Lytton – March 12, 2009 – The Executive of Democratic Reform BC, together with First Nations leaders, family and friends gathered in Lytton to pay tribute to John Robinson Warren, a founding director of the party who passed away a year ago.
About 150 people gathered in a community hall for a memorial feast. A portrait of John was a centrepiece in the hall. Later the gathering went to the nearby confluence of the Thompson and Fraser Rivers where John’s sister, Janet Warren, a professor of psychiatry and neuro-behavioral sciences, scattered his ashes. At the same time, a platter of food in accordance with First Nations’ tradition was released into the water.
A realtor and consultant on aboriginal land and resource development, John Warren was well known throughout British Columbia for his knowledge of aboriginal affairs. Originally from Manitoba, he lived in B.C. for 32 years, and was just 60 years old when he died. In recent years he worked for the Nlaka’pamux Nation Tribal Council, the Ashcroft Band, Boothroyd Band, Lower Nikola Band and Boston Bar Band. Representatives of all these and other bands were present at the ceremony, among them his long-term friend and associate Chief Don Moses.
Those who knew him recalled John as a thoughtful, soft-spoken man, with a wry sense of humour, who was passionate about politics and about First Nations issues. As a Buddhist, he was also a vegetarian. The food selected for his last platter reflected his beliefs.
“John would give me a disapproving look, when I sat across the table from him enjoying a meal smothered in meat,” recalled Chief Moses. “But he forgave us cattle ranchers. He grew his own vegetables and was proud of his garden produce, especially the tomatoes. Once a person gave him a freezer full of old salmon. He buried it in his garden and bragged about the best crop of vegetables he had in years.”
John Warren completed a degree in civil engineering at the University of Manitoba and an MBA at the University of Western Ontario. He also worked for four years through Canadian University Service Overseas (CUSO) in Papua New Guinea and Bangladesh in the 1970s. He was the principal owner and managing broker of Warren Pacific Realty Ltd in Lytton.
His first involvement with politics was in the 1957 federal election. At 10-years-old, he campaigned for the Progressive Conservatives in his home riding of Winnipeg South. In the 1978 federal election campaign, he served as campaign manager to Don Moses who was a federal Liberal candidate. Later when Chief Moses founded the All Nations Party of BC, John chaired the ANPBC policy committee, worked as a fund-raiser and was a key member of the party executive.
When the All Nations Party membership merged with DR BC, John was there again, becoming a founding director of the party. DR BC President and Provincial Policy Chair Robert Allington recalled John Warren’s involvement.
“John was helping us and working conscientiously to encourage us long before DR BC became a reality,” Allington remembered. “When our predecessor party, the BC Democratic Alliance, made a submission to the Citizen’s Assembly on Electoral Reformation calling for proportional representation which included dedicated First Nations representation, John’s advice was invaluable.”
“Simultaneously, together with Don Moses, he prepared a submission on behalf of the ANPBC, which supported us, and elaborated on the justifications for First Nations membership in the Legislature. It was co-operative democracy in action. A John’s involvement no doubt contributed to our submission being ranked among the top 15 recommended by members to members of the Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform–no mean feat considering the Assembly received over 1600 submissions. Ultimately the Citizens Assembly would decide that aboriginal representation was beyond their mandate, but nevertheless John, by addressing the issues, left an indelible mark that endures in the policies and perspectives of DR BC.
DR BC President Robert Allington was joined at the ceremony by Membership Chair Lyne England and her husband Joe, and current Party Leader Graeme Rodger. Former Leader Tom Morino was unable to attend but sent a written statement.
“I know John Warren as a friend, a colleague and a beautiful spirit,” Morino said. “In his presence there was little need for words, we knew immediately his worth and his warmth. But if I have any regrets, it is that I didn’t spend more time talking, because we can’t do that anymore. As friends and family gather to commemorate John’s life, we should each remember that there are too few people like him in this world, and humanity is diminished whenever we lose someone like John Warren.”
In the 2005 provincial election, John was a DR BC candidate in the New Westminster Electoral District. Some people in New Westminster were surprised that a Lytton resident was running in a riding three hours away from his home. Those who knew John were not be surprised. He was frequently in the Lower Mainland on business.
As his ashes were released into the Thompson River, a friend from Ashcroft observed: “John’s on his way to Vancouver again.”
At Issue 2007- 2006
Victoria – March 6, 2007 – “On the heels of the BC Liberal’s hallow energy plan, I’m proud to announce the DR BC sustainable energy policy. A comprehensive strategy with real numbers and real workable ideas,” said DR BC Leader Graeme Rodger.
Victoria – Febuary 21, 2007 – After attending the budget lockup in Victoria, DR BC Leader Graeme Rodger declared Liberal budget, “Just more of the same we’ve come to expect; all flash, no substance, a pyrite budget for Mr. Campbell’s pyrite decade.”
Victoria – February 13, 2007 – “Mr. Campbell’s golden decade remains tainted with the choices he made, and looks suspiciously more like pyrite than gold,” says Rodger.
Victoria – January 16, 2007 – “Mr. Campbell and his government are yet again out of touch with the needs of British Columbians,” stated DR BC Leader Graeme Rodger.
Victoria – December 18, 2006 – As British Columbians continue to clean up from what has become the worse series of storms in over a decade DR BC leader Graeme Rodger is asking where the provincial government has been during this natural disaster.
Vancouver – November 6, 2006 – “Why is British Columbia playing catch up on important issues?” asked DRBC spokesman Matthew Laird.
