Surrey: NDP takes six of nine ridings

JENNIFER SALTMAN & DAN FUMANO

(Vancouver Sun)

B.C. NDP MLAs for Surrey talk victory

 

In the last election, the NDP’s Jagrup Brar lost the riding he had held for nine years by just 200 votes. On Tuesday night, he was redeemed.

Surrey-Fleetwood, which was won by Liberal Peter Fassbender four years ago, once again swung to the left.
Jagrup Brar has been elected in the riding of Surrey-Fleetwood for the BC NDP.

This was a riding to watch because BC Liberal incumbent Peter Fassbender was hoping to hold on to his seat during this election.

Surrey-Fleetwood was considered one of the closest races in one of the most important election battlegrounds in the Lower Mainland, backed up by the fact that both party leaders made a point of visiting during the campaign.

Fassbender may have been one of Liberal Leader Christy Clark’s top cabinet ministers, most recently holding the portfolios of community development and TransLink, but he won by a narrow margin in the 2013 election and the riding boundaries changed in 2015, bringing in as many as 700 NDP voters.

After the riding was called for Brar, who won with 52 per cent of the vote, he addressed the NDP crowd gathered at Surrey’s Riverside Banquet Hall, and talked about building a new hospital and schools in Surrey to loud applause.

“This election was very important to the people of Surrey,” Brar told the crowd. “We did not get from the B.C. Liberals what we deserved. But I promise to you today, that if the people of B.C. elect an NDP government, in Surrey things are going to change, and we are going to work for you.”

Before polls closed Tuesday, Fassbender told Postmedia the new riding boundaries had made the race “more interesting for sure, but I just keep my eye on the ball.”

Asked about speculation the changed boundaries could benefit the NDP, Fassbender said: “There’s all kinds of speculation, I’m sure that the opposition wants to believe that… But I don’t worry about those things. Worry makes you old.”

The win appeared to be on trend for the NDP in Surrey, which at deadline looked to carry six of the city’s nine ridings in B.C.’s second most populous city.

Another riding to watch was Surrey-Guildford (formerly Surrey-Tynehead), where incumbent Amrik Virk, a former RCMP inspector, was challenged and defeated by another retired Mountie, the NDP’s Garry Begg.

In 2013 Virk won the riding previously held by longtime Liberal MLA Dave Hayer by just over 1,600 votes. However, with the name change came boundary adjustments and the opportunity for the NDP to pose a real threat.

Begg rose to the occasion and won with 49 per cent of the vote. Tuesday night before the final election results had been called, he told NDP supporters: “We’ve come pretty close to making this a fantastic night.”

“We promised during this campaign that we would put people at the centre of government, and I expect that you will hold us to that promise,” Begg said. “This campaign was run on volunteers, and courage. We were told that it was a big and daunting fight, and it was. But we prevailed, we did the right thing, and we won.”

When asked what may have factored into his defeat, Virk said it was hard to speculate, but suspected it was a variety of issues, from tolls to taxis to the redrawing of riding boundaries.

“Overall, the public has spoken and determined what their priorities are,” Virk said. “I hope they stay engaged going forward.”

