Over the past year, we have heard many stories on the nightly news about the tragic COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care homes. Throughout the first wave of the global pandemic our elders, specifically those living in care facilities, were the most threatened by the virus.
As a result of changes to staffing protocols, limited access and a targeted vaccination program to those most vulnerable British Columbians, far fewer lives were lost in the second and third waves of the pandemic
This episode of The Public Circle Podcast is a re-broadcast of a Town Hall on April 6, 2021, co-hosted by the Saanich North and the Islands and Cowichan Valley Constituency Offices. My colleague Sonia Furstenau and I moderated the conversation with BC Seniors Advocate, Isobel Mackenzie.
In her presentation and responses to questions, Mackenzie outlines the impact of COVID-19 on the long-term care sector and highlights what we have learned so far.
For more information about the Office of the Seniors Advocate contact them online.
To contact the Saanich North and the Islands Constituency Office email Adam.Olsen.MLA@leg.bc.ca or call 250-655-5600.
To contact the Cowichan Valley Constituency Office email Sonia.Furstenau.MLA@leg.bc.ca or call 250-715-2792.
This podcast is a MUST LISTEN if you are concerned about old-growth in British Columbia.
In this episode of The Public Circle Podcast I connect with Ken Wu, the former Executive Director of the Ancient Forest Alliance and the current Executive Director of the Endangered Ecosystems Alliance.
For the past thirty years Ken has worked on protecting high productivity old-growth in British Columbia. Starting in the Walbran and Clayquot forests, and as the former Executive Director of the Victoria Chapter of the Wilderness Committee, he is a leading advocate for old-growth protection in our province.
Ken and I discuss the difference between low-medium productivity and high productivity old-growth. We highlight how government officials continue to mix and muddle the numbers in an effort to take credit for massive deferrals (more than 350,000 hectares) announced last September when in reality all but 1% of those deferrals were previously protected.
We also discuss the need for British Columbia to create conservation financing and land acquisition funds to bring to the consultation table with Indigenous Nations. Otherwise, the province is simply asking First Nations to walk away from revenue and jobs that the provincial government would never consider asking any other community to do.
With so little high productivity old-growth remaining time is of the essence. Please share this podcast far and wide! Thank you.
In this episode of The Public Circle Podcast I am interviewed by Jason Goertzen. We discuss family life in politics.
Jason is the Chaplain at the British Columbia Legislature with Leading Influence Ministries. Since my election in 2017 I have enjoyed many conversations with Jason, he has provided a kind and compassionate ear, and calm advice during my most trying times.
This podcast was originally recorded for the Lead Well Leadership Course and I am thankful to have the opportunity to republish this content on my podcast.
Jason and I have a wide-ranging conversation about family life in provincial politics. We cover humility in community service, clarity in understanding your "why", responding to a loss, increasing diversity, recruiting candidates, setting personal and professional boundaries and creating health habits early on.
In this episode of The Public Circle Podcast I share a recording of the second reading speech I would have stood and delivered in response to Bill 22: The Mental Health Amendment Act (2020).
You will find more details about the proposed legislation in the opening to the podcast and details about why we were challenged by the language in the bill in my speech.
Here is the B.C. Green Caucus media release in response to Minister Judy Darcy's decision to not proceed with the bill at this time.
Click here to view the entire description of the bill and transcript.
In this episode of The Public Circle Podcast, my colleague Sonia Furstenau and I connect with Alex Soojung-Kim Pang to discuss his research on the four-day workweek.
So much of our lives have been re-designed in the past four months. It was in our workplaces where the most abrupt and dramatic changes occurred. Many of us have had to quickly adapt to working from home, our children, their teachers and administrators had to develop tools for learning online.
We quickly found out that our relationship with the office was perhaps not as cemented as we previously thought. It is possible to work remotely, and as companies evolve and develop their “new normal” perhaps it is not necessary to cling to the 20th century idea of the workplace. So I ask the question, is there an opportunity to reimagine our relationship with the office?
The four-day workweek is one of the ideas that has been testing the status quo bias during the COVID-19 pandemic. I have written about it here and republished an editorial from my colleague Sonia Furstenau here.
In this episode of the podcast I am republishing a Facebook Live conversation that Sonia and I hosted with Alex.
The discussion starts with Alex providing an overview of his book Shorter: Work Better, Smarter and Less - Here’s How. He highlights the experience of many entrepreneurs who have disrupted the workweek. His findings are encouraging. While it may seem counterintuitive, companies that have embraced the four-day workweek have generally found their profits increase as has the productivity and happiness of their worker.
We discuss these examples as well as ask some of the challenging questions that have been put to Sonia and I. In the past few weeks that we have been talking about this idea for British Columbia we have heard a mix of feedback. While there is a lot of interest in having more time to rest and administer the other aspects of life, there are also concerns from business owners about increased labour costs and workers fearing a decrease in their wages.
This is just an initial conversation and by no means exhaustive. While there are examples of private companies embracing the four-day workweek there is yet to be a jurisdiction that is exploring the idea through a public policy lens. This is an exciting area of innovation and opportunity and Sonia and I will continue to explore these ideas and opportunities for British Columbia.
I encourage you to continue to share your feedback, ideas, opportunities and concerns with us. As I say in our discussion with Alex, it is important to hear all the reasons why it could not happen in your sector of the economy because understanding the obstacles will better equip us for planning to overcome them.
In this episode of The Public Circle Podcast (the first in several months) I’m republishing a virtual town hall I hosted on Monday June 15, 2020 with Isobel Mackenzie, the B.C. Seniors Advocate.
In February 2020 the Office of the Seniors Advocate published a report titled A Billion Reasons to Care. It is the first detailed review of British Columbia’s contracted long-term care sector. The office analyzed contracts, annual statements, and revenue and expenditures from 2016/17-2017/18 of for-profit and non-profit operators in the $1.4 billion industry across the province.
Mackenzie summarizes the findings in her cover letter.
“You will read in the attached report of a funding and monitoring system that lacks the type of accountability, openness and transparency that both B.C. seniors and B.C. taxpayers deserve. The review also illustrates some marked differences in spending between contracted providers who are private businesses and those who are not-for-profit care societies.”
