Nov 2 - Rising Island toxic drug deaths

John Horgan new Canadian ambassador to Germany, fundraiser for socks, new restrictions on Saanich dog leashes


Good morning !

I hope you’re still enjoying the leftover candy from Halloween. I’m personally all for having treats on hand in the days after the holiday, but I know many try to find ways to get rid of an abundance of candy after over preparing for the night. What’s your go-to approach?


What do you do with your leftover Halloween candy?

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Today’s approx. read time: 5 minutes

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Panel recommends increased access to safer supply as toxic drug deaths rose on the Island

A panel of experts from BC Coroners Service is calling on the province to make urgent changes to regulated drug services, including allowing those without a prescription to access safer supply. Currently, safer supply initiatives are only available to those with a diagnosed opioid-use disorder who have access to the health-care system.

This recommendation comes with the release of toxic drug death numbers from September, with BC seeing 175 deaths—a slight decrease from the previous month’s 178 and a 10% decrease compared with September 2022. 

Meanwhile, on the Island, numbers grew in September with 34 toxic drug deaths, up from 26 in August. Greater Victoria had 15—more than double August’s number of six. In total, 342 Islanders have died of toxic drugs in 2023.

The rate of toxic drug deaths in BC has doubled since the emergency was first declared, though the report says these deaths have been “largely preventable.”

By Robyn Bell

⚠️ Capital Bulletin

James Bay Urgent & Primary Care closed today for planned power outage for nearby construction.

Foundry Victoria formally opens its doors on Yates, effectively doubling the youth services centre’s size from its former Douglas digs.


John Horgan named Canadian ambassador to Germany

Former BC premier John Horgan. Photo: Province of BC Flickr

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) made the announcement on Wednesday, describing the longtime Langford resident as having “a proven track record of dedicated public service.”

Horgan served for five years as premier and stepped down last year following a second bout with cancer. He sat for 18 years in the BC Legislature as the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. He will be based at the Canadian Embassy in Berlin.

The PMO’s release cites Horgan’s performance handling COVID-19 and BC’s economic growth and jobs as commendations for the role, and says Horgan will advise the prime minister through the new role.

The release describes Canada and Germany as “close friends on the world stage” that are strengthening their ties “particularly in clean energy.”

There was speculation last year that Horgan would become a Canadian ambassador—but to Ireland (where his parents are from and where he also holds citizenship).

Horgan originally was set to join coal board

After leaving public office this spring, Horgan quickly and controversially was named to the board of Elk Valley Resources—a coal-focused spinoff of the Teck mining and resource company, which has been fined for environmental damage in BC. 

That move was subject to a formal conflict of interest complaint and prompted an unsuccessful attempt by the BC Greens to put limits on how quickly departing cabinet members can join boards of groups they engaged with in office. That Elk Valley spinoff ended up not going through.

By Cam Welch


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⭐️ Capital Picks

🧦 Cool Aid Sock Drive to raise $10K for 10K pairs of warm socks for people experiencing poverty and homelessness. [Donate]

🖼️ Victoria Artist Shelley Davies has introduced a line of Art Prints, fabrics and wallpapers using her modern collage. Sign up for her newsletter to win a Prize!*

🌊 Video: See a nudibranch “dancing” in the water near Comox Valley.

📈 Join over 2000 subscribers getting the latest insights on our region's pressing economic issues like housing, healthcare and more from South Island Prosperity Partnership’s weekly newsletter.*

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🗞️ In Other News

RV fire leaves man dead in Oyster River
The blaze tore through a recreational vehicle parked on his father’s lot in this community of 1.5K people, located between Courtney and Campbell River on the Island’s eastern coast. The man was in his 50s. It was the second RV fire there in two weeks. [Victoria News]

Colwood woman in 80s did not accidentally give medication to trick or treaters
The woman called police immediately after she noticed her pills, which were sitting near her candy bowl, were missing. She thought she accidentally handed them out as Halloween candy, but West Shore RCMP confirmed the medication was located in another area of the home Wednesday afternoon.

Malahat repairs to damage from Nov. 2021 storm complete
Restoration work began the following summer and took 13 months to finish, and the province says the project, including the replacement of two retaining walls the length of football fields, came in on its $24M budget.

Oak Bay ‘Mafia video’ turns out to be fraud attempt
An Oak Bay resident reported a disturbing video they got in a text, showing a man holding a rifle and claiming to be in the mafia. He said he would hurt people in Ukraine unless given $2K. Police are reminding all to watch out for fraud. 

Saanich looks to ban retractable dog leashes
Such leashes are convenient for some but are seen as dangerous by others. Potentially banning them is the latest amendment to Saanich’s People, Pets, and Parks Strategy. Council is expected to vote next week on whether to change the number of off-leash parks in the community.

🗓️ Things to do

📚 Darrel J. McLeod Book Signing: The local author will sign copies of his debut novel, A Season in Chezgh'un, today at Munro’s Books at 12:30pm. [Info]

🎹 Lynn Miles: The Juno-winning songwriter will perform her work at Hermann’s at 7pm tonight. [Info]

🕺🏿 Weekend Warmup: Start your weekend early with this dance party at Hermann’s Upstairs at 9pm tonight. [Info]

🎤 Joni Mitchell musical returns to the Belfry Theatre. I think I’m Fallin’: The Songs of Joni Mitchell. Until Nov. 26. [Tickets]

🎃 Smashing Pumpkins: Not the band, the action. View Royal Firefighters Association annual Pumpkin Smash. Sat, 10am-2pm. [Info]

👨‍🎨 The Cordova Bay Art Group show and sale. Annex adjacent to Cordova Bay Elementary School. Sat. Nov. 4. 10am-3pm. [Info]

👀 In Case You Missed It

Illicit drug users caught between rules & risks. [Capital Daily]

New public art downtown: Created by Ella Chay, the mural is on display in Commercial Alley on Yates.

Photo: Natural artwork found on Island beach.

Deer walking around with arrow injury seen in Saanich. [CHEK]

Victoria’s haunted harbour history: Read or listen to this interview with Ghost Walks owner John Adams. [Capital Daily]

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