LOADING...

May

31May

Pat Carney: Helping people with disabilities isn’t just kind — it’s the law

by admin


Seniors using walkers and others struggling with disabilities need others, including policy makers, to help them and be throughtful about their unique needs. (Brian Thompson/POSTMEDIA FILES)


Brian Thompson / Brian Thompson/The Expositor

Recently, I have been using a walker to avoid falling. It’s a different world out there when you use a walker, canes or other mobility devices.

In my mind and dreams I am still agile, moving swiftly and without thought. In reality, I have slowed to a walk. It is dawning on me that limits to my mobility are now my world, a scary one, and I must get used to it. Falls are a leading cause of death and disability among Canadian seniors and are increasing dramatically as baby boomers age.

I am sharing my new world because the federal government has proclaimed May 27 — June 2 as National AccessAbility week, to increase awareness of barriers that prevent people with disabilities from participating in society.

The federal Accessible Canada Act is scheduled to become law before Parliament rises in June, requiring public and federally regulated private companies to make their services accessible for Canadians with disabilities. Provinces should follow.

Barriers involve buildings, technology and even attitudes. Here are some I encounter.

Pedestrian crossings are terrifying as warning lights count down the time. Can I make it across?

Sidewalks are minefields of cracks and raised cement slabs. That tiny slope I once crossed in one stride has become a ski hill.

Curbs separating sidewalks from streets seem insurmountable. My Vancouver condo’s fire door is a struggle to open when I cart groceries. So are most store doors.

Many public events effectively exclude the disabled. I didn’t attend a recent Walrus magazine lecture on “Inclusion,” featuring advocate Rick Hansen, because the outside parking lot organizers directed me to was too far away to manage with my walker.

Peoples’ attitudes can be obstacles for the disabled. Struggling to lift my walker to the sidewalk from a rain-soaked gutter, I called for help to a young woman approaching me. “I can’t stop,” she answered as she hurried by. “I am going to a job interview.” Not in customer service, I hope.

A woman behind me in a café line up demanded: “Please move over” as I tottered on my urban poles on an inclined entry. As if I could.

Able-bodied people use handicapped bathrooms. They have a choice. We don’t.

One B.C. Ferries deckhand threatened to leave me ashore at the terminal when I asked to park on the upper deck alongside a B.C. Ferries van, refusing to go into the hold under a lowered ramp, afraid I could drown in the dark if the elevators broke down in an emergency.

Ferries are a challenge. Two of three elevators were not working on a recent voyage. On the return, I was parked by the broken midship elevator, forced to thread my walker through the packed cars, hoping the aft elevator worked. Another passenger cried because she couldn’t get her mother’s wheelchair out of their car.

Still, I am amazed at the kindness of people who volunteer to stow my walker into my car and stop to open doors.

The Shoppers Drug salesperson who picked up a cosmetic item her store didn’t stock and delivered it to my door on her day off.

Our condo janitor, who checks the swimming pool to ensure I am OK. The storekeeper who came to help me out of that soggy gutter. A ferry deckhand who took my keys and parked my car in a safe place.

Friends who pick up groceries and volunteer to drive me to events. HandiDART buses with their helpful drivers. Events that advertise accessibility options. People who are aware that removing barriers enable all Canadians to participate in society.

People who are AccessAbility challenged must speak up. We have the right to “reasonable accommodation” under human-rights laws. We are still ourselves, the people we always were. Others, be aware. Think how you would walk in our shoes. Chances are you will.

Pat Carney, author and retired federal politician, is an arthritis research advocate and lives on Saturna Island.


Letters to the editor should be sent to [email protected] The editorial pages editor is Gordon Clark, who can be reached at [email protected].

CLICK HERE to report a typo.

Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email [email protected].


Source link

31May

Town Talk: B.C. Sports Hall of Fame inducts Sedins and many others

by admin


Backed by a blow-up of Duomo di Milano cathedral, Ross Bonetti increased the La Dolce Vita flavour of his Italianate Livingspace store’s expansion party by straddling his two classic Vespa scooters.


