Monday, October 31, 2016

Victoria Viewpoints: Monday, October 31, 2016

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

First Nations fight to halt resource development in northeast B.C.
B.C. Forests Ministry says it's not responsible for Enderby, B.C., landslide
B.C. launches new adoption website to streamline process
Landowners fight Site C deadline from BC Hydro
Vancouver School Board should sell land, renegotiate contracts: audit report
B.C. gets a failing grade for flood preparedness
VSB is so much different than other boards, report shows
Existing ships already pose major spill hazard for B.C.'s coast
Seismic rift divides B.C. governments
B.C.'s woeful oil-spill response system is the real mess
Chairwoman of UVic Board of governors to run for B. C. Liberals
What's the role of a school trustee: Advocate or Steward?
Christy Clark's Trumped Up 'Feminism'
What will Christy Clark's Theme Song be This Convention?
As Canada negotiates New Softwood Pact, Complaints of BC Subsidies resurface
Libs, NDP divided on 'consent'

Ottawa Observations: Monday, October 31, 2016

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments from the Federal scene for October 31, 2016.

CETA talks 

CETA a bright light agains a protectionist world, says Chrystia Freeland
Paul Martin, former prime minister, welcomes signing of Canada-EU trad deal
Cheese and seafood among irritants threatening to cause stink during CETA ratification
'Tiny' but Mighty Wallonia Sets Stage for Bigger Changes to CETA
Wynne government welcomes signing of CETA free trade deal with EU

Liberals to hold immigration level steady in 2017
First Nations fight to halt resource development in northeast B.C.
Something Canadians can agree on: making life better for indigenous people
Liberals to support NDP motion on First Nations child welfare
Federal government missed deadline to clear Phoenix pay debacle
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appoints six new senators for Ontario
Liberal party president hitches a ride on government jet, but pays for it
Canada to open door to more skilled workers, immigrant families in 2017
Public works clarifies gag order as experts warn of chill in warship debate
Maxime Bernier beats Conservative rivals in funding over the summer
Justin Trudeau names top cop, prisoners' advocate as new senators
Pepper spray used with little accountability concerns watchdog
Transportation Safety Board wants more action on dozens of recommendations
Phoenix deadline arrives with some 22,000 claims still in backlog
Focus on innovation, not more cash, to improve health care: CMAJ editorial
Transport Canada making back-up cameras mandatory in new cars starting May 2018
Immigration targets to remain unchanged despite calls for significant increase
Canadian First Nations chiefs call on Trudeau to condemn U. S. pipeline
Canada must do its part to preserve biodiversity
Liberals in denial about Monsef story
New Senate appointments signal partisan politics by other means
Political fundraising is too much of a bad thing
Trudeau quietly held town hall where most were in favour of proportional voting system
UN offers The Rebel press accreditation for climate conference after environment minister's intervention
Job dissatisfaction and repeated moves across Country causing Canadian soldiers to quit, report says
All cars made after May 2018 must have rear-view camera systems, Transport Canada says
Liberals rapped as $900M unspent by Indigenous Affairs among 'lapsed' funding for fiscal 2016
As Canada Negotiates New Softwood Pact, Complaints of BC Subsidies Resurface
Federal Ministers LeBlanc, Wilson-Raybould visit Bella Bella site of sunken B.C.  tug
Crumbling roads: 33% of Canadians satisfied with national infrastructure, Ipsos poll finds

CBC News Investigative Unit's Alberta Williams Podcast retraces case file; seeks new clues

The 1989 disappearance and murder of Alberta Williams is the focus on a new audio documentary presentation which was launched by the CBC in October.

The eight part series which delivered its first installment last week is a project from the Toronto based  CBC News Investigative Unit.

Hosted by Connie Walker and produced by Marnie Luke along with the remainder of the team from CBC News, it takes a methodical look at the still unsolved murder of twenty seven years.

The format the documentary series is taking is one of an anthology approach to the case from the summer of 1989, taking its path forward by tracing the story from the disappearance of the 24 year old following a house party in Prince Rupert and the discovery of her body outside of the city.

Episode one provided some early background to the project, outlining the concept for the podcast and how it was launched by the receipt of a single email.  To set the foundation for the project, Walker offers up some notes as to how the story will roll out over the next eight weeks.

As the first episode moves forward we are introduced to Garry Kerr, the original lead RCMP investigator of the time and author of the email that sparked the podcast. He was the first investigator tasked with the case and began the process of trying to find out the circumstances of the disappearance and subsequent discovery of Ms. Williams.

Early on the podcast we are delivered a surprise, both Kerr and Alberta's sister Claudia have the same suspect in mind. The name is never provided owing to legal reasons, but the indications suggest that if those in the community that knew Ms. Williams at the time were to retrace those days, something new may come to light to provide some more answers and help to take it from the files of the unsolved.

