Monday, September 18, 2017

Victoria Viewpoints: Monday, September 18, 2017

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

NDP Government's Campaign financing plans

B.C. taxpayers to foot campaign-finance bill banning corporate, union donations
B.C. government to ban union and corporate political donations
Backroom deal lets taxpayers provide 'big money' to politicos
B.C's NDP unveils corporate and union donation legislation
Documents hint at petroleum industry influence on B.C.'s climate policy
Three orders issued to Enbridge subsidiary concerning B.C. pipeline project
B.C. NDP government bans corporate and union donations and introduces public subsidy for political parties
NDP campaign-finance bill limits donations, offers subsidy from taxpayers
Taxpayers burned in NDP-Green ban on big money
NDP campaign-finance bill limits donations, offers subsidy from taxpayers
NDP caps party donations at $1,200 per person
B.C. NDP introduce legislation to ban big money in politics, includes corporate and union donation ban

Three orders issued to Enbridge subsidiary concerning B.C. pipeline project
B.C. teaching material featuring Indigenous slur under review
Charges to be laid involving fentanyl shipments from China: RCMP
Seven politicians eyeing B.C. Liberal leadership bid, Coleman says
BC Ferries improves service to the Sunshine Coast and Bowen Island
B.C. farmed salmon gets 'good alternative' rating in U.S.
Enbridge pipeline project cited for safety, environmental protection issues
NPA seeks to focus on bullying report in Vancouver's school board election
Publisher of school exercise book apologies for racially charged language
'A punch in the gut': Mother slams B.C. high school exercise connecting Indigenous women to 'squaw'
NDPs top promises caught up in vague consultations
Kelowna owes $1.1 million in back pay to RCMP officers
'People have no choice:" BC NDP addresses proposed Greyhound service cuts
TransLink's Board of Directors cost taxpayers more than half a million dollars last year
Why A B.C. woman says Canada Post's 'safe drop' is not safe
Province appeals ruling clearing forestry company in $5.5M wildfire
Investigation claims B.C.'s climate plan was influenced by oil and gas industry
A New Blueprint for Organizing for Change
Big Oil and Gas helped shape BC's Climate plan
Vancouver walk for reconciliation a chance to Learn, Listen and Keep the Dialogue going
B.C. municipalities call on province to reverse cuts on funding for public libraries
Parents, advocates demand action on daycare

Ottawa Observations: Monday, September 18, 2017

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments from the Federal scene for Monday,  September 18, 2017

Trudeau calls on Myanmar's Suu Kyi to condemn violence against Rohingya Muslims
Trudeau threatens to block Boeing from federal contracts over Bombardier dispute
Small-business tax fight dominates Parliament's return
Liberal MPs' reaction to small-business tax plan show party's pitch is falling flat
Striking GM workers face threat of production shift to Mexico
New rules to dampen home sales in Canada, mortgage lenders warn
Loonie drops sharply as BoC eyes impact of currency
Canadians should worry about U.S. Border searches of cell phones, electronics: privacy czar
Trudeau, fellow MPs pay tribute to Liberal Arnold Chan
Planned tax changes ignite heated Trudeau-Scheer exchange
Justin Trudeau welcomes British PM Theresa May to Canada
Iqra Khalid urges MPs to take unified approach to Islamaphobia study
In tax fight, it's Scheer's mechanic vs. Trudeau's doctor
Andrew Scheer 'condemns' Lynn Beyak's take on First Nations issues, but leaves her in caucus
Canada won't do business with Boeing while it's "busy trying to sue us,' Trudeau says
Trudeau, May strike working group for 'seamless' post Brexit trade transition
Where the federal NDP leadership candidates stand on the issues
Liberals may use time allocation to push priorities through Parliament
Veterans may appeal for benefits again after temporary adjudicators denied them
Some doctors urging Bill Morneau to go ahead with changes
Is Jagmeet Singh poised to become NDP leader? H├ębert
Trudeau threatens to not buy Boeing fighter jets to protest firm's trade complaint
NDP's Charlie Angus leaves the door open for oil pipelines - with many strings attached
Canada's proposed national securities regulator 'significantly compromised': report
Should doctors be paid a salary?
What Canada must do about the human rights crisis in Burma
Why Bill Morneau's tax reform plan is politically necessary
Fall session becomes a test for Trudeau
A kinder, gentler M-103? Let's just wait and see
Tory leader Andrew Scheer cannot be a pussyfooter
Trudeau doubles down on class war declaration to shore up progressive vote
Virtuous vanguard or tax-dodging scun? Aspects of the tax-loophole war
Time for Reality TV in Parliament - get the cameras out of the way or let them all the way in
Canada won't buy Boeing aircraft until company drops trade complaint against Bombardier: Trudeau
Committee begins racism study prompted by anti-Islamophobia motion: "I have never seen such fomented anger'
Labour groups rally in support of Liberals contentious tax reform proposals
Canada flagged as hidden $14 trillion credit bubble stokes global crisis fears
'Crazy to wait for Brexit before UK talks to Canada about trade, says new high commissioner
RCMP launch 20 investigations involving Chinese vendors delivery fentanyl to Canada
Hurricane Maria: Feds urge Canadians to register, make travel arrangements ahead of storm
The Bank of Canada's anxiety over Trump and trade point to a pause for rates
How Trump's 'Art of the Deal' explains his approach to NAFTA negotiations

Mayor hails completion of Arena upgrade project

With the 2017-18 hockey and skating season now upon us, the City's recent upgrade to the Civic Centre facilities has gained a bit of attention, particularly for those that have made use of the rink in recent weeks.