Malcolm Parry / PNG

CHAMPS NIGHT: Chaired by Michelle Collens and Tewanee Joseph, the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame’s recent gala was replete with memories. It couldn’t be otherwise with inductees like the 1968 New Westminster Salmonbellies lacrosse team, 1975 NFL Super Bowl winner Roy Gerela and 1977 Vancouver Whitecaps coach Tony Waiters. Also inducted were 17-season Vancouver Canucks Daniel and Henrik Sedin.


B.C. Sports Hall of Fame inductees Henrik and Daniel Sedin were 21 when they served wine at a Canuck Place children’s hospice benefit in 2002.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG

When seen in this column in 2002, the twins displayed deft passing skills. Not with the puck but with bottles of wine that then-Canucks GM and former part-time bartender Brian Burke had them serve at a benefit for Canuck Place children’s hospice. Back at the gala, rugby-star inductee Kelly McCallum heard honorary co-chair Marvin Storrow call her sport “a game of skill, not for me.” Then again, 1934-born Storrow does play hard, skilful tennis four times weekly.


Portrayed at age four with twin James, former MP, cabinet minister and senator Pat Carney will be inducted into the Order of British Columbia on June 28.

PNG

MORE TWINS: Shanghai-born siblings Jim and Pat Carney shared an 84th birthday May 26. They’ll celebrate again June 28 at Pat’s induction into the Order of British Columbia. The honour likely acknowledges her years as an MP, cabinet minister, senator and best-selling author rather than early-career slogging as a Vancouver Sun reporter.


Departing Vancouver Art Gallery director Kathleen Bartels welcomed Rogers Group Funds chair Phil Lind to a reception for film and television producers.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG

MILES AHEAD: At the Polygon Gallery, Rogers Group of Funds chair Phil Lind presented a $5,000 emerging-artist prize to movie maker Jessica Johnson. It recognized her Scotland-set 14-minute documentary, Hazel Isle. Lind also fronted a reception for regional film and television producers on Vancouver Art Gallery’s rooftop patio. No one present, especially departing VAG director Kathleen Bartels, quibbled with his assertion that “Vancouver has the best artists in Canada — by 10 miles.”

SPACEMAN: The Armoury district’s free-standing Livingspace store always had room aplenty for swish European furniture. There’s even more now that building owner Ross Bonetti has expanded the fifth floor to accommodate specific-brand showrooms. As usual, Bonetti pulled out all the stops — and his two La Dolce Vita-style Italian Vespa scooters — for a recent relaunch party. He rides the mint-condition 1969 and 1971 Sprint models around town, but not astride both as he demonstrated with them parked. Ever the showman, perhaps he’ll master Ben Hur-style riding for his next event.


With a Dina Goldstein work behind them, sponsor Matthew Halse and Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation head Scott Elliott saw an art auction raise $185,000.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG


Angela Grossmann’s mixed media work, Farm Boy, struck the right note at a Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation event where it fetched $9,500 at auction.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG

PICTURES FOR PETER: Eighteen artists, from Thomas Anfield to Elizabeth Zvonar, didn’t stint when donating works for live auction at the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation’s recent Art For Life event. Twenty-four others gave to its silent auction. With supporters filling Pender Street’s The Permanent hall, foundation executive director Scott Elliott reported $185,000 being raised.


Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun’s Opioid Ovoid Humanoid sculpture seems to come alive beside his painting in the Macaulay & Co. Fine Art gallery.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG

TRANSFORMER TODAY: Imagine the wonderment of coastal longhouse dwellers when performers manipulated carved-cedar masks so that the creatures they depicted seemed alive. Something similar pertains at Sarah Macaulay’s First-off-Scotia gallery where long-established artist Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun’s first sculpture is displayed. The mask-headed work echoes figures in Yuxweluptun’s large paintings that fetch over $100,000. Step in front, though, and the mask becomes a confusion of multicoloured pieces. The spooky change represents “the process of what drugs do, and this can happen to you,” said Yuxweluptun, who named the $45,000 sculpture Opioid Ovoid Humanoid. There’ll be four more, he added.