Now retired, Kerr maintains that the Alberta Williams case can be solved and knows that there are one or more people in the region that could shed light on the case and perhaps provide that one missing item of information that may move the file and deliver some sense of closure on the story for Alberta Williams family and friends.

The story remains a case that still resonates for the community and now with the additional national exposure, it will become part of the cross Canada dialogue on the cases of the missing and murdered women and girls of Northern British Columbia.

The first episode of the Podcast and accompanying slide show can be reviewed here. You can access the podcast from iTunes as well.

Episode number two will be posted to the CBC website and released to the podcast feed tomorrow.

The series will air through November and December and will wrap up on December 13th.

The podcast is one of a number of resources that the CBC has put towards its review of missing and murdered women and girls across Canada. Included among that work is an extensive listing and status update on the progress of investigations into thirty four cases that the national broadcaster has looked into.

Both the podcast and the scope of the remainder of the CBC's work makes for a  renewed focus on the topic and comes as the upcoming inquiry into the missing and murdered women and girls prepares to move forward with its work.

The most recent information from the RCMP related to the investigations into Missing and Murdered Aboriginal women was released in 2015 you can review that document here.

You can find some of the latest item of interest on Missing  and Murdered inquiry from our archive page located on our political portal Darcy McGee.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review.

APTN documentary investigates divisions on Lax Kw'alaams over Lelu Island

The National Aboriginal Television network APTN has turned some of its attention towards the story of Lelu Island, using its APTN Investigates program to focus on the story of those who are opposed to the development of an LNG Terminal on the island near Flora Bank.

The thirty-five minute documentary style review traces some of the history of the story to this point and highlights the divisive nature of the issue that can be found at Lax Kw'alaams. 

In addition to the now well known themes of opposition from those that are currently occupying the proposed LNG site, reporter Rob Smith notes the change of Band Council government of 2015 and how once they were settled in office, Mayor John Helin and his Council had reversed the path previously held by the community when it comes to the proposed LNG development.

Through interviews with a number of residents of the region, Smith outlines some of the concerns that some in the community had when it came to the process and results of the second vote held in August of this year.

It was that consultation which delivered the approval of 66 per cent  of those that voted (532 out of the 812 ballots cast) and set in motion plans from Lax Kw'alaams to continue engagement with Pacific NorthWest LNG.

Much of the documentary features a look at the opposition to the project from Hereditary Chief Donald Wesley (Smoyget Yahaan) and examines some of the background to recent suggestions that his Hereditary status may not valid.  

However, the reporter also gains some comment from Mayor John Helin, (though it appears to have taken a few attempts), who offers up some background as to how the Band Council has interpreted that vote and what areas of engagement on LNG that the community has authorized the Band Council to follow through on.

Other issues reviewed over the thirty minutes is how the Port of Prince Rupert views the current occupation of the Island as well as the latest development from the Lelu Island story, that of the court challenge taken to the Vancouver Law Courts last Thursday.

More notes on the Pacific NorthWest LNG project can be found here, while notes of interest from Lax Kw'alaams can be found on our archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Victoria Viewpoints: Saturday and Sunday, October 29 and 30, 2016

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

Christy Clark's rosy view becomes a blur in rural B.C.
B.C. oil spill shows what can go wrong under difficult conditions
Vancouver School Board software program causing 'crisis', memo says
Federal Ministers head to Bella Bella to view diesel spill amid concerns over wildlife
Heiltsuk First Nation fears wildlife affected by diesel spill on B.C. coast
B.C. Liberals announce plans for Vancouver Island-specific platform
2017 British Columbia election: Richmond South Centre riding profile
2017 British Columbia election: Prince George-Mackenzie riding profile
Bill Bennet says Site C is right thing, but is it a sure thing?
NDP goes all in on $10-a-day child care pledge
Four year council terms leave bite marks
Election sparks Island promises
School woes trouble for other districts
Greens call for Langley MLA Polak to resign as environment minister
Fisheries Minister, justice minister visit diesel spill site on B.C coast
B.C. International Trade Minister Teresa Wat lauds CETA

Ottawa Observations: Saturday/Sunday, October 29 & 30, 2016

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments from the Federal scene for October 29 & 30, 2016.

