About Me

A disabled woman BLOGS about important issues in and around the Tri-Cities in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Watch for book reviews (especially audio), political commentary (especially municipal) and advocacy. It’s all here and your comments are welcomed!


I am a widow, mother of two adult children. I have one grandchild, Calli, who spent her Grade Three year at Anmore Elementary, and has returned from living in Edinburgh, Scotland to settle back in here in Anmore (Purple Pod for those in the know). Having successfully been MOM to Scarlet (Joo Hyun) who graduated from Port Moody Secondary School, I am proud to say she is at my alma mater, Simon Fraser University. Although I am her chosen rather than her natural parent, I found it much easier to have a teenager in my life as an older, experienced parent.

I have been employed by the Surrey School District since 1983. I also worked in the Nechako School District, Sunshine Coast School District and briefly in the North Vancouver School District early in my career. As a teacher I have been active in the provincial and local associations.

I served on the joint Provincial Teacher Education Committee as the BCTF representative working with members of government and the universities. I also worked as a Professional Development Associate for the BC Teachers’ Federation developing and providing workshops for other teachers around the province primarily in areas of Emerging Technologies, Rules of Order, Time Management, Law for Educators and Curriculum. While on a BCTF Task Force I presented at the World Congress on Education and Technology on their behalf.

At the local association level I served on many committees including the Status of Women, Income Security and Local Executive Committees.

I also taught English as a Second Language at the College of New Caledonia through their satellite program in Fort Saint James, BC. I worked for several years teaching courses for the Native Education Centre in Vancouver in their Early Childhood Education Program (through Vancouver City College) and have strong ties with that community.

My education began at the original Capilano College (then located as a cluster of portable buildings at West Vancouver High School). MY PDP (Teacher Qualification), Degree (BGS) and Post Graduate Diploma (Computers in Education) are all from Simon Fraser University. I received the Open Scholarship for my teaching performance during my three month practicum.

I was a member of the Anmore Environment Committee; the one that brought to fruition the tree “Management” Bylaw to protect trees in Anmore. I also served on many, many committees in Anmore including the Advisory Planning Commission.

I was a founding member of the BC Ataxia Society. BCAS LOGO Currently I serve on the executive of the national organizition’s western branch, the Canadian Association for Familial Ataxias.   Ataxia covers a group of neurological disorders. It is with pride that people with ataxia and neurologists and other medical practitioners gather in equal numbers to learn about research, clinical trials and new practices in the treatment of these disorders….almost unheard of in most medical arenas. BC  recently cohosted  a National Ataxia convention with Seattle.

I am also involved in the inception of the Clean Indoor Air Initiative – and hope you will take time to visit the website, created largely by fellow chemically sensitive retired Physics Professor, John Sanders.

I am on the steering board of the Tri-City Green Council – our mandate – Keeping Municipal Governments Accountable. Through this group I became involved in, and ultimately the Co-chair of the Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable Core Committee.

I am also the Treasurer of the Burrard Inlet Marine Enhancement Society, through the Mossom Creek Fish Hatchery.

If you read the testimonials from people here on my BLOG (please do), you’ll see that advocacy is more than just a calling, it’s a passion for me. As I have been helped, I too, help others. One of my mentors, Paul Gauthier, spent one afternoon with me and changed my life. I hope that when I connect with others I can improve their lives, also, in some small way.

  1. Lynn Elen says:

    Why does this not surprise me ‘young’ lady. You rock!

  2. MILTON says:

    Congratulations Elaine!!!!! Go ahead… but You need to remember… Nibirus is coming!!!! Do you know some thing about it??? Then you could write about NIBIRUS for your friends!!!!!


  3. Doris Townsend says:

    Hi Elaine,

    I can identify with what you are facing. I was a teacher who worked hard at being accommodated. I am very interested in the outcome of your arbitration. It is encouraging to see some people are trying to make a difference.

    RE: your letter. I would ask that the receptionists be aware that you are coming and they not wear perfumes. THen I would ask if they could move you immediately into a doctor’s waiting space that is chemically free. Don’t leave you sitting out in the waiting room as a sitting duck for other patients to chemically batter you.

    Then ask the doctor not to wear scented products, like aftershave etc. Be the first one to use the room that day so that you don’t encounter the chemicals that other patients leave behind. If you go for testing and disrobe, that room should be scent-free too. I had to use a locker for my clothes to have an MRI. The locker reeked from the person’s clothing before me.

    Best thing to do is also wear a mask. I use masks rom http://www.icanbreathe.com and I use three filters instead on one.
    MOST IMPORTANT- The night before your appointment phone and remind them. They forget all the time. In the morning phone and ask them if everyone remembered. My environmental doctor gave me a really good line that you can feel free to borrow. He told me I would be a pain in the ass for the rest of my life. I tell people this when I make requests of them. So I say: “Hi Catherine….I hate to be a pain in the ass as my doctor said I would be for the rest of my life but did you remember not to wear hairspray or deodorant?”

    If she did not remember I just re-schedule.

  4. Pat Verma says:

    Diversity among humans should carry a high sustainability index as is the case of the biological diversity of plants, fungi, plankton, tiny to gigantic animals in our ecosystems. It should be a great reason to celebrate biodiversity of which you Elaine are an outstanding example, different from many of us in many regards but still breathing the same air and made up of the same water and other elements. Let’s keep up the struggle for sustainability. Regards – Pat

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