Sharing in the observations of the arena's new look was Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain, who on Friday took to his Facebook page to share some of the highlights of that project now that it's complete and to offer up his salute to the "hard working recreation complex staff who oversaw this project"

Among the notes from the arena upgrade, Mayor Brain took note of the introduction of new high efficient LED lighting and the low emission ceiling that was installed, the lights brighter and producing less heat, while the new ceiling will offer improvements on heat loss, deliver lower operating costs and improve the city's environmental footprint.

As well, the installation of a de-humidifier should serve to assist in keeping condensation to a minimum.

Beyond those improvements, some new features for those that attend events at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre will be noticed, with Mayor Brain putting the upgrades into the washroom area for the spotlight.

Council approved the renovation project previously, with the final cost for the project stated to be at 335,000 dollars.

The arena project went to bid back back in January of this year, part of a larger call for bids for a number of jobs to take place at the Civic Centre this year.

You can review how the City approached their plans for renovations here.

Other notes from the Recreation Centre show that the city continues to look for a replacement for the former Director of Recreation and Community Services, Willa Thorpe departed her post in mid-August destined for new duties in Port Alberni.

Heading towards the end of September, a quick glance at the City's Job Opportunities page shows that the position is still listed as accepting applications and one that will remain open until filled.

More notes of items related to Prince Rupert city Council can be found on our archive page.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Council to meet in Special Session this afternoon

Council Members will hear a verbal report from the City
Manager on plans for expropriation of Watson Island land

City Council members will be back to work in Council chambers this afternoon, having called a Special Regular Session for 5:15 PM.

According to the Agenda posted to the City website among the items for discussion will be a verbal report from City Manager Robert Long, the topic related to the expropriation of lands for redevelopment of Watson Island

Since they are going to be in Chambers anyways, they have also added another Closed Council Session to the list, with a short gathering scheduled for 5 PM prior to the Special Regular Session, that session will exclude the public.

Regular Council session proceedings are normally streamed through the City's video portal from the City of Prince Rupert website, or broadcast by CityWest's community channel.

Should they remember to turn on the switch tonight, those proceedings would start somewhere around 5:15PM

More notes related to City Council Discussion topics can be found on our archive  page

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

"Dwell time" issues at Fairview to see Cosco containers diverted south

The Cosco shipping line is diverting some cargo away from Prince Rupert
 this month, reportedly owing to increased dwell times at Fairview.

Normally, the fastest route for a container to travel to points inland across North America is through the Fairview Terminal gateway, however for the next six weeks, for one major shipping line, growing wait times out of Fairview have them sending their containers South.

An article posted today to the website for the trade publication Journal of Commerce, outlines the background to a decision by Cosco Shipping lines to divert their Asian import cargo to the DP World Centerm Terminal at the Port of Vancouver, bypassing Prince Rupert to avoid what is described as severe congestion and week-long dwell times.

Four vessels will skip their port call in Prince Rupert until November, they include the Xin Ou Zhou, CSCL America, Xin Fei Zhou, and CSCL Oceania, all are part of the shipping line's service that travels to ports between Asia and British Columbia, with the Canadian stops found in Vancouver and Fairview.

Prince Rupert is part of the Pacific NorthWest route recently introduced by Cosco Shipping

In comments for the Journal of Commerce article, Port of Prince Rupert spokesman Kris Schumacher outlined the current status for transit through Fairview Terminal.

“We usually have some of the lowest dwell times on the West Coast between two days and certainly less than three days," ...  “The experience right now is somewhere between three and seven days.”.

Indications from the article are that the typical dwell times should be restored by November, however no details as to why the slower times are being delivered at Prince Rupert have been revealed through the DP World information stream.

As a result of the shift to Vancouver for the next month, Canadian National Railways chief rival Canadian Pacific will be handling the diverted cargo that will now transit through the Port of Vancouver, though they have stressed that this is only a temporary measure.

Cosco expanded on the diversion plans for its customers with a Customer Advisory.

“Shipments on our CPNW vessels, originally via Prince Rupert and destined to Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary, will be diverted for discharging at Vancouver (Centerm terminal) to final destination,”

The Journal of Commerce noted that the shipments involved now include goods destined for the US.

