Tuesday, September 30, 2008

By default, we may soon own a pulp mill

Pssst, wanna buy a pulp mill? The property needs a little TLC and a few modifications to the machinery, but if you can find the trees, the cash and the steel nerves to enter an industry under stress in troubled economic times, then there’s a place for you on the North Coast!

Prince Rupert’s longest running soap opera took another twist this week as the Watson Island Pulp Mill once again became a conversation piece for the city’s municipal government and the always inquiring residents of the North Coast.

The Mill which has been orphaned a couple of times over the years in its colourful history, began wandering down the financial path Monday that could see it become one more land holding to be found in the City of Prince Rupert portfolio.

With no sight of a Sun Wave representative anywhere near Prince Rupert in recent times, and the property having fallen into tax default on outstanding property taxes, the mill with a six million dollar price tag was put out for auction on Monday. It was an offer which apparently could be refused, as the tax sale did not find many takers eager to enter the challenging world of pulp and paper making on the North Coast.

Sun Wave, the mysterious not quite operators of the mill still however, have time to reignite their interest in the property. The tax sale process now starts the clock for them, giving the group which answers to corporate and political masters in the Chinese government, one year to settle up their debts. If they don’t’ come up with their outstanding taxes in 365 days, then the City of Prince Rupert will inherit the mill.

The Tuesday Daily News featured a front page headline report on the latest developments on Rupert’s most enduring story.

City in line to take over ownership of pulp mill
By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Pages One and Two

It looks as if there is little appetite to own a pulp mill in Prince Rupert.

On Monday, city hall hosted a 'tax sale' in which the long-standing pulp mill on Watson Island was one of the properties put up for auction at city hall. There were no takers for the mill.

"I've always wanted to own a pulp mill," joked Mayor Herb Pond at the tax sale. Because there were no bids on the baseline $6 million price tag, the Sun Wave-owned pulp mill was defaulted to the city.

Municipalities host annual tax sales on properties whose owners have defaulted on their property taxes.

The Sun Wave group has not lost the mill yet, it now has one year to pay off its tax debt if it wants to stop the mill from being inherited by the city.

Pond said that the best outcome for the city was hard to define because the city would be pleased to receive the money owed in back taxes but would also be interested in seeing the site become active and wealth-generating.

“In the end, what we really want is somebody who will make great use of that site,” said Pond.
Sun Wave had signed a sweetheart tax deal with the city contingent on it getting the mill up and running by Jan. 1, 2008. That did not happen.

City council discussed the issue in camera in January and made a short statement after passing a motion during the regular council meeting. The motion brought to an end the controversial agreement that gave Sun Wave tax-free status for five years, provided it opened the Watson Island facility for the purpose of producing pulp and was employing local people.

Under the agreement, Sun Wave was expected to make a contribution to the city in those first five years. According to the city, it agreed to make a contribution of $100,000 in 2007.

After the first five years, Sun Wave would then have paid taxes based on a complicated formula that took into account the price of pulp, production levels and the Consumer Prince Index.

While they are not the main player in collecting the outstanding dollars owed, the district of Port Edward is also affected by the tax sale.

Port Edward municipality is entitled to taxes for the power it supplies from its dams in both Diana and Taylor lakes, and for the pipeline that feeds the site.

“Right now, there is no real benefit for the District of Port Edward from the City of Prince Rupert owning the pulp mill property in a year,” said Port Edward Chief Administrative Officer Ron Bedard.

The things they’ll do with money…

Election campaigns always bring out the spendthrifts in politicians, the key to your vote it seems sometimes passes through your wallet or purse.

The four parties running nationally, have offered up a lengthy laundry list of dreams and aspirations, with numbers to go along that boggle the mind.
From the gentle nudge of a two cent a litre reduction in diesel and aviation fuel over four years from the Conservatives, to the 70 Billion dollars planned in spending on infrastructure by the Liberals the two long time rivals have great plans for your tax dollars. Environmentally and socially aware parties also need to spend it seems, as the Greens have put out a wish list of programs with little in the way of financial accounting for them, while Jack Layton still seemingly quite confident that he’ll be our first ever NDP PM on October 14th, with billions on tap to be spent, should we be inclined to let him form a government.
From all corners there seems to be a plan it seems for every one of us, and all we have to do is make sure that the tax returns arrive on time with our cheques topped up to the required amounts.

To help you keep track of these head turning figures, we offer up each party’s breakdown thanks to the Toronto Star’s compilation of what they say and what they’ll spend. Take a scan of the list they’ve put together and try to add up the numbers in your head, you’ll quickly find the numbers jumble together as all of the parties work to get your vote all while using your money to get there…

The Canadian Press spending list, as of September 29th, 2008.

And remember there’s still two weeks to go until Election Day, by which time this list could seem like picking up a few things at the grocery store after work.