  • The boundaries and candidates have changed over the years, but the political preference in Surrey-Cloverdale has not. Tuesday, the longtime Liberal riding (since before the 1991 election) went to Marvin Hunt, a former city councillor first elected for the Liberals in 2013 in Surrey-Panorama.
  • Surrey-Green Timbers has long been an NDP riding. Sue Hammell held the riding from the time it was created in 1991 until 2001, when she was defeated by Brenda Locke. Hammell took it again in 2005 and has held it ever since, but announced her retirement earlier this year. Locke ran again for the Liberals, but was unable to unseat the NDP, with newcomer Rachna Singh winning with 56 per cent of the vote.
  • Surrey-Newton is the city’s smallest riding and has a colourful history, going from SoCred to NDP in 1991, to Liberal in 2001 and back to NDP in 2005. That’s when Harry Bains won the riding for the NDP with 58 per cent of the vote. Bains won again in 2009 and 2013, and continued the streak on Tuesday with another win over new Liberal challenger Gurminder Parihar.
  • Surrey-Panorama was one of the tightest Surrey races of the evening as results poured in. The riding has seen a rotating cast of MLAs since it was created in 2009 — all of them Liberal. But Tuesday evening the tide turned for the NDP, with Jinny Sims, a veteran politician with the federal NDP, winning 50 per cent of the vote to finish eight points ahead of Liberal newcomer Puneet Sandhar. Sims, the NDP MP for Newton-North Delta from 2011 to 2015, told a boisterous crowd of NDP supporters following the win: “This election is about you, each and every one of you… We’re taking B.C. back.”
  • In the new riding of Surrey South, Stephanie Cadieux won for the Liberals. Cadieux, who was first elected in 2009 and served as Minister of Children and Family Development since 2012, won with 49 per cent of the vote, defeating NDP newcomer Jonathan Silveira. Although the riding is new, the area covered by Surrey South has traditionally voted Liberal. It will be the third riding Cadieux has served — she was first elected in Surrey-Panorama, and then won Surrey-Cloverdale in 2013 with 59 per cent of the vote.

Minutes after the riding was called for Cadieux Tuesday evening, she told Postmedia that even though the riding was new, it was carved out of parts of Panorama and Cloverdale, two ridings she had previously represented.

“For me, it’s home,” Cadieux said. “I wasn’t nervous to run there.”

  • Unsurprisingly, Surrey-Whalley stuck with the NDP, re-electing Bruce Ralston with 58 per cent per cent of the vote, more than 17 percentage points ahead of Liberal challenger Sargy Chima. The riding was NDP from 1991 until 2001, when it went to the Liberals. Ralston first won the riding in 2005 and has held it ever since.
  • Former Coast Capital Savings CEO Tracy Redies maintained the decades-long Liberal grip on Surrey-White Rock, where she defeated the NDP’s Niovi Patsicakis, winning 49 per cent of the vote. Redies became the Liberal candidate after four-term MLA Gordon Hogg announced in October that he would not be running again.

B.C. Election 2017: Lieutenant-governor asks Christy Clark to govern

Rob Shaw

B.C Liberal party leader Christy Clark arrives at the Liberal HQ to speak to supporters after the Provincial election, Vancouver, May 10 2017.
B.C Liberal party leader Christy Clark arrives at the Liberal HQ to speak to supporters after the Provincial election, Vancouver, May 10 2017.GERRY KAHRMANN / PNG

B.C. Lieutenant-governor Judith Guichon has asked Premier Christy Clark to continue to govern the province with her current minority of seats.

Clark and Guichon spoke this morning by phone, and she also spoke to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

“The voters are never wrong,” Clark told media Wednesday. “And we got a result from the voters and British Columbians told us what they wanted really out of this election is they wanted to make sure we do things different, they elected a really significant Green presence… so I intend to listen to that.”

Clark said she’s still waiting for the outcome of absentee ballots, but whether she maintains a minority government or grows a majority she intends to “do government differently, a lot less fighting, a lot less yelling.”

“Whatever the outcome is, whether it’s a minority or a majority I do intend to work across party lines,” she said. She also said she’ll lead a change in dialogue in government.

Clark also singled out B.C. Green Leader Andrew Weaver as collaborative, and said she spoke to him last night and realizes the electorate wants him to play a larger role in the legislature.

B.C. Green party leader Andrew Weaver speaks to supporters at election headquarters at the Delta Ocean Pointe on election night in Victoria, B.C., on , Wednesday, May 10, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS / CHAD HIPOLITO

“I’ve had a good relationship with working with Dr. Weaver in the past, he’s a smart thoughtful reasonable guy,” she said.

Clark said she hopes to speak to NDP Leader John Horgan later Wednesday.

The move will theoretically allow Clark to reconvene the legislature at a time of her choosing, where she would have to pass a throne speech, budget and other legislation.

