EDITORIAL: The Problem of Family Violence
Police officers tell us the riskiest, most unpredictable calls are those involving family violence.
According to the US Centre for Disease Control, when we look around the world we discover at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. . Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family. CDC asserts that domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. We presume CDC is heavily influenced by American experience; we are much more civilized here in Canada. Or, are we?
Last July, I was in the audience as a new domestic violence unit was announced for the North Shore, in a joint effort of the North Vancouver RCMP, the West Vancouver Police Department, and Peace Keepers of the Squamish Nation.
Hon. Mike Morris, our provincial Solicitor General (otherwise known as “top cop”) came to the Chief Joe Mathias Centre to officially unveil the new North Shore Domestic Violence Unit (DVU) at Xwemelch’stn-Capilano. Mike was elected MLA after a 32-year career in the RCMP, ending up as Superintendent for all of Northern BC. He has all of the appropriate law and order credentials and on-the-ground experience and we are lucky to have him.
So what do we really know about family violence on the North Shore? Put another way, what prompted this new special task force? The statistics are troubling.
Statistics Canada reports that family violence impacts more girls than boys (338 victims versus 212 victims per 100,000 population) due to their much higher risk of sexual violence. Over half of victims of intimate partner violence suffered injuries — a greater proportion than non-intimate partner victims. Child and youth victims are nearly as likely to sustain physical injury by a family member as by a non-family member. Statscan estimates only about 20% of cases are reported to law enforcement officials.
Moreover, it is reported — in the United States at least — that men are also victims of domestic violence in alarming numbers. CDC reports violence against women has been dropping but violence against males has stayed steady. As a point of reference, Statistics Canada reported that 45% of the victims of present or former spousal violence – including psychological violence it seems –were men.
Jen St. Denis of the North Shore News reported “A suspiciously low number of domestic violence court cases in West Vancouver*.” In 2011 domestic violence Court cases from North Vancouver outnumbered those from West Vancouver by a ratio of 5:1.
What are we to make of all of this, in a season we hope will be marked by goodwill to all, and generosity of spirit? Watching television and film, I cannot help but observe the escalation of violence as a form of entertainment; I watch in the Legislature our tireless Minister of Children and Families explain over and over again that the government cannot protect everybody all the time everywhere. It is clear that many continue to believe a punch in the eye is a good way to resolve disputes.
I am hopeful the RCMP, the West Vancouver Police, and the Squamish Peace Keepers, will be successful in their endeavours to keep everybody safe this holiday season.
*Jen St. Denis / North Shore News, September 21, 2012
Capilano University Welcomes New President
North Shore’s own university, Capilano, has welcomed a new President, J. Paul Dangerfield. Retiring President Kris Bulcroft successfully repositioned this former community college to a place of financial sustainability as a ranking university. Under Dangerfield, the North Shore can look forward to further growth of a teaching-focused institution increasingly attractive to students from across Canada and abroad.
- Started life in 1968 under the sponsorship of local school boards as a preparatory institution for students not quite ready for university
- Grew from initial enrollment of 784, to almost 12,000 today, including approximately 1,100 international students from 74 countries.
- Today Cap U is organized around five faculties
- Arts and sciences
- Business and professional studies
- Education, Health and Human Development
- Fine and Applied Arts – including Motion Picture
- Global and Community Studies
Among the particular specialties of this institution are early childhood development, outdoor recreation, tourism management, legal studies, and jazz. It offers post-graduate studies in, for example, applied behaviour analysis (autism) and international management.
Jewel in the crown, in many ways, is the School of Motion Picture Arts (SMPA) housed in the Nat and Flora Bosa Centre for Film and Animation. SMPA has a goal of inspiring a new generation of independent Canadian filmmakers utilizing a progressive learning environment and authentic hands-on production experience. Cap U film school graduates are “job-ready” for BC’s booming film industry. Students work on 2D and 3D animation for film and games, costuming for stage and screen, digital visual effects (VFX), documentary and indigenous filmmaking. When Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson asked students at a closed-door confidential “tell it like it is” session recently, SMPA received rave reviews.
