Thursday, January 31, 2008

Cold weather could slow down shipments through Port of Prince Rupert

The extended cold snap that we've experienced in Prince Rupert is nothing compared to what they're dealing with on the prairies and into Eastern Canada.

And that inclement weather may have a major effect on shipments of grain and other products through the Port of Prince Rupert in the next few days, and perhaps for more to come.

The Manitoba Co-operator, a news source for grain farmers, grain companies and transportation providers is providing a rather worrisome assessment of the short term situation for the grain industry through the West Coast ports.

From their website, they used a recent week of shipments through Prince Rupert Grain to bring home their point about shipment reductions due to the weather across the West.

Using the port at Prince Rupert, B.C. as an example, Dyck said that in a good week, a steady stream of rail cars filled with grain are unloaded at the facility.

"Last week, there were just over 1,000 rail cars unloaded at the export facility," Dyck said.

"This week that number was expected to decline to around 800 to 850 rail cars due to the slowdown in movement because of the cold."

The cold snap occurred at a bad time, he said, particularly as the CWB sales program was running current with vessel arrivals.

The loading of vessels at the grain and oilseed export facilities at Prince Rupert and Vancouver were both expected to slow because of the reduced rail car movement, Dyck said.

The drop in unloads impacts the ability of shippers to meet requirements at the West Coast, Dyck said.

As recently as Tuesday, Canadian National Railway (CN) on Tuesday temporarily reduced freight service in most areas of Western Canada due to extreme cold and wind conditions.

It will make for a reduction that will eventually find its way to the West Coast as grain and coal shipments become affected by the wrath of nature further down the line.

The full story from the Manitoba Co-operator can be found at this link.
Other reports on cold weather transportation problems can be found below.

Alcan rules the day. But some wonder if there will be a longer smelter delay?

Rio Tinto Alcan one of the largest employers in the Northwest, prevailed at the British Columbia Utilities Commission this week. As the aluminum giant interpreted the news of the Commission's approval, as a sense of vindication that their bid to sell excess power is a legitimate part of their business structure for Northwestern British Columbia.

It’s a case which hasn’t necessarilly been accepted by the District of Kitimat, which fears that the multi national Aluminum Company may spend more time on electrical power sales than in aluminum smelting, calling the proposed modernization plans to be mostly smoke and mirrors. Kitimat has expressed a concern over job losses at the modernized smelter and its pre-occupation with power sales. The mayor is looking fow ways to diversify the local economy, but suggests that Rio Tinto Alcan as a major landowner in the area is holding up potential investment in the area.

The District is examining the lengthy pages of the decision issued on Tuesday, to see if there is a room for appeal and more importantly if they have the appetite for launching yet another round of discussions on the topic of power sales.

The fate of the Kitimat works smelter was tied into the long running feud between Alcan and the District of Kitimat over the last few years, with Alcan suggesting that they needed the power sales to make the expansion feasible.

For now though, as far as Rio Tinto Alcan is concerned that argument may be more valid than ever, as the anticipated cost of modernizing the ancient Kitimat plant is rising by the day, spurred on by the heat of the B. C. economy in the south, the competition for labour and supplies from the 2010 Olympics and a trades shortage that is affecting many British Columbia projects.

The expansion and modernization project will be brought up to the Alcan board in April, with a revised forecast on the cost of the smelter’s bottom line, which had already be estimated to cost over 2 billion dollars.

The project which has been delayed for a while now, has seen one owner give way to a new one, a larger multi national company that itself is still the target of a takeover bid. It All adds a little extra drama to the prospects for the long discussed expansion project, which has been the topic of discussion in Kitimat for a number of years now, splitting the town into separate camps for most of that discussion.

The Globe and Mail featured a report on the potential for expansion and the different factors that Rio Tinto Alcan is considering as they lead up to their April board meeting.

After the green light, a new challenge for Alcan
With costs of major B.C. projects surging, company taking fresh look at cost of modernizing Kitimat smelter
From Thursday's Globe and Mail
January 31, 2008 at 12:00 AM EST

VANCOUVER AND TORONTO — — Rio Tinto Alcan [RTP-N]is eyeing an even heftier price tag for the $2-billion (U.S.) modernization of its antiquated Kitimat aluminum smelter, as it aims to cope with the cost echoes of B.C.'s construction boom.

On Tuesday, the company received approval for a long-term electricity sales contract with B.C. Hydro, the last of three conditions it had set out for proceeding with the Kitimat project.
That approval in hand, it is now taking a fresh look at the capital costs of the project.

“We feel fairly certain that the cost will go up,” said Rio Tinto spokeswoman Colleen Nyce.

The costs of major construction projects in British Columbia have been surging by double digits annually through much of this decade, as expansion in the natural resources sectors, a residential construction boom and infrastructure needed for the 2010 Games have heated up competition – particularly for skilled hands.

For Rio Tinto, labour cost is the largest area of uncertainty.

“The big unknown for us is the labour factor,” Ms. Nyce said.

As it recalculates the price tag of its often-delayed expansion, the company is weighing the combined effect of the B.C. construction boom, competition from other megaprojects around the globe, and the surging Canadian dollar.

The company has satisfied other conditions for going forward with the upgrade. In addition to approval of its deal with B.C. Hydro, it reached a deal with its unions for labour peace past the startup date of the project and assurances on environmental assessment from the B.C. government.

Rio Tinto Alcan is far from alone in facing the big question of escalating capital costs in British Columbia, including more expensive steel and concrete. Residential and commercial builders have been forced to put their projects on hold, said Stuart MacKay of MMK Consulting Inc.

“There is a lot of demand out there that has been deferred because of the hot construction market,” Mr. MacKay said. “People who would like to undertake projects but because of the cost impacts and labour availability have deferred projects that they would otherwise have taken on,” he said.

So far, there's no talk of shelving Kitimat. Rather, the project will be brought before the Rio Tinto board in April. That gives the Canadian arm just eight weeks to update, and most likely redraft, cost estimates for the expansion. If the board gives its approval, construction would start later this year, with production from the new facility beginning in 2012.

Ms. Nyce said the company had already taken some steps to contain costs, including signing contracts for some of the specialized equipment needed to build a smelter. But some inflation of the 18-month-old price tag will be unavoidable. During that time, the cost of steel and concrete has been on the rise. And the Canadian dollar has surged, making wage bills more pricey in U.S. currency.

Weighed against those costs are the benefits that Kitimat will confer: an efficient modern plant that already taps into the surging Asian market for aluminum. “It will become one of the three largest aluminum smelters in North America and one of Rio Tinto's largest wholly owned smelters once the technology is completed,” Rio Tinto Alcan spokesman Stefano Bertolli said.
Kitimat is a key operation in Rio Tinto's plans to target increasing demand for aluminum from Chinese and other Asian customers. Almost all of the facility's aluminum production – 95 per cent – is destined for customers on the Pacific Rim, including China. The remaining 5 per cent goes to the United States.

China is currently a net exporter of aluminum. But Rio Tinto chief executive officer Tom Albanese is betting that China's booming economy, combined with a lack of access to cheap electricity needed to produce aluminum, will reverse the equation. That belief was a key driver in justifying the U.K. mining giant's $38-billion takeover of Alcan.

The expanded smelter would also cut Kitimat's greenhouse gas emissions by roughly one third, potentially reducing the company's domestic exposure to any new regulations.