Sirish Rao and Laura Byspalko had geo-strategist Parag Khanna (centre) address a $100,000 gala audience. Photo: Malcolm Parry.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG

SUMMER WINNERS: The 11-day Indian Summer Festival will begin with its usual Roundhouse Community Centre party July 4. Revving up for that, organizers Sirish Rao and Laura Byspalko staged an Odlum Brown-sponsored banquet that reportedly raised $100,000 with the slogan: The Future Is Asian. That’s the title of a new book by geo-strategist Parag Khanna, who addressed attendees. His assertion is supported by the multinational Standard Chartered Bank’s 2017-to-2030 projection for global economies. It foresees China’s GDP rising to $64.2 trillion, India’s to $46.3 trillion and the U.S.A.’s to $31 trillion. Meanwhile, Canada, France and the U.K. lose their global top-10 positions.


Beverley Robinson, Sonja Chopty, Margaret McFaul and Renata Hofer ringed “termite taxi” owner Tevie Smith at a memorial for promoter Harry Moll.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG

ROUNDER BOUT: Old-time Howe Street flickered again on Hornby Street recently. That was when Neil Aisenstat opened Hy’s Encore restaurant’s upper room to those attending a wake for 1988 Promoter of The Year Harry Moll who died at age 83 on April 25. Although most old Vancouver Stock Exchange habitués arrived on foot, Tevie Smith pulled up in his somewhat symbolic “termite taxi,” a junk-festooned 1947 Chrysler “woody” sedan with 300,000 miles on the clock and two rescue dogs on its duct-taped seats. As for the chi-chi era, wake attendees Sonja Chopty, Renata Hofer (who flew in from Zurich), Margaret McFaul and Beverley Robinson recalled partying in the Moll-launched Sneaky Pete’s, Charlie Brown’s and Sugar Daddy’s nightclubs. Moll’s 1994-divorced wife Suzy was unavoidably out of town but still speaks warmly of him.

THE DRILL: Regarding the old stock exchange’s freebooting mining promotions, a contemporary of Moll’s once said: “Sometimes we drill the ground, and sometimes we drill the sky.”

DOWN PARRYSCOPE: Canadians and Americans wrangling over the North Pole’s ownership might recall that cheeky London journalists long ago determined principal-resident Santa Claus’s citizenship. A bewhiskered, overstuffed fellow who feasts on cookies and works one day a year would be a fellow Brit, they said.

[email protected]w.ca
604-929-8456


Source link

30May

Bike lanes to nowhere: Fraser Valley communities working to create cycling networks

by admin

It’s GoByBike week in B.C. But in Mission, most go by car.

A “pop-up” bike lane along 7th Avenue appears to be doing little to change that, as it was almost deserted Thursday afternoon.

“It’s just a pain,” said Michelle Leggett as she walked her six-year-old daughter Madeline Lutz home from school. “I think I’ve seen four bikers all week, and I’m pretty sure they’re regulars.”


Michelle Leggett and daughter Madeline Lutz.

Francis Georgian /

PNG

To create the lane, city staff closed one side of the street to parking from Monday to Friday. As a result, the side streets around the high school have been overwhelmed with parents dropping off their kids.

“We’re just too far out here,” said Leggett. “People commute to Vancouver or Burnaby, and they need a car.”

But despite public reluctance, bike lanes are being built in some of B.C.’s most car-centric communities. Earlier this week, the provincial government announced $10 million in cycling infrastructure funding across the province. It will be up to municipalities to change public perception — and tackle the challenges that come along with building a cycling network in the suburbs.

Mission’s pop-up bike lane is part of that. Council has already approved a permanent bike lane along 7th Avenue, and the temporary lane is designed to increase public engagement and gauge public reaction to the idea, said  Mission Community Cycling Coalition member Rocky Blondin.

“The design work on a permanent bike lane will be informed by what happens this week,” said Blondin, who is president of the Fraser Valley Mountain Bike Association.

The lane’s usage was “modest” at the start of the week, but seems to be increasing as people realize there is another option to get to school or the recreation centre. It’s the city’s first east-to-west bike lane and its first protected bike lane.

“It takes time for people to start thinking differently,” said Blondin.

