Friday, December 30, 2016

Victoria Viewpoints: Friday, December 30, 2016

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

Interprovincial migrants international immigrants drive B.C. housing markets
3 things Vancouver needs to do better when the snow falls
British Columbians open to legalizing hard drugs, survey says
Royal B.C. Museum calls on Indigenous people to submit stories about relics
Doctor's struggling to cope with growing number of overdose patients with brain damage
B.C. residents among those named to Order of Canada
Response to B.C.'s overdose crisis must adopt international best practices
The Big Sort

Ottawa Observations: Friday, December 30, 2016

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments from the Federal scene from Friday, December 30, 2016.

How a little-known patent sparked Canada's opioid crisis
TransCanada shifts focus closer to home as future of Keystone uncertain under Trump
Let's bring Canada's Charter back to where it belongs - in Winnipeg
Order of Canada's newest appointees include Paralympian, Supreme Court judge and astrophysicist
Government steps up security ahead of New Year's kick-off to Canada's 150th
Funny ways: The year in weird politics
Chrystia Freeland set for trade talks with China in 2017
Trudeau's electoral reform chatter has a history behind it
Canada needs to rediscover its ambition as it turns 150
Provincial side deals not good for national health care
Less Trudeau and more regular Joe in 2017
If Trudeau wants UN Security Council seat, he'll have to answer questions about Israel
And then there were 13: Winnipeg doctor drops out of Conservative leadership race
Top Catches, Oddities and Ones that Almost got Away: 2016 in The Tyee
Police increasing security for New Year's Eve in Ottawa following terror attacks in Europe
Canada's Trump: Conservative candidates echo president-elects populism
'Brand Trudeau' mulled by top bureaucrats to reboot Canada's return to peacekeeping
Justin Trudeau's popularity in full steam despite road blocks

Political ad sparks some interest in the race for BC Liberal nomination on North Coast

With less than a month to go before North Coast Liberals decide on their candidate for the 2017 British Columbia Provincial election, one candidate is taking a multi media approach to seek the support of the party membership.

Rodney Proskiw made his case for their confidence through a post to the North Coast Liberal Facebook page this week, as well as with a full page ad in the Northern View, with his introduction to the Liberal faithful highlighting some of his background in the community.

In his call for the support of North Coast Liberals, Mr. Proskiw also outlines a brief history of his family's twelve years in the region, noting his efforts to start a Charter Boat business here, as well as through his work with the Prince Rupert Lions Club and on the Board of Tourism Prince Rupert,.

He also offers up some thoughts on how he approaches the issues of the North Coast.

Among his themes:

A long time member of UFCW-1518, who is hard working, dedicated and committed to helping our community. 

An active community volunteer and leader who is approachable and eager to listen and to advocate for.

He also notes that he is free thinking, inclusive and innovative, motivated to improve our lives with fresh and new ideas, with no attachments to a specific special interest group.

As part of his presentation to local Liberals he also outlines that for supporters to be able to vote for him at the nomination in late January they must register, asking them to call or email him prior to the deadline of January 4th.

He can be reached at 250-627-1853 or by email at

Those interested in becoming members of the BC Liberal Party can find out more about that process here.

So far the only other candidate to indicate interest in the nomination is Herb Pond who launched his exploratory moves back in November.

As we noted on the blog earlier this month, the North Coast Liberals will hold their nomination meeting on January 21st.

Updates on their plans can be found on the North Coast Liberal Facebook page.

More notes on the upcoming race for the North Coast seat in the British Columbia Legislature can be found on our archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review.

City looks to turn portion of Rushbrook Trail over to Trail Enhancement Society

Those that are hoping to see a once popular east side trail put back into public use will find some welcome news in a public notice from the City of Prince Rupert.

Tucked way in the back pages of the weekly newspaper from Wednesday is an announcement from the City noting that the city intends to enter a Licence Agreement with Prince Rupert Trail Enhancement and Recreation Society for a portion of the land known as the Rushbrook Trail.

The stretch in question would start at the Bob's on the Rocks location at Rushbrook Floats and run from parallel to Overlook Street on the cliffs above the trail .

