Cowichan Coffee Time: Stamp honours, MP appointment, Brentwood debate champs

The Brentwood College Scholar’s Cup team finished 16th of 330 schools from around the world at the Tournament of Champions.  - [submitted]
The Brentwood College Scholar’s Cup team finished 16th of 330 schools from around the world at the Tournament of Champions.
— image credit: [submitted]

• Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor has been appointed as the Justice and Attorney General Critic in the NDP shadow cabinet.

In this role MacGregor will continue to sit as the Vice-Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

“I am honoured to accept this appointment as our party’s Justice Critic,” said MacGregor. “I’m looking forward to the hard work of guiding NDP policy on issues relating to criminal justice, the rule of law, and human rights so that we can build a more equitable and inclusive society.”

“I am proud to announce that Alistair MacGregor will take on more responsibility in our shadow cabinet,” said NDP Leader Tom Mulcair. “While the Liberals are focused on helping themselves, our strong NDP team will continue to fight for hardworking Canadians.”


• Having been named the top team in North America at the global round of the World Scholar’s Cup in Prague, six Brentwood students were selected to compete in the world final, the Tournament of Champions, in late November.

This final round of competition is for those students who qualified from one of more than 80 regional rounds, and ranked in the top teams at one of the two global rounds. The event takes place in New Haven, Connecticut, at Yale University.

The six students spent their Friday evenings, and much of their free time, working through the World Scholar’s Cup curriculum in literature, music, history and science in order to answer creative questions on, write essays about, debate related resolutions and show analysis of many of these facts over the five days. To have done this in their “spare time”, in addition to keeping on top of their regular studies at school, was a feat unto itself.

Students represent hundreds of schools from over 50 countries, and vie for the highest rankings they can achieve in several skill-testing events, such as collaborative writing, the Scholar’s Bowl (trivia competition) and debate.

On the final night, seated in Woolsey Hall, with over 1,000 students, coaches and parents from around the world, Brentwood College placed 16th overall out of 330 other schools, with each team member winning top 50 rankings in various events. They also earned a second place overall finish in the debate category, and received much praise from those against whom they’d competed.


• Life-long Cowichan Valley resident and business-owner Robin Kenyon has been appointed to the Island Health board of directors.

“We are very pleased to welcome Robin Kenyon to the Island Health board,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “His extensive business and public service experience, along with his enthusiasm for the region will further support our work to provide quality health and care, enhance the experience and outcomes of patients, and improve the overall health of our population.”

“I have seen first-hand the valuable contributions he has made as a dedicated community volunteer, and his tireless commitment to ensuring the best, most effective outcome whatever the challenge or opportunity might be,” said board chair Don Hubbard. “We are delighted to have him join our team and look forward to benefiting from his experience and understanding of community needs.”

“I am honoured to have this opportunity to serve Island Health and the community,” said Kenyon. “The work the health authority is doing to improve the health of the population, their efforts to implement an electronic health record, the extensive work happening in the areas of community relations and the focus on the development of a new hospital for the Cowichan Valley, makes this an exciting and important time to serve on the board. I am eager to get started.”

Kenyon is a partner in a land surveying/development consulting firm in Duncan where he specializes in First Nations and municipal land development. Currently, Kenyon sits as the provincial government’s appointee to the BC Ferry Authority and is past-president of the Cowichan Trail Stewardship Society. His public service also includes serving as past vice-chair and board chair at Vancouver Island University, where he appointed the first First Nations university chancellor in B.C.

Kenyon was appointed to the Board of Island Health on December 31, 2016.

Kenyon lives in Duncan with his wife Heather, where they enjoy cycling and golf in their spare time. They have four grown sons and three granddaughters.

• Mary d’Isendoorn was honoured by the Cowichan Valley Stamp Club, receiving the inaugural Lifetime Membership Award for her many years of service and support.

For more than 30 years Mary had been on the executive of the Stamp Club as president, vice-president, secretary or treasurer — whatever position needed filling, she was there. Additionally, d’Isendoorn organized the Junior Stamp Club which met every Saturday morning encouraging youth to enjoy stamp collecting as a hobby.

Mary and her husband William (Wim) came to Saltspring Island from the Netherlands in 1954.

“Canada was only 86 years old then,” laughs d’Isendoorn.

The couple moved to Duncan approximately two years later and never left. In the 1970s William, whom everyone called Bill, opened the only stamp shop that was to exist in Duncan, originally on Trunk Road and later moved to Ingram Street near where Merit Furniture is today. A member of the club recalls purchasing stamps as a young lad from d’Isendoorn’s shop, and still has them today.

Throughout the years d’Isendoorn won many awards at the Cowichan Exhibition for her own collection displays; so many, that the Exhibition Society asked her to become a judge.

She has remained active with the Cowichan Exhibition to this day, particularly demonstrating to young children how to clean and prepare stamps for collecting.

“Giving and being helpful is what it is all about,” Mary said, “if you have something to offer you should just try to make people happy.”

The award was given in recognition of many years of generous support to the Cowichan Valley Stamp Club and it membership almost since its inception in 1956.

The Cowichan Valley Stamp Club meets at 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month at the Cowichan Seniors Citizens Activity Centre, 198 Government St in Duncan.

• Robbie Burns Night was celebrated Jan. 21 at the Eagles Hall in Duncan

The Kathy White Dancers and the Cowichan Pipes and Drums were the featured entertainment.

An enthusiastic audience welcomed the March of the Haggis led by Mike Monk piping, with attendants Mike Wright and Haggis bearer Randy White.

Ian Rothnie gave a resounding address to the Haggis, complete with sword and dagger.

Lively tunes and dancing got the crowd dancing and singing.

In addition, the duo Mbira Spirit entertained everyone with their upbeat songs and the McCandless Family band contributed some popular Scottish tunes.

‘Auld Lang Syne’ finished off a tribute to Scotland’s favourite poet.

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