CETA talks 

Trudeau signs CETA but final ratification still required by European Union
Trudeau resumes journey to sign CETA following plan issues that forced a return to Ottawa
'Hard things are hard': Trudeau downplays delay in signing EU trade deal
EU sent 'wrong signal' on trade during CETA talks, says German ambassador
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signs Canada-EU trade deal
Public's goodwill already traded away
EU deal a win in tough times
Trudeau finally signs CETA Free Trade deal with European Union, but admits work is 'just beginning'
RCAF says mechanical problems 'rare' after Trudeau's plan forced to land 30 minutes after taking off
Trudeau still travelling to Brussels to sign CETA free trade deal on Sunday after agreement was in doubt
CETA may be signed but trade deal not sealed and delivered just yet

Trudeau to name six Ontario senators, following up on nine appointments made last week
B.C. oil spill shows what can go wrong under difficult conditions
Big Canada concept has some major drawbacks
Canada not ready for climate change, report warns
Trudeau and the millennials: The love-in won't last
Immigration Minister John McCallum to reveal 'substantially' higher newcomer targets
Fundraising fuss ignores why politicians chase dollars
Federal ministers head to Bella Bella to view diesel spill amid concerns over wildlife
Shoeless GG plays soccer with Syrian refugees at largest camp in Jordan
Federal appeals court sympathetic, but denies Arctic crash survivor's claim
Justin Trudeau should get used to being heckled by disillusioned voters on the left
Trudeau taps former banker, cop and judge for Senate
Ottawa may preview parties' use of Canadians' private data
Delays put refugee sponsorship in jeopard,' Catholic bishops say
Never need to pay to access ministers
A file's been opened on Monsef, sources say
Trudeau's harsh test over First Nations health services
Canadian health care is high price yet low quality
A 'short moratorium' on immigration isn't racist
Cities now matter in Trudeau's Canada
Bill Morneau's drowning of any Millennial optimism
Could 'insensitive' Liberals' lock on millennial voters be at risk in sour economy?
New anti-terrorism bill abandons Liberal call for real-time parliamentary 'oversight' into CSIS
'Like pushing a boulder uphill': How one Tory MP convinced the House of Commons to help the Yazidis
McKenna unmuzzles Ed Fast but opposition critic still isn't going to COP22 climate change conference
Why We Young Workers Turned our Backs on Trudeau
Tom Mulcair says low by-election result was from NDPs 'state of flux'

Friday, October 28, 2016

Victoria Viewpoints: Friday, October 28, 2016

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

Contamination worries heighten in Shawnigan Lake
Seven Smart Education Promises for BC's Next Government
With Good Stewardship, LNG Can Be a Social Good
Indigenous Rights declaration not simple
Special adviser's report on Vancouver School Board released
B.C.'s political fundraising makes a mockery of democracy
Foreign buyers 1.3 percent of Vancouver-region real estate sales since tax
Under a cloud: How UBC's Steven Galloway affair has haunted a campus and changed lives
The fraught politics of sports funding
Foreign purchases of Metro Vancouver homes plunge
Minister vows to investigate daycare wait-list fees
VSB audit recommends trustees stop acting as advocates, start acting as stewards
Richmond wants ICBC to start tracking private vehicle odometer data
B.C. Conservatives oust recently re-elected leader
Horgan pumps up the bold to sway voters
Alberta's land locked oil is moving, will travel - pipeline or not
Overdose crisis everyone's battle
Island without a Senator
School Board reforms are long overdue
B.C. procurement process is not always open
B.C. conservatives outs leader Dan Brooks a month after re-electing him
Latest round of real-estate date shows Metro Vancouver Sales to foreign buyers remain low since new tax brought in

Ottawa Observations: Friday, October 28, 2016

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments from the Federal scene for October 28, 2016.

CETA talks 

Justin Trudeau heading to Brussels to sign Canada-EU trade deal Sunday
As women, Freeland and Clinton are forced to walk a fine emotional line
Walloons now say yes, as Canada-Europe trade deal clears final votes
'The tactic has paid off': Freeland's dramatic walk-out may have saved CETA
EU trade deal 'unbalanced' against Canadian meat, industry says
Trudeau to travel to Brussels Saturday to sign Canada-EU trade deal
Walloon acceptance of flawed Canada-Europe trade deal does Canada no favours
CETA: Justin Trudeau Brussels-bound to sign Canada-EU deal on Sunday

Canadian exporters' fortunes to decline after Nov. 8: EDC
Justice Malcolm Rowe formally appointed to Supreme Court of Canada
Liberals pledge to keep debt targets even as economic growth weakens
U.S. pitches F-35 jet to Ottawa as Liberals aim to replace fleet
Brian Mulroney urges 'prudence' on carbon price decision
Building 'economy of the future' means good news will have to wait
Canada says no to nuclear disarmament in favour of treaty to ban bomb-making material
'A great Albertan, a great Canadian': Jim Prentice honoured in state memorial
'He was everything to our family,' daughter remembers Jim Prentice at memorial in Calgary
Bill Morneau says he has followed all federal rules governing fundraisers
Newfoundlander Malcolm Rowe's appointment to Supreme Court now official
Senate's new-found independence may prove contagious
A government suddenly gone tone deaf
It's time for recall legislation in Canada
Monsef story makes odd appearance in Iranian news
Hiking CPP will damage economy
Ottawa has no future plans to help cool Canada's housing market, Bill Morneau says
Bill Morneau says he followed federal fundraising rules
Jim Prentice remembered at state memorial: 'he gave Canada and Alberta all his very best'
Because it's 2016: Why Can't We Vote Online?
With Good Stewardship, LNG can be a social good
First Nations, Feds disagree on whether they're engaging on transparency law

At Issue Panel: New Senators, Trudeau heckled

An archive of the At Issue features from the CBC's flagship News program The National.