Our conversation begins with an overview of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on seniors and the long-term care sector. Mackenzie then presents the findings of her report followed by our discussion about the implications for all British Columbians. We also highlight that June 15th is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and the services available to seniors in reporting instances of abuse. As this recording is from a virtual town hall many of the questions come from the attendees.
The B.C. Green Caucus was asking questions about the long-term care sector prior to the public health emergency and we will continue to ask the government about what they intend on doing to address the shortcomings in this report and the other vulnerabilities exposed by COVID-19.
Hello my name is Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands.
Thank you for doing your part to limit the spread of COVID-19. We are living in an extraordinary time and its has required an extraordinary effort to protect vulnerable people from this terrible illness.
Thank you to all our healthcare professionals and essential workers for continuing to courageously do your job to provide the rest of us the products and services we need on a daily basis.
We need to protect our healthcare workers and the health system from being overwhelmed and the measures that have been taken are showing that they are working. It is not the time to relax our efforts.
Please continue to maintain a safe physical distance from people around you, wash your hands thoroughly, and continue to self-isolate, only go out if it is essential.
I know this is an incredibly difficult time for many people in our community. I am hearing numerous concerns about the ongoing public health emergency and the economic crisis we face. To ensure government programs are effective and efficiently supporting you the way you need to be supported please do not hesitate to let us know your concerns and ideas.
My constituency office is closed to walk-in traffic. However, our constituency office team continues to work remotely advocating on your behalf.
Should you need our assistance please call our office at 250-655-5600. Leave a message a constituency advocate will call you back.
The best way to reach us is by email at Adam.Olsen.MLA@leg.bc.ca. Send us a message, we are here to help.
Thank you again for doing your part. Stay well and best wishes to all.
This episode of The Public Circle Podcast features a conversation I had with John Juricic and Kelly Darwin for their podcast Northern Conversations. I am re-publishing it here.
There is a great deal of confusion with respect to the current state of Indigenous relations in British Columbia. There is even less understanding of how we got here. This has not been helped by the willingness of the provincial government to wrap themselves in the glory of being the first jurisdiction to pass the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, while failing to honour the complexity of the situation and continuing to over-simplify it in the public sphere.
British Columbians are uncomfortable with the dysfunctional relationships that we see once again playing out in the Wet'suwet'en territory as part of the colonial legacy of our province and country.
Who is responsible for the fact that fully armed RCMP officers are once again removing Indigenous peoples from their territory? Is it the fault of Indigenous people who can't get along? Or, is it the fault of the federal and provincial governments who created the conditions for the confusion? In this frank discussion we address these question (and many more) and hopefully create a starting point for unpacking the complexity of the challenges we face.
In this episode of The Public Circle Podcast I connect with South Island Prosperity Partnership (SIPP) Interim CEO Bruce Williams.
This is the not the first time that Bruce and I have sat across from each other with microphones. It was the first time that I was interviewing Bruce though.
Williams joined the SIPP after a successful career as a television and radio host, producer and manager. You will likely recognize his voice as he worked for many years in the Victoria market. Bruce is a networker and connector so he fits perfectly in his role building partnerships and collaborations with the SIPP.
Bruce has been serving as the Interim CEO for the past year.
In this episode of the podcast we discuss,
The SIPP's efforts to build meaningful relationships with the 10 Indigenous communities on Southern Vancouver Island through the critical work of creating sustainable economic development,
How the partnership is working to bring the business community together across many local and Indigenous governments. After all, despite the numerous boundaries it's just one economy in the region,
Outline how the SIPP's Prosperity Index has created a dashboard of metrics to measure the region. The Index measures more than the GDP, it looks at economic resiliency, transportation and mobility, housing and affordability, human health and environmental health, and
A myriad of other topics such as increasing connectivity and how the SIPP is working to attract businesses from international markets and encouraging them to establish a base on Southern Vancouver Island.
I have been involved with the SIPP from the very beginning and support the work they do to bring our communities together. I really enjoyed this conversation with Bruce and look forward to catching up with him again in the future to get another update on the SIPP's progress.
In this episode of The Public Circle Podcast I connect with youth climate activist Emma-Jane Burian.
We recorded this conversation in late Fall 2019 and admittedly I have been slow in publishing it. No matter, here it is.
Burian is a grade 12 student who lives in Victoria but grew up in Burnaby with the Trans Mountain pipeline running through her backyard. She asks a lot of questions and as she learned of the risks of pipelines and climate change she became more active.
Emma-Jane's passion is clearly evident in this conversation. We discuss her efforts,
Organizing with Our Earth Our Future Victoria,
Organizing with Climate Strike Canada, a grassroots, cross-country, youth-led group coordinating climate strikes, and
Participating in the City of Victoria Youth Council.
It is inspiring to hear how Burian and her peers invest their time in raising awareness on the "biggest issue of our generation" and the challenges of developing voting structures for a consensus-driven democratic organization.
Emma-Jane's goal is to work on social justice issues as a human rights lawyer. I wish her all the best as she pursues her education in political science and philosophy.
After a brief unintended hiatus from the podcast Adam Olsen and Nick Gilchrist resume their conversation about life in British Columbia politics.
It has been a busy year and with the original week 7 episode languishing in the dustbin of unpublished podcasts, this second attempt will be much more successful - it will be published.
Part of the challenge of producing a podcast is editing and writing the show notes. So until there his a team producing this show, the show notes are going to be brief.
In Episode 7 Nick and Adam discuss:
Nick's amazing new microphone (Shure SM7B),
The missing podcast (mentioned above),
Taking a break (replacing work with puzzle-making),
Embracing a new role as the Interim-Leader of the BC Green Party (https://www.bcgreens.ca/leadership_2020)
A question from a listener about what is meant when people talk about unceded territory,
Looking forward to 2020,
- Focusing on personal health and well-being,
- Improving communications,
-- The economic perspective and resource harvesting practices of the W̱SÁNEĆ with the SX̱OLE (reef net),
-- Embracing the restoration economy,
-- Having new conversations with the leadership of resource communities about their future,
-- Protecting and enhancing public education as the cornerstone of our modern society.
- In Week 6, Adam Olsen and Nick Gilchrist have a lengthy discussion about jurisdictional issues and frustrations.