And it would appear, at least temporarily, to dampen the immediate possibility of a coalition government between the NDP and Greens.

However, there are at least four ridings in which recounts are likely and one, in Courtenay-Comox, where the margin of victory was only nine votes and could be changed when the absentee and out-of-district advance ballots are tallied during Elections B.C.’s final count, beginning May 22.

Depending on the outcome, it could shift either the NDP or Liberals into a majority government situation.

B.C. Election 2017: Christy Clark and the Liberals unable to repeat 2013’s miracle

BY LORI CULBERT

Scrappy Liberal leader Christy Clark, who surprised nearly everyone when she led her party to a hard-fought come-from-behind victory in 2013, struggled to repeat the miracle again this year.

At deadline, either the Liberals or the NDP could be forming the next government, and who would be premier remained unclear. What is known is that the party has lost the support of many voters since 2013.8

A deflated crowd at Liberal election headquarters waited late into the evening for Clark to arrive, the charismatic leader presumably not wanting to address her supporters until she had learned whether she had won or lost.

Despite the long campaign and disappointing finish, Clark delivered a barn-burner speech to the party faithful, whipping up the crowd until they were shouting “Christy, Christy, Christy!”

“And so tonight we won the popular vote…. And we have also won the most seats,” she shouted, dressed in a Liberal-red suit with her teenage son Hamish at her side.

“And with absentee ballots still to be counted I am confident they will strengthen our margin of victory… So it is my intention to still lead British Columbia’s government.”

Voters, she said, reminded the party that “we are far from perfect,” that the Liberals need to be humble and “stay focused on things that are important to ordinary British Columbians.”

She said as protectionism mounts south of the border, Liberals must listen to voters who are telling them to “get along” better with the other parties.

“I will work with the other parties to do what needs to be done to keep fighting to protect” B.C., she said to a large round of applause.

Last night, Clark spoke to Green Leader Andrew Weaver by phone. If there is a minority government, Weaver could hold the balance of power.

She did not speak to NDP Leader John Horgan, a Liberal insider said.

Clark thanked her son Hamish during her speech. “Having a mom in politics is just not easy,” she said. The crowd laughed when he responded, “It sucks.”

The tight results were not surprising. Polls suggested the NDP was ahead early in the campaign and tied with the Liberals at the end, as well as the Greens surging in a few ridings.

The Liberals lost ground in Metro Vancouver, with key MLAs losing their seats: Amrik Virk and Peter Fassbender in Surrey, Suzanne Anton in Vancouver, and Naomi Yamamoto in North Vancouver.

The Liberals won the new ridings of Surrey South and Richmond-Queensborough, as well as Delta South after independent Vicki Huntington retired. But the party lost many other Metro Vancouver seats, in particular in Surrey.

Clark’s campaign was not flawless — snubbing a voter named Linda and being indecisive about a value-added tax were two of her fumbles. The first two weeks of the four-week campaign were also a dull affair for the Liberals, who bored the electorate with their single message of jobs and the economy.

That allowed the NDP and its aggressive leader John Horgan to take an early lead in the campaign. Clark stormed back in the last two weeks, though, staking her claim as the candidate who would fight for British Columbians — in particular with her skirmish with the U.S. over softwood lumber.

But her campaign was criticized at times for being uncaring, as her focus appeared to be more one of economics than social services.

The Liberals have been in power for 16 years, and Clark has been premier for the last six — having taken over the party leadership in 2011 when Gordon Campbell stepped down.

She wanted to cement four more years in power, to allow her Liberals to match the accomplishment of Social Credit’s W.A.C. Bennett, who was premier for two decades — a B.C. record.

Clark refers to Bennett as “the greatest premier” — she holds his former Kelowna riding, and among her closest advisors are several people who were close to Bennett, including his grandson Brad.

In an interview as the election results trickled in Tuesday night, Brad Bennett said the comparison isn’t a prefect one because while his grandfather served as premier for all 20 years, Clark is just running for her second term.

