Saturday, February 29, 2020

MLA's Week: February 24-27, 2020

The week for the most part was turned over for debate of  the Budget presented by Finance Minister Carole James on February18th, with both Northwest MLA's speaking to her themes during the last four days of the Legislature session


And as those commentaries were provided, the week was another tumultuous one for MLA's with the events in Wet'suwet'en territory and other communities of the province and across Canada related to that dispute claiming a significant amount of time in Question Period.

The prospect of a new Middle School for Prince Rupert also made for a small current in the information stream of the week, with Ms. Rice highlighting her enthusiasm for the prospect of the new school.

MLA Rice is ready for a ribbon cutting

The province also offered up some good news for a pair of Northwest communities, with funding for housing studies in both Terrace and Stewart.

Province puts 1.7 million towards community data collection on housing needs

The Minister of Health and BC's Public Health Officer hosted a number of updates this week on the ongoing work towards the Coronavirus situation.

COVID 19 update for BC notes steps of preparation in the province

This week also brought some additional funding for Metlakatla, with the Province putting money into a coastal erosion project

750K in funding from Province for Metlakatla coastal erosion project

We also took note of the shout out to Coast Mountain College from last weeks budget and how it will address housing issues in Terrace, noting how there still is no progress towards campus housing for the Prince Rupert campus.

As BC Budget hails Coast Mountain College housing plans for Terrace, Prince Rupert accommodation plans remain more of a Five Year plan

As for more on the week of work in the House for the spring session, the four days unfolded as follows:

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On the week, Ms Rice was listed three times in the accounts of the sessions of the Legislature from February 24-27

The MLA's week started with a statement to the House on Tuesday morning on breastfeeding and forced lactation, with Ms. Rice bringing some personal experiences to her delivery of information.

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice shares more parenting moments with Legislature members

Wednesday Ms. Rice spoke twice in the Chamber, the first a statement on Racism and the impact it has had as close as her own constituency office, she also spoke to a range of themes on the Budget of February 18.

In Budget speech response, MLA Rice reflects on damage caused by Liberals in the past, advances from NDP in governance

MLA Jennifer Rice speaks to Racism and Indigenous issues with Legislature statement

The North Coast MLA is also a permanent member of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs, serving as the convener of that forum.

Transcripts of the work of the committee are available on the Legislature page for the Committee.

Select Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs


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For our readers from the Terrace-Kitimat region, Skeena MLA Ellis Ross  was listed four times in the accounts of  the Legislature from February 24-27.

Beyond the expansive themes of the week, onThursday, Mr. Ross made note of visitors in the Gallery for the morning session.

The Skeena MLA was once again one of the lead Liberals in Question Period and on Wednesday he addressed more questions to the Government side on the dispute in the Wet'suwet'en territory.

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross finds national attention as resource debate roils the Legislature

Tuesday, Mr. Ross also provided for his thoughts on the recently delivered NDP budget.

In Budget debate, MLA Ross notes economic impact of changes in Skeena and work still to be done

Mr. Ross began the week with some comments related to his past experience on themes of Aboriginal Rights and title

Aboriginal Rights and Title, UNDRIP among themes for MLA Ellis Ross in Monday Legislature speech

Mr. Ross is also a permanent member of the Standing Committee on Legislative Initiatives.

He has also been appointed to the Standing Committee on Children and Youth

The Skeena MLA is also a member of the Special Committee for Review of the Police complaint process, you can follow their work here.

There is more background on both the North Coast and Skeena MLA's available from our MLA's Week Archive, as well as our constituency archives below:

North Coast constituency

Skeena and Stikine constituency


The Legislature returns to its work on Monday.

The full schedule for the Legislature for 2020  can be viewed here.

