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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

SONIA FURSTENAU -- Skye's Legacy, Squamish Old-Growth Deferrals, Island Health's COVID update and more

 


On Thursday, the Representative for Children and Youth released their report Skye’s Legacy: A Focus on Belonging. The report follows an investigation into Skye's death while under the care of the BC government. 

I was deeply saddened to read Skye’s story, though I was not surprised to read the steps that lead to her tragic outcome. Skye’s experience under the guardianship of the government of British Columbia is not uncommon to that of others who have been under the care of the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD). 

 

The disregard for family connection mirrors the stories we’ve heard from families seeking help in our constituency office. The institution that should be protecting these children is instead taking Indigenous children away from their families and perpetuating the colonial practices that created the residential school program. You can read my full statement here


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Old growth logging remains a big concern for Adam and me in the Legislature. The Squamish Nation called on the provincial government to halt old-growth logging in their traditional territories. This followed the BC NDP accepting the same request from the Pacheedaht, Ditidaht and Huu-ay-aht Nations.

 

The Premier’s response to these demands by the Squamish Nation will show how committed this government truly is to their stated promises to work with First Nations in determining the future of their lands and resources.

 

Anything other than a positive response will show that this government is simply using the language of reconciliation when it suits them. Adam and I called on the government to respond urgently to this assertion of rights by the Squamish Nation, just as they did to the request by Pacheedaht, Ditidaht and Huu-ay-aht. It shouldn't take an international outcry and protests by thousands of British Columbians to see action to protect old growth.


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A comment on the act of terrorism in London, ON that we learned about this week against the family who was out for a walk on Sunday evening. When I heard the news, I felt anger about the senseless act of terrorism, and anguish for the pain the little boy will wake up to. These heartbreaking stories can’t be dismissed as “one offs”. Those in power need to commit to actively working towards anti-racism in their communities, so we can proactively combat the hate that leads to such awful incidents. If we don't, we will continue to see this happen.


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Do you know any young people who are passionate about sustainability? Applications for Year 3 of the Co-Creating a Sustainable BC (CCSBC) initiative are now open! This initiative supports youth (16-30 years old) as they learn from and network with local leaders, identify sustainability challenges in their community, and collaboratively design their own solutions.

 

This year, we will be supporting youth cohorts in 5 regions of the province:

  • Cowichan Valley (Duncan and surrounding areas) 
  • Fraser Valley (Langley to Agassiz) 
  • North Central BC (Prince George and surrounding areas) 
  • Thompson (Kamloops and surrounding areas) 
  • Cariboo - Chilcotin* (Williams Lake and surrounding areas) *Indigenous youth-only cohort focused on reconciliation.

 

If you have friends who may be interested in an opportunity like this, please forward it to them. We have a recruitment package available with sample social media posts, a poster, and a summary of last year's youth projects: https://bit.ly/3yXlsv8. You can also share any of our content on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter. Applications are due Sunday July 11 on our website

 

There is a Zoom info session just for youth on Tuesday June 22, 5-6 pm. They can register at this link: https://bit.ly/3ck9T7B.

 

Sonia Furstenau ... MLA for Cowichan Valley, and Leader of the BC Greens.

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