The City of Prince Rupert is setting in motion plans to turn over a stretch of
Rushbrook Trail parallel to Overlook Street to the Prince Rupert Trail
Enhancement Society for development for a period of up to ten years

According to the Notice, the nature of the arrangement is for the purpose of public redevelopment over the course of a five year term, with an option of a renewal for another five year period. 

The fee for the term will be one dollar per year.

The Rushbrook trail is currently listed as Closed to the Public, owing to concerns about safety along the waterfront pathways, remediation work on the trail has been a frequent topic of interest around the community in recent years, with much talk directed to finding a way to reopen it to the public.

While there has been no discussion of the trail plans in public session of Council this year, the prospect of turning it over to the Society does bode well for outdoor enthusiasts who have hoped to see the trail reopened to public use.

The Society recently teamed up with Pacific NorthWest LNG to bring back to life the Tall Trees Trail off of Highway 16, turning the little used wilderness trail into a popular hiking experience for local residents, with the line of cars along Highway 16 a testimony to the popularity of the new outdoor option for the area.

With that Tall Trees renovation project complete, the Society noted at the time that they hoped to turn their attention to other challenges when it comes to trail remediation, with recent fundraising efforts launched to help move some of their plans forward.

While no plans have been outlined as of yet from the Society as to what they have in mind, bringing back even a portion of the once popular Rushbrook Trail will be a welcome addition to the network of trails that they hope to one day deliver to the North Coast area.

The project would also appear to be one that could be attractive to local groups, organizations or industries looking to give back to the community and help in bringing the popular east side trail back to a safe and usable status.

Should you have an any inquiries related to the proposed license arrangement you are asked to contact Rory Mandryk, the city's Corporate Administrator at, the deadline for comments or inquiries is no later than 4 PM on January 6th of 2017.

More notes on items that come out of City Hall can be found on our archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Victoria Viewpoints: Thursday, December 29, 2016

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

Vancouver Island NDP candidate drops out, cites sexism during campaign
UBC program aims to increase number of indigenous doctors
B.C. Health Minister sees change as 'powerful' force in 2017 election
Injection site worries prompt Nanaimo city hall shutdown
Norovirus triggers second shellfish closure in B.C. waters
Tumbler Ridge to ring in new year with return of mining jobs
B.C. 1st-time homebuyers loan might now make a difference mortgage broker says
BC NDP candidate withdraws from race due to 'sexism and harassment'
British Columbia's Top political stories of 2016
Departing minister sizes up next B.C. election
Drug injection tent pops up next to Nanaimo City Hall
Victoria food bank to double aid with new warehouse
B.C.'s highest court dismisses property assessment appeals by WalMart Canada and Home Depot
A year of overdoses: 7 charts that show the scope of B.C.'s drug crisis
Beware 'time for change' message in new election, says Terry Lake
Departing Health minister sees change as a powerful force in 2017 B.C. election
Public anger grows at UBC decision to dump John Furlong as guest speaker
'Sexism, harrasment' cited as NDP hopeful quits island nomination race
Good health lies outside of ministry of health

Ottawa Observations: Thursday, December 29, 2016

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments from the Federal scene from Thursday, December 29, 2016.

Liberals steer clear of Kerry's Israel comments, reiterate support for two-state solution
Lisa Raitt on running for Conservative leadership as husband battles Alzheimer's
Governments face wave of lawsuits for prison injuries amidst rising violence
Canada's housing market expected to cool further into 2017
Want to boost Canadian innovation? Open our borders
Canadian government cautiously optimistic about Syrian ceasefire
Gender identity vs. genitalia: Prison policy changes on the way for trans inmates
'Why does my daddy have so much work': ex-Mountie recalls Justin Trudeau, the boy
Former rock star Trudeau downgraded to 'regular politician'
Canadian republicanism is a pathology, but it won't survive past the next coronation
Trump's Buy America pledge could set off a trade war with Canada because of a ferry terminal
Ottawa scorecard 2016: The winners and losers under the Trudeau government
Six reasons Trudeau's cash for access fundraisers are wrong
Let's make Canada 'even better' in 2017, governor general says in New Year's message
Ujjal Dosanjh: Trudeau should replace odorous case or access with Chrétien's per vote subsidy

Alaska Marine Terminal may soon be back on the front burner with the era of President Trump set to arrive

With a new Administration set to take power in Washington DC
the National Post  has put a focus on the dispute over the Alaska
Marine Highway Terminal in Prince Rupert

As 2016 comes to an end and the dawn of a seismic shift in US politics about to take place, the National Post is taking a look at the long running issue on the North Coast of the Alaska Marine Highway Terminal.

