When Ross Forrest was asked to join a hike

When Ross Forrest was asked to join a hike

Forrest glad for a chance to meet PM

An invitation for Lake Cowichan’s mayor to attend a simple hike turned out to be a memorable walk with PM Stephen Harper.

An invitation for Lake Cowichan’s mayor to attend a simple hike turned out to be a memorable walk with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

“I’m not sure why I got the invitation, I didn’t know it was going to be with the prime minister,” Ross Forrest told the Gazette of his Jan. 7 jaunt with Harper.

Forrest said he’d earlier received an invitation from the Government Of Canada for a hike and an announcement.

“I knew there was going to be some kind of grant announcement so I agreed to go because I like to represent our community and know what’s going on,” said Forrest, who added he “got wind at the last minute” the walk was to be with Harper.

The PM did indeed have an announcement about grant money in an effort to complete the Trans-Canada Trail in time for Canada’s 150th anniversary, in four years.

The feds announced they would match public contributions — one loonie for every two bucks raised by the Trans-Canada Trail Foundation — up to $25 million to complete the 24,000-km coast-to-coast trail.

Lake Cowichan is the western-most terminus part of the Trans-Canada Trail.

The announcement was made at Mill Bay’s Brentwood College School while approximately 150 wet protesters rallied outdoors.

Despite the feelings of some, Forrest said it was a thrill to meet the prime minister.

“It was a good opportunity to speak with him for a couple of minutes without a protest sign in my hand,” he laughed.

“Not that I wanted one in my hands because I don’t like to get involved in any of that stuff.

“I know there’s a lot of disgruntled people who don’t like him or his party, and that’s fine because people are entitled to their opinions on that and I respect that, but I was there as a representative of my community which I’m thrilled to do when I get the opportunity.”

But it turned out Harper knew a bit about our small lakeside town.

“He told me he’d been here 12 years before,” said Forrest, who added Harper didn’t supply further details of the 2002 visit.

“I didn’t know he’d been here before, but I also found out after talking with the prime minister’s wife (Laureen Harper) that her parents live in Saanichton, so I imagine they do get time here when he’s not on business.”

In all, Forrest said he got about five minutes with Harper during a walk from the Kinsol Trestle.

“My impressions were he was very pleasurable to speak with and talk to,” he said.

Forrest said he lucked out when television personality Valerie Pringle, who was on the same tour as Forrest, asked the mayor to take a picture of her and Harper.

She returned the favour when Forrest handed her his cell phone.

All in all, it was a good day, said Forrest.

“I’m thrilled I was invited to go along.”

I did get to speak to him about my community, which I’m passionate about and for that I’m grateful.

 

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

North Cowichan’s committee of the whole have rejected staff’s recommendation to limit the use of fireworks to Halloween. (File photo)
North Cowichan rejects limiting fireworks to Halloween

Municipality decides staff recommendation would be unpopular

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

CVRD Area E director Alison Nicholson, right, hiked two hours to Waterfall Camp at the Fairy Creek watershed along with Comox town councillor Nicole Minion and Comox Valley Regional District director Daniel Arbour to meet with old-growth logging activists on Monday, June 7. (Submitted)
Cowichan Valley regional director visits Fairy Creek protest camps

‘They clearly communicated that they are committed to what they are doing’

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in South Island parkland

These birds don’t often touch down on their way between northern B.C. and Mexico

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding parnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Most Read