The success of the Fairview terminal through its ten years of service has been built on its reputation to turn the arriving cargo around in a quick period of time, making for a competitive advantage for the both the port and CN.

This would appear to be the first major diversion that the port has seen in recent times.

More background on the current situation can be found from the Journal of Commerce article here.

Further notes on Fairview Terminal can be reviewed from our archive page.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Northwest Community College proposes new name

More change is coming to NWCC, with a proposed name change
now part of a process of consultation for college officials

Coast Mountain College, that's the name that the NWCC selection panel has identified as the proposed new name for the Northwest educational institution.

In a media release issued today, NWCC outlined how with the new name now selected, the final stage of community engagement will now get underway across the region.

As outlined by college officials, the proposed new name comes after two years of research and strategic planning, a process which involved staff, faculty, students, alumni and community members.

The planning was in support of the college's goal of becoming the college of choice for experiential place-based learning by 2027.

As part of today's announcement, NWCC President and CEO Ken Burt highlighted the approach the college is taking to delivering post-secondary education in the region.

“The work we did with staff, students and community around the strategic planning process really demonstrated that the core purpose of the college is to create adventurous pathways to transform lives,” 

“Our students are learning in some of the most unique classrooms in the world – from oceans and glaciers, to First Nations language classes and culturally significant locations in the region. Our unique field schools are giving students a chance to bring their studies to life outside the four walls of a traditional classroom.”

The process of reducing the list of proposed names from 30 to one started in 2016, with the process then picking up steam earlier this year.

In April NWCC officials had settled on  four names that made the final cut, leading up to today's announcement that declares that the majority of those that were surveyed preferred Coast Mountain College.

Among the themes that called to those who responded to the survey was the belief that the new name speaks to the rugged and sprawling area of the province that the college serves and is aspirational in nature.

College representatives will now embark on a three week engagement period with members of the college community across the Northwest and Haida Gwaii seeking to determine the level of support for the proposed name change.

Following that engagement process, letters of support will be forwarded to the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training along with formal request to change the college's names.

How some of the campus locations across the region respond to the proposed name could make for some interesting observations.

By selecting Coast Mountain College, the Terrace based college is following a path highlighted by the public school system in the Skeena region, which is known as the Coast Mountains School District.

The upcoming engagement process will also offer up some indication as to how the NWCC campuses of Smithers, Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii view the proposed name and whether Coast Mountain College will make for a good fit for their communities, as well as embrace the scope of territory that the college serves.

The move to change the name of the college in the region comes after NWCC recently removed its iconic Thunderbird logo, that decision was made earlier this year after concerns about cultural appropriation.

A review of today's proposed name change announcement can be found here.

More notes related to Northwest Community College can be examined on our archive page.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Hopes for LNG, concerns over hospital replacement among themes for Skeena MLA Ellis Ross

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross provided his Budget update response
for the Legislature on Thursday

As we noted over the weekend, part of last week's debate and discussion on the newly introduced Financial update from Finance Minister Carole James was turned over to individual MLA's who offered up their comments related to the plan for the future from Premier John Horgan.

Last Thursday afternoon, North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice provided her positive look at the path being blazed by her party as they settle into governing the province, earlier in the day, another voice from the Northwest had been heard, as Liberal Skeena MLA Ellis Ross made his first major speech to the Legislature for the fall session.

Mr. Ross speaking in the morning session, made note of the people that had elected him to office and what they hoped to see him achieve as their representative in Victoria, particularly when it comes to the economic development for the riding that spans the southern part of the Highway 37 corridor.

 I met a lot of people during the election at the door-knocking, and I heard a lot of different views about which direction we should head. Despite all the different opinions, everyone agreed on the final destination. The common denominator always came down to economic development and specifically the jobs that come from economic development. Kitimat being an industrial town, Terrace as a service hub and Nisga'a trying to implement their historic treaty — all wanted jobs for their members. There was a common desire to see all of the abundant resources that we have in the north used to directly benefit the people in the region.

On that theme of development he provided some personal reflection, particular when it comes to LNG in the Northwest, noting that originally he had been opposed to the concept of developing LNG terminals in the region, but after consultation with his fellow councillors on the Haisla Council of the time he came to shift those opinions.

I want to provide this House with a northern perspective. In 2003, I opposed any development of any kind, including forestry and LNG, but a few of my fellow wise councillors encouraged me to first look at my people's social and economic situation before deciding my mandates, which I did. I explored it.

In turn, I was discouraged by the high unemployment, the drug and alcohol abuse, the poverty and no future. I was more discouraged by politicians over the decades who promised a better future but never delivered anything over those decades. It was then I decided to take on a new approach and path to self-reliance, independence and self-determination. The success of our council is still being felt today, although not as strong as a few years ago.

Our engagement, which facilitated — not blocked, not stalled, but facilitated — the optimism of LNG exports and port development, positively impacted the region and the province of B.C. and, dare I say, Canada. Businesses flourished, hired more people, and workers came in from all over the province and Canada. There were lineups in restaurants, mortgages acquired, and dreams came true for the people in Skeena.

