The Canadian Election has been announced to take place on 20th September 2021, this is a quick review of who is running in my own local area.
During A Pandemic?
There has been a great deal of talk about why the election is being held now, according to some Mr Trudeau promised there wouldn’t be held now and is only holding it since he is sure to win. Not sure whether that is true or not. Either way, it does appear this was unexpected and prospective candidates do appear to be slightly unprepared for this eventuality, so I do feel for them in a way. They are doing the best they can under the circumstances.
We live in the Surrey-Newton area of British Columbia. It is a diverse district but has many issues from crime to empty stores. At the time the election was announced there were no candidates in the area listed aside from the incumbent from the Liberal Party. As a Brit I find this a little odd that each party didn’t have representation here already.
My neighbours talk about Sukh Dhaliwal as being heavily supported by the local community but wasn’t sure what he’s achieved for the area.
Looking through his twitter account:
He has only mentioned climate change 3 times in 2021.
The last time he mentioned wildfires was back in 2016.
He has mentioned homeless once in 2021.
He has mentioned health many times in 2021.
He has mentioned COVID 9 times, pandemic sixteen times, and vaccine seventeen times, in 2021 (Note: some crossover where all phrases intermingled in one tweet)
He has only mentioned LGBTQ once in 2021 and throughout his time on twitter.
A good percentage of his tweets or retweets are at the federal rather than local perspective. Now and again, I am given a little insight what he is doing locally but not a great deal. This is the case in the US too.
Let’s have a look at his entry on the Liberal Party website:
Well, that’s not good! No platform for the local area but you can see a very brief resume about him.
The Conservative Party candidate for this area is Syed Mohsin. So, let’s see what we can find out about him.
First, I went to the Conservative Party website and saw their list of candidates. In the little container they have for him there are no links to any social media accounts. Not a good start. However, when I click on the “Learn More” link the site just times out, also, there is no security certificate on the domain either.
There is a Conservative Party website for our area, but it doesn’t list the candidate’s name.
So, I have nothing to go on to assess what this part will do for this area.
This one is looking more hopeful. The NDP candidate is Avneet Johal.
His resume looks good, hits some of the keywords I like such as “mental health”, “diversity”, “climate” & “jobs” etc.
When I go to the websites News section, it’s a little disappointing as the entries are from a federal rather than local perspective. There is nothing there which outlines his platform/manifesto for this area. The Events page is empty at the time I visited it. The Volunteer page has a picture of Jagmeet Singh, which is lovely, but it would be better to have Avneet’s picture there. He needs to fast track his campaign to beat the Liberal Party candidate.
Avneet doesn’t has a Twitter account, I can’t find one and none is listed on his NDP website. He appears more active on Facebook and Instagram but not everyone has those platforms, and he needs to be everywhere given that this might be a more social media/digital election.
Parveer Hundal is an Independent candidate running in this area.
Parveer is very articulate and sounds as she would be a great representative for Newton. She appears to be focused on crime, which is high in the Surrey, British Columbia, area. Looking through some keywords/subject specialties on her resume/outline I see “crime”. “youth”, “housing”, “mental health”, “overdose”, “health care reform”, “affordable education”, “diversity”. I don’t see mention of climate change or LGBTQ issues.
On her website she needs to link to any social media account she has and keep pushing the message out. She also needs to write a platform/manifesto and keep plugging away with more blog/news items.
While nothing to do with their policies the two most approachable candidates for me are Parveer Hundal and Avneet Johal. We need some young forward-thinking candidates who are great for the community and represent the youth who will be most affected by issues like climate change.
I would like to compare all the parties but there is little or no presence from the Conservatives, Green Party and PPC. I just don’t know what the Liberal Party candidate has achieved here or what his manifesto is. The candidate who has outlined their policies/vision the most is Parveer Hundal.
When I speak to neighbours they say the Liberal candidate will surely get back in, no one knows what he has done but since he has the support of the community, he’s bound to get the most votes. The Labour Party in the UK was overconfident, and they were slaughtered at the last election, this could be the case here. Trudeau is extremely unpopular here in my community, I suspect they’ll be looking for someone else. Either way, I wish all the candidates my best.
When I become a citizen I look forward to voting in the next election.
On 3rd August there was a major fire in the apartment block right opposite to our community here in Surrey, British Columbia.
We were having dinner at around 17:45 in the evening and started to hear a lot of commotion outside. Our apartment doesn’t face the street so we couldn’t tell exactly what was happening and kind of just went about our business as usual. Living surrounded by seniors it wasn’t unusual to hear emergency services coming and going anyhow.
