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Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Mike Geoghegan for Saanich Council

Independent, outspoken, on your side

More Housing, Lower Taxes, Greater Accountability

Today I am pleased to announce that I will be running in the upcoming Saanich by election. I am motivated to run by three things:

1) More Housing: the current vacancy rate of 0.5 percent has translated into skyrocketing housing costs for both home buyers and renters alike. The only solution is to build more inventory. Saanich as the largest municipality within the CRD has to be part of that solution.

“Currently far too many housing preojects are being denied, delayed or downsized by council. We need to ensure that housing which caters to not just high income earners but also those who are middle class and low income is also being built.”


2) Lower Taxes: as a long time Saanich resident I am fed up with seeing my municipal tax bill increasing year after year.

“As the graph below shows Saanich increased taxes 58% from 2006 to 2016. It is high time that Saanich learned to live within the means of its taxpayers many of whom have not seen their income increase at all in those same ten years.”

3) Greater Accountability:  It is a difficult subject but it is long overdue that some sunlight was brought to the dealings that have been going on at Saanich Municipal Hall and within the CRD.

Whether it is millions of taxpayers’ dollars being wasted onmissteps concerning the CRD Sewage Project or the criminal act of placing spyware on the then newly elected Saanich Mayor’s computer, there clearly needs to be greater accountability and transparency  with regards to the decisions being made at both the CRD and Saanich.



“As a Saanich Councilor I will ensure that never again are staff directed to place spyware on an elected officials computer and I will also ensure that never again are Saanich police resources used to harass a candidate for office as apparently happened in the last general election. I look forward to cleaning up
Saanich and having a community that we can all be proud of.”

As someone who served for seven years on Langford’s Planning and Zoning Committee, I have seen first hand how increased higher density residential, commercial and industrial development can lead to lower taxes while at the same time being able to greatly enhance community amenities and infrastructure.

It has also been recently brought to my attention that Saanich is one of the few municipalities that marks up the cost of water that is provided by the CRD. This form of hidden taxation is a regressive tax that I will seek to repeal.

Saanich needs to be a community where people can live work and play with higher density housing complemented by preserved green space, enhanced bike and hiking trails and the like.

“I am a huge fan of the Lochside and Galloping Goose Trails. My family and I frequently use them and I support opportunities to create and upgrade more biking corridors that are separate from regular street traffic.”

Greater Victoria has a population less than that of Burnaby yet we are divided into 13 different municpal governments. Clearly some form of amalgamation would be benificial and I would support holding a referendum to give all residents within the CRD a say in this matter.

The EDPA has been a costly exercise in bureaucratic redundancy. We have both federal and provincial environmental regulations and a municipal tree by law. We also have the usual Saanich shenannigans around the manner in which the EDPA was implemented.

For example we have the farcical situation where sidewalks and paved driveways have been designated as Environmentally Protected Designated
Areas. As a Saanich Councilor I will vote for the rescinding of the EDPA.

Given my positive relationship with a number of CRD area mayors and councilors I am confident that I can also bring to Saanich and the CRD a greater level of cooperation and coordination that will benefit all area residents. My excellent connections to both provincial and federal politicians means that I will
also be able to bring more in the way of matching infrastructure dollars to Saanich.

As the former CEO of Accumulated Ocean Energy Canada, a start up wave energy company, I have had the pleasure of meeting with a wide range of people from our region’s burgeoning high tech community. These clean green high paying jobs are ones I wish to ensure we continue to attract.

But along with those high paying jobs are the many other jobs we rely on. That is why we need to ensure that the people who build our homes, the folks who serve our coffee and the young couple looking to start a family can purchase or rent affordable housing.

That means not only building more housing but also making sure that what is being constructed meets the needs of all our citizens and not just the wealthy few. Social housing co-op housing and the like are all things we can increase via a collaborative approach with both private developers and other levels of
government.