Mr. Ross also observed that while some of the high profile projects proposed for the Prince Rupert area have since been cancelled, the Kitimat plans remain active for now, however for the Legislature the MLA for Skeena had some cautionary words on how he views the NDP approach for the industry.

The PNW cancellation was a huge blow to northeast and northwest B.C. Now Aurora LNG in Prince Rupert has ended their feasibility study and will cease all investigation activity. My sincere condolences to those projects and the people affected. But Kitimat projects are trying to hang on. The billions of dollars of investment that are proposed for my riding are still there. In fact, in thinking about this overall approach, none of this makes sense to me when we're talking about LNG. 

While the rest of the world is looking to LNG to reduce emissions, forces in B.C. want to keep B.C. LNG out of the solution for global warming. Everybody else sees it as a solution, as a clean-burning fuel source — China, the United States. Everybody sees it. Even Germany is going to start looking to LNG to reduce emissions. 

B.C. wants to stay out of that game. 

They do not want LNG to help with the global warming issues all over this world. So we can pat ourselves on the back to say, "We're doing our part," but in effect, we're not doing our part because we're not helping China."

Taking further to the theme of the Budget document of Monday, Mr. Ross called attention to one particular absence from the narrative of the Finance Minister.

I've heard that this government supports LNG, but it wasn't even mentioned in the Finance Minister's budget update speech. That concerns me honourable speaker. I haven't seen anything in this budget that reflects the incredible opportunity that LNG export offers to the growth of B.C. and to reduce China's emissions, or to lift First Nations out of dependence and the Indian Act. I can't tell you how disappointing that is to the people of the Skeena riding.

Mr. Ross also explored some interesting themes on the nature of relations between the provincial government and First Nations communities, particularly when it comes to some of the recent NDP commentary on how to further engagement and how he has some concerns over some of their proposed initiatives.

Another local concern for the MLA is the fate of the new Terrace hospital project proposed in the Spring, with Mr. Ross noting that it was not part of the information flow from Monday's budget update.

In terms of the hospitals in B.C., it's well known that Terrace residents have been waiting a long time for a new hospital. In fact, everybody in the region that uses the Terrace hospital and uses Terrace overall as a hub have been waiting for a new hospital.

One of the reasons that we can't attract new doctors and nurses to the north is because they come to see the poor facilities that we currently have, and they see no future for themselves or their families. We have a strong population up there that needs medical services like everybody else — just like everybody else in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island ... 

Both parties, leading up to this election, agreed that the Terrace hospital would be replaced. In fact, it was in the February budget. It's not in this current budget.

People in the north know that without economic development, facilities like a new hospital just won't happen for people in the north. 

It's a shame, because there are many people and organizations who spent years advocating for a replacement of their hospital 

If this government and the Green Party do not support LNG, then hopefully, you'll agree that the region needs to be prepared with an up-to-date hospital and infrastructure. I just don't see the Terrace hospital being replaced. If not in this budget, hopefully the next budget will cover it.

The theme of transportation also made for a portion of the wide range of topics introduced to the Legislature on Thursday, with Mr. Ross reviewing the recent application by Greyhound to suspend service across the Highway 16 corridor and beyond, issuing a call for action from the new Transportation Minister.

I also mentioned earlier that we have to travel greater distances in the north just to get around. So you can imagine that people in my riding of Skeena and, in fact, all over northern B.C. are devastated with the news that Greyhound wants to pull out of its northern routes. 

If Greyhound does get approval to end its bus runs in northern British Columbia, there will be a major gap for those who want to travel Highway 16 on the corridor west of Prince George. Greyhound says that the new B.C. Transit bus service along Highway 16 that the former Liberal government brought in poses too much competition. 

Just when we had the combination of services finally covering local needs, we now have a potential pullout by Greyhound, and it is a safety issue honourable speaker. We are hearing from the relatives of people who lost family members along Highway 16, and they are extremely upset about this. 

So we are waiting to hear how the provincial government is going to respond, and we'd like to hear soon. I've seen previous applications for other regions for the same kind of reasons, but other regions don't have the same safety concerns that we have. 

Our highway has been named the Highway of Tears. So I am calling on the government and the Minister of Transportation to act fast before we lose this invaluable service.

The concerns over health care and the service provided by Greyhound made for part of the larger ten minute overview of Thursday that highlighted what the Liberal MLA called the divide he currently sees in the province and the need for a bridge between rural and urban British Columbia.

You can review the full text of the speech from the Legislature Archive and view Mr. Ross's presentation to the Legislature from Thursday Mornings Chamber video archive.

The Skeena MLA begins his budget response at just after the 11 AM mark.

