Thursday, December 31, 2015

Victoria Viewpoints: Thursday, December 31, 2015

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

Cloud still hovers over Health Ministry
B. C. makes quitting smoking easier

Ottawa Observations: December 31, 2015

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments from the Federal scene for December 31, 2015.

Ottawa to update advertising rules to avoid perception of partisanship
Mining giant Munk admits to donating more than legal limit to Conservatives
Canadians divided over Liberals' lowering TFSA limit: poll
Liberals fall short of year-end goal for refugee settlement
Trudeau receives gloomy bringing on Syria's prospects
Liberals on track to miss already-reduced refugee target by nearly 4,000 people
Does the UN do any good?
'Significant number of appointees' named in dying days of the Tory reign have offered to quit
Military plans to refurbish 'unsupportable' radar systems
Mine magnate Peter Munk donated too much to Conservatives 3 times
Tax changes will affect 2016 paycheques, but few may notice
Liberals say they are 2 weeks away from 10,000 arrivals as year ends
Liberals say some Tory appointees offered to quit after bedbug asked to step down

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Victoria Viewpoints: Wednesday, December 30, 2015

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

Terrace locals pushed out of housing market in LNG rush, says councillor
B. C. taxpayers will pay for health ministry fiasco - but how much?
Canada's refugee intake makes barely a dent in addressing a global problem 


Ottawa Observations: Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments from the Federal scene for December 30, 2015.

Most Canadians want Senate reformed, not abolished
Federal Government spent over half-a-billion dollars in 2015 on legal settlements and damages

Conservatives vow to block electoral reform without referendum
Reality checks await for ambitious Liberals
What will Trudeau and Obama get done at their meeting in March?
Referendum is the only option
Long campaign a top political error of 2015


Rotarians look for help with Syrian Family sponsorship

The Rotary Club of Prince Rupert would appear to be taking the lead in local efforts to help sponsor Syrian Families in this community, with the first notes on the possible plan ahead posted to the Rotary Club or Prince Rupert Facebook page this week.

The local club is following up on national events in recent weeks, which have seen a number of Syrian families brought to Canada from the Middle East. Part of a national resettlement program in the wake of the Civil War currently underway in that nation.

So far, for the most part, those that are being resettled in the country have been putting down their roots in the larger communities, though there is growing interest across the nation in providing opportunities in smaller centres.

To that theme, the local Rotarian's are currently looking to local families, individuals and for wider community support to help sponsor families on the North Coast. With Kristi Farrell listed as the contact person for those seeking more information on how they can help out.

You can contact her at 250-600-1647 or at for more information

You can review the notes from the Rotary Club from their Facebook page here or through their website

 Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Victoria Viewpoints: Tuesday, December 29, 2015

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

Two health researchers settle lawsuits over 2012 Ministry Firings
B. C. Government reaches last settlement in botched health firings

Aboriginal high school graduation rate at record high in British Columbia
B. C. Health firings: Province settles out of court with 2 researchers
B. C. reaches settlement with wrongfully fired health researchers

Ottawa Observations: Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments from the Federal scene for December 29, 2015.

Changing our voting system demands a public referendum
A return to multilaterilsim: Meet Roland Paris, the man behind Justin Trudeau's foreign policy
Trudeau should 'clarify' unwritten rules for the public service, says one of Canada's former top bureaucrats
Tom Mulcair sees NDP role in holding Liberals to account: 'Now we need to see a plan'
After string of defeats, will 2016 be start of Conservative comeback?
Ex-top bureaucrat blasts Liberals' 'make believe' Syrian refugee program targets
Spelling error on bronze plaque unveiled by Queen cost taxpayers $4K to fix
The new backdoor long-gun registry

Monday, December 28, 2015

Victoria Viewpoints: Monday, December 28, 2015

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

Admitting a Post-Paris Truth: BC's LNG Pipe Dream is Over

Premier Clark needs to step up and call by-elections in two ridings


Ottawa Observations: December 28, 2015

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments from the Federal scene for December 28, 2015.

