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Posts Tagged "bill"

27May

B.C. Greens introduce bill to restrict conversion therapy

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B.C. Green leader Andrew Weaver announces a bill to ban so-called conversion therapies that seek to change gay sexual orientations in minors.


Rob Shaw / Postmedia

VICTORIA — B.C.’s Green party has introduced a bill in the legislature to ban so-called conversion therapies that seek to change gay sexual orientations in minors.

Green Leader Andrew Weaver said the legislation, if passed, would ban any medical professional from using conversion therapy techniques on anyone under age 19.

For adults, it would forbid any counselling, behaviour modification techniques or prescription medication designed to change a person’s sexual identity or gender identity from being billed to the government for MSP or other reimbursement.

The legislation doesn’t seek an outright ban on conversion therapy for adults, with Weaver noting that it becomes a more complicated matter of consent and free choice among adults.

“This bill will bring an end to the abhorrent practice of so-called conversion therapy,” said Weaver.

Banning the practice among minors and restricting its use on adults will “protect the health and safety of LGBTQ rights,” said Weaver.

Conversion therapy is the practice of trying to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity using counselling, psychiatry, psychology, behaviour modification or medication. It’s widely discredited, though not explicitly illegal in Canada.

In B.C., the government doesn’t fund or permit the practice of conversion therapy, said NDP MLA Spencer Chandra-Herbert.

“This legislation would put our current practice into law,” he said.

Chandra-Herbert described it as a “symbol” of not just LGBTQ2S+ rights, but also basic human rights.

Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Ontario already have legislation that restricts the practice.

Alberta had a working group tasked with banning gay conversion therapy, but it was cancelled by the new United Conservative Government.

“The direction Alberta is going in is the wrong direction for Canadian society,” said Weaver. “It’s so regressive.”

Peter Gajdics, a Vancouver gay rights activist who was subject to conversion therapy from a licensed psychiatrist in Victoria almost 30 years ago, said he believes conversion therapy is still occurring in some B.C. offices under the guise of treatment for depression and other disorders.

Gajdics pointed to religious websites that also promote and advocate for such therapies.

Weaver said he hopes to gain the support of the governing NDP and Opposition Liberals to pass the legislation unanimously this fall.

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30Jan

‘He was such a northerner’: Remembering Bill Goodacre

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Former MLA and Smithers city councillor, Bill Goodacre, who died Sunday in Smithers was known across the north for his big heart and desire to help constituents from all walks of life.

Goodacre, 67, served in politics in northern B.C. for more than two decades.

“All across Highway 16, people will remember him with a great deal of a feeling of loss because he was such a northerner and such a Smithers man,” said longtime friend and former Hazelton mayor, Alice Maitland.

“He he was totally open-hearted and open-minded, and people across this community valued him,” Maitland said.

The cause of death was not immediately available.

Political career

Goodacre was in politics for more than 20 years when, last October, he announced he was retiring from Smithers council for health reasons.

In 1996, he served one term as an NDP MLA for the Bulkley Valley-Stikine, and he was a city councillor in Smithers for 19 years.

“He just needed to be helping people. He has had a strong hand in building our communities here in the north,” Maitland told Daybreak North host Carolina de Ryk.

She said Goodacre was known for his accessibility and for advocating for his riding when he was in Victoria. 

“While he was down there, we saw more ministers than we had seen in my lifetime,” Maitland added. 

“I always say they don’t even know we’re alive up here, down there. But Bill Goodacre changed that picture.”

Flood of tributes

Tributes have flooded in from politicians and community members across the north.

Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach described Goodacre in a Facebook post as “a tireless ally for Indigenous people.”

Goodacre was the president of the Dze L’ Kant Friendship Centre and was heavily involved in the Shared Histories project with the Wet’suwet’en.

“He stuck up for those on the margins, those without homes, and those among us who were suffering. He held a vision of community based on compassion and most of all he wanted people to be kind to each other,” said Bachrach.

Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson also posted about Goodacre, describing him as a “good man, dedicated to social justice.” 

Honouring Goodacre

Last September, Smithers city officials recognized Goodacre for his years of service with the Freedom of the Municipality. In November, he was awarded an honourary lifetime membership with the BC NDP.

The city’s new supportive housing development is being named in Goodacres’ honour.


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19Nov

Vaughn Palmer: B.C. bill just delays ride hailing even more

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VICTORIA — After taking every opportunity to study, consult and otherwise delay, the New Democrats finally introduced the legislation Monday for a “made-in-B.C.” version of ride hailing.

Or so they said.  On closer reading, the legislation turned out to be mainly a front for further considerations, consultations, regulatory dodges and delays.

Bill 55, the Passenger Transportation Amendment Act, amends eight pieces of legislation, runs to some 46 pages and dozens of clauses, sub clauses and explanatory notes.

But the bottom line on the entire package emerged during the technical briefing when reporters tried to nail down precisely when British Columbians will enjoy the same ride-hailing services that are already in place elsewhere on the continent.

The New Democrats have suggested for some time that things should be ready in late 2019. But when reporters pressed the point, they learned maybe, maybe not. Can’t make any promises. Might be 2020.

The legislative text starts on a puckish note with the New Democrats choosing to redefine the two most common terms associated with the ride-hailing controversy.

No longer shall we refer to taxis or ride-hailing vehicles. Henceforth both are to be known as passenger-directed vehicles or PDVs.

As for the commonplace ride-hailing app, accessed on a smartphone, that is now defined in law as a transportation network service, or TNS.

With terms out of the way, the legislation moves to greatly strengthen the regulator of the aforementioned TNSs and PDVs, the Passenger Transportation Board.

