Friday, March 24, 2017

Victoria Viewpoints: Friday, March 24, 2017

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments from the Provincial scene.

BC Liberals to return $93,000 in 'prohibited' indirect donations
As parents grow older, finding accommodations for disabled children becomes a daunting challenge
It's time for 'anxious and willing' B.C. government to put up the transit cash
B.C. to hire 1,500 new teachers after reaching deal with union
Political nominations may be democratic, but do they work?
B.C. Liberals to refund $93K worth of improperly reported donations
Province pledges $330 million to restore B.C. classroom sizes to 2002 levels
Layoff notices handed out at Vancouver Sun and Province
First Nations housing advocate says federal budget 'disappointing'
Some Mounties swapping red serge for blue as they seek jobs with other forces
6 rescued after boat runs aground near Tofino
B.C. adds $150M to education, work begins to recruit 2,600 more teachers
B.C. Liberals to refund $93,000 in illegal indirect political donations
B.C. Liberals cite 'clerical errors,' refund $93,000 in improper donations
Make Ferry fares an election issue
Donation ban just politics as usual
Province funds 2,600 more teachers
Christy Clark is most disliked party leader running in B.C. election: Poll
More than 50 Postmedia employees handed layoff notices at Vancouver Sun and Province
Voters Not Sold on Clark - on NDP or Greens
Rafe Mair's New Cause: Getting BC out of Canada
Idle No More co-founder Sylvia McAdam talks housing, treaty and LGBTQ2S+ rights in lead up to Vancouver event
Vancouver, We Need a Lighter Shade of Green
Vancouver Sun and Province layoffs speak to the need for a guaranteed annual income

Ottawa Observations: Friday, March 24, 2017

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments
from the Federal scene for Friday March 24, 2017

Trudeau government urged to reject Chinese trade demands
Trump grants permit for 'incredible' Keystone XL pipeline
Cautious federal budget a missed opportunity for the Liberals
O'Leary taught us (seriously) to confront unpleasant truths about Canadian politics
Beijing pressing for full access to Canada's economy in trade talks
Despite progress in federal budget, lifetime pensions in flux for veterans
Bill Morneau wants slow and steady approach to infrastructure funding
Trudeau returns to byelection campaign trail
Liberals gather for weekend caucus meeting to plan budget sales pitch
Trudeau lags on LGBT pardons
Liberal MPs gather in Ottawa for rare weekend caucus meeting
Liberals' latest attempt at parliamentary reform remains a tale of woe, for now
Some Mounties swapping red serge for blue as they seek jobs with other forces
Trudeau returns to byelection campaign trail but Tories say he should stay away
Opposition MPs want Justin Trudeau to sanction Liberal MP accused of sexist remark
Rest in Peace, CSB: A eulogy for the Canada Savings Bond
Federal government spent tens of thousands on TVs
Trump approves Keystone XL pipeline amid continued concerns over the environment
Can we come out now that deficit hysteria is over?
Canadians know Palestinians deserve justice
It was shoddy journalism that cost Andrew Potter his job at McGill
Canadians watching, waiting for M-103 next steps
Liberals defend proposed four day sitting in House
The cynical saga of M-103 continues
M-103 passes and the Islamophobia study begins
The anti-Islamophobia motion has passed. And today has changed for the better?
Quebec's reaction to Potter column is not how a liberal society responds to criticism
Tory race update: O'Toole overtakes Scheer, Saxton dares to be dull
Trudeau back on the byelection campaign trail but opposition says PM should stay off it
Agri-food industry disappointed with lack of foreign-worker reforms in budget
'Boring gets the job done': Tory candidate Andrew Saxton releases defiantly pro-boring YouTube video
Rafe Mair's New Cause: Getting BC out of Canada
Vancouver Sun and Province layoffs speak to the need for a guaranteed annual income

Wildlife interpretation display proposed for Prince Rupert

Conservation Officer Gareth Scrivner
delivered a presentation to council
on Monday exploring the potential for a
wildlife interpretive display for the city
It's a project that is still very much in the early stages, but if enough stakeholders can be assembled and funding sources found, a new attraction may soon come to the Prince Rupert area, as part of a proposal to put a wildlife interpretive display in place in the city.