A return to multilateralism: Meet Roland Paris, the man behind Justin Trudeau's foreign policy

The Liberal's electoral reform quagmire
Federal Liberals rule out referendum on electoral reform -- despite recent precedent
Liberals won't hold referendum on voting reform
Time for a reality check on Canada's generosity toward refugees
CPP expansion would harm economy in short tern, reduce tax revenues: Finance Canada documents
'Someone's talking about tearing it down, but that would be foolish,' says architect who worked on 24 Sussex
RCMP chief's comments about racism fuel tense relations with officers
Obama to welcome Trudeau for official visit in March
Three big tests for Justin Trudeau
Justin Trudeau should invest in his father's youth program
What "Because it's 2015" means for 2016
Justin Trudeau to visit White House, attend state dinner on March 10
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall asks Ottawa to send money back while oil prices low
First Nations chiefs rewarded for lack of transparency
Let's give people a guaranteed income
A resolution for politicians


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Victoria Viewpoints: Wednesday, December 23, 2015

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

To get more social housing, stop taxing it unfairly
Report sheds little new light on firings


Ottawa Observations: Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments from the Federal scene for December 23, 2015.

"I'm Stephen, by the way': Canadians report their 'surreal' encounters with the ex-prime minister
For a taste of Trudeau's 2016, see Rachel Motley's 2015
2015, the year when everything was sexist
Trudeau urges Canadians to share spirit of season with Syrian refugees
Liberals likely to miss reduced target of 10,000 refugees by year's end
10,000 Syrian refugees may not be 'on Canadian soil' by year's end: McCallum
How to right the Conservative ship
Trudeau government wimps out on Canada Pension Plan reform
Senators Mobina Jaffer fights for 'Christmas miracle' for adoptive families of Congo kids
Rest of Canada, not Quebec, the key to NDP putting 2015 behind it
Justin Trudeau's Christmas message urges warm welcome to Syrian refugees
Climate Crisis? Horse manure
Wet Blanket under Christmas tree
Feds should cool it on CPP reforms


City of Prince Rupert sells two properties at Tax Sale process

The City of Prince Rupert has posted the first advisory of the results of their 2015 Tax Sale process.

With two notices appearing in the weekly newspaper last week making note of the conclusion of the two Tax Sales.

A process which now puts the original owners on a clock now to address their tax payment tardiness, or face the loss of their properties.

The Tax sales were conducted under Section 94 of the Community Charter, with the Two properties in question located at the following locations:

801 Fulton Street
711 5th Avenue East

The full listing for the two properties can be found from the City's original notice of September

The Date of the Tax Sale for both was September 28, 2015
With the Date of Redemption listed as September 28, 2016

The property owners are asked to contact the City of Prince Rupert Finance Department at 250-627-0964

Some background on how the City Tax Sale process works can be found from this item which appeared on the blog earlier this year.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Pinnacle Renewable Energy fined 56,000 dollars for issues at Burns Lake facility

A Blast door at the Pinnacle
Pellet Plant in Burns Lake

(photo from WorkSafe BC report)
The Pinnacle Renewable Energy company will be required to pay a $56,000 fine assessed by the Provincial Government Agency WorkSafe BC, that after an investigation by the industrial compensation authority into an industrial incident and procedures in place at the company's Burns Lake pellet facility.

WorkSafe put in place the fine after the release of their findings into a 2014 explosion at the Burns Lake wood pellet plant that injured three workers.

The three employees were injured while standing outside the dryer door and were thrown back and suffered burns as a result of a blast inside the burner combustion chamber.

As part of their inspection notice, WorkSafeBC noted four areas of violation, noting a number of concerns, in regard to Pinnacle operations.