Just past the halfway mark and running fast (Week Four)

Economic news will no doubt dominate the events of the election campaign this week, Monday's meltdown on Wall and Bay street, folowed by bouncebacks on Tuesday frame much of the debate as the campaign turns the halfway mark.

Globe and Mail

October 5-- Race tightens as election day nears
October 5-- Hot Air
October 5-- Dion says he'll be the ‘greenest PM ever'
October 5-- Vandals target Toronto Liberals
October 5-- Grim Afghan assessment backs NDP's position, says Layton
October 5-- NDP want to tighten sewage dumping laws
October 5-- Tories fear provincial shut-out
October 5-- The myth of the war room
October 4-- Tories promise $300-million for economic development
October 4-- Layton tours Liberal ridings in Maritimes, hoping to steal support
October 4-- Dion cautions against NDP's ‘old socialist approach'
October 4-- Tory majority bad for the economy, Bloc Leader warns
October 4-- Canadian artists band together against Harper
October 4-- Harper survived, Layton impressed
October 4-- Sports secretary says she's lobbying for ski jumpers
October 4-- Canadian soldiers turn out en masse at Afghan advance poll
October 4-- NDP candidate in Ontario quits over obscene comments
October 4-- Mutual destruction
October 4-- Harper dismisses new plagiarism allegations
October 4-- Europe to Canada: Get your act together
October 3-- The tale of the plagiarized speech
October 3-- Atwood rallies anti-Tory votes by backing Bloc
October 3-- Dion urged to hammer Tories for lack of economic plan
October 3-- Conservatives enter final push in quest for majority
October 3-- NDP aim to focus on ridings to take from Tories
October 3-- Dion's debate performance fails to give him Quebec boost: poll
October 3-- Good policy, or just good strategy?
October 3-- Dear Mr. Harper: Ever hear of Google?
October 3-- Conservatives enter final push in quest for majority
October 3-- B.C. voter still undecided after Harper campaign's visit to home
October 3-- Tories won't win big cities, ex-aide says
October 3-- Funding in place for 30-day plan, says Dion
October 3-- Government doing right thing in wake of financial situation: Flaherty
October 3-- Court turns down bid to cancel federal election
October 3-- All eyes on the economy
October 3-- Layton takes aim at Bloc, Grits
October 3-- Dion urged to hammer Tories for lack of economic plan
October 3-- B.C. New Democrat complains of lobbying by Liberal insider
October 3-- Harper warns against polarized Parliament
October 3-- More plagiarism accusations surface
October 3-- The Tories' in-your-face plan for youth justice
October 3-- Duceppe a hit with Canadian voters outside Quebec
October 3-- It was Them versus Him. Ho-hum
October 3-- All that wooing, but will it win Quebec's heartland?
October 3-- Finally, an issue: Who's going to bring the blue-collar jobs back
October 2-- Harper to aim debate performance at women
October 2-- How they played in Quebec
October 2-- A poisoned chalice?
October 2-- There are some problems Ottawa just can't solve
October 2-- Financial sector lukewarm to Dion's economic plan
October 2-- Debate format, linguistic disadvantage hobbles Harper
October 2-- Liberals slump in Ontario, Tories support drops in Quebec: poll
October 2-- Dion has the most to gain in English leaders' debate, poll says
October 2-- Instant poll finds Dion clear debate winner
October 2-- N.L. premier trusts Dion, Layton to keep promises
October 2-- Tories play down federal contract given to B.C. candidate
October 2-- Majority government will likely elude Conservative grasp, analysts say
October 2-- Ousted Liberal to run as independent
October 2-- The contradictory life of a controversial woman
October 2-- McGuinty, Charest slam federal leaders for ignoring economy
October 2-- Bernier dismisses Couillard allegations as 'marketing strategy'
October 2-- Bernier confident Canadians will trust him again
October 2-- Liberal hopes bellwether has tolled for last time
October 2-- Careful, calculated steps on the path to majority
October 2-- This is not leadership
October 2-- 'A star is born' in Elizabeth May: pollster
October 2-- Four-on-one format stacks odds against Harper
October 2-- Dion's strategy: ‘Make it people, not dollars'
October 2-- So much for Mad Max Bernier and Bikergate
October 1-- An unorthodox campaign, from apple pies to 9/11 conspiracies
October 1-- A gift Dion can't afford to squander
October 1-- Dion promises 30-day action plan on economy
October 1-- Speech saga grabs global headlines
October 1-- Safe as Houses
October 1-- B.C. may well play the role of heart-breaker or king-maker in this election
October 1-- Grits continue their attack over Iraq speech
October 1-- William Johnson on Quebec and the French debate
October 1-- Couillard just looking for glory, Bernier says
October 1-- Watchdog group files motion arguing early election is illegal
October 1-- Action time tonight as debates begin
October 1-- Talking French
October 1-- Liberals, NDP, Greens want fall session for fiscal update
September 30-- Push on to tell Far North about new voting ID rules
September 30-- Political boxing in the shadow of an economic collapse
September 30-- Harper majority a concern to more than half of Canadians: poll
September 30-- Tories admit plagiarism in Harper speech
Septmeber 30-- Only 50 per cent of youth ‘definitely' plan to vote, poll finds
September 30-- Debate to give more time to the economy
September 30-- Driving-related deaths rise on election day, study finds
September 30-- Don't vote Tory, say Greenpeace and Sierra Club
September 30-- Social values issues halt Harper's momentum in Quebec City
September 30-- Dion's wife has no regrets
September 30-- No hugs for Harper
September 30-- The wrong leader for bad economic times
September 30-- Why stop there?
September 30-- Call centres ride wave as economy sinks
September 30-- Battle lines drawn in B.C.'s bellwether riding
September 29-- Conservatives faltering in Quebec, polls show
September 29-- Tory breakthrough a hard sell in environs of Montreal
September 29-- Charest distances his government from federal Tories
September 29-- Harper sweater-vest goes up in flames
September 29-- How not to fix a broken brand
September 29-- Canada's economy sound, Harper says
September 29-- Tories opened patronage doors before election: records
September 29-- How to handle the economic crisis
September 29-- The carbon tax has come back to haunt B.C.'s Liberals
September 29-- To engage Canadians, we must invest more in our politicians