The Kitimat project also has a substantial edge in operating costs, because of the associated Kemano hydro power station. Electricity accounts for roughly a third of the cost of producing aluminum. The deal approved this week by the utilities commission is slightly less favourable; Alcan won't receive $111-million in one-time payments from B.C. Hydro that would have been used to help fund the expansion.
Press coverage of BCUC decision

Port celebreated for year of achievement

Saturday nights Chamber of Commerce awards show was a bona fide love in for the Port of Prince Rupert and its various partners.

With the Fairview Container Port the symbol of a new era for transportation on the North coast and for the Pacific Gateway, it was no surprise that the past year's events on the Prince Rupert waterfront dominated much of the night's discussion and celebrations.

The Daily News reviewed some of the highlights of the celebration of the year of the Port.

Port partners thrilled with chamber accolade
By Kris Schumacher
The Daily News
Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Page three

Prince Rupert turned the corner in the business world during the past year, and while many people were responsible for the growing prosperity of the community, one group shone brilliantly in the starry sky.

The Prince Rupert Port Authority, along with its Fairview Container Terminal partners CN Rail and Maher Terminals of Canada, were awarded Business of the Year at Saturday's Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards. After being announced winners of the category, ahead of nominees the Crest Hotel and Northern Savings Credit Union, representatives from the three Fairview partners addressed the audience.

"I'd like to thank the Chamber for recognizing this as a partnership. This dream would not have occurred without that partnership," said Don Krusel, president and CEO of the Prince Rupert Port Authority.

"Without CN, we wouldn't have the corridor, and without the commitment from Maher very early in the game this facility would not have occurred."

Representing Maher Terminals Canada was Mark Schepp, assistant vice president of terminal operations, who has been heading things locally for the company since moving to Prince Rupert from his home in New York back in the middle of 2007. As excited as Schepp is about an upcoming visit from his wife, he was clearly elated at the level Maher has been embraced by the business community.

"What an honour, and on behalf of Maher we're very happy to be a part of the community here," said Schepp. "As Don mentioned our partners, I'd like to mention that an important part of what's happened here is the local labour. We don't do anything at our facility unless the men and women who walk through those gates do the work, and that's a part of this community I'd like to acknowledge."

Last on the mic was Chris Daniele, mechanical supervisor with CN Rail and the company's representative in Prince Rupert.

"I was born and raised in Prince Rupert, and I'm very proud to be a part of a project that's helping not only the economy in Rupert, but the community itself," he said. "I just want to thank everyone for their hard work in contributing to this project, and on behalf of CN, thank you."

Praise and applause for the port didn't end there, as the Prince Rupert Port Authority was also crowned Newsmaker of the Year for putting Prince Rupert in the media spotlight worldwide.
"It wasn't that long ago that we had to go through a lot of effort just to let people know where Prince Rupert was, or that the Port of Prince Rupert existed" said Krusel after taking the stage to a standing ovation.

"I still remember being in a boardroom at a shipping line in another part of the world, and we were trying to sell Prince Rupert as a future container port. And we quite literally had to get a map off the shelf to show them where it was. It's a David and Goliath story that we're able to tell, making it inviting for media all over the world to tell the story, and it's exciting to be a part of it."

Protecting Prince Rupert Harbour archeology unifies local First Nations

As we recounted here on Podunk earlier this week, the Allied Tribes of Coast Tsimshian recently concluded a three day seminar to examine how they wish to approach the protection of First Nation burial sites that dot the Prince Rupert Harbour shoreline.

Wednesday's Daily News provided another look at the issue, focusing on the archeological aspect of the discussions.

The Coast Tsimshian work with 'one heart' on project
By Leanne Ritchie
The Daily News
Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Page one

Representatives of Metlakatla and Lax Kw'alaams came together last week to commit to working collectively and with other levels of government to protect the archeological sites in the Prince Rupert Harbour.

Known collectively, as the Coast Tsimshian, the two communities hosted a three-day seminar on Prince Rupert Harbour Archaeological Management Planning last week.

It was moderated by the Honourable Iona Campagnolo, British Columbia's former Lieutenant-Governor and attended by several archeologists.

The 30 or so sites around the Prince Rupert harbour area represent 10,000 years of history and thousands of human remains and they are threatened by development, Campagnolo said.
She said that by having the two communities reach an understand to work together, as well as reach out to other levels of government will give them a greater opportunity to protect their treasures.

"Our world is moving at an ever accelerating pace, which gives us a real sense of urgency," she said.

"The Coast Tsimshian are aware that their's is one of the great histories of North America and the world and must be protected as such."

James Bryant, cultural liaison for Lax Kw'allaams, described the decision to work together as the two communities "being of one heart".

It means the leaders of Lax Kw'alaams and Metlakatla will work together to address their interests and concerns regarding archaeology and development, particularly around the Prince Rupert Harbour portion of the Coast Tsimshian territory.

"It's imperative that we work together as we move forward on these very important issues," said Bryant.

"The Allied Tribes of the Coast Tsimshian also believe that all communication on these urgent issues must be transparent if we are to come to a successful conclusion."

"The place Canadians know as the city of Prince Rupert has been our home for at least 10,000 years," said Chief Clarence Nelson.

"Archaeologists have confirmed that burial sites and the unique artifacts of the ancestors of the Allied Tribes exist in and around Prince Rupert.

"It is our responsibility to protect these archaeological treasures."

Nelson said the Adaawk (oral histories) are confirmed in scientific records.

"We know our culture and our connection to the land is our legacy. It is our world treasure."
Bryant and Nelson say the Allied Tribes spent three days discussing their communities' place in the management of archaeological resources within the Coast Tsimshian territory.

"We agree that we have both ancient and contemporary interests in the developments taking place in Prince Rupert and the surrounding area," said Nelson.

Bryant added that they are prepared to assume their unique role with the other orders of government to move forward in a respectful partnership.

"One of the first orders of business will be the commemoration of our ancestors whose bones lay under the tarmac at Fairview Terminal. Taking one step at a time, we hope that a new level of mutual trust will be built between all participants as we address the larger issues within our territories."

Focus on school closures leads teachers away from visioning committee

The District’s teachers are taking a walk, disappointed in the terms of the recent interim report to the District Visioning Committee. With a number of conclusions which kept the focus on the prospect of School Closures in Prince Rupert, the teacher’s union felt that the best course of action for the moment for them was to remove their organization from the process.

The teachers union was concerned that the Committee was focusing too much on financials and not enough on the students needs, and admits to being confused as to why a decision to close schools was being made while the District carried a financial surplus

The Daily News featured their concerns and some background on their decision in Wednesday’s Daily News, with a front page story.

By Kris Schumacher
The Daily News
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Pages one and three

Following several months of involvement, the Prince Rupert District Teacher's Union has decided to withdraw from the District Visioning Committee.

Originally formed in September 2007 with the goal of having stakeholders engage in a visioning process to determine school district plans for the next five to 10 years, District 52 teachers said the visioning committee was unable to move beyond a school closure plan.

"The PRDTU went into this with the genuine hope that they could contribute planning for the future needs in our community," said Joanna Larson, president of the PRDTU. "We were very disappointed when the interim report to the board was released and instead of a visioning document, it was really a plan to close schools."

The report was the centre of much debate among trustees at the District 52 school board meeting earlier this month when it was made clear to the board that the PRDTU and the local International Union of Operating Engineers did not feel the position of their members were represented in the interim report. As of the meeting two weeks ago, both unions were considering stepping away from the DVC.

