Sunday, June 14, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead, Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday's Daily News featured details of how the MLA for the Northcoast expressed his disappointment with the new Liberal cabinet, the NWCC herons get another review and a reminder for concerned parents of next week's gathering of School District 52 on potential changes to the school system in Prince Rupert.

COONS SLAMS NEW CABINET-- North Coast MLA Gary Coons grabs front page, headline status as he expresses his disappointment with the size of and choices made to the Liberal government cabinet. (see story below)

The NWCC Heron project gets some more publicity as the Friday edition outlines the latest happenings of our Moresby Park Herons, the local college and its Applied Coastal Ecology program have been hosting a video video transmission of some hatching Blue Herons. A story which our Podunkian blog highlighted back on June 4th.

With School District 52 weighing its options, the public is invited to next session of School District this coming Tuesday night at 7 pm when the issue of whether to move to a middle school system and close Prince Rupert Secondary School will be up for debate. It's one of a number of options that the School District will have on the table for parents to consider, some of which will result in eventual school closures and transfer of programs.

It's anticipated that Tuesday will be an emotional night as parents, teachers, students and school officials all express their thoughts on the issue and what they believe is the best path ahead for the School District.

The Sports section features a review of the Athletic success of local High School athletes with a listing of the various award winners and biographies of some of the high profiles student athletes.

Total pages for Friday's paper 16

Front page, headline story:

By George T. Baker
Prince Rupert Daily News
Friday, June 12, 2009
Page one

Going from regular to supersized in the provincial cabinet, the BC Liberals are increasing the amount of ministers working under Premier Gordon Campbell.

And that isn't sitting well with North Coast MIA Gary Coons.

Coons is criticizing what he believes to be a free-spending premier at a time when the provincial government is looking at a potential increase in the province's deficit.

"It's ludicrous that Campbell is exponentially expanding the size of cabinet when British Columbians are tightening their belts," said Coons. "This spending spree for his cabinet suggests that his government really doesn't understand what British Columbians are going through."

The provincial cabinet grew by four ministers. There will now be 24 ministers, up from 20 that served their post back in April. Campbell said his new cabinet will tackle the tough economy with zeal and ensure the province takes advantage of the 2010 Olympics.

"Three billion people will be introduced to B.C.," he said. "1 want those three billion viewers to feel the indomitable spirit of British Colurnbians."

In addition to the increase, Campbell shuffled his cabinet, moving Kevin Falcon from his longtime post as transportation minister to health, George Abbott from health to aboriginal relations, and Shirley Bond from education to transportation.

All three ministers have gone head to head with the North Coast representative over the past four years, and Coons did not sound like he was about to back down over the next four.

"I believe that Falcons appointment is just a sign of huge cuts to our vital health services, and he will toe the line when budgets are slashed," said Coons. "We all remember that Falcon is the guy who said 'boo hoo' in the legislature about both ferry prices affecting coastal residents and forestry communities being devastated.

"Unfortunately for British Columbians, I believe that the 'minister of misery' will do a great job for the premier."

Campbell's liberals were elected to a third-straight mandate last month, winning 49 of 85 seats.

"This is a fresh cabinet for positive change," he said. "They are all proven leaders who are undaunted by the difficult tasks and excited by our agenda for a stronger B.C.

"The journey ahead may be arduous but we have begun."

NDP and opposition leader Carole James said her party would hold the BC liberals accountable.

James said the premier should start by tabling an honest economic and fiscal update and keeping his election pledge to protect vital public services, like health-care and education.

“She said that the New Democrats will hold the premier and his expanded cabinet accountable if they break their election promise and for hiding the true state of B. C’s finances during the campaign.

“Premier Campbell made two fundamental commitments in the election to protect health care and education and to keep B.C.’s deficit to $495 million,” said James. “Now that the election is over, both promises appear to be bogus. The deficit is much higher than the premier said it was, and health budget shortfalls are threatening basic patient care.”

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