- The conversation begins with Adam reflecting on the transition between the legislative and constituency focus of his work. There is always a backlog of meeting requests in the constituency when the legislative session ends and it usually takes a few weeks to get caught up. Adam also highlights the series of community meetings he is hosting in early December. Find out more here.
- Last week Nick's wife (and Adam's sister) Joni was re-elected to Tsartlip First Nation Council. This is her seventh election since 2007. Nick and Adam take a few minutes to honour Joni's work and the challenge that First Nations governments face with respect to the Indian Act and their relationships with the federal and provincial governments.
- One of the more frustrating aspects of governance for the public is confusion around the responsibility of the different levels of government. Who is responsible for what? Nick and Adam turn their attention to the complexities of overlapping jurisdictions and how the difficulties that surround them can often overwhelm and cause a lack of engagement by the public.
- As part of the discussion about jurisdiction they cover the shortcomings of the "world class oil spill response" and the criticisms of elected officials from Washington State in their attempts to get the Province of British Columbia and Government of Canada to the table to address issues of mutual interest.
- In addition, Adam and Nick canvas issues around salmon, the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the provincial ministries with decision-making authority over salmon policy and endangered species legislation.
- The discussion turns to the relationship between government and industry. With resource extraction being an important part of the British Columbia economy, Nick and Adam discuss the extensive use of subsidies and incentives and the work ahead in transitioning away from such a heavy reliance on extracting natural resources to a more diverse and sustainable economy for the future.
- Finally, the conversation lands on some of the more philosophical thinking that Adam has been doing around leaders, leadership and the violent narratives that emerge as politicians and political parties play the partisan games that are often associated with political campaigns. Adam discusses this further in a recent blog post.
If you would like to contact Adam, please send him an email here.
If you would like to contact Nick, please send him an email here.
In Week 5 of the podcast Adam Olsen and Nick Gilchrist get together to continue their discussion about life in British Columbia politics.
They open with a brief chat about feedback Adam received regarding the opening music. One listener literally shook their head in dismay over the song and so Nick is going to head back to the drawing board. Perhaps Week 6 will open with a new tune.
On Friday night Nick and Andy Sloniowski back up Madison Olsen who played a few sets at the Brentwood Bay Village Empourium. Adam and Nick talk about the music and they feature one of Maddie's recent songs called 5930 Exhausted. The recording was mastered by Malcolm Owen Flood.
The conversation moves to the final week of the last legislative session of the decade. Nick and Adam discuss the significance of Royal Assent, when Lt. Governor Janet Austin comes to the legislature to provide the final nod to completed Acts. They discuss briefly the voting process, and highlight the need to move from legislating the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act to developing an action plan.
Nick has done quite a bit of research on the early history of the colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia and reads a long letter to the editor to the Victoria Standard newspaper from August 28, 1874. What he reads is written by a settler named C.J. Grandidier from the B.C. Interior. Grandidier admonishes the provincial policy for Indigenous people and demands the government treat Indigenous people justly. It is an incredible example of how little has changed in the past 145+ years in our province.
Nick highlights a recording he made of his wife (Adam's sister) Joni Olsen discussing the Douglas Treaty. The Treaty was signed in the early 1850's between the Indigenous people and settlers surrounding Fort Victoria. Listen to the recording here.
As Adam and Nick begin to wrap-up the episode they talk about the next couple of weeks in the Saanich North and the Islands Constituency Office and the final community meetings Adam is hosting in the first few weeks of December. Check out the times and locations of the remaining meetings here.
Nick returns with his Top 3 segment by asking Adam about his top three favourite Acts that they have passed since he was elected. Adam's list is the Bill to ban "big money" in British Columbia politics, the name of John Dean Provincial Park to ȽÁU,WELṈEW̱/John Dean Provincial Park and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.
Finally, Nick and Adam pick their SENĆOŦEN word of the week. This week the word is KELȽOLEMEĆEN which means killer whale. Nick ends the episode with by speaking KELȽOLEMEĆEN. (It's pretty decent.)
If you would like to contact Nick, email him here.
If you would like to contact Adam, email him here. Check out his blog here.
In this episode of The Public Circle Podcast, I return to the original format with a conversation with Salt Spring Island folk singer Luke Wallace.
As it turns out, Luke had many more questions for me than I had for him. He is a fantastic interviewer!
Over the past few years, I have come to know Luke as a powerful advocate for social justice and environmental issues and it has long been a goal of mine to get him on the podcast.
For the past decade he has been making incredible music and touring the province hosting fundraising concerts for issues he is passionate about: Trans Mountain Pipeline, Lelu Island and Site C Dam.
In this conversation, we discuss approaching life and our work with honesty and authenticity. We cover the disconnection between people and the land and our approach to governance at the community, provincial and federal levels.
Luke is a powerful advocate for Indigenous rights and we have an extended discussion about the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. I highlight how the legislation will set British Columbia on a new path, create more certainty in governance and on the landscape by requiring relationships with Indigenous people to begin at the start not after the decision has been made.
Our conversation morphs into a discussion about energy policy and the challenges with BC Hydro's policy direction.
Needless to say, this is an expansive exchange that covers a lot of ground including future elections and political philosophy. It is highly likely that Luke and I will return with another episode together.
Until then, I encourage you to check out Luke's website at http://lukewallacemusic.com/ and check him out on Instagram. In Spring 2020 he has a new album dropping and I truly hope you will help lift him up by supporting his music.
You can read my blog at https://adamolsenmla.ca/, check out my Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
Email me at Adam.Olsen.MLA@leg.bc.ca or call my office at 250-655-5600.
In week four of the podcast Nick Gilchrist and Adam Olsen cover quite a bit of ground.
They open the episode with a potential new theme song for the series and discuss a possible name other than just the current week. Listeners are encouraged to provide their ideas of possible names for the podcast.
The labour disruption in School District #63 was finally sorted out last weekend and the kids are back in school. Adam provides a little context to the work that is still needed to ensure the district can compete to recruit and retain support staff.
Both Nick and Adam went to the Barney Bentall & the Cariboo Express show at the Mary Winspear Centre. They discuss the quality of the music and the fundraising efforts. Over $45,000 was raised over three nights for the Saanich Peninsula Food Bank. In the 14 years the Cariboo Express has been doing the fundraising concerts they have raised over $2 million. Check out Matt Masters, Ridley Bent, Daniel Lapp, Dustin Bentall and Lorna Crozier.