For more items related to the work of the Skeena MLA in Victoria see our archive page here, while our archive of notes for North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice can be found here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Regional news voice to go silent at end of the month, as 250 News prepares to close down operations

An important news voice in Northern British Columbia
is about to close its service

For 12 years, 250News, once known as Opinion250, has provided for an independent news voice for Northern British Columbia, and while the online news service for the most part focused its attention on the Prince George area, at times it did shift its gaze to the west, taking note of developments on the North Coast and throughout the Northwest.

That attention however comes to an end at the end of this month, as Elaine MacDonald-Meisner, one of the co-founders of the venture closes the book on her project.

Opinion 250 was the creation of Ms. MacDonald-Meisner and her husband, long time Prince George journalist/commentator and community icon Ben Meisner, together they launched the website and began to rattle some cages around Northern British Columbia's largest centre.

Along the way the venture grew took on staff members and became a daily fixture for many across Northern British Columbia, on occasion finding itself on the Do Not return a call list from municipal and regional politicians.

The fact that elected officials, or their staff could be angered towards such measures by the dogged determination by 250 News to explore the issues and get to the story, is something that provided a pretty good sign that those working at the news site were quite effective at their dedication towards shining a bit of light on municipal and provincial mattes.

Two and a half years ago, in April of 2015 Mr. Mesiner passed away after a battle with cancer, a loss commemorated by many in the Prince George region and beyond.

His passing came ten years after launching the news site that became one of his signature works in the community, that from a career that saw him host a talk show, pen and voice opinion pieces and become one of the go to persons in Prince George when it came to seeking out some comment on issues in that community.

Elaine MacDonald-Meisner and the late Ben Meisner, together they built the
250News portal into an important news source for Northern BC.
The 250 News site will close on September 30th

(photos from 250 News archives)

As Ms. MacDonald-Meisner explains in in the announcement from Friday that heralds the end of the news site later this month, Mr. Mesiner's absence and the effort required to keep 250News in motion has weighed heavy on her.

“250News is a 24 hour, seven day a week operation which requires a great deal of time and energy to maintain. Since the passing of my husband and partner in this business, Ben Meisner, it just hasn’t been the same.”

Over the course of an average weekday, 250News would generate 10 to 12 stories per day, some of them of the community notes vein, while others were more investigative in nature, particularly those that focused on municipal politics.

In an era of consolidation in the news business and a shift away from covering actual news, with more and more news outlets turning news services into community feature and soft news platforms, 250News served an important function that in many cases stayed true to the concept that news is still important.

The ambitious project proved its worth time and time again, with some of the stories generated by the news organization leading the path for the rest of Prince George's media to rush to catch up to the news curve.

The end of their work in thirteen days will certainly leave a gap in the flow of information in the region and in particular reduce the oversight of political leaders in Prince George and beyond.

If you haven't had an opportunity to review their work, you can follow their news team along for their final days of posting current items, as well as to dig into their archives of the past.

The website can be accessed here

Some of the eulogies for the news site from Prince George can be reviewed below:

250News to close after 12 years of independent journalism
250 News to close September 30
Northern B.C.'s First Independent Online News Site to Close
Local Media outlet 250 News is shutting down
250News Closing up shop after 12 years 

More notes related to Communications on the North Coast can be reviewed on our archive page

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Economic Development Office looks to other projects "coming down the pipe" following Aurora LNG cancellation

There hasn't been much comment of late from City council on the theme of the growing file of dashed LNG dreams, but the City's Economic Development office did have some thoughts on the latest project to be put on a shelf, with PREDC Manager Paul Venditelli offering up some comments for Global BC last week.

In the interview with Global, Mr. Venditelli made note of the disappointment in the community at the decision to end the LNG terminal project at Digby Island, observing how the loss of the proposed LNG terminal and the potential 300-350 jobs it would have brought was a missed opportunity that would have been an important boost for local workers.

And those are just the operational jobs that Mr. Venditelli is lamenting, during their presentation of February 8th at City Council, Aurora officials noted that the construction phase would provide employment for 5,000 workers during the peak construction period.

With Aurora further estimating at the time, that 200 to 400 hundred workers were expected to be employed during the 25 year life span of the then proposed terminal.

Whether the disappointment in the fate of the project from Mr. Venditelli is shared by all City Council members though, is perhaps another thing.

As the cancellation announcements have arrived, council members have not offered up many comments over the way that recent LNG events have played out, with few public comments to this point coming from the elected officials when it comes to the projects that once made for much talk of the region's economic future.

As they did during the course of the Pacific NorthWest LNG process City council remained fully engaged in seeking to shape opinion on the proposed developments during the comment periods hosted by the environmental process.

During the Aurora application period of earlier this year, the City delivered a letter to the BC Assessment process in March that highlighted a number of concerns that they wished to see addressed related to the project.

Council members and the Mayor also had many questions for Aurora officials as part of the February presentation to Council by Aruora officials, with Mayor Brain personally providing for some strong advocacy at the time for Dodge Cove residents, going so far as to suggest that the LNG company might wish to provide additional capacity funding for residents of that community to provide comment on the application.

