Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Victoria Viewpoints: February 28, 2017

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

B.C. Auditor-General questions province's surplus
Health group urges B.C. to ban private plasma clinics
BC Greens lag far behind other parties in fundraising
John Furlong warmly received for UBC speech after he was initially uninvited
City of Vancouver puts much-maligned new wordmark design on hold
Kelowna pursuing $348M plan to improve drinking water
Province facing new pressure to ban pay-for-plasma clinic
Suspended Victoria Police Chief says he wants to resign
Major transit improvements proposed for Surrey and Langley
Chinese acquisition of B.C. seniors' care chain 'noting to be concerned about,' expert says
Maple Ridge mayor says provincial money spent on homelessness ineffective
John Furlong warmly received at UBC fundraiser after initially being uninvited
Former Vancouver mayor Mike Harcourt awarded Vancouver's highest honour
The fine art of dissecting debt from contractual obligations
NDP blames government for Abbotsford hospital overcrowding
B.C. announces more changes resulting from Mount Polley mine failure
B.C. may be on hook to clean up Banks Island mine mess
City of Vancouver halts logo rollout, will consult local designers
Why are Vancouver officials playing politics of fear?
B.C. NDP seeks ban on plasma clinics that pay donors
Health system needed a pause
Writing bills easier than passing them
Elsner investigation wraps up with judges to determine outcome
Making health care 'free' again
North Vancouver mayor calls for rapid-transit tunnel linking North Shore to Vancouver
B.C. politician's assault charge stayed
BC Liberals Spied on NDP Youth Meeting, Eby Charges
Raw Logs and Lost Jobs: How a Company's 'Value-Added' Plans Mean More Log Exports
Government's Ad Spree Grabs your Money to Promote BC Liberal Election Campaign

Ottawa Observations: February 28, 2017

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments
from the Federal scene for Tuesday, February 28, 2017.

President Trump's address to Congress

Trump points to Canada as a model for U.S. immigration reform
Traditional address to Congress offers Trump chance to shift tone
Trump's blueprint for America meets sobering realities of Washington politics
Trump says 'real and positive immigration reform is possible' in address to Congress
'The time for small thinking is over,' Trump tells Congress in speech
Trump gives shout out to Trudeau in speech to Congress
Trump premieres his (new and improved) act to Congress
Trump open to 'compromise' on immigration bill
Trump stays on script in speech to Congress, proclaims 'new chapter of American greatness'
Justin Trudeau, Canada get shout out in Donald Trump's speech to Congress
Donald Trump's 'big, big' corporate tax cut could 'erase Canada's advantage'
Trump sounds optimistic tone, hails 'new chapter of American greatness' in speech

Campaign team tries to backpedal O'Leary's private-jet claims
Ottawa keeps wary eye on home prices in Toronto, Vancouver
Moving slowly on pharmacare is better than moving at all
What Facebook and Google don't get about Canada's digital-tax proposal
Canadian veterans are better served now but gaps remain: Ombudsman
Expect a cautious federal budget as Liberals brace for the Trump effect
Senate Tories to look for new leader as Claude Carignan to step down
Federal government buying new radar system to better detect severe weather
Tory debate sees agreement on more defence spending, killing carbon tax and tighter border control
Government must account for tech failures afflicting RCMP, opposition says
TransCanada suspends $15B NAFTA suit on Keystone XL project advances
Report suggesting mercury still leaking near Grassy Narrows 'deeply concerning,' chief says
Navy's mishandling of classified documents spawns series of investigations
Canadian dollars deliver medical aid, trauma counselling for refugees in Iraq
Alan DeSousa barred from running for federal Liberals, no reason given
Kellie Leitch's campaign video breaks the Internet
New law won't stop Canada being used for money laundering, tax evasion, critics say
Desperate times obscure Canada's support in Iraq's uncertain future
Liberal star candidate backed 'common sense' anti-niqab rule
Growing millennial cohort pose challenger for Tory hopefuls
Sanctuary policy handcuffs police
Conservative leadership candidates play to the rowdy crowd at debate in Edmonton
Federal Judge overrules IRB decision to release violent refugee with 54 criminal convictions
CMHC says in new guidebook maybe that loan is actually a little too large for you
Sorry, Canada, when it comes to political leadership it turns out you're not uniquely feminist
Liberal's hopes in infrastructure plan to grow Canada's economy dimmed by fiscal realities
Conservative leadership candidate Kevin O'Leary says he'll fix flight financing
NDP Leadership Contest Up to Three Candidates