The conversation then turns to what a day, or week, is like in the legislature. Nick and Adam chat about question period and how partisan it is. In the end it's a long and winding conversation about the quality of our democracy and some ideas on how we can improve it. It is followed by a more brief discussion about the role of the Whip, how the BC Greens manage their workflow and keep everybody organized.
This week the SENĆOŦEN word of the week is SĆÁÁNEW̱ (salmon). Adam and Nick also talk about the pronunciation of W̱SÁNEĆ (Saanich).
Finally, Nick challenges Adam to name his top three favourite places to visit with his family in Saanich North and the Islands. They are SṈIDȻEȽ (Tod Inlet), ȽÁU,WELṈEW̱/John Dean Provincial Park and Helen Point on Mayne Island.
This podcast is fueled by coffee. This week Adam opened a brand new bag of Winter beans from Level Ground Trading. Level Ground is a fair trade roasting company based in Central Saanich on the Saanich Peninsula.
You can reach Nick Gilchrist by emailing him here.
You connect with Adam Olsen by emailing him here.
Please rate our podcast! Thank you!
In Week 3, Nick Gilchrist and Adam Olsen discuss the past week in Saanich North and the Islands and British Columbia politics.
The conversation covers a range of topics starting with the brand new opening music sequence that Nick created and that he really does not like.
For the past three weeks the Saanich School district has been locked in a labour dispute with its support staff represented by CUPE 441. Nick and Adam discuss the impact of the labour disruption on families on the Saanich Peninsula. The episode was recorded on Friday November 16, 2019 and on Saturday the two sides announced a tentative deal. It is excellent news that school will be back in session on Monday! However, by the time the episode is published this bit is outdated.
Adam talks about attending the Remembrance Day ceremony in Sidney this year and notes the growing ceremony in Central Saanich at the new cenotaph in Brentwood Park. Nick highlights conversations with his grandfather who is a veteran of World War 2.
Nick rolls out an ill-fated segment where he tries to get Adam to name his three favourite Central Saanich Councillors. Instead of answering the question Adam highlights aspects of his relationships with all the Councillors in Central Saanich as well as his effort to strengthen networks between the W̱SÁNEĆ Chiefs and Saanich Peninsula Mayors.
At this point they pause to highlight the incredible Indian cuisine in Sidney, BC. Adam mistakenly calls the restaurant Tandoori Flame, it is actually called Tandoori Flavour. Nick and Adam discuss another local business Mid Knife Crisis.
Nick introduces another potential weekly segment by asking Adam to tap into his extremely limited knowledge of SENĆOŦEN, the language of the W̱SÁNEĆ people. The word of the week is HÍSW̱ḴE, meaning "thank you." They barely make it through the segment :)
Nick then plugs a show he is playing in with Madison Olsen and Dam Andrew at the Brentwood Bay Village Empourium on November 29, 2019. If you would like to contact the Empourium to reserve a seat, you can call them at 778-351-0178 or send them a message on their Facebook page. Nick also plugs Dam Andrew's website Pet Anthems. Check it out if you want to get a custom song about your pet!
Before shutting down for the week Adam and Nick finally get to Adam's community meetings that he hosted on Pender Island and Brentwood Bay. They chat about emergency preparedness in light of the disastrous windstorm that hit the Southern Gulf Islands in December 2018. Adam highlights the resources offered by the CRD who is responsible for managing the emergency response program on behalf of the provincial government. They also discuss the need for everyone to be as prepared as possible. Adam will be continue his community meeting tour of the riding. You can see the list of events here.
You can connect with Nick Gilchrist by email or through his Facebook page for Sonick Studio.
Contact Adam Olsen, MLA by email, visit his blog or find him on Facebook and Twitter.
Week 2: 11/10/2019
We begin this episode by talking about the B.C. Cabinet and First Nations Leaders' Gathering that I attended early in the week.
Next, we spend a few minutes discussing the personal and social impact of being an elected representative.
Following is a regrettable 😉 discussion about the provincial government engagement on daylight saving time. It's mostly regrettable because it is painfully obvious that neither of us showed up to this topic prepared.
Finally, we spend a considerable amount of time discussing the Rural Islands Economic Forum.
We would love to hear what you think about this podcast. Please comment and ask questions below or on our social media channels.
If you would like to read my blog you can find it here.
You can connect with me by sending me an email.
If you want to get in contact with Nick, email him here.
We love Central Saanich Little League. You can find out more about the league and support it here.
Check out the Rural Islands initiative here.
If you want to participate in any provincial government citizen engagement, this is where you will find the information.
Visit the episode page for a complete breakdown.
Week 1: 11/03/2019
In this pilot episode Nick and I convene at my dining room table to discuss the past week. With no game plan heading into the conversation it literally could have gone in any direction.
We kick it off by discussing Bill 41, The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (2019) (DRIPA).
Nick asks about the history of the Bill and we end up talking broadly about how a Bill moves from introduction to adoption.
We explore the role of opposition - is it to improve the Bill or make government look stupid?
I take a few minutes to explore the impact Idle No More had on shifting the public perception of Indigenous people and related issues.
Nick inquires about how the DRIPA will effect Saanich North and the Islands and the relationships between the municipal and Indigenous governments.
We tackle another pressing issue this week - the labour disruption in School District #63.
Nick wants a summary about how we got here and we discuss the wage disparity that is the root of the problem.
We discuss how the strike is effecting families and how the recruitment and retention issue in the Saanich school district due to the low wages for support staff puts the district at a competitive disadvantage.
I strongly emphasize that the status quo is eroding the quality of education because staffing shortages means our children are not getting the help they need each and every day.
We wrap up the conversation with an impromptu chat about my daily blogging and podcasting.
Nick asks if I am unique as an MLA producing daily content.
I highlight that all my colleagues are producing content and sharing their opinions on social media every day.
I briefly discuss the benefit of the personal discipline required to produce long form content at such a high frequency.
I'd love to hear what you think about this format and conversation. If everyone doesn't hate it then there will be a Week 2.
