Most Canadians are in favour of prohibiting residents from smoking in apartment buildings and condominiums, a new Research Co. poll has found.
An online survey found that almost seven-in-ten Canadians (72 per cent) support banning smoking (tobacco and marijuana) in multi-family buildings, while one-in-four (25 per cent) are opposed to the prohibition.
Almost 74 per cent of women supported the ban as did Canadians aged 55 and above. About 75 per cent of Quebecers and 74 per cent British Columbians were also in favour.
The poll also found that more than two thirds of Canadians agree with the federal government’s decision to implement plain and standardized tobacco packaging. This was one of several areas covered by Bill C-5, which also established guidelines for vaping products.
Almost 90 per cent per cent of Canadians agree with banning smoking in indoor public spaces, public transit facilities and workplaces, including restaurants, bars and casinos.
Additionally, three-in-four Canadians also agree with banning smoking in private vehicles occupied by children.
“The regulations that have been in place for years to deal with smoking across Canada remain popular,” said Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “There is a high level of support for bringing multi-family dwellings to the list of places where people should not be allowed to smoke.”
The survey was conducted earlier this month among 1,000 adults in Canada. The margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Charlie Lock’s Christmas came with a very special gift.
On Dec. 4, doctors removed the Langley toddler’s liver and gave her a piece of her dad’s liver. The transplant, performed by surgeons at Sick Kids in Toronto, is one of the first steps in a complicated plan to give the little girl with a severe sun allergy a more normal life.
“The transplant went really well,” Charlie’s mom Bekah Lock told Postmedia by phone from Toronto.
“We’re not out of the woods yet, but we’re grateful for how well it went.”
The next six months will see more medical procedures for the two-year-old girl and her dad, Kelsey, who was discharged from hospital a few days after his surgery, but continues to heal as his liver regenerates.
In a few months, he’ll give his tiny daughter another gift — this time, a bone-marrow transplant — that will help to save her new liver from the ravages of porphyria.
Even small amounts of ultraviolet light cause the toddler’s skin to burn, blister and swell. But it’s the invisible damage — the accumulation of porphyrins in her liver — that can eventually be life-threatening.
Charlie cannot go outside, not even on the cloudiest days, said her mom. The windows in the family’s Langley home are coated with UV-blocking film. To leave, she must be bundled into a stroller with a protective cover and then rushed to a vehicle with similarly coated windows.
She can’t go to a park, or visit a petting zoo, or have a play date at a friend’s house.
Her brief hours outside — the long walks her mom and dad would take with her before she was diagnosed a few weeks after her first birthday — have been forgotten.
“It’s a very small world that she lives in,” Lock told Postmedia in July.
“She’ll stare out the windows and point at the leaves in the trees. She knows what’s out there, but she’s never fully experienced it.”
Porphyria, specifically EPP, can be excruciatingly painful. The family was prepared to adapt to a life without sunlight, but shortly after Charlie’s diagnosis, there was more bad news.
People with EPP have a shortage of a particular enzyme that metabolizes porphyrins, which help with the production of hemoglobin. Without the enzyme, porphyrins accumulate in the blood, reacting with sunlight to cause burns. In a small percentage of people with EPP, porphyrins also accumulate in the liver.
Like lightning striking twice, Charlie had the rare form of EPP, which destroys the liver. Tests showed scarring similar to that of an alcoholic.
Despite the risks associated with the procedure, doctors began planning a bone-marrow transplant, which could help the little girl metabolize porphyrins. But because Charlie has two rare genetic markers, a perfect match could not be found among family or the international database. Doctors decided Kelsey’s bone marrow, although not a perfect match, could at least halt the damage to the toddler’s liver and possibly help reduce the impacts of sun exposure.
Two weeks before the bone-marrow transplant was set to take place, Charlie became seriously ill. Her enlarged liver was pressing on her lungs, leading to pneumonia. Her tiny, sick body would no longer be able to handle the chemotherapy needed to destroy her own bone marrow in preparation for the transplant.
A new plan was created. Charlie needed a new liver, so instead of donating his bone marrow, Kelsey donated a piece of his liver instead. The procedure could not be done in B.C., so the family travelled to Toronto in late fall.
When describing Charlie’s tumultuous year, Bekah Lock is cheerful and optimistic.
The young mom celebrates the small things, like being able to hear Charlie’s little voice — and her laughter — after she was removed from a ventilator after the transplant.
“We’re not all the way there, but getting those little pieces of her back has been so good,” she said.
Lock admitted it was tough for herself and Kelsey to be away from family over Christmas, but in the same breath, she expressed gratitude for the doctors, nurses and staff at the hospital, as well as for Ronald McDonald House, where the family has been staying while in Toronto.
“They’re taking great care of us,” she said.
After Charlie becomes stronger and gains some weight, the little girl will undergo chemotherapy in preparation for the bone-marrow transplant. The family plans to remain in Toronto for that process and doesn’t expect to return to B.C. for about six months.
“It’s out of our hands,” said Lock. “We know that there will be ups and downs. It never goes perfectly to plan. But right now things are good, so we’re just going to celebrate that.”
As she bounces nine-month-old Delilah on her knee, Amber Hawse pauses reflectively before answering a question about what she thinks she and her baby will be doing in five years.
Hawse, 20, hopes by then to have graduated from college and to have a job as a special-needs support worker. Delilah will be in kindergarten. And they will live together in their own place with enough money for food, basic expenses and peace of mind.
Her goals may seem modest, but the reality is that 20 per cent of children in B.C. live in poverty and their families struggle to provide the necessities of life, especially in Metro Vancouver with its sky-high cost of living.
Hawse knows this well, as a foster child who lurched from home to home, some of them abusive. At age 16, she was living on her own in an apartment run by a social service agency, learning to budget her meagre government payments while attending high school.
The well-spoken, thoughtful young woman hopes Delilah will not be trapped in a similar cycle. She wants to provide her daughter with financial and emotional stability — which starts with them remaining together.
“I grew up with no dad and no mom, so I don’t want to let her grow up with (being) in care and getting her abused. I want her to know she is always loved,” Hawse said, fighting back tears.