National Post

October 5-- Layton warns voters against PM’s 'old ideas'
October 5-- Toronto vandals hit Liberal supporters
October 4-- Facebook flame war forces NDP candidate to resign
October 4-- Ad Watch: Greens' May so busy she gets a call DURING her first ad
October 4-- A good week for Stephen Harper
October 4-- B.C. independent candidate faces sex charge
October 4-- Where the Liberals refused to run
October 4-- Word theft entails high risk for minimal rewards
October 3-- Opponents hammer Harper over absent platform
October 3-- No hidden agenda in Tories' platform delay
October 3-- Harper's chance for a majority falls: poll
October 3-- Liberals accuse Harper of plagiarizing Harris speech
October 3-- Liberals need to shift attacks to NDP: Rae
October 3-- Debate leaves Harper ahead, May strengthened, Dion struggling
October 3-- The frustration and fumbling of Stephane Dion
October 3-- Debates send rival war rooms into hyperdrive
October 3-- Tories announce help for apprentices, plans to release full platform
October 3-- U.S. crisis plus Conservative majority equals danger: Duceppe
October 3-- Tories battle indifferent voters, Liberals
October 3-- Dion's debate performance won't rally Liberals
October 3-- Has the Tory train gone off the rails?
October 3-- Late-game scandals hit Tories
October 3-- Dion fails to stage his comeback
October 3-- Liberals, Tories gear for economic showdown in English debate
October 2-- Harper fights off rivals at French debate
October 2-- Fight Night: Multi-national debates
October 2-- Read our live blog replay of the French language debate
October 2-- Williams takes bite out of Ritz, Harper
October 2-- Debates: Forgettable snooze fests or political dustups?
October 2-- Only Harper, Duceppe mattered
October 2-- Who won the French Debate? They all did, according to them
October 2-- Pro-democracy group goes to court to stop the election
October 2-- You must remember this, a kiss is just a kiss...
October 2-- Most voters support public funding for CBC, poll finds
October 2-- L. Ian MacDonald: All tied as we go into overtime
October 1-- No clear winner at French debate
October 1--Debates: Forgettable snooze fests or political dustups?
October 1-- Tory strategist quits over copying speech
October 1-- Socially conservative voters can't get a break
October 1-- Barbara Yaffe: NDP dreaming of official Opposition status
October 1-- Polls: Tories will win a majority, unless they don't
October 1-- And again: Liberals accidentally feature New Democrats in new attack ad
October 1-- NDP reveals another plagiarism shocker
October 1-- Will someone save me from Brent Fullard?
September 30-- Tory staffer resigns after admitting to plagiarizing 2003 speech
September 30-- A plagiarism scandal of underwhelming proportions
September 30-- Suddenly the Quebec debate matters after all
September 30-- A tale of two speeches: Liberals level plagiarism charges at Harper
September 30-- Campaign chairman's tepid endorsement hints Dion victory is a fantasy
September 30-- Ontario warned away from Dion carbon tax by worried McGuinty minister
September 30-- Socially conservative voters can't get a break
September 30-- Why Conservatives want more debate time on the economy
September 30-- Canada quietly opposes calls to drill in Alaska wildlife refuge
September 30-- All parties focused on Vancouver seats
September 30-- Wisecracker Ritz missing in action
September 30-- Martin, Ignatieff pitch from 'centre'
September 29-- Layton accuses Liberals of copying Tory policy
September 29-- Iggy Think 101: An introduction to the great man's logic (or lack of it)
September 29-- Why you should not ignore Jack