In an item published today, the National newspaper puts a renewed focus on the fate of the transportation link to the north and how pressures to bend to the Buy America process from the United States may increase with the start of the Administration of President-elect Donald Trump.

John Ivison, one of the Post's main political columnists puts the AMHS terminal at the start of a list of what could be a larger problem for Canadian trade officials.  He calls attention to the potential shift in Canada/US relations as the U. S. embraces a more pronounced Buy America approach, with the Post columnist calling the small ferry terminal at Fairview Bay one of the first potential flash points on the new bilateral universe between the two nations.

Ivison recounts some of the history of the dispute between the USA and Canada, a cross border spat that has seen a significant delay for the plans dating back to 2014 to overhaul the ferry terminal in Prince Rupert.

In October, Mayor Lee Brain provided a review of his September trip to Alaska for the Southeast Conference in Petersburg, offering both a current update to the AMHS situation, along with his longer term vision for transportation between the North Coast and Alaska.

You can review that item from the blog here, our October blog post also provides some background to the long trail of delays related to the AMHS facilities in Prince Rupert.

According to the National Post story, a threat to cut the service to Prince Rupert was delivered to Mayor Lee Brain through a letter provided by the State Deputy Commission of Transport Michael Neussel, with the Alaskan official noting that with Alaska considering reductions in its fleet and route structure, the lack of a suitable dock in Prince Rupert would be a factor when it comes to consideration of those changes.

The review of events from the Post also notes that the Alaskans still are holding to a goal of having the Prince Rupert dock to be rebuilt at a cost of 10 to 20 million dollars, calling on Mayor Brain to lobby both the Provincial and Federal Government to revoke or amend the Foreign Extraterritorial Measures Act which was put in place last January.

The Post states that they had attempted to seek clarification on how the Alaskan plan would work around the current Buy American rules (let alone any new push from a Trump administration we imagine) but could not reach either Mayor Brain, or the Alaska representatives for comment prior to the publishing of their article.

While the Alaskan official seems to indicate that there is some form of movement in play to address the issue of the AMHS terminal, according to the Post, Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland has stated that the Federal government is unaware of any formal proposal to move the project forward.

The remainder of the Post article explores how the Federal government is making plans on trade when it comes to the approaching new Trump administration, with the prospect of potential trade flare ups among the main concern when it comes to a new mantra of America First from the USA.

Should the US Government turn its focus on delivering on the new President's declaration to put American interests first, the Alaska Ferry Terminal may not be the only Prince Rupert facility to become a flash point between the two nations.

With much of the movement of arriving cargo through the Port of Prince Rupert destined for American destinations, cross border transit could also be on the radar for a more insular United States that is determined to protect American jobs.

That could be another issue that the National Post may want to keep an eye on for any follow up articles when it comes to the impact on the Canadian economy of the approaching Trump years.

The Port of Prince Rupert is a shipment point that delivers product
deep into the United States through the CN Rail network

While we might think that we are far from any potential International political fray tucked up as we are just under the Alaska panhandle, the arrival of the new President and his four year term could provide for a range of trade concerns that may have a significant impact on the Northwest in any number of ways.

The full National Post article can be reviewed here.

You can find the latest information on Ferry transportation to and from the North Coast from our archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Victoria Viewpoints: Wednesday, December 28, 2016

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

5 B.C. post secondary education stories to watch in 2017
Tracking the changes on the Evergreen Line
B.C. clean tech company in the running for $20M prize
Pacific NorthWest LNG mulls cheaper options for B.C. Terminal
A shift in shipping plans for Pacific NorthWest LNG?
Syrian refugees face challenges accessing childcare in Kamloops
YVR traveller traffic set to top record at 22 million
First Nations cautiously welcome changes to Petronas LNG site as company plans 'total project review'
Petronas said to eye new island for $27-billion Canadian LNG plan to ease opposition
B.C.'s LNG minister predicts northern coast LNG decision by mid-2017
UBC cancels speech by John Furlong to avoid controversy over unproven abuse allegations
PM's popularity is enviable
B.C. Liberals, NDP plot election strategies to attract Islanders
Five Oil-spill bases eagerly awaited on Vancouver Island