Poverty and other challenges facing youth, particularly in Metro Vancouver’s inner cities, were the focus of a recent brainstorming session during which dozens of service agencies and community members came together to discuss the root causes and possible solutions to these often multi-generational crises.
“People can easily become immune to seeing homeless people on the streets, but the poverty that children face is often hidden from us,” said Jennifer Johnstone, president of Central City Foundation, which organized the Hope Dialogue Series session. “And that makes (the depth of) child poverty a surprise to people sometimes.”
The Downtown Eastside has become the focal point, with many drawn there by its plethora of low-rent buildings and free food services. But poverty exists in many other pockets of Metro Vancouver, and affects the children of struggling parents as well as children without parents.
172,550 poor kids in B.C.
The statistics, say Central City, are stark:
• One in five of all B.C. children — 172,550 kids — lives in poverty, and that jumps to one in three for off-reserve Indigenous children.
• Nearly half of recent child immigrants are impoverished.
• Half of children in poverty are raised by single parents, mostly by mothers.
• Youth aging out of foster care are 200 times more likely to become homeless before the age of 25.
And research shows that disadvantaged children can be delayed mentally and physically due to a lack of nutrition, are more likely to struggle in school and end up unemployed, and are more prone to suffer from addictions and mental illness.
The trend is improving, though, as a quarter of all B.C. youth were impoverished a decade ago, compared to 20 per cent now, according to First Call’s annual Child Poverty Report Card. B.C.’s child poverty rate has been higher than the Canadian average for at least two decades, although that gap is narrowing.
Some of B.C.’s recent improvements can be credited to the new Child Tax Benefit introduced by Ottawa in 2016, and also promising are recent commitments by provincial and federal governments to adopt poverty-reduction plans, increase affordable housing, boost the minimum wage and introduce affordable daycare.
But there is more work to do to try to overcome the systemic marginalization that has led to this poverty — such as colonialism and residential schools that have brought a disproportionate number of Indigenous people into the Downtown Eastside, Johnstone said.
The October brainstorming session, which included groups such as the Urban Native Youth Association and the Aboriginal Mother Centre, was just the beginning of a very important conversation, she added.
“When we come together and see possibilities, that is the hope for change,” Johnstone said. “The children are the stewards of our future.”
Schools are more than education
Schools increasingly provide more than education to impoverished youth, especially in inner cities. But during long school breaks, at-risk children can be left without enough food, fun activities or emotional support to keep them safe during the day while their parents are working.
To bridge this gap, a unique organization called KidSafe runs full-day camps during Christmas holidays, March break and the summer at six east Vancouver schools, so 450 vulnerable children have a safe place to go each day for three healthy meals, fun activities and continued access to important services.
“The (camps) provide continuity for things like nutrition, healthy adult relationships, just somebody having eyes on a child,” said KidSafe executive director Quincey Kirschner, who attended the Hope Dialogue session.
“The demand is ever-increasing, and it is so awful to not have enough resources to be able to provide service to all the kids and families who need it.”
Poverty is one of the reasons some children are referred by teachers and others to KidSafe, but there are other factors as well, such as emotional vulnerability, she added.
For six years, Krista Ericson has relied on the three seasonal camps to help with her four children, who are in Grades 1 through 6 at Grandview/¿uuqinak’uuh Elementary in east Vancouver. The camps provide much-needed respite for the single mother, who fostered and then adopted the four Indigenous siblings who have a range of diagnoses that include fetal alcohol syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
“The support during the (school) breaks is life-saving to me,” said Ericson, who added it is difficult to keep the active, high-needs children at home all day. “To think of trying to find out-of-school care for four children, I couldn’t afford it. I couldn’t afford full-time camps in the summer.”
She does not work outside the home, mainly because her days are consumed with hospital appointments and other commitments for the children.
Ericson lives in subsidized housing, shops for food that is on sale and in bulk, and is grateful for a myriad of programs — ranging from Backpack Buddies, which provides food to families for the weekends, to charity hampers and donated gifts at Christmas — that help her make ends meet.
When her children see other people with cellphones or trendy clothing, Ericson has her oft-repeated line: “I tell my kids, ‘That’s their family, and we do it differently in our family.’” She also uses the opportunity to teach her children that, although they live a modest life, they are better off than other students who don’t have enough food to eat or a safe place to sleep at night.
One of her top priorities is to include a lot of Indigenous culture in their home lives.
Indigenous culture creates ‘doorway into wellness’
After the brainstorming session in October, Central City compiled a summary of what they heard from the 100 people in attendance, and found that programs with cultural components, such as connections with elders and Indigenous languages, have been successful because they create “a doorway into wellness and community building.”
Other initiatives that are making a positive difference, the attendees said, were those that connect youth with relatives and meaningful people in their lives, as well as programs in which non-profits and service agencies work together to provide more comprehensive support to children.
The Central City summary also determined what isn’t working: Governments too often fund programs that treat problems once they start, rather than preventing them; a lack of affordable housing can lead to poverty and families losing their children; and there isn’t enough transition planning for youth aging out of care, who experience disproportionately high levels of mental illness, substance use and unemployment.
Aunt Leah’s Place, a New Westminster charity, has been helping children who age out of care for three decades, but 10 years ago it added a new element: soliciting financial support from foundations, corporations, governments and others to obtain specialized housing.
“That was done based on trends we saw around more and more young people who are aging out becoming homeless,” said president and CEO Sarah Stewart. “What we didn’t plan for is the opioid crisis — that’s been a double whammy for these young people. … They are dealing with daily grief connected to people they know who have died.”
Aunt Leah’s provided services to 345 youth last year — 41 foster children under age 19, 208 who had aged out, and 96 of their babies and children.
“The reality for youth aging out of foster care today is a lot of hardship,” said Stewart, who also attended the Hope Dialogue session.
There has been positive change in the last few years, such as free tuition and financial support for foster children to attend post-secondary schools. The provincial government has also expanded a program that will fund more life-skills training for these youth.
