Saturday, October 31, 2009

It's the economy (October 31, 2009)

CAW kills a plant to save a plant, concerns over a potential air strike at British Airways, pop up stores pop up in the economy, some of the items of note for Saturday.

Globe and Mail-- CAW agrees to cuts as Ford closes plant
Globe and Mail-- Easy credit, soaring prices raise new housing fears
Globe and Mail-- Size does matter ... for funds
USA Today-- Pop-up stores help fill mall space during economic slump
USA Today-- Toy salesman gets 3 months in jail in UBS tax probe
Telegraph UK online-- Utility companies compete for £100bn wind farm prize
Telegraph UK online-- Paul Deighton and David Higgins: two men with 1,000 days left to deliver the London Olympics
Telegraph UK online-- BA faces record losses as winter strikes loom
Telegraph UK online-- High street banks to be broken up
Brisbane Times-- Austrade named in bank bribe scandal
Brisbane Times-- Christmas tills ready to jingle
Victoria Herald Sun-- BHP's big deal appetite
Victoria Herald Sun-- Group pays effective rate of 6.7%
Sydney Morning Herald-- Newspaper veteran spots niche for a new buy-and-sell
People's Daily on line-- Macao's trade deficit widens by 3.9% in first 9 months
People's Daily on line-- Fall in China's 2009 foreign trade to be lower than 20%: ministry
The Times of India-- Prospecting licence for diamond mining to RIL subsidiary
The Times of India-- ATF fuel prices hiked by Rs 3,400

Happy Halloween!!!

As the goblins and Ghouls make their preparations to knock on your door this evening, some helpful route planning advice for the trick or treaters on this Halloween eve, there's a Big House you may want to take a pass on this year...

It seems that the homeowner isn't too keen about this whole tradition of ours...

So while you may skip by that particular gate, beware of the zombies, ghosts and ghouls that travel along those same roads as you...

Friday, October 30, 2009

It's the economy (October 30, 2009)

The slowing dollar is well received in Ottawa, A spooky day for the stock markets, and the UK fears for its direction, some of the items of note for Friday.

Globe and Mail-- The close: Let down by October
Globe and Mail-- Domtar scores big ‘black liquor' tax credit
Globe and Mail-- Why world's post offices are ailing
National Post-- TSX hit hard by disappointing economic news
National Post-- Ottawa sighs relief as loonie rise pauses
National Post-- National Post will be transferred to Canwest's publishing arm
New York Times-- Stocks Tumble on Consumer Weakness; Dow Down 2.5%
New York Times-- China Opens Nasdaq-like Exchange in Shenzhen
USA Today-- White House: 650K jobs saved in new stimulus report
USA Today-- Stocks plunge as worries mount about recovery
Guardian online UK-- Unite threatens British Airways with legal action over new contracts
Guardian online UK-- RBS must sell insurance arm as price of government aid
Times on line UK-- Out of recession, but US is not out of the woods yet
Times on line UK-- More trouble ahead for mortgage market
Times on line UK-- Engine room of world economy returns to growth as American GDP rise tops forecasts
Telegraph UK online-- BP fined record $87m for 'life-threatening' safety failings
Telegraph UK online-- This recession means we are sliding towards the developing nations
Telegraph UK online-- Recovery fears return to haunt markets on eve of Hallowe'en
Telegraph UK online-- Postal strikes: union announces two all-out strikes despite talks progress
Brisbane Times-- Growth slow but sure, says Tatts
Brisbane Times-- No relief for first-time buyers as house prices to keep rising
Victoria Herald Sun-- China granted slice of Aquila
Victoria Herald Sun-- BHP signals more major projects
People's Daily on line-- Watchdog warns banks on rising liquidity risk
People's Daily on line-- All stocks trigger suspensions on China's Nasdaq-style board under price-rise rules on first day
The Times of India-- 'Exiting stimulus after growth review in Q2, Q3'
The Times of India-- India recovery hinges on rich economies: Pranab

We can get there from here, but we'll do it slowly.

As we head into the November storm season, the perils and occasional inconvenience of life along Highway 16 once again have struck.

A rock slide 4 kilometres west of Terrace has closed the only highway link between Prince Rupert and the east earlier this morning.

The slide which took place at around 3:20 am and is located in the same area as the one that closed the highway last winter, however this one has not affected the CN main line along the Skeena. A transport truck was apparently stuck in the path of the slide, but there are no injuries reported from that incident.