Provincial government offers nod of approval for replacement for Mills Memorial Hospital

A replacement for Mills Memorial is in
the works, with the Province providing
its approval for a new facility
There is good news for the residents of the Terrace area this afternoon, with an announcement from Finance Minister Mike de Jong that a new hospital is on the way for the community an hour and half east of Prince Rupert.

The Finance Minister made the announcement Tuesday while providing a Budget 2017 update for the Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce, as part of his comments de Jong noted that the provincial government had taken notice of the efforts from the Terrace region to make the case for a new facility.

“The Province has heard the calls from residents about the need for a new hospital in this community,”  .. “A new facility will support this region, and the families that live and work in the region.”

Few details were outlined as to what the new hospital may look like, though it was revealed that earlier this month Northern Health had provided an updated concept plan to the Ministry of Health regarding the process of planning for a new hospital in Terrace.

It's expected that the work on the business plan will start in the fall of this year, with a timeline of 12 to 18 months leading up to procurement and the start of construction, which would seem to suggest that the first shovel won't hit the ground until the late summer, or early fall of 2019 at the earliest.

Harry Nyce, the Chair of the NorthWest Regional Hospital Board outlined the Board's enthusiasm that comes from today's announcement.

“The North West Regional Hospital District is encouraged and delighted to see the next steps being committed to by the Province in the process of working towards the replacement of Mills Memorial in Terrace,”  ... “The replacement of Mills Memorial has been the number-one priority of the North West Regional Hospital District Board for many years. This new hospital will benefit all northern residents by increasing access to timely quality health care, the key variable to our regional growth.”

Also not disclosed today was to what level of service the new facility will operate as, during the course of the Terrace campaign to replace the hospital there were calls to make it a Level Three Trauma Centre for the Northwest.

A potential shift in the health care dynamic in the region that was of some concern to Prince Rupert City Councillor Barry Cunningham, who shared some thoughts at a recent Prince Rupert Council session.

Prince Rupert and other communities along the North Coast will no doubt be happy to hear of the province's plans for the aging facility in Terrace which was clearly in need of replacement.

However, North Coast officials whether they represent municipal, regional or provincial interests will have to keep watch that health services on the North Coast don't suffer, and that other areas of the region don't see reductions to their services, or funding as a result of the coming push for the new facility.

Mills Memorial was built in 1961 and has 44 acute care beds along with a range of medical services including cancer and kidney care, maternity services and a number of medical imaging services.

As we noted on the blog back in January, the campaign to raise awareness of the need for the new facility was one that embraced the entire community, with an impressive media campaign launched to get the message out, one clearly heard by a provincial government that is hopeful of claiming the Skeena seat in the Legislature in the May election.

More items related to health care in the Northwest can be found on our archive page.

Lax Kw'alaams hosting all day planning session

Residents of Lax Kw'alaams are taking in a number community planning sessions today at the Recreation Hall,  the first in a number of meeting planned to get feedback on what the community should look like in the next five to ten years.

This mornings focus was for Elders of the community who as part of a mapping exercise will be offering their thoughts on such things as where amenities such as housing, the fire hall and such should be placed in the community.

The sessions continue this afternoon with an Adult Focus Group assembled from 1 to 3 PM to offer opinion and share thoughts on development for the community.

A larger public session for residents of Lax Kw'alaams is planned for March 6th at the Reg Sampson Gymnasium, which will feature break out groups to explore a range of themes, some of which will come from today's sessions.

Sessions will also be hosted in Prince Rupert and Vancouver later in March

You can find out more about what's happening at Lax Kw'alaams from their website and Facebook page.