But, Stewart said, more subsidized housing is needed, along with better co-ordination between government agencies — such as education, health and child welfare — to look out for this population.
‘Just do what parents do’
The key to supporting youth coming out of care is simple, she argues — just do what parents do.
“Aunt Leah’s tries to replicate what families are doing for their kids,” Stewart said. “Parents are providing tuition, transportation, food, housing well into their 20s, so that is what we are doing. And that is what government should be doing.”
Hawse, though, was cast adrift. After being asked to leave her last foster home, the then-16-year-old moved into an apartment run by Aunt Leah’s, where teenage foster children live on their own but have access to support and training programs.
“For the first couple of nights that I was by myself, I cried because I wasn’t used to being in a house alone,” she said. “It’s very lonely.”
She received government funding of $70 a week for groceries, and learned to buy food on sale and collect grocery store points to get items for free. She also worked part-time while completing high school — a remarkable accomplishment, as less than half of foster children in B.C. graduate from Grade 12.
When she turned 19, Hawse was newly pregnant but had to leave her Aunt Leah’s apartment funded specifically for foster kids. She moved into emergency housing for several months before Aunt Leah’s could offer her a room in a building for new mothers.
She is getting by, for now, able to buy food, diapers and other necessities with the employment insurance and federal child tax she is collecting while off work with her baby. She hopes to return to her job at a local daycare, and to attend college next year to become a community and classroom support worker.
“I’ve been through a lot,” Hawse says. “But there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
Some solutions for the future
Central City’s Johnstone says there are reasons to be optimistic. For example, her organization, which is a major sponsor of Aunt Leah’s, is also backing a unique new youth initiative in Surrey that will have a school program and government social workers located in the same place as a sort of one-stop shop for vulnerable kids.
And there are other organizations, such as Vancouver Native Health, launching innovative programs in the Downtown Eastside designed to keep families together, she said.
The summary from the brainstorming session came up with some solutions to work toward, although nearly everyone interviewed for this story admits there is no obvious quick fix to the deep-rooted problem of child poverty.
The goals for the agencies include expanding programs to support the family as a whole, not just the child alone; enlisting graduates of youth programs to return as mentors; and creating more hubs where multiple services can be offered in one place to at-risk families.
At Family Services of Greater Vancouver, many clients in the family preservation program are parents trying to keep their kids after the children’s ministry documented some type of child protection concern. Staff help them with a myriad of things, ranging from housing, daycare and community resources, to help with trauma, domestic violence or addictions.
“For many of our families, poverty is an issue and that becomes a barrier for everything. They don’t have money for housing, food or your basic needs,” said Susan Walker, a family preservation manager, adding that stress affects everything from going to school to having a healthy family relationship. “Poverty stops people from moving forward.”
The agency, which also attended the Hope Dialogue session, has joined with others to advocate for major changes. Karen Dickenson Smith, director of specialized family supports, said these include embedding support workers into more “creative” types of housing, larger subsidized homes to allow extended families to live together, better compensation for foster parents, and higher wages in the social services sector to reduce turnover and ensure continuity of care for youth.
“System change takes time. We’ve seen some really encouraging developments, but we are a ways off and there is a lot of work to do,” said Dickenson Smith.
Added her colleague, Walker: “Poverty is not going to end overnight, but if you have subsidized housing and people are given the opportunity to get the work they need to do in life to get a job, that can allow children stability.”
Klein graduated from medical school at Stanford University in 1966, doing practical training in pediatrics and maternity care in Mexico and Ethiopia, before fleeing to Montreal with his wife Bonnie Sherr Klein to avoid being drafted in the Vietnam War.
After heading the department of family medicine at McGill University for 17 years, Klein was appointed head of the department of family practice at B.C. Children’s and Women’s Hospital where he remained for 10 years. He is known for his advocacy of midwifery and doulas, of family-friendly birthing practices and groundbreaking research that helped reduce unnecessary episiotomies and epidurals, all of which led to critical rethinks on unnecessary medical interventions during childbirth.
His family includes highly accomplished son Seth, until recently, the director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and daughter Naomi, a high profile social activist and author. Klein also has a daughter, Misha, from a first marriage.
Klein, who is semi-retired but still teaches at UBC, recently chatted with Postmedia News. The interview has been condensed and edited.
Q: You’ve had a long career in medicine and the book has a lot of detail. I’m assuming you’ve kept a journal all these decades?
A: Actually, I have never kept a diary, everything in the book is straight from my memory. Certain things I never forget. Basically, I remember every birth I’ve attended and there have been a few thousand.
Q: The title of your book is perfectly appropriate since you’ve always bucked the status quo. You have been, for 50 years, an agitator, a feisty iconoclast, a maverick, a nonconformist; of course everything we want our medical leaders to be!
A: That’s nice of you to say, I take it as a compliment. The title was chosen by the publisher. Mine would have been “The Making of a Radical Physician.”
Q: You call yourself a red diaper baby.
A: I don’t know who coined the term, but basically it refers to children of left wingers from the pre-McCarthy period.
Q: You were already a political activist by the age of three, actually living in a protest tent city in Los Angeles, participating in political rallies.
A: Of course I have no memory of these things, like “scab” being the first word I said. They are family stories.
Q: You write in the book that Vietnam was a “bogus, illegal, immoral, unwinnable war” and you were willing to go to jail rather than serve. In 1967, just when Montreal was hosting Expo, you became a draft dodger and moved to Montreal with your new wife. There was a measles outbreak just when you got there and the vaccine to prevent it was made by Dow chemicals, the manufacturer of Napalm.
A: That’s one of many ironies in the book. In Quebec at the time, the government supported its own vaccine producer and it wasn’t ready yet. Children were really being damaged by measles, so rather than wait for the government to develop its own vaccine, I got my hands on the Dow product. It was a necessary compromise with my principals.
Q: And now we routinely have infectious disease outbreaks because of parents who refuse to vaccinate their kids based on religious reasons or hocus-pocus studies.
A: Well, its ongoing. In the Fraser Valley, we have communities that refuse to immunize their children so of course we have outbreaks of measles and mumps in places where it shouldn’t happen. That debate among vaccine deniers is not going to go away soon. People think of it as a personal right as opposed to collective rights. The public needs to recognize these diseases are not benign.
