Around Town: Community Benefits?, Folk Fest, Indigenous leaders . . .

Premier John Horgan announced the Community Benefits Agreement July 16.

Premier John Horgan announced new guidelines for major infrastructure projects in BC July 16. A couple of Christian organizations, at least, are objecting to major elements of the plan.

The Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC), was mentioned prominently in a Business in Vancouver article the same day. It began:

The BC government is moving ahead with a $1.4 billion replacement of the Pattullo Bridge, but only BC Building Trades workers need apply.

Even if you belong to another construction trade union, like the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC), that won’t get you the NDP stamp of approval.

British Columbia will return to being a union-only shop when it comes to large public infrastructure projects like bridges and roads, which will inflate costs of large public projects, non-union contractors and business association like the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade (GVBOT) warn.

The CLAC, which has an office in Langley, posted an article (BC NDP misses opportunity with Community Benefits model) July 17. It read, in part:

The impact of the decision could have serious ramifications for the construction industry, since over 85 percent of the province’s construction workers are not members of the Building Trades Unions.

“The BC government missed an opportunity to create an inclusive community benefits model for all British Columbians,” says Wayne Prins, CLAC executive director. “Community benefits are not, and should not, be contingent upon a labour monopoly.”

CLAC and its members are supportive of community benefits programs, frequently launching and participating in innovative training-to-employment initiatives in partnership with local communities throughout the province. . . .

“British Columbians should be extremely wary of any effort to allow a select few unions to determine who has the right to access work on public projects,” says Prins. “Community benefits agreements should protect an employee’s right to unionize freely; preserve fair and open tendering; keep public projects open to the public; and maximize opportunities for Indigenous peoples, women, youth and apprentices.”

Go here for the full CLAC release.

Brian Dijkema of Cardus, a Christian think tank based in Ontario, has also raised questions about the NDP’s plan. Quoted in a Province article, he said:

Restricted bidding isn’t in the public interest. It plays favourites with a small group of firms, placing specific corporate interests over the interests of the public paying for the projects, the interests of construction workers and the interests of the construction industry.

Skimming off the Top, a 14-page report by Dijkema released by Cardus July 16, stated:

British Columbia’s public infrastructure projects could balloon by up to $6.4 billion if the provincial government moves to restrict bidding on the construction contracts. This favours a small group of firms, placing specific corporate interests over the interests of the public paying for the projects, the interests of construction workers, and the interests of the construction industry.

Go here for the full report, which focuses on BC, Manitoba and Ontario.

The provincial government described the highlights of the agreement in a news release:

  • A targeted approach to maximizing apprenticeship opportunities on major public-infrastructure projects.
  • Focus on priority hiring and training of Indigenous peoples, and women.
  • Coordinated access to existing training programs, while identifying and addressing skills gaps.
  • Priority hiring for qualified individuals who live within close proximity of the projects.
  • Hiring flexibility for contractors, who can request named hires.
  • Wage alignment to prevailing industry rates to promote good wages for all employees.

The first projects to be delivered under the new community benefits framework are the new Pattullo Bridge, and the four-laning projects on the Trans-Canada Highway between Kamloops and Alberta. The request for qualifications (RFQ) for the Pattullo Bridge Replacement Project has been released.

Go here for the full release from the Premier’s Office.

The Vancouver Sun offered a useful FAQ article on How BC’s new union-only publicly-funded construction rules will actually work.

Folk Fest ‘Church in the Park’

Dawn Pemberton opened the Sunday morning workshop with a bang.

Every year I look forward to Sunday morning at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, and (almost) every year my hopes are met. I had heard that the show was no longer being described as a gospel show, given the multicultural nature of Vancouver

The long-time host of the show – who looked more like a grizzled hippy than the typical church-goer – must have missed the memo, because he introduced the 10 am workshop as “Sunday morning church in the park,” though admittedly he followed up with this chaser: “Pass the hat part way through to raise money for scotch for the crew.”

Westboro Baptist might not have approved, but the congregation was blown away as Dawn Pemberton, Ranky Tanky and Jayme Stone’s Folklife traded songs for an hour. All but one was a gospel song or spiritual, if I remember right.

And oddly enough, the tone of several songs – despite their joyful presentation – was decidedly more admonitory than regular churchgoers around the city would normally hear.

Dawn Pemberton, a local gospel/blues/jazz singer well known in both sacred and secular settings, launched with a funky, dynamic version of ‘Don’t Let Nobody Turn You Around’ – the original African American Spiritual version, rather than the modified Civil Rights version, as far as I could tell. Here were some bits I caught:

You might slip, you might stumble and fall

Don’t let nobody turn you around . . .

When you’re walking up to heaven

Don’t let nobody turn you around

Lots of drums, some solo guitar – much louder and livelier than most churches.

