What a busy summer! As you know by now, Christy Clark stepped down as leader of the BC Liberal Party early in the summer. We thank her for her years of service to our Province, and our caucus.
I was honoured to be appointed the Official Opposition Critic for the new Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions by new Interim Leader, Rich Coleman. In both my role as Parliamentary Secretary for Child Mental Health and Anti-Bullying and Chair of the Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth, I saw this issue first-hand, and it is very near and dear to my heart.
As Chair of the Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth, I led a two year special project on mental health, culminating in an Interim Report (November 2014), and a Final Report (January 2016), titled “Concrete Actions for Systemic Change.”
It was one of the most comprehensive reports on child and youth mental health in B.C., and I’m proud many of the recommendations were subsequently adopted by our government. In fact, one of the key recommendations in the report no doubt led to this new Ministry in the new government.
However, our experienced B.C. Liberal team is ready to hold this new government to account. I’m up for the challenge and look forward to our fall sitting in the legislature. As you’ll see later in the report, I have been meeting with experts in the fields of health, addiction, recovery, and mental health, to better understand the opioid crisis and to find what are best practices both in prevention, treatment and recovery of mental health and addictions.
Meetings in my Role as Opposition Critic for Mental Health and Addictions
I had a very informative meeting and facility tour on August 23 with Marshall Smith from the Cedars Society talking about the state of addiction recovery services in BC. Great hearing from experts and those with lived experience in the field about what more needs to be done to help those in recovery.
On August 24 I had two meetings. First, I met with new Canadian Mental Health Association North & West Vancouver Branch Executive Director, Julia Kaisla. We talked about intervention and reaching youth with mental health challenges early and getting them the help when they need it.
Second, I met with North Shore Medical Health Officer Dr. Mark Lysyshyn. We discussed extensively the opioid crisis and mental health. Dr. Lysyshyn made an interesting connection about how many young kids arrive to school ready to read and write, but aren’t prepared for the social challenges that come with attending school for the first time, and yes even on the North Shore.
Informative meeting with Abbotsford Chief Constable Bob Rich on August 30. We spoke about his recent report on the Opioid Crisis, ‘The Case for Prevention’, and the importance of bringing preventative strategies into the school curriculum at an earlier age for children. We also spoke about increasing services for treatment on demand and follow up for those who have overdosed or are addicted and want assistance.
I had the chance to sit down with Janice Lilley (President) and Nancy Ford (Executive Director) from the North Shore Schizophrenia Society to talk about the wide variety of services they offer and how they are expanding across the Lower Mainland. We dove deep into discussing the current gaps in the system for those with mental illness.
Great meeting with Tanis Evans & Shannon McCarthy from Vancouver Coastal Health. Tanis is the Manager for the Carlile Youth Concurrent Disorders Centre and the (soon-to-be-opened!) Foundry North Shore and Shannon is the new Director of Mental Health and Substance Use. Lots to discuss, highlighting that early intervention, assessment, and treatment is key.
Always nice to catch up with Keli Anderson, President and CEO at Familysmart. Their organization is leading the way in improving child and youth mental health in BC and Canada, and helping families navigate complex programs and services at all levels.
Events in our Community
It was a pleasure to join colleagues, local organizations, and the community at large, at the Opening Ceremony for Phase 2 of the Seymour River Rockslide Mitigation Project on July 6th. Thank you to the Seymour Salmonid Society for all their work in helping to get this project up and running. A lot of progress has been made in a short time, and I look forward to continued collaboration moving forward.
I had fun joining Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland on July 8 for their 6-hour Yogathon at Haywood Park on July 8. The Yogathon Fundraiser helps raise money for their mentoring programs.
I joined many onlookers at Whey-Ah-Wichen/Cates Park watching First Nations paddling teams of all ages compete in traditional war canoe races hosted by the Tseil-Waututh Nation on July 8.
As part of Canada’s 150th birthday, the Lynn Valley Services Society hosted a Community Heritage Fair on Saturday, July 15th. It was a great day where there were many historical games and lots of local history to be discovered! I had the enviable task of cutting the cake with Celeste Whittaker, Operations Manager Mollie Nye House.
Every year I co-sponsor the Lynn Valley Concert Live&Local bands. On July 21, I co-sponsored the band Terminal Station and welcomed everyone to Lynn Valley Village!
It was a pleasure celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Caribbean Days Festival on July 29. Great to see so many people out and thank you to the Trinidad and Tobago Cultural Society of BC for organizing one of the largest Caribbean festivals in the province.