Toronto Star

October 5-- Harper will wreck economy, Layton charges
October 5-- Election race tightening, poll suggests
October 5-- Harper pledges funds for regions
October 5-- Layton shares the credit
October 5-- Car vandals aim at Liberal supporters
October 5-- Duceppe steps up attacks against Harper
October 5-- Dion outlines Arctic strategy
October 5-- Lost in translation
October 5-- Harper silent on Ontario 'fairness' issue
October 5-- Getting the kids to join the party
October 5-- No licensed child care for majority of Canadian kids
October 5-- Politicians, platforms barely mention national security
October 5-- Layton seeks Atlantic breakthrough
October 5-- Five dumb ideas from the Campaign
October 5-- Ontario's interests ignored by its MPs
October 4-- Tory majority slipping away?
October 4-- Tory majority would be the worst outcome for economy: Duceppe
October 4-- Harper's Arctic policy neglects Inuit, Dion charges
October 4-- Harper says election outcome still 'fluid'
October 4-- Harper dismisses fuss over speech's origins
October 4-- Durham NDP candidate resigns over comments
October 4-- Tories lead but voter volatility on the rise
October 4-- Residency required for Canadian citizens to vote
October 4-- Layton seeks Atlantic breakthrough
October 4-- Tories 'sold to the oil men,' Duceppe charges
October 4-- Dion stresses economy in New Brunswick
October 4-- Europe's anti-poverty efforts put us to shame
October 4-- Down, out and hidden away in Oakville
October 4-- Canadian TV debate outdraws U.S. version
October 4-- Election contenders or pretenders?
October 4-- Harper warns about 'panicking' like Americans
October 4-- Sounding repetitive
October 4-- Wrong address on voter cards leaves electors scrambling
October 4-- May still explaining 'strategic voting'
October 4-- Greens' leader 'born to do this work'
October 4-- Will workers take job losses to polls?
October 4-- Will we do right by the poor in this downturn?
October 4-- The issue: Poverty
October 4-- Do I do the unthinkable to thwart Mr. Harper?
October 4-- Perhaps Harper just doesn't get it
October 4-- No party will admit to running a deficit during a recession
October 4-- Harper still winning with math
October 4-- Harper's attitude fails to reassure
October 3-- Reality proves elusive with televised politics
October 3-- Group loses court bid to block election
October 3-- Rivals must find common ground
October 3-- Plagiarism allegations plague Harper
October 2-- Harper hits back in debate
October 3-- Dion keeps up attack on Harper 'inaction'
October 3-- Don't give PM blank cheque, Duceppe says in Toronto
October 3-- Flaherty defends 'steady hand' economic strategy
October 2-- Debate like slow-moving reality TV
October 2-- Speech saga grabs global headlines
October 2-- Liberal dropped over 9/11 comments staying on ballot
October 2-- Young people urged to vote early
October 2-- Stop deporting women escaping violence, activists say
October 2-- Debate is Dion's chance to 'reset,' pollster says
October 2-- Liberals slip further, Tories steady: poll
October 2-- Debate spin swirls
October 2-- PM braces for the attack
October 2-- Political junkies across Toronto gather to watch TV showdown
October 2-- Tory candidates avoiding debates
October 2-- Not a Canadian? Kindly ignore that voter card
October 2-- No performance anxiety here
October 2-- Dryden, in his own words
October 2-- Bernier dismisses Couillard's tell-all book
October 2-- 'Hardest-working' MP breaks a sweat
October 2-- NDP candidate lashes out at courts
October 2-- Provincial minister blasts Harper
October 2-- Watchdog group wants election declared 'illegal'
October 2-- Ontario shortfall $11.8B, McGuinty says
October 2-- Economy dominates debate
October 2-- Liberals, the blame is all yours
October 2-- The twisted politics of Nova Scotia
October 2-- Neglecting child care now will cost us in the long run
October 2-- The wreckage of Harper-Bush policies
October 2-- Few answers from opposition
October 1-- PM criticized on economy, environment
October 1-- Debates are make-or-break
October 1-- Ontario short-changed $11.8B a year, McGuinty says
October 1-- Bloc creeps up, Tories extend lead: poll
October 1-- Harper no Mr. Nice Guy, Dryden says
October 1-- Economy engulfs TV debates
October 1-- Group wants court to call off election
October 1-- Youth vote expected to fall, institute warns
October 1-- Aide quits as copycat uproar stings PM
October 1-- Harper bad for cities, Ontario housing minister says
October 1-- Election ignores cities, panel says
October 1-- Don't bet on a magic moment
October 1-- Dos and don'ts of TV debates
October 1-- Out to change 'regressive' immigration system
October 1-- Harper, Howard had close ties
October 1-- Environmentalists aim to defeat Tories
October 1-- Few answers from opposition
October 1-- Good child care worth more than arts tax break
October 1-- Wrong time for reckless bravado
October 1-- Politicians regularly steal words
October 1-- Dodging the knockout punch
September 30-- Harper staffer quits over plagiarism charges
September 30-- Tories hold 10-point lead: poll
September 30-- Greenpeace, Sierra Club enter election fray
September 30-- Swear oath at polls, veiled voters told
September 30-- PM rejects meeting on economy
September 30-- Duelling debates pose tough TV choice
September 30-- CAW head urges members to vote against Tories
September 30-- Atlantic Liberals emphasize regional policies
September 30-- Conservatives ask for debate changes
September 30-- NDP courts 'progressives'
September 30-- 'Get smart' on child poverty, leaders told
September 30-- 'This government is not going to reopen . . . the debate on abortion'
September 30-- Krieber shares her views
September 30-- Tories hit a snag in Quebec
September 30-- Lobby groups make voices heard
September 30-- Q & A with Jack Layton
September 30-- Afghan mission a stealth topic
September 30-- Green leader rogue element in debates
September 30-- If you care about environment, strategic voting will be crucial
September 29-- Harper promises more funds to retrain older workers
September 29-- Layton wants all-party meeting on economy
September 29-- The promises and the costs
September 29-- Harper absent in fight against poverty, say activists
September 29-- 'Cold cuts' minister ducks media
September 29-- PM dangles tax break to soothe arts cuts
September 29-- NDP surge slows, Liberals hang on: Poll
September 29-- Ignatieff slams Harper on economy
September 29-- Layton, Dion fight for 'progressive' voters
September 29-- NDP pledges to end poverty by 2020
September 29-- Coming to grips with an Internet that never forgets
September 29-- Losing an election isn't the end
September 29-- Canadians more conservative? Evidence doesn't back it up
September 29-- For Ontarians, it's back to the future

