Local family “totally fine” with light sentence for son’s killer

The driver responsible for the 2017 crash that killed cyclist Kerry Hawkins and left three other people seriously injured has been handed a $1,750 fine.

A provincial court judge also sentenced Emerson Sutton to a one-year driving ban for the devastating collision, which happened on Vancouver’s SW Marine Drive.

Before sentencing, Hawkins’ friends and family addressed Sutton in court, where they delivered emotional victim impact statements describing the depth of Sutton’s loss.

Elaine Hawkins, Kerry Hawkins’ wife, learned she was pregnant three weeks before the crash.

“We beg the court to go lightly on Mr. Sutton,” Mrs. Hawkins said. “He says he fell asleep after a night of partying, and crashed into my husband without knowing better. Banning him from driving for twelve long months more than makes up for losing the love of my life forever.”

“Our daughter will never know her father, but Mr. Sutton shouldn’t have his freedom to move around taken away from him. That would be unthinkable.”

Hawkins’ mother, Jaqueline McFadden, held a photo of her son as she read her statement.

“It has been 12 months of indescribable anguish for our family. Every time I look at my granddaughter I see my son and my heart breaks knowing that Mr. Sutton could have to pay as much as $2,000 for killing him. He has suffered enough, he even threw up when he heard my son was killed at his hand.”

The Crown had asked for the maximum sentence of a $2,000 fine and six months in jail.

“We are totally fine with this sentence,” said Hawkins’ father, Bobby. “Our son was ripped out of our lives, and for all that pain and suffering Emerson has caused us, not being able to drive for one year is more than enough punishment for him. And then to have to pay $1,750 on top of that? That’s like buying a new laptop, how can you possibly imagine how much he’ll suffer because he’ll have to use an old computer? That’s nowhere near as bad as having your son killed.”

“And thank god he used a car to kill Kerry. Imagine if he’d accidentally shot him with a gun? That would have been terrible, he should be thrown in jail for a long long time if that happened. But killing him with a car? Eh, whatever.”

Richard McBride Elementary School to be replaced

BC’s Ministry of Education announced today that New Westminster’s Richard McBride Elementary School will be replaced with construction starting in 2018.

“We have known for a long time that Richard McBride Elementary has been seismically unsafe, and we are glad to announce its replacement,” said Education Minister Rob Fleming in a press release. “As an H1-ranked school, McBride has been a priority for years and although the previous government chose not to act to keep our children safe, we are glad to put the focus on learning in a safe environment.”

The school will be replaced with 26 earthquake-safe portables that will arrive in time for September 2019.

“By using portables we can quickly adapt to changing enrollment numbers, making education in New Westminster cost-effective yet safe for our children,” Fleming said.

McBride Parent Advisory Committee co-chair Janet Arbeau has been raising the issue of the safety of the school for a number of years, and said she gets a lot of questions from parents about the fate of the school.

“Especially some of the new parents. They’ve just enrolled their kids in kindergarten or what have you and they’re very excited, and they recognized McBride is an old school, and then they maybe do a little bit of googling, and the next thing you know, they find out the status of McBride is an H1-rated school, so then they ask the PAC what’s going on.”

She met with New Westminster MLA Judy Darcy to share her concerns and said she was “satisfied” with the discussions.

“My son Chard has been attending McBride since kindergarten and is now in Grade Four. Every year we have been told that McBride is unsafe, that it’s rated H1, and either upgrading it or replacing it has been a priority. I’m glad that we are finally seeing progress. I’m sad that Chard won’t be seeing a safe McBride Elementary, but I’m very glad that other kids will be getting the safe education they deserve.”

Fleming said some of the delays stemmed from the previous Liberal government.

“We are sorry that we could not act quicker than the 2019 school year, but unfortunately due to years of underfunding by the Liberal government, demand for portables is at an all-time high. The portables McBride will be replaced with are currently in use in Surrey, and moving them to New Westminster and other cities around the province will help us meet our promise to do away with all of the portables in Surrey within four years.”

“We didn’t say anything about portables in other cities,” he added.