Prince Rupert City Council received a first look at what the project might look like on Monday, when Terrace based Conservation Officer Gareth Scrivner appeared in front of council to make a twenty minute presentation on the theme.

Making use of a number of information slides, Mr. Scrivner provided some background as to how he envisions such an interpretive display coming together.

Perhaps with an eye towards the volume of tourists that arrive in the Cow Bay area each year he suggested that the display might be most suited for placement somewhere in the Atlin Terminal area.

His initial thoughts present the project as one which could be in the form of a small gallery type of display with photos, videos and educational text that outlined the themes of wildlife and conservation.

Mr. Scrivner also noted that should the idea catch the imagination of the community, that theme could be expanded to offer more sophisticated and interactive options depending on the amount of financial resources that they could bring together.

Observing for Council that one of his duties as a Conservation Officer is to engage the community in discussion and provide more information on issues of wildlife interaction, Scrivner portrayed the proposed interpretive display as a community option that would help fill that need, as well as to offer an attraction for local residents and visitors to the community.

Among the partners he is looking to approach towards the project include the City of Prince Rupert, Local First Nations, UNBC, and local eco-tourism businesses and other interested members of the community.

The first phase of the project planning includes seeking out those other partners, forming a committee or working group and then to explore the options for available funding and other resources to move the display proposal forward.

Council members were generally quite enthusiastic and receptive to his proposal, with a number of them offering up suggestions and asking questions about how the project could  move forward.

Councillor Cunningham called it a phenomenal idea and asked about whether it would be a full time display or a seasonal project, he also inquired about areas of funding for the proposal and noted that there were a number of vacant spaces in the city, so the display didn't necessarily have to be placed in the Atlin Centre area.

And while he cautioned that he couldn't speak towards providing funding by the city, but did suggest that the City could offer some expertise in setting it up the proposed display concept.

Councillor Randhawa called it a great idea and asked if there was any kind of idea related to how much the project might cost.

Councillor Thorkelson also echoed the theme of the project being a good one, observing that there could also be options for cooperation with such agencies as the Department of Fisheries and other area stakeholders to expand the scope of the display project.

She also had some thoughts on how the proposal could move forward, noting that while city staff probably didn't want to stick handle the concept, there could be a number of members in the community that may be willing to step up to help get the project underway.

Mayor Brain also offered up the prospect of the city council taking the project under consideration, with further discussion planned to see if anyone on Council is interested in being involved.

The Mayor also outlined a few suggestions focused on the community, as to where the City might be able to help bring together some support to explore the proposal further.

You can take a look at what Officer has in mind from the video archive of Monday's Council session, the presentation to council starts at the nine minute point.

For more items related to Monday's City Council session see our Council Timeline feature here, a more expanded review of Mr. Scrivner's presentation is also available there..

Further background on Council discussion topics and other areas of interest about City Council can be reviewed on Council archive page.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Herring season heads towards home stretch; while questions remain about salmon season

The Canadian Fish Plant on George Hills Way has been a busy operation
through the month of March as the 2017 Herring season moves forward

Parking around the Canadian Fish Plant along George Hills Way is getting a little cramped these days as a fleet of transport trucks wait their turn to collect shipments of herring and herring roe for transit to the Lower mainland and on to Asia.

The North Coast herring season is making the turn into the home stretch as March makes its way into April, the number of landings becoming fewer and fewer at the giant fish plant on the city's eastern side.

The harvest from the waters of the North and Central coast will now be destined to make their way to Vancouver and for eventual shipment to Asian markets.

With the British Columbia product considered to be as one of near gold status in the fishing industry, particularly when it comes to the herring roe, a resource that is in high demand.