Mayor Lee Brain and Prince Rupert City Council were prominent 
in their response to the application process for both the Aurora LNG 
and Pacific NorthWest LNG projects. Both proposed developments, 
along with the BG Gas terminal project have since been cancelled.
(photo from City of Prince Rupert video archive )

Considering some of the themes of their commentaries and concerns related to the LNG projects that have now been cancelled, any sense of loss among some members of the Council chamber may not be as strong as it is over at the Economic Development office.

Mr. Venditelli is looking to the future though to recapture some of those jobs now lost from the end of the LNG ambition.

For Global he called attention to the AltaGas Terminal under construction, as well as the recent opening of the Ray-Mont Grain shipment terminal, as well as expansion at the Port as a partial recovery for those 350 potential jobs that are now gone.

Paul Venditelli the city's Economic Development Officer
recently spoke with Global News,  offering up continued
 optimism for the local economy despite LNG setbacks

Venditelli also holds out some hope for a rebound on the LNG possibilities, observing that he believes Prince Rupert may yet have a future in that industry.

He also offers up a suggestion that other job creating industrial efforts may be on the horizon, or "down the pipe" as he puts it, though he did not expand on those themes, or offer up much in the way of background information as to how the City is approaching the topic.

Mind you, the nature of his job with the Economic Development office is to be a fountain of optimism on the potential for the region, what residents may want to know however is how their elected officials feel about the string of LNG setbacks over the summer.

Considering all that talk of hyper-economic growth of but a few years ago, there has been little in the way of discussion during Council Sessions, let alone updates from our elected officials on where the city is placed to attract some of that growth that they indicated was on the way.

More notes related to the Aurora LNG cancellation can be found here.

A review of City Councils themes over the last year is available on our Council discussion archive page.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Victoria Viewpoints: Saturday/Sunday, September 16 and 17 2017

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

Ahead of finance reform, BC NDP press on with lavish fundraisers
B.C's only support group for HIV-positive women closes after funding cuts
BC NDP mulls ending social-housing transfers from province to non-profits
Arguments for, and against, Site C will lead to decision shaping B.C.'s energy future
First Nations chief urges halt of moose hunt after historic B.C. wildfire season
B.C. NDP's fundraising bill to ban corporate and union contributions, set $1,200 limit
'A punch in the gut': Mother slams B.C. high school exercise connecting Indigenous women to 'squaw'
'A bloodbath, basically," Crab poaching a problem in B.C.'s Lower Mainland: biologist
Will B.C.'s political porkapalooza finally stop?
'We'll make cost 'peanuts' for Commonwealth Games, says David Black
B.C. grand experiment playing out at legislature
Colwood mayor's call to action: Fix the Crawl
Transport body badly needed
Victoria's Courtnall brothers support Commonwealth Games Bid
Translink warns of traffic delays on Commercial-Broadway due to construction
Vancouver Councillor wants public database for social housing
WorkSafe BC, fire crews investigating after Mission mill blaze
Amid high housing prices, growing number of Metro Vancouver residents living in RVs

Ottawa Observations: Saturday/Sunday, September 16 and 17 2017

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments from the Federal scene for Saturday/Sunday, September 16-17, 2017

Boeing promises $18-billion in benefits if Super Hornet contract goes ahead
Liberals need to end the farce over fighter jets
Conservatives launch ad campaign against tax changes
RCMP shelved  hundreds of organized-crime cases after terror attacks
Quebec is key for the NDP - the province just doesn't care
Canada's debt threat remains 'critical,' global body says
NDP leadership hopefuls make final pitch to party before vote
Federal by-elections set for Conservative-held ridings in Quebec and Alberta
Trudeau honours former MP Allan MacEachen at Nova Scotia memorial service
Canada to speak up for Rohingya Muslims at United Nations: Freeland
NDP leadership hopefuls wrap up their final pitches to voters
Byelections for Tory held federal seats in Quebec, Alberta set for October
Court ordered review of peacekeeper's case still grinding through DND 2 years later
New passport processing system $75M over budget
NDP candidates prepare final pitches as perceived front-runner targeted
Parliamentary genius 'Allan J. MacEachen remembered in Antigonish
Funeral for Liberal MP Alan Chan to be held Saturday in Toronto
Violence agains Rohingya 'looks a lot like ethnic cleansing,' Freeland says
NDP drawing fall plans 'in pencil' due to leadership race
Opioid stats coming into focus, but impact on Indigenous communities largely unknown
Jagmeet Singh or not, nothing is ever easy for the NDP
The NDP and the road back to relevance
Catlyst Canada should lead by example on gender-equity mission
Toronto's forgotten role in the creation of the Indian Act
Why Guy Caron and Jagmeet Singh top my NDP ballot
The gun registry's legacy - creating needless paperwork criminals
Time to end climate of fear
Are Canada and Ontario ready for legal pot?
NDP leadership hopefuls make their final bids to voters
'We're just interested in history': Canada gets its first monuments to the U.S. Civil War
After wave of criticism over tax changes, some doctors are urging Ottawa to forge ahead
Alan MacEachen remembered as 'peerless' parliamentarian by Justin Trudeau
Trudeau government looks to limit debate on big priorities as Parliament returns
The NDP looks for a winner, mostly avoids divisive debate
Parliament returns, and it's a bit of a mess

