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  Tuesday, June 30, 2020  

Special to The Voice

Published 11 am


COVID-19 devastates interior orchards

In some cases up to two-thirds in lost revenue

Glen Lucas, BCFJGA/Website image


BCFGA says interior orchards farmers faced increased costs and lack of labour.


More than 67 percent of farmers indicate they have reduced fruit production as a result of uncertainties and risks created by COVID-19, according to a member survey from the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association (BCFGA).
The survey paints a stark picture of the devastating impacts of the pandemic on an already struggling fruit industry, and the real threat to food security in B.C. as producers are forced to cut crops to stay afloat.  

“We knew things would be bad coming into the growing season this year, but these numbers are extremely troubling even to those of us in the industry,” said Pinder Dhaliwal, president of the BCFGA. “These numbers should worry anyone concerned about where their food will be coming from this fall, and how much it’s going to cost.” 
The fruit industry was already facing stiff headwinds entering the 2020 growing season.


For example, apple prices have been so depressed for three years running that the cost to produce has actually been higher than the price farmers receive for their crops.  

The BCFGA survey demonstrates that the COVID-19 pandemic now has producers facing additional costs and labour shortages this year that will magnify an already weak financial picture.

• Four in five (81%) say they are concerned about being able to cover the additional costs associated with following all COVID-related public health guidelines
• Seven in eight (87%) are concerned they will not have enough hired labour to bring in their crops

“What is important to recognize is this pandemic has really highlighted the tenuous state of the whole agriculture sector in BC,” said Glen Lucas, general manager of the BCFGA. “If we don’t start to address some of the structural issues in our industry, food security and the food supply chain are at the mercy of whatever the next natural disaster is to come along.”

The BCFGA appreciates previous actions and financial supports provided by the Canadian and B.C. governments – including COVID-related emergency measures as well as ongoing agriculture industry risk management programs. But many challenges remain both in terms of increased costs and securing adequate amounts of labour.

BC's interior tree fruit industry represents 800 growers operating orchards that generate $118 million in wholesale revenue and contribute $776 million in economic activity.


  Tuesday, June 30, 2020  

Published 11 am


Long-term care facilities visitor restrictions ease

Province announces plans to reopen homes starting in July and into August

BC Gov't caucus/Voice file photo


Long-term care homes will begin to open once again to visitors beginning July 1.


The Province is investing in a suite of initiatives to protect long-term care and seniors’ assisted-living residents from COVID-19, as facilities begin allowing visitors.


“British Columbians flattened the curve through individual actions and a commitment to look out for each other – our families, friends and neighbours,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “That commitment has come with many sacrifices, especially from our seniors and Elders who have been separated from their loved ones. That’s why throughout this pandemic, we are have sought to continually improve our long-term care and seniors’ assisted living operations, to make them safer for residents and those who care for them. Each of us must continue to be completely committed to combatting this virus for these historic investments to be effective.”


Residents will begin to be able to have a single designated visitor in a specific visiting area. This approach will be monitored through July, with an aim to expand it in August.


Updated provincial requirements will ease the current visitor restrictions for long-term care homes and seniors’ assisted living residences with clear guidance on required precautions. Each facility must develop written plans outlining how they will meet the requirements.

Visitation requirements for long-term care home and seniors’ assisted living facilities include:

• Visitation in individual facilities can resume once they have their required written safety plan in place.
• Once in place, residents will be able to have one designated visitor in appropriate designated spaces.
• Designated spaces will include outdoor or indoor locations; and all visitors must bring and appropriately wear masks.

Essential visitor restrictions remain in place for other health-care settings.

In addition, personal service providers, including hairdressers, will be able to come into long-term care and seniors’ assisted living facilities if they have completed a WorkSafeBC safety plan.



  Saturday June 27, 2020  

Special to The Voice

Published 1:30 pm


Sounds of Canada Day

Surrey City Orchestra perform the National Anthem

Gregory Farrugia/Web images


Here you can see Conductor Stuart Martin lead his orchestra from behind the camera.

In a time where live performances are rare, artists are turning to virtual concert spaces to connect with fellow musicians and make some music. COVID-19 has devastated the performing arts community, and with large concerts cancelled across the country, a local professional orchestra has come together to celebrate Canada Day.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of our national anthem, and members of the Surrey City Orchestra (SCO) have assembled, from a distance, to perform their rendition of O Canada. With a special appearance with MP for Surrey Centre, Randeep Sarai, a total of 28 members of the SCO recorded their audio and video which was stitched together ahead of the Canada Day celebrations.

The SCO’s rendition of O Canada can be seen and heard here.

Learn how you can help support  SCO
• How the public can continue to support the performing arts community during the pandemic


Arrangement: Claude Lapalme

Recording and mixing: Garth Balint and Gregory Farrugia

Video: Samuel Fsajrjrugia




  Saturday June 27, 2020  

Published 8 am


Two early morning vehicle fires

Possible arson but unconfirmed in one

Staff/Voice photo


A vehicle fire which may have been arson.

Firefighters had to drag out the hoses twice in the early morning hours Wednesday to deal with a pair of vehicles fires. The first was approximately 2:30 am on Fraser Ave which could possibly have been electrical in nature and the second fire of a late model vehicle was on Cleveland St which appeared to be arson but that hasn't been confirmed. RCMP were later canvassing the neighbourhorod.



  Saturday June 27, 2020  

Published 8 am


There's no place like home

Task force identifies an army of homeless

FVRD/Handout images


An example of tiny homes that are made locally that are pulled by bicycle.

There are 895 homeless individuals in the Fraser Valley, that according to final results from a survey released Wednesday to the board of directors of the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD). This number is a significant increase from 2017 when the count revealed 606 homeless individuals throughout the region living in shelters, transition houses, service centres and outside. Where previous surveys in 2011 and 2014 showed improvements in several communities, the rapid increase between 2014 and 2017 and continuing increases into 2020 is concerning.

The Homeless Count is conducted every three years and provides a moment-in-time snapshot of homelessness. Over 24 hours on March 3, 2020, over 100 agency staff and volunteers fanned out across the region and conducted one-on-one interviews with people living on the streets and in by-ways. A similar count was conducted in Metro Vancouver during the same period.

“This information is extremely valuable, especially as we are faced with the added pressures related to COVID-19,” said Board Chair Jason Lum. “Using this data, service providers and all levels of government will be better positioned to address the challenge of homelessness in our communities.”

Overall, there has been an increase in shelter space in recent years. Where 225 persons stayed in an official shelter on the night of the 2017 count, 381 persons were living sheltered in 2020, a 70% increase. However, the number of persons living outside or in a car, van or camper, also increased, from 201 persons in 2017 to 385 persons in 2020, a 91% increase.



  Friday June 26, 2020  

Special to Voice readers

Published 10:30 am


House fires: Prevent and prepare

Extensive safety tips manual a must-have for everyone

Robert Dekanski, Remax/Handout images


The manual is a free download and available to read online.

In 2017, one home fire occurred every 88 seconds in the United States, and about half of the insurance claims relating to fire were made by homeowners. That same year, 77% of all fire-related deaths occurred in the home. In Canada, 19,062 structural fires were reported in 2014. Around 75% of those fires were residential.

The power of fire should not be underestimated. When a fire occurs, occupants may have as little as 2 to 3 minutes to get out of the house before it's too late. Home fires can reach temperatures of 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit (760 degrees Celsius). When a flashover fire occurs, windows shatter, oxygen is sucked from the room, and thick, toxic smoke fills the air. Given this, it's obvious why fires are so deadly.

Understanding how to prevent house fires, and knowing how to stay safe in the event of a fire is something every property owner, head of household or parent should consider.

Read the comprehensive manual here from The New Jersey Real Estate Market.



  Friday June 26, 2020  

Special to Voice readers

Published 10 am


Lifeguard more than just an app

Tested for two years with first responders, the community is urged to use it

Dan McIntosh, Fraser Health/Website image


The app is a free download.


To help save more lives and ensure people who use drugs alone have access to the supports they need, the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA), in partnership with regional health authorities and Lifeguard Digital Health, is launching a new made-in-B.C. resource called the Lifeguard App.