A larger overview of provincial issues can be found on our political portal Victoria Viewpoints Archive

Cross posted from the North Coast Review.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Victoria Viewpoints: Friday, February 28, 2020




Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments from the Provincial scene for  Friday,  February 28, 2020


Coronavirus response in BC

Canadian nursing unions demand better protective gear amid coronavirus outbreak
COVID-19 'not beyond control' says Canadian WHO official Bruce Aylward
Ontario health officials report eighth confirmed case of novel coronavirus
What's next for Canada if the WHO calls COVID-19 a pandemic?
Fear of coronavirus' impact in Iran overshadows Iranian-Canadians' New Year's plans
Ontario confirms new case of coronavirus in Toronto
Canadian doctor and WHO senior adviser says that four groups need to work together to contain coronavirus outbreak
Confessions of a coronavirus stockpiler
Be prepared for coronavirus measures
BC has tested more people for COVID-19 than the entire United States, premier says
The coronavirus can't be contained. Are you ready?
COVID-19 in Canada: Quebec announces its first probably novel coronavirus case
Canada upgrades Iran Health caution
Richmondites stocking up amid coronavirus pandemic fears
What the WHO learned about COVID-19 on its research mission to China
Coronavirus scare shuts down work at major Burnaby construction project
Public health Agency weighs stronger COVID-19 protection for front-line workers
BC has a plan of attack should COVID-19 spread, and it's not what you think
Extra precautions against COVID-19 put in place as tourism season arrives


Coastal Gas Link/Wet'suwet'en

Talks resume between Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs, BC and Ottawa in bid to end impasse
Indigenous people face racist backlash over pipeline protests
Injunctions have only served to prove the point: Canada is a smash and grab country for industry
Nationwide disruptions - such as the co-opted Wet'suwet'en protests - cannot be consequence-free
There's no 'quick fix' in BC pipeline talks says government liaison
The key players in the Wet'suwet'en dispute - and how they're involved in the push for a resolution
Talks continue for second day between Wet'suwet'en chiefs and government ministers
Benefits start to pour into Wet'suwet'en through pipeline contacts while community remains divided
Killing hope where it's most needed - among Aboriginal youth
Canadians will tire of disruptions and Indigenous people will suffer
During Wet'suwet'en crisis, AFN National Chief Perry Bellgarde has been notably quiet
Minister prepared to stay in northern BC for Wet'suwet'en talks 'as long as it takes'
White fragility, racism and the recent threats against Indigenous opponents of the Coastal GasLink pipeline
Blair says RCMP best left to patrol Wet'suwet'en territory, not Kahnawake peacekeepers
Pipeline talks with hereditary chiefs resume for second day in northern BC
Benefits starting to pour into Wet'suwet'en through pipeline contracts as community remains divided
Indigenous police in Wet'suwet'en territory could 'calm things down,' Kahnawake chief says


Globe and Mail 

Both BC and Vancouver's school board get a failing grade in education planning
Final arguments end in marathon BC private health-care trial
Why are Canadian cities building new neighbourhoods without schools?


CBC

Deceit and corruption at the heart of allegations against 3 VPD officers, court hears
Some forestry jobs returning to BC Interior after transfer of logging rights from shuttered milll
Cheslatta Carrier Nation signs agreement with company that forced them from their homes 68 years ago
Decade long health care battle comes to a close Friday
Health care battle in judge's hands but expected to land in Canada's top court


Vancouver Sun

Province approves Canfor-Interfor timber swap in North Thompson
Stumbling over words, Liberals sidestep around medical funds for dying

Vancouver Province

--

Victoria Times Colonist

Anacortes ferry, buffeted by political tides, has no backup
Easy access to health results can carry risks
Stand up for Democracy


Victoria News

Nominations for Victoria municipal byelection are in
The start of tourist season marks a slew of new coronavirus precautions, leads a selection of today's news stories
City to lead discussion on John A. Macdonald Monday night
Oak Bay's first heritage conservation area is in the books
Petition aims to stop handyDART facility from being built in View Royal
Saanich launches new tool to help residents learn about the budget


Global BC

Condo crisis? Analyst warns of massive metro Vancouver pre-sale drop-off
Report finds Metro Vancouver's cycling network has tripled in last decade
Lyft to begin service in Metro Vancouver's Tri Cities on Monday
BC Green leadership hopeful Sonia Furstenau pitches shorter work week