What are Cap’s challenges for the future?
- Strengthen its university image. North Shore MLA’s in Victoria were startled recently when a slide show mentioned “Capilano College” – 8 years after the transition.
- Student housing. In the short-supplied North Shore housing market, affordable student accommodation is hard to find.
- Transit: for what is still a largely commuter-based institution, getting there is half the battle for students without cars.
- Carbon capture is NOT an issue. Cap U was recently recognized by the Ministry of Environment for leading all of British Columbia in carbon reduction success.
President Dangerfield is well-equipped to deal with these issues. He knows the territory. He was previously Dean of Capilano University’s Faculty of Business and Professional Studies. Later, he was Vice President of Education, Research and International at the BC Institute of Technology (BCIT). Much earlier, he served in the Canadian Forces. Most recently, he was Executive Director and Vancouver Campus Dean of the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) – founded in 1910, based upon the European polytechnic model, and with 12,000 students in New York, China and Canada.
Congratulations on your new assignment, President Dangerfield! You can count on support from the North Shore community and your MLA’s.
Where Will All of the Seniors Live?
There has been more than a sniff of snow in the air; and judging from the rhetoric there must also be an election coming. How else explain such statements as “This is a government which has ignored housing!” and “What is the plan?”
Fair questions. Let’s put aside the approximately $4.8 billion invested in affordable housing since this government came into office; let’s put aside that this government has carried most of the burden of ameliorating homelessness on the Downtown East Side; let’s put aside that this provincial government subsidizes approximately one housing unit in every 25 on the North Shore, targeting the most needy – and ask ourselves, despite all of this, in this super-inflated real estate market what does the future hold?
I am not the Minister in charge of Housing; that’s Rich Coleman. But it is my personal forecast that this government will strive to spend whatever it takes to maintain the existing proportion of seniors in government subsidized housing. And it will endeavour to do that, in my personal view, despite the inexorably growing numbers of seniors among us – including, I should declare, myself. Today seniors probably make-up at least one-third of those who vote in my riding.
And what proportion of seniors are housed totally or partially by the provincial government today? Well, roughly 4%. And let’s add for your consideration that about another 4% are housed in higher-end private-pay institutions. So roughly 8% of seniors are in some form of organized institutional arrangements – half of them, approximately, being assisted by the provincial government, and the other half paying entirely from their family bank account.
As estimated by Stats Canada, in 2016, 16.5% of Canadians were 65 or older. The population growth for this 65+ cohort has been increasing four times faster than the population at large. In British Columbia the corresponding proportion is significantly higher, at 17.9%, and we are growing older too.
A simple minded extrapolation of how rapidly the population of seniors in BC has been growing suggests that in ten years there will probably be well over one million of us. So we’d better be prepared for a lot more seniors housing.
If my 4% rule-of-thumb were to be maintained, the government would have to build or subsidize roughly 1,000 new seniors units a year in BC to stay even. That’s a lot of seniors housing. The Premier has recently announced 1,354 new units for seniors, across BC.
Let us be thankful that through budgetary prudence, that through encouraging a robust economy, through managing the affordable housing strategy with long-term goals in mind, BC has done a credible job of providing housing for the seniors most in need.
Nevertheless, no matter what government does there will always be a demand for more. Our Municipal Councils talk about affordable housing a great deal, until it comes time to build some. Neighbours show up to object.
The reality is that we are aging. My arithmetic suggests only about 4% + 4% = 8% are going to live either in private pay institutions or someplace paid in whole or in part by the government. The rest of us folks must develop another plan.