Failed to take sufficient precautions for the prevention of work related injuries or illnesses

Had not complied with  five sections of the Regulation

Had not maintained a safe work place or safe working conditions

Did not exercise due diligence to prevent these circumstance

The amount of the penalty was determined in accordance to WorkSafe BC policies, based on the employer's payroll and the nature of the violation.

You can review the WorkSafeBC documentation related to their Pinnacle review here

Some background to the incident and the fine can be found below:

Burns Lake mill fined $56,000 over pellet plant explosion that injured three
WorkSafeBC fines company$55,000 after 2014 explosion at Burns Lake
B. C. mill fined $56,000 over pellet plant explosion that injured three
Pinnacle Hit with Penalty for Blast
Pinnacle Explosion Fine (video)
Pinnacle Energy hit with WorkSafeBC Fine

Pinnacle Pellet operates and ships its pellets through the Port of Prince Rupert at its Westview Terminal facility.

For more items related to the Prince Rupert terminal operations see our archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Victoria Viewpoints: Tuesday, December 22, 2015

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

B. C. politicians' public disclosure lists show some curious connections - but nothing for the premier
City of Victoria makes Canadian Taxpayers Federation 'naughty' list
No charges to be laid in Mount Polley dam breach
Christy Clark's 2016 must include accomplishments, not just promises

Ottawa Observations: Monday, December 22, 2015

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments from the Federal scene for December 22, 2015.

Why Trudeau should keep CF-18's in the fight against ISIL
Defence minister backs off Liberals campaign promise to buy expensive' F-35 jets
Tory insiders weigh in on where to go from here
Canadians with marijuana convictions call on Trudeau to offer pardons
Justin Trudeau gets a much-needed break
Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, wife of Justin Trudeau, is Canada's latest style icon

Province of British Columbia launches program for excellence in Aboriginal Sport

Achievements in Aboriginal Sport will be honoured in 2016, as the Province of British Columbia introduces a new program of excellence for the year ahead.

Aboriginal Youth athletes under 25 years of age are invited to apply for one of the 12 Premier's Awards that will be presented annually, with the First Ceremony to take place as part of the 2016 Gathering Our Voices Aboriginal Youth Conference in Victoria  on March 21, 2016.

Successful applicants will be assessed on five main areas Sporting Achievements, Leadership Qualities, Education, Cultural Awareness and Future Goals.

In addition to the above criteria for applicants, nomination requirements include:

Nominee must have been a permanent resident of British Columbia for the last 12 months

Is of Aboriginal ancestry (First Nations, Metis and Inuit)

Is currently registered  with a B. C. Provincial Sport organization and/or involved in a Partner's Council Program (including recognized regional/traditional sports)

Under the age 25 (Born in 1991 or later)

Is actively participating in one or more sports (recognized provincial sports, as well as regional/traditional  sports) and show evidence of high athletic performance results

Demonstrates leadership both on and off the field of play

Is committed and dedicated to learning and academics and is actively pursuing or planning to pursue a post-secondary education.

One item of note to keep in mind for would be applicants, Recipients of the Premier's Awards for Aboriginal Youth Excellence in Sport are not eligible to apply for or receive the award in subsequent years.

All of the nominees will notified by February 21st of the selection committee's decisions, those selected will receive funding for the recipient and one guest to attend the Premier's award ceremony.

The selected recipients will also have their sots covered to attend the Aboriginal Youth Sport Leadership Forum.

You can learn more about the program here, while the nomination form can be found here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Vancouver land issues offer opportunities for Prince Rupert to take advantage of

The announcement of last week from the Prince Rupert Port Authority and DP World of plans to study the potential for an expansion to the south for the Fairview Container port, has offered up the prospect of even more development for the North Coast.

The background to the proposed study which we outlined on the blog here, will be a welcome concept for many hoping to see the local economy rebound, more high paying jobs and the  population begin to grow once again.

And while the planning is clearly still in its early stages, there's some optimism to be found that the two major partners on the North Coast will find some cause to move forward with the ambitious plan for the area south of Fairview.