Q: When I became the medical/health reporter in 1996, one of the first controversies I heard about had to do with you. You were making waves at B.C. Women’s Hospital to bring midwifery into the fold. Other doctors were aghast. You had also just handed out envelopes to each doctor with information inside showing their personal rates of episiotomy, labour induction, C-sections, etc. I recall it didn’t go over well with some.
A: I arrived in Vancouver in 1993. In Montreal, I had worked with midwives when it was being implemented and I felt they could make a contribution. There was an absolute need to be focused not on what doctors needed but what women and the public needed. I was asked by B.C. Women’s to support the development of legalized midwifery. There was a need for all midwifery births to be attended by a licensed physician so there was a group of family doctors I put together who attended all these births. Obstetricians were tired of the role (supervising midwives), some felt it was beneath them, so they wanted family doctors to take it on. Eventually, it became redundant for us (family doctors) to be present too. Observations and evidence showed the midwives were quite skilled.
Q: The payment model for midwives really offended doctors. It’s tricky when you have to piss off colleagues. Your skin only got thicker, I suppose.
A: You’re not kidding! The family doctors were especially threatened because of the way midwifery was implemented. When the NDP government rolled it out, they did it in a way that was guaranteed to cause conflict. They failed to explain all the differences in the fee payment models. The midwives weren’t being overpaid, they were being differently paid but none of this was adequately explained. So it was a prescription for conflict when it was rolled out by the government. And today, there are lingering aspects of this which is unfortunate. But in some cases, midwives and doctors are collaborating, pooling their incomes. It’s experimental but its exciting. And everyone is doing this with a lot of goodwill.
Q: There’s a scene in the TV series, The Crown, when Queen Elizabeth is delivering a baby in 1960, and she’s knocked out for the whole thing. Is this how it worked? Doctors pulled babies out of heavily sedated women who couldn’t push?
A: The uterus is a pretty clever organ in the way it contracts on its own. But what was happening up to the end of the 1950s was that women were given twilight sedation so they couldn’t feel or remember a damn thing. They got episiotomies and doctors used forceps routinely.
A: There is a false belief that C-sections are safer, that childbirth is an opportunity for things to go wrong as opposed to being a transformative experience. That women are unexploded bombs. Some Asians and certain women from the Middle East have been exposed to mythologies about what a vagina is for: it serves one purpose only and not for babies. Those macho cultures tend to have higher C-section rates.
Q: You’ve been very outspoken in your support of the provincial governments position against private surgery clinics. You say Canada’s health care system is drifting towards the American model and the private provision of medical care must be stamped out. Why do folks on the left always stoke fears about the American system? All the European countries — including the ones that consistently rank at the top in terms of health care systems — have private options as well.
A: You’re right. It may be a sensational tactic, but at the same time we know we’re vulnerable to American multinational health care companies that are ready to come here. The only good thing about the Canadian system is it is a little bit better than the American system because we cover our whole population. But we don’t actually have a health system, we have a payment system for medical services. In France, New Zealand, Australia and the Scandinavian countries they have a fully organized system to deliver health care.
Q: You’ve had surgery yourself in a private clinic?
A: Across the street from St. Paul’s Hospital is an orthopedic surgery centre. I had shoulder surgery there (but) I paid nothing. The government (health authority) negotiated the rate (through a contract). It works fine, I don’t have a problem with these public pay, private delivery models. It provides extra operating room time. My difficulty is with private pay, private delivery. We all know that if the government put more money into keeping operating rooms open and supporting necessary nurses and surgeons, private surgery centres would be diminished substantially, or even vanish. This is a political decision about how much money to put into the public system.
Q: Pro-medicare folks sometimes sound hypocritical when they criticize private clinics and the individuals who use them. You ignore the long waiting times. You portray people who use private surgery clinics as rich but I interview these people a lot and, trust me, they aren’t rich, they just don’t want to suffer while waiting many months for their non-emergency surgery.
A: They’re not all rich people, I agree. The problem is people are told by the same surgeon that they will have to wait nine months for the surgery in a public hospital but only two weeks in a private clinic so they dip into their savings and do it. I know the waiting lists are too long but that violates the essential principals of equity. Our system needs a complete rethink. I’m in favour of improving medicare, not defying it.
For most, although not all, New Year’s Eve is an optimistic time for celebration. Many also reflect thankfully on a dying year that enhanced their and their families’ well-being and that saw them benefit others. Those portrayed here appeared in this column during 2018 and are remembered for being among the myriad who contributed to the character of a community that many value as second to none.
Vancouver Symphony Orchestra president Kelly Tweeddale welcomed music director Otto Tausk after a debut concert conducting works by Edward Top, Francis Poulenc and Igor Stravinsky.
Malcolm Parry /
With his net worth topping $17 billion, 27-year-old Hugh Grosvenor, the seventh Duke of Westminster, attended a reception alongside city-based Grosvenor Americas chief executive Andrew Bibby.
Malcolm Parry /
Heiltsuk artist KC Hall and Haida Clarence Mills contributed designs to 60 female and male fashions by Chloe Angus that also featured Coast Salish, Kwakiutl (Kwakwaka’wakw) and Ojibway motifs.
Malcolm Parry /
Dr. Chan Gunn was honored by University of B.C. President Santa Ono when his $5-million donation spurred creation of a sports-medicine and pain-research-and treatment facility on campus.
Demonstrating a curry that his mother used to make, restaurateur-chef Vikram Vij told Audi car-launch attendees: Chicken white meat is the most boring meat there is. Always cook with the bone in.”
Malcolm Parry /
When the Pants Off gala benefitted Prostate Cancer Canada, Angus Research Institute chief Shachi Kurl and CBC TV news anchor Mike Killeen sported identical Joe Boxer smiley-face shorts. Photo for the Town Talk column of Dec. 29, 2018. Malcolm Parry/Special to PNG [PNG Merlin Archive]
Malcolm Parry /
Opening his and wife Laura Byspalko’s eighth annual Indian Summer Festival, Sirish Rao said the 14-day event was devised “for the curious mind. The more it is fed, the more curious it gets.”