Georgia Straight

NDP MLA Anne Kang calls out 'racist confession' published by Prince George Newspaper
Rental housing where Seattle thrives, Vancouver stumbles 
Care-based auto insurance saves money and enhances services for injured people


Vancouver Courier

West Kits Residents Association feels blue about four-storey rental buildings
Six storey market rental building proposed for Marpole
Chinese restaurants open to tax reviews for bailouts amid supplier kickback scheme
Fifth ride-hailing company gets green light to hit BC Roads
Approval of Surrey police board stirs up political hornet's nest


The Tyee

Blockades aren't the crisis. It's the crumbling legitimacy of Canada's Democracy
Corporate Climatewashers: How to Spot Them
If We Plant Billions of Trees to Save Us, They must be Native trees


Miscellaneous



Ottawa Observations: Friday, February 28, 2020



Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments from the Federal scene for  Friday, February 28, 2020 


Canadians held in China / China tensions

--



The Chinese coronavirus (COVID-19)

Canadian nursing unions demand better protective gear amid coronavirus outbreak
COVID-19 'not beyond control' says Canadian WHO official Bruce Aylward
Ontario health officials report eighth confirmed case of novel coronavirus
What's next for Canada if the WHO calls COVID-19 a pandemic?
Fear of coronavirus' impact in Iran overshadows Iranian-Canadians' New Year's plans
Ontario confirms new case of coronavirus in Toronto
Canadian doctor and WHO senior adviser says that four groups need to work together to contain coronavirus outbreak
Confessions of a coronavirus stockpiler
Be prepared for coronavirus measures
BC has tested more people for COVID-19 than the entire United States, premier says
The coronavirus can't be contained. Are you ready?



Coastal GasLink protests

Talks resume between Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs, BC and Ottawa in bid to end impasse
Indigenous people face racist backlash over pipeline protests
Injunctions have only served to prove the point: Canada is a smash and grab country for industry
Nationwide disruptions - such as the co-opted Wet'suwet'en protests - cannot be consequence-free
There's no 'quick fix' in BC pipeline talks says government liaison
The key players in the Wet'suwet'en dispute - and how they're involved in the push for a resolution
Talks continue for second day between Wet'suwet'en chiefs and government ministers
Benefits start to pour into Wet'suwet'en through pipeline contacts while community remains divided
Killing hope where it's most needed - among Aboriginal youth
Canadians will tire of disruptions and Indigenous people will suffer
During Wet'suwet'en crisis, AFN National Chief Perry Bellgarde has been notably quiet
Minister prepared to stay in northern BC for Wet'suwet'en talks 'as long as it takes'


Globe and Mail

As the coronavirus outbreak infects global stock markets, investors should favour caution over panic
Don't cancel the Olympics because of the coronavirus - it's times like these we need sport most
The Teck megaproject is dead, but there's still hope in the oil sands
Supreme Court rules mining company Nevsun can be sued in Canada for alleged abuses abroad
The symbolic meanings - and literal death of Teck's Frontier mine project
North American markets suffer worst week since financial crisis as investors find few safe havens
Peter MacKay 'will never apologize' for mandatory victim surcharge ruled unconstitutional
Prosecutor says no deal was offered to SNC-Lavalin due to severity of charges and past behaviour
Lithuanian Foreign Minister asks for Canada's help in combatting Russian disinformation
Privacy Commissioner opens investigation into RCMP's use of facial-recognition technology
Federal government gives shipyards two weeks to make their cases for building heavy icebreaker
Federal deficit stood at $11 billion with three months left in fiscal year


CBC

RCMP's use of Clearview AI facial recognition technology under investigation 
Canadians finding hundreds of dollars in unclaimed cheques on CRA website
Over 20 years ago, we had a plan to repair the Indigenous relationship. What happened?
Separate policing services would not solve Indigenous-Crown tensions on their own, critics say
See you at the Supreme Court, Ottawa says after Alberta demands carbon tax be killed
Joe Biden leads in South Carolina, but Bernie Sanders still the favourite to win Super Tuesday
Lawsuit over African mine can be heard in British Columbia-Supreme Court