Particularly if you begin to review some of the current of conversation taking place in Vancouver these days when it comes to where transportation and shipment facilities found around that region of the province.

Port officials in Vancouver are continuing with their planning for future expansion of the industrial footprint that the Port of Vancouver holds over the Lower Mainland, but while an extensive plan is in place, there's one small problem for the Lower mainland, actual land is becoming fairly scarce when it comes to large industrial use.

The issue has become one that is quite the topic of conversation in the Lower Mainland these days, as some of the items below indicate.

Ports desperate for land
The Biggest Real Estate Challenge Facing Vancouver You've Never Heard Of
Port troubles by lack of industrial land
What's the point of Vancouver?

As the old saying goes, it's all about real estate and for the most part they're not making any more of it...

Something which would appear to offer up an advantage to the Port and DP World as they consider their options for the future when it comes to development of further container shipment opportunities for the North Coast.

Those early thoughts for potential expansion have already caught the attention of the shipping world.

With many trade magazines and websites dedicated to transportation and logistics in the global community making note of the study to be launched on the North Coast.

A bit of early interest and enthusiasm for a study that many will be watching with interest both in foreign ports and on the North Coast.

DP World Studies Prince Rupert Expansion
DP World mulls expansion of Canadian Container Terminal
DP World and the Prince Rupert Port Authority sign feasibility study agreement
Agreement signed to study expansion of Fairview Container Terminal
Prince Rupert considers further container terminal expansion
DP Word in new Prince Rupert expansion feasibility study

For more background on the future plans for the Port of Prince Rupert see our archive items below:

Prince Rupert Port Authority
Fairview Terminal

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

UFAWU dealing with dual issues on Canadian Fish Cannery closure

UFAWU-Unifor, the union representing workers at the Canadian Fish Oceanside Plant is working two themes as the final days of December wind down, the first a continued effort to get  their message across related to their Campaign on Adjacency.

That union initiative is designed to take the issues of the North Coast Fisher to the Federal Fisheries Minister in Ottawa, a proposal to have fish caught in Northern British Columbia waters processed in Northern BC.

More on that union quest can be found from this item from last month.

Towards that campaign, UFAWU has been hosting a two day Letter Writing Campaign at the Union Hall on Fraser Street, with today the final day of the efforts to keep the pressure on the federal government in Ottawa.  Shore workers have two options when they arrive at the Union Hall, they can sign a prepared letter or they can compose their own.

The letter writing continues at the Fraser Street hall through to the end of the business day today.

While that campaign continues, the reality of the closure of the cannery lines means that a readjustment to the jobs available and Seniority lists will be required and on that theme work continues with UFAWU outlining some of the background on their Facebook page last week.

UFAWU is currently working on a revised Seniority List
in the wake of the closure of canning lines at the Oceanside Cannery
According to the short outline provided, Canadian Fish has told the Union that the plan for the year ahead will have workers unloading and operating the Iron Butchers on pink salmon, with the salmon roe operation also to continue at the plant on George Hills Way.

As well there will be fresh fish hand butchering, as well as supplement work to be available.

Work on the Revised Seniority plan will continue through December and in January the Union intends to meet to elect a committee to negotiate the new Seniority Plan with the Company. With the workers to be provided an opportunity to vote on any new Seniority Plan created.

You can review more on those developments from the UFAWU Facebook page

For more items related to the Fishing industry on the North Coast see our archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Monday, December 21, 2015

Victoria Viewpoints: Monday, December 21, 2015

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

Three Fibs Premier Clark Uses to Sell LNG Dream
Proponents of controversial B. C. resort say Polak had sympathy for project critic
Premier Clark tries to mop up her government's mess from 2015
Site C dam's largest contract awarded but unions, NDP question lack of job guarantees for B. C. workers
BC Hydro signs Site C civil-works contract at $!.75 billion

Ottawa Observations: Monday, December 21, 2015

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments from the Federal scene for December 21, 2015.