 October 28: New Senators, Trudeau heckled

Council approves waiving of rent for Charity Skate at the Civic Centre

There's no firm date set yet, but one obstacle has been cleared for a charity event in the community to be hosted by the Bank of Montreal.

To lend assistance to the project, Prince Rupert City Council on Monday evening voted to waive an hour of ice rental fees at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre to allow for a charity skate in aid of the local Food Bank operated by the Salvation Army.

Mayor Brain outlined the background to the request at Monday's Council Session which would see the Bank of Montreal host a Free public skating session at the Civic Centre, with admission gained by participants through the donation of food  to be directed towards the Food Bank.

The request did provide for some discussion by Council members who weighed the lost revenue for the hour with the prospect of providing assistance to the Food Bank which finds its load increase significantly during the holiday season.

Councillor Kinney had a question on the date of the event, which was not known at this time, while Councillor Cunningham asked about the cost of the ice time that had been requested.  As there has been date or time indicated at this time, he was advised it would depend on when the Bank intended to host their event.

Councillor Wade Niesh raised his concerns over the idea, calling attention to the position the city was put in recently when it came to raising the fees and charges and suggested that giving away the time was not going to benefit the city towards keeping the place open.

He also has some thoughts to share as to why the Bank didn't donate the money towards the cost, or why another organization didn't step forward to cover the cost.  Mr. Niesh also cautioned Council that providing for the free ice rental could set a precedent for other groups to also come forward to ask for free time at the arena in the future.

The Mayor noted that while they will face a number of these requests, he pointed towards the charity aspect of the request and how it will benefit the community, moving the topic forward for Council to decide.

Councillor Cunningham spoke in favour of the request noting the assistance that it will provide to the food bank, which is very busy at this time of the year and is facing larger demand with the issues related to the loss of employment and hours worked at the Canadian Fish Cannery.

The Mayor also found the charity aspect of the request as the area which would guide him on his decision, adding his support to the Bank of Montreal's bid for the rental waiver.

Council provided their positive vote at the end of their discussion.

You can review the discussion from the City's Video Archive starting at the 53 minute mark.

The Bank of Montreal will be using the Public Skate for the Food Bank as part of their plans for their Day of Caring event, where employees of the bank give back to the community.

Once the event has been announced you can find the details on our Community Events Listings and archive page, both are found as part of our right hand column listings.

More items related to Monday's Council Session can be found on our Council Timeline feature, while further background on City Council Discussions can be reviewed on our Archive page.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Three writs filed in Federal Court Thursdsay, seeking judicial review on Pacific NorthWest LNG approval

Calling the plans of Pacific NorthWest LNG and their proposed Lelu Island LNG project "dangerous and ill conceived", opponents of the site selected for the project filed three separate writs with the Federal Court in Vancouver on Thursday.

The thee documents are seeking a judicial review of the Canadian government's approval in September of the LNG project to be located in the Port Edward area.

We outlined the prospects of the court challenge on the blog on Wednesday, when the first indications began to come in about the quest of two First Nation groups and the environmental organization Skeena Wild to pursue legal action on the LNG approval.

Yesterday, following a filing ceremony held outside of the courthouse in Vancouver, the three writs were filed, putting in motion the potential review of the Federal decision. The three groups, among them the hereditary chiefs of the Gitanyow and Gitwilgyoots cited lack of Federal consultation as to the heart of the legal challenge:

“Despite repeated requests, the federal government has failed to properly consult with our people,” ....  “Justin Trudeau promised a new relationship with Indigenous communities. Instead, he added insult to injury by ignoring us, and giving the green light to a project that will destroy our way of life.” -- Chief Malii (Glen Williams), Chief Negotiatorforthe Gitanyow

“Once again, we are forced to ask courts to do what our politicians seem unable to do – to honor Canada’s obligations to its Indigenous communities, and to protect our environment from catastrophic harm,” -- Chief Yahaan (Donnie Wesley), of the Gitwilgyoots Tribe.