“The launch of this new resource couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “As we face down two public health emergencies – the overdose crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic – we must ensure that people who use drugs have the resources they need, when and where they need them. Knowing that the majority of people who use drugs use alone in shelters, hotels, or at home, in addition to the challenges of physical distancing, the Lifeguard App is a new and innovative approach that can directly link people to emergency responders if an overdose does occur.”

The app is activated by the user before they take their dose. After 50 seconds the app will sound an alarm. If the user doesn’t hit a button to stop the alarm, indicating they are fine, the alarm grows louder. After 75 seconds a text-to-voice call will go straight to 9-1-1, alerting emergency medical dispatchers of a potential overdose.

The Lifeguard App can be downloaded at both the Apple Store and Google Play.



  Friday June 26, 2020  

Special to Voice readers

Published 9 am


Benevolence at best

Surrey Cares tries to reach the lofty goal of $500k in donations for African COVID-19 relief

Christine Buttkus, Executive Director, SurreyCares Community Foundation/Website images



SurreyCares  Community Foundation today announced that it will fund the African Collective Covid-19 Project through African Stages and Africa-Canada Education Foundation. The $21,000 grant was made possible through the Government of Canada’s new $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund which saw over $900,000 allocated to SurreyCares.

The goal of the African Collective Covid-19 Project is to provide food hampers containing culturally appropriate foods as well as protective wear (face masks, gloves), and hygiene items (hand sanitizers) to underserved members of the African Descent community in Surrey.

“Due to the high cost of living in Metro Vancouver, many People of African Descent (PAD) experience economic, housing and food insecurity due to low incomes and barriers to employment.,” said Christine Buttkus, Executive Director of SurreyCares.


“Our goal at SurreyCares is to put the over $900,000 allocated to us to work supporting some of the more vulnerable members of our community.”

The federal program is a national partnership with Community Foundations of Canada, United Way Centraide Canada and the Canadian Red Cross. 

Individuals and businesses who wish to support Surrey charities are asked to give to the Surrey Community Relief Fund.



  Thursday June 25, 2020  

Published 3 am


Pedestrian hit on highway

Traffic east and west ground to a halt for hours

Staff/Voice photo


A Medevac Air Ambulance lifts off Wednesday with an injured person who was struck by a vehicle while trying the Trans-Canada on foot.


First responders were called to the Trans-Canada Highway at 11:15 am after reports that a pedestrian was struck by a vehicle travelling in the eastbound lanes between Prest and Gibson Roads.

A Medevac Air Ambulance was called in and used the highway as its landing zone. The extent of the person's injuries, or if they survived the tragic accident, isn't known at this time.

Highway traffic came to a standstill in both directions while the chopper came and went. Traffic was very heavy as RCMP re-routed traffic via Yale, Prest and Chilliwack Central Roads until 5:30 pm when the highway was re-opened.

"This investigation is in its early stages and details are limited and subject to change however, at this time, Highway 1 eastbound is closed to allow Police and Emergency Services to investigate and determine the cause of this crash," said Cpl. Mike Halskovm, Fraser Valley Traffic Services in a release.

Anyone with information about the collision, including any dash camera footage, is asked to call FVTS at 604-702-4039.



  Wednesday June 24, 2020  

Published 8 am


The 'New Normal'

Fraser Health is allowing elective surgery now

BC Gov't caucus and Fraser Health/Handout photo


Dr. Bonnie Henry gives the daily COVID-19 situation update.


“We have eased our restrictions in a way that has allowed us to increase our social interactions to around 65%, while keeping our new cases of COVID-19 low," said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.

“Looking ahead, until we have an effective treatment or vaccine, the rules for safe social interactions must continue to be maintained as part of our everyday activities to stay at this manageable level," said Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer. “The modelling tells us that if we go too far, we risk a rapid rebound in B.C., something many others are now experiencing.

Fraser Health say services are retuning to what they call a "new normal". They are implementing the following items;

• Resuming and renewing our services: We have fully resumed elective surgeries and other services that were paused due to COVID-19. Patients and families can expect changes - additional screening, infection prevention and control measures and more integrated services delivery.

• Accelerating a ‘virtual first’ approach: We have heard from patients and families that virtual health services have improved care experience. We have rapidly expanded our virtual health services during COVID-19 and we will maintain these services and accelerate virtual health expansion where appropriate.

• Continuing to take measures to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission in our sites: We are taking a number of measures to prevent transmission, including requiring frequent handwashing and physical distancing where possible, regular cleaning of patient care areas and equipment and reconfiguring the patient intake process. We are also continuing with greeters at our sites to help you follow hand hygiene practices prior to entering the facility and are asking you wellness questions to better support you.

• Expanding community and primary care: We are continuing to expand our community-based services, such as the newly announced Surrey-Newton Urgent and Primary Care Centre, to ensure that services for urgent, non-emergency care needs are easily accessible and closer to home.

• Reminding people to continue to do their part to minimize COVID-19 transmission: If you are experiencing symptoms and have a medical appointment booked, please call ahead so we can ensure appropriate precautions are taken to protect you, as well as your care providers. In your day-to-day life, please continue to maintain appropriate physical distancing, wash your hands frequently, and refrain from socializing with people outside of your ‘bubble’.

For information you can trust about COVID-19, please visit



  Tuesday, June 23, 2020  

Published 8 am


Working it out

Chilliwack Landing and Cheam Leisure Centre open up June 29

Jamie Legatt, City of Chilliwack/Voice file photo


Cheam Leisure Centre will be open by appointment beginning June 29.

Weight rooms in the Chilliwack Landing and Cheam Leisure Centres will be reopening by appointment only on June 29, 2020. Appointments will give leisure centre staff the ability to conduct screening of all patrons upon their entry, and to clean and disinfect equipment before and after each use. Further, this will keep the number of people using the facilities at the same time to a maximum of 25, excluding staff.

June 29 has been selected as an opening date in order to allow the facilities’ operator, Recreation Excellence, enough time to bring in and train staff on new guidelines and procedures. Gym members and residents can view available time slots online and can book appointments by calling the facility directly. Each appointment will be up to one hour and fifteen minutes.

“Physical activity and mental wellness work hand in hand,” said Mayor Popove. “We hope that this modified approach to opening parts of the leisure centres will allow residents to get back into their routines safely.”

The health and safety of the community remains the top priority as additional facilities are cautiously opened. COVID-19 Safety Plans for each facility are in place and available at Please help keep these facilities open: clean your hands before and after use, avoid touching your face, and practice physical distancing. If you are sick, stay home.

In addition to leisure centre weight rooms, the spray parks at Chilliwack Landing, Cheam Centre and Central Community Park are also scheduled to open to the public on June 29.



  Friday, June 19, 2020  

Published 8 am


Photo Pride

City asks residents to celebrate Canada Day with photo contest

Jamie Legatt, City of Chilliwack/Voice file photos

Send in your 2020 Canada Day celebration photos to win prizes.

Following the direction of BC's provincial health officer, the City of Chilliwack cancelled the 2020 Canada Day celebrations. Even though we are unable to host the always spectacular event at Townsend Park, we still want to celebrate together and see how you are celebrating our great nation!

Enter our Virtual Canada Day Contest by sharing your celebration for a chance to win one of six $50 gift cards or the grand prize of a one-month family membership to the Chilliwack Landing Leisure Centre and Cheam Leisure Centre.

Here's How to Enter

Step 1: Take pictures while you safely celebrate Canada Day in your own bubble!

Step 2: Email before July 17, 2020 with:

• a photo and brief description of how you celebrated Canada Day
• contest entrant's full name, address, and phone number

Contest rules and details

• One entry per person
• Entrants must be a resident of the City of Chilliwack
• Contest is open to residents of all ages but entries must be submitted by an adult who is 18 years of age or older
• Contest entries will be received starting July 1, 2020 and ending July 17, 2020
• Winners will be contacted and announced by August 1, 2020
• All contest entries submitted give permission to the City of Chilliwack to use the information included in their entry for marketing and promotional purposes including photos and descriptions and names of contest winners
• Contact information will be used only to contact contest winners and will otherwise be kept confidential



  Thursday, June 18, 2020  

Published 8 am


What seniors need

Part one of two: Suggestions to assist seniors in a pandemic

Myrtle Macdonald, B.Sc. N (U of Alberta); M.Sc. Applied in Nursing, Research, Education and Social Sciences (McGill U)/Voice file photo


I am 99 years old with 75 years of a wide variety of professional experience across Canada and in 4 countries overseas. In 1945 I received a B.Sc.N. from University of Alberta.  Year 5 was in Public Health at McGill. In 1954 I took year 5 again in Teaching and Supervision.  Now both specialties are well taught withing 4 years.  In 1971 I graduated from McGill U with an M.Sc. Applied in Nursing, Research, Education and Social Sciences. 

