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Even Warren Buffet is saying, “Tax me!”  So why do we think that people living in Vancouver can survive on $610 per month?   In the most expensive City to live in North America (2013)  singles on welfare get only $610.

It is 10 years since Raise the Rates was established (and joined CCEC), but we would prefer that there was no need for them to exist. If only our politicians would buy-in to a living wage for all residents, and agree that it is not acceptable that BC has had the highest child poverty rate in Canada.   800,000 British Columbians are living in poverty, and that 1 in 8 people are food insecure.  Did you know that the poverty line in BC is around $1,500 a month?

Poverty is a political choice. We can afford to abolish poverty.  We are the only province that doesn’t have a Poverty Reduction Strategy.  Two recent polls showed that 78% of people in BC want a poverty reduction plan and the most important issue is poverty, housing, and homelessness.  More British Columbians are having difficulty dealing with the increasing cost of living, and are compromising on our food choices as our real incomes have stagnated.(BIV Insights West BC Gov’t Report Card, May 2016).  And, we know that hunger is a result of poverty.  Are you surprised that at least half of the new Canadians (Syrian refugees), are using the Food Bank? 

Basic welfare has been frozen at $610 a month since April 2007.  Bill Hopwood, Organizer and Activist with Raise the Rates says, “Nine years ago, you could rent a crummy SRO in the Downtown Eastside for $375 a month, now the average cheapest rent is $517.  Rents for the worst housing has increased $142 in 9 years, but no increase in welfare.  After rent and other necessities, a person on welfare has $93 left each month to pay for food, clothing, hygiene, a phone and transit which means $10 a week for food.  The cost of living index has gone up 15%.”  At the recent Vancouver Food Summit held at Gordon Neighbourhood House, the panel on Poverty: What can food policy do?  unanimously agreed that the Welfare Food Challenge, the annual event for Raise the Rates is impossible.  You simply cannot eat a healthy diet living on welfare.  In 2015, Kathy Romses, Dietician and Challenge Participant commented, “Social isolation was a challenge as meals with family and friends or meetings at the coffee shop were not an option.  Trying to guard limited food doesn’t help build or maintain relationships with friends and family.”

For people with disabilities the government announced the first increase in 9 years on the rate of $906 – up by $77.  That is not even half of what is needed to keep pace with inflation.  BUT, they stole most of it back.  They scrapped the free bus pass and now people have to pay $52 a month for the pass so the increase is only $25 a month.  Compare BC with Alberta’s rate at $1,588 a month.

Poverty is a political choice.The government makes it as difficult as possible to even claim welfare - watch the video -

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while being extra generous to very rich.  Last year the government gave $227 million in tax cuts to the richest people in BC on top of the $billions they have already received in tax handouts. The minimum wage was increased by 20 cents an hour and no increase in welfare.  Bill says, “The government chooses to feed the rich by starving workers and the poor.” 

One of the biggest challenges facing Raise the Rates according to Bill is keeping their activists confident when they see the abject failure of politicians to take seriously raising welfare rates.  Everyone in BC should live above the poverty line – we can afford it, it would make BC a much healthier place and in the medium term save money. Read the report from Policy Alternatives on the Cost of Poverty.  How can politicians support policies that keep people in poverty?  Yet, Bill say, “Can you tell me a politician who is advocating for welfare of $1,500 a month?”

Movements make change and we have to build public support to push politicians to act.  Welfare Rates need to be Raised.  Raise the Rates will continue to campaign.

JUSTICE not CHARITY.  WE need a HAND UP not a HAND OUT.  Isn’t it time we took a stand?  2017 is a Provincial election year.  Get involved.  Make your vote count.  

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Say NO to Kinder Morgan.

The National Energy Board has approved the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline with numerous conditions.  “It was always likely to be approved.  But we know this megaproject is not in the economic and social interests of our members” says Helesia Luke, CCEC Board Member.  Vancouver Mayor Robertson says, “NEB pipeline process a 'sham,' new Liberal plan not much better.”  Peter McCartney, Climate Campaigner with the Wilderness Committee says, “The NEB has ignored and wasted the time of countless communities, First Nations and individuals who have stood up to oppose this irresponsible pipeline proposal.” 