For further information please visit my campaign website at: www.mikeforsaanichcouncil.ca

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Why Trump Won

Let me say first of all I totally get it. All those once middle class white and blue collar workers in the US, watching their incomes stagnate, barely holding on after the recession took their job and their family and the recovery gave them a McJob that they can't survive on. The US government took $700 billion of their tax dollars and bailed out Wall Street so that the high rollers there still got their multi million dollar bonuses for tanking the economy, and the average American still got a foreclosure notice on their home.
Barack Obama was elected with a clear mandate for change. But instead of delivering change he tried to compromise with the Republicans who had no interest in working with a black President. So in the first two years when he could have and should have made changes while he had a legislative majority he wasted that time.
As a result, the progressives that had been so excited by Yes We Can stayed home in the 2010 election year. Meanwhile the GoP was able to fire up its base over the temerity of having a non white as President of the USA thus giving the GoP the numbers to thwart much of Obama's cautious agenda. The result was a recovery that benefited the wealthy and did nothing for the average person.
Two candidates offered a way out from the status quo in a nation desperate for change. U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and Donald J. Trump. The DNC in it's arrogance knew it was Hillary Clinton's turn and did their best to ensure her coronation, thus undermining the legitimacy of Hillary's candidacy.
So after she secured the nomination did Hillary move to secure those that had supported Bernie? Did she pick him as her VP? Nope, he was too socialist and scared the big money backing her. Well what about U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren? Nope, instead she went with Tim Kaine. Then she pivoted not to disaffected Bernie supporters, but to Wall Street and Republican establishment who were horrified that Trump had secured their party's nomination.
I have never been more grateful to be Canadian right now. Trump's victory speech was better than I expected. He talked about rebuilding America's crumbling infrastructure, which is needed and will put Americans back to work (assuming it isn't outsourced to Temporary Foreign Workers).
Meanwhile the desperate in the decline will wait to see if Trump rips up the trade agreements that took away their jobs and their dignity. And as bad as these white folks may have it they also hope and expect that Blacks and Hispanics plus of course the LGBT community and Muslims will have it much worse in Trump's America and thus the god given order of things will have been restored.
The GoP congress will continue to put forward tax cuts for the 1% and Trump will gladly sign those into law. He is after all still a member of that 1%. Meanwhile to help get the deficit under control there will have to be cuts for social services and the like, thus once again doubling down on socialism for the rich and rugged individualism for the poor.
I was not a fan of Hillary. But I did come to understand how a society as sexist as the United States forced her to be someone she wasn't. She tried being herself years ago as Hillary Rodham and that went over like a lead balloon with the electorate thus she had to become Hillary Clinton.
Trump may do some good but the odds are is that he will do much that is awful. Time will soon tell. Good luck America you are going to need it.