If you want to get a hold of Nick visit his Facebook page. (If your not on Facebook leave a comment below and I will connect you.)
Check out Dr. Joy Shumka Chiropractor, Brewsky's Taphouse, Brentwood Bay Village Empourium.
The Public Circle Podcast is back!
After a few weeks off in August, I start things off with a conversation with my wife and partner, Emily Olsen, about the second edition of The Connection Projecton October 4th in the Charlie White Theatre at the Mary Winspear Centre.
For many years, Emily has faced the challenges of depression. There have been many dark days which she talks about in detail on the Obstacle Course Podcast. If you are interested in hearing the whole story, I encourage you to listen to it there.
Our conversation is about the result of Emily’s tremendous personal effort through counselling, meditation, yoga and much more that grew her confidence to the point where last year she began taking about her journey publicly.
One day she decided she was going to host her own event. She had no idea what it was going to be but she was determined to continue talking about her experience and thus The Connection Projectevent was born.
It grew and evolved. Since that first event in the Fall of 2018, it has continued to grow and evolve and a community has formed around it. Now Emily and her team are in the final stages of planning the second event, providing a platform for six new people to share their stories. It doesn’t appear that it will stop here. She has a vision of continuing to grow the community into a non-profit organization that organizes and hosts regular events in the Capital Region and perhaps beyond.
The Connection Project details
Date: Friday October 4, 2019 @ 7:00pm
Location: Mary Winspear Centre(Sidney, BC)
I have watched as this event has evolved and gained shape and I look forward to hearing the six powerful stories of mental health and well-being. This is an important journey for de-stigmatizing mental health and our society is much better because of this work.
If you want more information email Emily at email@example.com. Search Facebookfor The Connection Project.
For tickets visit TheConnectionProject.caor MaryWinspear.ca
I have more episodes of The Public Circle Podcast coming your way. I’ve decided this upcoming series will go from a weekly podcast to publishing every two weeks. It’s been a challenge to keep the pace of weekly posts and so I’m going to spread them out a little. I hope you will subscribe on whatever platform you get your podcasts and share this podcast with your network.
In episode 20 of The Public Circle Podcast (and the final episode of the "first season”), I chat with Hunter Lastiwka.
Hunter recently graduated from my alma mater Stelly's Secondary. He is an incredibly active young man on a variety of issues which impact him and his peers.
I first met Hunter a few years ago. Following my election, he approached me to assist him in bringing a proposal to the BC NDP government to set up a youth council. Unfortunately, neither the Premier's office nor the Minister of Education picked up the opportunity he was offering. He organized a few meetings with local youth in my constituency office but we were not able to pull together a consistent local youth council initiative either.
Hunter is a powerful advocate on climate change and has worked to increase participation amongst youth in our democratic processes. Another issue he has been particularly active on is transit. I regularly visit the three high schools in Saanich North and the Islands and know access to public transportation to be a high priority for youth. For many, it is the only mode of transportation available to get them to school, work and beyond.
After polling his classmates and gathering the data, Hunter began his advocacy in favour of fare-free transit. His goal is to increase ridership and as a result decrease congestion on our streets. He makes a compelling case and I hope his initiative gains traction.
In addition to transit, Hunter and I discuss the initiative to allow 16 year-olds to vote in elections, I think you will be impressed by his thoughtful response. Now he has finished high school we talk about what is up next in his life.
As I've been saying all along, I am having a lot of fun producing this podcast. I'm learning a tonne along the way. Up until recently, this has really just been recorded, loosely produced and published. However, recently I am learning how to actually engineer a better sounding product and in the process I am even beginning to cobble together my own recording equipment.
I've now reached 20 episodes with only one missing week in the past five months. With that accomplishment behind me, I'm going to take a bit of a break and record a few more episodes to get "season two" rolling. The Public Circle Podcast will be back in September. Until then, I hope you enjoy my conversation with Hunter Lastiwka.
In the 19th episode of The Public Circle Podcast, I chat with Helen Davis.
Helen is a Registered Professional Biologist and owns Artemis Wildlife Consultants. She has been a consultant for the past 27 years. We met at a conference for biologists earlier this year. I was a speaker on a panel about defining the public interest. She had heard of the work that I and my BC Green Caucus colleagues are doing for grizzly bears and old-growth forests. She wanted to expand our perspective.
So we set up a meeting and she introduced me to the much bigger world of bears. There is no question that the grizzly captures a lot of the attention when it comes to bears and, as a result, we miss important aspects of the whole bear story. This podcast is only an introduction. We have a ranging discussion about bears, her work in nature, what she has witnessed over the years and the growing problem with bear dens.
This is a fascinating episode where I learn a lot about bears and I hope you will gain a whole new respect for our bear friends. We’ll talk about everything from the very basics of the different types of bears, to a high level look at a year in the life of a bear, to life in a bear den.
Which brings me to the point of my initial meeting with Helen. Old-growth logging is having a huge impact on black bears on Vancouver Island. Black bears need big old rotting trees to den in. If they cannot find those trees they don't reproduce and if they don't reproduce well then we have a much bigger issue. Unfortunately, there is currently no protection for bear dens and Helen is trying to get them on the list as wildlife habitat features.
She is trying to get the attention of the Ministry of Forests and has even filed a complaint with the Forest Practices Board. If you are interested in learning more you can connect with Helen's campaign on social media.
On Twitter search #SaveBCBearDens, or visit Helen's petition on Change.Org at https://www.change.org/p/bc-ministry-of-environment-and-climate-change-save-bc-bear-dens
Check out Helen's website at http://www.artemiswildlife.com.
Read The Narwhalarticle Helen referenced here - https://thenarwhal.ca/old-growth-logging-leaves-black-bears-without-dens-biologist/
In the 18th episode of The Public Circle Podcast I chat with David Smith.
David is a fisherman and owner of Professional Components Ltd., located in the Sidney/North Saanich Industrial Park. His company makes Scoremaster soccer goals and Shockwave, shock-mitigating seats. He has been building things on the Saanich Peninsula since 1981.