It wasn’t until slightly later we realised the gravity of the situation. A major fire had started in the apartments across the street. The facade of the apartment affected looked just as it usually does. However, we did see water being sprayed on the back of it by a fire engine, the one of many emergency services that had arrived in the area. If there is anything going on I tend to stay away as I don’t want to be in the emergency services way and I felt incredibly sick for most of the day.
Later in the evening, the wind must have changed direction and blew the smoke over our community. It was a sweltering day but had to close all the windows because of the overwhelming smell. So, not only did I feel sick, but also hot and overwhelmed by the smell of the smoke. All these were minor issues compared with how events unfolded for the victims of the fire.
Although pending an investigation by the authorities the fire was reportedly started by an unattended BBQ. The structure of the building, especially the roof, made it difficult for the fire brigade to put out, who were on-site for two whole days. They left by Thursday morning when the area has been gated off and a 24/7 security guard posted to ensure looters, and such don’t attempt to enter the now abandoned property.
The local paper, The Surrey Now-Leader, has a good summary of what happened. On day 2 of the fire a YouTuber flew over our area with a drone to record what was happening at that point:
On the event of the fire the evacuees were led into our community by a team of volunteers including the Emergency Preparedness team. They were able to provide them with water, shade, toilets, comforting them and so on. One person was in distress after losing a pet in the fire. The media and other observers were also able to set up using our facilities. It’s great that all these people came together.
It’s very unfortunate that many of those will be unable to return to their home for some time to come. With the extent of the damage, it will take an exceptionally long time to fix what has been destroyed, I’m not even sure if the building must be torn down and rebuilt. I guess the coming weeks will have answers for those affected.
It’s tough to plan for such events but with potential flooding, wildfires, earthquakes, and other effects of climate change one must do what one can to ensure you can get back on your feet quickly after a disaster.
We’ve had hot spells in British Columbia before but nothing like this and it has been totally miserable for many people.
The small community in Lytton, British Columbia, is now on the international map for breaking the Canadian record for heat. On Monday 28 June 2021 the temperature went up to 47.5c, that is 117.5f. Even in our neighbourhood, we had a “feel like” temperature of 117f. [Source: Global BC]
It was reported that 25 people have died in a 24 hour period in the City of Burnaby due to the heat. [Source: CBC]
Emergency services have been affected as they can’t keep up with the demand of people falling sick due to the heat.
Schools and other services closed down, as a result, I am very pleased because it’s not right to put children or staff under such torture.
Moderate British Columbia
We are not used to the heat here in BC, we have a moderate climate and many complain when the temperature reaches 23c. It’s very difficult to manage temperatures into the 40s.
The majority of larger stores are set up with air conditioning. This is good otherwise their products will spoil and they won’t have any customers. Customers have to be comfortable while shopping. Smaller outlets are not equipped to handle the heat and even if restaurants have air conditioning it still creates an impossible kitchen environment for staff.
Very few homes are equipped with air conditioning so they survive on fans.
How Have We Coped?
It’s been an extremely tough couple of days. Every room in our place is about 30c and no air, it’s been impossible to deal with, I’ve felt very sick. The coolest parts of our place are our bathrooms, I actually tried to sleep on the toilet floor I was that desperate.
We can go down to the garage which is quite cool and have sat in the car to cool off. However, it is dark with no wifi/cell signal so there is little you can do to be productive. However, it is a moment of respite from the sickening heat.
Some neighbours have experienced hotter temperatures in their homes, I don’t know how they have coped, it’s very difficult to escape it. I’ve heard of acquaintances toothpaste and butter turn to liquid due to the heat.
We could go out to shopping malls but that means going out in the heat, having to wear masks that are uncomfortable during the heat, leaving the car to blister outside and difficult to return to.
Yesterday I couldn’t even turn my computer on, I was fearful that it would die in the heat. It’s a large desktop so there is nowhere I can move it to.
When Will It Get Better?
Today, Tuesday 29 June, the high is 34c, still very uncomfortably hot. There is no wind or air coming throughout the home to cool it down.
Tomorrow, Wednesday 30 June, the high is supposed to be slightly cooler at 28c. Not much lower but hopefully we can do things in the early morning/late evening. Hopefully, the days to come will mean lower temperatures so we can start to function as normal human beings.
Is this a one-off or can we expect more of the same during the year? Is this the shape of things to come for the future? I’ve heard different commentary from different resources, that it’s partly or wholly related to climate change. Clearly, this is a lesson learned and we can’t go through this discomfort again, everyone should review what they need to do to make life more comfortable for them in the future. We cannot have people die due to the heat. It’s too expensive for many people to have air conditioning installed so I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a requirement when people are buying properties in the future.