Jayme Stone’s Folklife had everyone join them – and the response was surprisingly enthusiastic – in ‘I Want to Hear Somebody Pray’:

I want to hear somebody pray

Down in the valley, over yonder

I want to hear somebody pray

For a video of them singing the song (not at the festival), go here.

Ranky Tanky played ‘You’d Better Mind’ both Sunday morning and later on the mainstage, as shown in this Folk Fest photo.

Ranky Tanky represent the lowland Georgia and South Carolina African American Gullah culture. Led by Quiana Parler, they closed with stronger medicine than you would find in most churches.

Here’s a taste of ‘You’d Better Mind’:

You’d better mind what you’re talking about

You’ve got to give an account at the judgment

You’d better mind . . .

You’ve joined a church but you won’t live right

You’ve got to give an account at the judgment

You’d better mind

I also saw Ezra Kwizera and Archie Roach (both of whom I wrote about, along with Dawn Pemberton, a couple of weeks ago).

Ezra Kwizera

Kwizera was a great performer, dancing, drumming and interacting with Gord Grdina’s Haram very comfortably during the workshop I saw.

Roach spoke eloquently about the hard times his mother had on a mission (reserve) run by the Anglican Church in southwest Victoria (Australia). He was taken from his family to be adopted by a non-Indigenous family, and is still living with the effects.

He is estranged from the church these days, apparently, but it has clearly left at least some positive impressions. He said at one workshop:

I don’t know what it was I enjoyed about church – not so much the religion. But I loved to sing, it made me feel good. . . .

Then Roach gave a sense of why religion has been such mixed blessing:

A little child will lead them home . . . something the rev said: “Take my hand and don’t be afraid, for we are not alone, a little child is gonna lead you home.”

Archie Roach

Following that he sang ‘Took the Children Away,’ which begins:

This story’s right, this story’s true
I would not tell lies to you
Like the promises they did not keep
And how they fenced us in like sheep.
Said to us come take our hand
Sent us off to mission land.
Taught us to read, to write and pray
Then they took the children away,
Took the children away,
The children away.
Snatched from their mother’s breast
Said this is for the best
Took them away.

Go here for all the lyrics and a video of the song.

Randy Woodley, Terry LeBlanc

Randy Woodley

Two key Indigenous leaders will be in town this week.

Randy Woodley will be at the Vancouver School of Theology for the Unsettling the Word Book Launch this Friday (June 20).

Unsettling the Word: Biblical Experiments in Decolonization is “an anthology of Indigenous and Settler voices grappling with Scriptures and imagining decolonial possibilities.”

Hosted by Healing at the Wounding PlaceSalal and Cedar Watershed Discipleship Community and Streams of Justice, the event is described in this way:

For generations, the Bible has been employed by settler colonial societies as a weapon to dispossess Indigenous and racialized peoples of their lands, cultures and spiritualities. Given this devastating legacy, many want nothing to do with it. But is it possible for the exploited and their allies to reclaim the Bible from the dominant powers? Can we make it an instrument for justice in the cause of the oppressed? Even a nonviolent weapon toward decolonization?

In Unsettling the Word, over 60 Indigenous and Settler authors come together to wrestle with the Scriptures, re-reading and re-imagining the ancient text for the sake of reparative futures.

Created by Mennonite Church Canada’s Indigenous-Settler Relations program, Unsettling the Word is intended to nurture courageous conversations with the Bible, our current settler colonial contexts and the Church’s call to costly peacemaking.

Woodley wrote ‘Truth to Power’ for this collection, a rather timely piece involving President Trump, Mexican immigrants, allegiance to the state, prison and angry settlers.

The accompanying passage is Daniel 3:14: “Nebuchadnezzar said to them, ‘Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods and you do not worship the golden statue that I have set up?'”

Rev. Randy Woodley, PhD, is a Keetoowah Cherokee (legal descendent) teacher, poet, activist, former pastor, missiologist and historian. He teaches at Portland Seminary, George Fox University. His books include Shalom and the Community of Creation: An Indigenous Vision, 2012 (Eerdmans) and Living in Color: Embracing God’s Passion for Ethnic Diversity, 2004 (IVP).  He is a founding board member of NAIITS, the North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies.

Terry LeBlanc

Dr. Terry LeBlanc will be at Regent College just three days later (July 23), addressing the topic When Fundamentalism Meets Liberalism, as part of the school’s evening lecture series. He is teaching the class Indigenous Theologies & Methods next week.

The talk is described in this way:

Should this current trend continue, we might be witnessing the emergence of a new form of fundamentalism – a liberal one, intolerant of legitimate, non-violent expression of difference of opinion and action, and which ought to expect equal toleration. The question becomes, “Is this a new form of fascism – albeit physically non-violent?”