Vancouver Sun

October 5-- Liberal ads latest to compare Harper to Bush
October 5-- Harper says election campaign unfolding - mostly - as planned
September 30-- Tory staffer 'scapegoat' for resigning over plagiarized speech: Opposition
September 30-- Harper wants economy to dominate leaders' debates, asks for format change
September 29-- PM rejects call for all-party summit on economy
September 29-- Economy, strategic attacks dominate campaign trail

Vancouver Province

October 5-- Owners want leaky-condo answers
October 5-- Ultra-left-wing parties trying to get their messages out
October 5-- Newton-North Delta candidate charged with youth sex assault
October 4-- Kissing NDP supporters pulled from Liberal campaign video
October 3-- Voters don't want Liberal to 'do an Emerson'
October 3-- Liberals question $600,000 grant
October 2-- Martin slams Tory financial management
October 1-- Conservative rival 'supports anti-gay group,' Grit claims
September 30-- Vancouver Centre too close to call
September 30-- Environmentalists call for strategic voting to defeat Harper

The Podunkian archives

October 5-- Nominations in every carton
October 3-- Canada Action Party candidate adds an unusual outlook to election campaign!
October 2-- On second thought, a debate sounds like a dandy idea after all!
October 1-- Here for a visit, but not for a lengthy chat
October 1-- The candidate is not available for presentation at this moment
September 30-- The things they’ll do with money…

Police seek assistance in weekend downtown stabbing incident

Prince Rupert's bar crowd scene got a little more troublesome than usual on the weekend, as a 22 year old male suffered what are described as serious but non-life threatening injuries after an altercation in the 5th Street and Second Avenue West area of the downtown core.

The early morning incident took place after the bars in the area empty out and large crowds congregate in the downtown area, and it is from that large downtown crowd that the RCMP are seeking assistance, looking for information from anyone who may have witnessed the Sunday morning stabbing and can provide information on it.

The Northern View posted details of the incident and the request from the RCMP to their website today.

RCMP seek witnesses to stabbing
The Northern View
Published: September 30, 2008 9:00 AM
Updated: September 30, 2008 11:31 AM

An early morning stabbing on Sunday left a 22 year old man with serious but non-life threatening injuries, and Prince Rupert RCMP are now seeking witnesses to the incident.
Police were called to a fight in the area of 5th Street and 2nd Avenue at approximately 3:30 a.m., where a large crowd had gathered to watch the altercation.

Upon police arrival it was determined that a 22 year old man had been stabbed with a knife, and he was immediately transported to the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital for treatment.

The investigation into the stabbing continues. Because the offence took place in the presence of a large crowd and during the bar crowd hours, RCMP are confident that there are people who witnessed the stabbing and have information that could be helpful, and are encouraging anyone with information to call the detachment at 250-627-0700 or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477 to give anonymous information.

Role models for a financial crisis

Hmmm, not sure but I think I've discovered some of the Republican training films for this electoral season...

Candidate McCain today explaining his thoughts on financial leadership of the bailout troubles of the day.

A certain other leader explaining his thoughts on financial leadership

We'll take it from here Herb...