Related

There are several challenges to increasing cycling in the Fraser Valley, according to advocates. While the number of bike lanes in cities outside Vancouver is increasing, many communities still lack a comprehensive network that can safely and efficiently take cyclists where they want to go.

“The strength in Vancouver is in a cycling network that’s connected and can get people from Point A to B,” said Erin O’Melinn, executive director of non-profit advocacy group, HUB Cycling. “The Fraser Valley is not yet at that point.”

Unused bike lanes give critics fodder for their fight against more cycling infrastructure during public consultation on the issue, she said.

“But cities need to understand that you can’t build a north-to-south route and expect it to be used. You need east-to-west too. The network is the game-changer.”

Some Fraser Valley cities are also challenged by the fact that their main roads are highways. Many cyclists aren’t comfortable biking on the shoulder of King George Highway or Lougheed Highway. Side roads often end in cul-de-sacs.


The “pop-up” bike lane along 7th Avenue in Mission.

Francis Georgian /

PNG

In Mission, where up to 70 per cent of residents leave town for work, it’s difficult to increase bicycle commuting when people must travel long distances.

But O’Melinn said progress is being made. With funding contributions from other levels of government, many cities are beginning to create cycling infrastructure, which remains cheap compared to other transportation options.

Surrey, in particular, has made significant strides in connecting its downtown core, she said, although the municipality’s size presents a challenge for linking the entire community.

Abbotsford signalled its intentions to make cycling a priority earlier this year with a new pedestrian and cycling bridge over Highway 1 connecting the University of the Fraser Valley to a main thoroughfare. The bridge is adorned with dozens of recycled aluminum bike wheels.

Related

Elsewhere in the Fraser Valley, progress on bike lanes is “hit and miss,” said University of the Fraser Valley urban geography professor John Belec. “It depends on the interest of each particular council to move forward on it.”

There is also significant backlash from a segment of the population that believes “roads are primarily for cars, and as a public space, cars have priority,” he said.

While councils may not be able to push through a comprehensive bike network all at once, many are beginning to lay the groundwork and put small segments in place.

“It takes courage and energy — and a faith that they will be used,” said Belec.

In Chilliwack, cycling advocates are working to fill in the “gaps on the map,” said David Swankey, co-chair of Cycle Chilliwack. Using a rail corridor that loops through the community, the challenge is to develop clear and safe routes from there. The city is still working to determine what those routes will look like.

Swankey said advocates want to see routes that are accessible and safe for everyone, including seniors and kids on their way to school, which would increase their use.

“It’s an ongoing to process to see how it will roll out in the years to come,” he said.

Related

BikeBC funding

Earlier this week, the provincial government announced $10 million in funding for cycling infrastructure projects across B.C. Municipalities must apply for the grants, which cover between 50 to 75 per cent of project costs, depending on population.

The BikeBC money helps communities pay for new bikeways, or improve safety and accessibility on existing pathways.

Several cities on the South Coast received funding for 2019-20, including:

• The City of Abbotsford is approved to receive $299,685 for a separated two-way cycle track connecting elementary, middle and high schools to the recreation centre, library and the Discovery Trail.

• The City of Chilliwack is approved to receive $437,263 to extend a separated pathway between Airport Road and Hocking Avenue on the Valley Rail Trail, providing a north-south connection for all ages and abilities.

• The City of North Vancouver is approved to receive $1 million toward the Casano-Loutet cycling and pedestrian bridge over Highway 1.

• The City of Pemberton is approved to receive $7,500 to develop a cycling network plan that addresses active transportation within the community.

• The District of Squamish is approved to receive $210,450 for upgrades to the Dentville section of the Discovery Trail, which will include a separated paved path with lighting.

• The City of Vancouver is approved to receive $150,925 for cycling and pedestrian safety improvements at the 800 Robson Street Permanent Plaza.

• The City of Vancouver is also approved to receive $1 million for upgrades to the downtown bike network.

• The District of West Vancouver is approved to receive $50,700 for separated bike lanes between the districts of West Vancouver and North Vancouver.

Related

[email protected]

twitter.com/glendaluymes

CLICK HERE to report a typo.

Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email [email protected]




Source link

30May

Life expectancy stops increasing in Canada due to B.C. opioid overdose deaths: stats

by admin


Source link

29May

New probe into patient’s death ordered by B.C. health minister

by admin


Health Minister Adrian Dix.


Francis Georgian / PNG

Health minister Adrian Dix said he’s taking the rare step of ordering an independent review into a patient’s death because of the family’s continuing concerns after the initial investigation conducted by two health agencies.

The Vancouver individual, whose identity is being withheld, died in November 2018 and the only detail Dix would disclose is that paramedics had difficulty “accessing” the patient.

Dix conceded it is rare for health ministers to intervene in such cases and this is the first time he has done so since he became health minister two years ago. But he felt it was important for family members who told him  that they wanted “fresh” eyes on the circumstances leading to the death.

“I just felt we needed to do more,” he said, referring to the patient safety review that B.C. Emergency Health Services and Provincial Health Services Authority carried out right after the death.

The new review  will delve into the medical care in the weeks before the death and the emergency response “in the hours surrounding the death.”

The previous investigation was conducted with so-called Section 51 protection, which means there is no public disclosure. Section 51 safety reviews are conducted to see if anything can be learned from a death and suggest steps to prevent reoccurences.

Dix said the new study will have more transparency and will give family members more access to information and findings; the report will also be made although some information may be redacted “for the sake of privacy.”

Dix said he could have referred the case to the Patient Care Quality Review Board but in this case, there was a “technical glitch” that would have meant passing a new regulation. So, he said he decided to refer the case to Dr. Jim Christensen, an emergency physician at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver and head of the academic department of medicine at the University of British Columbia. He will be assisted by Dr. Michael Feldman, the paramedic services medical director and provincial dispatch medical director at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Centre for Prehospital Medicine.

In a purposely vague media release, the ministry of health said the review panel will have the “co-operation” of four agencies — Providence Health Care, VCH, BCEHS and PHSA.

“British Columbians can and do rely on our emergency responders when they are at their most vulnerable,” Dix said in the announcement. “Whenever we are faced with a case that may warrant a review, we look to independent experts who can look for learnings and suggest improvements that will benefit patients, first responders and the system as a whole.”

The government will receive the report by July.

Officials with PHSA would not comment on the internal review process that has already taken place. On its website, PHSA states: “When a patient safety event occurs, the goal is immediate management, disclosure and analysis of the event through a structured process, focused on system improvement, that aims to identify what happened, how and why it happened, whether there are any ways to reduce the risk of recurrence and make care safer. PHSA conducts patient safety event reviews in accordance with Section 51 of the B.C. Evidence Act.”

The review is meant to enable “full, open and candid discussions amongst health care professionals” with the goal of improving care for future patients. Further education or policy changes may be recommended.

“Patient safety event reviews do not preclude health-care professionals from cooperating in other reviews by outside investigative bodies, such as the police or regulators, nor do they shield health care professionals or PHSA from potential civil suits.”

[email protected]

Twitter: @MedicineMatters




Source link

29May

Millions approved for bike lane projects across B.C. | CBC News

by admin

B.C.’s provincial government has approved grants totalling over $10 million for cycling infrastructure projects across the province. 

The grants, administered through the BikeBC program, help communities pay for new bikeways, or improve safety and accessibility on existing pathways. 

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said funding for the program has increased to $10 million this fiscal year from $6 million.

Municipalities apply for the grants through the cycling infrastructure website. 

The grants cover 50 per cent of the eligible project’s costs in larger communities, and up to 75 per cent in communities with fewer than 15,000 people.

This year’s projects — 28 in total — are spread across the province from Vancouver Island to Northern B.C.

Major projects in Saanich, North Vancouver

Some major projects include $1 million for the District of Saanich for buffered bike lanes between McKenzie Avenue and Torquay Drive, and another $1 million for the District of Tofino for a separated, multi-use path from the Tofino Information Centre to the northern boundary of the Pacific Rim National Park.

The Regional District of East Kootney will receive $1 million for a separated 25-kilometre multi-use pathway from Invermere to Fairmont Hot Springs.