Toronto Star

MPs call for parliamentary investigation as Canadian military and police forces confirm they've tried facial-recognition technology


Toronto Sun

Stock markets hit hard by coronavirus fears
It's time Canada's First Nations got their acts together
Pipeline protesters losing public support
Ottawa's carbon tax dealt a huge blow in Alberta

National Post

Coronavirus fears, rail blockades could widen already ballooning federal deficit, analysts say
Expanding capital gains tax would be very short-sighted approach to fighting federal deficit
Canada is broken, say majority of Canadians in poll taken in wake of rail blockades


Maclean's

Nearly half of Canadians are in a 'psychological recession'
Canada is not broken


Global

Manitoba to push ahead with carbon tax challenge in court, says Premier Brian Pallister
Attacks on resource extraction strike at the heart of what built Canada




Miscellaneous
     
Blockades aren't the Crisis: It's the Crumbling Legitimacy of Canada's Democracy

Province puts 1.7 million towards community data collection on housing needs

The Provincial government has announced its plan to provide an investment of 1.7 million dollars for communities to collect and analyze data towards housing needs in their communities, that to better inform the province as to what issues that communities face and where the best allocation of housing resources should go.

As part of the preview of the project, the province noted that the data will inform housing needs reports, which will identify community housing needs, such as affordable housing, rental housing, seniors’ housing, as well as housing for people at risk of homelessness, families and people with special needs.

The reports will also help local governments support local economic growth by assessing future employment-housing needs.

Selina Robinson, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing noted how local governments have been very enthusiastic about the ongoing funding program.

“Housing needs reports are a way to gather important information as we partner with local governments to create the right housing for people in communities of all sizes around the province. The wave of enthusiasm and interest in applying for this grant tells us that local governments are eager to collect this information to help them build vibrant, thriving communities.”



The program is one which is administered by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities.

In the Northwest, two communities will be taking advantage of this round of funding from the provincial government with both Stewart and Terrace set to explore their housing issues further.

Terrace and the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine will receive $50,000 for their work; while Stewart will receive $15,000 towards their study.

 “The City of Terrace greatly appreciates the financial support to complete a housing-needs assessment. With the economic activity and the impacts of LNG and other resource projects in the northwest, housing pressure on residents in our community is significant. Funding for this assessment will allow us to move forward and address those challenges.” -- Sean Bujtas, deputy mayor, Terrace

The first housing needs report must be delivered by local governments by April 2022.

The list of communities to access the funding in 2019 can be viewed here.

More background on the announcement and a list of those communities set to receive the funding can be found here.

So far, Prince Rupert, Port Edward and North Coast Regional District do not appear on the list of communities that have accessed funding from the program.

Prince Rupert did put in an application for a housing study grant through the Northern Development Initiative trust in May of 2019 and conducted its own studies on themes of housing during their planning for Major Projects period five years ago.

For notes related to housing in the Northwest see our archive page here.

A look at more on the provincial scene can be explored from our Legislature archive page.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review.

SD52 launches Survey seeking feedback on best site option for PRMS replacement project



With an Open House to show off their progress now behind them, officials from School District 52 are moving forward on their consultation plans towards a replacement building for Prince Rupert Middle School.

The Thursday night session which was hosted at the long past its lifespan Middle School provided residents with a glimpse at the road ahead for the School District

At the event those in attendance had a first look at the four sites that SD52 has identified as the best option for the new school.





The work ahead for the District will see the delivery of a Concept Plan for the Ministry of Education with a target date of the end of March to have that document on its way.



Towards that the School District is hosting a survey on its website that will allow those with an interest in the replacement program to offer their thoughts on the options available. The survey includes four short questions to help inform the District on how the public views the plans.




The Board of Education's notes on the proposed replacement program also include the powerpoint presentation that made for Thursday's event

As we noted on the blog earlier this week, Secretary/Treasurer Cam McIntyre delivered a presentation to Prince Rupert City Council on Monday evening, outlining the history of the School District's desire for a new facility, as well as to review the sites that have been identified as the Best options for development of a new middle school.

Those Cam's Notes on the project if you will, can be reviewed here.

