Category Archives: In the News


The following article originally found in the Saanich Voice Online is of great interest to all non-profit organizations.

Sep 29, 2017 Editor


by Michele Murphy

Anti-SLAPP Legislation at UBCM

Lots may be coming out of the 2017 annual general meeting of the
Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM). The theme this year is ‘Roots to
Results’ looking at the increasing leadership of local government in
matters of federal and provincial jurisdiction. This year’s program
includes keynotes, policy sessions, and workshops on climate action,
the opioid crisis, and the need for a deeper response to homelessness
and housing affordability.

Resolutions that have been brought to the annual forum by councillors
hopeful of gaining support include mitigation for the destruction and
prevention of wildfires, the handling of recreational marijuana at the
community level, dealing with rats, Canada geese, deer, and UBER,
daylight savings time, and Oak Bay Coun. Kevin Murdock’s successful
motion to put some long-overdue restrictions on and transparency in
BC’s wild-west of municipal campaign financing.

There are approx. 144 motions being voted on during the five-day
convention, most of which have to do with lobbying the new provincial
government to take action on various issues.

Central Saanich Coun. Zeb King went to this year’s meeting with just
that intention – to once again ask that the Province to create and
enforce anti-SLAPP legislation.

According to Wikipedia, a strategic lawsuit against public
participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit that is intended to censor,
intimidate, and silence critics.

Th BC. Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) says that SLAPPs represent
a real and present danger to the exercise of free expression in BC,
saying that lawfully participating in the political life of this
province can be a risky business.

In plain language, a SLAPP is a lawsuit that a person or company with
deep pockets starts in order to shut down someone that is speaking out
against them. The idea is that the person speaking out doesn’t have
the money or the time to defend themselves, so they shut-up or face
legal consequences of some sort.

King’s motion contended that SLAPPS are intended to penalize or deter
citizens and municipalities from participating in public affairs,
unnecessarily burden on our overcrowded public court system, exists in
other Canadian jurisdictions and as such requests that the BC
Government enact robust anti-SLAPP legislation that will protect the
right to communicate on matters of public interest.

This won’t be provincial anti-SLAPP legislation’s first time around in
BC. The last time the BC NDP were in power, in 2001, they passed what
BCCLA said was perhaps one of North America’s most robust and
innovative laws of the type. B.C.’s Protection for Public
Participation Act was Canada’s first anti-SLAPP legislation. Weeks
after it was passed the BC NDP were defeated in the provincial
election and the BC Liberals immediately axed the SLAPP legislation.

Despite repeated requests to reinstate the legislation, the BC
Liberals refused to do so.

But there’s a new sheriff in town.

Reporting in from UBCM King says that after some last-minute drama
around AGM process his motion to ask the Province to enact this
legislation passed. King added that he spoke briefly to Attorney
General David Eby who thanked him for the anti-SLAPP resolution and
said it is on his agenda for next session. King added that he felt the
new AG was “very supportive.”

Anti-SLAPP legislation in BC may soon be a reality.

Editor’s note: As a small independent newspaper, with a limited legal
budget ($0.00), Saanich Voice Online follows the progress of this
legislation with great interest. Without the protection of our courts,
media outlets are extremely vulnerable to SLAPP and have to make
difficult editorial choices to avoid putting themselves in the
cross-hairs of deep-pocketed news subjects.

Reminder – Questions for All Candidates Debate

Hello CSCA supporters,

This is a reminder regarding the All Candidates Debate that is being organized in partnership with Stelly’s Secondary School.

We have requested that any questions you would like to ask the candidates be submitted in advance.Questions should reflect concerns/issues/matters relevant to residents of this riding. Questions should be clear and concise although may be asked with a short preamble. All questions will be sorted, arranged, selected and edited prior to the debate.

This is your chance to find out where our local candidates stand on issues that are important to you and the reasons why. Please submit your questions by this Wednesday, April 5th.

The debate will be held at Stelly’s School on Wednesday 19th April. The doors will open at 6.30pm and the debate will run from 7:00 – 9:00 pm.

Thanks and we hope to hear from you soon,

Celeste Zimmer
CSCA Chair

Save the Date – All Candidates Debate!