Saturday, September 16, 2017

MLA's Week: September 11-14, 2017

The Budget, delivered Monday by Finance Minister Carole James dominated the week in the Legislature, with members of the Legislature on all sides taking advantage of the week of debate to weigh in with observations on the NDP governments financial update

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice was among those speaking to the topic, providing her commentary as part of the speakers list from late Thursday afternoon.

Earlier in the week Ms Rice had also made note of the work of the emergency response workers that had spent the summer working the fire lines across BC as the wildfire season raged.

Our look at the work week that just concluded, can be found below:

On the week, Ms Rice was listed twice in the accounts of the sessions of the Legislature from September 11 to 14.

The North Coast MLA started the week off with a statement related to the summer long battle in the forests by emergency responders tackling the province's wildfire season, that opportunity also allowed the Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness to share some thoughts on that theme with the Legislature.

Fall debut for MLA Rice puts focus on Forest Fire Response and Emergency preparedness

Thursday afternoon Ms. Rice provided for her view on the recent Budget Document presented by Finance Minister Carole James, with the North Coast NDP MLA finding much from the document to celebrate.

North Coast MLA points to progress, optimism from NDP budget in Legislature speech

In the last session of the Legislature, Ms. Rice was a member of the Committee on Children and Youth, however, that Committee and many others have yet to announce who will serve on them as the Fall session moves forward.

One item of note that was not directly related to the Budget discussion of the Legislature, but has been a theme in Victoria for much of the last five years was LNG.

The topic once again formed a fair bit of the debate for this first week, With the opposition Liberals exploring the current status of the stalled industry and as the week came to an end making note of the reports breaking on Thursday that the highly touted Aurora LNG project had been cancelled.

Another LNG project is dropped on the North Coast, as Aurora LNG bows out

Stalling LNG ambitions and impact on North Coast noted by opposition in Debate on Throne Speech

And as noted previous, it was Budget week at the Legislature,  and on that topic we featured a trio of items to explore the themes of the update from the NDP Finance Minister on Monday.

A number of North Coast hopes on pause after BC Budget update

Education and Health gain increased spending as part of NDP Budget update

Finance Minister to tweak the budget at sessions' opening; in anticipation of the full budget of February

The Legislature will return to its work on Monday morning, September 18.

There is more background on the North Coast MLA available from our MLA's Week Archive as well as our General Archive on the Legislature.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

North Coast MLA points to progress, optimism from NDP budget in Legislature speech

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice provided
her overview of the NDP budget as
part of Thursday's afternoon session
at the Legislature
With Finance Minister Carole James having delivered the NDP government's Financial update on Monday, the week has been turned over to the members of the legislature to provide their responses to the document.

Not surprisingly, the Liberals have found much to comment on when it comes to Ms. James financial planning, using the opportunity to take note both on the elements from her speech, as well as to provide for a larger overview on the economics of the province, with a particular focus on LNG issues.

The members on the government side also have taken to the Legislature floor, though they have a much more optimistic view of the financial plan and the path ahead, among those speaking to the budget this week was North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice, who speaking late Thursday afternoon reviewed many of the themes from Ms. Jame's presentation of Monday.

After a few thank you's to the residents of the North Coast and Haida Gwaii and a shout out for her new staff members who keep the mood light back in the constituency office in Prince Rupert, Ms. Rice offered up her snapshot of the Budget document.

Highlighting her pride in serving as part of the new NDP government she, like Ms. James on Monday noted that with but two months to prepare the financial update, the September presentation is just part of the process towards the more comprehensive budget to come in February.

"While I'm honoured and excited to be part of a government that's been in the position of governing for two months, it is really hard to put everything together and forth and deliverable in that period. So again, this is a budget update.  And Nonetheless, it is remarkable what we are accomplishing and what we have accomplished in a short period of time"

She also followed the NDP cabinet lead by making note of the talking points of the week for the update as a budget for the people, that puts them at the forefront and one which will invest in the people of the province.

Though while it was a speech quite supportive of the NDP ambitions ahead, a significant portion of her budget review took viewers back in time to when the BC Liberals were in government and how the NDP is working to address some of their policies and the damage to the province that the NDP says was done.

From there she touched on a few of the highlights of the Monday update, noting the assistance the province has provided to support people affected by wildfires.

From her role as Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness she reviewed some of the action that the government has taken through the summer on that issue. As well, she called attention to a number of recent world events and stressed how it's important for British Columbians to be prepared for when disaster strikes.