I toured Dave's business as part of my ongoing tour of local businesses and we had a great conversation. When I invited him to join me on the podcast I had it in mind that I would ask him about what it was like to do business on the Saanich Peninsula and British Columbia or maybe even about the Trans-Am race cars that sat in a spotless garage next to a table with a high-powered go-kart sitting on it. Dave is a fascinating person who builds and races cars, operates a business with 60+ employees and is a passionate fisherman. My hour long tour wrapped up more than two hours later.
When Dave showed up to my office to record a conversation it turns out that it's my work on the Pacific salmon that caught his attention. Over the past 60 years living and fishing on the coast, he has seen a lot and this podcast gave him a welcoming platform to share his experience.
This story he tells is consistent with so many other stories I have heard over the past 18 months since I have really been leaning into the salmon file and the ongoing history of the British Columbia coastline. Each time the levels of frustration, disappointment and outright anger peak. Coastal communities and the surrounding ecosystems have been mismanaged.
This discussion has some heat. Dave shares his experience on the commercial fishing boats in the salmon and herring heyday to the sights he has seen of clearcut logging and the poor habitat, resource and harvest management of the federal and provincial governments. In British Columbia, our story of salmon is fiery and I hope you enjoy my conversation with Dave Smith.
If you would like to connect with Dave Smith visit his website https://shockwaveseats.com/meet-david-smith/.
You can find more information about his company Professional Components Ltd. at http://professionalcomponents.com/
In the 17th episode of The Public Circle Podcast, I connect with the Deputy-Leader of the Green Party of Canada, Jo-Ann Roberts.
Jo-Ann was the former host of All Points West on CBC Radio which is broadcast across Vancouver Island and at one time across all of British Columbia except the Vancouver area. After retiring from her career in broadcasting, she joined the Green Party and ran in the Victoria riding in the 2015 federal election. She lost to NDP incumbent MP Murray Rankin.
Discouraged by the outcome of the election Jo-Ann didn't feel as if she was going to pursue politics further. So she and her husband decided to move back to Atlantic Canada to be closer to her family. She originally followed the work from Nova Scotia to the west coast. With her mother, siblings and two of her children still in Nova Scotia it seemed like a good time to make the move.
Growing Greens in Atlantic Canada
However, a Deputy-Leader role came open with the Green Party of Canada and Elizabeth May approached Jo-Ann to see if she was interested. She accepted the role and in 2019 she is running again, this time in Halifax.
Jo-Ann has worked alongside her provincial colleagues to nurture the tremendous growth of the Green Party in Atlantic Canada over the past few years. The success of the Prince Edward Island Green Party provincially has been remarkable. In the Spring 2019 election, 8 Green members were elected and they are the first party other than the Conservatives or Liberals to be the Official Opposition in the first minority government in the history of the province. Add to this the 3 Greens in the New Brunswick Legislature and it's the highest concentration of Green representatives anywhere in Canada. As we approach the 2019 federal election, the Green Party is emerging on both coasts.
In this episode Jo-Ann and I chat about her experience running as a rookie candidate in 2015, what she learned and how that will help her be an even more effective candidate in the 2019 campaign. We cover a lot of ground in this episode. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Jo-Anne Roberts.
Connect with Jo-Ann on Facebook, Twitter or visit her webpage.
In this episode of The Public Circle Podcast I connect with newly elected District of North Saanich Councillor Patricia Pearson. We share many of the same interests and so while this is a rather short conversation compared to the past few episodes, I view this as just a starting point.
As the title of the podcast notes, Patricia is far more than just a recently elected Councillor. She works in sales at Level Ground fair trade coffee company, is the Chair of the Fair Trade Federation, the parent of a young daughter and entrepreneur.
Patricia's work is founded on the principles of sustainability and resilience seeking social, environmental and economic justice. Her small business Hansell & Halkett (Facebook / Instagram) highlights her passion for reusing items that still have value by recycling and upcycling abandoned roadside furniture.
Check out Patricia's page on the District of North Saanich website for her short bio and contact information. You can also find her on Facebook.
I hope you enjoy this episode with Patricia Pearson!
In episode 15 of The Public Circle Podcast I'm joined by Skaana podcast host Mark Leiren-Young to talk about what? You guessed it, the Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW).
This was a deeply enjoyable conversation about the history of our relationship with orcas from cetaceans in captivity to the recent change in federal legislation freeing them, covering all the ground in between sci-fi killer monsters and the gentle relatives of the deep who we fished alongside.
“Mark Leiren-Young, who has a background in pretty much everything — journalism, television, comedy, theatre and film — is without a doubt one of the most talented, multi-disciplinary voices in Canada.” – National Post
That pretty much sums him up with one major piece missing. For the past 20+ years he has been on the orca beat. He has been capturing the stories of the SRKW's with his pen, camera and podcast and helping us all better understand the iconic species of the Salish Sea.
This episode is a wide-ranging conversation and we spend time discussing why we should call the whales by name and Mark's various books and documentaries about orcas. If you would like to find out more about his work or to contact him I encourage you to check out his website.
I hope you enjoy this episode featuring Mark Leiren-Young!
In the 14th episode of The Public Circle Podcast I connect with Briony Penn.
It was wonderful to sit on her front porch in the middle of a South Salt Spring forest. It's been the home of five generations of Briony's family. The warm early summer sun, birds chirping and even the odd handsaw working in the background provide an excellent setting for a chat. Briony is a writer, educator, artist and naturalist. She has an extensive bio that I cannot do justice in the few words I have here. So, here is a link to her bio if you want to learn more about her.
I had just come home from a weekend away with my family in Bamfield, BC where I had read Briony's new book "Stories from the Magic Canoe." I was primed to discuss her experience working with Wa’xaid (Cecil Paul), Xenaksiala elder from the Kitimat territory, specifically the Kitlope Valley. You can find out more about Briony's books here, and her art here. (And, here is a link to my blog post that flowed from the powerful words in her book.) However, there was absolutely no chance that we could contain our conversation. The result is a free-ranging discussion about governance, de-centralization, energy policy, the Magic Canoe, climate change, and corporate influence in politics.
Only my time constraints limited the conversation, and we barely touched on important issues like LNG. I have a feeling this is just our first recorded discussion.
If you would like to learn more about Briony's work you can contact her here.