Vancouver is receiving $1 million for upgrades to the downtown bike network. North Vancouver will get $1 million toward the Casano-Loutet cycling and pedestrian bridge over Highway 1. 


Source link

29May

SPCA promotes human-pet bond after dog stolen from Vancouver homeless man

by admin


Dave M., a homeless man who didn’t want his last name used, says his Alaskan Eskimo dog Cutiepie was stolen on Granville Street. He’s holding a poster he is hoping will help him find his dog.


Mike Bell / PNG

The bond between humans and animals is so powerful that the mental and physical health of a pet owner can be lifted just by having their animal in their life, according to the SPCA.

Despite that, there is still some stigma toward pet ownership by people who are living on the streets, spokeswoman for the B.C. SPCA, Lorie Chortyk, said Wednesday.

The animal welfare organization is among the groups that work to support relationships between homeless people — many of whom have been through tough times in their lives — and their pets.

“Often for these individuals this is the first time they’ve ever experienced unconditional love,” Chortyk said.

“I think anyone who’s had a pet understands how powerful that bond is. But if you haven’t experienced that unconditional love, that bond is even stronger. And those individuals protect that animal and protect that bond even more.”


Dave M., a homeless man who didn’t want his last name used, says his Alaskan Eskimo dog Cutiepie was stolen on Granville Street. He’s holding a poster he is hoping will help him find his dog.

Mike Bell /

PNG

Related

Chortyk’s comments came a few days after a white American Eskimo dog named Cutiepie was stolen from a man living on the sidewalk out front of the Hudson’s Bay department store on Granville Street in Downtown Vancouver.

Dave M, who declined to give his full last name, said he had left Cutiepie with his belongings while he used the washroom around 2:30 p.m. Friday. When he returned, the dog was gone. A frantic search of the surrounding streets was fruitless.

Cutiepie has been in Dave’s life for about six years. He presumed the then-eight-year-old dog had been abandoned before she arrived at his house in Mission, he said.

Asked if he knew who might have taken his dog, Dave said: “I’ve heard a couple people say (to the dog) ‘we’re going to give you a good home’, like, maybe four walls and a roof. … but I spend 24 hours a day with my dog. I take care of her. She’s my baby.”


Dave M., a homeless man who didn’t want his last name used, says his Alaskan Eskimo dog Cutiepie was stolen on Granville Street.

Mike Bell /

PNG

Dave, who has lived on the street for the past eight months, described Cutiepie as looking like a polar bear, with white hair, short little legs, a small head and a fat body. She’s a calm dog who loved being petted and she would spend hours in his lap being groomed, he said.

Dave asked anyone who has seen Cutiepie to alert the SPCA or the VPD, with whom he said he has filed a police report.

The SPCA has a program to help people who live on the streets care for their pets, and in Chortyk’s experience, people in that situation tend to be “so dedicated” to that cause.

Related

“Certainly, we’ve met a lot of people who will go without food themselves in order to make sure that their pets are well taken care of,” she said.

Through its Charlie’s pet food bank initiative, the SPCA offers things like nail trims, training tips, veterinary care, surgeries and referrals, as well as food, toys, carriers and leashes. The program is open to donations.

If anyone is concerned about the well-being of any animal they can contact the SPCA at 1-855-622-7722, and the organization can send out a staff member to assess the situation. If needed, they can either take the animal into care or try to help the owner, Chortyk said.

Studies and surveys around the world have repeatedly shown the importance pets can have in the lives of street-involved people, according to a 2014 research review written by Emma Woolley in her capacity as a research assistant with the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness.

Woolley referenced a 2012 paper by Leslie Irvine, titled Animals as Lifechangers and Lifesavers: Pets in the Redemption Narratives of Homeless People, who conducted a series of interviews at pet clinics in the U.S. and found pets had led their owners to give up drugs, escape depression or even choose to continue living.

A Chihuahua was stolen from a panhandler around East Hastings and Nanaimo St. last year, according to CBC. The dog was later recovered by police after it was spotted by a good Samaritan.

