Krog responds to concerns about supportive housing

Mayor Leonard Krog

Randy O'Donnell,

Thanks for your email and also to Councillor Turley for his reply which answers the questions you raise acknowledging that our role which I have, as I recall, explained to you before is relatively small. I note you did not copy your MLA or MP. As to direct costs such as the call out of fire services I am copying Chief Fry as well as Dale Lindsay.

As to question #2, Coun. Turley has responded. As to question #3 my response will probably not be any different than the one Coun. Turley gave already. Drug addiction, mental health issues don’t get fixed by just locking people up in jail or fining them. If punishment worked then then no one would have been stealing bread in England prior to criminal law reforms in the 1830s when it was a hanging offense.

As for social assistance we have some of the lowest rates in the country so we aren’t a real magnet on that basis. No doubt there are some folks who lack ambition populating our streets and facilities but the rest are very often suffering from both mental illnesses and addictions and will not get better living in our streets and the social disorder will continue unless we act.

Yes it is pricey but probably a lot cheaper than what we are doing now. 

Mayor Leonard Krog

Turley responds to questions about housing projects

Councillor JIm Turley

July 19,
Randy O'Donnell,
I am not sure where you are getting your information but it is off base. The City is and has not put any money into any of these housing projects other than granting a half price reduction for Development Cost Charges, which has been the norm for subsidized housing.  

The cost of building, purchasing the land, and managing the facilities is solely funded by B.C. Housing. The only site on City property was the Labieux site and it will be closed when the 355 Nicol site is completed. So the answer to your first question is nothing as it was paid for by the Province. There were some police and fire services needed at the site on occasion but those are available to all citizens regardless of age or financial where with all.

The answer to your second question is that information would come from Island Crisis Society and Pacifica who are both contracted by the Province to manage the sites.

The answer to your third question, there is nothing we can do but to continue advocating for the Province to do its job and deal with these issues. We have been pushing the Province to develop facilities to deal with citizens suffering with mental health as well as separate facilities to deal with addiction.

I have lost track of the times I have had to correct citizens on their false beliefs that these issues are a city responsibility because they are not.

So the Labieux site will revert to the City works yard as Public Works needs the space. The announcement from B.C. Housing states that the Terminal Avenue site will have about 50 residents, some in a supportive housing and some in an affordable-rental building.

Rent will be paid to B.C. Housing either as a percentage of the resident’s employment income or a portion of their social assistance which i believe would be $300.
I trust this information will assist you with your concerns.

Councillor Jim Turley

Questions about 'temporary' housing costs to city

July 19, 2020
Mayor Leonard Krog and Councillors;

Regarding the announced change of status of the “temporary” supportive housing on Terminal Avenue and Labieux Road to permanent supportive housing, I believe virtually all residents of Nanaimo understood from the outset that this decision was a foregone conclusion.  Regrettably, the consequences – also understood by local residents as a foregone conclusion – will fall on those two neighbourhoods:  reduced property values, increased property crime, anti-social behaviors and all the attendant problems already in evidence.

I understand that you must deal with what is not only an economic and social problem, but a political one for which there are no simple answers.  But I also understand human nature and behaviors.  The consistent enabling of socially unacceptable behaviors that allow for a consequence free lifestyle, requiring no contribution or responsibility to the society enabling their behavior, will not reduce the magnitude of the problem.   In fact, it will encourage it.

This leads to three questions I think most property owners would find of interest:

  1. What is the total cost to date of the two “temporary housing” sites?  This should include not only all costs borne by the city, but by provincial and federal contributions as well.   Property costs, construction, maintenance, security, policing, insurance, water and electricity – all the things that we as taxpayers pay for ourselves in maintaining our city and personal lives.
  1. Of the roughly 150 individuals who have been housed, how many have used the resources made available to move themselves from social dependency to independence and personal responsibility? 
  1. What will you do as decision makers when in 12 or 18 months time, Nanaimo faces a further 100 or 200 “homeless” individuals who will without question, migrate to our best in Canada climate, generous welfare, housing and social agency benefits – of which, I noted a few days ago, even includes courtesy of the Salvation Army (which I financially support), free dog food?