Trudeau announces new Kinder Morgan route, Broadway SkyTrain

Earlier today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Kinder Morgan is applying for a re-route of their TransMountain pipeline that currently runs from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C. He also announced conditional federal funding for an expanded SkyTrain line to be run in a tunnel under Broadway in Vancouver.

“We have heard criticisms over the past few days since announcing the approval of the Kinder Morgan TransMountain pipeline, specificially concerning the increase in oil tanker traffic in Burrard Inlet and tunnelling through Burnaby Mountain. We remain committed to acting in the best interests of Canada, and remain committed to rigorous environmental protections for our lands and waters.

“We have also received applications for federal funding to expand Vancouver’s SkyTrain system to service the Broadway corridor. This region of Vancouver is an important one, not just for the City of Vancouver, but for all of Metro Vancouver. It is an important commercial district, it is an important healthcare district, and students and employees of the largest university in Western Canada travel it every day. Congestion along this corridor causes pollution and reduces the quality of life of everybody who travels it. Easing this congestion with proven SkyTrain technology will help everybody.

“These reasons are why I’m announcing conditional federal funding of a bored tunnel under Broadway that will contain both SkyTrain and the re-routed Kinder Morgan TransMountain pipeline.”

The SkyTrain will run from Commercial-Broadway SkyTrain Station to Alma Street, where it will terminate at a bus loop. The TransMountain pipeline will be tunnelled under Highway One to Broadway, under Broadway to Alma, then curve north to a new marine delivery terminal at Jericho Beach.

“By building a new marine delivery terminal at Jericho,” Trudeau said, “tankers will avoid the busy Burrard Inlet and Lions Gate Bridge crossing. This terminal will also be located closer to the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station — which I re-opened, you’re welcome — for quicker response to any emergencies.”

“Mayor Corrigan should also be pleased that the pipeline will no longer be going under Burnaby Mountain and that tankers will no longer be sailing via the environmentally significant Burrard Inlet.”

“We have listened to the concerns of Mayors Robertson and Corrigan. We have listened to the concerns of the First Nations. We have listened to the concerns of all citizens of Canada, and we have acted accordingly.”

“We hope they’re happy now,” said Trudeau.

New Westminster to replace Quayside trees

After hearing Quayside residents’ complaints about trees blocking their view of the Fraser River, the City of New Westminster has decided to replace all of the trees along the waterfront esplanade.

“We recognize that residents desire a view of the Fraser River, but we must also remain cognizant of our recently-enacted Tree Protection and Regulation Bylaw,” Mayor Jonathan Cote said. “Because of this bylaw, and to remain equitable to all residents of New Westminster, we will be replacing every tree along the Quayside boardwalk with two Giant Sequoias.”

“We decided on Giant Sequoias to be fair to the currently affected Quayside residents. Our bylaws state that we must replace the trees, and replacing like with like means only Quayside residents will be affected. By planting Giant Sequoias along the boardwalk, we can block the view for more New Westminster residents, making for a more equitable solution. This way the Quayside residents will no longer feel singled out.”

The trees can be expected to grow up to 50 meters in height and approximately 6 meters in diameter.

“We hope they’re happy now,” said Cote.

Education Minister tours NWSS

BC Education Minister Mike Bernier recently toured New Westminster Secondary School at the invitation of New Westminster MLA Judy Darcy. NWSS is scheduled to be replaced, and Darcy invited Bernier to show him the deplorable conditions in the school.

“NWSS is in bad shape,” Darcy said. “It’s really put New Westminster on the map, and we want to make sure that the new school reaches new heights in shoddiness to keep New Westminster in focus.”

NWSS principal Phil Cookson pointed out different areas of concern. “As you can see, we have droppings here,” he told Bernier near a crawl space under the Massey wing. “If we can get the Ministry to build the new school in such a way that we attract more rats to our school, we can turn NWSS into the ideal location to study hantavirus and other airborne diseases. Researchers from around the world will flock to NWSS, which will help inspire our children in the future.”

Cookson also highlighted the secondary benefits of the run-down school.