"Some of the representatives at the table have been very vocal that the real purpose of the committee is about saving money," said Larson. "Teachers wanted to address issues such as student safety, achievement, comprehension, high school programs and alternate education."
With the PRDTU now gone from the committee, the DVC is now comprised of members from the Principals Association, the IUOE, the District Parent Advisory Committee, the Aboriginal Education Council, secondary school students and the City of Prince Rupert. Larson said that, even if school closure was the focus, of the DVC, the two most costly buildings to upgrade were not identified for possible closure.

"Two of the schools named in the interim report were selected because the board had already slated them for closure last year. The other school was chosen because it would boost the number of students in the remaining schools to a higher capacity."

"This is what has upset teachers. The board, and now this committee have given no consideration to the education needs of the students in the district with regards to closing these three schools," said Larson.

At the January school board meeting, IUOE Local 882 trustee and recording secretary Colleen Wiens told the board that because timelines for the DVC to deliver their report were short, and because the closure of Seal Cove and Kanata had already been given first and second reading, it was decided by the other committee members to complete the process with a third reading.
"To me, this does not support student achievement, and there were no reasons given for student achievement," she said.

"We are all perplexed as to why a decision like this is being made when it is not financially driven," said Larson. "Our school board had a surplus of over $400,000 last year."

District teachers will be meeting again soon to develop future plans to address this issue, and anyone who wants further information can contact Joanna Larson at 627-1700 or 622-7475.

We'll be right back after this short commercial message January 30

Much more than just a rugby team

Explaining the ritual

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Drop Out Day

All good things must come to an end and on Wednesday the long held dreams for two high profile US Politicians were dashed by the cold, hard light of reality.

Like a pair of University students ditching the final semester of their Politics classes, John Edwards and Rudy Giuliani called an end to their campaign for the Presidential nomination of their respective parties.

Rudy Giuliani, having lost his Florida gambit with a distant third place finish in the state’s primary, stepped aside on Wednesday offering his endorsement and support if desired to John McCain.

Hopefully, he doesn’t offer to set up a desk in the strategy office.

It was the rather strange fixation with Florida that left Rudy to play the role of Republican road kill on Tuesday night, having spent most of the primary season and much of his money on the sunshine state; he had virtually no momentum coming his way by the time that the Republicans made it to Florida.

While most of the other Republicans made appearances in the early primaries, even if they knew they had little chance of winning, Rudy wandered from one rubber chicken dinner to another repeating what had become his mantra of remember 9/11.

And while he most likely deserves some accolades for his service during those horrible times, they were almost six and a half years ago. Since then, while always made aware that danger still lurks, a few other distractions have come along for the American public.

With many American’s losing their homes or walking away from their mortgages and an economic slowdown on the horizon, complete with an unpredictable stock market, they may not have been particularly in tune with Rudy’s clarion call to be ready.

He very much became a form of one issue candidate; six years too late with a message to fully resonate with would be voters. That combined with no shortage of personal issues to cloud the vision of the primary voters and Rudy’s destiny seemed set even before he headed down the interstate.

While he’s offering to join the McCain team, it’s likely he won’t be able to parlay his move into a spot on the Republican ticket, should McCain receive the nomination.

More than a few pundits last night were suggesting that the number two spot may go to Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who despite finishing behind the pack again on Tuesday has decided to remain in the race at least until Super Tuesday.

A fine bit of politics that very well may benefit McCain, it’s expected that Huckabee will draw votes away from Mitt Romney, giving McCain a sizeable bit of momentum coming out of next weeks cross country string of primaries and caucus sessions.

Expanding on a growing belief that there’s an ABM campaign out there, Anybody But Mitt, and anybody very well may be the last guy standing which right now looks very much to be Senator McCain.

Not to be left out of the I gotta go now sweepstakes was John Edwards, who having been humbled in his own neck of the woods two weeks ago, found that there just wasn’t any growth in the vapor trail of Barack Obama’s recent rise in the polls and the still formidable Clinton machine that has begun some serious arm twisting.

Left in the end to be the conscience of his party to a degree, he has chosen to step out of the week to week battles and let the main event get underway without any further distraction. While Edward’s did not endorse either of the two remaining Democrats in the race, reading between the lines of his farewell speech or any number of stump speeches he’s made in recent weeks, you can’t help but think that he might have contributed by osmosis to a few of the Obama press releases in the last few weeks.

It’s doubtful that he has plans to reprise his role as a vice-presidential nominee, though his southern roots would make a fairly good balance to Obama’s northern base. While his calls for a full fledged health care system for all and a need to address the many concerns of the poor, surely play into the tone of the Obama campaign of late, when it comes to putting together the Democratic ticket he may be viewed as yesterday’s news.

Edward’s message seemingly did not hit the right chords with enough Democrats however, to make him more than a passing interest in this primary season.

Like Rudy Giuliani, he has gone from a potential Presidential nominee to a sideline observer in a pretty quick space of time. With the first month of the primary process coming to an end, the battle lines are quickly shaping up in the two races for the nominations. And neither America’s mayor, nor the southern lawyer will be reaping much in the way of a harvest from their efforts in the last year.


City Council Tracker January 28

January 28, 2008 City Council session

In attendance:
Mayor Herb Pond
Councillor Ken Cote
Councillor Tony Briglio
Councillor Sheila Gordon-Payne
Councillor Kathy Bedard
Councillor Nelson Kinney

Absent - Councillor Joy Thorkelson
Minutes for January 28 council meeting
Minutes for January 28 public hearing
Minutes for January 28 Committee of the whole meeting
Daily News voting summary--How council voted on January 28, 2008
Upcoming event--Regular city council session planned for February 11, 2008

MLA calls for an explanation over increased insurance rates

ICBC has a surprise for many British Columbian drivers this year, as new insurance rates for drivers in some parts of the province are on the way up.

And nothing is like a gift from heaven for a politician than a rate increase!
NDP MLA Gary Coons takes on ICBC and the provincial government over the latest developments from the car insurance corporation and for good measure manages to tie in the latest mess with BC Ferries to his debating points.

It makes for a bit of double dipping from the vast pool of the outrage department.

The Daily News provided the thoughts of the North Coast MLA in Tuesday’s paper.

Explain 'shameless' ICBC cash grab demands Coons
By Kris Schumacher
The Daily News
Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Page Five

Increased insurance rates for drivers through Insurance Corporation British Columbia is being called a "shameless cash grab" by the NDP party, and North Coast MLA Gary Coons is also asking for a reasonable explanation for the hikes.

"This government has consistently refused to step in to protect the interest of British Columbians," said Coons.

"Whether it is skyrocketing ferry fares or car insurance rate hikes, the Campbell government has made it clear they don't care that these costs make life more difficult for individuals and families."

It was announced last week that insurance rates for drivers in parts of the Lower Mainland would be increasing by between three and five per cent a year, a decision ICBC officials said reflect statistics that show more cars on the road lead to more accidents.

New Democrat ICBC critic Harry Lali called the explanation a lame excuse to raise rates, claiming that although traffic had increased, it was not enough to justify any hikes. Coons joined in the criticism after more news last week that the B.C. Utilities Commission had approved ICBC's request for a new $25 charge for each non-principal driver per household.

"Where is the justification for this new charge?" asked Coons. "The reason we have public car insurance in British Columbia is to keep car ownership affordable, and to ensure that everyone in the province has access to coverage, not provide a cash cow to overpaid executives."