Those with an interest in the replacement program can offer their thoughts from the survey page here.

The School District's Seismic Replacement page can be viewed here.

Further notes on Education in the Northwest can be found here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review.


Urban Nisga'a Alliance set to work on shared priorities

Members of the Nisga'a Urban Alliance are ready to move forward
on a range of priorities and initiatives
(Photo from  Gitmaxmak'ay Society Twitter Feed)

Three local organizations that represent Nisga'a residents in urban locations have concluded a planning session that has created a list of priorities for what will be known as the Nisga'a Urban Alliance.

The group consists of three locals, Ts'amiks which represents Nisga'a residents in Vancouver, Gitlaxdax which serves those Nisga'a living in Terrace and Gitmaxmak'ay, which represents Nisga'a residents living in Prince Rupert and Port Edward.

Their work  took place during the course of a full day of exchanging ideas, where they created these six priority themes for follow up on at subsequent sessions of the Alliance.

Establish quarterly meetings of the Alliance to ensure continuity and communication

To investigate establishing a joint charitable foundation to be eligible for more grants and to be able to issue tax receipts

To partner on Economic Development to become more financially self sufficient

To partner on housing for homeless, low income and Seniors

To partner on Health and Wellness initiatives in collaboration with Nisga'a Valley Health Authority

To partner on language, culture and youth for program and service delivery.

The Alliance will next meet in Prince Rupert on May 22nd.

For updates on the work of the Gitmaxmak'ay Nisga Society in Prince Rupert/Port Edward see their Facebook page and twitter feed.

As they work on their initiatives, the will be working in concert with the Nisga'a Lisims Government in the Nass Valley, more on developments for the Nisga'a can be explored through our archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review.

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross finds national attention as resource debate roils the Legislature

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross has been one of the lead participants in
debate at the Legislature this week

The focus on the ongoing issues in the Wet'suwet'en and the larger protests being found across British Columbia have put Skeena MLA Ellis Ross to the front of the stage of the political debate in the province.

With the Northwest MLA now finding expanded media exposure and making for a frequent guest on political interview programs not only in this province, but on the national stage as well.

Much of the media attention came as the Coastal GasLink issues reached dominated the newsflow of the last few weeks, with the experiences of Mr. Ross from both his provincial time and that as Chief Councillor for the Haisla Nation making for much of the narrative of the discussions.

Railroad blockades 'setting back reconciliation 20 years,' warns BC MLA Ellis Ross
Former Haisla Chief, now a Liberal MLA is key voice in pipeline fight
Debating the LNG pipeline through Wet'suwet'en land
First Movers: How Indigenous people in BC exercise their economic and political power will have massive implications
Indigenous Opposition MLA hopes hereditary chiefs and government find "middle ground"
West Block news magazine February 23, 2020

Wednesday, the Skeena MLA was once again in the spotlight in the Legislature as he took to the Question Period of that day to again make note of his concerns over foreign money being used towards interfering in the the affairs of the province, through increased actions against the British Columbia resource sector.

The back and forth between Mr. Ross and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth providing for a snapshot of the larger debate that has dominated the Legislature for much of the week.

Mr. Ross led off his Wednesday contribution to the theme with his question for the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

The Haisla Nation Chief and Council have been working hard for 15 years to bring an end to the social issues that plague not only our own band but bands all across B.C. and Canada. And we've been successful over the last 15 years. 

Through hard work, we now have jobs. We have training programs. And we have taken the real first steps 15 years ago to break the cycle of poverty. 

 But now you see these groups, funded by American money, coming in and trying to tell my people that they're ignorant and don't know what's best for them. 

So my question is to the Solicitor General. Will he join me and categorically reject this foreign money that is being used to keep our people from a secure future?

The Minister's reply indicates some of the exasperation that the Government side is finding from the current line of questions from the Opposition of late.

We completely reject foreign interference in the affairs of British Columbia, whether it be through money or otherwise. 

I only wish that that side of the House had rejected the interference of foreign money in our economy for the 16 years when they sat on this side. 

Whether it came through bank drafts, donations to sit next to leaders at fundraising dinners or in duffel bags into casinos.