Ottawa Observations: Wednesday, December 28, 2016

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

Year 150: Will it bring fortune or folly?
Saskatchewan hints at wage rollbacks to fight ballooning deficit
Pacific NorthWest LNG mulls cheaper options for B.C. Terminal
Many Canadians have soured on Trudeau: Poll
PM must condemn UN smear of Israel
Ottawa faces great challenge in dealing with Trump
Canada is much older than 150 years
Can 2017 be worse for female politicians than 2016?
Rona Ambrose: It's time to park Prime Minister Trudeau's failed electoral reform
Peter Julian first to register as NDP leadership candidate but says he's still thinking about it
Petronas said to eye new island for $27 billion Canadian LNG plan to ease opposition
East Coast Liberal 'block of red' forces Opposition parties to get creative
How Trudeau is screwing over the Generation that got him elected
PM's popularity is enviable

At Issue Panel: Your Questions from 2016

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

December 28: Your Questions from 2016

Book on Queen of the North sinking proves to be a popular item for North Coast readers

A new book on the sinking of the Queen of the North became somewhat of a North Coast best seller this holiday season, with the local book store Eddie's News having to bring in numerous shipments to keep up with demand for the account of March 21st and 22nd of 2006.

The book, The Queen of the North Disaster is authored by Colin Henthorne who was captain of the vessel on what would be its final journey.

Through the 224 pages, Henthorne explores the events of the transit from Prince Rupert towards Port Hardy, a journey which was interrupted during the course of that early morning off of Gil Island when the vessel struck an underwater reef and sank. A tragedy which claimed the lives of Shirley Rosette and Gerald Foisy who were among the 101 listed as aboard the vessel when it departed from the Fairview Ferry Terminal.

As we have since discovered through the many news articles dedicated to the story and the subsequent court testimony of trial, it was in the early hours of March 22nd that the vessel struck those underwater rocks near Gil Island and began to sink, launching an extensive rescue mission which featured the response of many of the residents of Hartley Bay, as well as through the work from the Canadian Coast Guard.

When that operation had come to its end the rescuers had safely retrieved 99 of the 101 on board the vessel, with neither Mr. Foisy and Ms. Rosette ever found and still listed as presumed drowned and now officially declared dead.

From his view of events Captain Henthorne recounts much of journey with a significant amount of his attention directed towards the early morning period, while at the same time offering his own thoughts on what may have happened during that trip, discounting many of the rumours that came out of the sinking, while making note of equipment changes that had been put in place on the vessel.

As well, Henthorne challenges much of the way that BC Ferries handled the sinking and is particularly strong in opinion when it comes to how the Ferry Corporation treated both himself and the employees who had been on watch that night.

In the period that followed the sinking, BC Ferries helmswoman Karen Briker was fired, while Fourth Mate Karl Lilgert was charged with criminal negligence causing death and sentenced to four years in prison.

Captain Henthorne, who was not on watch at the time of the incident, engaged in a lengthy fight to keep his job with BC Ferries but subsequently was dismissed, in a preview to his book he notes that it took him six years to recover his career.

His account of March 22nd highlights how many of the questions related to the disaster still remain unanswered and from his point of view, notes that BC Ferries had for the most part abandoned their on-board employees and how management has not examined its role in the events both prior to and following the sinking of the ship.

The former BC Ferries captain remains involved in the maritime world, currently employed at the Coast Guard Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria BC.

You can stop in at Eddie's to put your name on the list for the next shipment, or make use of any number of online shopping options to secure a copy of a book that seems to have captured the imagination of the North Coast.

A look at how Captain Henthorne put together his book as well as some reviews of the work can be found below:

Queen of the North Captain makes case for what caused disaster
Queen of the North a mystery unsolved
Captain of Queen of the North recounts 'heartbreaking' night ship went down (audio)
The Sinking of the Queen of the North
Queen of the North, the captain's story
Queen of the North tragedy haunts captain, wants to set record straight
Captain of B.C. Ferry that sank after crew allegedly had sex on bridge makes case for what caused disaster
The Queen of the North Disaster (podcast discussion from the
A captain's story of a B.C. marine disaster
A captain's story finally told

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

A shift in shipping plans for Pacific NorthWest LNG?