Why Trump Won

Let me say first of all I totally get it. All those once middle class white and blue collar workers in the US, watching their incomes stagnate, barely holding on after the recession took their job and their family and the recovery gave them a McJob that they can't survive on. The US government took $700 billion of their tax dollars and bailed out Wall Street so that the high rollers there still got their multi million dollar bonuses for tanking the economy, and the average American still got a foreclosure notice on their home.
Barack Obama was elected with a clear mandate for change. But instead of delivering change he tried to compromise with the Republicans who had no interest in working with a black President. So in the first two years when he could have and should have made changes while he had a legislative majority he wasted that time.
As a result, the progressives that had been so excited by Yes We Can stayed home in the 2010 election year. Meanwhile the GoP was able to fire up its base over the temerity of having a non white as President of the USA thus giving the GoP the numbers to thwart much of Obama's cautious agenda. The result was a recovery that benefited the wealthy and did nothing for the average person.
Two candidates offered a way out from the status quo in a nation desperate for change. U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and Donald J. Trump. The DNC in it's arrogance knew it was Hillary Clinton's turn and did their best to ensure her coronation, thus undermining the legitimacy of Hillary's candidacy.
So after she secured the nomination did Hillary move to secure those that had supported Bernie? Did she pick him as her VP? Nope, he was too socialist and scared the big money backing her. Well what about U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren? Nope, instead she went with Tim Kaine. Then she pivoted not to disaffected Bernie supporters, but to Wall Street and Republican establishment who were horrified that Trump had secured their party's nomination.
I have never been more grateful to be Canadian right now. Trump's victory speech was better than I expected. He talked about rebuilding America's crumbling infrastructure, which is needed and will put Americans back to work (assuming it isn't outsourced to Temporary Foreign Workers).
Meanwhile the desperate in the decline will wait to see if Trump rips up the trade agreements that took away their jobs and their dignity. And as bad as these white folks may have it they also hope and expect that Blacks and Hispanics plus of course the LGBT community and Muslims will have it much worse in Trump's America and thus the god given order of things will have been restored.
The GoP congress will continue to put forward tax cuts for the 1% and Trump will gladly sign those into law. He is after all still a member of that 1%. Meanwhile to help get the deficit under control there will have to be cuts for social services and the like, thus once again doubling down on socialism for the rich and rugged individualism for the poor.
I was not a fan of Hillary. But I did come to understand how a society as sexist as the United States forced her to be someone she wasn't. She tried being herself years ago as Hillary Rodham and that went over like a lead balloon with the electorate thus she had to become Hillary Clinton.
Trump may do some good but the odds are is that he will do much that is awful. Time will soon tell. Good luck America you are going to need it.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Is a cash strapped Ontario about to screw up Marijuana for all Canadians?

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynn has made no secret of the fact she wants marijuana in Ontario sold exclusively through government liquor stores, or the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) as they are known there, when the Trudeau government gets around to legalizing weed next year.

As the Toronto Star reported a a few weeks ago:  "Ensuring recreational marijuana sales are restricted to the LCBO is a key priority for Ontario as the legalization of weed looms," says Premier Kathleen Wynn.

Anyone with even a passing familiarity with marijuana knows that combing alcohol with weed is a terrible idea.  If cannabis and alcohol are used at the same time there is a greater chance of negative side effects including greening out as well as panic and anxiety.

Worse still is the anti nausea effects of marijuana when combined with alcohol.  One of the ways your body tries to protect itself from alcohol poisoning is by making you puke when you have drunk too much alcohol.   Marijuana shuts down this reflex turning a bender with booze into a potentially life threatening overdose.  But none of that matters because Ontario needs money.

With twice the debt of California, Ontario is now the world's most indebted sub-sovereign borrower.  Worse still Ontario has only one third the population of California.  That is why Ontario has been casting a covetous eye on the tax revenue Colorado has been collecting from its legal marijuana sales with a goal of going one better by cutting out dispensaries and having the province collect not only taxes from the sales but 100% of the retail profits as well.

 Former Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, who is now the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice, has been tasked with shaping the form Canada`s marijuana legalization will take, has made it clear his priorities are getting marijuana sales out of the hands of organised crime as well as protecting kids from marijuana.

I had the opportunity to meet with Minister Bill Blair in May of this year at the federal Liberal convention in Winnipeg.  It was shortly after Toronto police had engaged in a massive raid on Toronto dispensaries seemingly at the behest of Toronto Mayor John Tory.

As I said to Minister Blair if whatever system Canada comes up with does not provide Canadian consumers with the quality, variety and price they expect then the black market will continue to thrive.

  A couple of weeks later I was in Ottawa where I had the opportunity to speak with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the same subject.  I made it clear that many British Columbians want dispensaries and that tourists visiting our province are expecting a Colorado type experience.  Trudeau was unequivocal that those folks setting up dispensaries prior to legalization could expect a visit from the police but that the final form it will take will be up to the provinces.

Fortunately for residents of Victoria and Vancouver, who have their own municipal police forces, the Mayor and Council of those two cities seem reticent to send in the police.  As Toronto is discovering conducting such raids leads to expensive litigation from medical marijuana patients and dispensaries alike, it drives consumers back into the hands of street dealers and it would undoubtedly cost them votes.