I hope you enjoy my conversation with Briony Penn. If you do, please share The Public Circle Podcast with your friends, family and neighbours. Word of mouth is the best way to grow the listenership and I hope you will help by rating and sharing the podcast when and where you can. (Thank you!)
When I first thought of transitioning my weekly Public Circle LIVE! broadcasts from Facebook to a weekly podcast, I had it in my mind to invite Raffi as a guest. We have run into each other a few times now at the Salt Spring Island Saturday Market and I appreciate his forthright political commentary on Twitter.
It all came together at Elizabeth May's wedding. We were standing in line next to each other - I asked, he agreed and we made it happen!
I'm a "Beluga Grad" and so it's an absolute thrill to have the opportunity to start a friendship with someone whose work is so influential on my life. He is an inspiration for many of my peers, and our children.
In this episode of The Public Circle Podcast, we discuss what inspires him as a singer and songwriter, his second career and legacy work in child honouring, and his deep connection to Mother Earth. Over five decades Raffi's voice has connected generations of children and their parents to nature.
Most recently the focus of his effort is on Child Honouring. It began with a covenant, anthology, pledge and now the latest development is a ten module course.
There are a lot of links to his work here but you can find everything you need at https://raffifoundation.org
If you need more information email Raffi's team at firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope you enjoy my conversation with Raffi!
In this episode of The Public Circle Podcast I connect with Dr. Ambrose Marsh. Dr. Marsh is a primary care physician in Sidney, B.C.
He has worked on the Saanich Peninsula since 1985 and is the former Chief of Staff at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital.
There is a growing crisis in primary care in Saanich North and the Islands and across British Columbia. Approximately half of the people who live on the peninsula do not have a family doctor.
We begin to work through the issues leading up to and surrounding the healthcare crisis in this episode. We discuss how he got into medicine 40 years ago, and the relationship between the Ministry of Health, Health Authority and family doctors. In addition we cover gaps in civic education and the how the public and health practitioners use the medical system properly, and the need for a more thorough conversation about aging and preparing for the next stages of life. Finally we address aspects of well-being such as diet, recreation and healthy living. This is one of the most obvious areas of focus. Increasing well-being can help us relieve pressure on an over-stressed, under-resourced healthcare system. It's a solemn reminder that more money is not necessarily the fix. The system is already oppressively expensive at $19 billion and more than 40% of the provincial budget.
Healthcare is a critical conversation happening in all corners of the province. The Ministry of Health is beginning to transform primary care. They are establishing primary care networks of health practitioners sharing the load by working in a team environment. This is a critical transition, and we highlight the incredible work of the Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation and Shoreline Medical Clinics as important community leaders on the peninsula.
If you would like to contact me, or share your story, please visit our constituency office website at http://www.saanichnorthandtheislands.com/, email our office at Adam.Olsen.MLA@leg.bc.ca, call 250-655-5600 or visit us at #215-2506 Beacon Avenue in Sidney, BC.
Also check out my daily blog at http://adamolsenmla.ca/
I hope you enjoy my conversation with Dr. Ambrose Marsh.
In this episode of The Public Circle Podcast I meet up with Denny Warner. Denny is the Executive Director of the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce (SPCC). She has led the Chamber for the past four years. Over the first few episodes of this podcast I have met with business leaders in our community and in this episode Denny and I continue the discussion about the business climate on the Saanich Peninsula.
The SPCC started in 1912. In the 1980's Central Saanich joined North Saanich and Sidney providing full coverage of the peninsula. In the beginning it was primarily a lobby group for local business. Over the years the Chamber has also become a force for marketing, promotion, networking and advocacy.
I have canvassed in some detail the strengths of business on the peninsula and the challenges that entrepreneurs face. In this episode Denny and I discuss the changing demographics of the Chamber, the local labour market, how the SPCC works with the five other Chambers in the region, their relationship with the Sidney BIA and the South Island Prosperity Partnership, their annual events, and some of the projects that the SPCC has on the go.
If you want to contact the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce:
Address: 10382 Pat Bay Highway, North Saanich, British Columbia, V8L 5S8
I hope that you enjoy my conversation with Denny Warner.
Janine Fernandes-Hayden is one member of the original organizing team of 100+ Women Who Care Salt Spring Island. We connect on this episode of The Public Circle Podcast to discuss the impact of their fundraising for non-profit organizations on Salt Spring.
Originally from Victoria, Janine is now an established 15-year resident of the Island and is the acting Executive Director of Salt Spring Women Opposed to Violence and Abuse (SWOVA).
100+ Women organizations bring like-minded women together to raise funds for their communities. In this podcast, we chat about how the fundraising model works and how the work of these women benefits the community, creates connections and strengthens networks.
The Salt Spring chapter is one of more than a dozen chapters on Vancouver Island including one on the Saanich Peninsula. They raised $17,000 for the Salt Spring Therapeutic Riding Association in March 2019 and $12,900 for the Salt Spring Seniors Service Society in November 2018.
Their next meeting is on May 5, 2019 at ArtSpring. Reception and orientation start at 6:00pm and the meeting is from 7:00pm-8:00pm. Visit their website for information.
In the ninth episode of The Public Circle Podcast, I connect with Paul Holmes the co-founder of Social Media Camp at the Victoria Conference Centre.
One of the regular themes I explore in my daily blog posts is the impact of social media. The fuel for my content is driven by podcasts, blogs and articles that are also exploring the impact of these tools.
Paul started Social Media Camp in 2010 and it has since grown into the largest social media conference in Canada. We have known each other for a number of years now. I have been a guest on his podcast The John, Paul and Mic show which he co-hosts with our mutual friend John Juricic.
When I published this post it caught Paul's attention. It was a response to Sam Harris' podcast with Roger McNamee, author of the book 'Zucked and an early investor in Facebook. He had listened to the podcast and his mind was also churning over the growing social challenges created by these platforms and our relationship with digital media companies in general. So we connected briefly on Facebook Messenger and I invited him to the podcast.
Check out Social Media Camp
This is by far the longest conversation I have had with any guest on the podcast. Paul and I could talk politics forever and it took us almost 20 minutes to get on topic. But with Social Media Camp 2019 just a week away (April 25 & 26, 2019) I decided to publish our discussion about social media. I am going to invite Paul back to go into more detail about party politics and the divided political spectrum.
