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General · 22nd October 2015
Jim Abram
Well, right now as I write, it is “the big wait” for the Federal election results. By the time you read this we will all know the make up of our new Federal government. So, what more can I say at this early point in the game? I do want to say congratulations to the person who wins the election and also congratulate all of those who have put their names forward to run for public office. I can tell you that it is a brutal experience sometimes very gratifying and sometimes very trying. I commend all those who run and thank you for keeping the choice of democracy alive. The newly elected representative has my commitment to work with them, no matter what party, for the betterment of my constituency. That is you, folks!

Outer Islands issues

I have been having numerous discussions by email with residents of the outer islands over various issues. Some discussion is taking place about housing issues and a village concept such as what we are proposing in the Cove. Some of the discussion is about the wharves, both newly divested from Transport Canada and those that are Regional District park wharves.The most consistent issue by far is the same one we deal with here on Quadra so much: The road conditions! Some work has been done on Rendezvous and some is planned for Read Isl. but weather and contractors seem to be a bit of a problem. I am in constant contact with both of the communities and the Ministry. Tomorrow (the 20th) we will be having our annual “stakeholders” meeting here on Quadra. It is made up of all of the service providers on the island, myself and the representative of the Ministry. Hopefully we will get the next year’s work plan worked out and actually implemented.

As I have mentioned before, Highways are a Provincial responsibility, not one of local government, but the work has to get done and I represent you.. so, I deal with the issues as I hear of them or before if I see them crop up myself. This provincial govt. really doesn’t care about our roads and they fund them accordingly (next to nothing) and we still pay the taxes to maintain them along with all other roads in the province in addition to our “ferry subsidy”, in addition to our ferry fares. Sounds to me like we are getting the short end of the stick!… Maybe we can do something about that over the next couple of years in the lead up to the next Provincial election!

Meeting with the Coastal Regional District Chairs Group and the First Nations Summit in North Vancouver

Since I mentioned ferries in the above paragraph, I may as well jump in with this one while it is fresh in my mind. I was in Vancouver and North Vancouver on Wednesday and Thursday (14th / 15th) at I meeting I helped arrange with the First Nations Summit. This meeting is something I have worked on for the last couple of years and it has finally come to fruition with the help and support of the Coastal Regional District Chairs Group. The idea was to have the Summit (representing most First Nations in the province) join with us in our fight over ferry issues. The Summit is somewhat the equivalent for First Nations of what the Union of BC Municipalities is to local government. My dream was to see the two entities join together in one heck of a power house when it comes to lobbying the Province. My dream came true this past week.

The two big days have come and gone. We met with the First Nations Summit (Three of us RD Chairs) and we put forward the resolution that we proposed and prepared to speak to the Assembly. At the last minute the staff came to us and said that the resolution didn't fit their format and I was chosen to re-do it to fit their format and include a whole lot more info. We worked on it with them and made it acceptable and then proceeded to give our three presentations on different parts of the issue. The Resolution was presented on the next day and passed unanimously!!! I am pasting it below. So we are now joined in our efforts to fight the BC Govt. and BCFS by the First Nations Summit ! How's that for cool! Here is the Resolution:

FIRST NATIONS SUMMIT RESOLUTION #1015.19

SUBJECT: SUPPORT FOR PARTICIPATION IN A WORKING GROUP IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE REGIONAL DISTRICT CHAIRS TO ADVOCATE ON FERRY ISSUES
__________________________________________________________________

WHEREAS:

A. First Nations are being significantly impacted, economically and socially, by the ever increasing fares and service cuts by BC Ferries and the BC Government.

B. The Regional District Chairs Group, which consists of the thirteen Local Government representatives stretching from Metro Vancouver to the Alaska border, have common ferry concerns with First Nations.

C. 38% of the provincial GDP is generated on the coast and in related communities through Tourism and other economic activities.

D. These revenues affect all programs such as health care, education and social programs, enjoyed by all First Nations and local communities, wherever they reside.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:

That the First Nations Summit Chiefs in Assembly support and encourage Coastal First Nations to join with the Coastal Ferry Group in seeking occasional meetings with the Premier and the Minister of Transportation, other Ministers and BC Ferry Services Inc. to resolve ferry issues and produce a ferry system which is affordable and effective for all concerned.

MOVED BY: Chief Maureen Chapman, Skawahlook First Nation
SECONDED BY: Chief Hugh Braker, Tseshaht First Nation
DATED: October 16, 2015

Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre event

On Saturday the “Man behind the Mask” event took place at Cape Mudge village to celebrate the return of the Chief Billy Assu carved totem poles that were taken away to Ottawa almost 90 years ago. The beautiful woven cape / blanket that was made by Mary Hunt and worn by Chief Assu was also on display after being returned on short term loan.

