Premiers from across Western Canada are set to meet in Whistler later today. BC Premier David Eby says he and his counterparts agree on calling on the federal government to boost infrastructure funding, given the increased stresses on transportation grids across the west. Eby says recent disasters in BC, such as the heat dome in June 2021 and the series of atmospheric rivers that November, show the need for new infrastructure to be more resistant to the effects of climate change. The group is also expected to discuss public safety and how to work together to drive down carbon pollution.
A controversial nine-storey residential tower in the heart of Vancouver’s Chinatown has been approved, ending a years-long battle between the developer and the city. Some local residents and activists opposed the plan for condos at 105 Keefer Street because of the lack of social housing, while business groups and other supporters argued the mixed-use development could revitalize the area. In the end the plan was approved by the city’s development permit board. The approval is subject to a number of recommendations including adjustments to the building’s facade and improving its relationship to nearby “culturally significant” places.
The minister of children and family development says she is heartbroken over the case of two Indigenous children who were tortured, starved and assaulted by their foster parents before one was beaten to death. Mitzi Dean says the children deserved safety, support and love and they were failed at every level. The minister’s statement does not address a call from the First Nations Leadership Council for her to resign over the mistreatment of Indigenous children in care. Dean says her ministry is fully supportive of an investigation by the province’s representative for children and youth.
Premier David Eby continues to insist that there won’t be an early provincial election despite resounding victories by NDP candidates in byelections over the weekend. Eby says the victories of Joan Phillip in Vancouver-Mount Pleasant and Ravi Parmar in Langford-Juan de Fuca reflected the quality of his party’s candidates in each race. He says campaigning in the lead-up to the byelections affirmed his intentions of sticking with the fixed election date of October 2024. Eby says issues like health care, housing and the cost of living need to be addressed rather than. launching an early election.
The Ministry of Education went ahead with plans to do away with letter grades from kindergarten to Grade 9 despite its own public consultation showing the majority of teachers, students and parents didn’t like the idea. A report completed in 2021 includes a survey of more than four-thousand people on the government’s new policy, which includes stopping letter grades and instead assessing younger students as emerging, developing, proficient or extending. When asked specifically about their satisfaction with the new reporting scales, more than half the teachers reported low satisfaction, while 60 per cent of parents or caregivers and 83 per cent of students didn’t like the change. Education Minister Rachna Singh says the scale, which has been used by some districts for years and will arrive for the rest in September, gives deeper insight into children’s learning and development in a range of skills.
The province is providing 12-million-dollars for four new SPCA shelters around BC. The money is going to Vancouver, Duncan, Prince George and Fort St. John, where existing facilities are either outdated or closed. Premier David Eby says work is also ongoing to establish a pet breeder registry in the province to reduce pressure on existing SPCA facilities. He says plans for the registry were slowed down by the COVID-19 pandemic.