I have to say I’m not very happy about the direction in which the COVID pandemic is going here in British Columbia and Canada overall.
NOTE: This is an opinion piece and everyone should clarify COVID pandemic and vaccine facts/figures for themselves from their own sources.
So, the latest figures for yesterday weren’t very good. Since there is quite a large number of new infections I do question why this is happening. Is the province failing to tighten up to prevent these new cases or are people now just fed up and ignoring the rules? Maybe a mix of both? There was a downward trend in cases but in the past few days it’s going up again, stats for yesterday (3rd March):
New Cases = 542
New Deaths = 7
Hospitalized patients = 246 people, 64 in intensive care
I am troubled that the highest number of new cases always seems to be in my own area suggesting more work needs to be done here, but will it? Probably not.
I am also concerned by the mess of the vaccine rollout. Most of our friends and family in the US and UK have had their 1st dose and on the way for the 2nd one, some have had their 2nd dose already. It’s been tough to interpret what really is happening in Canada but this is the information I have gathered:
British Columbia has decided to increase the gap between the 1st and 2nd dose of the vaccine against the recommendation of the manufacturers. The UK gap is up to 12 weeks, BC has increased that to 17 weeks. Many freaked out. The Chief Science Officer of BC got concerned, the health department said she can’t comment because she wasn’t included in the decision-making process, but I want to why she wasn’t included as I think you would want buy-in from everyone especially the Science person. BC Health has been criticized before for not including others in the decision-making process, including teachers.
Canada failed to build facilities to produce the vaccine here, unlike the UK. It is building them now but this is useless for current needs, it will only be good for the next pandemic.
Canada procured its vaccines way too late.
Canada is a member of a vaccine pool, really meant for developing countries. Canada was the first to order from it.
500,000 vaccines arrived from India yesterday, however, that is controversial since India has only vaccinated 1% of its population.
Trudeau has ordered enough vaccines for 5 times the population which means it eats up the supply that may have gone to developing countries.
Canada is at the bottom of the league table among developed countries to roll out the vaccine.
There is likely to be diplomatic rifts later on due to its greed in procuring too many vaccines.
Regarding the 4 months/17 weeks gaps there have been some studies suggesting it is possible, one of those studies it quotes hasn’t been peer-reviewed yet. So, it appears that they are making these decisions based on Canada’s failure to procure enough vaccine for 1st and 2nd dosage inline with the manufacturers’ recommendation so it has no choice to go in this direction.
Most likely, vaccinating the whole BC population with dose 1 first is not a bad idea but leaving 17 weeks for the 2nd dose I think is a risk, I hope they know what they are doing, I have lost some faith in them somewhat.
I feel as fed up as other people about the whole situation.
There is good news for British Columbia, slowly but surely, with some possibility of lockdown rules being loosened up in the near future.
The statistics to date show:
Total Cases: 2,330
Total Recoveries: 1,659
Active Cases: 542
Total Deaths: 129
The number of new cases per day continues to decrease. 71% of people who caught the virus have recovered.
During the week we tuned in to hear British Columbia’s Restart Plan and it looked pretty impresive despite receiving the news that complete re-opening seems a long way off, understandable really. These are the slides they presented during the Press Conference:
I kind of feel stressed when I think of the other things happening in the world, such as:
Continuing failures by the Trump administration
The ping pong of insult throwing between the US and China
People in the US and UK ignoring physical distancing rules
We are currently celebrating the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE Day) where we think about the struggles people had during World War 1 and 2 then compare society’s reaction to a little bit of discomfort in the 2020’s.
Her Majesty The Queen delivered this speech for VE Day 75, many look to her during times like these:
I don’t really have much news, life has pretty much been going on as normal.
The weather has heated up a bit, today was 25c with tomorrow reaching 26c. Quite uncomfortable going for a long walk but nice to sit outside under the shade when having lunch.
Don made some masks for us and they look pretty fantastic. Picture to the right.
As usual we went out shopping on Friday, it does appear to be getting more crowded out there. Since we only needed a little we only went to T&T. We managed to pick up some medical masks, made in China, which we were very pleased about even though they were quite expensive at 50 for CAD$30.00. Store like T&T are requiring customers to wear masks and have their temperature checked at the door, which we thought was very good, just like they do in China. Very wise indeed.
All the talk of VE Day 75 made me feel homesick but I guess no one else can enjoy it much apart from indoors or in their gardens.
A neighbour made and posted a video of other members in our communities work on their gardens, it’s pretty nice around here, we are very lucky.
