world from the mid-to-late 20th century. 

Wood also plans to work on a collaborative project exploring gendered experiences of medical violence (including childbirth trauma), and to host a conference at VIU exploring these themes. Finally, Wood plans to begin “a new project exploring the history of women’s pain across the life cycle,” she says. 

“I’m interested in researching women’s pain in girlhood, menstrual pain, sexual pain, and how gender shapes attitudes towards pain in old age.”

In each of these three areas, Wood looks forward to involving VIU students in her research projects. 

By examining the historical roots of women’s modern childbirth experiences and contemporary perceptions of women’s health, Wood hopes to provide context and support for public health and policy efforts that aim to improve women’s encounters with the Canadian health-care system. 

“Women still face a number of barriers in accessing quality medical care and women’s pain, in particular, is widely underrecognized and undertreated,” she says. “By learning from our past, I hope we can address and correct ongoing inequities in women’s health to ultimately provide all women with better health care.”


Free trade investors forum slated for Economic Summit

0717 - Over the past three years VIEA has developed business cases aimed at gaining the attention of those wishing to invest in Island Business. Last year the Summit delivered a broad view of foreign investment opportunities in four sectors. Come and listen to the people that have invested and are taking their ideas to the world. Hear about new and exciting opportunities that have potential to rejuvenate Island communities while generating wealth and attracting foreign investment partners.

"In 2018, we developed a portfolio of business cases now being marketed globally as we continue developing capacity in our new designation as a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZVI), says VIEA chairman Mark Smith. "We're delighted to see immediate uptake and early traction with the international investment community and happy to be sharing details at the Summit."

Register for the 2019 Summit

(Business case development was made possible thanks to funding provided by Government of CanadaICET, VIEACVRD,

Get your message about your products and services out to your customers with a BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT. Contact Merv Unger 250-616-0416 to discuss how you can be featured on this high-traffic location on the Information Highway.

Caring With Kindness – leave the chores to us

Caring With Kindness volunteered our help for a dear client to prepare over 100 sandwiches and tasty baked treats for the Branch 10 Legion to honour the passing of a long time member in Nanaimo. Looks like Fun was had by all!!

Shaunna Morgan recognized a need for neighbours to help neighbours. So she put her more than 40 years experience in people skills, small business development, project management and marketing to establish Caring With Kindness.

Many people are challenged by daily chores and errands. They may be simple tasks but they can be overwhelming. These chores affect families who lead a busy life – persons with a disability, pregnant women, people recovering from an operation, full-time family care givers, seniors, career people or a loved one, not able to look after a family member. 

When daily chores and errands are done by qualified, caring and kind people, stress levels decrease. The challenge is finding reliable people to help and where to source qualified help, and that's the role of Caring With Kindness.

Every community has a large population of mature, able and responsible people looking for work. They are skilled, compassionate, accountable, reliable and trustworthy. They know how to care for children, parents and pets, cook, clean, do yard and garden work, run errands, be a companion, house sit, handy man chores because they have been doing them all their lives.

There is also an increase of young people who want to work but not as an employee. Domestic helpers are starting a career with Caring With Kindness to develop good business and work. These young people will evolve through divisions of Caring With Kindness as the company expands.

Caring With Kindness domestic helpers range from age 62 to 22. Some are hairdressers, pedicurists, personal trainers, computer/mobile device trainers to perform services in home. For social activities, they accompany customers for yoga, the pool, picnics, bingo, and more. Younger domestic helpers perform the labour that requires strength or endurance or are a professional nanny/manny to care for children. 

Caring With Kindness also sources specialized trades (roofer, electrician, mover, landscaper, plumber, etc.) and oversee the work for the customer. 

Caring With Kindness is a one-stop service under one company. All domestic helpers are to ensure they are qualified, reliable and trustworthy. Domestic helpers must provide a current criminal record check, liability insurance, first aid or other certifications such as Food Safe or a driver’s abstract for the chores or errands they perform.   

Caring With Kindness is being well supported by businesses in Nanaimo bringing community and relationships together.  They are continuously adding to their customer services to meet the demand, so if there is a service you need performed.  

If you need help, need work – either part time of full time – e-mail Help@CaringWithKindness.caor contact Shaunna Morgan at 250.616.6897 or visit their Facebook Page or website www.caringwithkindness.ca 

Circular economy in focus at Island Economic Summit

0704 - A panel of Island-based thought leaders will provide overview and engage audience in an 'ideas jam' for advancing circular economy on Vancouver Island.