ICBC reported a profit of $256 million for the first six months of 2007, which amounts to a 132 per cent increase over the previous year for the same period. In the same time, the performance pay for ICBC executives increased by 30 per cent, something Coons and the rest of the NDP say is an injustice to B.C. motorists.

"Judging from the huge increases in ICBC's revenues last year, this cash grab isn't financially necessary," said Coons. "If the Campbell government had any sense, they would step in and halt this assault on British Columbia's drivers."

Three Motions from city council

The Daily News has resuscitated an old favourite of Podunkians, their handy thumbnail guide to how City council voted on key issues of the week’s council meeting. Found on page three of Wedensday's paper, it provides a quick look at how city council voted on three motions presented on Monday night.

As long as they keep true to providing the scorecard, we’ll add it to our Attendance Tracker found on the right hand column of this blog, you will find it under the Podunk Service Centre headline.

It might make for a handy reference guide on Election Day, especially for those with a pet topic for this council year.

Council meeting January 28, 2008

The Questions:

Question 1. To adopt the Solid Waste Amendment Bylaw, with five per cent increases in solid waste fees for 2009 and 2010 – a one dollar increase per month or $12 per year. The money will be put toward the cost of closing the landfill in 2040. It’s anticipated to cost $3.3 million.

How they voted on this motion:

Mayor Herb Pond- In Favour
Councillor Ken Cote- In Favour
Councillor Sheila Gordon-Payne- In Favour
Councillor Joy Thorkelson -Absent from council this week
Councillor Nelson Kinney- In Favour
Councillor Kathy Bedard- In Favour
Councillor Tony Briglio- In Favour

Motion 1 Passed

Question 2: To contribute $250 to the Trans Canada Yellowhead Highway Association, above the existing membership fee, to produce an economic activity and infrastructure study.

How they voted on this motion:

Mayor Herb Pond- In Favour
Councillor Ken Cote- Against
Councillor Sheila Gordon-Payne- Against
Councillor Joy Thorkelson- Absent from council this week
Councillor Nelson Kinney – In Favour
Councillor Kathy Bedard- In Favour
Councillor Tony Briglio- In Favour

Motion 2 Passed

Question 3: To adopt the new dog control bylaw, with new safety measures to help the city’s two new bylaw enforcement officers deal with restricted dogs (pit bulls) and vicious dogs.

How they voted on this motion:

Mayor Herb Pond- In Favour
Councillor Ken Cote- In Favour
Councillor Sheila Gordon Payne – In Favour
Councillor Joy Thorkelson – Absent from council this week
Councillor Nelson Kinney- In Favour
Councillor Kathy Bedard- In Favour
Councillor Tony Briglio- In Favour

Motion 3 Passed

East to Terrace and beyond, the rush may soon be on!

The mining industry is setting its sights on the Terrace region for the near future, seeking out some under explored parts of the region for potential reserves of copper, zinc, lead, silver and gold.

The fever extends as Far East as the pine beetle infested woods of the Prince George area, where Opinion 250 reports significant copper and gold deposits may be found.

The Daily news caught the mining bug with Tuesday’s details on some of the research needed to bring the area to the next level of exploration.

Mining firms take good look at B.C.
By Leanne Ritchie
The Daily News
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Pages one and three

New geoscience research in Terrace and on the Central Coast is unearthing the potential for new mineral developments, according to the province.

A provincial BC Geological Survey Team working in the under-explored Terrace area recently discovered a new lead, zinc and silver mineral site on an existing mineral claim. This new discovery highlights the potential for copper, zinc, lead, silver and gold mineralization in a belt of rocks that extends to just north of Kitimat. This discovery has mineralization similar to that at the Myra Falls, Britannia, and Tulsequah Chief mines, although ti does need further exploration.

Meanwhile, mineral claim staking in central B.C.'s Mountain Pine Beetle Infestation Area has skyrocketed in anticipation of the release of initial results a new mineral exploration project.
At the Mineral Exploration Roundup Conference last week, Geoscience BC released the initial results from the QUEST project (Quesnellia Exploration Strategy) mineral exploration project.
The $5 million project is the largest mineral exploration geoscience project of its kind in the province, and it will provide more than 1.5 gigabytes of information to both the mining industry and the public.

Kevin Krueger, Minister of State for Mining, said the new finds demonstrate geovernment’s continued commitment to stimulate mining activity in the province, especially in areas experiencing difficult economic times.

“These new discoveries will foster increased exploration throughout the northern areas of the province, further fuelling an already surging mining sector while providing more jobs for rural B. C.,” he said.

Since the QUEST project was announced last June, almost 1,760 mineral claims have been staked in the central B. C. geophysical survey area by 114 companies or individuals. These claims cover more than 780,000 hectares of land. This brings the total mineral claims in the area to more than 6,000 held by more than 300 companies or individuals, covering approximately two million hectares.

The QUEST project was designed to help “see through” the cover of glacial material to the prospective rocks below using leading-edge exploration technologies.

“This new information will encourage increased exploration throughout the central area of the province further fuelling an already surging mining sector while providing more jobs for areas impacted by the mountain pine beetle,” said Krueger.

“The data sets released today are the first in a series that will help unlock central B. C.’s mineral potential,” said Dr. Lyn Anglin, president of Geoscience BC. The electromagnetic survey will help identify different rock types that may be associated with mineralization, and will aid in determining the thickness of glacial cover. The enormous wealth of new information made available today will help guide industry in targeting their mineral exploration programs.”

Premier makes preparations for a Haida Gwaii experience

Fuel up the executive jet, the Premier is about to hit the road.

Premier Gordon Campbell will make the journey to Haida Gwaii on Thursday, attending a luncheon to celebrate the signing of a land use agreement between the province and Council of the Haida Nation.

Background on the agreement and details of the Premier’s visit to the Queen Charlottes were part of Tuesday’s Daily News.
Gordon Campbell heading for Islands
By Leanne Ritchie
The Daily News
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Page one

Premier Gordon Campbell will visit Skidegate on Thursday and attend a luncheon in celebration of the signing of the historic land use agreement between the province and the Council of the Haida Nation.

The land use agreement was formally signed by Guujaaw, president of the Council of the Haida Nation and the premier in Vancouver on Dec. 12 after many years of negotiation and land use uncertainty on the Queen Charlotte Islands.

Highlights of the agreement include a commitment to an economic timber opportunity of at least 800,000 cubic metres per year, to ensure continuation of sustainable forestry operations, and an agreement to develop a process that will inform the determination of the long-term timber supply for Haida Gwaii.

There will also be new protected areas to reflect ecological, cultural conservation, spiritual and recreation purposes, totaling 254,000 hectares to be managed collaboratively with the province. The new areas equal 25.3 per cent of the total land base and, with the Gwaii Haanas, Naikoon and other existing protected areas, bring the total protected area on the islands to about 50 per cent, which is nearly equivalent to the size of Prince Edward Island.

The agreement also establishes the forging of an economic development understanding (EDU) among all Islands communities. Completed by local government leaders, this additional agreement outlines a common set of economic development priorities and an Islands-wide economic development approach.

The agreement provides for a number of key implementation steps within the next 24 months, including more detailed forest planning to address cultural cedar values, coastal zone planning and protected area management planning. Included in the plan is an agreement with the province to ensure no net job loss because of new land use designation.

Looking for solutions to climate change

As we trade in the umbrellas for the snow boots on the North coast and further east the down filled parkas come out, it’s probably the right time to discuss climate change.

The University of Northern British Columbia will become part of a search for solutions to the climate problems of the future.