Mr. Ross followed up with one additional question for the Minister.

So ... I'm sick and tired of these groups that have hijacked Aboriginal issues for their own self-interests and are creating tensions and adversity for First Nations in B.C. and Canada. 

We know that the main organizer of the blockade at the Port of Vancouver is not even Canadian. She's an American. She moved here from the United States eight years ago. 

 So again, my question is to the Solicitor General. Will he join me and denounce this foreign funding of blockades and the people from these other countries that want to tell us how to live? 

Minister Farnworth -- I thought that was the answer that I just gave the hon. member — that there is no place in this province or anywhere else in this country for outside interference. 

I'll also remind the member that it was this side of the House that put limits on third-party donations — again, something that they did not do. 

And I'll also remind him once again ...  that I'm glad that after 16 years of doing nothing about big money in politics or how much you paid for a ticket to sit next to the leader or dirty money coming into the country in duffel bags, that they're concerned about that now, finally, too.

The exchange between the Minister and MLA can be reviewed from the video archive of Wednesday starting at the 2:10 PM mark.

The focus on out of country money, influence and activism on environmental issues was a theme picked up by the provincial medias this week, much of their narrative is  a theme which Mr. Ross has been speaking towards for a number of years now.

A closer look at some of the key players in the Lower Mainland's Wet'suwet'en protests
Are foreign interests fomenting Indigenous dissent about Canada's resource development?
Stand.earth says BC Liberals undermine Indigenous Leadership with insinuations about foreign funding

The Skeena MLA himself addressed the theme with this editorial page contribution to the Times Colonist on Wednesday.

For more notes on the work of the Member for Skeena at the Legislature see our archive page here.

A wider overview of the provincial political scene can be explored through our political blog D'Arcy McGee and our Victoria Viewpoints archive.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review.

COVID 19 Update for BC notes steps of preparation in the province

The Map tracking the spread of COVID-19 from
John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland


So far the larger danger for British Columbians from the global COVID 19 outbreak seems to be that of the spread of misinformation and panic; rather than actual cases of the virus which was first reported in the Wuhan province of China back in December of 2019.

With the virus expanding its reach in a rather fast pace in recent days, now found on all continents with the exception of Antarctica, the measures being taken in various countries varies depending on the severity of the outbreak.

The most recent update on the British Columbia continues to note that only seven cases have been confirmed in this province, with another six found in Ontario for a confirmed count of thirteen to date.


In their latest update delivered on Tuesday, Minster of Health Adrian Dix and Dr. Bonnie Henry, the Provincial Health Officer observed that all BC patients continue to recover at home and under care by public health officials, with the first individual that was recorded in BC now having recovered.

The Province has taken note of the increasing count of patients found around the world and what the next stage of the outbreak may bring.

“In recent days, we have seen an increasing number of countries around the world with a growing number of cases. While the risk of spread of this virus within British Columbia remains low at this time, we are watching the global evolution of COVID-19 carefully and are focusing efforts on containing the spread of COVID-19 in B.C. and in Canada.

We are preparing for all possibilities that may occur in the coming weeks, including the possibility of a pandemic. A pandemic is the spread of an illness to a large number of people on a global scale. 

We are asking people to do their part in making sure they prevent transmission of infections to others in our communities and in our health-care system to best protect everyone in B.C."

The symptoms of COVID-19 which became the new name for the outbreak earlier this month are similar to flu it seems, with a fever, cough and respiratory problems the main elements.


There currently is no vaccine available to protect us against the infection and the current series of flu shots will not have any impact on this virus.

The precautions that you can take to prevent the spread of coronavirus can be reviewed here.

You can learn more about the outbreak from both the Province and the Federal government from the links below:

Federal Government site

British Columbia Government site

The World Health Organization website also offers up the latest advisories on the global situation.

With no cases of COVID-19 recorded in Northern BC to this point, for the most part, Northern Health is defaulting to the provincial information flow.

You can review our archive of past statements and local information here.