Randy O'Donnell

Letter to Dr. Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix

May 31, 2020
Hello again Dr. Henry and Minister;

You will note the date (Feb 21/2020) of my original email questions asking you about the probability of smokers and vapers transmitting covid-19 to innocent bystanders and asking why you have not informed the public of this hazard or why you haven't publicly recommended that smokers and vapers stop their bad habits to protect their family and friends.

Typically, you have neither answered my questions nor made the recommendations as suggested. Is that because so much revenue accrues to the government from these noxious products?

Are either of you smokers or vapers?  Conflicts of interest?

Now there is no excuse. Here are multiple medical health studies now confirming my supposition. Do your job and properly advise the public.

Dr. John Campbell lists many studies confirming air pollution, including second-hand smoke and vape emissions, endangers the public

Gary Korpan
Nanaimo, B.C.

Farmers getting it in the neck again

Again farmers will be made to pay millions in demurrage cost for ships waiting to load Canadian grain at the port of Vancouver because of a few people who disagree with a decision to allow a gas pipeline to cross native lands have blockaded Canadian railways. 

This blockade has lasted for some two weeks with no action from our National Government.  China’s decision to not allow Canadian canola to enter their country presumably over the detention of Huawai’s Meng Wazhou has cost Canadian farmers many more millions of dollars.  Neither of these issues have anything to do with Canadian farmers yet we are being made to suffer a significant financial burden over them. 

How long does our government think that we can maintain a viable Canadian agricultural sector with all of these political issues affecting our bottom line.  Again our reputation as a reliable supplier is at stake-this will affect future sales with these buyers.

Another issue is the carbon tax we have to pay on drying grain and I am aware that many farm organizations have been lobbying our federal government regarding this matter.  What about Canadian farmers mental health issues in dealing with all these issues? 

We need pro-active leadership in Canada with a government who is willing to demonstrate that they actually care about the people who feed the country and also generate significant foreign exchange earnings for this country.

Protesters' behaviour at Legislature unacceptable

Michael Coleman
on Facebook, Feb. 12, 2020

Wet'suwet'en. Blockades. Reconciliation. Protests.

I hesitate to step into this issue. But I went to UBC in the sixties, and was always astonished that the student protesters of the day would take action (such as occupying buildings) and then demand amnesty before giving up the occupation. They did not seem to realize that the moral authority of the heroes of the day (Gandhi, Martin Luther King) came from the acceptance of consequences for breaking the law.

Granted, I was a lawyer for many years before retiring and am inclined to believe that we must be law-abiding as a nation or we face anarchy.

The hereditary chiefs oppose the pipeline. Most of the elected First Nations on the route support it.

The Anglican national leadership has made a powerful statement in support of the hereditary chiefs.

Well, I have been known to disagree with bishops before ...
I am in favour of civil disobedience as an effective tactic. But I am vehemently opposed to the sort of actions (of a few) which led to disruption of the formalities of BC's Throne Speech and access of our elected representatives to the Legislature.

And I am annoyed by the verbal sniping at the RCMP who are carrying out their legal responsibility to enforce a court order following approval of the project by both provincial and federal governments.

I have friends in northern BC and understand the issues there are not as simplistic as they may seem to 'outsiders'. Of course I am aware that 'legal' and 'moral' may not coincide. Slavery was 'legal'. Hitler was elected.

But I am concerned that this 'protest' and its burgeoning national support may cause irreparable harm to our law-abiding culture.

So I decided to speak out.

There are no free passes for breaking the law

By Gary Korpan

By Gary Korpan
Whether you are in fact, or merely claim to be, an indigenous person, it does not entitle you to breach the Constitution and the laws of the land.

There are no free passes from abiding by the law for ethnic, religious, or any other special interest group. Equal treatment under the law is exactly that and must be paramount in a truly democratic society. Too many protesters clearly believe their rights supersede other citizens' rights. 

Protesters' freedom of speech ends at the point they prevent the free speech of others.
Their freedom of association ends at the point they prevent the freedom of association of others.

Their blockade of roads, bridges, and buildings (even the Legislature) is a legal and constitutional violation of the rights of untold citizens. Such breach of our Constitutional and legal rights must end by the people demanding respect while showing disrespect for other citizens, elected officials, and even, the Law Courts.

All citizens are entitled to the following. The police, the Attorneys General, and the courts are obligated to protect all citizens rights & freedoms and not condone, ignore, or fail to prevent breaches there of.

Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of
God and the rule of law:
Rights and freedoms in Canada
1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by 
law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.
Fundamental freedoms
2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.
6. (1) Every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada.
Rights to move and gain livelihood
(2) Every citizen of Canada and every person who has the status of a permanent
resident of Canada has the right
(a) to move to and take up residence in any province; and
(b) to pursue the gaining of a livelihood in any province.
9. Everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned.
Equality before and under law and equal protection and benefit of law
15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical 

If your protestations detrimentally impinge these rights of fellow citizens you are breaking the law and should stop immediately.

Any authority failing to protect all of our Constitutional and legal rights should resign immediately – true democracy demands it.

Gary Korpan is a retired lawyer and former Mayor of Nanaimo

Continuing city staff increases

By Randy O'Donnell
Nov. 26, 2019

City bureaucrats have determined that we geese won’t hiss much at another annual five per cent property tax increase. This has been true since I first examined the expansion of city government in 2005 and it remains so today.   The numbers are alarming.  

From 2012 -2017 city employees earning more than $75,000 rose from 195 to 222, while average salaries increased from $96,042 to $124,897.  That’s a 24 per cent increase over five years and a big reason for wages and salaries being 41 per centof the city budget.  Government left unchecked will always grow, because it serves those working within it. 

Our fire department, for example, has 41 firefighters who work under 39 Lieutenants, Captains, Deputy Chiefs, Asst. Chiefs, Chiefs and Inspectors. New positions benefit management because ‘expanded responsibilities’ demand better remuneration.  Wage increases for front line staff mean increases for management too, as salary differentials must be maintained.

Meanwhile, the "weak link" in municipal wage negotiations results in the highest salaries becoming the floor for future negotiations among similar-sized municipalities.  As city salaries increased by 24 per ccent, the average income for Nanaimo residents was about one third of that of city staff. 

Not surprisingly, city bureaucrats are recommending their usual 5.2 per cent compounding annual increase or typically, another $158 in property taxes to support at least five “new staff positions.” The proposed increase doesn’t include their recommendation that city council consider yet another five “new staff positions.” 

For city council and bureaucrats who frequently hector the rest of us about ‘sustainability’, there seems to be a fundamental lack of understanding of how a struggling private sector cannot sustain an ever expanding and expensive public sector.

Randy O'Donnell

Open lettter to Wet'suwet'en after Tsayu clan meeting

Feb. 29, 2020

"It seems strange that the house chiefs who did nost of the loggin of the (Delgamuukw) rulling, and are retired from the industry, are now against a new industry helping the next generation" Troy Young.

People of Canada,

I don’t speak for all Witsuwit’en, because our population, like any group, has different opinions with pipelines and other projects. I have permission from my clan to release this letter following the clan meeting held on February 23, 2020. I have reviewed this letter with my father clan, and listened to their words.

As the General Manager of Kyah Resources, I am for the project. I see that our house chiefs and our elected chiefs are divided, with some for, some against, and some recognizing the importance of the words that came from their house members and doing as instructed by their house.

I am Witsuwit’en, matrilineally descended from Na’Moks Lucy Holland in the Tsayu clan, with my father clan being Laksilyu. As a young teen I had the chance to sit at our kitchen table with my great-grandmother Lucy and my mother, listening as they discussed the business in our territory and what it could mean. At the time I didn’t recognize the importance of the discussions taking place. Not being brought up in Witset, I admit that I don’t speak the language or understand all the terms Lucy used as she bounced between speaking English and Witsuwit’en. What I do recall was that there was a court case, and it was necessary to gain access to our territory to provide for the people, and that’s why it was taking place. Being an entrepreneur, my mother understood the importance of Witsuwit’en having access to the general economy, and my mom supported her grandmother when she came to visit, or we visited her in Witset (formerly Moricetown).

I heard discussion of the laws from my great-grandmother, and while I’m not an expert, I did learn the basics. I am still learning from the chiefs I talk to, from my clan and my father clan. Unfortunately, I see our laws being changed or cast aside during this event in our territory, mostly to justify the actions of some of our house chiefs, who act to make the outside environmental activists that have come into our territory happy. It seems they have been manipulated to fight their fight.