Moderated by Julie Sperber of Gabriola Island Economic Development, this session will feature contributions from:

The Circular Economy theme will be complemented by other sessions in the 2019 Summit program such as Climate Change Mitigation and Adapatation, and Clean Technology. Watch for updates...

Register NOW for the 2019 Economic Summit

Kelly Bennett – a great local-boy-makes-good story

Kelly Bennett

By Merv Unger

0602 – Advertising is the lifeblood of the news media industry, so naturally, anyone with a sizeable budget tweaks our interest.

Like Netflix, for instance, with a $3 billion annual budget under the guidance of Kelly Bennett, its chief marketing officer. That makes his arguably one of the top advertising jobs in the world.

So what makes Kelly Bennett so interesting? He was born and raised in Little Old Nanaimo.

Alec Scott did a feature recently in The Globe and Mail focusing on Bennett and his role with Netflix, and I’m borrowing little bits with a LINK to the original.

The story reveals that as chief marketing officer Kelly Bennett had one of the top jobs in the business and helped transform Netflix into a cultural phenomenon. Then he decided to leave at age 47 to retire, leaving behind a $6.2 million salary in order to “be a better husband and father.” When he announced his decision in March to retire—walking away with $19 million in Netflix stock — he said he wanted to spend more time with his family and “to contribute more to my community.” 

After his announcement, he took off to Yosemite National Park, with Dominique and their kids (aged 11 to 17) to wrap his head around the implications of his decision.

So, what does the next episode in the Kelly Bennett show look like? "It's time for me to refocus,” he told Scott.

He has already accepted a seat on the board of the German e-fashion giant Zalando, and hopes to join the boards of a few non-profits, particularly ones with environmental and educational missions. He even mused about teaching a marketing class at a local college. Though he's lectured in the past at Oxford and Stanford, and could probably land a more prestigious teaching gig, he'd prefer to join the sort of place where kids without much money would study. 

To quote Scott in the Globe, Netflix is an interesting success story.

“When Bennett joined the streaming company in 2012, it was on the brink of its second great transformation. Five years earlier, it had pivoted from mailing out DVDs to streaming films and TV shows. Now, it was moving from streaming content produced by others to making its own. Through a combination of data, killer content and, yes, smart marketing, Netflix quickly changed what we watched and how we watched it—much to the chagrin of traditional studios, movie-theatre chains and cable companies—and became an inextricable part of pop culture, first in North and Latin America, and then globally.

“In January 2016, Netflix began, overnight, to stream in 190 nations—every major market except China. Since then, it has gone from 25 million subscribers to approximately 150 million, and now has a market valuation of $150 billion U.S.

“Reed Hastings, Netflix’s cofounder, chair and CEO, says Bennett has played an invaluable role in driving that growth. He and his marketing team of 1,000 spread across the globe have helped persuade viewers, via billboards, ads, emails and social media, not just to tune in to shows like House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black and Stranger Things, and movies like Roma, but to sign up for a monthly subscription in order to do so. And his team has done it in 20 languages”.

There’s tons and tons of information about Netflix and Bennett’s influence in the company’s success, which you can read in Alex Scott’s story, but let’s get back to the personal side.

His grandfather worked in the forest industry, his mom was a letter carrier and his dad a fireman. 

The Globe story says Kelly was a hockey player with worldly ambitions. His older brother Shane remembers a map that hung on Kelly’s wall, stuck full of pins to mark all the places he wanted to go. “You had this sense that he was going to get there,” says Shane. “He was always the first kid to try something—the first to have a skateboard, the first with whatever new trend.”

Shane has made his own mark – he’s the district manager for Vancouver Island for London Drugs.

The full Globe story is available only by subscription however. You can find it HERE. –  

RCMP issue warning about home repair scams

Cst. Gary O'Brien

With summer around the corner, home owners need to be vigilant about home repair contractors knocking on their door offering discount services and in many cases, fraudulent work. The work is often shoddy, up front money is absconded with and at the end of the day, irreparable damage could be done to your wallet and home.

Recently, a local person reported to the Nanaimo RCMP of being duped into giving several thousand dollars to a local decking company they found through an online advertisement on social media. At the end of the day, the money was paid up front, the job was not completed and the contractor has disconnected their phone and cannot be reached. Each year, dozens of residents file similar police reports indicating fraudulent work, over payment, threats and intimidation and unfinished work. 