Malcolm Parry /
When dealer Christian Chia debuted Rolls-Royce’s titanic Cullinan SUV, silver-painted Cynthia Doucet wore fan-driven flowing attire to simulate the maker’s Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament.
Malcolm Parry /
Inez Cook and Lauraleigh Paul Yuxweluptun’aat prepared and served smoked oolichan and barbecued salmon to guests at the West Vancouver Harmony Arts Festival’s alfresco Indigenous Feast.
Malcolm Parry /
Night of Miracles gala chair Bob Rai accompanied wife Harpreet when the ninth annual event reportedly added $755,000 to the $5.4 million raised earlier for the B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation.
Malcolm Parry /
The Neeko Philanthropic Society’s Mana Jalalian admired artist Mona Malekian’s traditional painted eggs that were part of the Haft Sin display at a celebration for Persian New Year.
Malcolm Parry /
Yolanda Mason sculpted a bicycle entirely with bones from 10 species for her participation in the local heat of an international art tournament sponsored by Bombay Sapphire Gin.
Malcolm Parry /
Early childhood educator Lule Abbay was happy to see Commercial Drive’s Havana restaurant reopen after renovation although son Solomon still looked for nourishment directly from mama.
Malcolm Parry /
City photographers Lincoln Clarkes and Dina Goldstein were ready for anything when the fifth annual Capture Photography Festival opened with a reception at the Contemporary Art Gallery.
Technology for Living’s Ruth Marzetti, Susan Dessa , April Skold and Concord Pacific CEO Terry Hui backed patient and peer network facilitator Nancy Lear at the development’s firm’s annual reception. Malcolm Parry / PNG
BREATHE EASIER: Occupants of Concord Pacific-built condo towers likely relish fresh air wafting in from False Creek. For some at the development firm’s recent 30th anniversary reception, though, receiving any air at all is a matter of life and death. They were staff, supporters and patients of the B.C. Association for Individualized Technology and Supports for People with Disabilities. A beneficiary of the Concord Pacific event, the 12-year-old non-profit organization (bcits.org) “works with people who have severe physical disabilities and helps them to live as well and as independently as possible.” One such person present at the event was Nancy Lear. She is also an association peer network facilitator who assists and supports others who require ventilators to breathe while also tapping into the organization’s transition and 24-hour therapy services and other programs. Backed by caregiver Susan Dessa, association executive director Ruth Marzetti and staffer April Skold, Lear thanked Concord Pacific CEO Terry Hui. As for his firm’s breathing space in a presently down-turning market, Hui told guests: “A whole new wave of social innovation is coming. Every time you shuffle the deck is opportunity. I look forward to next year.”
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: A new era opened for Takashi Hatori with his recent posting as Japan’s consul general. Another one was seen to be closing when he hosted an 85th-birthday celebration for Japan’s 125th emperor, Akihito, who has said he will abdicate on April 30. Crown Prince Naruhito will succeed him. Reminding guests of Akihito and Empress Michiko’s warm welcome here in 2009, Hatori diplomatically called Vancouver “a top-ranked city on the global scale.” Noting the 90th anniversary of Canada-Japan diplomatic relations, he expressed “high expectations” for mutual investment opportunities following the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal coming into force Dec. 30.
DESIGN HERE: The 14th annual Interior Design Show ended Sept. 23. But it left behind a remarkable guide to the maturing regional industry. Curated by the show’s Vancouver director Jody Phillips, Currents: Contemporary Pacific Northwest Design is a lavishly illustrated 176-page book that refers to the “truly borderless” design region as “not just a geographical location but a state of mind, a sensibility rather than a particular style or esthetic.” The $55 book (vancouver.interiordesignshow.com) portrays eight Oregon designers and/or firms, five from Washington and 19 from B.C. The include ANDlight firm’s Lukas Peet, Caine Heintzmann and Matt Davis, and Annie Tung. Naturally it includes designer, manufacturer and Inform store owner Niels Bendtsen who has championed regional creativity for a half century. The Interior Design Show will return Sept. 26-29, 2019.
ON HOLD: The following items and photographs were drawn from several unpublished in this column during 2018.
OTTO’S PILOT: Long accustomed to seeing Vancouver Symphony Orchestra music director Bramwell Tovey, an Orpheum Theatre audience applauded successor Otto Tausk’s debut concert Sept. 21. With wife Daphne later, he said: “You, our audience, have given us such a great feeling of support and dedication to the VSO.”
GONE FISHING: The SUCCESS social agency’s foundation made a splash at Vancouver Aquarium in March when its 40th annual gala raised $650,000 for services and programs. Chair Queenie Choo welcomed Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, likely then still happy at having netted Liberal MLA Darryl Plecas as the B.C. legislature’s Speaker.
MILLIONS MAKER: Registered dietitian Ildiko Toth joined Naz Panahi at the Canadian Cancer Society’s $1.5-million Daffodil Ball. Although a guest at that fundraiser, Panahi has long provided it and others with a necessary diet of cash. She chaired numerous Daffodil Balls and Arthritis Research Canada galas. In September, she and Devi Sangara co-chaired the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation’s Night of a Thousand Stars event to raise $4 million.
CENTURY SENSED: Attending the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation’s Vancouver Chinatown gala with wife Lily, Bob Lee likely thought of father Ron Bick Lee settling there from Guangdong in 1911. Daughter Carol Lee founded and chaired the gala. The foundation “promotes the well-being of those in need (and) invests in projects that revitalize Vancouver’s Chinatown.”
NEXT CENTURY: Carol Lee and philanthropist Sylvia Chen attended a reception for B.C. Children’s Hospital’s Circle of Care group whose 270 individual, foundation and corporate members each donate at least $10,000 annually.
KER-BOOM: Having signed up thousands of new B.C. Liberal party members, signs pointed to former mayor-MP Dianne Watts being elected leader. After leading three rounds, though, she was outfoxed by Andrew Wilkinson, not to mention having fewer than half her signed-up members actually cast ballots.