Liberals take first step towards repealing Tory bill that would force unions to disclose financial records
Liberals put halt to controversial finance disclosure rules for unions
Justin Trudeau 'runaway choice' for Canada's newsmaker of the year, says the Canadian Press
Finance ministers keep options open for CPP reforms
Put teeth back into First Nations Financial Transparency Act
Finance Ministers go slow on CPP reform as economic concerns bite
Sajjan refuses to rule out F-35 from fighter jet replacement competition
Are we ready for 50,000 refugees?
The Senate should be on trial

BC Ferries and unionized workers ratify five year labour deal

For North Coast travellers, the only delays to sailing out of Prince Rupert, Port Hardy or Skidegate for the next five years will most likely be only weather dependent ones. With word from late last week that BC Ferries and its unionized workforce have ratified a new labour agreement which will span half a decade.

The agreement will provide employees with an 8.5 percent wage increase over the life of the contract and will cover period that reaches back to October 31st of 2015 and carries forward to October 31, 2020.

The contract negotiations spanned a number of months and the announcement of successful terms comes following a similar notice of success with the Union's Provincial Executive and Ships' Officers' Component in November.

Mike Corrigan the President and CEO of BC Ferries offered up some notes on the nature of the negotiations and observed that with the agreement with BC Ferries now in hand, British Columbians have seen almost 2 decades of labour stability when it comes to their marine transportation.

Calm labour waters ahead for BC Ferries
with a five year agreement concluded
“The five-year agreement provides for fair and modest wage and benefit increases for our employees while continuing to provide an efficient and dependable service. This agreement will mark 17 years of labour stability at BC Ferries,”  ... “We had a very productive round of bargaining with the Union, which included meaningful dialogue and negotiations. We thank the bargaining teams on both sides for their collaborative efforts.” --  Mike Corrigan, BC Ferries’ President and CEO.

There are 3500 employees covered by the agreement, members of the BC Ferry and Marine Workers' Union. Prince Rupert is the home port for the two routes of the Norther service.

Graeme Johnston, the Provincial President hailed the agreement as a validation of the collective bargaining process and noted that it was reached without the intervention of a third party.

You can review more  background to the agreement from this media release from BC Ferries.

For further items related to Marine Transportation on the North Coast see our archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Prince Rupert claims its spot in BC Business Best Cities for work review

Some impressive gains have been found for the North Coast in an annual study by the magazine BC Business, which has placed Prince Rupert in 24th spot out of the thirty six surveyed.

That makes for a significant jump from where the community was placed just one year ago, when Prince Rupert ranked 36 out of the 36 communities surveyed.

The magazine used a range of indicators to come up with its rankings, with such things as income, population and the employment rate making for the final tally.

On those themes BC Business noted the following trends.

Income growth was listed at 22.1%, with average household income listed as $86,685.

The average income for residents 35 and under is $58,959

While 12 per cent of the population is listed as holding degrees.

The Population growth numbers from BC Business indicate a decline of 2.1 percent for the community, while the unemployment rate that they based their findings on was listed as 7.7 per cent.

From all of the criteria studied, BC Business determined that the final score for  Prince Rupert was a 51% out of 100.

BC Business has placed Prince Rupert at 24th place
out of 36 communities in the province when it
comes to looking for work

The overall  findings put Prince Rupert one spot ahead of Terrace, which was ranked at Number 25 for this year.  The full reviews for Prince Rupert, Terrace and all communities can be examined here.

When it came to assembling the data, only those communities with a population of over 10,000 were used for the study, with only Prince Rupert and Terrace representing the Northwest.

The most likely place to find employment according to BC Business would be in the Northeast corner of British Columbia with Fort St. John and Dawson Creek listed at first and second for this years survey.