We have seen three female chiefs being stripped of their name because they don’t agree with the “Hereditary Chiefs” within the society that is the Office of the Wet’suwet’en. This stripping was not done following our law. We have seen individuals be given Chief’s names that then flout our Law on many fronts. A newly named chief can’t speak for a year, yet these new chiefs have been vocal in the media. We have seen a chief break our Law by claiming a name from another house. We have seen a chief name be given to some whose parents sit together in the feast hall. We have seen adoptions across clans take place without merit or proper transfer.

Our Law states that guests have no say in “our business,” meaning the things that are taking place on our territories. This continues to be observed by many, but some guests, whether born in Wet’suwet’en territory or adopted into a house, forget that they are guests and can observe but not speak. Guests are permitted to live in the territory and take advantage of the resources provided by the territory, but they have no say on what happens within the territory. This has not been followed by some and they need to be reminded by our house chiefs that they have no say, public or private. If they want to have a say on territory, they should follow their matrilineal lines back home and conduct business at home.

Growing up, I don’t recall seeing my great-grandmother Lucy wear her regalia outside the Feast Hall. It was never seen in Fort Nelson or Vancouver at a protest. Regalia was certainly never given to a non-chief to parade down the street in protest. It was sacred, and was treated in a proper manner, not as a costume to make a dramatic impact. In the past, Dick Alec, a well-respected house chief, also did drumming and singing, while performing around the world. His proper regalia was never worn outside the feast hall, with another set of regalia designed for performing only.

The decisions seem to be taking place in Smithers at the Office of the Wet’suwet’en, a registered society created to negotiate treaty following the SCC victory. Our laws dictate that the feast hall is where decisions are made. This has not been followed, with the OW acting like a government, which they are not. Our chiefs are to meet with their house groups and do as the house group decides; they are not the decision makers. In the past the Tsayu clan representative has set up Tsayu clan meetings on a near monthly basis, and our chief has only ever showed up to the first meeting, never to meet with his clan again. How does he speak on behalf of a house group he doesn’t have time to meet with? Then the clan representative was changed, and the meetings became exclusive, with very limited notice to times and dates.

Last week, I see my house chief proclaiming in the media that an All Clans Meeting was called for the next day, and only certain people could speak. This is not our Law, our house chiefs are not our dictators. Each house chief is supposed to do what the house members agree upon and tell him through our matriarchs, elders, and wing chiefs, not tell us what we are going to do. Some chiefs have not been holding house meetings open to all, so the decision made in these meetings do not hold weight. Our chiefs don’t get to hand pick who they invite to house meeting. Each chief holds equal power in the hall, and this has been forgotten. Being the clan spokesperson doesn’t give more power over the other chiefs, and this has been forgotten.

I question Na’Moks John Ridsdale’s sincerity when he says there are “better ways to get a paycheque that will look after the environment, that will look after the water, the salmon, our culture.” This seems unrealistic because we have hundreds to employ and there are not many well-paying jobs in water monitoring or fishing.

Further, I recognize the effects of climate change, and feel that with Canada’s small population and carbon footprint, our best effort to stop or slow climate change is to eliminate the coal plants being used in Asia. B.C. natural gas will travel through our territory to the coast, on boat to Asia, where it will provide heat and cooking for the billions of people in the region. It’s not the perfect solution, but at this time, it is an excellent alternative to coal, and will reduce the Greenhouse Gas emissions from Asia. Changing the fuel sources for billions of people overseas will slow climate change more than any of the small changes we can make in Canada. A 2017 study indicates if a number of these proposed LNG projects in B.C. proceed, they could reduce global greenhouse gas by as much as 176 million tonnes annually. Research also suggests natural gas exported from LNG terminals in B.C. would largely replace coal-fired facilities in Asian countries including China. This is the equivalent of reducing Canada’s emissions by over 20 per cent, better than any target Trudeau has set.

Further to those comments, each First Nation relies on the resources in its territory. If we were in the Lower Mainland, we could thrive on land rent, but that’s not an option for Witsuwit’en people. We have natural resources such as forestry, mining, and fishing, all of which are in a downturn right now.

Tourism and high tech have been suggested, but we haven’t witnessed anyone in this area make a viable business in these sectors that would create the employment levels for Witset.

We recognize that the work isn’t permanent, but the skills learned while working at home on a world class project will allow Witsuwit’en to work on construction projects anywhere in Canada. It is the training and education that hold the real value. How many members have gone to EHO or security training, but can’t get hired because they lack experience? This project can help end this deterrent to work. How many members in our community have stopped requiring Social Assistance, working to provide for their families for the first time in generations? They should be honoured in the community, not bullied and harassed for wanting to provide better for their families.