RIB-STICKER: Even this season’s hefty meals seldom outweigh Alsatian-specialty Choucroute Garnie au Riesling that Le Crocodile’s Strasbourg-born Michel Jacob served to colleagues in March. Think smoked ham hocks, pork ribs, other cuts and several different sausages mounded on half spuds and wine-fermented cabbage.
DOWN PARRYSCOPE: Merry Christmas to all and especially the British for whom Brexit shenanigans top such traditional seasonal pantomimes as Cinderella, Peter Pan and Puss in Boots.
SOS Children’s Village B.C. executive director Douglas Dunn and gala chair Nesrine Jabbour looked forward to a 4.9-hectare Mission site providing up to 30 new houses for foster children and youths to occupy. Malcolm Parry / PNG
CRYSTAL CLEAR: Chairing the B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Crystal Ball for the second time, interior designer Jennifer Johnston saw it raise approximately $4 million. That is a substantial increase, if less precisely, over last year’s $2,815,129. The Beedie Group-sponsored 35th-annual event’s theme was unchanged, though. Funds raised will support B.C.’s “84,000 children and youth experiencing mental health issues,” of whom, “70 per cent aren’t getting the care they need,” Johnston said.
Raising four megabucks is now now more or less expected by big-time galas. Still, this Zen-themed event’s attendees witnessed something less achievable. As waidoko drummer Nori Akagi generated rolling thunder, Alcvin Ryuzen Ramos played the four-finger-hole shakuhachi bamboo flute with fluency, tonal frequency and chromatic range that might mentally challenge others striving to do so.
JUSTICE SERVED: At its recent gala The Justice Institute of B.C. Foundation honoured Marvin Storrow with the Anthony P. Pantages QC Award. It recognized the litigator and former gala chair having “made a significant contribution in the field of justice.” The award also symbolically reconnected Storrow to a fellow “east-end yo-yo champion when we were kids.” That was former Supreme Court of Canada justice and past honoree Frank Iacobucci.
Longtime B.C. Sports Hall of Fame trustee Storrow attended the gala following the two or three sets of tennis he plays up to five times weekly. As combative athletically as in the courtroom, he once reported his nose broken four times by sports encounters and twice by “differences of opinion.” Representing JIBC’s 30,000-plus student enrolment, graduates-turned-lifesavers Franjo Gasparovic and Megan Rook received the Heroes & Rescue award. Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia and Sergio Cocchia were cited for community leadership, and the late Douglas Eastwood and Heather Lyle for lifetime achievement.
RING TIME: As for broken noses, the Confratellanza Italo-Canadese and North Burnaby Boxing Club’s 10-bout Night of Fights helped fund those organization’s scholarship and boxing programs. It also benefited the East End Boys Club and Camp Miriam. Italian Cultural Centre catering director Fabio Rasotto all but knocked out 600 attendees with pork spareribs, roast beef, chicken, salmon, pesto pasta, five salads, cold cuts, cheese and Italian pastries. The Angelo Branca Sportsman of the Year award went to local boxer Tommy Boyce, who won 175 of 185 amateur and 17 of 18 pro fights. An earlier recipient, Olympian Manny Sobral, founded and heads the Burnaby club. Calling under-141-pound light welterweight Freya Orr’s split-decision win over Aanika Sehgal, “a barn burner and fight of the night,” Sobral said the latter “feels better about her body image and more confident” after shedding 60 pounds at Surrey’s Savard Boxing Gym.
PUSH TO SHOE: The 15th-anniversary PuSh International Performing Arts Festival got off on the right foot recently. On the left one, too. That’s because board presidents Jessica Bouchard and Mira Oreck fronted a kickoff event for the 15th-annual running at Gastown’s Fluevog shoe store. The two described the Jan. 17-Feb. 3 festival’s 26 staged works as “visionary, genre-bending, multi-disciplined, startling and original.” Somewhat like designer John Fluevog’s shoes, that is. Interim executive director Roxanne Duncan and interim artistic director Joyce Rosario filled in for now-retired and much lauded PuSh founder Norman Armour. They and attendees also acquired shoes, Duncan’s being appropriately theatrical silver glitter “Munster” platforms at a price of $399.
HOTFOOT: Costlier footwear was offered at Aaron Van Pykstra’s bazaar-style charity event in his Autoform dealership’s showroom. Along with artworks, cigars, handbags, watches and suchlike Aleix Dai showed rare sneakers from his Richmond-based Stay Fresh operation. Priced at $3,300, Dai’s red-white-and-black “Off-White” Air Jordans complemented a 1964 Chevrolet Impala V8 convertible that cost US$3,196 (CAD$3,436) new in 1964. According to Van Pykstra, $54,995 would put your clodhoppers on its pedals today.
RIDE DALI RIDE: Howe Street passersby might paraphrase the 1953 novelty song by asking: “How much is that Dali in the window?” They’d be referring to the sculptures, lithographs and other works by late Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali in Susanna Strem’s Challi-Rosso gallery. In fact, a self-portrait in the window recently was by local big-canvas artist Pamela Masik, whose other paintings inside “interpreted classics of the master: Dali.” Somewhat surreally, two topless women pressed their pigment-coated upper bodies against canvases that, on a smaller scale, echoed Masik’s performance-art creations.
FOSTERING GROWTH: SOS Children’s Village B.C. should soon receive a 4.9-hectare site worth $6 million in Mission’s Silverdale area. With the Vancouver Native Housing Society, it plans to house foster children in some 30 dwellings there by 2021. So said executive director Douglas Dunn at a gala that reportedly raised $68,000 with more pending. It was chaired again by financial planner Nesrine Jabbour whose second child is due in February. Thirty-nine youngsters presently occupy the 34-year-old SOS chapter’s 12-house, five-transition-suite Surrey facility, Dunn said. The expansion should please delegates at the organization’s international conference here in May.
DOWN PARRYSCOPE: Trackside bettors might discount the pleas of jockeys whose horses ran second and third past the post.