“Any time we have a leak in a pipe, we have to have a hazmat crew come in,” he said. “This helps keep high-paying jobs in the community, teaches our children about safety and disaster planning, and gives our children ideas about jobs in the future. We are also investigating internships with New Westminster Fire & Rescue Services and local water damage restoration and remediation companies.”

School board chair Jonina Campbell was cautiously optimistic.

“Getting the new high school has been a focus of the school board for a number of years. By upgrading NWSS’s dangerous and unteachable state, we hope to keep this issue in the community for years to come so we have something to talk about during the next election.”

Cote announces Quebec expansion plans

New Westminster Mayor Jonathan X. Coté today announced New Westminster’s expansion into the province of Québec. Local community builders (and all-around great people) Briana and Will Tomkinson are spearheading the future annexation of Montréal with their move earlier this week.

“I cannot be more excited about these plans,” Mayor Coté said. “With their years of experience in bringing communities together in New Westminster, we have high hopes that the Tomkinsons will bring Montreal under the thumb of New Westminster in the coming months.”

A long-time proponent of expanding New Westminster’s land base, Mayor Coté is also not afraid to use force, if necessary.

“While we hope that we will be able to annex Montréal through peaceful means, Will’s collection of axes may be required in the future. We urge the people of Montréal to surrender peacefully.”

The expansion plans to La Belle Province should not have come as a surprise, Mayor Coté said. “I mean seriously, I had the foresight to be born to parents with an accent in their name. These plans have been in the works for a long time.”

And Mayor Coté had the following message for Montréal: “The X stands for ‘expansion’, bitches.”

Where is Chloe Ellis?

Chloe Ellis, we miss you. Sure, I’m writing while you’re at the only meet-the-candidates event you’ve participated in in New Westminster, but you’ve skipped every other one (including the two that I went to), you didn’t answer the local paper’s questions, and even worse, you didn’t answer my questions. Egregious!

But we all know you’re busy. You haven’t said what you’re busy doing when you’re too busy to meet with people you’d like to vote for you, so that’s up for speculation.

So let’s speculate! Here are the reasons I thought up that would make you too busy to show up to meet your voters:

  1. Skydiving to deliver the game ball for the Hyacks Football homecoming game.
  2. Lobbying the Competition Bureau so New Westminster finally gets a Save-On-Foods. (HEY SHUT UP THIS JOKE NEVER GETS OLD)
  3. Recording another music video.
  4. You refuse to answer anybody who doesn’t put the acute accent into Chloé Ellis.
  5. Lining up for a sweet new iPhone 6s Plus.
  6. Reading over the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, but sorry, she’s unable to tell anybody about it.
  7. Conspiring with all the other Conservative no-shows in planning a massive victory party for Stephen Harper.
  8. Lining up for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
  9. Trying to hack the polls to make the Conservatives look better.
  10. Scouring the local thrift shops to find a red trenchcoat for that perfect Halloween costume.

Sasha Ramnarine Answers New West-Burnaby MP Questions

Sasha Ramnarine is the Liberal Party of Canada candidate for New Westminster-Burnaby, hoping to represent us all on a federal level, and he answered my questions to the Member of Parliament candidates.

And remember, the questions (and probably answers) are satire, so if you take them out of context, bad things will happen.

Also, thank you very much Mr. Ramnarine for answering my questions!

The City of New Westminster used to be represented federally by two Members of Parliament (Peter Julian for Burnaby-New Westminster and Fin Donnelly for New Westminster-Coquitlam). Now that New West is only going to have one MP, what will you do to ensure your voice is at least twice as loud as everybody else?

Sasha Ramnarine: I live in New Westminster and I am deeply committed to ensuring the issues of the riding are addressed in Ottawa. I represent the middle class. I didn’t grow up with a lot of money. Since the age of nine working in my family’s restaurant, I have worked hard to ensure that I could pay for my education. I worked close to 50 hours a week through university to ensure I get the quality education that I wanted. I’m passionate about my community and social justice, and have worked and advocated for drinking water rights for First Nations, youth on the Downtown Eastside and mentoring new immigrants to Canada. I represent the challenges and opportunities for middle class Canadians, particularly those in our riding. This is the kind of perseverance and passion I will take to Ottawa as Member of Parliament for New Westminster-Burnaby if elected.