McCartney continues by saying, “British Columbians have made it crystal clear this pipeline is not welcome in our communities.  No new process is going to change the widespread Indigenous opposition, the unacceptable risk of a spill, the massive climate impacts or the shoddy economics of this project.”

You may recall that CCEC Credit Union was granted Intervenor status, the only financial institution to do so.  We held a public forum in June 2014, over concern that the NEB process was not open, accessible and objective.  We wanted to make the debate more public and complete.  Read the blog

We need everyone to turn out to the meetings in the coming months to show Ottawa and the rest of the country that when we say no – we mean it.  We also need to turn the heat up on our MPs in the Lower Mainland.  Write letters, call offices, show up at events.  Our representatives must put a stop to this! 

Speak Out Against Kinder Morgan!  Learn more – see the map posted by the Wilderness Committee of community and First Nation concerns, and a pledge form where you can find out details of the meetings as they become clear.

 

BACKGROUND:

Click the articles for more information:

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We all know the Georgia Viaducts are being removed.  But what happens to the traffic?  Many on Prior Street want the traffic rerouted.  What is the best option between Malkin Avenue or National Avenue to move the traffic in and out of the City? 

It is clear that Malkin should NOT be considered as it forces profitable businesses, this urban ‘produce row’ for food distribution, and their employees out of Vancouver.  Truck services to the 6 food wholesalers on Malkin cannot be handled on the street if it is to be a traffic artery.  This food hub is key to city residents, city institutions and hotels, cruise ships and more. It is a food security issue in the event of an earthquake. This is urgent!  Time is short as City staff are to release a draft plan to the public in June, produce a final plan in the summer, with the recommendation scheduled to go to council in the fall.

Click here to see the list of Councilors, their email addresses and phone numbers.  Email, phone and Tweet to get the Councilors to Vote NO to Malkin Avenue.

So, what’s at stake and what is the background? 

The issue has been under discussion for a few years.  Key considerations stated in the False Creek Flats Prior/Venables Replacement document to guide the decision include:

  • The impact on three community gardens: Cottonwood Community Garden, Strathcona Community Garden, and the Purple Thistle; and
  • The impact on ‘Produce Row’ where currently 6 of the City’s 9 produce wholesalers* are found along Malkin Avenue, representing approximately 450 local jobs.  These businesses combined receive approximately 4,000 truck deliveries a week, and often block traffic on Malkin while manoeuvering. 

* Including CCEC Member, Discovery Organics who recently relocated to Malkin Avenue.

Click here to read the Open House information boards

Randy Hopper, Co-Owner, Discovery Organics says, “If we are forced to move to the suburbs, this will likely increase fruit and vegetable prices by 3%, and other companies down here are suggesting 6% when the costs of new buildings and millions of dollars of new coolers are factored in.”  Currently, the Food Bank and Agencies serving food secure vulnerable populations in the City with community kitchens, community meals and food distribution programs will lose their capacity to pick up donated produce for use in their programs.”  He continues, “Vancouver will be one of the very, very few major cities in North America without a produce distribution centre in close proximity to the city core.  And, the independent, small local grocery stores and restaurants will lose their capacity to pick up daily from several suppliers in close proximity."

So, it make sense to NOT choose the Malkin Avenue option but to choose an option that minimizes impact to Cottonwood Community (and other community) Gardens; avoids impact to Produce Row; contributes most to the City’s Greenest City Action Plan; creates local green jobs; and builds our City’s capacity to be one of North America’s most robust local food economies.  A Tyee article in 2010 on creating a local food hub stated, “The distribution houses on Produce Row have, for over a century, done a great job of keeping Vancouver, and all points east, fed.”  It also quoted our new City Manager S. Johston as saying, "Over 25% of an individual's carbon footprint is related to food,"  He continued by acknowledging that, “the city recognizes the strong need for an urban distribution centre for local food.”

