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Best Coast Political Podcast

Best Coast Political Podcast

By Jeremy Caradonna
Join hosts Jeremy Caradonna and Matt Dell as they explore pressing political issues facing Victoria and British Columbia. Guests to the podcast include journalists, subject-area experts, activists, politicians, business owners, and more.
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Episode 25: Urban Agriculture and Local Food w/ Jesse Brown and Alex Harned
Matt and Jeremy welcome to the podcast two stalwarts of the local food and urban agriculture scene: Jesse Brown, owner and operator of Mason Street Farm, and Alex Harned, the Food Systems Coordinator for the City of Victoria. In this wide-ranging discussion, the guests discuss what's working and what's not in urban agriculture, the City's efforts to support local food, and the future of food- and land-security on Vancouver Island. Plus, Jesse explains the unique arrangement that allows Mason Street Farm to farm on the grounds of Vic High, in Fernwood, in addition to the farm's main plot in North Park.  
April 05, 2022
Episode 24: Innovation and Design in Downtown Victoria: Tessa McLoughlin and Will Sorrell
Matt and Jeremy welcome to the podcast Tessa McLoughlin (Kwench) and Will Sorrell (2Dads Beer and 1st Place Agency) to discuss downtown Victoria, the impacts of the pandemic on small businesses, and the future of our our city. Plus, Matt and Jeremy discuss the recent anti-mask and anti-vaccine protests in downtown Victoria and the support that the city has shown for Ukrainians in their struggle against Russian aggression. 
March 07, 2022
Episode 23: Visioning the Future of Victoria's Inner Harbour
Join Matt and Jeremy for a long-form conversation with Ian Robertson, CEO of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority. The group discusses Victoria's complex relationship to the cruise ship industry, the GVHA's work with local First Nations, design ideas for Ship Point, and the evolving character of Victoria's Inner Harbour. Plus, Jeremy and Matt provide an update on the CASA Greater Victoria Initiative that they co-founded, which has begun building Conestoga huts for the local unsheltered population. 
February 14, 2022
Episode 22: Unhoused on the Island, with Lacey Jones and Nicole Chaland
Matt and Jeremy welcome to the podcast Lacey Jones, Indigenous Programs Director at Peers Victoria Resource Society, and Nicole Chaland, the author of the recent city-backed report, "COVID-19: The Beginning of the End of Homelessness." The topic of conversation is the challenge of housing the unhoused in Victoria, how COVID-19 changed the dynamics, and where we go from here. There's also a discussion of the tiny homes village in North Park and a broader consideration of what's working and what's not, both in North Park, and in the hotels recently purchased by the Province. 
November 12, 2021
Episode 21: Safe Supply: The Overdose Crisis and Exploring Drug Supply Chains
Matt and Jeremy welcome Fred Cameron and Jimi Fritz to the podcast for a wide-ranging discussion on safe supply, drug culture, and pathways out of the opioid crisis. Fred is a manager at SOLID, a non-profit organization that provides peer-based health education and support services to reduce the harms associated with drug use in Victoriause in Victoria. Jimi is a self-described, Vancouver-based "ethical drug dealer," who practiced his craft for fifty years, and recently published an autobiography called Confessions of an Ethical Drug Dealer: A Psychedelic Travelogue Memoir. 
September 24, 2021
Episode 20: Black Lives Matters, Mental Health, and the Evolving Role of the Vic PD, with Chief Constable of Victoria, Del Manak
The Best Coast Political Podcast celebrates its 20th episode by welcoming Chief of Police, Del Manak, to the podcast for a revealing conversation about how the Vic PD responded to the Black Lives Matters and police reform movements over the past year. Chief Manak discusses the evolving role of police in society and highlights innovate programs, including ACT and IMCRT, in which the Vic PD works with nurses, social workers, and clinicians to address the complex needs of Victorians. The Chief answers difficult questions about whether the police want to be dealing with mental health and addictions-related calls, and what the future of policing might look like. Before the guest arrives, Matt and Jeremy discuss the role of community associations and land-use communities in Victoria, as Jeremy discusses the Fernwood Forward movement and the response to his opinion piece in the Capital Daily.  
July 19, 2021
Episode 19: Cannabis: From Homegrown to Corporate Mergers. The Story of Legalization in B.C., with Philippe Lucas
Philippe Lucas, PhD has lived the history of cannabis. He started the first "compassion society" (for medical marijuana) in Victoria in 1999, and underwent some rough years before eventually selling it in 2009. (It was around, under different ownership, until 2019.) He was arrested, harassed, and spent years fighting a legal battle that he and his allies eventually won. Along the way, he became a drug researcher, receiving his PhD from Uvic, and more recently served as the V.P. of a major medical marijuana company. He has lived to see the decriminalization of a plant that he's spent his life defending, studying, and using, both recreationally and medicinally. In this insightful chat, Philippe discusses the successes and failures of legalization, the evolving cannabis culture in Victoria, and the growing corporate dominance of the industry. He also discusses the ways in which cannabis legalization has opened the doors to studying medicinal psychedelics. So join in and get all of your cannabis-related questions answered! 