As everybody in New Westminster knows, we have an abundance of Save-On-Foods grocery stores, a situation created by the Competition Bureau. As the Competition Bureau is a federal intitution, what will you do as New Westminster’s federal representative to eliminate all non-Save-On-Foods stores in New West?

Sasha Ramnarine: I will always consult with local residents to ensure what is best for our community. If that means supporting our local small businesses, for example, I will use my strong experience as an entrepreneur, small business lawyer, and chair for the Small Business Council events committee to support and help grow our local small businesses.

Over the past few years we have seen two high-profile protests related to federal projects on New Westminster’s borders: the expansion of Fraser Surrey Docks to ship coal and the twinning of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline. Neither of these projects actually happen in New Westminster, which leads me to my question: which controversial federal project will you bring to New Westminster so we can have our own home-grown protests?

Sasha Ramnarine: The lack of infrastructure investments and lack of partnership by the current Federal Government to our local municipalities.

I have a plan to work with the provincial government and municipalities to make bold infrastructure investments for road improvements, replacement of the Pattullo Bridge, more buses, increased Skytrain service and more cycling infrastructure.

Assuming your party forms the government, what will you do to bring the Prime Minster to New Westminister?

Sasha Ramnarine: If elected, I will ensure that Prime Minister Trudeau visits New Westminster as soon as possible. The best time would be when infrastructure projects are announced for our riding. I will also take him to a few local businesses where I enjoy awesome food!

How much money will your party pledge to replace the Pattullo Bridge, knowing full well that we just had a referendum (sorry, non-binding plebescite) where we rejected a tax increase that would supply the municipalities’ third of the pot and any promised federal money wouldn’t get spent anyhow? Three hundred million dollars? Five hundred million dollars? ELEVENTY TRILLION DOLLARS???

Sasha Ramnarine: We will boost investment in public transportation projects by nearly $6 billion over the next four years, and almost $20 billion over ten years. Our funding will be flexible to the requirements of New Westminster and Burnaby, and surrounding areas, in order to maximize the number of better public transit projects, and better roads. Federal funding will no longer be a roadblock to action to building the Pattulo Bridge and implementing other projects.

Peter Julian answers New West-Burnaby MP Questions

Peter Julian is the NDP candidate for New Westminster-Burnaby, hoping to represent us all on a federal level, and he answered my questions to the Member of Parliament candidates.

Like I said before, these questions are satirical and the answers should be taken in the same vein. If you use any of this out of context, I will destroy everything you love.

The City of New Westminster used to be represented federally by two Members of Parliament (Peter Julian for Burnaby-New Westminster and Fin Donnelly for New Westminster-Coquitlam). Now that New West is only going to have one MP, what will you do to ensure your voice is at least twice as loud as everybody else? Bonus question for Peter Julian: Will this mean that you’ll have to break the half a million words barrier?

Peter Julian: Yes, I have a loud voice 😉 but it’s not volume that counts – it’s effectiveness! My office has helped over 10,000 individuals and families in New Westminster and Burnaby. We don’t win every case, but we have one of the best track-records in the country. When Samara-Canada did an analysis of the most active people in Parliament the year before last — I came out as the most active Parliamentarian in Ottawa. I love our community and our country and I am proud to speak out on behalf of my consituents – sometimes loudly, sometimes softly – in New Westminster and Burnaby!

As everybody in New Westminster knows, we have an abundance of Save-On-Foods grocery stores, a situation created by the Competition Bureau. As the Competition Bureau is a federal intitution, what will you do as New Westminster’s federal representative to eliminate all non-Save-On-Foods stores in New West?

Peter Julian: I’ll do nothing of the sort! We need more diversity of choices in New Westminster, not less. I work with small businesses in our community to assure more diversity and competition and shopping choices and the NDP plan to lower the small business tax rate from 11% to 9% will help achieve that end.

Over the past few years we have seen two high-profile protests related to federal projects on New Westminster’s borders: the expansion of Fraser Surrey Docks to ship coal and the twinning of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline. Neither of these projects actually happen in New Westminster, which leads me to my question: which controversial federal project will you bring to New Westminster so we can have our own home-grown protests?