I had the incredible privilege of delivering a speech to the gathering of about 300 people who came out in the 40 knot winds and pouring rain to witness this historic occasion. I was there as both your Director and as the Chair of the Strathcona Regional District. I have given grants in the past and recently to the Nuyumbalees to help with the restorations that have taken place at the centre. Those grants enrich all of our historic and cultural knowledge and understanding of one another. We also had presentations by the late Chief Don Assu’s son, Chief Brian Assu, as well as our MP and our MLA along with a whole host of Chiefs. There was dancing and a huge feast to follow and everyone was made to feel very welcome. I am pasting in below the words that I delivered on your behalf. I don’t normally do this kind of thing, but this was such a special occasion and special honour for me, that I want to share it with all of you.

"Good morning and welcome to all; as you Regional District Director and as Chair of the Board, I bring greetings from the Strathcona Regional District. Our area overlaps with much of your traditional territory.
I am proud to have been able to provide assistance to the Nuyumbalees Society and to work with the late Chief Don Assu for so many years. I am sure he is watching his work coming to fruition. I would like to thank Chief Dick and Council for inviting me and also Jodi Simpkin and her team for making this event happen.

We are here today to celebrate! Celebrate our successes . . . the Cape Mudge people . . . The Nuyumbalees Society

Look at this weather!
- Celebrate its power - It gives us life! - It allows the salmon to complete their journey - It cleanses these trees of their dead needles and allows new life. This is part of life for all of us.

We are here to celebrate a great leader - Chief Billy Assu - He was a real leader! - He brought the Cape Mudge people into a new age that maybe some didn’t embrace at the time. - He knew it was the future and he led!

- This great chief was decorated by a king and a queen! Not many can make that claim. - He was a powerful man - a real leader.

- So, today we are here to celebrate the return of his poles . . .
- From trees in the forest to finished masterpieces

- They were shamefully taken from here to far-off Ottawa

- Now they have been brought home after almost 90 years . . . And I am sure the Cape Mudge people will not allow them to be taken away again.

- We are also here to celebrate the willingness of First Nations to forgive all of the atrocities they have endured at the hands of the people that they shared their lands with so long ago.

- I thank you for that forgiveness

- But today we celebrate!
- A great chief and his descendants; - The return of his precious property; - And the prosperity he enabled with his leadership, so long ago.

- The people of Cape Mudge and Nuyumbalees are an example to the world.
- You will continue to prosper

- I wish you well in all that you do - And I offer my assistance whenever it is needed .

Thank you.”

BC Ferries Advisory Committee

I will be meeting with the representatives from both Quadra and Cortes along with the Managers of the BCFS at our quarterly meeting on the 21st at the HBI. We are there to discuss operational issues only (but then what operational issue isn’t political?.. so we get our shots in as needed). We have a number of local issues to discuss; my main focus being the absolutely unconscionable manner in which after hour sailings are being handled between the brass at BC Ambulance and BC Ferries. They are out of touch with reality! We need to bring them back to our reality: the fact that our lives depend on them. They don’t seem to get that. In an emergency, they have always been our lifeline except in extreme circumstances where the CCG had to be called. Now is it pretty much always CCG, due to BCFS management. They do not know how to manage and we will need to tell them that. More to follow after the meeting.

Seniors Housing Town Hall Meeting

November 2nd at 7pm at the Quadra Island Community Centre, there will be a meeting that you might think you can miss. Think again! This meeting is not just for seniors or soon to be seniors. It is for everyone that has an interest in housing or housing needs for ALL ages and an interest in developing our Q. Cove Village. This is an important meeting that will help develop Quadra’s direction over the next ten years. So, please take the time to attend.

UBCM / DFO Aquaculture Select Committee meeting

I will be attending this meeting which the Board has nominated me to the UBCM to be on. It is a quarterly meeting. My main reason for being there is to assert our powers as local govt. in the issue of siting of any facilities and ensuring that the Federal Govt. adheres to our bylaws. When they took over management of the “fishery” a while back, they did not recognize local government. With a lot of effort and support from other sectors at the table I have been able to get local govt. inserted just about everywhere it needs to be. A bit more work needs to be done. This has nothing to do with operations or permitting the industry, just siting.

Lots more to come, but I am sure I am trying your patience not to mention the editors! Feel free to contact me between the hours of 8:30 am and 7:00 pm, Monday through Friday (please, not on weekends, folks!) at 285-3355, or you can fax me at 285-3533 or you can email me anytime at jimabramxplornet.ca or by mail at Box 278 in the Cove, V0P 1N0… or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JimAbram…. If it is important, my cell is 250-830-8005… Lots of choices.

Please do not use my residential phone number for SRD calls. All business calls should be on 285-3355. Many thanks!

Respectfully submitted,

Jim Abram