One indicator from the survey process which may affect Prince Rupert's ranking next year however, could be with the employment rate factor,

The data for this years survey was collected in September of 2015, before the announcement in November of some significant job losses set to take place at Canadian Fish, which has announced the closure of its canning lines at the Oceanside plant.

How the community absorbs those job losses and creates new employment opportunities could have some importance to where the community ranks when the 2016 listings come out.

A review of the findings was presented to the Global Morning News last week, you can review that discussion below:

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Graphics error stokes more discussion on Lelu Island project

The proponent of the proposed LNG Terminal at Lelu Island has issued an apology over an error in the presentation of a recent Newspaper advertisement and home mailer received around the region in recent days.

Last Tuesday, Pacific NorthWest LNG took to their Facebook page to highlight the error, which involves a map and figures illustrating eel grass on Flora Bank, noting that due to a design error, the version of the figure used in the presentation does not accurately identify areas where eel grass was present in one year out of four.

They also provided further background into the study of the area which took place from 2007 to 2001 and again through 2015.

The apology and the supplied corrected image can be reviewed below:

Pacific NorthWest LNG apologized for an error
in its graphics presentation recently delivered to
homes and through the local newspaper
(click to expand)

The map was part of a larger community update from the company, which explored a number of themes related to the development.

Included in the presentation was some background into a number of themes, including: Research into fish and fish habitat, Managing potential Social Effects, Education and Training, as well as notes how residents can learn more about their research and more background of the company.

Those in opposition to the project also made note of the disclosure from the LNG Company, in a reply to Pacific NorthWest LNG through the Facebook comments section, Greg Horne who has been in the news recently himself on the issue of Lelu Island, called for the company to also publish apologies in the newspaper and deliver a similar apology by way of community mail out.

The controversy related to the error has been picked up by a number of environmental sites, with the ECOreport providing a short review of the situation, including further background on Mr. Horne's concerns with the apology.

The CEAA environmental process related to the Pacific NorthWest LNG project is expected to deliver its final decision sometime in the early part of 2016.

It was recently restarted after a significant pause in the process, resuming at the day 273 of the 365 day process, a draft report could be released sometime in January or early February if all remains on track from this point.

For more background on the proposed development see our archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Victoria Viewpoints: Saturday/Sunday December 19 & 20, 2015

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

A B. C. taxpayers' naughty and nice list
Avian flu response gets funding boost from Canada  and B. C. Governments
Government IT agency needed
Triple-deleting just isn't fun any more
Paris climate change goals a long way from reality

Ottawa Observations: Saturday/Sunday December 19 & 20, 2015

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments from the Federal scene for December 19-20, 2015.

Liberals and public service are falling out of love. It's time for them to kiss and make up
Improving public access to information will make government better, Trudeau says
Why Trudeau must keep one ear turned to the countryside
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan visits Iraq after Canadian military forces help push back major ISIL offensive
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan visits Iraq
Liberals agree to revoke spanking law in response to TRC call
Canadian business adjusts to a new Liberal government
Provinces push for health-funding changes in Ottawa summit
Canada may double refugee intake by end of 2016: McCallum
Syrian refugees in Canada could hit 50,000 next year, says McCallum
Spell out Canada's plans for bigger military training role in Iraq
Justin Trudeau's illusory noncombat war against ISIS
Keep an eye on Rachel Motley, Pierre Karl Peledeau in 2016
Finance Minister Bill Morneau may have enough provincial support to boost CPP
How long does 'real change' last? 5 Liberal changes that are likely to stick
Trudeau: Security Council not the only way to engage at UN
Finance ministers meet in Ottawa to confront Canada's new economic reality

December 20 -- CBC Radio's Cross Country Check Up -- Winter Comfort foods

A discussion on what is your winter comfort food?

Pia Chattopadhyay is the host.