June 23, 2021
Episode 18: The Future of Old-Growth Logging: What's Next? With Prof. Gary Bull and Torrance Coste
Matt and Jeremy are joined by two of B.C.'s leading thinkers on forestry -- Prof. Gary Bull of UBC's school of forestry, who focuses on the economics of the forestry sector, and Torrance Coste, the leader of the Wilderness Committee, an activist organization that advocates for an end to old-growth logging. In this expansive conversation, the guests look beyond the activism at Caycuse and Fairy Creek to ponder the future of forestry in B.C. Whether it's from policy change or the extinction of old growth, the logging of ancient trees will some day come to an end. So what comes next? Along the way, Prof. Bull and Torrance discuss Indigenous land rights, the ecosystem services provided by old trees, the challenges of shifting to ecotourism and value-added products, and the impact of that now-viral image of a giant log rolling down a Vancouver Island highway. Finally, Torrance shares some nervy experiences he's had as an activist working in and with forest-dependent communities. 
June 14, 2021
Episode 17: Economic Reconciliation and the Songhees First Nation's Future, with Christina Clarke and Murray Rankin
Matt and Jeremy welcome to the show Christina Clarke (CEO of the Songhees Development Corporation) and Hon. Murray Rankin (MLA and Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation) for a frank discussion about the past, present, and future of the Lekwungen-speaking peoples. The main theme of the conversation is "economic reconciliation," and specifically the hopes, vision, and aspirations that the Songhees First Nation has established for an equitable and prosperous future. The conversation includes illuminating discussions on the removal of the John A. MacDonald statue from Victoria's city hall, the role of local governments in pursuing reconciliation, Indigenous tourism (including the Songhees' Martine Trails program), the potential for Lekwungen language instruction, and much more. 
May 25, 2021
Episode 16: How Can We Revitalize Downtown Victoria? Roundtable Chat with Franc D'Ambrosio and Everest MacDonald
How can we revitalize downtown Victoria and add to its built environment and design? In this episode, Matt and Jeremy welcome two of the leading architects and designers in Victoria to the podcast -- Franc D'Ambrosio of DAU and Everest MacDonald of Elevate Design Studio -- to discuss the following questions: 1) If you could change three things about the built environment or design of downtown Victoria, what would they be? And 2) What is one thing about downtown Victoria that you would *not* want to change? Matt and Jeremy add their ideas to the mix for an engaging and surprising roundtable discussion.  Here's a short summary of the ideas discussed:  Franc: 1) New system of squares and plazas, 2) Expansion of bike lane network, 3) Enforcement of speed limits and bylaws. One thing not to change: The scale of the streets.  Everest: 1) New public square dedicated to grief and loss, 2) Integrate east and west sides of Wharf Street and create better access to water, 3) More public murals [added after recording!]. One thing not to change: Maintain the historical and mid-rise character of downtown Victoria. Matt: 1) Public spaces for kids including new building and rooftop playground in the parking lot below Bastion Square, 2) Municipally owned music venue, 3) Downtown dog park at Harris Green. One thing not to change: The historical, blue-collar, and Indigenous character of the city to ensure that Victoria is distinct as BC’s capital city. Jeremy: 1) World-class waterfront building to house The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and the Maritime Museum of BC, 2) New aquarium and aquatic research centre, 3) Government street shut to traffic for pedestrian zone, patios, and food trucks. One thing not to change: The character of the Songhees Walkway. 
May 14, 2021
Episode 15: The Future of the Maritime Museum
The Maritime Museum of B.C. is in a time of transition. In 2015, it was forced to vacate the structurally unsound building that it once occupied in Bastion Square. Since then, it has found a temporary home on Humboldt Street and nearly moved to Langford. Now, with a new board in place and a new vision, the Museum is looking for a permanent home in downtown Victoria. Matt and Jeremy welcome Jamie Webb (board president), Jelena Putnik (board member), and Brittany Vis (executive director) to the podcast for a frank and revealing discussion about cultural tourism, the role of museums in fostering reconciliation, attracting a new clientele to the museum, and how Victoria's downtown can evolve in the post-pandemic period. 
April 27, 2021
Episode 14: Bikelash? Talking Cycling, E-bikes, and Bike Lanes with Tig Cross and Corey Burger
Tig Cross is the founder and CEO of Elektrom LEV, an electric bike manufacturer based right here in in B.C. Corey Burger is the infrastructure and policy specialist at the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition, a well-established cycling advocacy organization that's successfully shaped policy in and around Victoria for years. The guests discuss a wide range of cycling-related topics: how e-bikes are shaping transportation infrastructure, the challenges of starting an e-bike business in BC, and why some people lose their minds when it comes to bike lanes ("bikelash"). 