In 2103, Motions forwarded to Council from the Transportation and Environment Committee discussing the Dunsmuir and Georgia Viaducts that were unanimously approved by Council states:

THAT Council direct staff to incorporate…an urban agriculture "centre of excellence", including the potential for an "urban food" production centre with an expanded future garden system, through optimizing the existing assets in the area, which include: Strathcona and Cottonwood Gardens; and the key food warehousing and shipping infrastructure on Malkin Street.; and

THAT a guiding principle be modified to read:  to "maintain an efficient network of arterial streets essential for goods movement to support jobs and the economy.”

Recently, a Produce Row business sent a letter to his customers urging them to forward it to City Council.  In the letter, it says, “It’s very likely that several, if not all Produce Row businesses will be forced to relocate or close.  It will be an end to their history in the community and the jobs they provide.  This will also mean considerably reduced availability of produce for my business and my customers.  Food quality will decrease and food prices will rise due to longer transportation routes.  It also means fewer much-needed donations to nearby food banks in Vancouver, as the produce supply will be too far away to transport economically. Finally, it probably means the loss of potential economic synergies and job opportunities that could come from fostering the growth of a hub of food and food-related businesses in this area.”

Ian Marcuse, CCEC Member and the Grandview Woodland Food Connection Coordinator who has spoken at Council against the Malkin Avenue option says, "Our mandate to support healthy and equitable food access for the roughly 20% of individuals and households living in Grandview Woodland who are food insecure, is strongly supported by the Malkin Avenue food wholesalers from which we purchase quality produce for our Bulk Food Club.”  He continues by saying, “In fact, the only reason that we have been able to make this bulk food program affordable for the 60 or so households dependent on it, is due to the close proximity of these food warehouses.  The potential loss if these food wholesalers from the inner city and inevitable increase in cost for us if we have to travel much further to access food will have significant impact on our community members who are struggling". 

Councilor Geoff Meggs speak in support of protecting Produce Row and the importance of it for our food system, for people’s livelihoods and for small businesses across Vancouver. Despite this support, it is not enough.  With all the arguments against the Malkin Avenue option and direction from Council, why does it seem that city staff continue to push for it?  We urge CCEC Members to write to City Councilors and City staff working directly or indirectly on this to NOT choose Malkin Avenue. 

Click here to see the list of Councilors, their email addresses and phone numbers.  Email, phone and Tweet to have Councilors Vote NO to Malkin Avenue.

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Smarter.  Brighter.  Better.

CCEC is converting to a new banking system on JUNE 1, 2016.  There will be service interruptions from Tuesday, May 31 at 3pm to Wednesday, June 1 in the late afternoon.  If you have further questions, please visit our website for more information or phone 604.254.4100.

BE PREPARED

During this conversion period, if you have any questions concerning your account we encourage you to contact the branch through email info@ccec.bc.ca or by phone to 604.254.4100.

After conversion, if you have specific problem with your card or online access, please provide us with as much detail as possible about the issue, to assist us in tracking down the source of the issue.  Details would include the date and time, location (ATM or retail outlet), exactly what you were trying to do, and the exact error message.

Nothing is perfect and we ask you to check on your Future Bill Payments to confirm that bills were paid if they were scheduled during the conversion period.  Bill payments scheduled for June 1 will not be processed at the beginning of the day as usual, but will be processed in the afternoon, after the conversion is complete.

Q:  Why are we converting the banking system?

A:  We are converting to a new banking system to provide you with increased reliability and to increase our capacity to provide you with new services.  During the conversion, we will be doing everything we can to minimize any member impact; however, there will be some changes that will be necessary and important to note.  For updates, visit our website at www.ccec.bc.ca .

Q: When is this happening?  And, can I get money from an ATM, do online banking, and make purchases?

A:  We are converting to this new banking system from Tuesday, May 31 at 3pm to Wednesday, June 1 in the late afternoon.  

 

BE AWARE:
You can deposit cheques or cash in an ATM.
BUT,
the funds
deposited at ATM’s during this period will not be available for withdrawals.

 

Q: Will my cheques and pre-authorized debits and credits be cleared?

A: On Tuesday, May 31, we will process the clearing files as usual.  We anticipate we will next process the clearing file on June 1 in the afternoon, after our upgraded banking system is up and running.

If you have important transactions or special requests from May 31 to June 1, please get in touch with us ASAP so that we can address your concerns.

Q:  So, what can and can’t I do during this time?