Highway officials are investigating the scene, checking the stability of the rock face and cleaning up the existing debris, the highway has been reduced to one lane, with alternating traffic, delays of up to thirty minutes are expected while that clean up continues.

You can find updated information on the Drive BC site.

Terrace Standard-- Workers determine stability of rock slide area
Terrace online daily-- Highway 16 RCMP update 9:30 am
Update 10:54 AM: Closed in both directions 4 km west of Terrace because of Rock Slide. Updated on Fri Oct 30 at 10:54 am.
Update: 12:51 PM: Rock Slide 4 km west of Terrace. The road is reduced to single lane alternating traffic with up to 20 minutes delay. Updated on Fri Oct 30 at 12:51 pm.
Update: Saturday, October 31, 12:42 PM: Rock Slide 4 km west of Terrace. The road is reduced to single lane alternating traffic with up to 20 minutes delay. Updated on Sat Oct 31 at 12:42 pm.

Quest with Fire

Canada’s Olympic experience is officially underway, as the Olympic torch touched down in Victoria at 8:45 this morning.

The flame which made the journey from Greece to Victoria, by way of Iceland (refuelling has its importance you know) now begins its journey across Canada.

The torch relay got a tad behind schedule owing to Greek departure rules and strong headwinds faced by the Canadian Forces plane along the way, it arrived fashionably late landing at Victoria International airport this morning, about an hour or so later than planned.
After a short welcoming ceremony attended by the Prime Minister, Premier and other officials it was destined for the Legislature for its official welcoming to Canada, it then will spend the next four days touring communities around Vancouver Island.

On Day five, November 3rd the flame arrives on the Queen Charlottes/Haida Gwaii, with stops planned in Sandspit, Skidegate and Queen Charlotte City, from its stop on the islands its off to Canada’s North, where the journey continues from Atlin, Whitehorse, Taku River and Kwanlin Dun.

Day six begins the move east as the flame travels the Yukon and Northwest Territories.

We don’t see it back in British Columbia until January 21st, day 95 of the relay, when it arrives in Golden, and begins the tour of the Okanagan and on through the Interior.

The Northwest will have its time with the torch relay beginning on February 1st when the flame arrives in New Aiyansh, Kitimat, Haisla Terrace and Kitsumkalum.

Then it’s along Highway 16 and the road to Rupert, with a celebration planned for the city upon the flames arrival.

Eleven days later, Day 106 of the relay, the torch arrives at BC Place Stadium and the official opening of the 2010 Olympic Games.

The Olympic committee has a webpage dedicated to the torch relay, providing stories, video and photos commemorating the cross Canada journey that will see the flame arrive in more than 1,000 towns, cities and hamlets from coast to coast to coast, before it arrives at BC Place and lights the giant torch that will act as the beacon for Vancouver's Olympic year .

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Responding to a constituents needs can be a dangerous thing

It's one thing to be a political fighter, but to have to actually throw a few punches on the side of the road probably isn't in the MLA manual.

Saskatchewan Party MLA Lyle Stewart began Thursday like any other day, heading off in his car to do the people's work at the Saskatchewan Legislature.

On his way to the pursuit of good governance however, things went a little off the rails when he pulled over to assist what he believed to be was a man with a truck stalled off the road in a ditch.

As he got out of his car to lend assistance the man that Stewart thought was an injured driver turned on the MLA, threatening the use of a knife and eventually attacking him with a pen while attempting to gain control of the car. As the 58 year old MLA battled the man for control of his car, he managed to call the police on his cel phone, only to have them phone him back in the midst of the fight to confirm his story.

A thirty minute scrap finally ended with Stewart holding the attacker down on the ground until the police arrived to take him into custody.

In one of those little ironies of life, the now accused turns out to be a resident of Stewart's riding, one suspects that he won't be on the MLA Christmas card listings this upcoming festive season.

CBC Saskatchewan-- Sask. MLA fends off pen-wielding carjacker
Regina Leader Post-- Thunder Creek MLA Lyle Stewart subdues attacker in attempted carjacking near Regina

Podunk Below the Masthead, October 29, 2009

A closing addictions centre in Terrace raises questions about the provinces dedication to substance abuse issues, H1N1 arrives at a local school and winter driving conditions leave one dead in a highway fatality west of Terrace, some of the items of note for Thursday.

