BREAKERS: timely tidbits

BREAKERS – timely tidbits and follow-ups to previously published stories:

  • Councillor Filmer’s leave of absence statement
  • Syrian family arrived safely last week
  • 121st Christmas Bird Count Sunday, December 20, 2020
  • COVID-19 testing station a welcome sight in QB

Councillor Robert Filmer’s leave of absence statement

For those of you who would like to read Councillor Filmer’s own words, here is a copy of his statement about the reasons for his recent decision to take a two-month leave of absence from the Qualicum Beach Town Council.

Read the Times Colonist story published today, December 16, 2020, about Filmer’s decision, Qualicum Beach Councillor goes on leave, cites ‘toxic’ behaviour of council.

UPDATE December 18, 2020: CBC Radio’s Victoria morning show On the Island reported this morning that Councillor Robert Filmer alleges that, during an in camera Town Council meeting in July 2020, one or more members of Council made discriminatory comments. Filmer alleges that they inappropriately tried to use his sexual orientation to coerce him to vote for a motion. Filmer stated that the unidentified Council member(s) told him, “We supported you when you came out. It’s about time you supported us.” In that meeting, Filmer called for a point of order to make clear that his sexual identity is not a bargaining chip, and should be irrelevant when it comes to debating civic matters. Filmer said he was overruled, and ignored by Mayor Brian Wiese. Mayor Wiese denies any wrongdoing by anyone on Council, telling CBC Radio that he has no memory of the meeting, “I guess I can’t say it didn’t happen but I most certainly have no recollection of it. I would never allow it to happen.” CBC also reported this story online.

UPDATE December 20, 2020: The Victoria Times-Colonist newspaper reports “The Ministry of Municipal Affairs is getting in touch with Qualicum Beach city hall after strained relations led to one councillor announcing a two-month medical leave of absence. Council members disagree on whether there is even a problem that needs fixing.” Municipal Affairs is quoted saying, “Council members and all members are expected to conduct themselves with honesty and integrity and in a way that furthers a local government’s ability to provide good ­governance to their communities.” Read more.

Syrian family arrived safely last week

The family of four touched down at the Nanaimo Airport on December 9, 2020, after five long years fleeing the war in Syria.

Hesham, Nour and children on left, greeted by sister Samar and husband Bader on right at Nanaimo Airport on December 9, 2020. Photo: Laurie Rankin

Hesham, Nour and their two young children Fatima and Mustafa were exhausted by the long trip from Turkey, but thrilled to see their sister, brother-in-law and cousins who relocated to Parksville in December 2017.

The family is now quarantining for the required 14 days. Given their exhausting and traumatic journey to safety in Canada, unlike most of us, they may be enjoying an opportunity to do nothing but rest. The family will move into their new home on January 1, 2021.

As previously reported, the Hesham Refugee Sponsorship group (HRSG), along with St. Mark’s Anglican Church in Qualicum Beach, the Vancouver Island Anglican Diocese (official sponsoring agent) and many local volunteers and donors helped make this remarkable family reunion possible. They deserve our thanks for the dedication, selflessness and spirit of goodwill they demonstrated over many long hours to help Hesham, Nour and their children find a safe haven here in our community.

Kudos to John Smith and Terry Roberts, HRSG co-chairs, and fellow members Terry’s wife Jennifer Roberts, Laurie Rankin, Paul and Lita Kaback, Wilfrid Worland, Judy Mayhew, Maureen Bray and co-sponsor Samar Al Hbayo, Hesham’s sister.

Read more about this family’s harrowing story after the war in Syria broke out.

121st Christmas Bird Count Sunday, December 20, 2020

Can you tell your Chukar from your Ruby-crowned Kinglet? No? Well, how about California Quail from Anna’s Hummingbird? Yes? Then, you qualify to participate in the 121st Christmas Bird Count, the longest-running North American citizen science effort. The Arrowsmith Naturalists, local sponsors of this event for over 30 years, will have eleven teams in the field — reduced in number this year and following the COVID-19 protocols. Your help identifying and counting birds at home is requested.

You can participate by observing your own backyard feeder. Just pick an hour on Sunday, December 20th to observe, count and record the birds sighted at your location. “Feeder Count Checklist” sheets are available from Mulberry Bush Bookstores, Buckerfields, North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre, and Cultivate Garden & Gifts in Parksville, or download checklist and instructions from

For further information, contact Lynne at or 250.586.4595.

COVID-19 testing station a welcome sight in QB

COVID-19 testing station in Qualicum Beach, BC.

With coronavirus cases and deaths rising sharply in British Columbia, and across Canada, in the last few weeks, it’s a relief to see the Public Health COVID-19 testing station set up in Qualicum Beach.

BC’s provincial health office requires that we wear a mask in all indoor public spaces, and outdoors when we are unable to social distance.