Prenatal exposure to air pollution has been linked to an increased likelihood of autism, according to a recently published Vancouver-based study. Arlen Redekop / PNG
Prenatal exposure to air pollution has been linked to an increased likelihood of autism, according to a recently published Vancouver-based study.
Lief Pagalan, a Simon Fraser University researcher, conducted the birth cohort study in Metro Vancouver using birth data from 2004 through 2009.
The study analyzed air pollution to assess exposure rates over the same period and found that there was an increased risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder in children when their pregnant mothers were exposed to air pollutants such as particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and nitric oxide.
The impact, however, was small and not statistically significant.
“Our study, which indicates that air pollution is associated with ASD in a city with relatively lower levels of air pollution adds to the growing concern that there may be no safe levels of exposure to air pollution,” said Pagalan.
“While the causes of ASD are not yet fully known, this study suggests that reducing exposure to air pollutants in pregnant women could reduce the likelihood of their children developing autism.”
The findings are similar to those of previous studies conducted in the United States, Israel and Taiwan.
Pagalan noted that the study is important as it highlights that “there may be no safe levels of exposure to air pollution.” While the cause of autism is not fully known, researchers acknowledge that genetics and environmental factors play a role.
The study was conducted by linking pregnancy data with birth records in Vancouver from 2004 through 2009, alongside medical records of children up to the age of 5.
The study, Association of Prenatal Exposure to Air Pollution with Autism Spectrum Disorder was published in JAMA Pediatrics this year. It was conducted with the involvement of the following people and agencies:
• Celeste Bickford • Whitney Weikum • Bruce Lanphear • Michael Brauer • Nancy Lanphear • Gillian E. Hanley • Tim F. Oberlander • Meghan Winters • Faculty of Health Sciences, SFU • Centre of Hip Health and Mobility • School of Population and Public Health, UBC • Department of Pediatrics, UBC • Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children, BC Children’s Hospital • BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute • Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, UBC • Population Data BC
INSPIRED: As the B.C. Lions readied for a final home game under coach Wally Buono on Nov. 3, no less than four galas kicked off downtown. Unlike the Leos, all were winners. The first, the B.C. Cancer Foundation’s 14th annual Inspiration gala at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, reportedly raised $4.3 million — including two $1-million donations from guests — to support blood cancer research. Tamara Taggart chaired again. She also MC’d with former CTV News at Six co-anchor Mike Killeen. He had to keep mum for two more days about his return to tube and timeslot Nov. 19 to present CBC Vancouver News with Anita Bathe. Jane Hungerford, who chaired the first Inspiration gala and five predecessor events, attended this one with lawyer-husband George. When mononucleosis sidelined him from 1964 Olympics rowing-eights competition, Hungerford joined Roger Jackson in coxless pairs. They promptly won Canada’s sole gold medal.
Rx FOR BCCHF: Down at the Marriott Pinnacle hotel, pharmacist and pharmaceuticals entrepreneur Bob Rai chaired the Night of Miracles gala that reportedly raised $755,000. Robin Dhir, who founded the event in 2009, said its South Asian community attendees have raised $5.4 million and change for the B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation. This year’s gala will help fund the Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children Enhancement Initiative, said foundation president CEO Teri Nicholas. As for Rai’s career: “My dream was to be a pilot, but I became a pharmacist.” That may be why he and wife Harpreet named their now 10-month-old first child Amelia.
LOOKING UP: Four rainswept blocks away in the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel, Cystic Fibrosis Canada regional director Sara Hoshooley saw the 65 Roses gala reportedly raise $300,000. Leona Pinsky founded the fundraiser in 2001 when her and husband Max’s infant daughter Rina contracted an ailment that once killed patients by age four. Rina is now a third-year student at the University of Victoria. Attendees were entertained by CF patient Jeremie Saunders, 30, “who had a bad scare last year, so this is my bonus time.” Saunders and friends Brian Stever and Taylor MacGillivary founded an every-Monday podcast “that speaks to anyone with a chronic or terminal ailment,” Saunders said. The surprise? “It’s a comedy show.” It sure is. Hit sickboypodcast.com to confirm that the three “are absolutely determined to break down the stigma associated with illness and disease.” That’s worth living for.
THE GOOD FIGHT: Up at the Rosemont Hotel Georgia, Contemporary Art Gallery president David Brown welcomed guests to a 30th annual auction that raised some $150,000. He also called the long-time event auctioneer, Hank Bull, “encyclopedic, credible and reliable … if he says something is going for a bargain, it is, and you should bid higher without hesitation.” Bidders do heed Bull. At Arts Umbrella’s recent auction, he got $10,000 for a Christos Dikeakos print estimated at $5,300. To secure such largesse, Bull said, “My theory is that bidders should get plenty of protein.” CAG gala-goers must have been duly fortified as Cree artist Joi T. Arcand’s sculpture fetched six times its $250 estimate. With its title, Go Away, formed in Cree symbols, the black-steel work replicated street-fighting brass knuckles, thus adding illegality to its appeal.
AUTHOR ONE: The Whalley teenager-turned-University of Rhode Island teacher Jean Walton revisited North Vancouver’s Maplewood Flats recently to release Mudflat Dreaming. Published by New Star, the book talks about 1970s squatters evicted from the present-day bird sanctuary, as well as residents and activists of North Surrey’s then-neglected Bridgeway community. Also included is the locally shot movie, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, to which some squatter-artists contributed. Walton gives her characters a proletarian gloss while detailing events as you’d expect from a former reporter on the now-defunct Surrey-Delta Messenger.
AUTHOR TWO: 1-800-GOT-JUNK founder Brian Scudamore should profit from his curiously titled debut book, WTF?! (Willing to Fail): How Failure Can Be Your Key To Success. A Canadian sell-out on Amazon, it documents his sometimes fitful progress from one clapped-out truck to a $300-million enterprise. Scudamore may benefit again when called to haul away now-read copies.