April 12, 2021
Episode 13: Langford - Behind the Big Box Curtain. A Joint Podcast Venture with the Capital Daily. Panel: Matt Dell, Jeremy Caradonna, Arron Guillen, and Maleea Acker
Langford: Behind the Big Box Curtain. In this unique podcast experience, the Best Coast Political Podcast teams with the Capital Daily to bring listeners a revealing look at one of B.C.'s most beguiling towns: Langford. Recently voted the most liveable city in Canada (by an insurance website), it's often criticized for its endless sprawl, bland suburban geographies, and stagnant local government. How to square the circle? The expert panel includes Aaron Guillen (Capital Daily), Maleea Acker (Univ. of Victoria and Focus Magazine), and Jeremy Caradonna and Matt Dell (Best Coast Political Podcast). The panel takes on numerous topics in this long-form discussion, including the sketchy origins of Bear Mountain and its subsequent bankruptcy, the Danbrook One tower fiasco, the destruction of rare Garry Oak ecosystems in the area, the lack of urban planning, perceived conflicts of interest between industry and local politicians, and the secretive, closed-door nature of local governance. Mayor Stew Young has been in power for nearly 30 years, ever since the town incorporated in the early 90s, and there has been little turnover on city council over the years. Does Langford have a 'democracy deficit'? And where does it go from here?
April 06, 2021
Episode 12: Talking Mental Health and Psych Emergency Services with Emma Epp and Ella Hale
Join Matt and Jeremy for their discussion with youth mental health advocates, Emma Epp and Emma Hale. The have received widespread media attention for their campaign to raise awareness about and bring change to Royal Jubilee's Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES). On the social media platforms that they run, numerous former patients have shared their stories and raised concerns about the quality of care at PES. Epp and Hale have met with the leadership at Royal Jubilee, the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and even the Premier. In this long-form discussion, the two advocates discuss the genesis of the campaign, the need to improve mental health resources in BC, and what they hope to achieve by going public. 
April 01, 2021
Episode 11: Talking Daycare Challenges in B.C. with Minister of State for Child Care, Katrina Chen
Matt and Jeremy welcome to the podcast the Honourable Minister of State for Child Care, Katrina Chen, to talk $10/day daycare, early childhood education, and the long-standing challenges that British Columbians have faced in finding affordable, accessible child care. Matt and Jeremy solicited questions ahead of time from listeners and were able to get many questions answered from the Minister. 
March 21, 2021
Episode 10: City Councillor Jeremy Loveday on climate action, right to repair, and circular economy
Matt and Jeremy welcome Victoria city councillor Jeremy Loveday to the podcast to talk climate action and the circular economy. Victoria, as with so many municipalities in BC, is trying to leverage its powers to move away from the take-make-waste model of industrial production and consumption and shift towards a "circular economy," where buildings are designed for disassembly, gadgets are repairable, and waste is reduced or eliminated. The hosts also discuss Jeremy Loveday's other career -- poetry -- and how the pandemic has allowed him to rediscover his craft. The outro music was written by host Jeremy and his 10-year-old daughter Mia, in her debut performance. 
March 08, 2021
Episode 9: Facial Recognition Software in BC, with Guest Mike Larsen
Join hosts Matt and Jeremy as they welcome Mike Larsen for a discussion on the terrifying realities of facial recognition software. Mike Larsen is the Director of BC FIPA -- the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association -- and a professor of criminology at Kwantlen University. The hosts and Mike discuss the moral, legal, and philosophical dimensions of this emerging technology, and discuss the recent revelation that Clearview AI has been leasing facial recognition software to the RCMP and local police departments across the US and Canada. Just this month, privacy commissioners in BC and Ottawa weighed in on the legality of such technologies. Is privacy gone in Canada? Are we living in a dystopia? Should police be allowed to use such technologies? What can local, provincial, and federal governments be doing to retain a modicum of personal liberties in the age of Big Tech? 
February 22, 2021
Episode 8: Does Victoria Need More Skyscrapers, with Guest Ian Sutherland of the Downtown Residents Association
Does Victoria need skyscrapers to densify? Matt and Jeremy are joined by Ian Sutherland of the Downtown Residents Association to discuss this very topic. The conversation largely centres on a proposed development in Harris Green by Starlight Developments. Starlight has purchased the Market on Yates property and the car lot to the east of Vancouver Street and plans a development of five skyscrapers, one of which would become the tallest building in Victoria (32 stories). Plus, Jeremy discusses his phantasmagoric post-pandemic party idea. 
