BC’s Opposition Liberals have served a notice that health care is at the top of their fall agenda as a new legislative session gets underway, with health critic Shirley Bond calling on Health Minister Adrian Dix to leave his post during question period. Dix gave no indication of resigning in comments he made inside and outside the legislature, saying he would “continue to give everything” he has. Liberal Leader Kevin Falcon told a news conference he spent the last eight months travelling throughout B-C, with people in every community he visited sharing their concerns about deteriorating health services. NDP house leader Mike Farnworth says health care will be a focus during the fall sitting that’s also set to be the last for Premier John Horgan, who announced in June that he will step down when the party elects a new leader.
BC’s Electoral Boundaries Commission has recommended the creation of six new electoral districts, which would bring the number of seats in the legislature to 93. The commission says the proposed ridings would be located in “areas of rapid population growth,” specifically Vancouver, Burnaby, Langley, Surrey and Kelowna, along with Langford on Vancouver Island. A statement from Justice Nitya Iyer, chair of the commission, says the recommendation is a response to BC’s population growing by more than 300-thousand people over the last five years. The proposal is made in a preliminary report, of which the final version is set to be released next April for the legislature’s consideration.
Mounties in the Lower Mainland say a motorcyclist is dead after a collision with a transport bus shortly before 12:30 yesterday afternoon. Richmond RCMP are asking anyone with dash cam footage of the crash around Russ Baker Way and Inglis Drive to come forward. They say the operator of the motorcycle died despite the efforts of emergency personnel, while the transport bus driver was not injured. The Mounties’ Lower Mainland integrated collision analysis service is assisting the criminal collision investigation team in Richmond.
RCMP say a man in his 30s has been found dead along rail tracks in Kamloops. Officers were called Sunday night to the area where the man was hit by a train. Corporal Crystal Evelyn says police are working on tracking the man’s movements before his death. Canadian Pacific police and the coroners’ service are also investigating.
A judge has acquitted a Vancouver Island woman of failing to provide a breath sample because police waited several minutes before asking her to blow into a screening device. Provincial court Judge Ted Gouge also found inconsistencies in the police evidence as he tossed out the case against the Duncan woman. Gouge ruled the Criminal Code requires that a demand for a breath sample be made immediately after police have sufficient evidence to suspect someone is impaired. The judge noted that 10 minutes passed between the time the officers had sufficient grounds to demand a sample and when they asked the woman to provide one.
Scientists at Simon Fraser University have developed a cryogenic freezing technique in an effort to save kelp forests threatened by climate change. Biologist Sherryl Bisgrove says kelp forests off the west coast of Vancouver Island, near B-C’s Hornby Island and in Puget Sound off Seattle, have recorded substantial losses over the last century and scientists need to act quickly to save them. Kelp forests can grow 20 to 30 metres tall, providing food and shelter for thousands of marine species while absorbing carbon from the atmosphere and Bisgrove says the world’s oceans face serious consequences as they disappear. The new technology allows researchers to keep kelp seeds in a biobank, preserving them in case kelp needs to be introduced in the future.