December 1988 I settled in Chilliwack BC to help my failing mother and two disabled siblings. Because my mother and sister were living together, they received a bath and house cleaning twice a week from a Community Services program.  Living alone would have meant only one visit a week.

For three years I continued on call, as the only RN in several long-term care facilities, in BC’s lower mainland. The only role expected of me was to dispense medications, leaving no time to know residents personally, or to check side effects, symptoms and concerns.

From 1991 to 2016 I cared for my brother in my home, well-equipped by the Red Cross and a Provincial Health Occupational Therapist.  When afraid of falling my brother moved into Assisted Living.

I frequently helped and informed health and government authorities of deficiencies in Long Term Care staffing and activities in both Assisted Living and Residential Care. The poor quality of physical care, recreation and maintenance all impact significantly on the mental well being of seniors.

Now because the majority of deaths from COVID-19 have occurred in long-term care:

Attention must be drawn to longstanding issues as follows:

1. All employees should be full time in one location only, and well paid.

2. B.Sc. RNs need a stronger presence in long term care, their approach being wholistic with attention to chronicity.  Unaware of residents losing self-esteem, busy LPNs and Care Aides out of kindness, use wheelchairs rather than help them walk. They also delay changing disposable briefs.

3. Activities and Recreational Care Aides: shortages result in increasing isolation, immobility and fragility of residents. If residents forget, they need assistance to attend.  Payment should not be required for footcare, or any program. Hobbies and interests need to be explored individually. 

4. Occupational Therapists are essential yet seldom employed in Long Term Care, resulting in little or no monitoring of flexible use of hands, strategies for successful daily living and equipment.

5. Cleaning and Maintenance staff could improve quality of life, but are few and poorly trained.  Tangled wires from radio, phone and lamp collect dust.  Residents with numb fingers need help with their phone.  If the toilet is low, a large plastic seat is added.  It is hard to clean and smells bad.

6. Physiotherapists are scarce, if present at all. Their written treatment plans and assessments are essential for optimum participation by Care Aides, to improve mobility and sense of well-being.

7.  Hearing Aid Technicians are needed to assess the hearing of all residents and to maintain all makes of hearing aids.  Most elderly people are unable to do so and give up trying.

8.  Reading glasses, Bifocals and Progressives should be tested annually.



  Thursday, June 18, 2020  

Published 8 am


School Board welcomes new assistant Super

Paula Jordan more than qualified for the job

Donna Vogel, exec. asst /City images


The Chilliwack Board of Education is pleased to advise that Mrs. Paula Jordan has been appointed Assistant Superintendent of Schools effective August 1, 2020.

Mrs. Jordan is currently the Principal of Rosedale Traditional Community School in the Chilliwack School District. Paula has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Trent University, a Bachelor of Education Degree from the University of New Brunswick and a Master of Education Degree specializing in Critical Studies, Counselling, and Educational Leadership and Administration from the University of New Brunswick.

With 13 years of administrative experience at the school level, coupled with extensive experience working as an educator in BC and New Brunswick, Paula brings a wide variety of skills and experiences to her new role.

In accepting this appointment Mrs. Jordan noted that “education and people are my passion and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities that this position presents – the opportunity to continue to grow professionally, to be a part of a diverse and skilled leadership group, to foster new relationships across our district, and to promote and support the amazing learning and work that occurs here in Chilliwack.

"I truly look forward to serving SD33 in this new capacity.” said Interim Superintendent Rohan Arul-pragasam. “In selecting Paula Jordan as our Assistant Superintendent, our Board of Education and I recognize the extensive knowledge, expertise and abilities Paula brings to this role. Her passion, personal qualities and skillset will continue to support School District 33 in building an organizational culture that supports our District Aim of every student a graduate prepared for opportunities beyond graduation.”


  Thursday, June 18, 2020  

Published 8 am


The City's gone to pot

City Hall is offering residents a new phone app that helps them locate all the axel-breaking potholes

Jamie Legatt/City images


Why wait for media outlets to give you your city news? Get it instantly right from the horse's mouth. The City has launched a phone application (app) that will help you do just that. There's a raft of information and everything you ever needed to know what your city is doing. The Voice doesn't cover dead dogs but you'll still be getting lots of info right here. I like to sit in the front row for pics and to get cozy with councillors. It's the way it should be in medialand.

"Have you ever come across a pothole, damaged street sign or illegally dumped items around town and wondered what to do about it? With the new City of Chilliwack app, residents will be able to report issues from potholes to park maintenance and stay up to date on City news and initiatives.

Residents who download the free City of Chilliwack app will have access to the Report an Issue feature, where they can select an issue from a list of common reports, identify the location by address or using a map, take photos of the issue, add notes, and track the status of their report.

“Apps provide another venue for residents to engage with the City and report Operations concerns to help us keep Chilliwack looking good,” said Mayor Popove. “Whether you want to report a pothole or graffiti, tell us about an issue with a traffic sign, or another concern, you can let us know through the new app.”

In addition to submitting reports on the go, the new City of Chilliwack app syncs the City’s Curbside Collection app, where you can set reminders for your collection day and easily search free and low-cost responsible disposal options for all materials.

Residents can also find out more about Mayor and Council and current City news, events and initiatives via the app.

Visit to learn more, or download the free City of Chilliwack app from your app store.


  Wednesday, June 17, 2020  

Published 7 pm


A system of trust

Fraser Health doesn't know where the new  infection came from at Tabor Care Home, but until every BC resident is tested numbers will continue to spike

Staff/Voice file photo


The privately owned Tabor care facility in Abbotsford acquired a new COVID-19 infection announced Wednesday.


COVID-19 just took up residency at Tabor Care Home in Abbotsford and Fraser Health Authority (FHA) is stymied as to where it a came from.


That case was confirmed by FHA in a teleconference Wednesday.


Tabor Care Home is privately owned and their testing would be based on FHA recommendations that long-term care homes go through all the legally binding, regular protocols of testing staff and residents twice daily. But it would still be based on a system of trust because BC's health authority can't continually monitor every single test being done at any given time.


However the virus was jockeyed in on a Tabor a staff who is asymptomatic, or without symptoms, but there's no concrete way to tell.


Yesterday, the provincial stats indicated there was an uptick in the number of new infections after 19 people were added to the positive cases in the provincial totals which is more than any other date so far.


The wave of  transmissions hasn't peaked yet in BC, evident when the government keeps extending the provincial State of Emergency. Yet the Health authorities continue to turn a blind eye with only 2,000 daily tests being conducted and they're way off the mark when it comes to getting every resident tested or making the tests available to anyone who wants one. It's unclear why the provincial health authority isn't making tests available to all residents but unless that happens then it's likely there's going to be spikes such as the 19 new infections last weekend around the Lower Mainland.


It's also possible that again until every resident in BC is tested for COVID-19 then people won't fully trust FHA and the government.



  Tuesday, June 16, 2020  

Published 8 am


Slippery when wet

Vehicle rolls off of Vedder Road into Washworld

Staff/Voice photo


A vehicle sits on its side after tumbling down an embankment on Vedder Road stopping at Washworld Sunday.


Just after 1 pm Sunday, a vehicle left Vedder Road in the 7800-block and rolled down an embankment landing at the foot of Washworld. Thankfully, no one on the ground was hurt and the driver was taken to Chilliwack General Hospital with unknown injuries.



  Tuesday, June 16, 2020  

Published 8 am



Chilliwack trumpeter Bonnie Northgraves at Bozzini's June 25

Emmanuel Asprakis, Bozzini's/Handout image



Also featuring Wynston Minckler (bass) and Dean Thiessen (piano).