“She is still fresh in the job in many ways. She has a lot of unfinished business to get done,” Bennett said. “She is a brilliant campaigner, and a very effective campaigner.”

In 2013, the Liberals won a surprisingly decisive majority with 49 seats, compared to 35 for the NDP, one Green and one independent. When the parliament dissolved, the Liberals’ seats had fallen to 47, due to a byelection loss and a MLA charged with assault.

There were two new seats in this election, for a total of 87, so the Liberals needed 44 to secure another majority.

The Liberal victory in 2013 was based on wins in rural B.C., the Fraser Valley, Surrey, Richmond, Delta, and the North Shore. The NDP dominated in Burnaby, Coquitlam, New Westminster, Vancouver, and Vancouver Island.

Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on Israel Independence Day

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement in celebration of Israel Independence Day:

“Today, we join our Israeli friends and Jewish communities in Canada and around the world to celebrate the 69th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel.

“Canada was one of the first countries to officially recognize Israel, and we are proud to call Israel our partner and call Israelis our friends.

“Canada and Israel are closely linked in heart and in mind by common democratic values and close people-to-people connections. These provide the foundation of an expanding bilateral relationship, which includes ongoing efforts to promote peace and stability in the Middle East.

“Today, while we celebrate Israel’s independence, we also reaffirm our commitment to fight anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. Israel and its people continue to face threats throughout the world, including here in Canada. We stand on guard against a resurgence of anti-Semitism, hate, and discrimination in all its forms.

“On this Independence Day, I am proud to renew Canada’s commitment to a safe and secure homeland for the Jewish people, and to a lasting peace between all peoples in the Middle East.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, Sophie and I wish everyone celebrating Israel Independence Day a Yom Ha’atzmaut Sameach.

“Shalom.”

Premier Christy Clark ready to impose thermal coal levy

MERRITT— Today at NMV Lumber, Premier Christy Clark announced the measures she will take if necessary to stop the shipment of thermal coal through British Columbia.

“Ideally, the federal government will act on our request to ban thermal coal in our ports – but if they don’t, British Columbia will charge a carbon levy on it,” said Premier Clark. “By doing so, British Columbia will establish the world’s first greenhouse gas benchmark for thermal coal – and make it uncompetitive to ship through B.C. ports.”

Should the federal government not implement a thermal coal ban, a re-elected BC Liberal government will develop regulations under the Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act to ensure all thermal coal shipped to B.C. terminals is subject to a carbon price – approximately $70 per tonne – that reflects the greenhouse gas emissions caused by the extraction, processing, transportation and combustion of thermal coal through a BC terminal.

“I am hopeful that our federal partners will act on my suggestion – and act quickly,” said Premier Clark. “But if they don’t, and if we are re-elected, I will instruct the civil service to immediately begin drafting the regulatory framework – and impose a levy on thermal coal that will make these shipments unprofitable.”

Thermal coal is among the dirtiest and most carbon-intensive methods to generate power and heat. Last year, 6.6 million tonnes of thermal coal was exported through BC ports, 94 per cent from the United States. The vast majority of coal mined in British Columbia is metallurgical coal, used in steelmaking.

“Banning thermal coal is the right thing to do for BC LNG and biomass producers who can help fill the need for cleaner energy in Asia,” said Premier Clark. “And now is the right time to do it, because while good trading partners cooperate, the United States has launched this unfair assault against key sectors of our economy and the workers they employ.”

John Horgan and the BC NDP’s position is whatever Leo Gerard says it is. Gerard is head of the Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steelworkers union paying the salaries of Horgan’s top three campaign staff – the same man who stood beside Donald Trump when he called Canadian workers a “disgrace,” and took the pen Trump used to sign the order as a souvenir.

8 Surprising Things That Are Actually Offensive in Europe

By CHRIS CIOLLI

Mixing with the locals is the fastest way to the heart of a place—and it’s easier than ever, thanks to Airbnb, Couchsurfing, Eatwith and the like. There’s only one catch—you think Paris’ transit system is tricky? Try navigating the wildly varying cultural norms across Europe. There’s nothing quite so deflating as meeting new people, and promptly (however inadvertently) offending them. See our best tips below.