The Daily News featured details of the recently created 94.5 million dollar Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, a body that UNBC will be a major part of.

The background on the issue and plans to study it were found on the front page of Tuesday’s paper.

By Leanne Ritchie
The Daily News
Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Pages one and two

The University of Northern British Columbia will be taking on a leading role to help mitigate the impacts of climate change in the hardest hit region of the province, the North.

Last week, the government of B.C. announced it will be creating a $94.5 million Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, involving B.C.'s four research-intensive universities.

"It is in northern regions where the greatest effects of climate change are being felt," said UNBC President Don Cozzetto.

Current data suggests the temperature increase in northern and central B.C. is about two to three times greater than that experienced in Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island over the past 100 years.

“This makes UNBC’s involvement in this new institute a natural extension of our mission to focus on the issues of the North. We are already a centre for unique academic programming and research on climate change and other environmental issues that affect the sustainability of communities. This is what makes us Canada’s Green University.”

The institute will be a unique joint collaboration between the province’s four research-intensive universities – the University of Victoria, University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and University of Northern British Columbia – the private sector and government.
It will bring provincial, national and international climate researchers together to work with governments and the private sector to develop ideas that can be applied and transferred to government, industry and the public.

“We’re eager to make a difference and government is providing us with the tools to do so,” said Cozzetto.

“The four research-intensive universities in B. C. can be world leaders in reducing emissions, providing new information through research, and educating future environmental stewards.”
UNBC is already heavily involved in researching the impacts of climate change. UNBC’s Natural Resources and Environmental Studies Institute has 63 members, many of whom are involved with climate change research and teaching.

Some of their areas of focus that relate to Prince Rupert include the work of Dr. Ken Wilkening, who studies intercontinental transport of air pollution, also referred to as hemispheric transport of air pollution, or simply, global air pollution.

His interest in the topic started in the late 1990’s when he worked for a small environmental organization in San Francisco. Fresh from researching regional-scale air pollution in Asia, he spotted growing scientific evidence that air pollutants originating in Asia were traveling across the Pacific Ocean and being detected in North America.

“ICT is, except in rare instances, a low-level, long-term, widespread and subtle problem, and that’s the real challenge,” said Dr. Wilkening. “It’s not a ‘hit you between the eyes’ kind of phenomenon. It’s like global warming that way, and it has taken decades for the public and policy-makers to catch up to the scientists who first began calling attention to the climate change issue. The rapid industrialization of China and India will continue to make ICT a hot topic. Right now, the global environment isn’t on the verge of collapse due to ICT, but it’s one small, added strain to our social and ecological system that could lead to a global environmental tipping point.

The hangover begins before your first sip

At 400 dollars Canadian a bottle, picking up a case of this beer for Super Bowl Sunday could require taking out a loan at your bank.

Carlsberg has launched a limited run of what they call their Vintage Number 1, an expensive little brew that promises the hint of caramel, vanilla, oak and cherry port bitterness, not to mention prunes, which if you think of it might not be exactly what a beer drinker might want at 400 a pop.

The exotic price of Vintage Number 1, is 357 times more expensive than their next most expensive brand, and will propel Carlsberg well into first place in the most expensive beer listings. Their new offering will far surpass the current champion, Boston Beer Co.’s Utopia, which costs about $100 for a 72-centiliter bottle.

Only 600 of the 375ml bottles will be made, and will be only sold in three Copenhagen restaurants and the stock is moving quickly, so far they have sold 52 of their exclusive stock. Of those 600 bottle each one will host a hand stencilled original lithographic print by Danish artist Frans Kannike as a label.

Making each empty bottle worth 100 dollars each, needless to say you won't be finding many donated to local bottle drives we suspect..

The Age (Australia)--$450 beer a bit hard to swallow

We'll be right back after this short commercial message January 29

Somedoby isn't going home for awhile yet..

Served cold in those sleepy little bars in Little Havana...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Goodbye, Rudy Tuesday?

Oh how I wish I were the first to come up with that one, as political pundits have turned to the Rolling Stones to sum up the potential fortunes of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Mayor America, has run the most bizarre campaign of any of the would be Republican nominee seekers, having pretty well ignored every primary so far, concentrating on tonight's Florida primary, an unusual bit of politics which has seen him pretty well set up camp in the sunshine state, working on a nice tan and what he hopes will be a nice vote turn out come late Tuesday.

It's been a widely talked about strategy, described by some as confusing if not almost self destructive.

As if on cue, rumblings are making the rounds today, that should Giuliani fail in Florida there's a good chance that he will drop out of the race, all that would remain would be whether he exits before Super Tuesday or tempts fate with a potentially embarrassing shut out in his own home state among other locales.

New York Times--Rudy's identity crisis
Seattle Post Intellignencer--The Rudy brand is in danger

All will be watching that vote total as it rolls across the network crawlers tonight, a loss in Florida and as the say it will all be over once the the skinny guy starts to sing.

Ecologically speaking, Rupert seems to be the answer!

With traffic congestion in Vancouver growing daily, the Premier’s concern over green house gases now a fixation and local resistance to an expansion of the Delta Port container facility growing, North Coast MLA Gary Coons has a simple solution, increase the capacity of the Fairview Container Terminal.

Coons outlined his thoughts on the controversial issue of a highway running through an environmentally fragile area of Delta, one of the planned highway improvements suggested with the expansion of container facilities in the South Fraser area of Metropolitan Vancouver.

The expansion of the South Fraser container facilities has been a hot topic of late in the Vancouver area, with many local residents wondering why the government wishes to see increased congestion and pollution in Vancouver, when there’s no such issue in Prince Rupert which is primed for further expansion of Fairview Terminal, which is not yet working at full capacity.

Coons makes the case for Prince Rupert as the logical solution to many Lower Mainland woes, pointing to the port’s reliance on rail transportation over truck.

In the Prince Rupert set up, containers arriving at Fairview for the most part are direct loaded onto CN container trains, quickly set for transit to North American destinations.

The Fairview approach is a change in the normal routine for container traffic. The process in Prince Rupert takes out the middle man if you will, of local haulers which move containers to different staging areas in the Lower Mainland. It’s an approach that eliminates a massive flow of truck traffic that regularly in Vancouver can at times clog approach roads and add to the greenhouse gas bubble over the South Fraser area.

It will be an interesting balancing act for the Premier to walk, on one part it seems to fit in perfectly with his desires for a more pro active approach to the environment, but politically the idea of removing industry and jobs from the Lower Mainland is not one that can work for you come election day.

For the moment though, if the topic is just the environmental balance you are looking at, then the Coons suggestions indeed do seem quite logical. As an employment and industrial generator, a shift from Vancouver to Rupert would also make for a change in the North coast economic picture as well.

Monday’s Daily News featured his thoughts on Fairview expansion and how it could benefit any number of issues.

Rupert the logical solution: Coons
The Daily News
Monday, January 28, 2008
Page one

There's no reason for the province to consider building a highway through Delta's Burns Bog when the Port of Prince Rupert is still not operating at full capacity, says North Coast MLA Gary Coons.

The government of British Columbia has already received strong opposition in response to the proposed construction of the South Fraser Perimeter Highway, a $1-billion provincial highway that would run through a rare environmental area known as Crescent Slough. The highway would be a four-lane, 40-kilometre stretch connecting Highway 1 in Surrey to Roberts Bank in Delta, something Environment Canada says would severely damage or destroy the ecologically crucial bog.

“This flies in the face of common sense,” said Coons.