Had a fabulous time catching up with BC Film industry friends at the Honda Celebration of Lights Fireworks featuring Japan on July 29th. Encore Vancouver hosted a great party that everyone enjoyed. What a fantastic evening celebrating our beautiful city’s entertainment! Thank you Suzanne Thompson for inviting me.
Prance on the Pier was the first annual pride event on the North Shore celebrating pride week on August 2nd. Here I am with the folks from Family Services of the North Shore learning about community service programs to help LGBTQ youth and their families on the North Shore.
I always march in the annual Vancouver Pride Parade. This year I was honoured to join the Foundation of Hope who helps LGBTQ refugees fleeing from countries where people are persecuted for their sexual orientation.
Wow! That was a fantastic film! “I Dream in Another Language” opened the 29th Vancouver Queer Film Festival. Such a profound story of love and acceptance-eventually. In English, Spanish, and a rare Indigenous language. Thank you to Out on Screen for inviting me.
A very informative “Summer Social at Sea” hosted by the North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Port of Vancouver. The Port of Metro Vancouver is Canada’s largest and most diversified port in North America, and North Vancouver is the second largest within Metro Vancouver. The Port facilitates trade with more than 160 global trading economies and handles approximately 135 million tonnes of cargo, worth $184 billion, each year. For example, Neptune Terminals, located in North Vancouver, is North America’s largest multi-product bulk terminal, handling metallurgic (steel-making) coal, potash, and phosphate rock.
Thank you to the Capilano University Student Union for hosting their annual government relations luncheon on August 25. Wonderful meeting with the new executive members talking about student housing and transportation.
The Seymour Salmonid Society held their Open House on August 27 while also celebrating their 30th anniversary. Many people came out to learn about the Seymour River and the salmon that call it home, including Terry Beech, MP. It was a very informative and fun afternoon touring the hatchery. Here we are with Shaun Hollingsworth, President of the Seymour Salmonid Society.
The weather was truly beautiful for this year’s Deep Cove Daze on August 27! Great seeing so many people come out and enjoy live music, local artists, and booths. In addition, I sponsored the Children’s stage where there were activities for kids all day, including a balloon artist!
Disco’s Back!!! Really neat to attend Angela Kelman ‘s Mirrorball Album release party At Two Lions Public House on August 30. Lots of local support for a great local singer, songwriter, recording artist and vocal coach. She gave a huge shout out to Creative BC for assisting her and other local artists!
September 1 was move-in day for Capilano University students at their brand new residence on Dollarton Highway! It was great to be able to greet students as they moved into their dorms.
On September 3, I attended the 5th Annual Polish Festival and met with Polish-Canadians who brought us lively dancing, entertainment, and appreciation of their culture. Here I am with Consul General of the Republic of Poland, Marcin Trzcinski, and President of the Canadian Polish Congress – Vancouver Branch, Iwona Swiatczak.
On July 12, I was fortunate to get an update on the work of the Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Collaborative by the Project Director, Val Tregillus. I’m so pleased with how their work has helped to show how Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) can influence physical and mental health across generations and that treatments are beginning to be implemented province-wide. I connected Val with friend and North Vancouver author, Mary Tasi, who has written two books, Hidden Journals and Spirit Memory (http://spiritualauthorscircle.com/mary-tasi/), which discuss the personal impact of ACEs. This is a field that is relatively new to science and I’m sure will be life-changing for many people and families.
On July 17 I had my first meeting after the provincial election with Terry Beech, MP for Burnaby North – Seymour. We discussed transit options for North Vancouver that focus on the East of Seymour area leading out to Deep Cove. We also talked about several environmental initiatives that we can both work together on moving forward.
Great to have Sarah Bainbridge from Cheakamus Centre (North Vancouver Outdoor School) in my office on July 21 to talk about their exciting plans to renovate their facilities and transformation to an enterprising not-for-profit. When I was on the North Vancouver School District Board of Education, the decision was made to modernize the environmental learning centre to increase their educational, tourism, and corporate business opportunities. Plus, all three of my children attended Outdoor School and my youngest was a counsellor.
I had a very good meeting on August 2nd with Capilano University’s President Paul Dangerfield. We discussed, among other things, housing for students, transit, and the University’s vision for the future. Capilano University has a new vision and excitement on campus!
Thank you to Western Stevedoring for updating MP Jonathan Wilkinson and me on the Lynnterm Expansion Project.
War for the Planet of the Apes spent over $81 million in the province, $45 million of which went to local crew, cast and extras. Another great BC Film success story that is getting great critical reviews. Our local film industry has the best talent, labour, and locations, in the world!