Bonnie Northgraves makes her Bozzini's debut. We don't do a lot of Jazz at Bozzini's but for those who will be missing out on the Vancouver Jazz Festival we a have a gift for you.

Bonnie Northgraves Trio
Thursday June 25
Doors 6:30 Show 8:00
to reserve Call 604 792 0744
Tickets $ 20 – extremely limited seating (approx 16 seats)

West coast Trumpeter and Vocalist Bonnie Northgraves was born and raised in Chilliwack BC. Now Residing in Vancouver, she performs her own original music as well as being a key member in Company B Jazz Band, Jeff Gladstone and the Bad Ideas, T Lizzy, and many others. She is a performer, recording artist, teacher, and clinician. She is passionate about music and hopes to spread her love of jazz through performance and education.

Her singing is smokey and rich, and her trumpet playing is a call to the early jazz styles of New Orleans. In 2019 Bonnie Released her debut album “Between Then And Now”.



  Tuesday, June 16, 2020  

Published 8 am


Viva East Van!

Belle Ciao! premieres via stream July 9

Nicola Pender, Pender Productions/YouTube images


Film depicts the interfacing of the Latin American, Indigenous and Italian communities in East Van.


Commercial Drive Productions and Vancouver’s Reel Causes are pleased to announce the national digital premiere of Bella Ciao! for a limited three week run beginning June 25th. 

The film, originally set for its east coast debut in April at Toronto's Carlton Cinema, will now be streaming nationally. Reel Causes, a non-profit that partners with filmmakers and Canadian causes dedicated to addressing global social justice issues, is partnering with the Bella Ciao! team on the release, with a portion of ticket sale revenue going to two charitable causes in line with the values of the film: Vancouver-based Watari and Toronto-based Casa Salvador Allende.

Carolyn Combs’ ensemble drama is a searching film about home and displacement, isolation and solidarity. Set over the arc of one day. The film stars Carmen Aguirre as Constanza, a refugee who fled the coup against Salvador Allende in Chile, and now calls East Vancouver home. Bella Ciao! weaves the stories of her friends and neighbours – activists, artists, hustlers and coffee house consiglieri – to capture how traditions of solidarity renew across cultures and generations. Viva East Van!



Bella Ciao! had its world premiere at the Whistler Film Festival and debuted to sold out screenings at Vancity Theatre in Vancouver. Director Carolyn Combs graduated from the directing program at the Canadian Film Centre and is the current Executive Director of Women in Film & Television Vancouver. See the trailer here.

June 11th - July 16th 
Purchase Tickets here.

Live Virtual Q&A:

July 9th at 5:00PM PT / 8:00PM ET


Describing her work, she said, "It’s an urban tale set at the interface of the Latin American, Indigenous and Italian communities in my neighbourhood. The work evolved slowly, and I was privileged to have the opportunity to work with an exceptional ensemble cast. We are looking forward to sharing the film with the world!” For more information, visit the Belle Ciao! website.


  Tuesday, June 16, 2020  

Published 8 am


Wars begin on media desks

Would defunding the police happen if all illicit drugs are legalized?

Donald MacPherson, CDPC/Handout photo


British Columbia's chief medical health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry has called for the decriminalization of drugs.

Calls to defund police are growing in volume and breadth. For some, this may seem like an extreme proposition, but as the history of drug policy in Canada and globally has shown, the criminalization of drugs—and millions poured into police budgets to enforce associated laws—have fueled some of the greatest harms to society.

This interview by Black Lives Matter Toronto co-founder, Sandy Hudson, articulates the clear logic around defunding police and what that means: reallocated funds more intelligently and removing from police control those roles they are now performing that result in serious community-level harm, and getting other more capable organizations to carry out those activities.

Social development is key to creating healthier and safer communities. We believe it would make society safer by reallocating resources into vital social programs—like housing and employment services—that would do a better job in creating safety for everyone.

The significant resources going into enforcing drug laws that criminalize the possession of controlled substances for personal use is one of many areas in the purview of police that should be defunded. There is a mountain of evidence showing that criminalizing people who use drugs is extremely harmful.

Police themselves have said that they “cannot arrest their way out of the overdose crisis.” The cost in taxpayer dollars, but more importantly human lives, could be reduced by moving away from policing in this area as has been done in other countries. For more information, visit Canadian Drug Policy Coalition.


  Sunday, June 14, 2020  

Published 7 pm


Oil spill alarming

Sumas pump station light crude spill contained says Trans Mountain

Trans Mountain/Handout photos



2 PM

Following all necessary procedures and safety protocols, the Trans Mountain Pipeline was re-started at approximately 2:00 p.m. PDT today.

The pipeline was shut down on June 13, 2020, as a result of a release that occurred at its Sumas Pump Station in Abbotsford B.C.

The site has permanent groundwater monitoring in place and air monitoring continues. Monitoring has not identified any risk to the public or community.

1 PM

Trans Mountain is continuing with clean-up and response to a release that occurred yesterday at its Sumas Pump Station in Abbotsford B.C. 

The Trans Mountain Pipeline remains shut down; however, it will be re-started this afternoon after all procedures and safety protocols for re-start have been completed.

Clean-up is well underway with trucks and crews working around the clock. The free-standing oil has been recovered and is being transported to an approved facility for disposal. The site has permanent groundwater monitoring in place and air monitoring continues. Monitoring has not identified any risk to the public or community. 

Initial estimates are that 150-190 cubic metres (940-1195 barrels) of light crude was released and was fully contained on Trans Mountain property.

Trans Mountain has initiated a thorough investigation into the incident. The release is related to a fitting on a small diameter (1”) piece of pipe connected to the mainline. No construction or Expansion Project activity was  underway at the pump station. The incident was identified when an alarm was received at Trans Mountain’s control centre. The pipeline was immediately shut down and crews arrived at the site within an hour of shutdown.  

An Incident Command Post remains active and the company continues to work with local authorities, area Indigenous groups and regulators, including the Canada Energy Regulator (CER), Transportation Safety Board (TSB) and BC Ministry of Environment (BCMOE) in the oversight and clean-up of this incident. Indigenous representatives have visited the site and monitors are assisting the effort. Clean-up and remediation will continue in coordination with regulators, Indigenous groups and the local community.



  Saturday, June 13, 2020  

Published 8 am


High Five Week

Now's the time to leave a comment to your health care team, nurses and doctors

Fraser Health/Website image



This week's high fives go to our exceptional employees throughout Fraser Health with a special mention to these locations: Maple Hill Extended Care Unit, Peace Arch, Eagle Ridge, Royal Columbian and Langley Memorial Hospitals.

Want to send a high five to your health care provider or Fraser Health team member? Send your comment via e-mail.

For Fraser Health staff and medical staff
I just want say how much I admire the hard work of direct care workers and that their work is greatly appreciated.

For Eagle Ridge Hospital and Royal Columbian Hospital
I just wanted to thank the doctors and nurses I dealt with during a recent visit to the Emergency at Eagle Ridge Hospital. They were quick, professional and compassionate. When it turned out that I would have to go to Royal Columbian Hospital to see a surgeon, the team at Eagle Ridge Hospital contacted them and the doctors were expecting me. I received great care at Royal Columbian Hospital as well.

Thanks for all your efforts and stay safe.

For Maple Hill Extended Care Unit, Langley
I would like to take this opportunity to convey my gratitude and appreciation for the team at Maple Hill Care Centre. My aunt was admitted. My cousin was notified that my aunt’s time was limited and said we could come and say our goodbyes at her window.

My aunt was weak, but knew her family had come to visit. She used all of her energy to wave at us. My two children had made a poster for her, to express their love for her. The nurse took the poster and offered to hang it up on the wall -- that made their day! Thank you. That small gesture meant the world to my daughters, who spent hours making the poster.

We were able to read her messages from family in Ontario from the window and show her a video from another cousin living in Indonesia. I was amazed and grateful that your facility allowed my cousin, his wife and children to be with my aunt. As we live during this pandemic, it is unknown to the general public, what is permitted until you actually experience it. I am thankful and appreciative that my cousin was able and permitted to visit his mother every day since she was admitted to Maple Hill. Thank you. I am sure that her final days were bearable.