More background notes from the community can be found on our archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

As long as the kids keep playing basketball, MLA Rice will have something to share with the Legislature

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice celebrating the success of the
Charles Hays Senior Girls Basketball team after winning NW Zones

Should things not work out as she might hope come May, North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice might be able to swing a spot as a Sports Reporter somewhere ( perhaps NBA TV?), such has been the flow of Basketball updates that the MLA has provided to the Legislature in the last week.

As we noted last week, Ms. Rice made a pair of appearances in the Legislature to share of the exploits of the participants in the All Native Tournament, following the conclusion of another successful week long festival of basketball and celebration of First Nations communities in Prince Rupert.

This week begins with the MLA providing the Legislature with some notes on the success of the Charles Hays Senior Girls Basketball team as they make their way to Langley for the AA Provincials this week.

"I've started a bit of a trend here that I truly cannot stop. I need to mention that last weekend, the Charles Hays girls basketball team won the zone championships, which they hosted in Prince Rupert. They played two hard-fought games against Caledonia Secondary School and Smithers. 

As well, I'l like to acknowledge that Ruby Mason was named the MVP of the tournament, while Britanny Waite and Carly Cochrane were named the all-stars. I would like to acknowledge more basketball players in my rinding and thank you very much"

The Senior Girls will launch their quest for a Provincial banner tomorrow afternoon, with their opening game at the tournament against Vernon.

Still to come on Live from the Leg, shout outs for the Junior Boys who wrap up their tournament in Langley today and the Senior Boys Rainmakers, who will travel to the AAA Provincials next week for the March 8-11 showcase event for high school basketball.

You can review the comments from the Legislature record here, and tune into to the Legislature Sports Beat from the Chamber Video for Monday afternoon, starting at the 10 minute mark.

For more items related to the MLA's work at the Legislature see our archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Monday, February 27, 2017

Victoria Viewpoints: Monday, February 27, 2017

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

Sale of retirement homes puts B.C. seniors at risk, says NDP critic
B.C. to review plans for two Surrey overdose-prevention sites
Vancouver politicians to skip official Trump Tower Opening
Assault charge stayed for Northern B.C. politician Pat Pimm
B.C. struggles to retain child protection workers
Kelly Ellard, Reena Virk's killer, allowed temporary escorted prison release
Security heightened before Trump sons' visit to Vancouver
B.C. targets irresponsible breeders with new legislation to protect puppies, kittens
Assault charges against B.C. MLA Pat Pimm stayed
Convicted teen killer Kelly Ellard gets escorted temporary absences
Raw log exports are killing B.C. jobs, says left leaning think tank
UBC medical students head to Victoria to lobby MLA's on opioid crisis
Study confirms Deadly Disease in BC Salmon Farms
The BC Liberals' Time-Bomb budget
Trade Deal Ups risk in Chinese Firm's takeovers of Seniors' Care Giant
In rental crisis, B.C. has no plan for housing foreign students
B.C. announces 50 cent an hour increase in minimum wage, starting in September
NDP allege B.C. Liberal staffer spied on public youth meeting
New report call for curb on B.C. log exports
B.C. approves expansion of TransCanada's natural gas pipeline
Tension crack near Site C dam causes political tension, too
As ICBC losses rise, so could your premiums
Suspended Victoria police chief wants to resign
B.C. moves to require dog and cat breeder licences
B.C.'s minimum wage will go up to $11.35 an hour in September
Protests planned as Trump sons visit Vancouver for Trump Tower grand opening
B.C. announces plan to hike minimum wage

Ottawa Observations: Monday, February 27, 2017

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments
from the Federal scene for Monday, February 27, 2017.