But costing votes should not just be a concern for municipal politicians.  As was the case right across Canada, the Liberals made tremendous electoral gains in British Columbia.  Among those elected was someone I highly regard and that is the Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson Raybould.

  Although she handily won her riding in Vancouver Granville, a badly handled marijuana legalization that shut out BC dispensaries could place her re-election in question as well as dash current hopes by the Liberal Party of Canada to make further gains in British Columbia in the next federal election.

Besides the needs of consumers and the fate of politicians, there is another aspect at play here and that is economic.  According to industry sources 60 per cent of the marijuana consumed in Ontario comes from British Columbia.  A Fraser Institute study from 2004 suggests the pot industry was worth $7 billion annually to British Columbia and was the third biggest economic driver after forestry and tourism.  It is no exaggeration to say that as wine is to France weed is to B.C.

If Kathleen Wynn gets her way there will be billions less in British Columbians' pockets and billions more in Ontario's provincial treasury.  But the other problem with Wynn's LCBO model is that in British Columbia we have both private and public liquor stores and in Alberta they privatized their liquor stores.  Already liquor store owners in B.C. are teaming up with the BCGEU to see if they can get in on this lucrative retailing opportunity.

This then creates the farcical situation where the federal government is going to be shutting down private retailers, who are in many instances extremely knowledgeable about marijuana the different varieties and their effects, in order to hand it over to other retailers who may know the difference between a cab sav and a merlot but haven't got a clue about the difference between an indica or a sativa or the difference between THC and CBD.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would be wise to resist Premier Wynn's siren call.  Yes I understand that there are those who feel that Wynn played a key role in helping vault the Liberals from third place back into government, but on this issue she will do far more to damage rather than help Federal Liberal fortunes.



Monday, October 26, 2015

My response to Bill 14 regulations which treat vaping the same as smoking

Sent: Monday, October 26, 2015 3:05 PM
Subject: Consultation: Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Regulation
 
Thank you for the opportunity to respond to your attached proposed regulations which were written without any input from the BC Vapour Alliance nor as far as we can tell without reference to any scientific or medical study.   In an email dated May 25, 2015 to myself, which I am happy to provide upon your request, BC Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall stated that, “nicotine containing electronic delivery devices are in all likelihood far less dangerous to him/her and those in the immediate environment than are tobacco containing cigarettes.”
 
This view is in fact backed up by a British study which was endorsed and released by the British government that found that vaping is 94% less toxic than smoking.  As the attached Guardian article notes, many believe that vaping could signal the end of cigarette smoking in our society:  http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/19/public-health-england-e-cigarettes-safer-than-smoking
 
Despite these findings and the views of your own Provincial Health Officer you have decided to treat vaping exactly the same as smoking.  Yet you have offered no credible scientific or medical research to back this up.  I am very concerned that your draft regulations have more to do with the influence of big pharma than they do the safety of consumers.
 
Speaking of which a number of jurisdictions including the City of Calgary have recognized that it is important that consumers be able to see how to use these devices safely.  As such they have provided vaping shops with an exemption which allows these stores to demonstrate how to safely assemble, fill and use these devices.  This also makes sense as Dr. Kendall acknowledges, there are no proven health effects from breathing in second hand vapour.  Yet your regulations make no provision for this not even if vaping juice containing no nicotine is utilised.
 
In our communication with the BC Minister of Health we proposed that vaping and e-cigarette type devices should not be sold from gas stations and convenience stores but from dedicated retail outlets where you have to be 19 years of age or older in order to enter.  As far as I can tell your proposed regulations still allow for the sale of these devices from gas stations and convenience stores where kids can readily enter.
 
Perhaps most disturbing of all is that by ignoring clear scientific evidence that vaping is significantly less harmful than smoking your regulations will encourage people to keep smoking tobacco rather than vaping as many consumers will erroneously conclude that, “if it was any safer the government wouldn’t be regulating it as harshly as cigarettes.”  For every smoker that concludes this, and there will be many, they will bear the burden of a much earlier death than if they had switched to vaping and you will bear the cost of treating their emphysema cancer and the like.
 