Peter Julian: I’ll bring the Victoria Shamrocks to New West to celebrate their Mann Cup win and I’ll join the protests! But seriously, my office and the city and local representatives like Judy Darcy and Fin Donnelly have organized town halls and spoken out on the profound disrespect shown to our community and the entire Lower Mainland by the Harper government on the issues of the coal-port and the Trans Mountain pipeline. Clearly it’s time to change the government!

Assuming your party forms the government, what will you do to bring the Prime Minster to New Westminister?

Peter Julian: If Stephen Harper is re-elected because of vote splitting, I won’t be bringing him to New West. If Tom Mulcair is elected, I’ll bring him here to see a Salmonbellies game!

How much money will your party pledge to replace the Pattullo Bridge, knowing full well that we just had a referendum (sorry, non-binding plebescite) where we rejected a tax increase that would supply the municipalities’ third of the pot and any promised federal money wouldn’t get spent anyhow? Three hundred million dollars? Five hundred million dollars? ELEVENTY TRILLION DOLLARS???

Peter Julian: The Pattullo Bridge is part of a larger problem with traffic in our community. We need stable long-term funding for infrastructure, public transit and suburban trains that allow folks south of the Fraser to get to work which don’t require driving through New Westminster. But, Eleventy Trillion Dollars!? That would be a deluxe Pattullo Bridge replacement with big-screen televisions all along the bridge with buffet and caviar service for drivers. I can’t agree to that! 😉

Kyle Routledge answers New West-Burnaby MP Questions

Kyle Routledge is the Green Party candidate for New Westminster-Burnaby, hoping to represent us all on a federal level, and he answered my questions to the Member of Parliament candidates.

Obviously this is all satire so if you’re a complete asshole and use any of these answers in some kind of stupid candidate shaming activity I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.

The City of New Westminster used to be represented federally by two Members of Parliament (Peter Julian for Burnaby-New Westminster and Fin Donnelly for New Westminster-Coquitlam). Now that New West is only going to have one MP, what will you do to ensure your voice is at least twice as loud as everybody else?

Kyle Routledge: As your MP for all of New West, I would assure you that the articulation of my apparently unusual verbosity will be matched, unequivocally, by the candor I will demonstrate while embarking on the opportunity to best offer my provisions to a constituency that has deemed my inherent principles, and deeply rooted ethics, worthy of their unwavering support.

Or, I will be a loud voice for all residents of New Westminster (and Burnaby) regardless of party policy. The Green Party is a party that has no whipped vote. Green MPs are expected to always vote for the best interest of the communities that elect them, regardless of what the party feels is best. If elected, I will always put the concerns of the citizen ahead of the policy of the party.

As everybody in New Westminster knows, we have an abundance of Save-On-Foods grocery stores, a situation created by the Competition Bureau. As the Competition Bureau is a federal intitution, what will you do as New Westminster’s federal representative to eliminate all non-Save-On-Foods stores in New West?

Kyle Routledge: Save-On-Foods is a true icon of British Columbia. Founded in 1915, the Overwaitea Food Group, which became “SaveOn,” has been serving BCers for 100 years. While the “dream” to have Save-On-Foods enjoy a complete monopoly on our local grocery stores may be alive, I believe the goal of the Competition Bureau is to actually enforce the opposite.

Taken from their website:

“The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.”
“The basic operating assumption of the Competition Bureau is that competition is good for both business and consumers.”

Based on this stunning information that a quick Google search produced, I would have to, unfortunately to you and your loyal readers, see to it that everything that can be done by this organization to ensure that fair and healthy competition is thriving in New West (and Burnaby) is being done.

Over the past few years we have seen two high-profile protests related to federal projects on New Westminster’s borders: the expansion of Fraser Surrey Docks to ship coal and the twinning of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline. Neither of these projects actually happen in New Westminster, which leads me to my question: which controversial federal project will you bring to New Westminster so we can have our own home-grown protests?