On other issues she had much praise for the NDP plan ahead, ranging from the removal of financial roadblocks for adult education and language training, something she noted will be welcome on the North Coast as Syrian refugees settle into their new community.

On health she explored some of the moves ahead for mental health and addictions treatment, an issue that she notes is of importance to the North Coast.

"Going forward, we will implement a policy of ask once, get help fast. This is so important to me, personally, from the experiences that I've had living in Prince Rupert, with so many people with mental health and addictions problems that have repeatedly and repeatedly sought help and been denied, or put on wait lists"

The theme of child care also was given some mention, with Ms. Rice noting that the government is taking steps towards affordable and quality child care, offering up that more on that file is to come in the future.

Housing made some focus for her Budget response, where she tagged the LNG promises of the past government as contributing to the affordability issues and poverty statistics found in Prince Rupert.

"In the North Coast, in my riding, we have even more staggering numbers. Housing prices in Prince Rupert have gone up more than 50 per cent since 2012, shortly before the grandiose LNG promises were made and 100,000 jobs were promised that never came to fruition. The child poverty rate is 29.7 percent in Prince Rupert, ]and has the highest overall poverty rate of any municipality in British Columbia"

As well, Ms. Rice observed that previous government commitments for affordable housing in Lax Kw'alaams, Metlakatla and Prince Rupert would move forward.

On education she had but a short mention to the theme, mostly pointing towards the past and how "the previous government made it that much more difficult with their heartless cuts".

Recent industrial decisions on the North Coast also received some overview from the MLA, who offered up a few thoughts on LNG and other development.

"Now with the decisions made by Petronas, and,  just today, Aurora LNG to not go ahead with proposed developments in and around Prince Rupert, the reactions to these decisions are as diverse as my constituents. 

People want thriving communities with meaningful, well-paying and  family supporting jobs. From fisheries to forestry, the people on the North and Central Coast and Haida Gwaii have seen boom and bust economies make millions and billions of dollars, while the people who lived adjacent and amongst these resources received pennies"

While noting some of the environmental concerns from past industry, including the Namu cannery site, Banks Island mine and the former pulp mill site of Watson Island, Ms. Rice also took note of some the positive employment development over the summer and the hope and optimism that the are brining to the region.

Among those job creating industries, the MLA reviewed the recent expansion of the Fairview Container Terminal, as well as other initiatives with the Port of Prince Rupert, included on that list the Ray-Mont Grain terminal, Alta-Gas terminal at Ridley Island and Pinnacle Pellet and the increase of arrivals in the local cruise industry.

For Haida Gwaii there was a shout out for the solar panel project recently installed at Skidegate and for Prince Rupert City Council, the MLA  has some welcome news, offering up her support for their plans for Watson Island development.

"The City of Prince Rupert is working on getting Watson Island, where the former pulp mill stood, back on the tax roll, and this government will support them."

The full text of her Budget review can be found from the Legislature archive from Thursday Afternoon, starting just before the 16:20 PM mark

The video presentation can be reviewed from this link to the Chamber video from Thursday afternoon.

For more notes related to Ms. Rice's work in the Legislature see our archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Friday, September 15, 2017

Victoria Viewpoints: Friday, September 15, 2017

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

B.C. NDP's fundraising bill to ban corporate and union contributions, set $1,200 limit
Why the Trans Mountain expansion will be built
In BC NDP's budget update, another campaign promise broken, and here comes yet another
B.C. lifts state of emergency over wildfires
B.C. residential care system needs substantial staff increase to meet seniors' needs, report finds
Greyhound wants to eliminate more bus routes in B.C.
B.C. seniors advocate says more needs to be done following landmark residential care survey
First Nation removes its flag from Nanaimo City Hall
Minimum wage in B.C. boosted by 50 cents to $11.35 per hour
Cities deserve a voice in marijuana legalization process, Vancouver councillor says
B.C. government to review allegations of Port Mann overspending
'We're ready to go': No teacher shortage here, says Surrey School District
Surrey school cancels French immersion, cites low enrolment, despite wait list
More than half of BC's school districts had unsafe lead levels in drinking water sources in 2016
Survey finds staffing levels a major concern in B.C. seniors' care homes
Bleak house, seniors describe life inside B.C.'s care homes
Hydro will be 'burned' if Site C is suspended or cancelled
Greyhound seeks further cuts or reductions to bus routes in B.C.
First Nation reclaims flag from Nanaimo
Not enough staff at B.C. seniors homes, report says
Budget contains danger signs
New Legislature embarks on shakedown cruise
Bathing, meal times need work, residential care survey says
B.C. teacher suspended for swearing in class
Minimum wage in B.C. goes up 50 cents today
Prince Rupert laments loss of second LNG project of the summer
Attorney General David Eby's constituency office occupied by opponents of fish farms
Should the Vancouver School Board be less partisan?
State of Emergency to expire at midnight but province warns more than 150 wildfires still burning in B.C.
Aurora LNG becomes third project once proposed for Prince Rupert that's officially not happening