An item first published yesterday and updated today on the Financial News site Bloomberg Markets is suggesting that Petronas, the parent company for Pacific NorthWest is giving some consideration to shifting the shipment point for it's proposed Lelu Island terminal complex.

According to the Bloomberg report the Pacific NorthWest LNG project would still build its liquefaction plant at Lelu Island, however the actual shipment of the LNG would take place from a docking facility at the former Canpotex property located on Ridley Island, making use of a pipeline to the site recently opened up by the departure of the Saskatchewan based potash company.

A report in Bloomberg Markets is suggesting that
Pacific NorthWest LNG is considering use of the former site
allocated to Canpotex for a shipment dock while its main
liquefaction plant would remain on Lelu Island

The Bloomberg report also notes that the new proposal could save Petronas as much as 1 billion dollars through the elimination of the suspension bridge proposed for Lelu Island and would shift the focus of the Lelu Island project away from the Flora Bank and any impact on the eel grass beds and other environmentally sensitive conditions in the estuary.

The need for a costly suspension bridge over Flora Bank would be eliminated
should Pacific NorthWest's LNG project make use of a shipment dock at
Ridley Island as suggested in a recent Bloomberg article

Petronas is reported to be in talks with government and stakeholders to determine if the proposed modification to its plans could take place without sparking any fresh regulatory delays.

The plans however appear to be more in the exploratory phase than those of any firm commitment, with the CEAA noting for Bloomberg Markets that they have not received any information to this point related to any proposed changes to the project.

Petronas is currently conducting a total project review on the proposed 27 billion dollar development with indications to this point suggesting a decision by the summer of 2017 on the fate of the proposed development.

The change to the project as it has been described, is seen as one way that the company could reduce its costs on the development, while addressing some of the issues raised by opponents to the Terminal project.

You can review the full Bloomberg article here.

Whether the proposed shift of shipment facilities to Ridley Island will quell some of the controversy related to the project with its opponents remains to be seen.

NDP MP Nathan Cullen has frequently called for the proposed development to be moved to Ridley Island, it will be interesting to hear his thoughts, as well as those of NDP MLA Jennifer Rice on the theme.

Of particular note will be how both view any kind of hybrid version of the project when it comes to their past concerns over the project and whether the split concept of a plant on Lelu Island and shipment facilities at Ridley would be acceptable to both.

So far there is no confirmation of any shift in plans to be found on either the Petronas or Pacific NorthWest LNG information streams.

A review of the Pacific NorthWest LNG file can be found on our archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Victoria Viewpoints: Saturday December 24 to Tuesday, December 27, 2016

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

Does the loss of 755 B.C. lives to drug overdoses justify a public inquiry?
Electoral Reform and BC LNG: Bold Predictions on Two Big Issues
B.C. judge orders prisons to fix isolating 'enhanced supervision' program
B.C. Housing Minister reflects on lessons from Victoria tent city
Rich Coleman admits government could have responded faster to Victoria's tent city
What British Columbians will pay more for in 2017
B.C. Corrections to review solitary confinement program after court ruling
Prescription opioid use grew in B.C. ahead of overdose study finds
2017 British Columbia election: North Vancouver-Seymour riding profile
New webcams, shelters installed along 'Highway of Tears'
B.C. Ferries working with union to deal with asbestos on its ships
UBC cancels speech by John Furlong to avoid controversy over unproven abuse allegations
New Year's resolutions for the political class
Health care reform needed on a grand scale
Tent cities need faster shut down responses to prevent growth: Coleman
Clark looks for housing boom in 2017
BC Hydro downgrades smart meter savings
Coleman says tent cities need fast response
Prescription opioid use growing in B.C.
Growing concern over Penticton's homeless problem

Ottawa Observations: December 24-27, 2016

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments from the Federal scene from Saturday, December 24 to Tuesday, December 27, 2016.