Democratic Reform BC is proud to announce the 2006 Annual General Meeting will be held November 18th, 2006 in Sidney, BC.
Vancouver – September 8, 2006 – “What British Columbians face is a government that has run out of ideas, and had many questionable ones to begin with. If this government has no further business on their agenda, they should step aside and make room for those who do have a wealth of fresh ideas and progressive initiatives for the province. It is, after all, what British Columbians are paying for,” said DRBC spokesman Matthew Laird.
Vancouver – September 5, 2006 – As a new batch of keen young students prepare to enter post-secondary education, DRBC spokesman Matthew Laird asks why we’re about to saddle another generation with crippling debt.
“Recent comments by Transport Minister Kevin Falcon bring into question his and the BC Liberal commitment to open and accountable government,” said DRBC spokesman Matthew Laird.
Williams Lake – May 6, 2006 – After a historic summit which began the first steps in healing long standing wounds in the relationship between First Nations of Canada and Canadian governments, DRBC condemns Prime Minister Harper’s betrayal of the agreement.
Vancouver – April 28, 2006 – Democratic Reform BC is demanding to know why Premier Campbell is selling out BC interests in the proposed softwood lumber deal.
Vancouver – April 25, 2006 – DRBC spokesman Matthew Laird today applauded Premier Campbell’s decision to establish a research chair for the prevention of cancer.
At Issue 2006
DRBC Wishes British Columbians a Happy Earth Day
Vancouver – April 22, 2006 – “With the marking of Earth Day, there is sadly little to celebrate this year in British Columbia,” said DRBC spokesman Matthew Laird.
DR BC Demands Halt to Fish Farm Expansion Pending Review
April 7, 2006 – DRBC asks why the BC Liberals have approved another fish farm in an ecologically sensitive area before a multi-party committee examining the issue has even had its initial meeting.
Open Letter to Minister Ida Chong
March 30, 2006 – DRBC President Erle Martz pens an open letter to Minister Ida Chong regarding the recent “Highway of Tears symposium.”
DR BC Commends the People of Hartley Bay
March 23, 2006 – DR BC takes its hat off to the people of the tiny First Nation fishing village of Hartley Bay. Unless one was there, the magnitude of this can not be fully appreciated. The village has a population of about two hundred people, and the victims of the ferry sinking amounted to half of their entire local population.
DR BC Responds to Queen of the North Tragedy
Vancouver – Match 22, 2006 – “On this challenging day we would like to express our best wishes to all those who survived this traumatic event, it is a testament to the dedication and training of the BC Ferries staff, the Canadian Coast Guard, and the residents of Hartley Bay that the outcome of this event didn’t have a more tragic end,” expressed DRBC spokesman Matthew Laird over the sinking of the Queen of the North this morning.
Democratic Reform BC Unveils Gateway Proposal
Vancouver – March 13, 2006 – DRBC has consulted with a wide spectrum of stakeholers in producing the DRBC Gateway Project: An Alternative Vision. We hope the public will find it engaging and that it helps spark debate about future development in the Lower Mainland.
DR BC Condemns Liberal Handling of Elderly Care
Vancouver – February 27, 2006 – DRBC’s Matthew Laird asks where Gordon Campbell’s promised 5,000 long term beds have gone.
Campbell Budget More Damage Control than Substance, says Laird
Vancouver – February 21, 2006 – DRBC spokesman Matthew Laird today had little praise for the BC Liberals’ 2006 budget
DR BC Response to Throne Speech
Vancouver – February 14, 2006 – DRBC Spokesman Matthew Laird today voiced his response to the bland Throne Speech presented by the Campbell Liberals.
DR BC Calls on Liberals to Protect Public Healthcare
Vancouver – February 2, 2006 – DRBC representative Matthew Laird today applauded BC Health Minister George Abbott for finally taking a small step in defending the Canadian health system, but believes Mr. Abbott must go further.
DR BC Transport Critic Calls Gateway Project Short-sighted
Vancouver – January 31, 2006 – “The plan presented by the Campbell Liberals is typical to his government’s style, unilateral, short sighted, not addressing the real problems, and completely secretive until they feel the public should be let in on the plan,” said DRBC Transport Critic Matthew Laird.
ALR “Land Values for Farm Land Regulation” Raises More Question
January 27, 2006 – An Open Letter from DRBC Agriculture Critic Alan Clarke
Upon further analysis, the internal government documents DRBC obtained through a whistle blower appear much more damaging to both the Campbell Liberals and James NDP. The schedules described in the 152 page document have never been updated or revised since 1972. The methodology and data are based on three main criteria – agricultural capability, soil capability, and productivity.
BC Farmers Deceived for 33 Years
Kelowna – January 19, 2006 – Democratic Reform BC Agriculture Critic Alan Clarke and DRBC Vice-President Garry Rieger today released an internal government document alleging a systematic deception of BC farmers spanning the period of three decades.
DR BC Newsgram
January 20, 2006 – The tax receipts for all cash donations to Democratic Reform BC in 2005 were mailed on January 15, 2006. This mailout does not include receipts for donations which may have been made directly to any of the candidates campaigns which are the responsibility of the candidates Financial Agents.
Happy Birthday DR BC
Vancouver – January 15, 2006 – On January 15 2005, citizens of British Columbia founded Democratic Reform BC Party and today the party celebrates its one year anniversary on the provincial political scene.