It's a long line up of trucks waiting their turn to pick up a load at the
loading dock at the Prince Rupert Operations of Canadian Fish

The herring season offers up a few extra hours for those at the high end of the labour pool board at the Prince Rupert plant, valuable for those that need as many hours as possible to qualify for Employment insurance in the fall.

Once the herring season winds down completely in early May, the plant will transform itself for salmon season, though that is a season which looks quite different than what was seen less than a few years ago when salmon canning operations were in place in Prince Rupert.

Recent changes to the George Hills Way plant have seen the canning lines removed and the amount of work for local shore workers decline as the plant shifts towards more of a fresh and frozen operation.

2017 will also be what is known as a contract year for the local workers at the two Canadian fish plant facilities in the community.

To prepare for those negotiations ahead, UFAWU-Unifor the union representing the workers recently held some preliminary meetings with the workers, as the union leadership looked to get an idea as to what the workers are seeking at the negotiating table this time around.

The current labour agreement between workers and the Canadian Fish Company will expire on April 15th, it's unknown as to when the first of the bargaining sessions will take place.

UFAWU-Unifor has made the concentration of ownership of the industry on the North Coast a key element of their response to the job declines at the Prince Rupert plant, calling for the Federal government to address the issue of adjacency for the fishing industry in British Columbia.

That is a call that has been echoed by both NDP MP Nathan Cullen, it was also topic that was raised in the Legislature earlier this month by NDP MLA Jennifer Rice.

In addition to the labour discussions, the 2017 fishing season is facing potential concerns over fish stock levels, with DFO noting this month that early returns are not offering a promising outlook for the fishing season ahead.

At the moment, it is still too early in the year to make a final decision as to whether there will be a salmon season, those determinations will come in the months to come, as the Federal fisheries department releases its salmon management plan for the year.

For more notes on the Fishing industry in British Columbia see our archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Victoria Viewpoints: Thursday, March 23, 2017

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments from the Provincial scene.

British Columbia judges's handling of sexual-assault trial sparks complaint
Task-force leader on legalizing marijuana urges prohibition, for now
Changes to Retirement Concepts site spur resident concerns
WorkSafeBC investigation says some Vancouver School Board trustees bullied staff
Victoria Police chief to have disciplinary hearings on misconduct allegations
B.C. reports 64 pipeline benefit deals with 29 Northern First Nations
VSB staff humiliated, intimidated: WorkSafeBC report
Clock ticking on finding matching funds for major B.C. projects
City of Victoria mulls over a ban on plastic bags from stores - again
Coroner's jury wants better mental health support for Vancouver Transit police
B.C. Liberal candidate asks parties to correct donations in her name
Police watchdog takes Vancouver Chief Palmer to court over probe into fatal shooting
Number of B.C. classes with more than three special needs students rises dramatically
Election promises continue: Polak pledges new campsites throughout B.C.
Allegations of misconduct against Victoria Chief Elsner head to discipline hearings
Lots of studies in federal budget, not much new money
Housing help will be welcome
Federal Budget: How much is coming to Victoria
Elsner investigation will head to discipline proceedings
Worried about policing costs; Osoyoos asks for recount
Foreign buyers' interest in Metro Vancouver housing levelling off
A Blueprint for Fixing Post-Secondary Education

Ottawa Observations: Thursday, March 23, 2017

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments
from the Federal scene for Wednesday March 22, 2017

Budget Notes

Morneau says government not planning to raise rate on capital gains
Federal budget positions Canada to lure scientists from U.S. and Britain
Trudeau's budget: Delaying decisions on Trumpian matters
Energy firms decry tax clampdown in federal budget
Federal Budget scratches surface of issues impacting the labour market
Uber Canada hits back at Liberal plan to charge tax on rides
Access to tax credit for fertility treatments expanded in budget
It never seems a good time for a tax-the-rich budget
Justin Trudeau touts budget's 'meaningful' investments
Morneau sees 2017 budget as Chapter 2 of ongoing plan
Morenau's faith in small reforms - and small headlines
Federal Budget has no new spending for on-reserve fire safety
Did 'feminist' Trudeau government's gender budget really support women?
Finance Minister isn't ruling out future changes to capital gains taxes
Liberals face a five-alarm fiscal fire
Mars, weed, coding and hiking: A few things you might have missed in the federal budget
This week, the Liberals learned, again, that promises sometimes cost real money
Canada's new 18-month parental leave offers flexibility - but comes with a catch
Lack of defence spending draws fire

