Friday, July 03, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead, Tuesday, June 30, 2009

With no copy of the Monday edition ever making it to the delivery stage, and our search for a copy of the hard to find missing Tuesday edition of the Daily News finally successful, it's on with the archive.

Grads make the grade at Charles Hays, an explanation of sorts for disappearing papers, Mr. Veniez is removed, and the Port stays the course at it's AGM, some of the highlights of the shrunken edition of the Tuesday Daily News.

HURRICANE GRADUATES LOOK TO THE FUTURE-- Charles Hays wished their graduates well with a celebration at the Performing Arts Centre last Thursday, the Daily News outlined the details of the CHSS Graduation ceremony as the front page, headline story. (see article below)

There were not details as to why the Monday paper never made it to print, nor why the Tuesday paper shrunk in width, but at least an apology for the recent troubles of the Daily print media was offered up on the front page. "Due to unforseen, circumstances, Monday's paper was delayed in printing. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused."

Mr. Veniez's departure from Ridley Terminals also made the news cycle in Tuesday's edition, as outlined on the blog last week, Mr. Veniez was removed from his duties by the Minister of Transport, to be replaced by Bud Smith, the former BC Social Credit cabinet minister of the 1990's.

The Daily News rehashed much of what has been outlined by other media sources, while at the same time providing Mr. Veniez with the opportunity to polish his brass a little bit, though they did introduce a correspondence from Minister of State for Transport, Rob Merrifield into the background file, which more or less outlines the governments concern over Mr. Veniez's recent efforts. (see below)

The Port of Prince Rupert held its Annual General Meeting featuring generally positive news about the state of the Port these days, though caution was outlined over expecting a fast developing situation over the Canpotex Terminal. The Saskatchewan based fertilizer corporation is currently weighing its options, whether to build a new terminal at Ridley island, expand it's Vancouver terminal or proceed ahead with both plans.

The introduction of containerization in Prince Rupert and its impact on the west coast ports was outlined, as well as a review of the remuneration of top officials at the Port was provided. Executive salaries at the Port increased by $293,414 with President and CEO Don Krusel moving upwards in the tax brackets, gaining at $71,821 increase, bringing his pay package to$327,399 for 2008.

The participants and victors at the Vic Marion Tournament were highlighted on the sports pages, as the past weekend of golfing was reviewed.

Total pages for the Tuesday edition (12)

By Patrick Witwicki

Tuesday, June 30 ,2009
The Daily News
Pages one and Five

Charles Hays 2009 graduates enjoy their day in the spotlight.

Valedictorian Alex de la Nuez referred to the Charles Hays Secondary School graduating class of 2009 as "it may be the smallest, but I think it's the best."

The community attended the grad ceremony at the Lester Centre Thursday afternoon as a total of 65 Hurricanes received their diplomas. There were fist-pumps, a surprise kiss or two on the principal's cheek ... and even a back flip for good measure.

Principal Sandra Jones agreed with de Ia Nuez that the 2009 class was something special.

"When I start thinking about what to say, I usually find a hook," she said. "This year, upon reflection, I want to remember you as relaxed, funny, and great human beings ... and you can't beat that."

Teresa Lowther, on behalf of Aboriginal Education, added:

"Continue your hard work and continue to show respect for yourselves. Best of luck to all of you.

Mayor Jack Mussallem and MLA Gary Coons were also on-hand for ceremony.

"You should take pride in what you've accomplished," said Coons. "You can't imagine how relived your parents are right now."

But the biggest cheer of the night was reserved for special keynote speaker Rosalind Holkestad, who was very popular during her tenure at Charles Hays before moving to Kamloops last summer to join the staff at Thompson River University (TRU).

"Thank you for asking me back to represent you here," she said.

"Before I left Charles Hays, you were like my second home."

She said that always wanting to succeed and enhance a career is important, and she believes the path she took is one many Hurricane grads could follow.

"Hard work, determination, and perseverance really pays off," she said.

"Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth.

"You guys rock"

The grad ceremony for PRSS was held back in May.

Veniez relieved of his duties
By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Tuesday, June 29, 2009
Pages one and two

Four days after signing an historic agreement with the Coast Tsimshian Ridley Terminal Inc. chairman, Dan Veniez, was given the boot by the federal government.

Veniez, who had made much noise about privatizing the coal firm in the. last two months, was let go because the: federal government said he was not acting within his mandate at RTI.

The federal government was not, amused. ,

In a June 5 letter obtained by the Daily News, the Minister of State for Transport, Rob Merrifield, said that:

"I note that you have been pursuing a corporate strategy and debating options for the future of Ridley Terminals Inc. in a manner that appears to be inconsistent with the government's expectations of your role as Chair.

"I am considering making a recommendation to the Governor in Council that your appointment as Chair at Ridley Terminals Inc. be terminated immediately.

However, before I decide whether or not to make the recommendation, I am prepared to hear from you."

The minister chastised Veniez for participating in a public debate.

Veniez in return, with respect to the part of Merrifield's letter where he mentions RTI's engagement in a "public debate" on the future of RTI, said that Merrifield should be aware that "at no time have we initiated such as public discussion."

"It has always been my goal as Chairman of this company to do its shareholder - the people of Canada - proud. My colleagues - past and present - can attest to that in the most personal of terms.

"The company today is in significantly better shape on a multitude of levels than it was when I was first appointed in November 2007," said Veniez.

Merrifield responded and said that unless Veniez resigned by June 23 he would recommend that he be terminated from his position.

Veniez, of course, was in town as the head of RTI on June 25 for the official singing of the Coast Tsimshian agreement.

It's been a strange two months for Veniez and RTI.

Veniez was posted to the position of Chariman back in 2006 by then Minister for Transport, Lawrence Cannon.

At the time, the press release said that he was not there to privatize the company.

According to the 2008 financial statements, the federal government has already spent $400 million on maintenance and upgrades on the facility since it opened in 1983 at a cost then of $250 million.

Veniez thought he could privatize the firm for $131 million, a significant loss from the taxpayer investment, but Veniez believed that the next round of upgrades would cost $250 million.

That created reaction from the North as MPs Jay Hill and Nathan Cullen both sided with each other over the notion that privatization would harm the coal industry,

Municipal leaders across the region also voiced their displeasure with the idea. Prince Rupert Mayor Jack Mussallem said that, "Everybody within the coal-catchments area, thinks there is a concern that if it goes to a private company, there could be a monopoly situation and that some would be allowed to ship and some would not."

The Liberals in 2005 tried to sell the firm for $3 million in a simple move to offload it but the Conservative government quashed deal when it came to power in 2006.

Veniez was not sure what his firing means to the Coast Tsimshian-RTI opportunities agreement signed last week. He was the one who orchestrated the deal and felt at the time it offered North Coast First Nations economic opportunities in jobs and service contracts. Is the deal null and void?

"I sure hope not," responded Veniez in an email.

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