Former attorney general Wally Oppal condemns Conservative’s no-parole bill

Former attorney general Wally Oppal.

Former attorney general Wally Oppal.

Wally Oppal has condemned the Conservative government’s recently proposed legislation that would prevent those convicted of particularly brutal first-degree murders from applying for parole ever, claiming it would put the safety of corrections officers at risk.

Under the current system, those convicted of first-degree murder are eligible to apply for parole after 25 years.

While talking to a Langara College journalism class on Mar. 6, Oppal said the proposed bill “makes no sense” for a number of reasons. Giving inmates no hope of ever leaving the prison system gives them no incentive to behave well, he said.

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Port Metro Vancouver power imbalance

Port Metro Vancouver is making decisions that favour industries represented on its board rather than the citizens in the region, said local politicians Feb. 27.

“All of the decisions are made in the interest of the very corporations who benefit from the Port,” said Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan, one of several mayors and councillors who grilled port officials at the Metro Vancouver meeting Friday.

Port Metro Vancouver’s board of directors is made up of 11 members, seven of which are appointed by the federal government by industry recommendations. Only one member of the board represents the 16 municipalities that border Port land. At the Metro Vancouver Regional Planning Committee meeting on Friday, Corrigan expressed his dissatisfaction with this power imbalance.

One example he gave of this is the use of the Vancouver terminal over the Fraser Surrey Docks. Corrigan said the Port should be looking to “short-sea ship” goods through to the Fraser Surrey Docks rather than trucking them from Vancouver and through the Lower Mainland, increasing pollution and congestion.

“It seems to me ridiculous that we are trucking out of the port, across bridges, through my community in order to get goods into the Fraser Valley,” Corrigan said. “It hasn’t occurred because many are controlling that industry from the Vancouver port.”

Corrigan said this is due to the governance structure of the board favouring industry interests.

“If this were an independent, impartial, objective board appointed in the public interest they would be looking seriously at those issues,” Corrigan said. “But as long as it remains a corporate board appointed to certain interests of the corporations that are working in the port, you’re not going to find those tough decisions being made.”

2014 crime spikes blamed on small group of drug-addicts

Vancouver property crime, commercial break and enters and theft from vehicles jumped in 2014, something that police are blaming on a small number of drug-addicted chronic criminals.

According to the Year-end 2014 Key Performance Indicator Report presented at the Vancouver Police Department’s board meeting on Feb. 19, between 2013 and 2014, property crime increased by 9.5 per cent, commercial break and enters increased by 27 per cent and theft from vehicles increased by 20.5 per cent. Deputy Chief Constable Doug LePard said that this is due to a small number of drug addicted people.

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Changing the services system

Scott Clark on Commercial Drive.

Scott Clark on Commercial Drive.

Scott Clark sits outside of a coffee shop on Commercial Drive wearing a black sweater with the words ‘QUIET’ on the front, but he may one of the loudest voices in the aboriginal services community when it comes to changing the current system.

Clark has been the executive director of Aboriginal Life in Vancouver Enhancement Society (ALIVE) since 2009, an organization that seeks to improve the social, economic and cultural health of aboriginals in Vancouver.

“We go head to head with virtually everyone, we’re not well received by a lot of them,” Clark said. “I don’t give a shit either.”

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Wild Son Mountain Tour

In early February I jumped in with the Kelowna-based band Wild Son for a tour through some mountain towns in B.C. and Alberta. I joined up with them in Revelstoke, and travelled through Banff, Kimberley and Golden. While the snow was definitely lacking on the hills, fun was not. Thanks for the adventure gentlemen.

Check out some shots I got throughout the trip.

Also, give their new single a listen here.

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