The third applicant to the court, was the environmental organization SkeenaWild with Executive Director Greg Knox, noting that their core concern is the impact on fish and fish habitat:

“The Agency gave the Environment Minister flawed information and conclusions about the project’s impacts on fish and fish habitat,” ...“We challenge the Agency’s conclusion that the project will have no significant impact on fish even though construction of the project could permanently destroy 35,000 square meters of crucial salmon habitat.”

In addition to the Court challenge, which came one month to the day from the Federal approval, an information statement was issued as the court filing was taking place.

The statement expanding on the path ahead for the opponents to the Lelu Island project, noting that in addition to the potential for a day in court, they will also be putting increased pressure on Petronas to reconsider its project. With plans to rally international opposition against the industrial development and continue with civil disobedience  to disrupt the plans to build the facility over the top of Flora Bank.

The three groups were not alone in expressing their concerns over the Federal Decision of September, with the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs also declared its opposition to the project on Thursday, issuing a statement from Grand Chief Stewart Phillip.

"This is a dangerous and ill-­‐conceived attack on our environment and our Indigenous rights,”  ... “Our courts have ruled that Canadian energy companies cannot run roughshod over FirstNations. Well,  foreign companies can’t either.”

Some background on the legal action can be found here.

The Federal government was quick to respond to the announcements of the court challenge, with Environment Minister Catherine McKenna issuing a statement on behalf of her department and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, that indicated that the Federal government stands behind its decision on the terminal project and that it had undergone a rigorous and thorough science-based process.

No timeline was revealed on Thursday as to how long it will take for the Federal Court to consider whether they will entertain the legal challenge, or advise if they will conduct the judicial review of the Federal Government's decision.

Some notes on yesterday's developments can be found below:

Ottawa defends Pacific NorthWest LNG decision as court challenges filed
Environment Minister defends cabinet approval of B.C. LNG project
Feds defend Pacific Northwest LNG decision as court challenges filed
Federal government standing behind Pacific NorthWest approval ahead of legal challenges
Feds 'stand behind' LNG decision brace for First Nations legal challenge
Federal Government responds to First Nations, environmental group court action over approval of Pacific NorthWest LNG project
Litigation launched against Federal approval of PNW LNG
Court challenges filed against Pacific NorthWest LNG project by First Nations leaders and environmental group
First Nations to sue federal government over Pacific NorthWest LNG Project

You can find more background on the current developments and some of the history of the Pacific NorthWest LNG project from our archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Victoria Viewpoints: Thursday, October 27, 2016

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

"They're angry because we're failing them': Cities share tensions at housing summit
In B.C., caregiving takes toll on Finances, Career, Health
B.C. Supreme Court hears testimony in human smuggling case
Democracy Watch challenges conflict rulings in favour of B.C. premier
YVR named best airport in the world
Parents on hook for school earthquake supplies, PAC member says
First Nations chief insults premier and BC Hydro CEO over Site C
B.C. Green Party Leader calls on environment minister to resign
How Vienna maintains 8 times as much social housing as Vancouver
Landlord registry coming to B.C., but will it help?
B.C. Health Minister worried about prevalence of 'drugged driving'
VSB special adviser's report to be made public within days: minister
Ottawa considers compensating Heiltsuk Nation over tug boat spill near Bella Bella
'Where is our world class' oil spill response?
Gorge waterway suffers from too many authorities
Premier pledges platform tailored to Vancouver Island needs
Victoria Mayor's trip to China an 'eye-opener'
Lobbying watchdog probing allegations lobbyists involved in Liberal fundraisers
Five years into an overdose crisis, Premier Christy Clark says government was slow to respond
B.C. Green party leader calls for Mary Polak to resign as minister of environment
Education Minister announces new seismic funding for Kitsilano elementary school

Ottawa Observations: Thursday, October 27, 2016

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments from the Federal scene for October 27, 2016.

CETA talks 

Tentative deal puts CETA back on track, but obstacles still remain
It's free trade that matters - less the procedures
CETA disruption is about the desire for control
What's in the declarations that sealed the Canada-EU deal?
Belgium reaches deal to back EU-Canada trade agreement
Chrystia Freeland deserves a daytime Emmy
Europeans fall for same paleo-leftist fears over CETA that Canadians no longer worry about
CETA critics have distorted vision of Canadian economy
One step closer to a deal: Here are Belgium's conditions for signing CETA