In the UN Human Development Index, Canada is dragged down due to the conditions the First Nations live in. Cooke & Beavon (2007) indicated that Canada’s first nations people have lower life expectancy, lower education, and other key indicators of the HDI. This shows that good employment and good benefits at work create a happier, longer living, less habit-forming culture. Witsuwit’en people used to have small sawmills, businesses doing trucking, restaurants, and hotels. They were a large part of the economy in the region, and then legislation ended it. We want to become a part of the economy again; it is one of the many faces of reconciliation.

The Office of the Wet’suwet’en was started with 19 seats, thirteen for our house chiefs and six for the elected chiefs. Delgamuukw-Gisday’wa was successful in court because all our chiefs sat at the table and agreed on the necessary actions. To ensure unity for looking after our people the house chiefs and elected agreed they must act in unison to provide for the people. This has been forgotten with some house chiefs trying to extinguish the relationship with the elected chiefs.

In Delgamuukw versus British Columbia, the Supreme Court ruled the territory was unceded, governance was never established, and that the land was held for the Witsuwit’en people for when governance was established, and title and rights could be negotiated. The people are the owners, not the chiefs, whether house chiefs or elected council chiefs. Our ancestors, elders, and matriarchs fought the case to gain access to the resources so that our people could make a living of the resources from their territory.

It seems strange that the house chiefs that did most of the logging off this ruling, and are now retired from the industry, are now against a new industry helping the next generation. It is noticeable that these same house chiefs have the most educated and successful children. It proves that having good employment provides a multi-generational benefit. The elected chiefs recognize this and are pushing for employment knowing that the biggest benefit will be for the children of those working on the pipeline.

One chief complaint of some house chiefs has been that industry and government won’t talk to the OW. Now that they have been offered the opportunity, they have not taken advantage of the offer. The elected councils of Witset, Nee Tahi Buhn, Wet’suwet’en First Nation (Broman Lake), Skin Tyee, and Ts’il Kaz Koh (Burns Lake Band) all signed agreements with industry and government to provide a step to further discussions with government. The Office of the Wet’suwet’en also entered negotiation with industry and government over pipelines, but were removed by Witset because of internal disagreements over how the negotiations took place, and who was to benefit from any agreement reached. Even when Witset took over negotiations, Witset council invited the house chiefs to attend all negotiations to provide advice and counsel. The OW has prevented the chiefs from attending the negotiations under threat of removal from their paid positions.

I speak outside the Feast Hall now because some of our house chiefs have decided that only their voice matters and they are expressing it in the public. I call on all Witsuwit’en to talk to their elders, matriarchs, wing chiefs, and house chiefs to remind our house chiefs of their duties to uphold our Law, and for our house chiefs to listen. They must understand that they are chiefs so that they can carry our voice and do our bidding, they are not our dictators. They need to be reminded that they carry the name of someone who was remembered, and if they tarnish this memory, it will not be forgotten.

All Wet’suwet’en communities fought the Northern Gateway project, which was a bitumen line, and we were successful. We have been successful in Delgamuukw as well, but both of our successes come when the house chiefs and elected chiefs work together for a common goal.

United, we have an opportunity to negotiate for what we want:

• Land, title, rights, responsibilities;

• Reserve lands restored in Houston, Telkwa and Smithers;

• PNG natural gas line settlement;

• Rail line settlement;

• Alcan / Rio Tinto Kemano Reservoir settlement;

• Mine sites cleaned up throughout the territory;

• and other outstanding issues.

Witsuwit’en have wanted to get government talking, and now that the opportunity is here, some would sooner go to court. This makes no sense when we have the ability control how we negotiate; be we lose control if we let a court decide.

We have all talked about self-reliance and the need to control our future. Industry is paying our communities for access to the territory, with no control over how the money gets spent. Our leaders get to control the funds coming in to spend as their members wish, not at the behest of INAC agents. This is an important step, not having an overseer is admirable.

To be successful, we need our house chiefs and our elected chiefs to work for the betterment of all Witsuwit’en – our children, our elders, our chiefs, our matriarchs.

Troy Young
Tsayu Clan