For notes from across Canada and British Columbia we have been archiving the latest items through our political portal Darcy McGee

Ottawa Observations

Victoria Viewpoints

Fore items of interest from Northern Health see our archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review.

MLA Rice is ready for a ribbon cutting

The proposed replacement of Prince Rupert Middle School made for a
theme for MLA Jennifer Rice in the Legislature this week

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice got a little bit ahead of School District 52 this week, speaking towards plans for a new Middle School as part of her Budget review on Wednesday at the Legislature.

The need for a new facility has been a long running theme for the MLA, made one of her top priorities when she was an opposition member when Ms. Rice would frequently raise the issue in the Legislature, taking on then Minister of Education Bernier over the glacial state of action.

Since taking to the government side, the public statements from the North Coast MLA in the Legislature have been significantly fewer, with her work on the file perhaps more of the behind the scenes elements of the government caucus discussions.

As part of her presentation. the MLA was channeling some apparent excitement for this long anticipated structure and making for a commentary that suggests the bulldozers are but hours away from revving up their motors.

After years of underfunding, our government is making record investments in education, with more support and safer learning environments for students. We have funded more than 80 school capital projects, including seismic upgrades, school replacements and land purchases for future and safer schools. 

I'm happy to say that work is underway right now in replacing the Prince Rupert Middle School in my riding. This is a school that has had so many devastating impacts, from a leaking roof, broken boiler, asbestos in the walls, lead in the drinking water, and, of course, it's not seismically safe. 

I'm really happy that a new school will be built in the coming days and months and weeks ahead.

However, the timeline for development at SD52 may be a little bit longer than that of the optimistic and hopeful notes from the MLA.

As we noted in our observations from a Monday night appearance at City Council, Cam McIntyre, the Secretary/Treasurer for the School District outlined the status of the Board's work to this point, noting that they are now at the site investigation phase.

When it comes to a timeline, Mr. McIntyre provided a chart on Monday for Council, making note of the path ahead, with a Concept plan to be submitted to the province by March 31st and noting that he was hopeful that if all falls into place approval from Treasury Board could be received by Christmas.

Though putting a shovel in the ground would still seem to be a fair bit off in the distance yet, the same for any ribbon cutting ceremonies.



Last Night SD52 hosted an Open House to provide an update for the community on the way forward towards replacement of PRMS, offering up a wider overview of the four final site options that they are  considering for the new facility.



The School District provides more background on the PRMS replacement project and takes the opinion of the public on the site options through a page on the SD52 website, those notes can be found here.

For more notes of interest on education in the Northwest see our archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Victoria Viewpoints: Thursday, February 27, 2020




Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments from the Provincial scene for  Thursday,  February 27, 2020


Coronavirus response in BC

Is the coronavirus a pandemic? The WHO hasn't declared it one, but here's what you need to know if it does
In a world of coronavirus panic and xenophobia, can a marathon of hope outrun fear?
Top health officials to begin 'actively' looking for COVID-19 cases in Canadian communities
How prepared is Canada's health-care system to handle a potential coronavirus pandemic?
Quebec reports first presumptive case of coronavirus, woman from Montreal area
Ontario's sixth confirmed coronavirus case is province's first instance of human-to-human transmission
Italy investigates hospital that failed to catch a coronavirus super-spreader as infection cases rise
Science is the inoculation against the coronavirsus' pandemic of fear
Ottawa urged to resume ties with Tehran amid coronavirus outbreak
Public health officials taking stock of supplies, equipment to prepare for possible coronavirus pandemic
Provinces will be responsible for coronavirus gear, Ottawa says
Don't panic, but do prepare for coronavirus
Chinese-Canadian community using social media to coordinate self-quarantines to prevent spread of COVID-19
Has coronavirus become a pandemic?
Ill passenger removed from plane at Winnipeg airport with possible case of novel coronavirus
COVID-19 in Canada: nation's 13th case found in Toronto as repatriated Canadians released from quarantine
Coronavirus: "China" removed from warning signs at YVR
Coronavirus causing rash of racism in Richmond
Chinatowns across Canada report drop in business due to coronavirus fears
COVID-19 outbreak: Here's what's happening around the world Friday
Empty streets unlikely should COVID-19 spread widely in BC
Vancouver Coastal Health tests app that could be used for quarantined COVID-19 patients