Lobbying watchdog probes Liberal 'pay-for-access' fundraisers
National Bank woes underline sector's struggle in fast-changing environment
Statistics Canada's latest labour survey contradicts strong summer jobs report
Environment Minister defends cabinet approval of B.C. LNG project
Four countries promise to join Canadian-led battle group in Latvia
MPs grill Morneau's growth adviser on ambitious infrastructure plans
Liberals try to fend off criticism over First Nations child welfare, vow talks
Trudeau names nine new, independent senators
Canadian veterans say anti-malaria drug prescribed in Somalia ruined lives
Cost and Canadian content concerns hover warship plans
Independents to become biggest bloc in Senate, but they're still  '3rd class' senators
Ethics commissioner wants tighter rules on 'pay-to-play' fundraisers
Trudeau names 9 new senators - with more to come
Meet Canada's 9 new senators
Justin Trudeau protest marks 'turning point' for frustrated youth
The Pollcast: When will the NDP leadership race get going?
Liberals commit to 'comprehensive reforms' on First Nations child welfare
20 years after landmine ban, deaths and injuries down dramatically
Beefing up CPP will hurt economy longer than disclosed: document
NATO sends troops to east Europe as Russia moves battleships and bombers
Rowe's Supreme Court appointment sets bilingualism bar quite a bit higher
Time Tories stop pandering to fear, hatred
Monsef travelled to Iran on religious pilgrimage
Key Maxime Bernier campaign worker jumps ship to rival Andrew Scheer
Trudeau government pressured for cash to improve health care for First Nations and Inuit children
Transport Minister Marc Garneau tight lipped on inaccessible travel review
Curbs needed on Sweeping powers to Spy on Canadians

Voice of BC: NDP Politics

The NDP's George Heyman and Michelle Mungall join host Vaughn Palmer to discuss such topics as resource development, social assistance rates and BC's environment.

October 27

See link here.

Mayor Brain hails success of Redesign Rupert Recharge event over the weekend

Mayor Brain provided a review of
Saturday's Redesign Rupert Recharge
event for Council
A short review of the Redesign Rupert Recharge event of Saturday made for some of the notes from Monday's City Council session, as Mayor Lee Brain provided a short overview of how the Saturday event went and the engagement found between residents and facilitators.

The event made for a fair bit of conversation at Monday's session, with both representatives of ecotrust Canada and Pacific NorthWest LNG making mention of the Recharge event and noting the efforts that had gone into organizing the project.

As for the Mayor's review of events, his comments came at the end of the Monday session and noted a few of the themes from the day that he had observed at the Saturday event at the Civic Centre.

Key to Mayor Brain's thoughts from Saturday morning was the participation of the community and how it's important to the recharge process.

"The really good thing about this whole process is that the entire community came out,  en masse to participate and that is just the beginning of something much bigger that is emerging here with this redesign process ... I do want to say, that I have been hearing a lot of feedback saying you know what's going to be different, we've had meetings, we've done these types of things before, what's really is going to change. The fundamental structure of Redesign Rupert process is actually built into the design process for action to emerge from this process. So it's not going to be some report that's generated that's just given to council with 100 list of things for us to now additionally do, on top of the 100  things we already have to do"

The Mayor also observed that the process moving forward will see residents take ownership over the issues and to start the process of becoming more involved in reshaping and redesigning this town.

Adding that interested residents should drop into the Redesign offices in the Community Futures office to learn more about what the process is all about.

The Mayor also paid tribute to the number of volunteers who assisted through the day, stating that hundreds of people from the community participated in the process and even observed that the newspaper reporter had taken on the duties of the balloon distributor at the event.

And while the weekly paper had the volume of participants at around the 150 mark, the attendance did indicate some interest in the theme for renewal for the community.

Though it should perhaps be noted, that the volume of those in attendance at the Civic Centre Saturday was no doubt assisted by the range of door prizes that were provided by local merchants for the event.

With an impressive list of items available for those that took the time on Saturday to participate.

Included in those incentives to head down to the Civic Centre on Saturday morning was a Main Prize of a Big Screen television set which was provided by City Furniture

Monday night, Mayor Brain also reminded Council of the upcoming November engagement session with the Planning Partnership, an opportunity that will allow residents to engage in redevelopment themes related to Third Avenue, Seal Cove and City held waterfront properties, adding that the economy of Third Avenue and the future for that commercial area will be part of those discussions.

He also called attention to some comments he has heard related to the funding of 75,000 dollars provided by Northern Development Initiative Trust towards the November session and further study.

"We did receive 75,000 dollars from NDIT and I will say that those who believe (and ask) how much 75,000 will do really, well I argue how much will zero dollars do, so it's better than no dollars and so we'll start with that and I'm very excited about it and I think it's going to be huge for the community"

Councillor Kinney had one note on the weekend event, reminding Council members he was unable to attend the Saturday session as he was taking care of the City's business as part of Regional District proceedings that day.

You can learn more about the work of the Redesign Rupert initiative from their website and Facebook page.

The full discussion can be reviewed from the City's Video archive starting at the one hour, five minute mark.

An extended look at the topic can be found on our City Council Timeline here.

Some of our past items related to some of the engagement plans from Redesign Prince Rupert can be found on our archive page here.