"We have a position against gas and oil and we are saying 'no' and I want to make it very clear that the Haida Nation is not represented by Herb Pond - we speak for ourselves," -- Arnie Bellis vice president of the Council for the Haida Nation, setting the record straight as far as the Haida are concerned.

Mayor Herb Pond's recent public advocacy for oil tankers and oil exploration off the North coast hasn't exactly won him any followers on Haida Gwaii.

Arnie Bellis, the vice president of Council for the Haida Nation was quick to offer up a contrary opinion on the issue of oil development and any potential increase of oil tanker traffic in waters off the coast of the Charlottes, taking the Mayor to task over any ideas that he may be speaking for all communities of the North Coast.

For his part, the Mayor suggested that it was the Daily News that provided the inaccurate interpretation of his words that has caused the backlash from Haida Gwaii, confirming that he knows he doesn't speak for the entire North coast, Pond went on to say he was pretty upset with the headline of the September 22nd edition of the paper when he read it as well.

It probably however, was not the first time in recent weeks where media coverage has caused him to be upset with a quote or revelation relayed through the city's newspapers.

Of late he's been what is known as hot copy for the local media, as he finds himself under the microscope for his past comments on any number of local issues, we imagine he would probably be a little concerned about finding himself having to defend words that were put in his mouth for him.

When you're a politician however, you have to be aware that interpretations of your commentary will be a constant part of your day to day routine, the choice of a wrong word or an inference on an issue can cause you no shortage of trouble later down the line, requiring clarifications, further details and even the occasional mea culpa.

The percolating issue was examined in Monday's Daily News.

We can speak for ourselves CHN tells city mayor
By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Monday, September 29, 2008

Pages one and three

Arnie Bellis, the vice president of Council for the Haida Nation (CHN) is making it clear that Prince Rupert Mayor Herb Pond does not speak for the whole North Coast.

Bellis made the comments one week after Pond announced that he was in favour of oil tanker and pipeline work in the region - as long as the environmental assessments prove that no damage to the environment would come from tanker work.

"We have a position against gas and oil and we are saying 'no' and I want to make it very clear that the Haida Nation is not represented by Herb Pond - we speak for ourselves," said Bellis.
Mayor Herb Pond said that he would support Prince George Mayor Colin Kinsley and Kitimat Mayor Rick Wozney's public call for oil tanker and pipeline approval for the Central and North Coast.

The mayors claimed last week that there are billions of dollars waiting to be spent in the region if tankers and pipelines were approved by the federal and provincial governments.
They also said that it was the voice of Vancouver and Victoria-based environmental groups that were driving the issue and not Northern voices.

The comments enraged Dogwood Initiative, a Victoria-based environmental group, and has apparently rankled Bellis, a prominent member of the Haida Nation.

"The word delusional comes to my mind when I hear that the mayors will speak for us," said Bellis. "Through our own system of governance, so this is not my singular opinion, our position is 'no' to gas and oil."

Pond responded Monday morning by saying that he agreed with Bellis, that he did not speak for the entire North Coast and that it was only the headline in the Daily News that said he did. He had not said it himself.

"After I read that headline I was upset too," said Pond. "I was pretty clear. What we said was that we thought the people of the North Coast were capable in making that decision."

Many years ago, former B.C.-based Liberal federal environment minister David Anderson led a successful lawsuit against the U.S. government to prevent tankers laden with Alaskan oil from entering the B.C. coast.

The U.S. congress agreed and the two countries entered into an understanding that U.S. oil vessels would stay 70 nautical miles offshore. He was then able to convince former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to impose a moratorium on oil tanker traffic along the B.C. Central and North Coast.

Leases for oil and gas exploration in the Queen Charlotte Islands are owned primarily by Shell, Chevron and Petro-Canada. Under the NAFTA free trade agreement established in 1993, multinational corporations have rights of supercession over local governments. That means the companies can sue local governments for establishing environmental laws.

In 2002, the Haida Nation filed a legal claim to Haida Gwaii, the Haida's traditional name for the Queen Charlotte Islands. This was partly done as a reaction to the threat posed to the 1972 moratorium.

The claim would include all land, water and sub-sea rights to Haida Gwaii, and all areas within a 360-km radius. Bellis believes Pond should respect the Haida's right for self governance and representation.

"Instead of commenting for our areas he just needs to look after his own back pond," said Bellis.

Electrifying the audience and surprising the residents

As we outlined last Tuesday on the blog, Premier Campbell's announcement last week that the electrification plans for Highway 37 North corridor are back on, is still resonating across the northwest.

The Premier first provided a snapshot of his hopes on a Prince George radio and Internet talk show and followed up later in the week with participants at the UBCM gathering in Penticton.

A mega project that will provide some incentive for mining interests in the Northwest, the move to go forward could provide up to 11,000 jobs, see some 15 billion dollars invested in the Northwest and bring in around 300 million dollars annually in tax revenues, according to a report put together on the impact of the development.