Daily News, Front page, headline story
CLOSEST YOUTH ADDICTIONS SHELTER CLOSING IN DECEMBER-- Northern Health's plans to close the Atlas Youth Addiction treatment facility have raised the ire of Gary Coons, the NDP MLA for the North Coast. He has spoken out about the closure, which came about as a result of cutbacks ordered by Northern Health in the Terrace area With the doors closing, some 650,000 dollars will be saved in the Northern Health budget for the Terrace area, but Coons and former Health Advisory Council member Tony Briglio wonder, if it is not indicative of a lack of dedication to the goal of solving substance abuse issues in the province.

Northern Health and School District 52 have confirmed the first reported case of the H1N1 virus in the city's schools, as we outlined on the blog yesterday, the School District has sent home letters to the parents of district schools updating the situation and offering advice on the course of action to follow in the home.

The Third Avenue Market may be on the move next season, that is if City Council agrees with the Salmonberry Trading Company society and its desire to relocate the cruise ship season market to either the courthouse area or Mariner's Park.

A brief notice from the RCMP was printed in the Thursday edition of the paper, outlining the background of the body found at the waterfront on Wednesday, advising that foul play did not result in the death of the male discovered at the Lightering Dock near Kwinitsa station. The paper advised that they would not be publishing any names out of respect for the family's privacy and asked that locals not phone them for that information.

The Sports page featured a review of the weekends PRMBA mid season tournament as well as a look at the Archery scene in the city.

(Daily News Archive Articles for October 29 )

The Northern View
More details on body found in Prince Rupert-- An update on the latest information released by the Prince Rupert RCMP regarding the body discovered at the Prince Rupert waterfront on Wednesday afternoon (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Single Vehicle Crash Near Terrace Claims Life-- Winter like driving conditions along Highway 16 resulted in a traffic fatality just west of Terrace on Thursday morning, causing the RCMP to remind drivers to have their cars equipped for the weather and to drive to the conditions of the day. (see article here)

CBC News British Columbia, Daybreak North
Kitimat Closure-- details on the closure of the Eurocan pulp mill in Kitimat, as Dennis Claire, General Manager for West Fraser's Eurocan operation and Mayor Joanne Monaghan offer some insight and background on the news delivered yesterday by West Fraser timber (listen to interview here)

CBC News British Columbia, Daybreak North
Schools versus Olympics-- Barry Pankhurst, Chair of Coast Mountain School District No. 82 discusses the challenges that his school District faces thanks to funding cuts and the impact that the Olympics may have played in those cuts (listen to interview here)

Daily News, Front page, headline story
Closest youth addictions shelter closing in December
By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Thursday, October 29, 2009

A plan by Northern Health to end the Atlas Youth Addiction treatment facility in Terrace has drawn the ire of local health advocates and North Coast MLA Gary Coons.

Atlas has served youth in the northwest region as the only youth addiction centre with six beds and is scheduled to close on December 31. Terrace Services Society has been operating it, but the contract was cancelled thee weeks ago.

The move was made to save $650,000, but Coons wondered what the long-term costs would be to not having a service close to home.

“They have cut the number of youth treatment beds in half in the north,” said Coons. “There were seven in Prince George and this had six.”

In the last five years, 475 young addicts have used the service and for some time it was not only limited to youth in the Northwest, but was made available to the entire

NH was ordered by the provincial Health Ministry to cut $14 million from its budget for next year. In response, the authority is cutting $1 million to its mental health budget, and the cutting of this facility will clear more than half of that budget decrease in one swoop.

“Any of these kids wanting or needing help, have to go to Prince George now,” said Coons. “We won’t even have it in our region. If your son and daughters are having difficulty they now have to go to Prince George. And we see what happens when we put people on the bus - they don’t get there.”

People looking for treatment in Prince Rupert are often asked to ride with the Northern Health bus service or take a Greyhound for the eight-hour drive to Prince George. Advocates have long argued that the distance between both communities is too long to help those who need help immediately.

One of those advocates is Tony Briglio, who once sat on the Local Health Advisory Council until it was disbanded by City Council earlier this year. Briglio said that the cancellation of this service makes him wonder if the provincial ministry or NH were committed at all to dealing with substance abuse problems in the province.

“The closing of this facility is a demonstration that they do not view addictions as a priority, but it is a priority number one for us,” said Briglio.

The communities of Lax Kwa’laams, Hartley Bay, Kitkatla, Metlakatla, Port Edward and Prince Rupert have all highlighted addiction services and treatment as their highest priority in their community-to-community deliberations.

According to a Health Canada report in 2005, the mean age for first time alcohol use is 10 years old, binge drinking 12-years old and most drugs 13-years old.