Coastal Gas Link/Wet'suwet'en

Talks between Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs and Ottawa a sign of progress to end standoff
Carolyn Bennett set to meet with Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs amid pipeline protests
Clearing the lands has always been at the heart of Canada's Indian policy
Wet'suwet'en hereditary subchief lashes out at Coastal GasLink
Pipeline construction paused as Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs prepare to meet federal, provincial ministers
'A very good start': Talks between Wet'suwet'en chiefs and federal, provincial ministers to resume Friday
The fire that Justin Trudeau can't get under control
Coastal GasLink to pause work as talks begin between hereditary chiefs, ministers
Do Tyendinaga Mohawk protests amount to 'terrorism'? Experts say no
Last thing First Nations need is foreign groups hijacking our future
Two arrested for writing messages with chalk paint on legislature building and pavement
Stand.earth says BC Liberals undermine Indigenous leadership with insinuations about foreign funding
Rise in anti-Indigenous racism and violence seen in wake of Wet'suwet'en protests


Globe and Mail 

The changing face of downtown Vancouver: fewer nightclubs, more bars and caf├ęs, study reveals
BC allows Surrey to create police board to replace RCMP with municipal force
Decade long BC case nears close on two-tier health system



CBC

Kelowna RCMP reinvestigating 12 sexual assault cases originally deemed 'unfounded'
TransLink wants $447 million from governments to move toward all electric bus fleet
Shortcomings in private seniors care related to funding model, BC advocate says
Company fined $175K, driver must pay $20K after spilling jet fuel into BC creek
School name change in Prince George sparks community backlash
Booking a road test in BC is free. But this third party site is fooling people into paying $49
BC RCMP seek judicial authorization to dispose of evidence in Robert Pickton case


Vancouver Sun

Surrey allowed to proceed with its own municipal police force
Sexual assault data entered wrong in Kelowna, Mountie review finds
COVID 19 adds to trade challenges buffeting Port of Vancouver
Union says it's unclear how many Surrey RCMP members will switch to municipal force
COVID-19 puts travel industry in a 'perfect storm of chaos'


Vancouver Province

Former Haisla chief, now a Liberal MLA, is key voice in pipeline fight


Victoria Times Colonist

New $1.8M bicycle park in Langford named for Jordie Lunn
Do I have a seconder? Saanich councillor gets not backing for Wet'suwet'en motion
Employer health tax revision 'not off table', James says
Heritage status for Victoria Press Building will cut tax bill


Victoria News

City frustrated as truck lodged under bridge one week after Victoria installs new signage
Speaker 'will not tolerate illegal activity' on BC Legislature grounds, says chief of staff
People have until Friday to put forward candidacy to run for Victoria city council
Bike park in honour of late mountain biker Jordie Lunn to come to Langford


Global BC

BC man hospitalized after pharmacy accidentally gives him powerful opioid
Whistleblower speaks out about alleged embezzlement at Okanagan charity
BC gives Horgan poor marks on handling of pipeline dispute, according to poll
BC charity group hoping for giant turnout for new blanket drive
Kelowna RCMP under further scrutiny following national review
Two women arrested at BC Legislature after spraying liquid chalk on the building


Georgia Straight

Mayor Doug McCallum declares this as 'day one' for Surrey Police Department
The solutions to the VSB's kindergarten space crunch
Vancouver police seize guns, drugs, and other items from tent in Oppenheimer Park
Vancouver Council declares homelessness emergency, allowing for 'targeted' vacancy-control recommendations
Vancouver City Council approves $625,000 in renter-services and SRO revitalization grants

Vancouver Courier

Vancouver Police uncover huge cache of weapons in Oppenheimer Park
Nearly a third of Vancouver families led by a single parent
BC can't be punished by feds if private-care proponent wins case: lawyer
Surrey gets approval from BC to set up local police board to replace RCMP



The Tyee

How Do You plan for a Diverse City? Vancouver Once got it right


Miscellaneous