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

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Councillor Cunningham raises questions on City's Community Enhancement Grant issues

Councillor Barry Cunningham had a
number of questions related to
Enhancement Grant Funding on Monday
A door was opened a little bit on Monday into some of the inner workings of council members outside of the public meetings of every second Monday, as Councillor Barry Cunningham raised a number of questions related to the Community Enhancement Grant process currently underway.

Speaking towards the end of Monday night's session Mr. Cunningham's observations involved a review of the issue of contracts for the Lester Centre, Museum and Library.  A process that he noted started in January of this year when Council gave direction to staff to approach the three organizations to engage in contracts to reduce the need for them to approach council for enhancement grants.

Adding that as he understands it, that while the contracts are in negotiation that they have not been completed ten months later and the three groups have been advised to apply for enhancement grant funding.

Making for a situation which Mr. Cunningham has some concerns about.

"If this is true, I think it's putting a big burden on these organizations that are just about driven by volunteers and it's taking time away from those volunteers to do their jobs for the institution, if they have to apply for enhancement grants and are told at the last minute that we're changing in mid stream for that. So, I would like to know if that's true and if so if there is not another alternative to them applying for enhancement grants at the last minute or giving them a definite extension"

Mayor Brain outlined the challenges being faced by City Staff to address the contract issue, suggesting that he doesn't completely agree with the argument that staff hasn't done anything for ten months.

The Mayor did however offer up some thoughts on the status of those talks and the nature of the shift to the process that the City is looking to achieve.

Mayor Brain outlining the new approach
to some Enhancement Grant Funding
"That is currently in discussion as you know, I think what the issue ultimately is, is that we're trying to set up a permanent arrangement and we're changing a process that was already in motion for many years under enhancement grants and we know that these people need operating grants. So there's a whole variety of questions there and we need to move from one train to another. And if we do it, we're going to do it right, make sure that the contract works for them and works for us and provides for long term certainty, which is what is in the motion now."

The Mayor also acknowledged that there is a possibility that the City won't get the process signed off in time and as a back up plan it was encouraged that the three groups make application for the enhancement grants, that way if the two sides don't capture the timeline of the contracts then they would still be able to go into funding until the contracts can be signed off on.

Councillor Cunningham followed up on those observations with a question for staff if those groups had been offered an extension to the deadline for the grants, the Mayor interjected at that point that he believed the applications for enhancement grants had already been submitted, something which was not known by staff on the evening, though the City's CFO noted she could find out the status of those applications.

City Manager Robert Long, who doesn't comment frequently at Council sessions, did step in for a few moments to provide some further background to the issue.

"We had started this program, this process following the resolution some time ago, but some of the parameters changed, there were requirements that Council wanted us to do in the last few meetings that have now put getting into the contracts and getting them complete much more difficult that it was before"

Councillor Cunningham further explored that theme, noting that he has only seen a finalization on figures to this point and that only came at the last meeting.

The Mayor interrupted that train of thought, explaining some of the challenges that have come up in trying to bring it all together.

"There has been changes Councillor Cunningham over the process on scope and those things as well,  with the Library, there's the Library Act, we have to ensure that the contract falls within the Library Act and our duties to that, how many years we are going to go and those types of things. This is something that staff is working on and I'm not sure it's a massive issue at the moment, I haven't had any issues with the organizations about that. But this is the first year that it's going to be changed, and once it has been changed, it's going to be  a great  process moving forward for all these groups"

Councillor Cunningham noted that he wasn't saying that staff hasn't been doing anything, but that he would like to see this come to an end as fast as possible, because the groups are looking for their funding for next year and how the do things.

And Cunningham is right, the timeline related to Community Enhancement Grants is moving quickly, City Council normally addresses the Grant funding issue in December, announcing the grant funding amounts and naming the successful applicants shortly after the Christmas break in January.

The theme of change when it comes to how the Enhancement Grants process works has proven to be controversial in the past.

In December of 2015 the first dip of the toe into the water provided for some spirited discussion and a number of concerns on how the process would be delivered. As we get closer to the awarding of the Grants for the year ahead, it would seem that there are still as many questions as answers when it comes to what the City has planned.

The full discussion on the theme from Monday can be reviewed from the City's Video archive starting at the 59 minute mark.

A look at last years Enhancement Grant levels and some of the discussion related to them can be reviewed here.

An extended look at the topic from Monday night can be found on our City Council Timeline here.

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

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

City's LNG resolution discussion deferred until November

The opportunity for Prince Rupert residents to get a better understanding on what positions the City's council members may have on the theme of the Lelu Island LNG project will have to wait at least two weeks, with Council members voting on Monday night to defer their discussion on the topic until November.