Trudeau needs to have a Merkel moment
Identity  politics is an electoral loser for Conservatives
Premier Rachel Notley pushes Alberta a part of Canada's broader U.S. approach
Liberal candidates competing with Trudeau aide say race in Toronto-area riding is unfair
O'Leary bails on Conservative leadership debate in Edmonton, citing format
Quebec MP Guy Caron joins federal NDP leadership race
Accountants urge transparency in federal budget
Ottawa urged to go public with planned changes to tax credits
Liberals' heavy-handed health-care push just a chapter in endless political cycle
Liberals accused of playing favourites in Markham-Thornhill nomination contest
Spy agency official 'really worried' about how hackers try to access government info
Kevin O'Leary to skip Edmonton debate, blaming 'terrible' format
Guy Caron enters NDP leadership race, promises basic income
RCMP commissioner warns continued IT failures will have 'catastrophic' consequences
Trudeau talks trade with auto parts manufacturers
CSIS saw 'no high privacy risks' with metadata crunching: internal report
Minister calls rate of First Nations fire deaths 'horrific,' says feds will take action
Ottawa should take a step towards pharmacare
Keeping Donald Trump-inspired refugee flood in perspective
The NDP need a principled approach to policy, not a rock star leader
Desperate times obscure Canada's support in Iraq's uncertain future
Canadians need to know more about Mulroney's role
The coming schism in Canadian conservatism
Democracy Liberal style, returns in nomination battle for vacant Ontario riding
Don't confuse the 'Us versus Them' of populism with conservatism
The revenge of Canada's climate deplorables could lead to our very own Trump
Documents reveal why Canada rejected dozens of Syrian refugee claimants
Pourquoi? Kevin O'Leary bails on Edmonton Conservative leadership debate, citing format
Three's a crowd? Guy Caron joins federal NDP leadership race, citing economic prowess
Kellie Leitch roasted on social media for 'bizarre' Canadian Values video
Building codes across Canada to be updated to reflect climate change

Pacific NorthWest LNG seeking new Community Relations Manager after departure of Derek Baker

Those with sharp eyes on the want ads in town have noted an opening at Pacific NorthWest LNG, with the Malaysian owned energy company seeking a new Community Relations Manager for its Prince Rupert office.

The need for a new public face for the LNG project came after the departure of Derek Baker who left Prince Rupert earlier this month, heading eastwards to take up duties, as the Director of Economic Development with the Northern Development Initiative Trust in Prince George.

Mr. Baker had spent a bit over six years on the North Coast arriving in the community in July of 2010, hired as the Economic Development Officer for Prince Rupert and Port Edward.

After a three year stint in that office, he moved to Pacific NorthWest LNG in November of 2013 as the prospect of LNG development arrived on the North Coast.

He was the contact person for many on the North coast seeking background on the project and served as Community Relations manager through the Pacific NorthWest environmental process that came to an end in September of 2016.

His departure from the North Coast comes as progress continues to be made on the LNG file, but before a Final Investment Decision has been announced by the Malaysian energy giant and its Asian partners.

His shift down the highway 16 corridor to the NDIT offices could prove beneficial to Prince Rupert and Port Edward as the two communities seek out funding opportunities and other economic development planning, with Mr. Baker more than familiar with the opportunities and challenges that face the communities of the North Coast.

A quick snap shot of what the Northern Development Initiative Trust is all about can be found here.

Baker was also very involved with the community, perhaps best known as a member of the Prince Rupert Rampage, first as a player and more recently as one of the assistant coaches on the CIHL team.

For Pacific NorthWest the quest for a new Community Manager will be one that seeks to find a candidate that can migrate the project from proposal to active construction, should Petronas provide its final investment decision in the months to come.

The full scope of the Pacific NorthWest position can be reviewed here.

A synopsis of the Role of the Community Role position can be found below:

More items of note related to Pacific NorthWest LNG can be found here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Regional District earmarks $80,000 for rebranding plan

The process of turning Skeena-Queen Charlotte Regional District into North Coast Regional District is about to get underway.

With twelve days remaining until the North Coast's Regional government begins to consider the applicants looking to sign on to provide consultancy services for the District's new Branding program.

The request for proposals for the project was announced in January and is currently listed with the provincial BC Bid website, from it's Executive Summary, North Coast Regional District outlines the scope of the work ahead for the consultant.

Those notes include a focus directed to tasks related to providing what is called a meaningful corporate brand and associated sub-brands that reflect the region.

The guideline for that corporate brand development calls for consideration of the unique geographic, cultural and environmental characteristics of the NCRD.