December 20, 2015 (audio)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Victoria Viewpoints: Friday, December 19, 2015

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

The case in favour of B. C.'s carbon tax continues to build
B. C. Ferries, union reach five year contract deal
Good watchdog! Bad Watchdog!
On, Fassbender! on, Stone! on, Clark! ... on, to environmental oblivion!
Energy, climate issues give hope for thaw in B. C.-Alberta relations
B. C.'s Turpel-Lafond deserves credit for role as children's watchdog

Ottawa Observations: Friday, December 19, 2015

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments from the Federal scene for December 18, 2015.

Liberals face more flak over plans to withdraw jets from bombing missions
Canada's biggest test yet: CF 18's, special forces help fight off massive ISIL surprise attack
Liberals appoint Dwight Duncan as interim Windsor-Detroit bridge chair
Ottawa lifts sanctions on First Nations that didn't disclose finances
Liberals drop sanctions against First Nations that didn't comply with financial-transparency law
Carolyn Bennett reinstates funds frozen under First Nations Financial Transparency Act
Closing arguments in Duffy trial to begin in February
Saskatchewan to opposed Ottawa's CPP expansion plan
'Back to normal': Former prime ministers reflect on return to anonymous civilian life
Justin Trudeau not ready to personally intervene in case of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi
The only real surprise is just how quickly Liberal promises crumbled
The case for a referendum
Radicalized militants are "enemy of our time" top general warns
John McCallum makes surprise visit to Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon
Mike Duffy trial to resume Feb. 22 for closing arguments

Rice and Cullen to host Open House today

You can get a jump on the Open House scene around Prince Rupert today, as two prominent Northwest politicians open the doors to the constituency office at 818 3rd Avenue West.

The open doors provide a chance for North Coast residents to exchange the greetings of the season with NDP MLA Jennifer Rice and NDP MP Nathan Cullen, as they host and Open House and provide one more chance to help out the Prince Rupert Food Bank.

The two hour event starts at the Noon Hour and continues to 2 PM with light refreshments to be served.

Those planning to attend are asked to bring a non-perishable food item for the food bank.

2015 has been a busy year for the two local representatives of the senior levels of government, you can review some of the major talking points of the last twelve months from the pages below:

Jennifer Rice, MLA for the North Coast
Nathan Cullen, NDP MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

City makes it official, one less public council session for 2016

As 2015 winds down, the City of Prince Rupert is putting the finishing touches on some of the plans for the year ahead.

And when it comes to the public council meetings for the next twelve months, there will be one less public session requirement on the calendar for 2016.

On Thursday, the City of Prince Rupert provided the final version of the City Council meeting schedule for the year to come,  posting  the details to the city's website.

For 2016 there will be 20 public sessions, with two meetings per month from January through June, followed by one meeting each in July, August and September.

October and November will return to the two meetings a month schedule, with December once again requiring only one public session.

The one change for next year comes through the elimination of a second meeting in September.

As we noted on the blog in November back when the prospect of the reduced scheduled was first introduced, the number of council meetings over the last number of years have slowly declined, leaving behind an era which featured two public Open meetings a month through the twelve months of a year.

As for the Council year just concluded, the statistical review is as follows:

From December 1, 2014 to December 7, 2015 City Council sat in 21 publicly scheduled Open sessions, 4 Special Regular Sessions and held 21 meetings where the public was excluded.

Council also conducted 7 Public hearings through 2015.

Our archive from those council gatherings can be found here.

The full schedule for 2016 can be reviewed below:

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Victoria Viewpoints: Thursday, December 17, 2015

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

Mine inspector issues 19 recommendations after Mt. Colley disaster
B. C. Liberal party exec Laura Miller resigns, facing criminal charges in Ontario
Criminal charges make Laura Miller a liability for B. C. Liberals
Laura Miller's resignation spells bad news for B. C. Premier Christy Clark
B. C. Liberal staffer quits, faces charges in Ontario
What it means for the BC Liberal party following Laura Miller's departure
Finger pointing and rhetoric don't help kids in care
Ironically, a word so over-used, but oh, so apt
Stone has business plan for new bridge

Ottawa Observations: Thursday, December 17, 2015

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments from the Federal scene for December 17, 2015.