The decision to move the topic off of Monday's agenda came due to the absence of Councillor Joy Thorkelson, the sponsor of the resolution, who had taken sick on Monday and was not in Council Chambers for Monday's session.

Councillor Cunningham, noting the importance of the issue to Councillor Thorkelson, suggested that the proper approach to the agenda item would be to hold it over until Council's November 7th session.

"I know that this is very important to her and I think out of respect to her we should table this until the next meeting when she is here" -- Councillor Barry Cunningham moving that a resolution related to the Pacific NorthWest LNG project at Lelu Island be deferred until the next council session.

As we noted on the Blog earlier this month, Councillor Thorkelson first notified Council of her intent to raise the issue at the October 11th Council session. Her motion would have City Council discuss and vote on the resolution, which calls for the City to withhold its support for the proposed development, unless six conditions set out by the City of Prince Rupert are met by Pacific NorthWest LNG.

Those conditions included:

1. The project is relocated to another area not in the estuary of the Skeena River. One industry should not put another at risk of our City should remain with a diversified economy. 

2. The project must consult with the area’s local governments and our residents as well as with First Nations. 

3. The City’s water supply is monitored and a specific set of responses, agreed to by the City, are in place to rectify any increase in acidification or eutrophication. 

4. Negative economic or social consequences will be identified by the City and PNW LNG prior to the project going ahead and solutions agreeable to the City are identified. 

5. Adequate contributions, agreed to by COPR, for rebuilding and maintaining Prince Rupert’s infrastructure are identified and scheduled. 

6. Alternate forms of clean energy are identified and their development are committed to by PNW LNG.

Should all go as it should, the topic will return to the Council agenda on November 14th and Prince Rupert's council members will then be able to offer up any of their own thoughts related to the Pacific Northwest LNG proposal and put themselves on the record when it comes to Councillor Thorkelson's resolution.

The short discussion of the topic can be reviewed from the City's Video archive starting at the 59 minute mark.

An extended look at the topic can be found on our City Council Timeline here.

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

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

City's Water Grant proposal applications are in the pipeline

Director of Operations Richard Pucci
providing a presentation on two
grants the City is seeking for the city's
water infrastructure
The theme of grant applications made for a portion of Monday's City Council session, with Richard Pucci, the city's Director of Operations providing Council members with some background related to a pair of grant applications towards Federal/Provincial programs that the City is working on as they head towards a November deadline for interested communities.

The first of the topics that were addressed involved the Woodworth Dam proposal, with Council offering their support to the City's quest to pursue that grant under the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund.

On the first grant option, Councillor Randhawa inquired as to whether this request would conflict with any other grant requests underway, with Mr. Pucci advising that there would be no conflict.

As part of his overview of the city's water supply concerns he added that that the City has already received funding for the first phase of the Water supply project, and would be putting that out for tender shortly.

Council heard of the plans from the City to apply for a grant to replace
the Woodworth Dam which provides the city's drinking water supply

The Woodworth dam issue was the subject of an information video by the City earlier this year, which outlined some of the challenges and upgrades needed.

The Mayor took advantage of the discussion on Monday evening to once again call attention to a recent article in the Northern View, which questioned whether the City had missed a funding opportunity at its recent visit to the UBCM convention.

As we noted on the blog in September, at that time, the province had rolled out a large number of infrastructure projects that were moving forward, with only a few destined for the Northwest, none for the North Coast.

Mayor Brain used a few minutes of the Monday night session to provide his own clarification for the record on the issue, noting that the projects that the paper had noted were already in motion and the City had not missed out on any funding opportunities, adding that the City is moving forward with this current application which has a deadline date of November 23rd.

On the theme of grant applications and how the city approaches them, Mayor Brain in somewhat of a cutting fashion, noted that the city does know how to apply for grants and that he believes that there will be a clarification issued on the subject in the Wednesday paper.

That may be a deadline that has yet to be met, as the only item of note from the Wednesday releases from the Northern View provided very basic information related to the grant requests, with neither a clarification, or notice of correction related to the original item indicated in the original article and accompanying editorial piece.

On the Second grant request, Mr. Pucci outlined the challenges that the city faces in bringing its water supply to the population on Kaien Island, observing that the underwater pipes have only a forty year lifespan and to address those issues the City will apply for a grant to replace the submarine line making use of the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund opportunity available at the moment.

Council also  offered their support towards that motion to make an application. As noted by Mr. Pucci, the deadline for the applications is November 23rd, however Council was provided no timeline as to when the final decision on their grant applications will be delivered.

The full discussion can be reviewed from the City's Video archive starting at the 48 minute mark.

An extended look at the topic can be found on our City Council Timeline here.

For more items related to infrastructure issues can be examined here, while more background on items of interest from Prince Rupert City Council can be found on our Discussion Archive page here.