The process of creating the new brand will include meetings with the NCRD and engagement with stakeholders, all of which is to lead to the production of new branding, which will include logos, a tagline, appropriate communication materials and website development as well as the creation of an implementation plan.

The budget for the NCRD's rebranding project is listed as 80,000 dollars, which will include for professional consulting services, as well as disbursements related to such things as meetings and travel.

The deadline for applications for the consultants services is March 10th.

Applications and any inquiries related to the Bid request can be directed Dainel Fish, the Corporate Officer at the Regional District Offices:

North Coast Regional District
14 - 342 3rd Avenue West
Prince Rupert BC V8J 1L5
250- 627 -8493

Evaluation and Selection of the successful bid will be handled by an evaluation committee that will be formed by Regional District, with the District noting that their intent is to enter into a contract with the proponent who achieves the highest overall ranking.

The timeline for the rebranding project starts with the assessment of candidates process in March, with the project to receive it's launch sometime in April, the final phase of the process to be achieved by November of this year.

As we noted on the blog in October, Regional District moved the process towards a faster pace with the approval of their request from Peter Fassbender addressed the issue last fall. 

You can review the full 19 information package associated with the bid request from the BC Bid site here, or from the Regional District website here.

For more items of interest related to Regional District affairs on the North Coast see our archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Concerns over Radiology results at Mills Memorial Hospital spark Northern Health review

A review of radiology results at
Mills Memorial Hospital in Terrace
is currently underway
Close to 5,300 patients will be waiting for the end of March and the results from a now mandated second look, that after news from last week indicated that 8,400 results from recent radiology work at Mills Memorial will have to be reviewed after inconsistencies were found.

In a notice to patient from Friday, Northern Health outlined the situation from the Terrace hospital which affects patients who had CT Scans, Ultrasounds and General X Rays at Mills memorial between October  2016 and January 2017.

The scans in question were read by one radiologist, who has taken voluntary leave while the quality concerns are investigated.

In their media release, Northern Health notes that the review of the 8,400 results does not mean that all of the original readings are inaccurate or incomplete, or that any discrepancy will result in negative clinical concern or adverse health impacts to the individuals affected.

Northern Health further adds that patients will be contact by their physicians should there be a need for a follow up, and there is no public risk or need for patients to check with their physicians if they are not contacted.

It's anticipated that the review process will be completed by the end of March, the review of the results is being assisted by a group of radiologists from Vancouver General Hospital.

You can review the full scope of Friday's announcement here.

As the story became public through the day last Friday it became the theme for a number of news items across the province, some of those can be reviewed below:

Radiology Discrepancies at Mills Memorial Hospital (video)
Thousands of patient scans taken at Terrace Hospital being reviewed
Thousands of Northern B.C. patients' X-Rays, CT scans and ultrasounds may have been misread
8,400 Radiology images from Terrace Hospital under review
Thousands of radiology exams at Terrace hospital under review following discrepancies
Northern Health auditing 8,400 radiology images after 'inconsistent' exams. 5,400 patients impacted (audio)
Terrace Hospital X-Ray to be re-examined (video)
Radiology concerns at Terrace Hospital
Radiology mistakes could affect over 5,000 patients at Mills Memorial Hospital
Thousands of radiology scans under review at Terrace hospital

For more items of interest from Northern Health see our archive page.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Cross Country Check Up -- What is the key to creating the best education for First Nation communities?

What is the key to creating the best education for First Nation communities?

Duncan McCue is the host.

February 26, 2017 (audio)

Cross Country Check up is CBC Radio's national open line, the long running institution has been taking place every Sunday for decades.

Our Cross Country Check Up Archive page can be found here.