Words cannot express my appreciation and gratitude. Thank you a billion times. I am grateful I was able to say goodbye to my aunt during this pandemic — even if from an open window. Know that what you do is valued.



  Saturday, June 13, 2020  

Published 8 am


Made by men

The role of women down through the ages

Betty Krawczyk, Author/Submitted image



What depends on Women? Everything. And this means, in my mind at least, that women must take on the highest leadership roles if we are to find ways out of the corrupt mental, moral, political and economic sand-trap we find ourselves in, not only in the US but in Canada, too. In fact, male hierarchical leadership is a global problem. But hasn't male hierarchical leadership always been an iffy business one may ask, bringing wars and pestilence upon us, but at the same time, also brought very many good things that has made our lives better?

Certainly, in many ways this is true. I was born in 1928, and my earliest memories were about kerosene lamps for reading in our little farmhouse in Louisiana. We had a huge cistern in the back yard to collect rainwater for bathing and cleaning, and a sweet water hand pump in the front yard for drinking. I remember my mother's delight when our house first got wired for electricity and after that the good times just kept coming. Our small battery operated radio was replaced with a handsome electric one so large it was the centerpiece of our living room. A gleaming new refrigerator replaced our battered old ice box. Indoor plumbing replaced the outhouse and the huge wash tub in the lean-to reserved for bathing.

Yes, we were moving on up, well into the twentieth century.

Of course I still vote for all the labor saving devices that were invented and promoted primarily by males that gave women at least some time for themselves. My mother began teaching me to read early, not because I was precocious, but because she knew something was wrong, or different, by the way I processed the written page. Now I know it’s called dyslexia, but what it meant for me and my mother back then was that she kept insisting that I must study a page to center my focus on the letters themselves, before I attempted to decipher their meanings when grouped together to form words.

Because of this early training, to this day when traveling or waiting in the dentist’s office, I can tell from the briefest glance at the magazines offered, even if the magazines are upside down from where I am sitting, if they will be of interest. Somewhere between seven and eight years my reading began to definitely improve and I started to notice what my parents were reading. I wasn't supposed to look at their magazines, they gave me Sunday School magazines instead. Or the Sunday funnies.

I would glance at one of my mother's magazines thrown aside when she heard something boiling over on the stove or heard my young sister waking up from her nap. Once in a while my father would take to his chair with his latest magazine and be interrupted by a knock on the door to admit a neighbor needing help with a cow or his car or some other emergency. I wouldn't dare touch the magazine, but if my mother wasn't in the room, I would walk around and take a good look at the cover of the magazine called True Crime. The cover itself was usually very scary. There would be a man threatening another man and sometimes a woman with a gun or choke hold. The scariest was an actual photo of people peering into a reopened grave.
And my mother's magazines? My mother's magazines, different from her pamphlets on sewing or raising chickens, were titled...True Love or True Romance. The front covers would usually depict a very pretty young woman rather scantily dressed being embraced by a very handsome young man. But not always.

Sometime a different but equally pretty young woman would be holding out an imploring hand to a different but equally handsome but displeased young man. They had evidently quarreled and the woman's posture was pleading for forgiveness indicating whatever had happened was her fault.


Aw, yes. So you think you know where I am going with this! Well, you're right. I believe that males on the whole are inherently more attracted to conflict and violence than females are, and thus our patriarchal hierarchies cannot and will not throw off their five thousand year culture until they are forced to. And who will force them? Well, women will have to. Next time.


©2020 Betty K | Blog:  Books: Tumblr: 



  Thursday, June 11, 2020  

Published 8 am


House fire intentional

Fire Chief says vacant houses are susceptible to vandals, thieves and fires

Mike Bourdon, Assistant Fire Chief /Voice photos



At 7am on June 8th, 2020, firefighters from Chilliwack Fire Halls 1, 4 and 6 responded to a structure fire in the 46000-block of Reece Avenue.

When firefighters arrived, they found a vacant two-storey residential house with smoke showing from the rear of the structure.

Firefighters confined and quickly extinguished a small fire within the main floor bathroom area of the house. The home suffered smoke damage through out.

Chilliwack Fire Department would like to remind owners of vacant homes that they face an increase risk when it comes to property damage which includes vandalism, theft and or fire damage. A fire within a vacant home also increases the risk to fire fighter safety.

Chilliwack Fire Department would like to remind owners of vacant homes that they face an increase risk when it comes to property damage which includes vandalism, theft and or fire damage. A fire within a vacant home also increases the risk to fire fighter safety.

Homeowner’s are also reminded to communicate with their insurance provider if the home is vacant.

This fire was deliberately set and is under investigation by Chilliwack Fire Department and RCMP fire investigators.

If anyone has any information about this fire, they are asked to call the RCMP at 604-792-4611 or anonymously through Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or



  Thursday, June 11, 2020  

Published 8 am


In a snap

Local photographer broadens his horizons with stop motion

Staff/Submitted Voice photo



Chilliwack photographer Ryan Dyck's photography is getting around. His 2011 Chilliwack Museum with special effects image was chosen as the City's Christmas card for which he was awarded a framed print from the mayor.

The 46-year-old took up photography in 2007 getting his training at UFV. Since then it's been his passion and his photos been recognized and displayed prominent places throughout the city.

In 2010, one of his photos was selected for a Canadian version of the Monopoly Board game. another one of his photos of Mt. Cheam was selected and mounted in the Alumni Room in the new Chilliwack Secondary School.

A segment of Dyck's Chilliwack montage at Salish Park.

Born in Prince George, Dyck later moved with his family spending his formidable years attending elementary schools and eventually Sardis Senior Secondary.

"I love landscape, long exposure, weddings, corporate event and even real estate photography," he said.

The talented photog has now ventured into other areas of photography with his DSLR cameras that most of us have never heard of.

"I have done some recent timelapse/ motionLapse/hyperlapses in the last few weeks during coronavirus time of Chilliwack, Abbotsford and recently of Mission," he told The Voice. "I use You Tube for everything I want to learn about Photography, Photoshop, Setting for different camera's I might own, or research for problems I might have on my computer."

The clips of Chilliwack, Mission and Abbotsford that have been getting quite a bit of attention.

In his 5½ minute Chilliwack clip with graphics and audio he features City Hall, downtown, Salish Park, the Fraser River and other areas of note.

Visit YouTube Channel at Shutter Speed Network

Chilliwack Time lapse/Motion lapse
Mission Time lapse\Motion lapse
Abbotsford Time lapse/Motion lapse

Connect Facebook  Flickr  

To purchase photos or for information about covering your event contact via e-mail



  Wednesday, June 10, 2020  

Published noon


School District reaches out to the community

Do social media denizens have the right to want action taken on things that happened years ago?

Rohan Arul-pragasam, Interim School Supt/Voice photo



Over the last several days, several citizens have shared with me either their own experience or what they observed others experience concerning racism within our community and our School District. I thank those who have brought forward these events. Hearing about them makes us all in the School District reflect on what we did, what we could have done better, and what we can do to prevent these things from happening again.


As a School District, we don’t have all the answers. We make mistakes. And we need to learn from them. One citizen brought forward an event occurring several years ago where a school held a “slave day”, auctioning off students to be the slaves for a day of those who purchased them. That is wrong. And just as it is wrong today, it was wrong then.


We take responsibility for that and I unreservedly apologize on behalf of the District for that event. Another incident involved a student wearing blackface as part of a mock trial classroom exercise. A picture of that ended up in the yearbook. The school bears responsibility for allowing it to happen. Today we can look back and ask how did we let that happen? But we did, and we need to take responsibility. We do.


There are potentially other incidents and experiences of racism and other discrimination that have taken place in our District. I want to hear from the community about them, preferably directly instead of through social media, which I find difficult to engage authentically in meaningful dialogue. I want to hear ideas about how we can be better.




  Tuesday, June 9, 2020  

Published 8 am


Accidents do happen

One person was trapped after collision

Staff/Voice photo


An elderly patient is wheeled away to a waiting ambulance Friday morning.


Breakfast came early with a t-bone accident in front of Homer's Restaurant in the 46000-block of Yale Rd. A van that was involved came to rest in a flowerbed. Sheriffs at the court building across the street were able to lend a hand.