Ottawa wants to gamble on innovation, but is it ready to roll the dice?
Ottawa plans to boost spending on new tech from Canadian startups
Most opposition parties favour a return to per-vote subsidy amid cash-for-access controversy
Canadians want Trudeau to stand up to Trump but welcome a visit
Canada's economic star expected to dim in 2017
Canada's growing indigenous population reshaping cities across the country
Liberal pledges on innovation and tax credits post conflict
Majority of Canadians support replacing 24 Sussex
Refugee praised as 'inspirational' by BBC deemed inadmissible to Canada
Obama (and a mute Trudeau) join gang-swarming of Israel
Trudeau gets one right on pipelines ... so far
Monsef, Castro, Elbowgate were worst of 2016
Let dying languages die
Straight talk on carbon pricing
Trudeau's Christmas message highlights Canadians' outpouring of support for Fort McMurray fire victims
Newfoundland and Nova Scotia reach own health-care funding deals with Trudeau government
Rampant corruption on the ground biggest hurdle to bringing Yazidis to Canada, expert warns
Justin Trudeau's easy ride will end in 2017
What happens in Davos, stays in Davos
Benefits paperwork couriered to ex-soldier left without income for months
'Open Science' critical for effective environmental assessments
Majority of Canadians say ties to monarchy should be cut when Queen dies
Canadian Senators sing in holiday carpool karaoke
Why Canada's private sponsorship refugee system is a model for the world: expert
Justin Trudeau praises wildfire response in 2016 Christmas message
Canadians feel Canada's reputation has improved on the world stage under Trudeau, poll finds
Electoral reform and BC LNG: Bold Predictions on Two Big Issues

Friday, December 23, 2016

Victoria Viewpoints: Friday, December 23, 2016

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

Changes to Canada's drug policy will take time to translate into action
Santa Claus is coming to Vancouver's Downtown Eastside
Vancouver homeless man dies on December night blocks from new shelter
Suicide note school assignment risky, warns Northern B.C. crisis centre
Christy Clark dons hard hat in quest for 5th Liberal mandate, hammers out jobs platform
B.C. hemlock may break into Chinese market by pairing with bamboo
The hidden cost of foreign student policy: Insiders respond
Off the vehicle deck when sailing
Refugees need continue help
Government Pulls LNG TV Ad early after claim of $20B in Benefits challenged
Fight to Stop Oil Spoiling BC's coast is 50 years old
B.C. election spending spree ramping up

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to readers of our daily digest, our compilation of events of the British Columbia scene will return on December 27th.

Ottawa Observations: Friday, December 23, 2016

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments from the Federal scene for Friday, December 23, 2016.

Newfoundland, Nova Scotia reach own health-care funding deals with Ottawa
Thousands of Canadians languish in limbo as they wait for long-term care
Majority of Canadians support Trudeau's climate plan
Kevin O'Leary is not Donald Trump - but their paths to power could be similar
Kevin O'Leary asks Canadians to weigh in on possible Conservative leadership bid
CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre plays superhero - and villain
Aleppo is a call to action for Canada's human security agenda
Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador make deals with federal government on health
Former Crown Corporation boss says he fired for trying to fight corruption
As Conservative leadership deadline looms, list of 14 could be winnowed down
Kevin O'Leary assembles Conservative advisory team for possible leadership bid
Finland gets a slice of $587-million Canadian supply ship program
Canada's economy shrank unexpectedly in October
O'Leary wants to know if you support his leadership bid
2016, the year of the loudmouth activist
Shrieks of disbelief will fade. U.S. will return to greatness and Canada has to step up
'Ugly snowball of reality': Canada's economy shrinks after four straight months of growth
Kevin O'Leary dropped from BNN, CTV News after launch of Tory leadership 'exploratory committee'
Current MP, ex-Alberta cabinet minister, former Ontario premier among those advising Kevin O'leary on potential leadership bid
New Year's funding deadline may not cull herd in race for leadership of federal Conservatives
Justin, Sasha Trudeau to celebrate Christmas with family and, of course birthday cake
Ottawa is now $9.3 billion in the red; that's compared to a $600 million surplus last year
Nova Scotia reaches own health care funding deal with Ottawa
Kevin O'Leary one step closer to Conservative leadership jump
Not enough pilots to fly new Super Hornet fighter jets: retired RCAF commanders
Kevin O'Leary one step closer to Conservative leadership jump

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to readers of our daily digest, our compilation of events on the national scene will return on December 27th.

Nathan Cullen's Christmas media tour

For those that couldn't make it in for a chat with their Federal MP at the Prince Rupert Open House hosted by Nathan Cullen and Jennifer Rice earlier this week, the Federal NDP politician has been taking his good cheer and favourite talking points to a number of Northwest media outlets this week.