A: See our Service Interruption At A Glance chart:

 

Telephone Support

Branch Banking

ATM & POS

Online, Mobile & Telephone Banking

Monday, May 30

 

Closed as usual

Available

Available

Tuesday, May 31 before 3pm

Business as usual for account and transaction processing up to 3pm.

Open 10am-3pm

Available

Available

Tuesday, May 31 after 3pm

We are available to answer questions until 5pm.

Closed

Limited. We cannot process transactions after 3pm.

Not Available. Transactions cannot be processed after 3pm.

Wednesday, June 1

We are available to answer questions from 10:00am to 5:00pm.

Closed

Limited. We cannot process transactions until late afternoon.

Not Available. Transactions cannot be processed until late afternoon.

Thursday, June 2

Open 10am-5pm business as usual

Open 10am-5pm business as usual

Available

Available

 

Q: What changes will I notice in the new banking system?

A:  We’ve listened. The new system reflects a few of your requests.  You will see more features and easier navigation.  The system will provide greater reliability and give us the capacity to add new services.

  • NEW in Online Banking: You can download account activity to a PDF file; and we’ve added the Recurring Bill Payments feature to save you time to pay the same amount on regularly scheduled bills.
  • NEW in Telephone Banking: The phone numbers will be changing.  The new number for local calls is 778-588-6811 and toll-free is 1 844-588-6811.  Listen carefully as the order on the menu options has also changed and we do not have a Loan Payment option.  Navigation is easier.  Changes include:
  • Press * to go back to the previous option;
  • Use * key for decimal point when entering amount of the bill.
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Dan Lewis, a grassroots protester who participated 20 years ago in one of the largest acts of civil disobedience in Canadian history, has started Clayoquot Action to address the areas’ new threats.  The area known as the “Last Great Rainforest” is threatened by a proposed open pit copper mine by Imperial Metals, salmon farms, and the risk of oil spills if pipelines are built from Alberta to BC. 

Dan moved to Tofino in 1991 to operate ocean kayak tours in an area he calls the best kayaking locale in BC.  However, he quickly realized he had to get involved in conservation efforts out of self-defense.  He says, “The places I loved to visit, the wildlife living there, and my own livelihood was being put at risk by transnational corporations.”  He adds that, “Through this work I met people like my current partner Bonny Glambeck who helped me understand the linkages between various forms of oppression—that racism and sexism are related to human’s destruction of the environment.”

Looking back at the Clayoquot Summer 1993, he says, “As a movement we learned that when many people come together and contribute their talents, time and money, great things can be accomplished.  Using feminist consensus process, we were able to create joint actions in which all participants had a sense of ownership.”  Fast forward 20 years and Clayoquot Action is taking a fresh approach working to protect biocultural diversity using research, education, and peaceful direct action.  The conservation group stands for indigenous rights, democratic rights, and the rights of Mother Earth. 

Dan says the conservation movement has changed.  He says, “It's hard to believe that we were able to organize the mass protests (12,000 people participated) by faxing posters to health food stores.”  He comments on the changes noting that social media has made it easier to communicate and organize; environmental threats are taken far more seriously with most people acknowledge that mining disasters and oil spills are bad, and that climate change is real.  He feels there was a real awakening of ecological consciousness in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, and it feels like such times are upon us again.

Clayoquot Sound is a household name because of past environmental battles, in particular environmentalists working in solidarity with First Nations.  The Nuuchahnulth nations have never surrendered their sovereignty, and still have the knowledge and ability to manage their territories.  Dan says that many people think Clayoquot was protected after the 1993 protests, but this is not true.  He believes that Clayoquot Sound is a symbol of hope.  Your support is needed to ban open pit mining to prevent a Mount-Polley-type disaster, and stop the pipelines to prevent the risk of an oil spill. 

Even if you never go to Tofino and Clayoquot Sound, we all have a responsibility to protect the environment and fight the transnational corporations from destroying our land.

If you find yourself in Tofino in July or August, check out Clayoquot Sound of Freedom,  every Tuesdays at 8pm.  Free admission. 

For more information and to lend your support: 

·         info@clayoquotaction.org
·         1-877-422-9453
·         http://clayoquotaction.org/

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