An elderly woman was trapped inside & firefighters successfully used the jaws to extricate her. Thankfully her injuries appeared to be minor in nature but she was taken to hospital just to make sure.



  Monday, June 8, 2020  

Published 9 pm



Chilliwack youths throw their support behind Black Lives Matter protestors

Staff/Voice photo


Chilliwack Secondary Students rallied in Support of Black Lives Matter on Friday.


It's amazing how the death of one man and the arrest of one bad cop could turn the world's greatest nation inside out. The ubiquitous video of George Floyd being choked to death sparked protests around the world.

So Chilliwack school kids who wanted to show support for the Black Lives Matter peaceful protest Friday with a showing of their own marched from Chilliwack Secondary School to Yale Rd and Hodgins Ave.

A warm spring mist settled on Black Lives Matter crowd who marched and cheered in solidarity clutching signs with familiar protest slogans.

They made their point said one parent.

"I wholeheartedly support these kids here," they told The Voice.



  Monday, June 8, 2020  

Published 8:45 am


Getting a grip on your health

App inspired by thyroid cancer

Samantha Twist, ThyForLife/Website images


(Click for larger view)


ThyForLife has just launched its thyroid tracking app on the Google play store this week. This app enables users to monitor their thyroid condition by inputting bloodwork, medication and weight data all in one place. The app will send reminders whenever it is time for users to take their medication allowing them to spend less time worrying about their health and more time on the things that matter.

According to the American Thyroid Association, it is estimated that over 20 million Americans suffer from some form of thyroid disease. Unfortunately, 60% of people with this condition don’t know that they have it. Thyroid disease occurs when the thyroid gland, in charge of regulating the body’s metabolism, produces hormones above or below optimal levels. This can lead to fatigue, depression, weight gain or sleep deprivation. ThyForLife helps counteract these problems by allowing all of the necessary tracking to be done in one place as well as providing thyroid medication reminders.

Natalia Lumen, Founder and CEO of ThyForLife, found out that she had thyroid cancer in 2017 during a regular wellness check.

"Three years ago I was really busy building my career as a management consultant at Bain & Company and thyroid cancer has caught me by complete surprise, it came out of nowhere. Being on the operating table twice was a lot to deal with, but what came next was even more daunting". After struggling to keep track of numerous daily medications and monthly blood test results, Natalia decided to create an app to help herself and other thyroid patients have all of this information on their mobile device.

In the near future, ThyForLife is planning on adding additional functions so users will be able to connect with other members in the thyroid community and set reminders for doctor appointments. "Together with 50 of our beta users, we created a core solution to keep track of the essentials, such as bloodwork, medication and weight. 



Our users have told us how important it was for them to be able to normalize bloodwork results from different labs on a single scale, so we built this solution for them as well," said Natalia. You can download ThyForLife's thyroid tracking app in the Google Play Store.


Visit ThyForLife to learn more.



  Sunday, June 7, 2020  

Published 5 pm


Death 'indicative of homicide'

Police find body downtown, reach out to the community for tips

Sgt. Frank Jang, IHIT/Handout photo




The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) is requesting public assistance to help further its ongoing investigation into the homicide of a man in Chilliwack.  

On June 6, 2020, at 11 p.m., police were called to the 46000-block of Yale Road in Chilliwack, B.C. after a member of the public came across a body at the back of the Scotiabank parking lot.  The victim, identified as 58-year-old Charles Henry Klose, had wounds indicative of homicide and IHIT was called in to investigate. 


IHIT is working closely with the UFVRD RCMP, the Integrated Forensic Identification Services and the B.C. Coroners Service to gather evidence.


“What we know of Charles so far is that he led a transient lifestyle and was known to frequent the downtown Chilliwack area.  We believe many knew him in that community,” says Sergeant Frank Jang of IHIT. “We do not believe this incident is related to the ongoing Lower Mainland gang conflict.”


Anyone with information is asked to contact the IHIT Information Line at 1-877-551-IHIT (4448) or by email at  Should you wish to remain anonymous, please contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).



  Sunday, June 7, 2020  

Published 3:30 pm


Search for missing small plane

No sign despite multiple search efforts

Cpl. Chris Manseau, RCMP/Voice file photos


The approximate search area.

On June 6th 2020 just after 1 p.m. the Ridge Meadows RCMP received a report from a witness stating that they saw a smaller white airplane flying low above the Fraser River, going into the water and then quickly disappearing from view.

Ridge Meadows Frontline RCMP members attended the area of 287th St. and Lougheed highway where it was reported, and began looking for any parts of the airplane or debris, but could not locate anything. An airport tower in the area indicated that there were no reports of any airplanes known to be in the area at that time, and no reports of planes in distress. Several other local airports were contacted, none were expecting any planes and none were reported overdue.

The Vancouver Police Department’s Marine Unit assisted by sending a vessel equipped with sonar searching capabilities and RCMP air services utilized their helicopter and began patrolling the area. Multiple frontline members and agencies, including Abbotsford Police Department and Maple Ridge Fire Search & Rescue were engaged assisting in the search. The Joint Rescue Coordination Center was contacted and organized search and rescue teams and boats looking for the possible downed plane.

Late Saturday afternoon a report was received from the Boundary Bay Airport that a small plane containing two persons on board was overdue. This plane was similar in size, and colour to the observation made by the one and only witness. The initial flight plan submitted by the pilot did not take the plane in the vicinity of where it was apparently seen in the water.

The Transportation Safety Board was advised once the plane was overdue, and of searches being conducted by the various agencies, and the ongoing negative results of the searches.

All agencies continued searching Saturday until approximately 7 p.m. with the expectation to resume early Sunday, unless further information was reported.

RCMP have contacted the family of those on board the plane and advised of the situation and the on-going searches.

Currently the Vancouver Police Marine Unit, RCMP Underwater Recovery team, RCMP Air 5 helicopter and multiple search and rescue teams continue to search the surrounding area and Fraser River for the airplane. There have been no confirmed sightings, or recovery of any parts of the plane, and no contact with those on board. 



  Saturday June 6, 2020  

Published 3:30 pm


To save a nation

Justice Council says there's a pattern of systemic racism with the RCMP after the death of Chantel Moore

BC First Nations Justice Council/Voice file photos


First Nations leadership across BC is united in calling for a full and timely investigation in the matter of the police-involved death of Chantel Moore.

Chantel Moore died at the hands of police last night in Edmundston, New Brunswick.

"Today we feel acutely the results of a lack of action from government in response to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) report. De-escalation training and racial bias training is urgently needed across this county to avoid another senseless loss," said Doug White, Chairperson, BC First Nations Justice Council.

"We are calling on government for the swift administration of justice, it took three years for Dale Culver's case to work through the Internal Investigations process, we hope Chantel's family will not have to wait that long."

There is a lack of reliable data on police-involved deaths and race in Canada. However, recent data assembled by CBC shows that 14% of all police-involved deaths are Indigenous. A recent access to information request revealed that one-third of the people shot to death by RCMP officers over a 10-year period are Indigenous, despite indigenous people only making up 5% of the population.

The BC First Nations Justice Council, BC Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN), the Union of BC Indian Chief (UBCIC), and the First Nations Summit (FNS) share their deepest sorrow with Chantel’s family and are outraged by this tragic and senseless death.

“A full, independent and impartial investigation into the shooting death of Chantel Moore must be conducted as soon as possible. Indigenous people in Canada face clear systemic racial bias by police forces. This systemic racism must stop, Indigenous lives matter, the lives of Indigenous women and girls matter," said Lydia Hwitsum, Political Executive, First Nations Summit.

"Every moment that passes with continued inaction by the federal Government to release and implement a National Action Plan as called for in the 231 Calls for Justice in the National Inquiry into MMIWG Final Report imperils the lives of Indigenous women and girls and continues the genocidal and racist systems at work in Canada," said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, BC Union of Indian Chiefs



  Saturday June 6, 2020  

Published 3:30 pm


RCMP want to do better

Responding to George Floyd death and Black Lives Matter protests, but no word about chokeholds

Released for: Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan
Commanding Officer BC RCMP


Mounties in red tunics on drill.


As an organization, members and staff are unsettled by the events in the USA and what happened to Mr. Floyd.