, said Constable Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

Some warning signs to be on the look out for:

  •  Contractors telling you they have materials left over from a previous job
  •  Only accepting cash payments
  •  Pressuring for an immediate decision
  •  Asking for all or a majority of payment upfront

If approached, the following steps should be considered before any work begins:

  • Always ask for references and to see their business license. Checking with the local Chamber of Commerce and Better Business Bureau is always a good idea. Entering into a contract with a non-licensed business is not wise and may open you up to liability should the job go off the rails. 
  • Get several quotes and ask a trusted knowledgeable friend to review them.
  • If you decide to hire a handyman, ensure you get a written quote for the work and discuss what the payment options are before any work begins. 
  • Do not pay up front.
  •  Regardless of who you decide to go with, always do independent research before making any decisions, and obtain references and feedback from previous clients.

Lastly, one of the most vulnerable groups targeted by scammers are seniors. Many own their homes and may reside by themselves. This group also tends to be more accepting and generally politer, which opens them up to fraudulent activities. If you have an elder in your life, please reach out to them and inquire if they have been approached by door to door contractors. If so, engage them in conversation and make them aware of the risks involved.

If you know of anyone practising in fraudulent home repair work, call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477. 

Jim Stewart brings knowledge and experience to real estate

Jim Stewart

Jim Stewart became a licensed REALTOR® in 1993, and has been successfully helping buyers and sellers of residential real estate on Vancouver Island for over 20 years. He has been a fixture in the Nanaimo community for 23 years, and he and his wife Cathie proudly raised their family here. After working with Coast Realty for more than 20 years, Jim and his business partner, Catherine McCull, recently made the switch to 460 Realty.

He brings his clients a diverse range of knowledge and experience. Prior to entering the world of real estate, he held positions as both a homebuilder and finance manager. He also gained a vast amount of political knowledge, serving as a Director for the BC Liberal Party from 1999–2012.

His passion for politics and real estate is evident, as Jim quickly rose through the ranks of the industry. In 2006, he was named Realtor of the Year, and he was also elected as a Director on the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB). He held a seat on the board from 2006–2012, culminating with a one-year term as President in 2011. In 2012, Jim was elected to the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) board of directors, and is still an active director today. He was also an integral member of the Government Relations committees for VIREB and BCREA from 2000–2008.

Jim believes that his wealth of industry experience and his community connections have played an integral role in determining his success. He continually adheres to the highest standards of professionalism, and is always striving to find new ways to deliver the utmost level of service to his clients. His expertise will help to take all the guesswork out of the home buying and selling process, making it as stress-free as possible.

Contact Jim Stewart at 250-591-4601 or jstewart@460realty.com


Adventures in show biz, Vancouver Island Film Studio

Vancouver Island Film Studio on the outskirts of Parkvsille.

By Merv Unger

0615 - You may remember my attempt to crash the Hollywood scene last summer with a role on the hit TV show Chesapeake Shores which is shot on Vancouver Island.

I must have made a real impression – Jacqui Kaese, who owns CK Casting, gave me another shot at stardom this season, on the same show.

That was monumental after last year’s break in. You see, I was in one scene, sitting way in the background as a patron at a make-believe bookstore. I waited in anticipation when the show finally aired, and lo and behold, I was sitting behind a potted plant, never to be seen. What a debut!

Jacqui gave me another shot at making a lasting impression and I wasn’t about to miss it. If the director uses a mere snippet of the film they shot, I’ll be a household name in no time. I made sure there were no potted plants anywhere in the line of sight. 

It was a full 12-hour day which invloved scenes for two episodes of the show.

The set was at the new Vancouver Island Film Studio just outside Parksville. It’s a real eye opener of a development, with huge warehouse-sized buildings where the action takes place. For Chesapeake Shores there were more than a dozen semi-trailers with equipment, sets, sound and lighting equipment and change studios. 

This is the third season for Hallmark Channel's Chesapeake Shores production activity in Parksville, Qualicum and Nanaimo. 

Chesapeake Shores producer Matt Drake says the production managed to get by for the first two season. "We kind of did things we would call poor-man solutions where you are renting a warehouse and trying to outfit it yourself. Having a purpose-built studio just makes it a lot easier."