1. Don’t give flowers as a gift.
Flowers’ symbolic meanings vary widely by country: In Latvia, red roses are for funerals, not valentines. Chrysanthemums are the French funerary flower. In Germany, yellow roses mean the host’s partner is cheating, lilies are for funerals, and heather is associated with cemeteries. Throughout Europe, even-numbered bouquets are considered bad luck, as are groups of 13.

2. Follow locals’ lead when it comes to alcohol.
In Spain, wait to take a first drink until after the first toast and you only toast with alcohol, not water or soft drinks. Keep quiet and don’t drink until a toast—no matter how long-winded—is finished in Georgia and Azerbaijan. In France, don’t refill your wine glass without first offering refills to the rest of the table; forget bringing wine to dinner, the host will want to select a vintage that pairs with the meal. In Russia, vodka should never be refused—it’s a symbol of friendship—and toss it back neat, sipping is considered rude. In Germany, looking people in the eyes when you toast is mandatory—on threat of 7 years bad luck in the bedroom.

3. Don’t let your clothes send the wrong message.
Generally speaking, Europeans dress more formally than Americans, even for something as simple as a trip to the supermarket. But beyond a prevailing societal norm that workout gear is only acceptable for exercise, there are also more specific, regional rules when it comes to clothing that may catch you by surprise if you don’t do your research. In Romania, don’t shake hands with your gloves on. Take your overcoat off indoors—in Russia and parts of the former Soviet Union, to do otherwise implies your hosts do not properly heat their home. In Czech Republic, stay buttoned up in business meetings, at least until the highest-ranking person in attendance removes his or her jacket. In Poland, and many parts of Europe, it’s considered impolite to speak to people with your hands in your pockets.

4. Mind your gestures.
Even the most essential of gestures can mean very different things than they do in your home country, so avoid using gestures until you’re sure you know what they mean at a destination. In Bulgaria, locals shake their heads yes and nod no. Making the peace sign, or “v” for victory is the equivalent of flipping your middle finger in Ireland and the UK. In Italy, Spain, France, Greece and former Yugoslavia extending your index finger and pinkie and shaking your fist in the “rock on” gesture, is tantamount to taunting the person you point it at about a cheating partner, whereas in Norway it’s the sign of the devil. Skip the “okay” sign, too—in France, Portugal and Greece it simply signifies “no good” or “useless” but in Turkey and Malta when you curl your thumb and index finger into a circle you’re comparing people to a very private part of your anatomy. Flicking someone’s ear is a homosexual slur in Italy, and cracking your knuckles is considered obscene in Belgium.

5. Save your smile for the right occasion.
In many parts of Europe the easiest way to identify an American on vacation is by their seemingly aimless grin for the world at large. Flashing your happy face in a business setting is considered unprofessional in Russia. In France and Czech Republic smiles are reserved for friends and families, rarely bestowed on strangers.

6. Respect local coffee culture.
Few things are more likely to scandalize the locals and get you a frosty reception at a café or restaurant than botching your coffee order. Don’t order cappuccino after breakfast in Italy, or espresso before or during a meal. In Spain, café con leche may be ordered at breakfast or as an afternoon pick-me-up, but shouldn’t be ordered with any meals after midday. If you must have a white coffee after dinner, try a cortado—an espresso cut with a splash of milk. In Austria’s historic coffee culture, the worst mistake visitors make is trying to generically order a coffee, an offense in a culture with a multitude of options.

7. Leave your chewing gum at home.
In Europe, walking around with a wad of chewing gum in your jaw isn’t just uncommon, it’s often regarded as impolite. Most Europeans chew gum briefly after a meal, and spit it out in short order. In the Netherlands, chewing gum while talking is considered rude, and in Belgium and France, chewing gum at all is considered vulgar.

