Bits and Bites – Wednesday June 4th

What do you say that we start this hump day off the right way, with a little something-something for the mind? After missing last weeks feature, it’s back again, just for you.

What happens when a community reaches a crisis point, and residents are left feeling ignored and frustrated with local politicians ? In an effort to find out, I spent much of yesterday afternoon with reporter Susana da Silva from CBC news, and her wonderfully talented and funny camera-man. Susana is working on a story idea submission I recently emailed in, regarding the rapid degradation of Newton, a suburb going through many changes in Surrey. It is believed by many in the community that this is due, in part, to the efforts of city hall to re-brand the infamous Whalley area into the new “downtown”- resulting in a re-location of many Whalleys problems further down the road to Newton.  I’ve written about the ongoing problems on numerous occasions, as far back as last summer,and you can access the background for tonights story at these links:

I took Susana on a driving tour of the Newton core area, including the Newton Bus Exchange/Loop, and the King George Corridor from 72nd ave down to 64th ave,  to point out some of the problem areas and the heavy concentration of contributing elements within the area that make it such a dangerous place. Despite the relentless heavy rainfall we endured while rolling tape , a portion of the interview that was filmed on a well know local “cruise” street, demonstrated that even the bad weather was not a deterrent to the obvious drug activity that was clearly continuing , or to the johns who cruised by repeatedly looking for hookers to pick up. We had a good laugh at the irony of numerous Johns who, after finally seeing the camera-man, would drive by with face staunchly averted as to avoid identification. Ahhh, the sanctity of marriage.  One would think that a largely emblazoned CBC van might put a temporary halt to the activity, but we seemed to attract more attention than anything.

I also put Susana in touch with a couple business owners and several local residents who have been dealing firsthand with the repercussions of all the criminal and drug activity in the area. Some have been able to find some assistance through RCMP and local politicians, some have not.

The entire story will air on CBC news tonight after the hockey game, at 8 pm, barring overtime.

While looking into the Mayor Scott Young trial, I recently was told that many in the provincial government did not feel any urgency to create, or change, legislation governing municipal politicians with records or criminal involvement , because they felt the situation was a “one-off” deal. Well, apparently it’s not, and another BC politician is now facing murder charges while he sits as a councillor in a community on Vancouver island.

No word on whether or not he will step down, but one would hope he has the sense to do so.The mayor of the community in question has said he and council will not seek to remove him at this time. One would hope that with this new occurrence, the government will now start to take the current situation with Scott Young a little more seriously than they are. It’s always remarkable at the speed of which legislation can be created or changed when the government in power is supportive of it- its rammed through immediately. However, when its not going to directly benefit them, the process suddenly becomes long and arduous. Give me a break. Ida Chong, minister in charge of local governments, as well as minister in charge of womens issues, is walking a very dangerous line by not taking firm action after being contacted by Port Coquitlams council, and her stance is conflicting with her duties and obligations towards abused women in the province. Its no wonder women still feel abandoned and un-protected by the system.

Hey premier, here’s a suggestion for you to consider when shuffling cabinet; how about taking a good, hard look at what has happened to womens and seniors services in the province in the years under Ida’s direction. And when you are done, get her the heck out of there, and replace her with someone who has the tenacity, and true dedication required for this ministry to complete its objectives with women,children and seniors in mind. I’m not the only who thinks this way- talk to any womans centre in the province, or any seniors assistance agency, and they will parrot the same speech right back at you.


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