Fairview Terminals has excess capacity and the potential to expand. Scientists are saying ‘no’ to the South Fraser Perimeter road, Delta residents are saying ‘no’ to the road. Environment Canada is saying ‘no’ to the road. It’s time for the Campbell government to expand their narrow focus and look to Prince Rupert to solve our province’s transportation problems.”

Coons echoed some of the sentiments already put forth by his southern NDP colleagues, who harshly criticized the Liberal government last week for pushing the project forward without waiting for scientists to respond. The primary purpose of the proposed highway will be to handle the increased container-truck traffic from the expansion of Deltaport’s Third Berth Project, predicted to reach 2,400 trucks traveling to and from the port by the time Deltaport’s Third Berth Project is complete in 2011.

“Why pave over an ecologically sensitive reserve and jam more traffic onto an already congested area?” asked Coons. “The Lower Mainland is in the throes of a labour shortage, and the North Coast with the highest unemployment in the province, could use the economic stimulus that a port operating a full capacity would bring. Everybody wins if the province pays attention to Prince Rupert.”

He also cast a critical eye at the recently unveiled Transportation Plan unveiled by the premier, saying it does little to help communities outside of the Lower Mainland and capital regions. Coons believes if the Fairview Terminals and the northern corridor were fully utilized, provincial emissions would be reduced substantially, something he says highlights the government’s feigned interest in reducing B. C.’s carbon footprint. He points to reduced sailing times from Asia and Fairview Terminal’s on-doc rail operations as contributing to lower emissions because less fuel is needed by ocean-going vessels and the need for trucks is virtually eliminated by the efficient rail system.

“We’re more than a day’s sailing time closer to Asia than the next nearest terminal, and we are directly linked to the largest rail network in North America,” said Coons. “Rerouting ships from congested ports in the Lower Mainland to Prince Rupert makes sense socially, economically and environmentally. Why add thousands more polluting container trucks to the equation from Delta when the logical solution is Prince Rupert?

Star Gazing at Chances

With a brand new convention hall as the setting, the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce introduced their Stars for 2007 on Saturday night.

The local businesses recognized in the course of Saturday’s gala ranged from clothing and food services to marine transportation, as the business class mixed with politicians and local residents at the new convention hall in the Chances Entertainment Centre.

While the attendess, sampled the fine fare of the Chances kitchen and waited for a chance to head upstairs and perhaps throw a few loonies at the video terminals, they saluted the following businesses for their achievements in 2007.

Rookie Business of the Year, sponsored by the Hecate Strait Employment Development Society, went to Anna's Couture.

Totem Press sponsored the Small Business of the Year award and was given to Adventure Tours/West Coast Launch.

The Northern Savings Credit Union was presented with the Community Living sponsored Community Involvement Award.

The Customer Service Award was awarded to the Crest.

The Prince Rupert and Hecate Strait Rotary clubs were named Non-Profit of the Year.

Charlotte Rowse was awarded with the City Ambassador Award.

The Looking Good Award, sponsored by RBC and Port City Ford went to Pizza Hut Prince Rupert.

The BDC sponsored Business of the Year was shared by Fairview Container Terminal Partners, CN Rail, Maher Terminals of Canada and the Prince Rupert Port Authority.

While the Newsmaker of the Year honours went to the Prince Rupert Port Authority.

The Daily News provided all the details from the red carpet to the almost after parties as part of their front page story in Monday’s paper.

By Kris Schumacher
The Daily News
Monday, January 28, 2008
Pages one and five

In what was called the equivalent of the Gemini or Academy Awards for Prince Rupert, 176 guests gathered in Chances's new lower-level convention facility for the Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards on Saturday night.

Attendees were informed Billy Crystal wasn't able to make it, and that Doug Kydd would have to suffice as the MC for the evening, just before Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce President Wendy Prystay began with a warm welcome.

"This is a celebration of our whole community of business, and what a community this is," said Prystay, who pointed out that winners could be drawn from chamber members and non-members alike. "We've really been tested over the last decade, and we've seen a very negative economy and yet we've hung on. We're believers. We know that when you have a community that is as naturally beautiful as this one, made up of doers and creative people who are willing to contribute, we cannot fail."

Mike O'Neill, the B.C. Chamber of Commerce District 13/14 Director also addressed the audience, reminding everyone that the 2008 B.C. chamber's general meeting would be happening in Prince Rupert.

"I've worked very hard to get it here, and there's lots of obstacles to overcome, but with the great facilities that we see here today and all of the wonderful things that are developing in Prince Rupert, I'm sure it will be an absolute success," said O'Neill.

Because it was the inaugural event for Chance's convention floor, Craig Briere was excited about being able to preview what the facility had to offer before the grand opening this weekend.

"Our staff have been working diligently over the past several weeks, and more particularly the past several days and hours to get this room ready for tonight," said Briere. "We're very proud and very pleased that you're able to join us at the facility tonight. This is a community in our estimation that has such a tremendous amount of potential and such a bright future, We're very proud to a part of the chamber and the business community."

After a meal and service that received such praise as "flawless" and "exceptional" from some attendees, it was time to find out who won.

Nomination forms for the awards were distributed throughout the business community, and finalists for the awards were chosen by votes from Chamber members.

Rookie Business of the Year, sponsored by the Hecate Strait Employment Development Society, went to Anna's Couture , while the Totem Press sponsored Small Business of the Year award was given to Adventure Tours/West Coast Launch . The Northern Savings Credit Union was given the Community Living sponsored Community Involvement Award, and the Customer Service Award was presented to the Crest Hotel by Brian Musgrave of Rainbow Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ltd. The Prince Rupert and Hecate Strait Rotary clubs were crowned Non-Profit of the Year by Lucy Mackey of TD Canada Trust, and Prince Rupert Port Authority President Don Krusel presented Charlotte Rowse with the City Ambassador Award. The Looking Good Award, sponsored by RBC and Port City Ford went to Pizza Hut Prince Rupert, and the BDC sponsored Business of the Year was shared by Fairview Container Terminal Partners, CN Rail, Maher Terminals of Canada and the Prince Rupert Port Authority. Finally, the Prince Rupert Port Authority was named Newsmaker of the Year.

We'll be right back after this short commercial message January 28

Canine and human teeth all need a thorough brushing

Just don't mix up the tooth brushes!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Future Port development could hinge on respect for the memories of the past

The twin themes of archaeology and development were front and centre at a recent gathering of the Allied Tribes of the Coast Tsimshian, as former Lieutenant Governor Iona Campagnola moderated a three day seminar into Prince Rupert Harbour Archaeological Management Planning.

In her role as moderator, Campagnola observed that, "Our world is moving at an ever accelerating pace, which give us a real sense of urgency. The Coast Tsimshian are aware that their's is one of the great histories of North America and the World and must be protected as such."

Comments which served to provide the theme of the seminar.

During the course of the three day event held last week, James Bryant, Cultural Liaison for the Lax Kw'alaams, outlined the how the leaders of Lax Kw'alaams and Metlakatla will work together to address their interests and concerns regarding archaeology and development, particularly around the Prince Rupert Harbour portion of the Coast Tsimshian territory.

The issue has been one of the more controversial aspects of the development of the Fairview Container Port in the recent past and will surely become centre point to ongoing negotiations over plans to expand the Terminal.

Part of the concerns of the Allied Tribes is the protection and commemoration of ancient burial sites, some of which go back close to 10,000 years.