In this episode we chat about a variety of important topics from being early adopters, how our use of social platforms is changing, to how they are changing us and the impacts it is having on society as a whole.
Click here to learn more about Social Media Camp 2019.
Connect with Paul on Twitter @tpholmes or on Facebook.
In the eighth episode of The Public Circle Podcast, I connect with Stasia Hartley, Area Director for Bayshore Home Health.
A lifelong member of the Saanich Peninsula community, Stasia has worked in leadership roles in healthcare for 29 years. She has a Master's of Arts in Leadership from Royal Roads University and manages the home health operations in Victoria, Nanaimo, Qualicum Beach and Comox.
Bayshore provide their clients a full spectrum of private home care services. Their clients are primarily seniors but also include injured workers and people with life-limiting diseases or disabilities. The relationship usually begins with a basic level of care but, depending on the needs of the client, they can also assist people who require complex care such as palliative, dementia and full 24 hour live-in service.
Hartley distinguishes private home care from publicly funded services like this. "Government provides the care people need, we provide the care people want."
If you are interested in learning more about Bayshore Home Health, visit their website.
I hope you enjoy my conversation with Stasia Hartley.
In the seventh episode of The Public Circle Podcast, I connect with Paul Smith, General Manager of Titan Boats.
Following a visit to their manufacturing facility in the North Saanich Business Park, Paul joined me in our constituency office to chat about the homegrown company.
He came out of retirement to join Titan in 1998. What started as part time work assisting owner and founder, John Stanners, has become his steady full-time job for more than two decades.
I recently published a post about Titan Boats in my monthly series Championing Local Business. The post provides a good overview of the company profile, and follows the basic flow of our conversation. Check it out to learn more about the company.
You can also visit their website here.
Enjoy my conversation with Paul Smith about the world-class work of Titan Boats.
I change things up a little for the sixth episode of The Public Circle Podcast.
The BC NDP put Bill 10, Income Tax Amendment Act (2019) up for debate this week. If you have been following my blog then you will already have some indication of my response to the Bill. In this podcast, I am publishing my second reading debate speech, and responses to two second reading amendments.
This podcast contains three speeches. The first is a response to an amendment put forward by my colleague Andrew Weaver. The second is my response to second reading of Bill 10, followed by my response to my own amendment to the Bill. And the third, is my response to an amendment put forward by my colleague Sonia Furstenau.
We have never gone to these lengths to oppose anything the government has put forward. We will continue to do everything we can to oppose it as the debate continues at committee stage, then the third (and final) reading, coming this week.
If you have any questions you can email me at Adam.Olsen.MLA@leg.bc.ca.
Please share this podcast with your friends and neighbours.
View the whole post here.
In the fifth episode of The Public Circle Podcast, I connect with Donna Petrie, Executive Director and Event Liaison with the Sidney Business Improvement Area Society (BIA).
Donna has led the BIA for the past 5 years. Established in 2013, the BIA is now in the second year of its renewed 5-year mandate. It began through a concerted effort from local business owners. They felt that the Sidney core was suffering and lacking vibrancy.
So, they got together and laid the groundwork for a business improvement area. As Donna relates, the priority for the BIA is "to increase footsteps in Sidney."
With a background in tourism, primarily hotel marketing and management, Donna also is on the board of directors of the Greater Victoria Film Commission and has worked as a location scout.
Donna and I share a similar feeling about the potential of Sidney and the Saanich Peninsula. She calls it the "best untold story," and she works to position Sidney as a great place for locals and tourists alike.
View the whole story here.
In the fourth episode of The Public Circle Podcast, I reconnect with my friend John Juricic.
John characterizes himself as a serial entrepreneur. He's been active in numerous businesses since graduating from UVic in the early 1980’s. He is most recently worked in labour market consulting and his extensive involvement in the local business community includes leadership roles in the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce.
His work with the Sidney/North Saanich Industrial Group is well known. The advocacy drew attention to the impact of the innovators and job creators and has shone a light on our strong manufacturing sector on the Saanich Peninsula. In all, those businesses generate approximately a billion dollars of economic activity in the Capital Region each year.
Check out the full episode details here.
Gerry Taylor joins me for the third episode of The Public Circle Podcast.
My conversation with Gerry is reflective of many conversations I have with constituents of Saanich North and the Islands, and residents of British Columbia from across the province.
Retired for 20 years, Gerry worked for the provincial government for 45 years. He is a biologist with a focus on zoology and a specialty in fish behaviour. As he puts it, he has seen a lot of land, water and resources.
There is a steady flow of retired civil servants who watch the government closely, and with a critical eye.
I am a fairly young man in the political sphere, I am new to provincial politics, and I have a desire to learn from my elders. So, when Gerry and his colleagues offer their time and expertise, I take them up on it.
View the show notes here.
Sylvia Olsen married into Tsartlip First Nation in the 1970's. She moved onto the reserve where she and her husband raised four kids. I am one of those kids.
For the past two decades Sylvia has worked in on-reserve housing. In 2016, she received her Phd. in history from the University of Victoria where she completed one of the first academic studies on the history of the on-reserve housing programs in Canada.
Dr. Olsen's ground-breaking work is based on her unique perspective of the past, the present and the opportunities for the future of housing in First Nations communities in Canada.
In addition to her research, she also works in First Nations communities across the country. She teaches housing management to First Nations housing managers. And, she works with the Assembly of First Nations Chiefs Committee on Housing and Infrastructure. Dr. Olsen is also currently working with the B.C. First Nations Housing and Infrastructure Council.
This interview is likely just the first in a series of discussions we will have on this topic on The Public Circle Podcast.
View the show notes here.
Humaira Ahmed is the CEO and founder of Locelle.
She has a background in software engineering and communications and had the idea to build a mobile application to foster connections between women.
Humaira is tackling the growing issue of social isolation directly. She talks about the numerous points in her life that she has felt isolated. As an immigrant from Pakistan, a female engineering student in Toronto, a pedestrian in Vancouver, and as a mom with a newborn daughter.
View the show notes here.
The Public Circle Podcast is hosted and produced by Adam Olsen. Adam is the Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly for Saanich North and the Islands.
This is a podcast about the stories of the people that Adam meets from day-to-day.