February 08, 2021
Episode 7: Victoria's Visual Arts Scene, with Jon Tupper and Charles Campbell
Should the art gallery move to a new centre downtown? Are traditional art galleries still relevant in the era of Indigenous reconciliation? Guests Jon Tupper (Director of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria) and Charles Campbell (prominent local artist) discuss these thorny topics and consider the impact that the pandemic and Black Lives Matter have had on Victoria's art scene. Tupper provides an update on the search for a new home for the gallery, and Campbell calls for an Indigenous-run art space in Victoria: "To contend with [our history, through art] is globally important." 
January 25, 2021
Episode 6: What is 'Old Victoria' and is it Worth Saving?
Episode 6: What is Old Victoria and is it Worth Saving? Heritage, Housing, and the Competing Interests of Development Matt and Jeremy welcome Luke Mari and Pam Madoff to the podcast. Luke is a partner in Aryze Developments, one of the largest and most prominent development companies in the city. Pam is the chair of Victoria's Heritage Advisory Panel and was a long-time member of Victoria's City Council. The topic of the day is 'Old Victoria' -- what is it, what's left of it, and is it worth preserving. How does Victoria preserve its heritage character while also modernizing and densifying? Plus, Luke discusses the thinking behind the floating dock that Aryze surreptitiously placed in the Gorge waterway last year. 
January 11, 2021
Episode 5 -- By-election Recap and Deep Dive on the Crisis of the Local Music Industry, with Guests Renne Leighann and Neil Cook-Dallin
Matt and Jeremy first recap the second incarnation of the 2020 Victoria City Council By-Election, where Stephen Andrew handily beat the competition. Does his victory portend a swing of the political pendulum back towards centre? And is Together Victoria 'over'? The once-feared municipal party showed its susceptibility to loss, despite its large pool of volunteers and donors. The core of the episode is dedicated to a discussion of the local music industry. Renee Leighann (former owner of the Copper Owl) and Neil Cook-Dallin (a producer, engineer, and musician) dissect the state of local music in Victoria. The pandemic has, sadly, killed off numerous local music venues. Renee and Neil explain the long-term challenges for musicians, venue-operators, and music-goers alike.  
December 15, 2020
Episode 4: Preview of Victoria City Council By-Election (Dec. 12th)
Matt and Jeremy welcome Todd Litman and Travis Paterson to the show for a discussion of the upcoming Victoria city council by-election and a  look at the issues most pressing to Victoria voters. Todd is a consultant and researcher who runs Cities for Everyone and the Victoria Transport Policy Institute and Travis is a local journalist with the Oak Bay News. The guests discuss the candidates and their positions on key issues, and dive deep on affordable housing, homelessness, the pandemic, police funding, and the perceived shortcomings of Victoria's political culture. The panel notes that former hot-button issues -- including bike lanes and the Crystal Pool -- seem to have fallen by the wayside. 
November 30, 2020
Episode 3: Should the Greens and the NDP Merge?
Matt and Jeremy plumb the depths of everyone's favourite cocktail party question: Should the Greens and the NDP merge into a single eco-social party, or at least organize some sort of electoral collaboration? It's a question frequently discussed in progressive circles, and it seems every year the CBC runs an article on the topic. The hosts welcome Ed Pullman (long-time NDP activist and campaigner) and Rita Fromholt (chair of the local Green Party chapter) to the show for a fun discussion on a serious topic. The panel ponders the idea at both the provincial and federal levels. What would the parties gain or lose? Would voters and party members see the value? And why is it that right-leaning parties seem to have fewer qualms about merging? 
November 16, 2020
Episode 2 -- Homelessness in Victoria, with Councillor Sarah Potts and Filmmaker Krista Loughton
Join Jeremy and Matt as they welcome Councillor Sarah Potts and filmmaker Krista Loughton to the podcast to discuss Victoria’s most pressing social issue: homelessness. The pandemic forced shelters to close, pushing hundreds of unhoused citizens into area parks, and setting off a firestorm of controversy. Councillor Potts talks about the challenges faced by the city, but also the glimmer of hope offered by the arrival of affordable-housing funds from provincial and federal governments. Krista discusses her film, “Us and Them,” and her new Victoria-based project, and gives insight about the innovative work being done by the North Park Neighbourhood Association to work with -- rather than against -- the campers at Central Park.
November 02, 2020
Episode 1 -- Introductions, Richard Zussman, and what the Snap Election Means for the South Island
Join the Best Coast Political Podcast for its inaugural episode! Hosts Jeremy Caradonna and Matt Dell interview each other before bringing on journalist Richard Zussman to talk about the snap election in BC and what it means for the ridings in and around Victoria. 
October 18, 2020
DEMO episode
Just a demo
October 17, 2020