As part of his media tour, the MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley delivered a wide range of observations on politics whether it be locally across the Northwest, on the federal scene in Ottawa or even across the border in the United States.

It was a media tour week for MP Nathan Cullen, here
he takes questions at CFNR Radio in Terrace

For CFNR Radio Mr. Cullen was focused on Electoral Reform and some of his disappointment in how the Liberal party has handled the issue and in particular the government's response to the findings of the committee that Mr. Cullen was involved with over the summer.

Environmental issues were also a feature of his review for CFNR, with Mr. Cullen looking at the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline project, the end of the Northern Gateway process and LNG issues across the Northwest.

He also had harsh words for how the Liberal Government is approaching environmental themes, including the proposed North Coast Tanker Ban, while also raising his concerns over the environmental response that both the Federal and Provincial government currently has in place.

The NDP MP also looked at some of the infrastructure money that has come into the Skeena-Bulkley Valley riding in the last year, noting some of the areas that federal money was put to use in 2016. Mr. Cullen also had much to say about the need for a new hospital in the Terrace region, noting the importance of Terrace as a hub for the Northwest.

The Federal MP also weighs into the provincial scene, noting that its an election year and offering up his thoughts on how the provincial government's LNG plans haven't delivered quite the same results as the Liberal government had been touting for the region.

There are two themes available for review, CFNR's audio highlights package can be examined here, while the full interview is available for viewing here.

A quick jog to the CFTK Studios found the MP  ready for his TV close up for the week

Mr. Cullen also stopped in at the studios at CFTK Television where many of the same themes were delivered, with environmental notes related to the Northern Gateway decision and related pipeline projects made for a good portion of the discussion.

For CFTK Mr. Cullen outlined his thoughts on the path ahead for the Missing Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry that will get underway in 2017, as well as he recounted some of the background on the issue from a Northwest perspective.

The theme of LNG also made for a fair bit of the television interview, with the MP reviewing the status of projects in both Kitimat and Prince Rupert.

Of note for those living in Prince Rupert Mr. Cullen had a number of comments related to the Pacific NorthWest LNG project, holding to his long held commentary that the project would find better momentum if it were to change locations.

Mr. Cullen also offered up some thoughts on how the City of Prince Rupert has approached the issue of the proposed regional shuttle bus, suggesting that the city's approach was one designed as a response to local issues of concern along the Highway 16 corridor.

He observes that every community has different needs and different priorities, suggesting that the city's worry is that some of the local interests may be forgotten and that the region is trying to do two things at once.

The Full interview can be viewed below:

Mr. Cullen also made some time to appear on the Northern View podcast for December 21st, where he featured a wardrobe change but provided for many of the same talking points. Among those themes he reviewed were a look at the Tanker Ban for the North Coast, as for what he would like to see for the North Coast he talked looking for a more positive situation after having removed some of the threats to the region.

The MP noted that he would like to see fish processing returned to the North Coast, another topic of concern for him once again was the approach to LNG development, with Mr. Cullen noting his desire to have LNG done properly and to see that the Lelu Island project is relocated away from the current location, suggesting that was the best way to avoid threats to wild salmon and reduce the prospect of court cases, or further conflict in the region.

Overall, as he closed out his time with the podcast hosts, he remained positive about the prospects for the future for Prince Rupert, explaining how he sees the community continuing to move forward.

The MP's portion of the podcast arrives from the 7 minute thirty second mark to just past the eleven minute point. 

You can view the conversation here.

Mr. Cullen also took part on the Northern View podcast for the week

More on the electoral review tour and associated items that came out of it can be found from our political portal of D'Arcy McGee on the archive page here, while that blog also hosts an archive page related to the Missing Indigenous Women's Inquiry which you can find here.

You can also hold your own year end review of sorts, by checking out our archive of notes accumulated through the year. Our House of Commons page features a look at many of the items of note from the federal scene through the year.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Missing and Murdered Women Commission launch new website for families

There have not been many developments of note to report on since the September launch of the Murdered and Missing Women Commission, with the first three months of the commission's work seemingly dedicated to planning for when the public engagement process gets underway in the Spring of 2017.