Victoria Viewpoints: Saturday/Sunday, February 25-26, 2017

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

B.C. Ministers won't force municipalities to increase building around transit lines
B.C. police forces hold joint job fair in search of new recruits
Victoria firefighters now required to take PTSD prevention training
Meet the Rookies: why 3 people are running for office for the first time in 2017
Turkish couple arrested by Surrey RCMP after crossing into B.C. Illegally
City of Vancouver hosts open house on Blood Alley Square redesign
Basic income in B.C.? Green Party wants it, but some welfare advocates don't
Abbotsford police warn public of gang violence
Unconscious biases could be affecting how doctors treat patients
Martin Brown: My case for campaign finance reform in British Columbia
NDP leader John Horgan rallies troops in final pre-campaign council meeting
Climate change predicted to transform Vancouver in San Diego, but at a heavy cost
Liberals pursue density at transit hubs as answer to the housing crunch
Clark talks up finances, while NDP raises a stink
Soil dump costs could flow our way
Victoria courts breaking down
Justin Trudeau has gambled on the reelection of B.C.'s Liberal government

Ottawa Observations: February 25-26, 2017

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments
from the Federal scene for Saturday/Sunday, February 25-26, 2017.

Refugee's a comin'

Following the Midwest Passage: Asylum seekers take a cold journey to Manitoba via Trump's America
Immigration minister not convinced increase in asylum seekers constitutes a trend
Canada has a border problem, Here's how to fix it
Canadian citizenship must be a constitutional right
America's spectacular immigration mess
Goodale rejects request to boost border staff to deal with asylum seekers
Ralph Goodale to raise illegal border crossings with U.S. officials in coming days
Sanctuary status may be more than cities can handle
Immigration harmony will be tested in Canada
Most people crossing border illegally always planned to end up in Canada, minister says
Canadian schools worried over how foreign-born students will be treated at border

Do Canada's Conservatives want to join the populism parade?
NDP Leadership candidates ready to 'fight like hell,' despite slow start to race
Want millenial voters? Conservatives must change, researchers say
Royal Canadian Mint struggles to make money: documents
Hard, hard times again - sort of: Why a lot of Newfoundland's fiscal problems are self-inflicted
Bill C-23 U.S. border brouhaha is not about Donald Trump
Justin Trudeau has gambled on the reelection of B.C.'s Liberal government
Backlash to political correctness was inevitable
Tory hopefuls lack rallying cry
Inside the mysterious removal of the Canadian military's second-in-command
Former religious freedom ambassador warns conservatives that 'Canadian values' talk is full of pitfalls
Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau asks provinces to stiffen penalties for distracted drivers
Conservatives at war with conservatism on display at Manning Centre conference
Why the Left Coast May be Writing off Justin Trudeau
Shutting people up is not the way to deal with populism: Preston Manning
Worry about yourself when it comes to cybersecurity, says federal security official
Jim Prentice questions Canada's energy potential, indigenous issues in book published after death

Saturday, February 25, 2017

MLA's week: February 20-24, 2017

The Provincial budget dominated much of the news flow out of Victoria this week, as Finance Minister Mike de Jong outlined his financial blue print for the year ahead, though in reality it was very much a document crafted with a provincial election but months away.

Jennifer Rice made note of some of the finance Minister's comments through social media as the week came to an end, marking a busy week for the North Coast MLA.

Her work in the Legislature also included a Monday address to the Chamber where she delivered a response to the Government's Speech from the Throne, and touched on a number of other themes related to the Prince Rupert area.

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

On the week, Ms Rice was listed three times in the accounts of the sessions of the Legislature from February 20-24.

Basketball was on the mind of the North Coast MLA this week as she took to the Chamber to offer congratulations to competitors in the recently completed All Native Tournament in Prince Rupert.

MLA's Rice and Donaldson exchange All Native Tournament Toasts in the Legislature
The Strike Force get a Legislature shout out from MLA Rice

The main thrust of her contribution to the Legislature this week came from her review of last week's Speech from the Throne, where the MLA outlined a  number of areas where she noted how the BC Liberals have not addressed issues in the North.

Prince Rupert issues make for Throne Speech response from MLA Rice

The week came to an end with the North Coast MLA making a few observations through social media and with notes to local media sources, about some of the themes of Tuesday's provincial budget from Finance Minister Mike de Jong

North Coast views on Budget highlight different opinions  on similar themes

Ms. Rice is also a member of the Committee on Children and Youth, that committee met on February 22nd, you can review her contribution to the proceedings from the Report from Committee here.