8. Time is relative.
Concepts of time and punctuality vary across Europe. In the Netherlands, being early, even to the tune of 5 minutes, is unacceptable. In Germany, punctuality is a matter of respect for other people’s time. In Spain, Italy and France, being 5-10 minutes late is considered within the norm, and not frowned upon, even in many professional settings. In Poland, for informal events in people’s homes, always arrive 15 minutes later than the agreed upon time to allow the host to prepare, but not more than 30 minutes late.

While doing some research ahead of time will help, you’re bound to commit a few faux pas on your travels. The bottom line: Don’t sweat it. Some of my biggest bumbles have made for my most memorable travel experiences, like when an elderly Greek baker with massive, arthritic hands lectured me in her halting English about rude gestures when I used the “ok” sign to confirm my order of a spiral-shaped Skopelitiki pastry, or the time I almost toasted with a glass of lemon Fanta to the horror of my Spanish friends.

https://www.afar.com

The Weirdest Food Rules From Around Europe

Your table manners may not be as good as you think they are when you bring them to a different country.

By CHRIS CIOLLI

As full-grown human beings, we like to think we have a solid understanding of dining and drinking etiquette. But as it turns out, even though everyone everywhere eats, food rules are far from universal. For example, growing up, I was taught to leave my hands in my lap on top of my napkin when I wasn’t twirling (though never cutting) spaghetti. But in Greece and France, good manners dictate your hands be visible above the table—luckily, those rules about noodles do hold true in Italy.

No matter where you go, sharing a meal is the best way to connect with locals, and that is much easier without the distraction (and awkwardness) of unintended rudeness. Here are a few food rules from around Europe you may want to get familiar with before your next trip.

DON’T drink water with soup in Spain
While drinking water, in general, is perfectly acceptable in Spain, sipping agua with a couple of specific dishes is culturally taboo, especially among older generations and people from smaller communities. Tradition dictates that you skip water when eating octopus or soup because the combination will make your stomach hurt. If you’re really thirsty, don’t worry—wine and soft drinks are fine.

DO put your bread directly on the table in France
Unlike in many other countries, in France, bread is traditionally laid directly on the table (not a bread plate) and must be placed right side up. Bread placed face down is considered bad luck—bakers used to do this to mark a loaf reserved for the local executioner. It’s also important to note that when sharing a meal in France, no matter how ravenous you are, bread isn’t served as an appetizer—it should be eaten with your meal. Furthermore, you should break it into pieces with your hands, rather than bite right into it.

DON’T ask for extra cheese in Italy
At many Italian restaurants outside Italy, servers walk around offering freshly shredded cheese to add to your pasta or pizza, but in Italy it’s just not acceptable to smother your food with Parmesan. This is partly because a lot of dishes prepared with Parmesan stateside are actually made with pecorino cheese in Italy, and partly because asking for more cheese makes it seem like you’re trying to disguise the taste of the dish you ordered. Whatever you do, don’t commit the cardinal sin of requesting cheese on a seafood dish.

DO eat your food exactly as it’s prepared in Portugal and Spain
Looking for salt and pepper at the table? Forget about it. In Portugal and Spain, asking for salt and pepper to add to your food is an insult to the cook. In most restaurants (and in many homes) the two seasonings are not even brought to the table.

DO fold lettuce—DON’T cut it—in Germany and France
No matter how big the pieces of romaine in your German or French salad, remember this simple rule—fold and spear, never cut. To slice your lettuce may be considered a negative comment on the salad’s preparation.

DON’T waste bread in Russia
Around Europe, wasting bread is generally considered pretty bad form because in most countries, it’s a sacred component of every meal. But in Russia, it’s especially important to be judicious about how much bread you serve yourself, because the consequences could be dire: Tradition holds that when you die, all of the bread you’ve wasted over the years will be weighed and added to the balance that decides whether or not you get into heaven.