Since I enjoy Shreddies I thought I would pick up their new product called Shreddies Granola, here in Canada, to see what it was like.
In Canada, the Shreddies family has 4 different products; original, honey, banana bread and now granola. The honey and banana bread products don’t appeal to me at all so I was intrigued by the Granola one to see if I liked it. I didn’t.
The Shreddies in the box looked like the original we all know and love. Within the box were clusters, of varying sizes, of Granola chunks. The flavour of the granola tasted a little bit over the top, a little bit too false, and that had transferred onto the Shreddies themselves. I prefer my Shreddies with warm milk so maybe that spoiled the product, but I don’t think I was to eat any more. It was a good try though as the combination does sound interesting.
As long as they don’t mess with the original it’s no big deal as I will still continue to go along and enjoy that.
It looks as though the UK has a similar product to Shreddies Granola, they call it Shreddies Max as in much more protein, that is how they are marketing it. There are two “Max” products, one with and one without Canberries. They have released a video advert for it, below. Shreddies in the UK also has Frosted Shreddies which is my favourite, I’m sad they don’t have this in Canada.
UPDATE 18 May 2020
Since opening the box we had problems getting rid of the smell of this product, must be the sugar content. Very powerful.
Since I wrote the last time I’ve been mainly doing bits and pieces of work relating to a new client and a couple of existing ones. It’s kept me busy and I don’t think much of what is going on in the world.
This past Friday’s shopping trip seemed a little bit more stressful than usual. People seem to forget the social distancing so avoiding people coming any closer is becoming more troublesome, especially with seniors who may not understand what’s going on. We had to go to 2 stores with the Asian supermarket being the best and we ended up with everything we needed.
We noticed the gas/petrol prices are very low at the moment, this is the price per litre in our neighbourhood, see picture right. However, the prices in Calgary are almost half that since they don’t have to pay taxes on it, I believe.
Today is the first day we had wet and cold weather, however, we’ve been out every day for a walk to try and keep active.
We went for a drive down to White Rock, mainly to recharge our cars batteries. The traffic was busy on the way down there, like there was no outbreak, mainly around Surrey, British Columbia. However, down by the waterfront it was fairly quiet. Most of the shops were closed, the promenade was closed as was the pier. People were jogging in the middle of the road as though there hadn’t been any traffice for quite a few days.
In The News
Well, as I said I hadn’t been paying too much attention to it, it has been pretty miserable out there.
Not sure what is going on in the US, it seems madness with a minority wanting to go back to normal despite it being too early to do that. But, I guess that is what the US has always been like, needs of the few lunatics outweigh the health and safety of the many. I am just pleased I’m not down there. Some American’s are blaming China, making racist remarks, and even Missouri taking legal action against them. China is still providing aid to the US in the way of protective gear.
Sad to hear the passing of Tim Brooke-Taylor and Eddie Large, two British celebrities who died due to COVID-19 complications. There has been so many deaths, all equally sad, I hope they all continue to be honoured and their stories shared.
I like looking at data, as grim as it can be, and this is a snapshop I find particularly interest. I compare British Columbia (BC) and Colorado (CO) as the population sizes are very similar, unforunately the latter has it worse than we do. The data for the US keeps going up and up by the minute so it’s difficult to be accurate, but for a developed country they really aren’t doing well at all. Whereas Taiwan, has far few cases than either BC or CO and have a much larger population, they are a country not a State or province. Then, there is the UK, so many issues, especially with the supply of protective equipment, and such are large number of deaths.
So, it’s all very grim, but luckily I have plenty of distractions to keep me sane.
I’ve kept away from the news of late for a couple of reasons, there is way too much information out there with never ending opnions, everybody wants to tell each other what to do or their advice is the best, and I have too much work to do.
I’m currently involved in a website redesign project and in discussions with a new potential client, both great news for me. Also, I have tons of other projects, like many training training courses to start or finish, my own website redesign, and a book I want to complete as well.
As advised by health care professionals we are still stuck at home not able to go out so far. I guess that’s ok, everybody is in the same boat. Every Friday we go to the supermarket and we are finding Asian stores are more stocked up than others. Today, we went to T&T and bought a ton of goodies plus so to-go meals for tonight and another day or two. T&T are starting to do voluntary temperature checks, I like that idea very much so I partcipated, it’s important to protect store staff and other customers.