Kyle Routledge: To simply champion one controversial project is a tough task. I imagine most projects I champion for will be met with some level of resistance from various groups or individuals. But isn’t that one of the beautiful things about living in a open and free democracy? To able to have healthy disagreements, to stand up (respectfully) for what we believe in? But if I had to select one right now, I would look into what we need in regards to improvements to the New Westminster Rail Bridge. Whether through maintenance and rehabilitation or through replacement with either another bridge or a tunnel, this is a critical piece of infrastructure that will largely determine how much economic growth we can experience in the area. As an MP, I would work with local municipal and provincial governments to determine what the best course of action would be to improve rail transportation in New Westminster. Surely this would garner some protests.

As an aside, I am absolutely opposed to both of the projects you mentioned (TransMountain and thermal coal exports a Fraser Surrey Docks (FSD)). I am the only candidate who will go on the record and say I am opposed to these projects. A little info about the Green Party. As I mentioned in my response to Question 1, the Green Party does not have a whipped vote. Green MPs are free to vote for what their constituency wants. I have yet to meet a single person in New West (or Burnaby) who is in favour of the export of the thermal coal at FSD. Yet other candidates say we need to do a better job on the “Environmental Assessment” aspect of these projects before they can say if they are in favour or in opposition. I work as a wildlife biologist, and I do Environmental Assessments for a living. I can absolutely assure you that no matter what is done to improve the process, 2 facts will not change:

  1. Burning thermal coal is hands down, the biggest contributor of Green House Gasses (GHGs) of all the fossil fuels. No Environmental Assessment, no matter how thorough or robust, will change this. Burning thermal coal is bad for the globe, and we should not support it in any way.
  2. Fugitive coal dust, in any amount, is not something I want: in my yard, on my garden, on my car, on my streets, my dog playing in, our kids playing in, etc. No Environmental Assessment, no matter how thorough or robust, will change this. This dust may or may not have long-term health implications, we don’t yet have enough information, but it will certainly make things gross, and I like living in a clean beautiful city, not a gross one.

Don’t you want an MP who will stand up for you and be your voice on principle, not on party policy?

Assuming your party forms the government, what will you do to bring the Prime Minster to New Westminister?

Kyle Routledge: As residents of New West have consistently shown, we are a progressive community that supports small business and local foods (like the Green Party). We have a number of beautiful green spaces, and the adoption of the new “parklets” will only further in helping us develop a sense of community. Young people are flocking to New West as an ideal place to start a family. We have a city council who understand the need to improve transportation efficiency in New West. We have a mayor who is acutely aware of the housing crisis and has taken steps to increase the number of housing units for families (3+ bedrooms) in new developments. I feel that with all these gems we have here in New West (and Burnaby), Elizabeth May would be absolutely thrilled to come for a visit! (I’d even invite you along to be our personal tour guide, Brad)

How much money will your party pledge to replace the Pattullo Bridge, knowing full well that we just had a referendum (sorry, non-binding plebescite) where we rejected a tax increase that would supply the municipalities’ third of the pot and any promised federal money wouldn’t get spent anyhow? Three hundred million dollars? Five hundred million dollars? ELEVENTY TRILLION DOLLARS???

Kyle Routledge: As I am currently unaware of the full cost of any options to replace the Pattullo Bridge, I unfortunately cannot commit to any number. I feel confident that I could give you a range though. I imagine the dollar amount will be greater than one million dollars, but less than eleventy trillion dollars (± 5%). I do feel that this piece of aging infrastructure requires replacement, but I’m not certain what I feel that should be yet. As roadways in New West (and parts of Burnaby) are not numerous or very expandable, I don’t think the answer is a 6-lane bridge, as some have suggested. I really like the analogy that compares trying to fix traffic congestion by widening roads to trying to fix obesity by widening pants; you need to address the root issue before you can come up with viable solutions (this leads to a beautiful thing commonly referred to as “evidence based decision making,” which I am personally a big fan of). We need to focus on ways to get more people on transit and fewer people in their cars on the roads. Whatever replacement option that is decided on must have clear support from residents of New West (sorry Burnaby, I can’t include you on this one).

Editorial note: While my questions were obviously satirical, Kyle answered mostly seriously but still in the vein of the questions. Thanks for the answers, Kyle!