The first step is the initial investment of 10 million dollars for an environmental assessment on the plans, with perhaps the construction phase underway in time for next years provincial election.

The Daily News provided a front page headline story in Monday's paper, providing some background on Campbell's surprise announcement of last week.

Province says it will go forward with plan to run power lines along Highway 37
By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Monday, September 29, 2008
Pages one and three

The Northwest Transmission Line was jolted back into the land of the living on Friday.
Premier Gordon Campbell announced that the proposed Northwest Transmission Line will move forward after all, and said that the proposed line, which would run alongside Highway 37, would receive a $10 million environmental assessment immediately.

"The electrification of Highway 37 is an important part of the ongoing economic diversification of rural B.C.," said Campbell.

Campbell made the announcement at the annual Union of British Columbia Municipalities, where local political leaders had gathered to discuss municipal issues.

Potentially, this could be a boon to mining industry in B.C. because many possible projects around the area would not have gone ahead without the transmission line, according to the Mining Association of B.C. (MABC)

"It helps our industry to do its work to allow projects to proceed. It provides them with more certainty," said Pierre Gratton of the MABC.

"One does not want to prejudge the outcome of an environmental assessment and consultation with First Nations is critical in all of this. The Tahltan, for example, have serious concerns. They are supportive in principal but they have not made their mind up by any stretch," added Gratton.

According to the report released by the MABC, the line could provide up to 11,000 jobs, potentially $15 billion in Northwest investment and generate $300 million in annual tax revenue.

Minister of Energy, Mines and Resource Richard Neufeld said that the MABC report was the key in returning the project to the forefront.

"The reports were talking about some pretty big opportunities so we said let's get on with it and get it done and see what happens," said Neufeld of the push for an environmental assessment.
The transmission line would snake its way up through Nisga'a and Tahltan territory and would extend the North American power grid in northwestern BC to the "Golden Triangle", north of Meziadin Junction along Highway 37, through Iskut to Dease Lake, a total distance of about 350 km.

"It's good news,' said Bill Adsit, head of the Tahltan Development Corp. "For people who are looking for jobs, yes, it's good - you can't ask for better news."

The provincial government originally stepped away from the project in November when NovaGold and Teck Cominco suspended the Galore Creek project. The mining companies claimed rising labour and materials costs and expenses related to a tailings pond drove the projected cost up from $2 billion to as much as $5 billion. To date the two companies have spent approximately $660 million on access roads and infrastructure.

Adsit thinks the reason the B.C. government has returned to the project is because interested stakeholders were able to push the government back to the table by insisting the province push forward with an environmental assessment.

"Anything to stimulate jobs in the north and economic development in the north, especially for First Nations then that is welcome," said North Coast MLA Gary Coons.

Initially the NDP have backed the project but Coons said that there are still issues that must be resolved over voltage size and First Nations consultation.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Stock drop of over one point, for every billion dollars requested (and refused)

777.68 in the decline, that was the precipitous drop of the Dow Jones index by the end of trading on Monday afternoon. Not to be left out of the fun, the TSE index itself retreated some 840.93 points, the largest drop in eight years, letting Toronto share Wall Street's Monday Meltdown horrors with Bay Street and beyond.

The decline was spurred on by the failure of Congress to pass that 700 billion dollar bail out request from President George Bush. A political tsunami that washed over from Washington and through Wall Street, leaving the American political scene mired in acrimonious finger pointing once again, a lame duck President seemingly with no political capital left with his own party and a financial market teetering it seems on the cusp of complete panic.

As the vote progressed in the House it became quickly clear that the Republicans were not going to deliver the required number of votes to inject that 700 billion dollars of monetary relief to the struggling American fiancial system.

With each vote moving to the Nay side of the House, the immediate effect was another tumble in the stock market, leaving the commentators to marvel in a form of horror as the stock market appeared to be heading into meltdown territory.

As the final hour of trading got underway heading for that final figure of a downward slide of 777.67 points on the day, the realization became clear of the political chasm that exists between Democrats and Republicans, and more importantly between Republicans and their own President which seems to have grown wider and wider with each passing day since last weeks address to the Nation.

Republicans seem to forget that it was their President who brought forward this package, using a prime time television address last week to advise that dire consequences were ahead if it did not pass. It was their nominee for the Presidency this year, who suspended his campaign with much drama last week, all in a bid to get the job done. And yet, here we are, the bill was rejected and the financial markets sit upon a precipice.

The Republicans seemed to suggest that an intervention today by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, caused the Republican revolt, a most disturbing thought that some words perceived as too partisan, would be enough to take down the nation's economic standing.
Perhaps the recalcitrant Republicans should borrow a page from their nominee for President and "put country first."
Of course some commentators are of the opinion that is exactly what they did today, Lou Dobbs on CNN in particular putting forward the theory that the denial of the bail out was a triumph for the nation and to a degree a return to basic capitalism.