The North Coast also featured into some of the announcement parade out of Victoria this week, with the Province announcing an increase to the BC Ferry schedule for the Prince Rupert to Skidegate run, as well as to name the successful contractor for this spring's major road work plans for the Prince Rupert.

Province awards contract for Prince Rupert's Big Pave Project to Okanagan firm
B. C. Ferries to increase sailings for Prince Rupert-Skidegate run

The Legislature will return to its work on Monday morning, February 27.

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

The Spring Session is taking place as the run up to the May election looms on the horizon, you can review some of the campaign themes that are developing on the North Coast from our North Coast Votes Archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

North Coast views on Budget highlight different opinions on similar themes

Finance Minister Mike de Jong delivering the 2017
British Columbia Budget on Tuesday afternoon

Earlier this week Finance Minister Mike de Jong donned his re-soled shoes and walked through the Legislature to the Chamber to deliver the financial blue print from the Liberal Government.

It's a document which sets the course for the governments plans for a year ahead, but in reality is but a temporary document until the May election, one which will gain the approval or dismissal of the voters as they make their way to the polls.

The theme of giving back to the people of British Columbia, which appears to be the working concept for the Liberals heading into the election run up, was present through much of the document reinforced in Mr. de Jong's opening and closing comments from Tuesday.

The dividends of prosperity are not just about new program and service investments. It’s also about making sure that British Columbians are able to keep more of their hard-earned money in their pockets. It is also about giving back.

This really is the people’s budget... made possible by the people’s hard work and belief in our province.

Among the main points of note from Mr. de Jong was more funding for education and health care, the latter featuring a political carrot for voters, with one of the key talking points the announcement of a reduction by 50 percent in the premiums for the province's MSP medical system, with an eye towards eliminating the user fees at some point down the road.

Additional funding towards care for children and families was also announced, acknowledgement that it was an area where the Liberal government has been under considerable pressure owing to a number of poor reviews on how they have handled that file.

Housing, which directly impacts on their apparent theme of hard working British Columbians is also an area that Mr. De Jong addressed, though a number of initiatives for those that own homes, are looking to buy one or rent.

Infrastructure funding and development, a cut on the PST on electricity for small and medium business, debt reduction strategies and notes on taxation were among some of the other topics addressed during the course of the Finance Minister's address.

You can examine the details from Tuesday's Budget Speech from a range of options on the Government of British Columbia website:

Full Budget Speech
Slide Show

Video Presentation of the Budget Speech
(use Chamber video from Tuesday afternoon)

Through our political portal Darcy McGee we have compiled the reviews of the budget since Tuesday's presentation, with much in the way of commentary and observations to be found from our Victoria Viewpoints features below:

Tuesday, February 21
Wednesday, February 22

Mr. de Jong also appeared on the British Columbia political forum of Voice of BC, speaking for an hour with host Vaughn Palmer to go over the background to the budget issues.

For the North Coast election campaign, Mr. de Jong's financial plan has made for another conversation topic for the candidates in the current quest towards the May election.

With both the incumbent MLA Jennifer Rice and Herb Pond her competitor for the Liberals offering up their first look at the government's financial blue print.

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice was quick to her Facebook page to share her first impressions of the Liberals budget planning, and for Ms. Rice there was much missing from the Liberal agenda for 2017.

She followed up those comments with some media appearances around the Northwest to reinforce the NDP position of a Liberal government that is still not delivering for the people of British Columbia.

Province tables budget while Local MLAs feel it ignores the North (audio)
North Coast MLA's reaction to the BC Budget (video)

Liberal candidate Herb Pond also made use of social media to get his early thoughts (and a link to the budget document) to would be voters, offering up a short synopsis of the days budget notes on the theme of electing an MLA to make sure that the Northwest gets its share of the province's initiatives.

A point by point outline of some of budget notes was also offered through his twitter feed

Mr. Pond's media appointments through the week took note of some of the recent news related to BC ferries that came out of Victoria.

Extra ferry service to be added to Skidegate and Prince Rupert
Herb Pond on additional sailings for BC Ferries (video)

The budget plans will most likely make for some of the backdrop for the upcoming campaign across the North Coast as both Ms. Rice, Mr. Pond and any other candidates that may enter the contest try to stake out some ground on how best to deliver results for the region.