NEVER take the last bite of a shared dish in Denmark
Sharing a piece of cake with a friend? Social custom among Danes dictates that the parties divide the last bits of a shared dish equally among all parties until the dish in question is reduced to crumbs.

DO tilt soup away from you in the United Kingdom
In England and Scotland, the correct way to eat soup is to tilt the bowl and even the spoon away from you, then sip from the side of the spoon after it’s brought up to your mouth.

DON’T chew gum after dark in Turkey
Chewing gum isn’t as popular in Europe as it is in the United States and is even considered not-so-polite behavior. In Turkey, chewing gum after dark isn’t just rude—it’s taboo. According to local legend, after the sun goes down, gum turns into the flesh of the dead in your mouth. So if you’re looking to freshen your breath after a late dinner, you would be best advised to switch to mints.

ALWAYS pass the port to the left in the United Kingdom
It may seem a bit arbitrary, but in the United Kingdom, port is always passed to the left, after you’ve poured a drink for the person on your right. If someone forgets, the English tradition is to ask, “Do you know the Bishop of Norwich?” If the person hogging the bottle is in the know, he or she will take the hint, apologize, and pass it on (to the left, of course). If the person doesn’t get it, the next step is to say, “He’s a terribly good chap, but he always forgets to pass the port.”

How to be a wedding guest on a budget

By, Carla Hindman,

From wedding showers to engagement parties to wedding ceremonies, the cost of celebrating the couple-to-be can put a strain on your budget during the summer wedding season. According to WeddingBells Canada, weddings are a $5-billion business in Canada, with more than 160,000 weddings taking place every year and 67% of weddings occurring between June and September.

Are weddings also a financial burden for guests? For a few years in my late twenties, it seemed like as soon as summer hit, I was spending every weekend at a wedding, and spending all my dollars while I was at it! Though I loved celebrating with my friends, between travel and gifts, the pressure from all the partying was putting a strain on my bank account. If you’re heading to a few weddings this summer, here are some tips to get you through the season without paying the high cost of love:

Build a budget: Before wedding season, take inventory of upcoming weddings and build a budget based on your current financial situation. Do you have wiggle room for the extra dollars you may need to fork out on expenses beyond the main event? If not, consider making adjustments to your spending habits leading up to wedding season. Need help building a budget? Practical Money Skills has a calculator that can help you build or even rework a budget.

Wedding Attire:  Want to look your best on someone else’s big day? It’ll cost you. RetailMeNot says that Wedding guests spend an average of $325 for wedding attire, with men outspending women (men spend an average of $334). Don’t be afraid to recycle your outfits. For men, simply changing a shirt and tie combo can make for a quick and less costly new look. Women can save by exploring dress rental stores with options that will keep them on trend. Another option is to stick with a classic little black dress, but switch up accessories for a different look. If you really want to wear something new, you can make a little extra cash by selling your old suits and dresses at a consignment shop or online. Also, be on the lookout for buy, trade and sell groups on social media sites – often they have gently used attire that could help you celebrate in style.

Wedding Gifts: Wedding gifts can also take a big slice out of your budget. According to the RetailMeNot survey, 54 per cent of Canadians prefer to give cash. But cash is not always king for your budget. Consider bringing together a group to pitch in for a big-ticket item and don’t forget to look for sales while shopping the gift registry. Giving the newlyweds an experience, like a cooking class or a honeymoon excursion, is also a great idea for a present. Most of all be thoughtful. If your friends have invited you to share their day, hopefully they’ll be more thrilled with your presence than your present!

Travel expenses: Travelling to and from a wedding can be costly. If possible, travel with a group to cut down on fuel and hotel costs. Heading to a destination wedding? A WeddingBells survey estimates that one in four weddings that occur between November and April will be destination weddings. Explore using your rewards or loyalty points on airfare and hotel costs.

Bottom Line: Weddings are expensive, even if you’re not the one walking down the aisle. With planning and budgeting you can enjoy wedding season without breaking the bank.

By, Carla Hindman, Director of Financial Education, Visa Canada

http://www.practicalmoneyskills.ca