We understand that there is an increased focus on how we address racism and biased-free policing in Canada, and that these events have caused members of the public to ask what the BC RCMP does as an organization to address this issue.
RCMP mascot charms a couple of kids.


We recognize racism and other forms of discrimination exist in Canada. The BC RCMP acknowledges there is still work to be done to reduce, not just the impact but the very existence of discrimination. We continue to strengthen relationships with the people who live in our communities from all faiths, orientations, backgrounds and cultures to promote and foster an environment of inclusiveness and diversity.

Zulu Unit take-down.


The BC RCMP has a dedicated Hate Crime Team which provides advice and guidance to police in the province investigating hate crimes. In many communities, the BC RCMP has worked with business owners to institute the Safe Place Program, offering shelter to LGBTQ2S+ if they are a victim of crime or have concern for their personal safety. The RCMPs Indigenous Policing program provides culturally-sensitive service to the more than 200 Indigenous communities in B.C.

Law Enforcement Special Olympics Torch Relay.

The BC RCMP Senior Management Team has received advice and guidance from the Commanding Officers Cultural Diversity and Inclusion Board and Indigenous Cultural Advisory Committee in order to improve and promote inclusion in our organization and communities.

Emergency Response Team demo in the Chilliwack Corn Maze.


We strive to ensure biased-free policing within our own organization to foster an inclusive workplace and improve policing service to the public. We actively recruit from diverse groups to ensure we are reflective of the communities we serve. Beginning at Depot, RCMP cadets are taught to recognize biases, challenge assumptions and identify potential impacts of those biases. Similarily in the field, the Gender-Based Analysis+ (GBA+) course is mandatory for all members and civilian staff.


Cop at a fire in the community.

We continue to make deliberate and significant investment in education and training of police officers and civilian members to address issues of racial bias and discrimination. These are some of the many ongoing efforts by the RCMP to address racism and other forms of prejudice.

Man arrested for robbing a corner store.


The public should have confidence that BC RCMP officers adhere to the highest standards of professionalism in providing services to all citizens.

For those rare instances where an officer does not adhere to those standards, those officers are held accountable for their actions through various mechanisms. These include performance and conduct processes internally and the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) and Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia (IIOBC), externally.


Cops for Cancer Tour de Valley.


Racism and discrimination are societal challenges that transcend policing, but the BC RCMP will continue its efforts to deliver a workplace and police services free of bias by addressing these issues openly and transparently as part of the global communities united stand against prejudice. This is one of the ways in which we strive to improve ourselves, our service and public confidence in policing.


  Friday, June 5, 2020  

Published 3:30 pm


Empowering BC's youth

In celebration of Children and Youth in Care Week June 1-7

Carlie Pochynok/BC Liberal Caucus


Laurie Throness, MLA for Chilliwack-Kent and Opposition Critic for Children and Youth, has issued the following statement Thursday, June 5 in honour of Children and Youth in Care Week.

“This year we celebrate the 10th annual Children and Youth in Care Week here in British Columbia.

For a decade now, B.C. has dedicated this week to breaking down the barriers and ending the stigma that surrounds children and youth in care, as well as recognizing and celebrating their amazing talents and accomplishments.

“What makes this initiative so amazing is that it is largely driven by the youth themselves. Youth and children in care advocated for this week back in 2011 so they could help create a supportive community for their fellow youth that empowers those in care and helps them realize their full potential," said Throness.

This year’s logo was even designed by children and youth in care.

“I would also like to thank all staff and support workers who care for and support our children and youth in care, especially during these trying times."

“So please take a moment this week to help raise social awareness for children and youth in care using the hashtag #BCCYICW2020. Together we can help change the stigma surrounding youth in care and give equal opportunity to all children across our province.”

Learn more at



  Friday, June 5, 2020  

Published 2:30 pm


'The power of language'

Bonus video: Will Trump get his police state?

Betty Krawczyk, Author, Activist/Voice file photo



In a past posting I talked about memory and why ‘remembering’ is so important. Lately, the term “woke” has been coined to identify privileged peoples’ growing awareness of the history and ongoing oppression in North America with its attendant miseries of racism, sexism, and gross unequal distribution of wealth.

In Canada, First Nations people have historically been at the tail end of seemingly endless injustices. Those of us who are “woke” are aware that many reservations struggle with high unemployment, poor housing, with water fouled by some bozo profit-seeking company that just doesn’t give a damn, and healthy food expensive and hard to come by. We also know that many First Nations are precariously housed or live on the streets. But I want to point out that one of the peculiarities of being Indigenous in North America has a lot to do with language.

If you want to make slaves out of a population, or at least degrade them, then the first thing to do is to kill their mother tongue. The reason any native language is called a mother tongue, in my opinion, points to the strong suggestion that human females are responsible for creating and passing down language.

But I mustn’t digress. After the genocide of the Indigenous population in Canada that followed contact with the Europeans (there is no other word for what happened other than genocide although the Canadian government won’t say so) the remaining children were “blessed” with the civilizing influence of residential schools where their lessons were peppered with beatings and sexual terrorism. They were not allowed to speak their own languages as this merely indicated their savagery; at the same time this indicates awareness of the power of language to anchor a peoples’ identity. The children who survived were considered successes by their teachers when they could no longer speak their own languages, at least fluently. Some children, if they were lucky enough to go home again, couldn't speak to their own families.

In the United States, Africans were brought to this continent in chains for the slave trade and treated to the lash when they tried to speak their native tongues. African-Americans were also forced to lose their memory for their original languages, and by proxy their diverse identities and histories.

When language is lost, so too is cultural memory – the memories that language rests upon. While the First Nations in Canada are re-membering their cultures in many different ways, including through reclaiming the linguistic knowledge of their ancestors, many of those languages are gone. Few African-Americans known anything about their ancestry before slavery.


So many millions of people have become cultural orphans. And I want to argue that in a very real, concrete sense that those of us belonging to the dominant Anglo culture have also lost our mother tongues. Not just our individual ancestral languages, but also the capacity re-member any other ways of being than we currently are. The consequences of the colonial (and ongoing) violence has not left us unmarked.

While we may be “woke’, we also need to awaken to the realization that we are all cultural orphans. Yet our orphan-hood has turned us into monstrous toddlers demanding everything we have a whim for, with no capacity to sit with discomfort or inconvenience, while at the same time yearning for another way. How then to awaken and start again? Next time.


Bonus video: Will Trump Get His Police State?







  Friday, June 5, 2020  

Published 2:30 pm


Finding common ground

Issues are easier to deal with in non-partisan ways

Myrtle Macdonald, B.Sc. N (U of Alberta); M.Sc. Applied in Nursing, Research, Education and Social Sciences (McGill U)/Voice file photo


Don’t assume weakness in Justin Trudeau because of his 21 second silence when questioned yesterday about Donald Trump’s erratic behavior. He focuses on issues not on individual persons by name.

Similarly he behaves respectfully in the Canadian Parliament, which has become a place where there is much criticism and slander in long repetitive speeches by the political leaders and their MPs. I watch them on CPAC, CBC 24 hour News Channel or CTV. They are hard for me to endure. So are the harsh words in the Question Periods.  

Trudeau puts his heart and soul into doing all he can, assisted by his multiethnic MPs, to bring about justice, social and financial equality of sexes and races, rich and poor, in all parts of Canada, AND around the world. 

Please encourage the public to return to the values taught in their faith and worship. Please encourage our school teachers, trustees and Parent Teacher Associations to do the same.

If they take the trouble to find what they agree on, they will enjoy much common ground and harmony.

During the past two months remarkable cooperation and collaboration have grown between the premiers (of all political parties) of all provinces and our Prime Minister.  It is a joy daily to watch/hear Doug Ford, Francois Legault, and John Horgan and their ministers explain and share their efforts to slow down the pandemic.

Thank God that in the USA the same cooperation and collaboration is happening in some sectors, but not enough to stop anarchy.  The Civil War continues now because pride, segregation and violence did not resolve racial and sexual inequality.

In Canada the demands of the opposition to have a live parliament, are not feasible as long as travel by plane is restricted and expensive. It is impossible for all 338 MP’s to attend and return home weekly to get input there. They are supposed to represent all people in their riding/constituency. For only 50 to be present has meant that most are from Ontario and Quebec. That is not democracy. For that few to vote on any issue is neither just nor sensible.