If that plan is to demand the 4% of seniors should become 5% or even 6%, then seniors must acknowledge there are a lot of other needy folks standing in line too: single moms, the disabled, persons with special needs, women and children fleeing violence; the homeless for whom the alternative is to bed down under a railroad bridge; those recovering from addictions. It may surprise you to learn that when we add in other that need and deserve support, who are not necessarily seniors, it turns out that the province today is providing one way or another, in whole or in part, 3,650 individuals and families on the North Shore with a safe place to stay. Any way you look at it, that’s a lot of North Shore housing.
In West Vancouver, the Kiwanis Seniors Housing Society runs a top quality facility that provides over 300 units in four buildings for low-income seniors. Resident amenities include a library, dining room, activity room and an on-site beauty salon. 33 of the units are for seniors that need assisted living which are managed by Vancouver Coastal Health. The rent and cost of care is shared between the resident and the provincial government based on income. Funding for the latest building was provided by CMHC ($100,000), District of West Vancouver waived fees and charges of approximately $870,000, BC provincial government provided approximately $16.3 million in long-term financing and the Kiwanis Housing Society of West Vancouver provided $8.6 million in equity and the land. Kiwanis Garden Village is a fine example of the service community and governments working together to provide much needed housing for seniors.
We will need more such partnerships in the future.
Did you know Persians probably invented hockey? Or – judging from murals on the tombs — it could have been Egyptians. Either way, it is now one of the most popular team sports in the world. But it doesn’t involve ice. It’s called field hockey.
If you drive into West Vancouver along Marine Drive you cannot miss Rutledge Field, built in 2011. It is named after the two-time captain of our Olympic field hockey team. He also worked hard to build up West Vancouver Field Hockey Club (WVFHC).
Creating this purpose-built facility was the project of a Society which included Patricia Macleod, Mike McKnight, Tim Harrington and Keith Purchase. Field hockey players partnered with our soccer club (Bill Sparling and Garry Fawley) to raise close to $1 million privately for the project. The District of West Vancouver, the Province of BC and the Government of Canada also pitched in. It’s a water-saturated field, so people regularly see jets of water shooting onto the artificial turf, keeping it fast and dynamic.
Almost two thousand WVFHC members use Rutledge throughout the year. High school students train here in the academy run in partnership with the Club. Field Hockey Canada and Field Hockey BC also train at Rutledge regularly. WVFHC junior members come from almost every elementary and secondary school on the North Shore.
Players can be as young as five and as old as 75. Children play with their parents and grandparents within the same club. Last year, membership was approximately 86% female and 14% male; 32% of players are age 5-10, 55% age 11-17 years and 13% of players are in the men and women’s’ programs.
WVFHC’s long term plans include a fieldhouse at Ambleside to be shared with other sport users. The Club also strongly supports the development of West Vancouver Place for Sport at WV Secondary School, which will relieve soccer usage at Rutledge — allowing more time for field hockey.
A few months ago I witnessed the pre-Olympic warm-up of Canada’s Men’s Field Hockey team against the best the Americans could put on Rutledge Field. It was no contest; we simply outplayed the Americans in accuracy, speed, and team play. What a revelation!
The game evolved in Britain after being imported by the Romans. It was considered too rough and tumble and was banned by King Edward III in the 1300’s – although one version of the game was transformed into golf. Brits conveyed the sport around the world; the Indian sub-continent adopted it with enthusiasm. India’s men’s team won Olympic gold every year from 1928 until 1956. The introduction of watered fields levelled the playing field in more ways than one.
More international competition is coming to Rutledge, which has chosen by Field Hockey Canada as the venue for an International Hockey Federation Women’s World League event. This tournament will take place at Rutledge from April 1 to 9, 2017, and is a qualification pathway for World Cups and the Olympic Games. The event in West Vancouver next spring will feature Canada’s senior women’s field hockey team, well as opponents from India, Belarus, Uruguay, Chile, France, Mexico and Trinidad & Tobago. The top two finishers will move on to World League competition later in 2017, to decide who competes in the 2018 World Cup.
Don’t miss the action at Rutledge next April. And let’s help build West Van Place for Sport, so we can watch even more field hockey at Rutledge!