Thursday, September 10, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead, Thursday, September 10, 2009

Election fever it's not, another attempt to automate West Coast lighthouses, the School District tries again to formulate a plan for PRSS and the introduction of a middle school and Mayor Mussallem updates us on the latest developments with Sun Wave and offers up the prospect of future employment in aquaculture. Some of the items of note in the news cycle for Thursday

NOBODY WANTS ANOTHER ELECTION, ELECTION, ELECTION...-- The apparent rush for Michael Ignatieff to force another election isn't resonating well with local residents in Prince Rupert as a front page review of the political climate outlines (see story here PG Citizen Link)

It's take two for School District 52, as they begin once again the process of consultation and discussion on the fate of PRSS and provide a reintroduction of the prospect of a middle school for Prince Rupert (see story here PG Citizen Link)

Controversy flared up at Port Edward Council as councillor Knut Bjorndal turned back a few pages of the calendar to August as he outlined his concerns about the minutes of the August 11th meeting and reiterated his concerns over what he believes is a possible conflict of interest concerning Port Edward Mayor Dave McDonald when it comes to his position with the Harbour Authority Board (see story here PG Citizen link)

The debate over the automation of lighthouses comes around again as the Coast Guard announced it's desire to see the West coast lighthouses as well as those on Newfoundland turned into automated stations, a move that is being vigorously opposed by the Lightkeepers union in the PSAC (see story here PG Citizen link)

The Sports section previewed some upcoming events on the local golf calendar.

NORTHERN VIEW, Website Extra
Prince Rupert mayor updates Sun Wave status, speaks of new business-- The Mayor outlines the latest developments on the Sun Wave file and floats the prospect of a new development on the waterfront in the form of an aquaculture project (see story here)

Nobody wants another election, election, election...
By George T. Baker
Prince Rupert Daily News
Thursday, September 10, 2009

PRINCE RUPERT -- The collective eye-roll was visible in Tim Horton’s Tuesday.

As politicos in Ottawa get ready for a fifth election in nine years, the tone in Prince Rupert was, “why again?”.

Or “Oh God,” as Charles Justice put it.

Justice, like many Rupertites, was grabbing a sandwich and coffee at the unofficial Prince Rupert community hall. He echoed the rather unsupportive sentiments, saying that it was not time for an election. Many interviewed wondered why opposition parties seemed inclined to spend tax payer dollars on another election at a time when funds could be used more purposefully.

Married to a Canadian, Candace Vanderbeek felt that this was all a joke. An American citizen without the right to vote in Canada, yet, she said that to an outsider the whole Canadian federal system seemed strange.

“The [Conservative] government has not had the time to get its foot in the door,” said Vanderbeek.

Outside the Doughnut Mecca, Buzz Newell was unhappy about the potential election.

“We’ll get another minority government, so why would they do that?” asked Newell.

The reason is because the federal parliament does not have fixed term dates like the provincial and municipal governments do in British Columbia. Whenever a political party with enough seats assumes there is an advantage, they can pull the plug on a parliament.

The federal Liberals currently do not have enough seats, but for the Conservatives to keep on governing in 2009 they would need help from either the NDP or the Bloc Quebecoise.

According to Canadian Press, the Bloc is already positioning themselves for another electoral go around.

But Canadians appear to believe that now is clearly not the time.

A Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey also suggests Liberal fortunes have dipped, with the Conservatives taking a slight lead nationally - 34 per cent to 31.

The NDP was at 15 per cent, the Greens at 10, and the Bloc Quebecois at eight.

The Liberals briefly enjoyed a small lead last spring, which abruptly vanished when Ignatieff flirted with the idea of forcing a summer election. They then rebounded somewhat, spending most of the summer stuck in a statistical tie with the Tories.

But renewed election-mongering from Ignatieff last week appears to have cost the party - and its leader - once again.

According to the survey, 50 per cent of respondents thought Ignatieff was wrong to declare his party will no longer prop up Stephen Harper’s minority Conservative government. Only 38 per cent thought he was right. An overwhelming 73 per cent said an election is not needed this fall; only 21 per cent thought it necessary.

And while the NDP could be a last ditch solution, the New Democrats want improvements to pensions, employment insurance eligibility requirements, credit card interest rates and ATM fees - areas where the Conservatives find little common ground.

Elections, of course, aren’t free. The average cost of the past three elections is $300 million. It’s a total that could be used in more effective ways for Canadians, said Myles Moreau.

“I don’t know if it’s the right thing to do when we have so many problems economically. But if the other parties think it’s a good idea, I would vote,” said Moreau.

Everyone interviewed by the Daily News said they were going to vote if given the opportunity, wanted or not.

“I always vote. You can’t complain if you don’t vote,” reminded Peter Haugen.

Voter turnout in British Columbia last year was 61 per cent. But the federal election was at its lowest since confederation, with a turnout of 59.1 per cent.

Tending the cash till at King Koin, owner Joe Gaber normally has an ear on what locals and visiting tourists have to say. Gaber said no one is saying it’s a good time for a vote.

“Almost everyone I’ve talked to - about 85 per cent - think it’s a waste of money. The only thing that would change is that people will have a short-term job [working in the Elections Canada office]. No one wants a part of this,” said Gaber.

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