PAGE TURNED: Three years after closing its Robson-at-Howe bookstore, Indigo has reopened two-and-a-bit blocks westward. The two-floor facility includes a Starbucks cafe and counters and shelves loaded with baby clothes, bags, blankets, board games, cameras, candles, earbuds, glasses, lotions, mugs, pillows, record players, robes, soap, spices, tableware, tea and much besides. There are books, too, along with multi-coloured woollen “reading socks” at $34.50 a pair and, for late- night readers, matching hot-water bottles. Such bazaar-style merchandising would have amused the late Bill Duthie, who in 1957 opened the first and best of his peerless bookstores half way between the Indigo outlets. Duthie might have appreciated modern-day Indigo’s glasses for beverages sourced at his era’s across-the-street liquor store, but he’d have lamented the absence of ashtrays.
DOWN PARRYSCOPE: Live, feel dawn, see sunset glow, love and be loved … in Flanders fields.
Karley Rice, Shanni Eckford and Merideth Schutter co-chaired the 14th-annual Gift of Time gala that reportedly raised a record $1.5 million to benefit Canuck Place Children’s Hospice patients and programs. Malcolm Parry / PNG
GIFT INDEED: Chaired by Shanni Eckford, Karley Rice and Merideth Schutter, the 14th annual Gift of Time gala reportedly raised a record $1.5 million for the Canuck Place Children’s Hospice. Its title had special significance for Cherie Ehlert, a support worker at the posAbilities Association of B.C. that serves those with development disabilities. In her case, the gift of time applies to daughter and Canuck Place occupant Charlie, who contracted spinal muscular atrophy at age six months. “She was given three months to live then,” Ehlert recalled. “Now she’s nine, and they have developed treatment for her that they never had before.”
Ehlert well knows Canuck Place’s Detroit-raised medical director and UBC pediatrics clinical professor, Hal Siden, who recalled an odd personal-development practice. It entailed a grandfather teaching him bow-tie knotting, with every error penalized by Siden swallowing a shot of bourbon. The practice likely continued at Siden’s University of Michigan-Ann Arbor alma mater, but not as part of the curriculum.
JINGLE-JANGLE-JINGLE: The Boobyball’s rip-roaring launch last year spurred Speedo swimwear salesperson Kelly Townsend to repeat it. Restaged at the Main-off-Hastings Imperial, the event reportedly raised $48,000 for the Rethink Breast Cancer charity that “responds to the unique needs of young women going through it. Western-attired under-40s yippie-ki-yayed, rode a mechanical bull, watched a Luminesque Dance performance, and doubtless hoped that breast cancer will be vanquished well within those young dancers’ lifetimes.
STREET DREAMS: 50 successful persons are raising at least $15,000 each in order to sleep on concrete pavement on Nov. 15. Covenant House development officer Kim Wing said the Sleep Out: Executive Edition event should raise $900,000 for the organization’s 59-bed crisis program that assists homeless and at-risk youth. At a preamble event hosted by actor TV-host Todd Talbot in Kohler’s Broadway-at-Fir showroom, Wing admitted she’ll catch no shut-eye herself that night: “I’m the security, and its humbling to see executives sleeping outside, knowing that, through the wall, are the youth they are supporting.”
ON A ROLL: Nonchalantly eyeballing a row of important plumbing fixtures at Talbot’s reception, the Covenant House supporter and Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre Hotel general manager, Sascha Voth, said: “We’ve got over 1,000 of these Kohler toilets in the hotel.”
STAYIN’ ALIVE: Twenty years ago, Al Arsenault, Toby Hinton and a small group of other Vancouver police officers founded the Odd Squad. With the National Film Board, they documented their on-the-street activities with drug users in a 52-minute movies called Through A Blue Lens. Arsenault retired, Hinton is now a sergeant, and other active and retired coppers have joined Odd Squad Productions. The focus on drug abuse remains, most recently in the Understanding Fentanyl resource guide for every B.C. school. Rather than lecture youths, who die at home more often than on the streets, it hopes to “demonstrate an understanding of (fentanyl’s) danger in our communities.” At a recent fundraising gala, Hinton said a guide and 35-minute video titled Understanding Police Use of Force will follow, co-produced by the Canadian Police Association.
Gala entertainers included the Police Judo Demo Team with Hinton’s black-belt daughter Launa throwing brown-belt member Howie Hoang around. Watching raptly, young girls may have imagined doing the same to their brothers.
ALLEY ECLAT: The HCMA Architecture + Design firm has received a National Urban Design Award for its More Awesome Now Laneway Activation project that does much to enhance shabby downtown alleys.
THAT’S COMMITMENT: Charity gala chairs sometimes serve second or third terms. Then there’s Mary Jane Devine, who retired last year after chairing 13 successive Rockin’ for Research galas to benefit the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation. Loverboy band lead guitarist Paul Dean sparkplugged that event in 2000 after his and wife Denise’s son Jake developed Type 1 diabetes. A U.S. gig kept Dean away from the recent Casablanca-themed event and its reported $890,000 haul. Devine accompanied the gala committee’s Carol Hagan, who fronted the event. Pizza Hut Restaurants executive Sheida Shakib-Zadeh was honoured for her employer’s $350,000 contribution to diabetes research. Attendees then dined on chicken salad and grilled beef tenderloin, not pizza.
IN THE SWIM: Glass-walled tanks of possibly hungry fish surrounded those attending Vancouver Aquarium’s recent Toast the Coast fundraiser. The ocean-conservation event’s wine-tasting component likely sharpened guests’ appetites further. Happily, 17 Ocean Wise-certified stations offered such chow as Notch8 chef Will Lew’s scallops with smoked sablefish, birch kabayaki, flamed oyster-tip aioli, pickled wild berries, sea asparagus and nori sand. They went well with Ocean Blu’s Coastal Berry vodka soda that reportedly diverts 25 cents from six-pack sales to ocean and wildlife programs. Peering out at CTV News anchor Sonia Beeksma’s glittering, silver-and-gold mermaid gown, Aquarium tank residents may have silently invited her to join them.
DOWN PARRYSCOPE: Beseeched by a possibly self-serving coalition government to endorse a pig-in-a-poke electoral system, B.C. voters could deliver a poke of their own — in the eye.
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