House of Commons votes to pass motion condemning Islamophobia
First Nation says outside manager's pay prevents spending on crucial issues
Feds can keep info secret in Chinese refugee-claim case: court
Latvia warns Canada to expect Russian smear campaign against troops
NDP to hold cross-country town halls on electoral reform
With the M-103 debate out of gas, we reflect on a squalid exercise in democracy
House of Commons passes anti-Islamophobia motion
Montreal man linked to ISIS arrested on terrorism-related charges in Turkey
Canada warned to be prepared for Russian-backed fake news and smears in Latvia mission
Canada suspends meat imports from 2 Brazil plants in food scandal
Opposition MPs want Justin Trudeau to sanction Liberal MP accused of sexist remark
Senator Don Meredith dumps racism defence, hires new lawyer
U.S. set to recommend approval of Keystone XL pipeline on Friday
Leitch slides, O'Leary gains in Conservative Leadership index
Senator Don Meredith's new lawyer says sex scandal outcry isn't racist
Justin Trudeau's promise of transparency is starting to look empty
Canada gets approval to join controversial China-led infrastructure bank
M-103 passes and now the Islamophobia study begins
What happened to our "green" PM?
Liberals latest attempted power-grab in Commons sure to fail again
Find out how your MP voted in the House of Commons on M-103, the anti-Islamophobia motion
Trudeau pressed to discipline male Liberal MP who joked about female Tory MP being a stripper
MPs pass M-103 Thursday even as new poll says most Canadians would vote down anti-Islamophobia motion
Canadians doubt anti-Islamophobia motion will have any effect, even if they support it: poll
Rachel Notley fights back against O'Leary comments: 'Misunderstanding of the constitution'

Council takes note of complaints related to Medicinal Grow Op smells

Councillor Cunningham seeks opinions
on how to deal with medicinal grow op
smells in city neighbourhoods
With the relaxation of laws governing marijuana expected to move forward later this year, Councillor Barry Cunningham provided a heads up on an issue that might become a more frequent complaint for City Council in the months and years to come.

At Monday's council session, Mr. Cunningham took note of some concerns in the community that he has received related to smells emanating from homes with a medicinal grow op in place, with the Councillor wondering if the topic might fall under the city's nuisance bylaw.

Noting that the bylaw isn't specific, he outlined for Council how the situation has become a concern for some residents and is something that the city should explore further.

The councillor also observed that there are measures that growers can take to reduce the impact on their neighbours, something that it would seem isn't taking place in some areas of the city. Mr. Cunningham also suggested that the home based grow ops should not infringe on the rest of the neighbours right to go into their yards.

While he didn't offer up any kind of numbers to indicate just how large the number of grow ops might be, he did note that the the current situation is causing some distress for some residents, asking of staff if there is a way to give notice to those growing their medicinal marijuana and whether there were any teeth in the current bylaw to address the issue.

In reply to the inquiry, City Manager Robert Long offered up some interpretation on the theme for council.

"I believe that the smell would have to be, by definition noxious, so we can check. I guess it is in the nose of the beholder what is a noxious smell or not, but clearly if it's a nuisance and that's defined in the terms of the community then I think we would have the ability to act'

You can pull out your old Lynyrd Skynrd CD and play it in the background, as you listen in to the discussion from Monday evening, the topic comes up at the 36 minute mark.

For a look at some of the other notes from Monday's Council Session see our Council Timeline feature here.

For more items of interest related to Prince Rupert City Council see our Council Discussion page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review