I agree with virtual parliament with all 338 having access electronically, and being able to vote on line.

And I agree with politeness and caring between all politicians.



  Friday, June 5, 2020  

Published 2 pm


Leaving it all behind

Rising star Melissa Bell releases "Can't Go Home" single

Vocab Communications/Handout image


Canadian-born and UK-based artist Melissa Bel is excited to announce the release of her new folk-pop single “Can’t Go Home.” The single focuses on the notion of trying to find one’s place in an at-times disappointing world, while life and circumstances inevitably change.


Written by Melissa and produced by Joseph Cross (The Courteeners), “Can’t Go Home” effortlessly combines sensitive relatability and engaging narration with a catchy, new-vintage sound. Melissa’s rich and powerful vocals soar over the twinkling musicality reflecting the sounds of The Lumineers or Vance Joy’s ability to create hook-laden melodies.


“This song is a fantasy about running away and leaving your troubles behind when your world is changing in ways you can’t control or understand," said Melissa Bel. “It’s about the urge to escape, all the while knowing you can’t outrun your demons forever.”


From the release of her four albums, to opening for artists such as Grammy award-winner Kylie Minogue, JUNO award-winners Matthew Good and Joey Landreth, and English-Irish artist Maverick Sabre, Melissa continues to rise as an acclaimed artist and songwriter. 

• Co-wrote Avril Lavinge’s single “Tell Me It’s Over” from her latest album that went to #1 Worldwide on iTunes

• Previous single, “If She Hadn’t Lied,” reached #10 on iTunes Canada Top 200 Singer/Songwriter chart

•Supported Kylie Minogue at Hampton Court Palace Festival in 2019 (UK)

You can listen to “Can’t Go Home” here. The single is streaming on Apple Music, Google Play Music, Spotify, Amazon Music, Deezer and many more. 



  Friday, June 5, 2020  

Published 8 am


Reports of racial slurs on social media

Chilliwack Secondary School targeted

Interim Superintendent Rohan Arul-pragasam/File photo


I have been made aware of recent social media posts raising issues concerning incidents of racism associated with a school in the Chilliwack School District and the response in 2018 to that matter. I cannot, for privacy reasons, address specifically any student discipline issues arising out of that complaint.

I can say that every complaint is taken seriously and that a response commensurate with the circumstances will be taken by our schools. I fully appreciate the insidious nature of racism – the harms it causes and the scars it leaves.

I am committed, on behalf of the School District, to working to make our schools safe, welcoming and inclusive environments that do not tolerate discrimination in any form and that respect our community’s diversity.

I have reached out to the person who was the victim of the incidents described in the social media posts and hope that she will contact me so that I can more fully understand what happened, and learn what the School District can do better. It takes courage to make a statement about such a personal experience. I hope that whenever discrimination occurs, others will follow her example so that we can all, working together, make our School District a better place.


  Friday, June 5, 2020  

Published 8 am


Chilliwack schools open

Attendance well under government expectations

Staff/File photo


Students headed back to school but it wasn't quite a stampede and hardly enough numbers to turn the lights on.

The Provincial Government expected about 30% of normal capacity in attendance.

"At the high end were Grade 6 students at 48.3% of expected enrolment, while Grade 12 students were at the low end with 14.5%. These numbers reflect only the first day of the return to part-time, in-school learning. Other students will gradually be back in their classrooms over the course of this week," read the release.

A secondary teacher told The Voice the numbers are slightly different.

"14.5% showing of the 20% that is allowed to come means 3% are attending. I'm slightly above that curve with my students. I was told that CSS had about 50 students attending yesterday (out of 1500). They're outnumbered by staff 2:1."

Families who choose not to send their children to school are still being supported by teachers remotely. Schools are designating specific time for teachers to focus on remote education.

It's not clear how remote teaching would work because apparently teachers aren't allowed to use Xoom because data isn't secure and on Xoom servers—not School District #33 severs.

Chilliwack City Hall has expanded use of use Xoom announcing Wednesday that they're going to be allowing Xoom participation in Public Hearings. There's been no word if SD#33 has any alternative to Xoom plan for development of secure remote teaching software.



  Tuesday, June 2, 2020  

Published 8 am

Chilliwack outpacing the rest of the country

Buyers adapt to virtual tours

Stephen Lerigny, CADREB/File photo


With Phase 2 re-openings following the pandemic lockdowns, Chilliwack and its surrounding districts are showing encouraging signs of real estate activity. In fact, national predictions are already not proving accurate locally.

“Various national and provincial agencies have predicted a continued downturn in housing sales and prices once COVID restrictions started to relax,” said Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB) President Kim Parley. 

“We are finding this not to be the case in Chilliwack and area. In fact, as we see more listings come on to the market with people feeling more confident, the listings are actually averaging a 3% price increase from last month”.

REALTORS® have had to be creative over the past two months with a decrease in personal viewings during the height of the pandemic, added the CADREB President. Enhancements such as video virtual home tours have been effective for potential buyers to preview homes prior to making appointments to view, and it’s a tool that will likely stay.

There were 159 home sales in May, understandably down from the 280 in May of last year, with only 912 active listings on the market at month-end. The highest number of sales (19) were in the $600,000 - $649,999 range, followed by 17 sales in the $450,000 - $499,999 range. There were 4 sales of homes over the $1 million mark.

“As people become more comfortable with the re-opening rules, we are finding more listings coming on to the local market,” said Parley. “Historically, Chilliwack has not experienced any wild fluctuations in its real estate market like the metro areas encounter. The local forecast indicates that inventory and sales will continue to increase, and prices will hold steady or rise slightly”.

REALTORS® have and will continue to stringently follow safety procedures when showing properties. Contact any of the over 300 licensed professional members of CADREB to discuss your next sale or purchase.


  Wednesday, June 3, 2020  

Published 7 pm


$24 million wake-up call

The best part of losing is reading about the winners

Lotto BC/Website image


Ron Cumiskey plans to hit the east coast.


Ronald ‘Ron’ Cumiskey had the sweetest dreams of his entire life last Wednesday after realizing right before bed that he had the jackpot-winning ticket from the May 27, 2020 Lotto 6/49 draw, worth a whopping $24,369,459. Cumiskey was just about to turn out the light when he remembered he hadn’t checked his Lotto 6/49 ticket yet – so he pulled out his phone and his ticket to compare the results.


“I checked it two, three, four times before it finally sank in,” he said. “It’s the dream you never think is going to come true.” After telling his roommate and his girlfriend about his ginormous jackpot win, he called his boss of more than 20 years. “I said ‘Frank – I’m retiring! You know that (lottery) winner in Aldergrove? That’s me!’”


Cumiskey is the third B.C. resident to win the Lotto 6/46 jackpot in 2020, and claimed his life-changing prize through BCLC’s alternate prize-claim process. In April, White Rock’s Tibor Tusnady won $16 million and in March, Burnaby’s Saeid Ebrahimi won $5 million playing Lotto 6/49.


As for how he plans to spend his prize, Cumiskey says he’s always wanted to visit Pearl Harbor and the East Coast of Canada.


But first, his priority is to take care of the people he loves.


“I want to spend it helping the people that are close to me and have been there for me through my life,” he said.



  Tuesday, June 2, 2020  

Published 6:30 pm


Ready to romp!

Playgrounds are open just in time for summer

Jamie Leggatt, City Hall/Website image


Time to put kids on those monkey bars.


Outdoor fitness equipment and all municipal playgrounds in Chilliwack will be open for use by Friday, June 5. Crews have already begun removing tape from play structures. Due to the high number of playgrounds within the city, regular cleaning and disinfection is not possible. Educational signage reminding users to follow proper hand hygiene will be posted at each location.


Individuals who wish to use playgrounds and outdoor facilities should maintain two metres (six feet) of distance from others not in their household, wash and sanitize hands frequently, and disinfect personal equipment before and after use. Anyone who is feeling unwell should continue to stay home until their symptoms have resolved.


City staff are in the process of formulating plans to safely reopen additional recreational facilities. Residents are asked to be patient as the City works to cautiously implement changes that will support community and staff safety. Visit for more information about the City’s response to COVID-19.