Dr. George MacDonald, a world renowned authority on the archaeology of the Prince Rupert area told the seminar that these “wet sites” have been confirmed in the Phase II area of the container port expansion which repeats the conditions of a site destroyed by the Phase I development, from which more than 600 wooden and basketry items were found before bulldozers destroyed the main part of the site.

"Wet sites provide the kind of artworks in wood that trace the emergence of the Northwest Coast art form over thousands of years. This art form has been declared as significant to the heritage of mankind. , according to MacDonald earlier sites in the area have been dated to 10,000 years, with expectation of 14,000 years once sites higher on Kaien Island have been tested.

It’s that issue which may prove to be the most cumbersome to navigate in those ongoing discussions, with the key approach being one of communication and transparency among all sides of the process.

At the seminar Bryant suggested that one of the first items to be taken care of will be the commemoration of their ancestors, many of whom have been laid to rest under the pavement of Fairview Terminal. Taking one step at a time, they are hopeful that a new level of mutual trust will be built between all participants as they prepare to look at the larger issues.

While progress is a welcome thing for the north coast, a nod to tradition and commemoration of the past is also going to be a major ingredient to whatever may come from the Prince Rupert waterfront in the years to come.

The development of the port and its impact on First Nations culture has become a rather interesting point of discussion among archeologists and sociologists, with a few press releases turning up on American and Canadian public relations sites in the last few days, as well as an entry in an environmental blog, all in a bid to address the current situation.

It makes for an interesting view on some of the situations that the potential Container Port Expansion will have to navigate in the months and years to come. Rupert Harbour development threatens Coast Tsimshian remains
Marktewire--Prince Rupert Harbour development threatens Coast Tsimshian remains

Obama’s Day

As they say a picture is worth a thousand words, and the vision of a wide swath of the Kennedy clan, on stage to throw their considerable legacy behind the campaign of Barack Obama is surely worth more than those thousand words for the Obama campaign and as the events of the day would show, a good number of words less for the camp of Hillary Clinton.

On a day that normally would be reserved for the President of the United States, the State of the Union speech was upstaged by a proclamation of endorsement held earlier in the afternoon. By the end of Monday night, the final state of the union speech of George Bush was already in the remainder bins, a largely forgettable tract of past endeavors, many of which have offered little in the way of accomplishment as he wanders down the final lap of his eight year presidency.

While the Bush address was all about the past and more of the same for the future, many were talking about a different future and the name most associated with the forward gazing belonged to Barack Obama.

By any measure for the presidential candidate from Illinois, Monday must have been one of his most remarkable days ever in politics. Obama was probably still basking in the glow from yesterday’s remarkable op-ed piece in the New York Times by Caroline Kennedy, as the sole surviving member of the fabled Camelot compared his bid for the nomination to the ideals that her father held close to his heart, a rather public declaration from someone who has been a very private and non political person over the years.

From that astounding political moment, he moved on to today’s barn burner of a speech from her Uncle Ted, the long time guardian of the Kennedy mystique in Washington, all was good for Team Obama.

Calling upon the memories of his fallen brothers, a personal remembrance he rarely uses in political matters, Kennedy highlighted that for him, Obama offers the best hope to carry on with those long ago held dreams of his brothers John and Robert. It was a historical declaration that could very well make for a turning point in the Democratic path to the nomination.

While the Senator from Massachusetts has been frequently marginalized politically over the last few years, his speech Monday at American University seemed to reinvigorate Kennedy, it touched on all of his core beliefs, his dreams for his nation, the shared losses of the people and the now always present theme of a hope for a better day.

Evoking a call for change, Kennedy shot down many of the very critiques that the Clinton camp had launched in the last few weeks at Obama, mostly through the strong willed former President who seems to have become the attack dog for Mrs. Clinton, a strategy that now seems to have not been very beneficial for her campaign.

In fact, some pundits say that it’s that very insertion of an angry Bill Clinton into the fray that sent the old time firebrand Kennedy persona over to the Obama barricades, weary of the unbridled spite that seemed to be spewing from the former President, who suddenly seemed to take on the identity of cranky old man Clinton.

While he continued to proclaim his friendship and respect for his fellow Senators Clinton and Edwards in Washington, his political support won’t be delivered to either of their doors, nor it seems will a good portion of the support of the A list of Kennedy’s.

The Obama candidacy which received a huge (though expected) boost with the South Carolina primary victory on Saturday, pushed that success on through the weekend. Propelled by one of the most passionate speeches delivered yet in the US primary season, Obama energized his forces and enthralled his opposition in both parties with his powerful declaration that change is coming, hope is coming.

With the massive vote count of next Tuesday’s Super Tuesday primary and caucus votes to come, this is a key week for the Obama campaign, and with the Kennedy dynasty providing their unequivocal support it will certainly provide another shot of adrenalin, a spur to the stampede if you will, of supporters looking for a hope for the future.

If you’re Hillary Clinton there’s not a thing she can do about this, (well maybe send Bill off to a less visual locale and take away his microphone) but to circle your wagons and get back to work and try to get back on message.

The pull of momentum is a powerful tide, since Saturday night, the flow of the political waters is raising the Obama boat to faster waters, if the Clinton camp isn’t careful for the remainder of its campaign, those waters very well could swamp them and leave them adrift in the political seas.

We'll be right back after this short commercial mesage January 28

Seeking out the downloaders..

Share, it's fair and they don't care..

Smoke, smoke, smoke those cigarettes

A would be entrepreneur on a visiting container ship has found his sideline business is out of business, after local Border Services officers boarded the vessel and discovered a secret cache of 85 cartons of Double Happiness Chinese cigarettes.

While visiting crew members are allowed to bring in their own personal products while in transit, it would take a lot of convincing to explain away that many cigarettes as a personal and obviously lung damaging addiction.

Further investigation found more contraband in his personal quarters as well as some kind of magic overcoat used for smuggling.

While surely not the thing made famous by the likes of Crockett and Tubbs on Miami Vice, the investigation did go to show the capabilities of the local Border Services office and proved to be a valuable training exercise for the local members.

Full details on the investigation and the fate of the unlucky smuggler were in Friday's Daily News.

Border officers uncover smuggler's secret haul
By Kris Schumacher
The Daily News
Friday, January 25, 2008
Pages one and three

Canada Border Service Agency officers made an interesting discovery while conducting a search aboard a container ship early Wednesday morning.

In a void area of the ship, between a number of lighting holes that create space between the bulkheads, CBSA officers discovered 85 cartons of Double Happiness brand Chinese cigarettes that had been concealed there.

Officers determined which crew member was responsible, and, after searching his quarters, found another five cartons of cigarettes, nine 1.5 litre bottles of wine, and a coat that officers say was designed specifically for smuggling the goods ashore.

"In this case, what we found was the individual had taken this particular coat and sewn in pockets into the interior lining of the coat, in order to smuggle the cigarettes off the ship," said Trevor Baird, Canada Border Services Agency chief of operations.

"The pockets would allow him to carry multiple cartons at a time by breaking them down into individual packages, and carrying them on and off the boats."

After the seizure of was conducted, the crew member was turned back over to the vessel and it will be up to the authorities onboard to decide what to do with the individual.

Baird said that, due to the size of the companies owning and operating these vessels, it is impossible for them to know what their crew members are doing all the time, and it isn't uncommon for crew members to be engaged in various types of smuggling.

"Although a serious seizure from our perspective, it didn't meet the threshold that we would prosecute," said Baird.

