April 2020 Newsletter


Vancouver-Point Grey Community Office April 2020 Newsletter
Ezra’s gardening project
Dear Neighbours:

I hope that you and your family and friends are physically well, mentally well during a time of reduced social contact, and as financially as well as possible at a time when many businesses have been forced to close or reduce service across our province.

These are very difficult times for many of us, our shared friends, and neighbours. Despite these challenges, many of you are doing more than the bare minimum asked of us by public health.

Whether you are banging pots for healthcare and essential workers at 7 p.m., picking up the phone to call isolated friends and family members, posting rainbows with kids to send the message that “We will be OK,” fighting the understandable temptation to hoard toilet paper and essentials, showing up to work to do an essential job, or simply encouraging people through positive example to help us flatten the curve of the pandemic, thank you. You and your family and friends’ kindness, commitment, good humour, generosity and understanding have helped British Columbia avoid many of the scourges of this virus faced by other jurisdictions internationally.  We are staying safe, staying calm, and staying kind, which helps us all to maintain as much normalcy as possible in a very abnormal time.

Life at home

Many of you have kindly asked about my family’s health and how we’re managing at home. I’m happy to share that at our house, the biggest impact of the pandemic is that Cailey is back to work from her maternity leave earlier than we planned. She is a resident doctor, and has gone back to work a couple months early to pitch in at a local clinic. When she’s not at work, we’re all at home or continually hectoring our son to remember to social distance while we walk for exercise around our neighbourhood.

I’m on the phone for my Ministerial responsibilities for extended periods every day. If you’re curious about the work of the Ministry of Attorney General at this time, you can read more about it here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/justice/covid-19

We’re all crawling the walls a bit, like everyone else. We’re also learning lots about “Microsoft Teams” thanks to the work of the teachers at Ezra’s school who are helping us home school.

Thankfully, we are all happy, healthy, and looking forward to a return to normal as soon as we can safely do so. A silver lining for us has been a lot of family time at a period when usually I would be in Victoria four days a week. Baby Iva is especially glad to have everyone around!

Ezra and I have been working on a garden project with our extra family time. He made a video about it for his class, and you can see the fruit (or more appropriately the anticipated vegetables) of our teamwork here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaTGN3w3AAs

At the end of the video, Ezra asks his pals from school to send in pictures of their gardens. I know there are lots of expert and amateur gardeners on this list. If you’ve been gardening more with your time at home, feel free to send pictures in to David.eby.mla@leg.bc.ca and we’ll find a way to share them with others. At the very least Ezra and I will use them for inspiration, and hopefully, we will find a way to create a bit of virtual community. If you find yourself short on seeds, or if you have seeds to share let us know that too.  We may be able to figure out a socially distanced version of our free seed exchange in upcoming months.

Do you work with a business that can help with COVID-19 response?

Many people with connections to business or manufacturing have reached out to me offering assistance of various kinds to the province. If you or a business you work with can assist by providing critical equipment or services, government has set up a central clearing centre for these offers to ensure efficient and rapid response.

Click below to see the online form, created for businesses, that helps get your offers of assistance or equipment in front of decision makers in the most expeditious way possible, including a list of needed supplies: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/covid-19-provincial-support/supply-products-services

Up-to-date sources of information for you and your family about COVID-19 and provincial response

If you are not one of the millions of people who have downloaded our provincial app (for both android and iPhone) with real-time provincial statistics and information about the pandemic, including a self-diagnosis tool and information for service providers and medical personnel, you can download this real-time updated app by clicking this link from your phone: https://bc.thrive.health/

For more information, including: translated materials; press conference video streams with Dr. Bonnie Henry, Chief Medical Health Officer for the province; economic programs to help minimize the harms of the pandemic for individuals and businesses; and much more, visit the Emergency Management B.C. COVID-19 website:

Updates from UBC

This week I discussed UBC’s response to the pandemic with Dr. Santa Ono, President of UBC. As a major employer in our community and academic home for many, the impact of COVID-19 on UBC has been significant. The entire university has shifted teaching from in-person models to online, and many students have gone home for the remainder of the academic year, continuing their studies at a distance.

For those students remaining, especially students with families who live year-round in the Acadia Park residence, I have been working with representatives from that community and internally within government to ensure this group is not overlooked in government’s pandemic responses.

Given the many ways in which members of our UBC community have been involved with medicine and research during the pandemic, I thought you might find the following interesting:

To help at home, UBC experts Drs. Steven Taylor & Richard Lester held free a webinar to talk about how we can reduce COVID-19 anxiety: https://twitter.com/UBCmedicine/status/1250153359010664450

Dr. Josef Penninger’s team is working on a trial drug to treat COVID-19 in engineered human tissues https://news.ubc.ca/2020/04/02/ubc-led-study-finds-trial-drug-can-significantly-block-early-stages-of-covid-19-in-engineered-human-tissues/

A local biotech firm partnered with UBC called AbCellera is doing internationally significant work to create antibody therapeutics for treatment and prevention of COVID-19: https://www.abcellera.com/news/2020-03-abcellera-and-lilly-codevelopment

UBC Medical Students have been stepping up to help doctors, nurses and first responders: https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/medical-students-step-up-to-help-doctors-nurses-and-first-responders/

The office and our team

My office is still open “virtually” to hear from you. I’m meeting with many constituents by phone thanks to coordination by our senior staffer Dulcy, who has been working from home throughout the pandemic, elbow to elbow with her family members. Nic is also back at our office on a part-time basis as well, working remotely with his family keeping a watchful eye on him. It sure seems like every day is “bring your kids to work day” at our office! As always, e-mail is best. You can contact me at David.eby.mla@leg.bc.ca