Category Archives: News and Views

No one should have to worry about their children playing in the grass: Top 5 reasons to ban cosmetic pesticides

by Nazanine Parent, cancer survivor and Canadian Cancer Society BC and Yukon volunteer

1) No one should have to worry about children playing in the grass

Children are at greater risk from pesticide exposure than adults because they play closer to the ground and their bodies are still developing. Cosmetic pesticides can be inhaled, absorbed through the skin, or be swallowed when children place contaminated objects and their hands and in their mouths. Don’t forget about our pets too!

2) It’s a public health issue

There is a growing body of evidence linking pesticide exposure with certain types of cancer, including childhood leukemia and childhood brain cancer.

3) They’re not necessary

Cosmetic pesticides are used to make lawns, gardens and other green spaces look better. We call them ‘cosmetic’ because some think they improve the appearance of lawns and gardens. Regardless, they are not needed for health and safety. Safe and effective alternatives exist.

4) Pesticides don’t stop at the garden gate

Your family can be indirectly exposed even if you do not use cosmetic pesticides. If sprayed, cosmetic pesticides can drift through the environment and mix with the air, soil, or water. Pesticides may even collect on plants & objects we don’t intend to spray.

5) British Columbians support a ban

– 40 municipalities have cosmetic pesticide restrictions

– More than 70% of British Columbians support provincial legislation to restrict pesticide use

– 76% of British Columbians are aware of the link between pesticides & cancer

We’re asking all political parties to support banning the use, sale and retail display of cosmetic pesticides used on public and private lands – something only the provincial government has the power to do.

How can you help? Spread the word, share this blog post with your friends, email BC’s party leaders and find out what they’re doing to help ban the use and sale of cosmetic pesticides.

Listen up adults: Kids really do tell the truth

Vancouver Sun April 29, 2013

In a special op-ed to the Sun, Carolyn Tuckwell, president and CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Coast BC, explores the results of Canadian kids self-reporting in the UNICEF Child Well-Being in Rich Countries report.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of South Coast BC is also launching their own survey of what kids think. “What Kids Think: 2013 Provincial Election is not a vote for politicians or political parties, but rather a chance for youth to say what’s important to them, and then to vote on which issues are most important.”

Read the article in the Sun here

B.C. NDP disappoints anti-poverty activists with campaign promises on welfare rates

APRIL 25, 2013: Check out this article on by  DERRICK O’KEEFE, including a response from First Call Provincial Coordinator Adrienne Montani about the NDP’s campaign promise around welfare rates.

Read the article here.

Time to tackle the high cost of poverty in the province

By Marjorie MacDonald, Scott McDonald and Victoria Lee, The Vancouver Sun April 23, 2013

Check out this great Op Ed in the Vancouver Sun about the need for a poverty reduction strategy to support health outcomes by Dr. Marjorie MacDonald, president, Public Health Association of BC; Scott McDonald, chairman, BC Healthy Living Alliance; and Dr. Victoria Lee, chairwoman, Health Officers Council of British Columbia.

Read the article

Greatest threat to health of children is poverty

Opinion: Don’t think of being poor as just a ‘social problem’

By Dr. Barbara Fitzgerald, Special to The Vancouver Sun April 17, 2013

There is a devastating health condition that affects one in 10 children in our province: 87,000 children. It causes injury, illness, school failure and premature death. As a society, we must decide if it is a health condition we want to treat.

The condition is child poverty…

Read more…

B.C. Liberals’ proposed childcare registry would be useless, advocate says

The Georgia Straight, YOLANDE COLE , APR 17, 2013

THE B.C. LIBERALS’ promises on childcare won’t make much of a dent in the shortage of spaces, according to Sharon Gregson.

“They’re still only talking about 2,000 new spaces over three years, which won’t even begin to address the need in the city of Surrey, never mind the whole province,” Gregson, spokesperson for the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C., told the Georgia Straightin a phone interview.

Read more…

Who Says BC’s Election Is a Bore?

There’s plenty at stake, say 18 groups who shared their agendas with The Tyee. Add your voice!

By Allison Griner, April 16, 2013,

As the writ is signed heralding the start of the provincial election period in British Columbia, some are calling this a less than exciting contest given the sizeable lead held by the NDP. There’s more than one way to measure political buzz, though. The prospect of a new government has many groups elbowing each other aside to state their agendas and get candidates on the record before voting day.

The Tyee asked organizations around the province to tell us what in their view is at stake in this contest. Answers flowed in from environmental organizations, business councils, public interest advocates and more. Below are the responses we received.

But before we get to them, a request. We encourage you to join those voices, posting a comment at the end of this article explaining why the outcome of this election matters to you.

What is at stake? Here are 18 perspectives…

Read more

Daphne Bramham: We should know political candidates’ positions on important issues

Just because they don’t want to talk about them, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ask the tough questions

By Daphne Bramham, Vancouver Sun columnist April 12, 2013

Sadly, Kim Campbell, Canada’s only female prime minister, was right about one thing: Elections are not a time when politicians want to engage in serious debate.

But they’re supposed to be. They are supposed to be an opportunity to ask the local candidates where they and their parties stand. They are supposed to be a chance for citizens to put issues on the public agenda rather than just being buoyed along by party agendas. And elections are supposed to provide a chance to challenge and question candidates seeking our support before we make our final decisions.

Of course, politicians try to duck and weave rather than say something that will “cost” them at the polls. But that doesn’t mean we should quit asking hard questions.

With that in mind, here are five issues not likely high on any party’s agenda, but ones I would like to hear candidates address before the May 14 provincial election…

Read more

University women’s group pushing child poverty onto election agenda

Victoria News April 5, 2013

Child poverty remains a serious and lingering issue in B.C., and Canadian Federation of University Women is working to make that issue a priority with voters leading up to the May provincial election.

The CFUW is organizing talks on child poverty across the province this month, and the Victoria chapter is hosting a forum next Wednesday at the Salvation Army Citadel in Saanich.

“A lot of families are hurting due to the recession, minimum wage isn’t keeping up with inflation and the poorest are suffering,” said Jill Leslie, vice-president Canadian Federation of University Women Victoria. “And in many cases those poor are children.”

Leslie points to the 2012 Child Poverty Report Card by First Call – B.C. Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition. That report assessed that B.C. is “at the bottom of the heap” in terms of most poverty measurements: a child poverty rate at 14. 3 per cent, the worst in Canada except for Manitoba; and the worst poverty rate for kids living with two parents.

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B.C. groups call for end to clawback of child-support payments

The Georgia Straight April 3, 2013

THREE B.C. HUMAN rights organizations are urging the province’s political leaders to commit to changing a policy they say is affecting some of the most vulnerable children in the province.

In a letter addressed to Premier Christy Clark, NDP Leader Adrian Dix, Green Party leader Jane Sterk, and B.C. Conservative leader John Cummins, the organizations First Call, Community Legal Assistance Society, and West Coast LEAF are asking for a commitment to end the current clawback of all child-support payments from families on income assistance.

“We think that’s a great inequity, and unfair, and given how low welfare rates are, it really compromises children’s health and well-being to deprive them of that,” Adrienne Montani, provincial coordinator for First Call: B.C. Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition, told the Straight by phone.

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