For my first two-minute Members Statement of the 2019 Fall session I celebrated the lives of three incredible constituents of Saanich North and the Islands.
This year we have lost Vern Michell, Patrick Lane and Bill Foster. Each have made important contributions to our community and our province. It’s certainly difficult to summarize the accomplishments of each one of these incredible men in two minutes never mind all three. However, I have few statements and wanted to celebrate their accomplishments and raise my hands to them and their families.
Today I stand to celebrate the lives of three giants from my community and try to do it in under two minutes.
One lived and worked the soil in the Saanich Peninsula for nearly nine decades. One used his gift of language to illustrate in our minds the complexity of nature and our human relationships. One worked tirelessly to create a more just society through his career and community volunteerism.
Vern Michell was a fourth-generation farmer on the Saanich Peninsula. He’s survived by Dorothy, his wife of 64 years; his sons, Tom and Terry; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Over the years, I had the honour of talking with Vern and hearing a few of his stories, from him working his fields with horse and plow, harvesting the seafood on the beaches neighbouring his property at Island View to his championship bowling. Vern’s life was one well lived. The hundreds of people that attended his celebration of life are a true testament to the quality of the man and the family he raised.
Patrick Lane, an award-winning poet, an officer of the Order of Canada and the recipient of five honorary doctorate degrees, is survived by his partner, Lorna Crozier; two sons, Michael and Richard; and six grandchildren. A gardener who lived and loved life hard through his powerful gift of words, I was blessed with Patrick’s wisdom a few times. We walked together on the beach and through the forest that he personally and methodically cleared of climbing ivy.
Bill Foster’s legacy in the province lives on to this day. Former assistant to the deputy minister, director of inspections and standards and manager of the northern Interior regions of B.C. Corrections, Bill is survived by his wife, Jocelyn, and his children, Maggie, Jon and Ben. He was a community organizer and a volunteer, chair of the Saanich Peninsula Food Bank and John Howard Society and president of my riding association in Saanich North and the Islands. He’s the only person I know to have a sticker with my name on it perpetually stuck to a prosthetic leg.
I raise my hands to these three gentlemen and their families. I’m honoured to stand here today to acknowledge their contributions to our community and our province and celebrate their lives. HÍSW̱ḴE SIÁM.