Steve Addison, a VPD spokesman, encouraged anyone with information about a crime to call police. He said VPD did not have readily available data on the frequency of pets being stolen.

Related

[email protected]

CLICK HERE to report a typo.

Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email [email protected]


Source link

28May

Feds announce $1 million for Pride Vancouver to encourage LGBTQ2+ tourism

by admin


Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie Melanie Joly recently announced $1 million in funding each for Pride events in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto over the next two years.


DARRYL DYCK / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Organizers say new federal funding will make this summer’s Pride festivities better than ever — and cement Vancouver’s role as a leading LGBTQ2+ travel destination.

Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie Melanie Joly recently announced $1 million in funding each for Pride events in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto over the next two years.

“It’s not only important for Vancouver Pride to become an international destination,” said Joly, “it’s a very strong message to everyone across the country that they can be themselves and they can feel safe and proud.“

Andrea Arnot, Pride Vancouver’s executive director, says the money will be used to bring back the Davie Street Party, install a licensed patio space and finance inclusivity training for local businesses.


Federal funding will be used in part to will be used to bring back the Davie Street Party, seen here in 2016.

Gerry Kahrmann /

PNG

The money will also support long-term projects like events for black, Indigenous, transgender, two-spirit and queer community members and a full accessibility audit of Pride. She says the organization will also look at hosting a powwow for two-spirit members.

“If people don’t see themselves represented at an event, they’re not going to come,” she said. “…. That helps people feel like they’re a part of and that they want to come and attend our event.”

The grant is part of the Canadian Experiences Fund, a $58.5 million investment to diversify and grow Canada’s tourism sector.

Joly says the investment capitalizes on Canada’s status as a destination for LGBTQ2+ tourism, an industry she says is worth as much as $200 billion USD.

“We’re viewed as a safe country to visit with lots of queer activities going on and safer spaces in our city that travellers might not have in their country of origin,” said Arnot.

Related

Vancouver’s Pride Parade, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, was ranked as the 42nd best pride parade in the world by travel website HometoGo.

A 2018 survey by Community Marketing and Insights, a San Francisco-based LGBTQ2+ marketing firm, found Vancouver was the third most-popular destination among gay, lesbian and bisexual men and women in Canada behind Toronto and Montreal.

The company, who partnered with the Canadian Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and over a dozen other organizations, also found 79 per cent of LGBTQ2+ travellers with no plans to visit the United States were put off by the policies of the Trump administration.

Joly says events like Pride showcase Canada’s diversity and openness — one of many thing she believes will attract more visitors to the country.

“In Canada, you can be you,” said Joly. “And that’s why we can attract the world to come visit us.”

Related

[email protected]

twitter.com/zakvescera




Source link

28May

Rick Hansen gives Surrey a gold for their accessibility commitment

by admin

Rick Hansen was on hand at Grandview Heights Aquatic Centre this morning to recognize and congratulate Surrey on its excellence in becoming more accessible.

Hansen, who wheeled 40,000 km for his “Man In Motion Tour” unveiled a plaque on behalf of the Rick Hansen Foundation declaring the facility gold accessibility.

“Disability is a big deal”, says Hansen.

He says there are over a billion people living with a disability, according to the World Health Organization.

In Canada over 20 per cent of the population, including aging baby boomers and their parents, are acquiring many disabling conditions and the issue is just getting bigger.

“I’m a big fan of getting our city up so it’s completely accessible,” said Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum.

Hansen and the mayor took a tour of the facility to check its upgrades, such as lifts to lower people into the pool, ramps and removable portable stairs into the pool.

There are also work out machines that are wheel chair accessible and a quiet room for people who suffer from sensory issues to go and decompress.


Source link

28May

Daphne Bramham: More needed to redress the tragic fact that Indigenous people are disproportionately victims of opioid crisis

by admin

Overdose deaths linked to illicit fentanyl-laced drugs rose 21 per cent last year among First Nations people in B.C. even as there was a glimmer of hope that the crisis may have peaked among the general population.

Since the crisis began four years ago, B.C. Indigenous people have been overrepresented in the deadly count. Last year, they accounted for 13 per cent of the deaths, while making up 3.4 per cent of the provincial population.