That delay in getting down to the task at hand is making for some concerns for many that were looking to the Commission to jump into their work after the first announcements of August and as a way of answering some of those concerns, the Commission of Inquiry has expanded on its information delivery process over the last month.

One key element of the Commission plans for greater engagement comes with the launch of a new website for the upcoming Commission work. The main focus for that portal at the moment is the eventual plan to provide an area of the website for families to register.

Until that registration page is introduced, the website is serving the role of providing some background to the Commission plans and employment opportunities to work with Inquiry.

Commission members are also suggesting that those that wish to keep up to date on the Inquiry plans make use of their e mail system, when those interested in the process can sign up to receive the latest notes on the progress to date.

You can find that link here.

The Commission of Inquiry has also made a crisis line available for family members, or friends who may require support that number is 1-844-413-6649.

While the Inquiry may not be taking testimony or exploring the range of issues involved in the Missing and Murdered cases at the moment, the interest continues to build when it comes to how the Commissioners intend to handle the list of topics that will form the discussions to come in 2017.

We have been keeping an archive of MMIW related items on our Political Blog D'arcy McGee since the Commission launch of September, you can review those notes here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Victoria Viewpoints: Thursday, December 22, 2016

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

Overdoses spike after 'Welfare Wednesday' on Downtown Eastside
AltaGas gas plant project gets expansion approval from B.C. commission
The cold truth behind B.C.'s overdose epidemic
Experts weigh in on B.C.'s loan program for first-time homebuyers
Warm spaces for homeless in short supply during Vancouver cold snap
Four environmentally sensitive B.C. lands to be protected
Community reaches out after hearing story of isolated Prince George senior but problems persist
Users overdose minutes after cashing assistance cheques: Surrey paramedic
Vancouver homeowners owe $36.8 million in property taxes
CFIB blasts sick day policies, claims it costs Metro Vancouver $90M
1st-time homebuyers say 'no thanks' to B.C. loan
AltaGas wins approval for gas plant expansion in B.C.
B.C. Government looking for thousands of people to register as organ donors
Chinese firm to open massive land-based shellfish hatchery on Sunshine Coast
Benefit or Boondoggle? Housing experts chime in on B.C.'s homeowner loans
Massive shellfish hatchery near completion on Sunshine Coast
B.C. disappointed with New Brunswick deal on health funding with Ottawa
Keep talking on health transfers
Government pulls LNG TV Ad early after claim of $20B in Benefits challenged
Number of British Columbians on EI, Welfare jumps

Ottawa Observations: Thursday, December 22, 2016

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments from the Federal scene for Thursday, December 22, 2016.

Bombardier lobbied feds on Russian sanctions because of competitive fears
Elections commissioner urged to investigate cash-for-access allegations
New Brunswick, feds reach separate agreement on health-care funding
Cash-for-access organizers sought payments that exceeded federal contribution limits
Latvian envoy defends Canadian-led NATO mission
Deal with New Brunswick the latest adventure in Federalism for Trudeau
After standing vacant for 20 years, prime real estate across from Parliament Hill to get new life
2 federal tribunals make high-speed internet access a job condition
Trudeau pays back taxpayers about $38K for personal expenses
History shows military stopgaps like the Super Hornets often get discarded
Nunavut, N.W.T. premiers slam Arctic drilling moratorium
CAPE says federal government isn't offering what it offers other unions
Head of Winnipeg-based Freshwater Fish Marketing Corp. fired by federal government
New Brunswick denounced for cutting side deal with Ottawa on health
Parliamentary coverage has been changed by the times
Mike Harris joins O'Leary team
Trudeau's agenda will be against the ropes in 2017
Trudeau's popularity feeds off the public's ignorance
Canada, we had dumb luck in 2016. In 2017, let's stop being smug about terrorism
If Trudeau is wise, he'll course correct in new year before dip support becomes a slide
Air Force sets aside CF-18 for airshows despite lack of jets for military missions
Current MP, ex-Alberta cabinet minister, former Ontario Premier among those advising Kevin O'Leary on potential leadership bid
N.B. health-care deal weakens provincial bargaining position, hardens federal resolve
Liberal government oversold child benefit's impact on poverty rates, documents suggest
Kevin O'Leary insists he'll eventually enter Tory leadership race, so why won't Bell Media cut ties with him?