“The board will expand its role in receiving applications and setting out terms and conditions of licences, including taxis, ride-hailing, and passenger-directed vehicles,” according to the briefing notes.

“The board will have authority to determine the rates charged to passengers, as well as the supply and operating area of vehicles (for) transportation network services.”

Supposedly the board will gather the necessary data on the supply of vehicles within a given operating area and be guided by considerations like “public need” and “sound economic conditions.”

But that could prove to be a lengthy, contentious and ultimately subjective determination.

Moreover, the cabinet itself will have a hand in shaping the process. The board chair and members will all be NDP appointees. Perish the thought that well-connected New Democrats would already be angling for one of those board appointments.

Plus the cabinet has reserved for itself rules of practice and procedure for the board, and to place limits on its ability to recover costs for its regulatory processes. Indeed, the legislation assigns broad-brush regulatory powers to the cabinet to be determined after the fact — setting fees, defining terms, delegating powers and specifying geographic areas and classes of vehicles.

Another undefined consideration is a special fee, to be charged per trip, to fund accessibility options for people with disabilities. At this point, the size of the charge is anyone’s guess.

From the briefing notes:  “With these legislative changes, government expects applications from ride-hailing companies wanting to enter the market will be submitted to the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) by fall 2019.”

Except that there still is the not-small matter of the necessary insurance for any new ride-hailing service.

The legislation enlists the services of the Insurance Corp. of B.C. in developing such a product. But it adds little in the way of specifics, nor does it establish a hard and fast deadline for implementation.

While ICBC is said to be already working on such a product, the technical briefing shed no light on how far along it has got.

In fairness to the folks at the government-owned auto insurance company, they have some other things on their plate — like an NDP-ordered top to bottom makeover of rates, rate structures, coverage, payouts and the like.

Supposedly ICBC will have something ready on the ride-hailing front his time next year, after, natch, the usual back and forth with government and those in the business.

Once approved by ICBC, it will then have to be approved by the independent B.C. Utilities Commission, before it can be offered to any would-be operator seeking to get into the ride hailing business in B.C.

Given all those uncertainties, the New Democrats are making no promises about this thing being operational before 2020.

Still, they are thinking ahead in one respect. Tucked inside the enabling legislation is a commitment to strike a committee of the legislature in early 2022, following the next provincial election.

Its mandate: “Review these changes to make sure the government is on the right track with modern, safe taxi and ride-hailing service.”

Related

Having delayed the thing through most of their first term of government, the New Democrats are now promising to revisit it in a hoped-for second term.

All by way of reinforcing the NDP line that this ride-hailing thing needs to be approached with supreme caution.

Sure, they wasted no time launching a half-baked speculation tax and in stacking the deck in favour of electoral change.

But implementation of a service that is already in place in comparable jurisdictions all over the world?  Some things just can’t be rushed.

Hence another round of stalling and excuse making, all in the name of crafting a Made-in-B.C. solution to a problem that has already been solved pretty much everywhere else.

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7Nov

Strata tries to pin $15K security camera bill on landlord — after catching tenant doing nothing

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A Chilliwack, B.C., strata that hired its own security company to try to catch a tenant breaking the law has lost its battle to have that extra security paid for.

One of the main reasons it lost? The cameras didn’t catch the tenant doing anything illegal.

The Windsor Pines complex strata went to the Civil Resolution Tribunal this year, asking a unit’s landlords to put $15,000 toward the cost of surveillance.

Neighbours suspected the tenant was doing something illegal in the home.

The strata lost, largely because security footage from the company only captured the tenant going in and out of the building, letting guests in and holding the front door.

“The hours of the comings and going may give an appearance of something untoward, [but] they do not show … the former tenant … was engaged in any illegal activities,” read the ruling, dated Oct. 30.

The Windsor Pines complex in Chilliwack, B.C. (Google Streetview)

Neighbours complain

Neighbours in the building believed the tenant was up to something illegal a number of times leading up to August 2017.

They went to their strata, which hired a third-party security firm.

That security firm gathered footage from August 2017 to March of this year — but nothing other than the tenant coming and going, walking their guests to and from their suite and propping the front door open appeared on the tape.

In February, other owners in the building voted to cover the $18,257.40 cost of the past year’s surveillance with the strata’s contingency reserve fund.

The strata went to the CRT later in the year, asking the tenant’s landlords to pay for $15,000 of that cost.

‘You always have to justify it’

Jennifer Neville, who has been a strata property lawyer for 15 years, said the strata didn’t succeed for three reasons.

First, it didn’t prove the tenants broke any building rules.

“Arguably, they certainly were going to argue that the security camera was necessary for remedying the contravention of the bylaw, but what they failed to prove was that there was a bylaw breach in the first place,” said Neville, who didn’t work on the case but read a copy of the ruling.

Second, if the strata had proven a breach, it would have had to notify the tenant or their landlord.

Third, the strata also didn’t point to a bylaw that would have allowed them to claim the money in its case with the tribunal.

The Civil Resolution Tribunal resolves small claims disputes of $5,000 or less as well as strata property disputes of any amount. (CBC)

Neville said strata corporations can claim money against an owner to cover any repairs or remedies that come from the owner breaking a bylaw, but there are common mistakes made.

“I regularly see this situation where strata corporations are trying to charge a cost and they’re probably doing it because they feel in their gut it’s the right thing to do, but what they forget is you always have to justify it,” she said.

The strata had also asked the owners pay $1,200 in bylaw fines and hire a property management company to help choose tenants in future. The tribunal dismissed both those issues.


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