A look at more notes from the Legislature is available here.

You can follow the progress of election campaign from our North Coast Votes feature here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Friday, February 24, 2017

Victoria Viewpoints: Friday, February 24, 2017

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

Bringing Quebec costs to B.C. daycares a key commitment for NDP
A befuddling question: Why are those on social assistance in B.C. ignored?
Province's file bungling has driven Insurance Corp. of B.C. into trouble
Dangerous chemicals found laced into illicit drugs in B.C.: Health Canada
Businessman from China investing in Vancouver real estate ordered to repay millions
2nd patient dies after being sent home from Abbotsford Regional  Hospital
Port Mann continues to lose money but officials say bridge still on track to pay for itself
Thousands of Northern B.C. patient's X-rays, CT scans and ultrasounds may have been misread
'Tension crack' interrupts Site C dam construction
Douglas Treaties translated into indigenous languages of Vancouver Island for first time
Dr. blows whistle and explains Abbotsford ER overcrowding
Site C dam project: 400-metre crack spotted near work area
Expect Liberals to shake coin out of big surplus couch
By learning trades, women can save themselves - and maybe even the economy
A victory for Clark is not a sure bet
Parent pushing province for affordable child care
To critics, Massey Bridge is an Environmental and Planning Disaster
Government Cancels contaminated Soil Landfill Permit in Shawnigan Lake
Please Advise: Is This BC Liberal Budget trying to Romance me?

Ottawa Observations: Friday, February 24, 2017

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

Republican activist Kelly Knight Craft on Trump's radar for Ambassador to Canada
Big-city mayors and Ottawa pledge united fight against opioid crisis
Toronto's housing market may need a Vancouver-style cooling: RBC
The trouble behind Canada's failed First Nations water plants
Kevin O'Leary defends Dragons' Den episode in which he touched a woman's bum
Kevin O'Leary vows to claw back money raised by provinces through carbon taxes
In Donald Trump's world, Canada has to embrace the chaos
Itinerary of federal NDP leadership debates will skip Alberta
Ottawa posts $1.3-billion deficit in December
Finance Canada hiring pollsters to gauge Canadians' gut reactions to budget
Tory leadership debate format frees up candidates for spirited fights on key issues
Parliamentary press gallery pushes back against plan to fingerprint, screen reporters
Justice Robin Camp loses bid to suspend watchdog's deliberations on his fate
Refugee influx: 5 things to know about illegal border crossings into Canada
Trudeau's Privy Council Office budget the highest in a decade
Plenty of budget remedies offered as Liberals prepare description for ailing economy
Politicians must respond properly to populist sentiment, Manning tells conference
Ottawa's deficit hits $14B through first nine months of fiscal year
Trudeau 'must' raise border crossings with Trump, says Manitoba premier
Drones expected to fly missions from Canadian naval ships within decade
Conservative MP Kellie Leitch runs ads on Breitbart News
RCMP on Parliament Hill want fingerprints, background checks on reporters
Labour leader Bob White believed in a just society for all
The rare leadership and charisma of Bob White
Whether its Donald Trump or Paul Martin, followership takes its cues from our leaders
Sanctuary cities promote illegal immigration
Feds turn hate into political sideshow
The O'Leary factor is real
The Conservative leadership really is Kevin O'Leary versus anyone but Kevin O'Leary
Mini-debates among leadership rivals devolve into WWE cage match: 'You need to learn the Constitution'
Millennials rank conservative political parties as least trustworthy, pollster tells Conservative conference
How will Ottawa spur innovation in Canada? Here's 15 ideas Trudeau's cabinet is almost certain to consider
From the Shop Floor to Parliament Hill: Peter Julian Makes NDP Leadership Case
Conservative leadership candidates spar over policy issues in Ottawa debate
Kevin O'Leary asked permission to touch woman's buttocks on Dragon's Den: entrepreneur
Extremism, elites and 'Trumpomania' highlights at Manning Centre Conference
New federal Conservative party leader will need to choose unity over populism: Manning