"In cases like this, we wouldn't hold it against the company because there was no evidence to suggest the company was involved, it was strictly an isolated incident with a crew member."
Baird said that tobacco smuggling is generally done to avoid paying the tax that is applied to cigarettes in Canada, and that it can be profitable for an individual bringing them illegally into the country and selling them at a high profit margin.

"Ultimately, we believe the individual was bringing tobacco, in this case from China, and selling it in the communities where the vessel docked, not only Prince Rupert," said Baird.

"Vessels themselves have a right to have liquor and tobacco on board for the use of their crew, however in this case it was a very clearly smuggling operation. The goods were concealed very deeply in the vessel, they were very hard to access, and the crew member had gone through a lot of effort to hide them."

Although not a particularly groundbreaking seizure, Baird believes the incident is a good example of the training and focus CBSA officers have in detecting smugglers and the success they have in thwarting them.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

We'll be right back after this short commercial message January 26

Why you always need to carry a second set of keys.

Zero gravity, zero chance of getting in!

Maybe it's Poland that should put Canada on the watch list

Australia may think that Canada is a dangerous place, but if anyone is going to put the nation on a watch list perhaps it should be Poland.

There will no doubt be more ramifications for the RCMP, after another policing incident with a Polish immigrant in British Columbia over the weekend.

The latest situation involved the Langley RCMP who during the course of an arrest, injured a new immigrant to Canada from the Eastern European country, in the course of what would turn out to be mistaken identity, the 27 year old man suffered cuts to his face and scrapes to his knees.

The police who were looking for a thief, came across a man who they thought was a suspect at a Langley bus stop. In the process of their arrest the man was injured and detained, only to be released a bit later when the situation became clear that the man in custody had nothing to do with their investigation.

After the incident was completed the Police, apologized and offered the mistakenly arrested man medical attention and took him to his place of employment, as requested.

Coming as it does on the recent tasering tragedy at Vancouver International Airport, the Polish embassy will no doubt be taking an increased look at how its nationals are being treated while in Canada.

They may be two isolated and as the police put it "a simple coincidence", but for the Polish government perhaps a warning sign that they need to reinforce some messages on behavior.

Podunkian Music Club January 26


"If you don't like this band, I can't imagine a more horrible experience."
Bono joking with reporters upon the release of U23D

With a new movie just released, in cutting edge 3D no less. The Irish lads will once again be testing the boundaries of their audiences attention spans and providing ammunition for those that as Bono says may not particularly be their fans.

The movie which is described as the first live action 3D motion picture ever filmed made its debut in New York City earlier this month. Featuring footage of the bands Buenos Airies concert in March of 2006, it reportedly provides an experience unlike anyone has seen at the movies since the interesting if quirky 3D experience first arrived on the scene.

Bono and the boys brought their latest artistic endeavour to the Sundance Film Festival in mid January, where everyone got the chance to put on the spiffy 3D glasses and wait for Larry Mullen Jr. to appear to be playing on their knee.

That effect and many, many more have quite a few film reviewers singing from the same song sheet as the buzz begins to build around the project. Considering the nature of the movie, the regular triple cinema won't be handing out the glasses, in British Columbia so far, only one theatre has been signed on to showcase the film, so dedicated U2 fans will be heading for the Imax theatre at Canada place for their visual and aural enthusiasm.

Interestingly enough, the project seems to be a co-production with National Geographic, perhaps meaning that U2 have now become an anthropological study for the ages.

Tonight on the music club we feature one of the songs from the movie, seeing as it was taken from the Vertigo tour, we've gone with the title track.

No fancy visuals here, no three dimensional view or life size Bono about to crush you like an ant from the big screen. To set the scene you can check out the movies trailer, after that we'll leave it to your trip to the big city or the eventual DVD release, which we assume will come with your very own set of U2 3D glasses.


Saturday, January 26, 2008

10-36, 10-78, Inspector on scene and in charge

The new administrator of policing in Prince Rupert has taken up his duties in the city, as Inspector Bob Killbery returns to the city he once patrolled at the beginning of his long RCMP career.
In fact, this return marks the third time that he has been posted to the Prince Rupert detachment during his 30 years of service with the RCMP.
As he takes charge of the detachment he will face a number of local concerns from city residents, ranging from the increase of general vandalism to the fear of gangs with their plans, moving into the city attracted by the opening of the Fairview container Terminal.
One of his first priorities will hit a chord with many locals, as he hopes to put a greater focus on communication between the youth of Prince Rupert and the RCMP.
Those and a few of his other thoughts on policing for Prince Rupert were provided in Friday’s edition of the Daily News.
New top cop glad to return 'home' to Rupert
By Kris Schumacher
The Daily News
Friday, January 25, 2008
Pages one and five

Inspector Bob Killbery may be new to his role as inspector at the Prince Rupert RCMP, but he is by no means a rookie in the community.

This is, in fact, his third posting to Prince Rupert, the first being more than 20 years ago when he was still a constable and when the drug enforcement office he worked out of was across the street from The Daily News.

When he returned to town in 1997, it was as a corporal and second in charge of the drug section, eventually taking over as sergeant and staying in Prince Rupert until 2003. After a stint as staff sergeant in Prince George, Killbery was promoted to inspector in Vancouver where he has been stationed until recently.

"So, I've bounced around a little bit, and we saw a bit of the province," he said. "But my wife, Bev, and I always loved Rupert, and even since we left in 2003 we've travelled back at least twice a year. We've got lots of friends in the community that we've kept in contact with, so if nothing else, we're saving ourselves a big pile of gas money."

Although familiar with the community, Killbery says he's still new to the role of inspector and is still adjusting to the wide-reaching responsibilities that accompany the position.

"On the drug section, we have a very focused objective and goal, whereas this is all-encompassing in everything with the community that we really weren't exposed to before," he said.

"We worked much more in isolation and our partners would be other policing agencies, as opposed to partnering with different community groups to achieve our goals and objectives."
He's had the opportunity to see Prince Rupert both in boom and bust - the first time he was stationed in the city in the early '80s, there was a lot of money and activity, with natural resource sectors at their peak. Since then, he's seen the downturn, but says he is hopeful that the port and other business opportunities will add some economic stability to a city that is on its way up. He also knows that drugs continue to be a problem in the city, even if things have changed somewhat in 20 years.

"When I was here in the '80s, the heroin population was second to Vancouver, and although that may not be case anymore, other drugs always take their place," said Killbery. "We didn't have methamphetamines, crack cocaine and ecstacy back then, so there's all these things that have filled the void."

One area Killbery plans to focus on is the youth of Prince Rupert, and on building relationships between the RCMP and young people in the city.

Killbery says the wellbeing of young people is always a priority for the force, and he would like to increase the RCMP's role in the school district.

"We'll be working in conjunction with the school board, and at this point in time they're very receptive of programs like D.A.R.E. which I would like to see promoted," said Killbery. "I know our community policing officer Krysta Vrolyk is working very hard on that right now with other officers to deliver the program in schools, and I'd like to see that increased in the coming year."
Overall, Killbery is excited by the prospect of finishing his career in the city he has grown to love so much in his 30 years on the job.

"Actually, today [Thursday] marks 30 years of service for me," he said.

"But even with 30 years of experience, I'm still learning and it's going to take some time getting comfortable in this role. I'm hoping to provide the community with the best service possible, because, at the end of the day, this is where I live, it's my home, and where I'm likely to end up after I retire. So I want to leave it in even better shape than when I got here."