Put another way, First Nations people were 4.2 times more likely to suffer a fatal overdose and six times more likely to suffer a non-fatal overdose than other British Columbians.

No one is suffering more than First Nations women and girls, who already have the worst health outcomes in Canada because of violence, exploitation and poverty.

They are unique in this epidemic where 80 per cent of the victims in the general population are men. Women, by contrast, account for 39 per cent of First Nations’ overdose fatalities last year and 46 per cent of the non-fatal ones.

They are bearing the brunt of marginalization, says Dr. Evan Adams, chief medical health officer at the First Nations Health Authority. Another measure of that is expected to come next week in the report of the murdered and missing women’s inquiry.

Among the reasons that he suggests for the widening gap between First Nations’ and the general population’s statistics are the effects of colonization including residential schools, the lack of social supports, childhood experiences and limited access to safe spaces and services.

The litany of dreadful statistics compiled by the provincial coroner’s office was read out Monday against the backdrop of a quilt with the names of some of the hundreds who have died. Among those names was Max, the son of the health authority’s knowledge keeper, Syexwaliya. Max died 12 days before his 41st birthday in March 2018.

“My son was just too lost,” she said. “I couldn’t do anything for him. I had to love and accept him as he was.”

Still, Syexwaliya takes heart from the statistics.

“The statistics make me feel that Indigenous people aren’t invisible and what’s brought out in the statistics and in the reports means that work is being done,” she said.

Addiction is a disease of pain — physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Addiction piles tragedy on tragedy.

“It’s a journey of pain, a journey of suffering and a journey of seeking health services that couldn’t be found,” said the chair of the health authority, Grand Chief Doug Kelly.

Too many Canadians, too many British Columbians and too many First Nations people have already died, but Kelly said that for Indigenous people, things are not getting better. They’re getting worse, especially for those living in cities and most especially for women.

Overdose hot spots include the usual ones: Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, the Fraser Valley, Chilliwack, Nanaimo, Victoria and Prince George. But for First Nations people, there’s also Campbell River and Kamloops.

Those stark differences mean distinct and targeted solutions are required. As Canada’s first Indigenous health authority, the First Nations authority (with its unofficial motto of “no decisions about us, without us”) is well positioned to do that.

With a goal of addressing causes of addiction, it has its own four pillars approach: preventing people from dying, reducing the harm of those who are using, creating a range of accessible treatments and supporting people on their healing journey.

The authority also strongly supports the call from B.C.’s chief medical health officer to decriminalize possession of all drugs for personal use as has been done in Portugal. (The suggestion was quickly shot down by the B.C. government, which says that could only be accomplished with federal legislation.)

Among the reasons Kelly cites are yet more terrible statistics.

Of Canada’s female offenders in federal prisons, Public Safety Canada reported last summer that 43 per cent are Indigenous. In youth detention, Indigenous kids account for 46 per cent of all admissions — a jump of 25 per cent in a decade.

Addiction is often contributing factor in the crimes committed, as is fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (although the report said there is no evidence that FASD is more prevalent among First Nations than other populations).

Because so many First Nations women are incarcerated, it means their children often end up in government care or with relatives, which only exacerbates the cycle of childhood trauma, loss and addiction.

So far, the First Nations Health Authority has spent $2.4 million on harm-reduction programs. It’s trained more than 2,430 people in 180 communities how to use naloxone to reverse fentanyl overdoses, has 180 “harm-reduction champions” and peer coordinators in all five regions.

But the biggest barrier is the one that led to Max’s death — lack of accessible treatment.

Last week, FNHA and the B.C. government committed $20 million each to  build treatment centres in Vancouver and Surrey and promised to upgrade six existing ones. Kelly says that’s great. But it’s not enough. They’re still waiting for another $20 million from the federal government for construction.

Still, where will the operating money come from? That’s the next multi-million-dollar question. But it must be found.

Now that there is evidence that First Nations communities — and women in particularly — are suffering so disproportionately, ignoring them is unconscionable.

[email protected]

Twitter: @bramham_daphne


Source link

This website uses cookies and asks your personal data to enhance your browsing experience.