Thursday, June 11, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead, Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Communities come together to express concern over the Enbridge pipeline plan, slim pickings on the job search for local students and the City suggests it's wellness program is cutting down on vandalism. Some of the highlights of the Wednesday Daily News.

ENERGY SUMMIT OPPOSES PROJECT -- A weekend meeting in Moricetown, brought together a number of First Nations officials from across Northern BC, all seemingly united in their concern over the proposed Enbridge pipeline project (see story below)

Local students are just starting to seek out those summer jobs that help to pay for college or university tuition, but when they do start knocking on those doors they may find that their chances of landing a job are shrinking. Local employment officials and youth advisers agree that the current recessionary times and dwindling opportunities of the coastal fishing industry are contributing to harder to find opportunities on the North coast. The local Service Canada office is hoping to attract more job postings to their student listings this summer, for the moment they remind students that they offer many programs and can provide much in the way of information to help with the job search. The youth employment office in town is kicking off Hire a Student week this week, which in reality is a two week period dedicated to getting the message out about youth employment.

It's been just over a year since the City adopted a Wellness program for city workers which allows for full time managers and employees to make use of the city's recreation facilities, a controversial decision at the time that still rankles a few citizens one year later.

On Monday the City's recreation director Michael Curnes updated council about the program and suggested that the program has worked as designed in the way of reducing the amount of vandalism at city owned properties. A viewpoint that has apparently been shared by a couple of the city's councillors including Councillor Anna Ashley. And it would seem that Mr. Curnes has provided the feedback that council wanted to hear. When it came time to vote on retaining the wellness program, only Councillor Garon and Mayor Jack Mussallem voted against the project.

The sports section on Wednesday featured a preview of the upcoming Seafest four on four ball hockey tournament as well as a preview of the upcoming Ladies Jubilee tournament.

The Wednesday paper also had the weekly City Council voting list, an update on some of the issues of the Monday night council meeting, which we will provide on our Council review post.

Total pages in the Wednesday edition (14)

Front page, headline story:

By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Pages one and eight

Last weekend Moricetown played host to a Northern Energy Summit, a two-day event held by the Wet'suwet’en nation that discussed he future of northern energy programs and the involvement of First Nations in that process.

The focus was clearly on the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project that would traverse he north along much of Highway 16.

"This energy summit was a reminder that the tar sands affect us all- from Fort Chipewan to Haida Gwaii and beyond.

"We can only protect our lands and waters if we stand together," said Wet'suwet'en hereditary chief Alphonse Gagnon.

A resolution was passed that stated the 200 in attendance were opposed to the project based on grounds of health and marine risks stemming from transporting oil from Alberta to Asia and California.

The Pipeline

• The 1.170-kilometre pipeline is proposed to carry oil from the Alberta oil sands to Kitimat, where it will be exported to regions like Asia and California. A twin pipeline will carry condensate, an oil thinner; back to the Alberta. The idea behind tile project is to create an offshore export outlet for oil produced from the Alberta-tar sands. which normally flows south to the interior of the United States.

Nations present included Mikisew Cree (Alta.), Kelly Lake Cree (B.c.), West Moberly (B.C.), Nadleh Whut'en (B.C.), Wet'suwet'en (B.C.), Kitkatla,(B.C.), Gitga'at (B.C.), Haida (B.C.), Nisga'a (B.C.), Lake Babine (B.C.), Alexander (Alta.) and others. A letter of support from the Gitxsan was read at the event.

George Poitras travelled to the event from Fort Chipewan, an Alberta community downstream from the tar sands, to share the devastating impacts the development has had on his community.

This included a high incidence of rare cancers.

"The situation downstream from the tar sands is so toxic that one of our elders told his son not to have children because everything is so polluted and our people can no longer drink the water or eat the fish," said Poitras.

Representatives of coastal First Nations reiterated their strong opposition to oil tanker traffic in coastal waters.

"The tycoons expect to further spread the tar sands poison, putting their lavish desires before our lifestyles and our culture," said Guujaaw. President of the Council of the Haida Nation.

"We depend on these lands and waters and we will not put the safety and well being of our territories in their hands."

MLAs Doug Donaldson (Stikine), Gary Coons (North Coast) and Robin Austin (Skeena) also attended the event. Member of Parliament Nathan Cullen (Skeena - Bulkley Valley) noted the event in the House of Commons on Friday.

Over 500 residents have endorsed a resolution calling for a moratorium on the transport of tar sands oil and a full public inquiry into the proposed pipeline. "We stand together in supporting a moratorium on the transport of tar sands oil through our territories and communities," reads the resolution.

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