It’s good to see our neighbours make some noise in support of health care workers. I don’t think there are many in the profession in the area and no hospitals nearby but maybe they will put it online. This is the video I took:
In The News
Internationally it’s not good news at all. As I write this there are now 1,699,632 cases worldwide with 102,734 deaths, very sad news. The US reached over half a million cases today, bringing it to a total of 502,876, the highest in the world. The UK has a total of 73,758 cases with 8,958 deaths but their recovering figures appear to be non-existent or incorrect at 355; I really would have thought they would want to share some glimmer of good news. In total Canada has 22,148 cases and 569 deaths, obviously we have a lower population than US or UK but I would like to believe we are doing better than them. I think Canadians obey instructions given by health care officials and the government more than other countries. The US is in such a mess with such dreadful leadership and I really wouldn’t know where to begin in dissecting what is happening there.
I’ve done a comparison between the last data I displayed on this blog against today’s figures. We do seem to be in a better position than anyone else.
Obviously, there is no chance of any “stay at home” being lifted anytime soon. It’s coming up to the Easter weekend so they are warning people not to be tempted to go out. Seems some smaller communities in BC are seeing arrivals as they go on “holiday” and potentially bringing the virus to them.
As of today there 128 COVID-19 patients in hospital, including 65 in intensive care. I hope they will recover soon.
Health care officials says masks are a personal choice but the medical variety should be reserved for those in the profession.
Justin Trudeau said normality wouldn’t return until a vaccine is developed, who knows when that will be, if at all.
As I write this there are now 859,556 total cases in the world, that is known about. Also 42,332 deaths and, on the positive, 178,300 recoveries. Every time I look at the US numbers they appear to shoot up, maybe this is because they are finally ramping up their testing: 180,510 cases, 4,076 deaths and 7,109 recoverings. The UK appears to be the only country in the Top Ten that how a less recoveries than deaths: 25,481 cases, 1,793 deaths and 179 recoveries.
BC is not as hard hit as most places, but as I said before 1 person severely ill or 1 person dying is too much.
As expected, health officials are saying there is no chance of lifting social distancing before May.
19 long term Care Homes seem to be affected by the virus, which is very troubling
BC hasn’t really seen the peak of infections as yet
There are 4,171 bed available in BC, as elective surgeries have been cancelled, which is good, assuming that number isn’t breached.
28 Mar 20
31 Mar 20
New Cases Today
Monday we went to the supermarket, they were empty some items but picked up what we wanted more or less. We are doing ok. Neighbours have had some issues picking up eggs.
We had a neighbour who was on a cruise where many passengers caught COVID19. He continued to have respiratory symptoms after the virus left his system and unfortunately died from them. His wife and children are finally able to bring his body back to Canada. When they arrive home they will be quarantined in their home. What a traumatic experience.
I am coming up to doing my end of month reporting so I will be busy over the next couple of days.
Monday was wet, today has been fairly decent. We don’t go outside of our gated community, just walk around to get the blood circulating. We notice senior neighbours will get together and drink wine in the afternoon, outside their houses. They keep their distance from each other, most of the time, I don’t think I want to take the risk.
I should get into the flow of trying achieve more. I do feel the business world is on hold right now but I guess I could get into the flow of my rebranding myself.
Overall it doesn’t seem we are doing as badly as other places but it’s sad to hear about people dying fro this virus, 1 death is too many. Maybe people are adhering to the rules a bit more, I guess it takes a while for them to be drummed into people.
New Cases 28/3/20
It seems totally unbelievable that, as I write this, the US has 124,377 cases and the UK has 17,312 cases.
In Colorado, where we used to live, which has a very similar population to British Columbia, they have 1,740 cases. Colorado also has twice as many deaths as well.
The main news coming out of Canada is how they are instituting more rules about staying at home, altough some of them seem to be a little late. Being reactive seems a very similar trait among other countries as well. Like elsewhere, there is discussion around helping those who have been disadvantaged by the virus such as unemployment.
The Trump leadership in the US appears to going from bad to worse and I am quite concerned about my friends who live there, especially the vulnerable ones.
We went out on Friday 27th March to get a takeaway and some other essential food items. The restaurants we wanted to pick up from were closed until further notice. We did go into T&T supermarket for some asian essentials, they had quite a good stock in there, we were very pleased to pick up what we did, even dessert!
We are noticing people are starting to behave themselves a little better with the social distancing, or Phystical Distancing as they decided to call it now, from other people. The seniors were the worse due to being in denial of the situation.
We’ve been for our usual walks, to get some exercise in, ensuring we keep a distance from everyone and not touching anything as we enter/exit the building. I hurt my right foot so I have been stumbling when walking around.
I am continuing to work and learn new stuff from the online training courses I have signed up to.
The weather has been sunny until the past couple of days when it changed to be more rainy and cold.