All eyes now turn towards the Asian Markets and then Europe which will react to Monday’s meltdown on Wall Street. Even before the drama on Wall Street on Monday, European governments had been busy with guarantees and bail outs of financial institutions of their own,

Once a rock this large starts rolling down a mountain, it’s hard to stop. For the US economy and the world economy the rock picked up some speed today and could very well crush everything and everyone that gets in its way.

When historians look back on September 29, 2008 one wonders if they will remember a day where politics unravelled an economic system, leaving a nation changed for a generation, or if the events of today were but yet another hiccup in what seems to be a long running and apparently unsolveable crisis of confidence in both financial and political institutions.

New York Times-- Trying to Avoid Economic Calamity, Lawmakers Grope for Resolution
New York Times-- What’s Worse Than a Flawed Bailout?
New York Times-- The 3 A.M. Call
New York Times-- OK, we are a banana republic
New York Times-- Shades of Newt Gingrich: Don’t Snub Those Republicans … Or the Nation WILL Suffer
New York Times-- Authorities Aid Banks in Europe
New York Sun-- Markets Tumble as Bailout Fails
Wall Street Journal-- Bailout Plan Rejected, Markets Plunge, Forcing New Scramble to Solve Crisis
Wall Street Journal-- 'No' Votes Came From All Directions
Wall Street Journal-- Dysfunction in Washington Exacts a Heavy Price
Wall Street Journal-- The Depression of 2008? Don't Count on It
Wall Street Journal-- How Voter Fury Stopped Bailout
MSNBC-- Bailout failure throws banks into disarray
MSNBC-- Bailout vote stuns Washington, markets
MSNBC-- Stocks plunge after bailout bill fails in House
MSNBC-- Asian markets fall sharply at opening
CNN-- Bailout plan rejected - supporters scramble
CNN-- Lawmakers quickly point fingers after bailout fails
CNN-- Stocks crushed
CNN-- Without a Bailout Plan, What Will the Cost Be?
Fox News-- House of Representatives Rejects $700B Bank Rescue Package
Fox News-- Bleeding Red: Dow Dives 778 on Rescue Vote
Fox News-- Why It Was Tough to Vote for the $700B Rescue Plan
CNBC-- What Went Wrong -- Forces Lined Up Against Bailout
CNBC-- Congress Should Stop Pointing Fingers and Do Something
CNBC-- Congress Vows New Effort To Approve Bailout Plan
CNBC-- Dow to Slump Below 10,000 on Rich Man's Panic
Globe and Mail-- Bailout woes signal rocky path for McCain, Obama
Globe and Mail-- Black Monday revisited
Globe and Mail-- Oil slides $10 a barrel
Globe and Mail-- Bailout fails. What's next?
National Post-- Fear sweeps markets as U.S. bailout fails
National Post-- Partisan bickering kills bailout deal
National Post-- Washington puts the world on the ledge
National Post-- Financial markets go up and down as they should
National Post-- Hunker down: It's going to get uglier
National Post-- Cash is king: Folk
National Post-- Harper says ready to "help" in financial crisis
National Post-- Europe may be living in denial
National Post-- Gut check time

Podunkian Music Club Sept 29 2008

Marvin Hamlisch-- The Entertainer

We take a detour on our musical selection today, pausing to remember the career of one of Hollywood's great actors of our time.

Paul Newman passed away over the weekend at the age of 83, a master of his roles over the many decades of his illustrious career and a larger than life presence who had the greatest in humility.

While he has been recognized many times over for his acting career and justifiably so. One also must look at his off screen life and his quiet dedication to making the world a better place. His many humanitarian projects and advocacy for children and the disadvantaged as well as his attachment to social issues, were the badges of honour he would carry as one described as a Hollywood liberal.

The obituaries have been many and universally effusive in their praise for his acting talents and tellingly even more for his civility and humanitarian spirit.

From the You Tube universe we discovered this effort which takes snippets from some of his many efforts over the years, put to the music of Marvin Hamlisch, who provided one of the most memorable songs from The Sting.

In this video, the soundtrack of The Sting provides the musical accompaniment to the long career of Paul Newman and highlights that on screen partnership between Newman and Robert Redford, a combination that always seemed to provide an on screen chemistry that seemed to reach beyond the movie screen.

Any number of songs related to many of Newman's past works could have been our choice in our remembrance, but we bow to a sentimental favourite and went with the theme from The Sting, a movie which highlighted Newman at his best and seemed to enhance his partnership with Redford quite well.

Indeed, when you think of an entertainer, one of the first names you would come up with would be Paul Newman, as they say he was a Hollywood legend and an American original...

Artist-- Marvin Hamlisch
Recording-- Theme from the Motion picture the Sting

Biography of Paul Newman
New York Times Obituary of Paul Newman