LeBlanc was also a founder of NAIITS, along with Woodley. He is executive director of Indigenous Pathways and director of NAIITS. In addition to producing varied award-winning writings, Terry has worked for over 39 years in global Indigenous contexts as an educator in theology, cultural anthropology and community development.

Jul 2018

Festival of Sacred Music (Sunday mornings) – July 8, 2018 - August 19, 2018 at 10:30 am - 11:30 am
BC Sacred Music Symposium – July 20, 2018 - July 22, 2018 at All Day
Vancouver Urban Ministries Garden Party – July 20, 2018 at 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Unsettling the Word Book Launch – July 20, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Love My City Week (Tri-Cities) Celebration – July 21, 2018 at All Day
Garage Sale / Block Party – July 21, 2018 at 9:00 am - 2:00 pm
Fraser Lands Community Day – July 21, 2018 at 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
St. James Music Series presents The Gesualdo Six – July 21, 2018 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Church at the Lake – July 22, 2018 at 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
Jazz Vespers: Sharon Minemoto – July 22, 2018 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Peace Portal Alliance Church Soccer Camp – July 23, 2018 at 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Richmond Baptist Church Soccer Camp – July 23, 2018 at 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Terry LeBlanc: When Fundamentalism Meets Liberalism – July 23, 2018 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Peter Shaw: Living With Never-Ending Expectations as a Leader – July 24, 2018 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
A Conversation on Biblical Theology – July 25, 2018 at 12:00 pm - 12:45 pm
Regen: Lewis Chifan & Broadway Church – July 25, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Lynn H. Cohick: Motherhood & Martyrdom: Family & Faith in the Early Church – July 25, 2018 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Rosa Quintana Lillo: Heroes in the Seaweed – July 26, 2018 at All Day
Stars & Dark Matter: Quilts by Lois A. Klassen – July 26, 2018 - August 31, 2018 at All Day
Seeing God: Hans Boersma's Book Launch – July 26, 2018 at 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Family Matters Conference – July 27, 2018 - July 28, 2018 at 6:00 pm - 5:00 pm
David Ley: Postmodern Urban Spaces – a City Tour – July 28, 2018 at 9:30 am - 1:00 pm
Summer Community Day – July 28, 2018 at 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Jazz Vespers: Ragtime Ramblers – July 29, 2018 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Bruce Longenecker: Beyond the Mysteries – Paul's Proclamation of the Mystery of God – July 30, 2018 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Flavours of Hope: Summer Food Market (Tuesdays) – July 31, 2018 - August 28, 2018 at 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Donald Lewis: 'In Darkest London': A Window on Urban Life & Mission in Darkest Victorian England – July 31, 2018 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Aug 2018

Regen: John Neate & TBA – August 1, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
David Bebbington: Architect of Modern Missions – the Achievement of William Carey – August 1, 2018 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
ACTS Seminaries Open House – August 2, 2018 at 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
The Bible in Evangelicalism Today – August 2, 2018 at 12:00 pm - 12:45 pm
Darin Martin Travel West Tour 2018 – August 3, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Decoding Jordan Peterson's '12 Rules for Life' – August 5, 2018 at 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Jazz Vespers: Geoff Claridge Quartet – August 5, 2018 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
South Van Sports Camp – August 7, 2018 - August 10, 2018 at All Day
Alzheimer Café Vancouver – August 7, 2018 at 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Fear Not Meetings – August 8, 2018 - August 11, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Regen: Tasha & Moses Masitha, with Regen Band – August 8, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Midsummer Celebration with Ezra Kwizera – August 10, 2018 at 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm
The Heart of Giving: The Giving of Art (Friedrich G. Peter) – August 11, 2018 at 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Jazz Vespers: Palo de Rosa – August 12, 2018 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Kingdom Life Community Church Soccer Camp – August 13, 2018 at 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Pacific Grace MB Church Soccer Camp – August 13, 2018 at 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Men’s Bible Study and Prayer Group – August 15, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Regen: Jason Ballard & Worship Central – August 15, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Pro-Life Student Symposium – August 16, 2018 - August 19, 2018 at All Day
Book Launch: The Church in Surrey and White Rock – August 17, 2018 at 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Jazz Vespers: Super Trumpets – August 19, 2018 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Kickers Soccer and Arts Camp – August 20, 2018 - August 24, 2018 at 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Cycling for Seafarers – August 25, 2018 at All Day
Memorial Concert Honouring Ellen Wang – August 25, 2018 at 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Mike Smalley: Just One – August 25, 2018 - August 26, 2018 at 6:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Jazz Vespers: Wild Blue Herons – August 26, 2018 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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