So far from protecting our children and consumers your proposed regulations do the opposite.  Yes it may get a few smokers to switch to Nicorette or some other medication such as Zyban and Chantix, but it will cause many more who might have switched to vaping to keep smoking because of your misleading regulations.  We therefore hope that rather than sticking to the medically and scientifically invalid position that vaping is the same as smoking you will actually engage in meaningful consultation with the BC Vapour Alliance in order to draft regulations that actually achieve an optimal outcome for consumers as opposed to just big Pharma who we are well aware of has been a generous contributor to this government:
 
We therefore hope that the lives of consumers as well as small business owners here in British Columbia who are providing a scientifically proven healthier alternative to smoking will take precedence over the political generosity of international pharmaceutical companies.
 
Sincerely,
 
 
 
Michael Geoghegan
cell 250-881-0969 

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Letter to CRD Mayors on Sewage Project

Dear CRD area Mayors:

As a resident within the CRD for 29 years, and presently a condo owner in Saanich, I fear for my tax bill given the on going failures and machinations with regards to sewage treatment within the CRD.

To date $70 million has been spent and we as CRD taxpayers are already being billed for this on our municipal taxes.  When I made some enquiries I was told by contacts within the CRD to brace myself for more wasted dollars and a strategy of once again trying to revive the McLoughlin Point sewage plant location.  A position echoed by Bill Beadle on CFAX yesterday who claims the money wasted to date is more like $100 million and with a total project cost of $3 billion, an amount that if accurate is simply unaffordable for area residents. https://soundcloud.com/ian-jessop-cfax/august-31-2pm?utm_source=soundcloud&utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=twitter

The strategy I am told by my sources within the CRD is as follows:
  1. Let the current present process fail with further red tape and delays.
  2. Keep a lot of the current process unfolding in-camera away from public and media scrutiny.
  3. Let the public falsely believe there has been a positive and supportive public consultation process pointing in a specific outcome direction.
  4. Keep certain consultants of old plan still on the payroll as long as possible and make new contract commitments in-camera.
  5. Use time running out as an excuse to salvage a hybrid of the old plan and force it back to Viewfield Rd. and therefore justify that overpriced land acquisition.
  6. Portray any refusal of Esquimalt to zone for a smaller Viewfield Rd. Treatment facility as being obstructionist and try to influence Province of British Columbia to step-in and force a rezoning on that basis of deadline expiring etc.
  7. I was also told some within the CRD want to embarrass the Premier with our Cascadia neighbours to the South and to make it look like it is all this BC Government's fault for allowing untreated sewage to flow all these years unabated.  Note the recent Seattle Times editorial on this topic: http://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/editorials/sewage-treatment-victorias-constipated-political-process-needs-fixing/
  8. Preventing any viable alternatives to McLoughlin being put forward.  For example, Saanich council has been preventing alternative site suggestions from going to the CRD.  This includes a proposal by Vanderkerkhove on a site that is within the ALR and a proposal by MacNutt Enterprises on a site that is outside the ALR.
The key questions I have are the following:
  • Have you completely removed McLoughlin Point from consideration a sewage treatment plant location?
  • Have you developed alternative site locations to McLoughlin?  If so when will these locations be publicly announced?
  • Are you willing to consider direct submission for site locations from within Saanich given the obstructionist position Saanich council is taking?
I thank you for your due consideration of this letter and look forward to your detailed reply.

Sincerely,


Michael Geoghegan
cell 250-881-0969
cc:  Premier Christy Clark
       Hon. Peter Fassbender
       

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Alberta NDP Platform Archive

The results are in on Alberta’s election and it’s official, the Alberta NDP have won a landslide majority.  Here for convenience sake are the archive links to their platform and candidate pages:

Here’s the archive:
And here is a list of some of their candidate webpages:
Cameron Westhead, Banff-Cochrane:
Unavailable