The Central Saanich Community Association (CSCA), in partnership with Stelly’s Secondary School, is excited to be working together to bring the community an All Candidates Debate before the scheduled provincial election in May. The debate will be held at Stelly’s School on Wednesday 19th April. The doors will open at 6.30pm and the debate will run from 7pm – 9pm.

All 3 candidates who are currently working to represent us in the BC legislature, Stephen Roberts of the Liberals, Gary Holman of the NDP and Adam Olsen of the Greens, will be in attendance. We hope you will mark your calendars and join us for this important event. The venue can accommodate 200 people so we ask you all to spread the word to friends and neighbours so that we get a good turnout in Central Saanich.

We are currently seeking questions from any CSCA members who are interested in asking specific questions of the candidates to further guide them in knowing who will get their vote as our next Member of the Legislative Assembly in Victoria. We need to have these questions in advance, so please submit questions by April 5th. Questions should reflect concerns/issues/matters relevant to residents of this riding. Questions should be clear and concise although may be asked with a short preamble. All questions will be sorted, arranged, selected and edited prior to the debate.

More information on this event will be circulated soon. We look forward to providing this opportunity for the Central Saanich region and look forward to hearing from you soon,


The CSCA Board

Community Building in Central Saanich

Jan 07, 2017 – Ssaanich Voice Online

by Sue Stroud, citizen reporter

Jane Jacob’s quote is used by the new Central Saanich Community Association (CSCA) to sum up its goal of citizen engagement in a sustainable community. President Celeste Zimmer says, “We believe in partnering with others so that people know how to get together on the democratic process and feel community support.”

The different areas of Central Saanich like Marigold, Tanner Ridge, Brentwood Bay and Saanichton have ongoing concerns regarding development and infill in their neighbourhoods. While recognizing the need to protect farmland, most people in Central Saanich fail to expect change within the allowable growth areas. Density is a surprise to many when it means four and five storey buildings, duplexes and rows of townhouses where there were only single detached homes and low-rises before.

Zimmer and the Board of CSCA believe they have a role in helping citizens make their voices heard when developments come forward so that whatever is built fits the community. She has no illusions – this means give and take negotiation but she is also aware that many residents do not know how land around them is zoned or how to have a say in the decisions that come before Central Saanich Council.

A case in point is the recent Verdier House property in Brentwood Bay, which raised concerns in the community when it was suggested the old non-designated heritage house be moved off-site to allow for a large apartment block. Members of the public wrote letters to council, held community meetings and postered on the issue, and saved Verdier House from the planned move. It will remain on site and be incorporated into the planned development.

Zimmer sees this as the kind of action that her group could help co-ordinate and in fact is the kind of community engagement that would allow people to have their say before developments are brought forward. “If people know what tools there are, when and how to be heard, what a public hearing is, what the Official Community Plan is, they can more easily design the kind of community they’d like to see around them,” says Zimmer.

Their mission statement reflects this and adds: “The CSCA will serve to strengthen and unify community members interested in common goals in order to make the Central Saanich region a better, more vibrant, and healthier place to live, learn, work and play.”

CSCA will hold an annual general meeting in early 2017 to which all community members are invited. A brochure and membership form is available on their website.

Michele Bond, who is also on the Board of CSCA, came to be part of the group through her involvement with the Tanner Ridge Community and their six-year struggle with Foundation Organics at Stanhope Farms. Through her efforts and those of the people who responded to her original letter in the Peninsula News Review a neighbourhood group was formed that fought to see that the composting facility complied with the bylaws and the licence that it was originally granted, and stopped producing the kind of air pollution that made living and working in the area of the farm very unpleasant.

The Tanner Ridge Community developed a regular email newsletter that keeps its members up to date on the Foundation Organics situation but also on many other local issues.

Michele sees the new group, CSCA as a way of keeping neighbourhoods aware of what is being proposed for them and helping them deal with the impacts that unexpected changes may have on them.

Zimmer and Bond are expecting the CSCA AGM will show them what members are interested in pursuing and enable them to set out plans and meetings to meet those interests. Education will be a central focus. “We hope to deal with the watershed issues in our community,” Zimmer says. “Everyone is welcome to participate.”