Astonishing 'body-shaming' accusation says it all about Mike Duffy
Duffy tells court he filed government paperwork in Ontario because doctors and accountant told him to
Duffy trial ends without prosecution asking about $90,000 cheque
Duffy's political drama now a matter of relative indifference
Defence rests case as Crown wraps up cross-examination of senator
The real reason Trudeau wants our CF-18s to come home
Canadian Special Forces help fight off largest ISIL offensive since Western troops arrived
Liberals move controversial anti-communism monument away from Supreme Court
NDP MP launches petition for inquiry into alleged Afghan prisoner torture
Trudeau's honeymoon stretches into the holidays
Trudeau denies electoral reform aimed at ensuring perpetual Liberal reign
Why Jim Carr will be the loneliest cabinet minister
Canadian dollar tumbles to close below 72 cents US
Justin Trudeau no banking on financial windfall from legalized pot

CBC's The National: At Issue Panel -- Year End Issue

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

December 17: Year End Issue

New Collective agreement provisions posted to City of Prince Rupert website

When it comes to the give and take of civic labour negotiations for Prince Rupert's civic workforce, there was some positive news delivered in the Spring as Contract discussions apparently came to a collegial ending with the City's negotiating team back in May.

Though unless you were an employee of the City, or a member of City Council or city management, you might not have been aware of that milestone, as no official announcement was made at the time.

Unusual for a City Administration that shows no shyness when it comes to proclaiming their achievements, yet there was no mention of the successful conclusion of negotiations during the course of the public forum of a Council session.

To go along with the under the radar theme, no update was provided by way of a media release, or even through the growing number of popular social media services that the City and some of our local politicians have been making use of lately.

As we outlined on the blog back in September, this has been a year of labour settlements across the province, with community after community haling the ability to come to terms on a new agreements, frequently outlining the details after the signatures were exchanged.

And while we don't have any public acknowledgment of an agreement such as this one that the City of Fort St. John provided to its residents to look over, we have noticed that the new collective agreement has been posted to the city's website, providing a glimpse for residents into the kind of work required to navigate such a lengthy and complicated arrangement.

From the notes provided as part of the collective agreement, it would appear that the contract which is retro-active to the start of 2015 has provided for a 2 percent increase for this year, with an increase of 2.25 percent in 2016 and another increase of 2 percent for 2017.

Those numbers would be fairly similar to the average of what other communities have negotiated through the year. The contract between the City of Prince Rupert and CUPE Local 105 was signed on May 25th and will expire on December 31, 2017.

There does not appear to be any indication as to the nature of any signing bonuses that may have been included as part of the final agreement.

The document also provides a fair bit of background into the range of items that make for a collective agreement, providing the road map for both employer and employee as to the conditions for employment with the City of Prince Rupert.

A few selected items of interest and where to find them can be reviewed below:

The first ten pages of the document start with an overview of the various management rights, union recognition and various processes available as part of the human resources aspects of employment with the city.

The Use of Casual workers and Seniority provisions, Layoff and Bumping elements as well as the minimum staffing requirements for Public Works are outlined from pages 10 through 21

Hours of work, Job Sharing, Overtime, Vacation items, Assorted benefits to name a few of the topics can be reviewed from pages 21 to 53.

While the Job Security provisions in the new document can be found from pages 54 to 55. Those details outline how the City makes use of its work force and lays out the conditions related to civic work and that work which is contracted to outside suppliers, with a focus on the those areas that may be beyond the scope of the collective agreement

The extensive listing of job classifications and Pay schedules for them and other items of background on the hours of work required can be found from pages 59 to 65.

Background to the City's Apprenticeship Program can be reviewed from pages 68 to 72.

You can review the full Collective agreement document from the City's Career page.

For more items related to developments with the City of Prince Rupert see our archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review