Drake met Parksville businessman Ron Chiovetti three years ago and an exciting new venture sprouted. Chiovetti began building the island's first designated film studios in Parksville, incorporating sound stages, office, construction and prop shops all to aid the growing film industry on Vancouver Island.

The late Tom Harris was Chiovetti’s founding partner on the project, and Tom’s son Mike has stepped up into his father’s role.

For Joan Miller of the Vancouver Island North Film Commission the studio is a dream come true. The opening of the studio last October was a big day for the film industry in the region.

"It brings all the pieces together between locations, training, incentives and now to have infrastructure that will support Chesapeake Shores and other ones that have been really interested in coming here. We're the full package now," adds Miller.

The new studios and local crews are a big attraction for Drake who says productions will save money.

"What it does is it gives us the confidence to know that if anything comes up at the last minute we have a space that we can go to and I think that's what's really important for other producers who are apprehensive about bringing production to the mid island region." added Drake. 

"The locations in Vancouver are sometimes exhausted, you know we are fresh, we are new or undiscovered territory," said Kaese. She employed more than 1,000 extras on the second season of Chesapeake Shores, and more this season.

This production alone injected up to $10 million into the local economy last season. At least half of the crews are locally employed so there was a push to keep the production here. But more crew members are needed and that's why a new program has been started at North Island College.

They're learning everything from being production assistants to helping with set design to learning lighting. The fact that the studio is here for them to work is so exciting, says Randall Heidt, North Island College VP of Strategic Initiatives.

Four studios are now in operation with 28,750 square feet of clear span area with ceilings more than 20 feet in height. Two more studios are in the works, with even higher ceilings. That will boost the total facility space to nearly 50,000 square feet.



London Drugs Port Place adds full-time Apple tech

Apple certified technician Justin Tilber at London Drugs Port Place.

By Merv Unger
Nanaimonet Advertorial Feature

Technology – even the word can be intimidating. There’s e-mail, cell phones, camera phones, URLs, service providers, browsers 404 errors and a whole lot more to confuse ordinary people.

That’s where London Drugs enters the picture with the recent addition of Justin Tilber as the full-time Apple-certified technician at the Port Place Mall location. Store manager Warren Cook says he recognizes how much customers depend on this service.

“We went for a number of months without a technician but now I’m happy to inform everyone we are once again operating at full capacity,” says Cook. “Having a real human being in front of you to help makes it so much easier when faced with frustrating technical problems”, Cook adds.

Justin has really immersed himself into his new responsibilities. He’s not a newcomer to London Drugs, by any means, having started with the company in 2007 as a lab technician in the photo department. He dabbled in other departments but the photo lab always rose to the top. His interest in computers and technology since childhood proved invaluable as digital photography took over. Digital cameras and computers now work hand in hand.

“There is something magical about taking all the work of a photo shoot, editing it, and seeing it come off the screen and manifest as a large print,” he says.

 “I love learning and computer technology is an exciting and constantly changing field, so there is always something new to discover,” he says. “It's fantastic developing a deeper understanding of these machines that have become an ingrained part of modern life. Taking a device that was functioning poorly or not at all and getting it working smoothly is incredibly gratifying and it never gets old seeing the relief on someone's face when I've got their machine working again,” he adds.

Another invaluable asset is that with the constant changes in technology, Apple-certified technicians constantly upgrade their knowledge.

Justin stresses the importance of having a technician on site. When someone buys a computer from London Drugs it’s reassuring to know that they stand behind the product. With a certified technician on site London Drugs can take care of everything without a customer having to hunt around qualified help – or even sending it back to the manufacturer. Even when people have bought their computer elsewhere, they can come to London Drugs and talk in person rather than dealing with phone support from some far-away place or online forums.

“Dealing face to face with a technician creates a comfort zone when dealing with frustrating technical problems,” says Justin.

He has lived in Nanaimo for over 11 years and is totally sold on living the good life here.

“Nanaimo has a great balance of easy access to nature while retaining all the amenities of a city so that I can go for hikes our out kayaking without travelling far, but still buy groceries at 9 p.m. It has a strong and growing scene for art and music so there's always something fun and interesting to do”, he says.

The London Drugs computer department is open Mon - Sat. 9 am to 10 pm. Sunday 10 am to 8 pm and on Statutory holidays, 9 a.m. to 9 pm. 

Phone the computer department (250-753-5566) to determine whether Justin is on duty. The next time your computer starts acting up, put it in Justin's hands. Who knows, he might even be able to give you some camera tips.