Briglio had been working on the community-to-community forum with First Nations partners in developing some sort of game plan for an addiction treatment facility for the North Coast until Briglio was defeated in last November’s municipal elections.

Consultation with NH representatives with Northern communities has consistently pointed to the need to have mental health and addictions services closer to home, which was echoed in a press release by NH.

In that release, NH CEO Cathy Ulrich said that the authority has been told this and added that the Nechako Treatment Centre in Prince George would offer that close to home program.

“We get a lot of rhetoric, we get the “make-do” stuff in that we’ll just make-do, but it’s not enough,’ chastised Briglio. “If we thought that Terrace was too far away, then where do we go now? If the beds are too full in Prince George do they go to Vancouver?”

Northern Health isn’t the only health authority making cuts in mental health services to save money.

The Vancouver Island Health Authority announced last week that it is reducing the number of caseworkers and hospital beds for the mentally ill, among other cuts designed to trim $45 million from this year’s budget.

That decision caused Victoria Police chief Jamie Graham to warn his officers that they will see more people in crisis on Victoria streets and they will be asked to do more as other agencies are cut back.

H1N1 outbreak in Kitimat closes Mount Elizabeth High School

40 percent of the student body of Mount Elizabeth High School have been home sick with the flu, and with such a large amount of the population stricken, the Superintendent of Schools for Kitimat has announced that the school will be closed for one week to keep watch on the progress of the illness.

The outbreak of the H1N1 virus in Kitimat, highlights the nature of the flu to spread quickly and would seem to be the first high school in B. C. to close for an extended period of time in this current wave of flu reports.

The School will not reopen until Wednesday, November 5th.

Northern Sentinel-- Kitimat high school closed over health concerns
CBC News-- Swine flu closes B.C. high school

Con-flusion, or how to put the panic into pandemic!

“We’re going to have less vaccine than we thought we were going to have,”-- Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall offering up some unexpected and rather disturbing news to The Vancouver Province

The Federal and provincial governments spent the better part of the summer reminding us about the H1N1 flu strain, the last month has seen the Canadian population overwhelmed by advisories and reports that it's vital that we should get both the H1N1 flu vaccine and the regular flu vaccine this flu season.

Now we get to the time of the year when we should all dutifully line up and get our shots, taking their advice to heart, refusing to give in to panic and offer some trust that the government knows what it's doing.

So, what do we hear today, that there is a major shortage of the flu vaccine and that the vaccine maker is falling far too short and far too behind schedule to meet the timetables that were set by the government not more than a week ago.

Vancouver Province-- Swine-flu vaccine shortage
Vancouver Province-- H1N1 vaccine supplies may run short, feds warn
Vancouver Sun-- B.C.'s H1N1 vaccine allotment reduced
Vancouver Sun-- Doctors' offices and walk-in clinics overwhelmed by H1N1 vaccine demands
National Post-- Clinics warned they will receive 'significantly less' H1N1 vaccine than expected
Globe and Mail-- Ottawa says provinces to get less flu vaccine than promised
CBC News-- Provinces get less H1N1 vaccine next week

To add some unintended levity for those of anxiously watching our neighbours as they sneeze and cough near us, Hedy Fry, the Liberal MP for Vancouver Centre offered up the suggestion that Parliament Hill should have its very own flu clinic.
We'll give her the benefit of the doubt that she spoke before this surprise shortage announcement was released, still it will no doubt be one of those great moments in Parliamentary speech making we are sure, ranking up there along the lines of Orwell's some animals are more equal than others.

Suddenly we get the feeling that perhaps our Government health officials aren 't as organized (or in Hedy's case as aware of the rest of us) as we were led to believe? The steady hand of organization that they were detailing a few weeks ago is rather quickly deteriorating into a fiasco of farcical nature.

Back here in the real world devoid of the politicians, one wonders where this leaves us all (the unwashed that we are), especially with the reported cases of the flu on the increase and the high season yet to come. This whole roll out seems to have been mis-handled from the get go, with confusing timetables and advisories as to who really should get the shot first, who is a priority and who isn't

Now it seems that the ongoing debate as to whether you should or should not get a flu shot may very well be moot in the short term, we wonder if the supplies will arrive in time to offer the protection we were told we needed, in time for us to need it?

City Council scoresheet for October 26, 2009

The Wednesday, October 28 edition of the Daily News featured their regular scorecard on city council issues, this one featuring the deliberations and votes from selected items of the October 13 session.
This weeks feature appeared on page three of the Wednesday edition, only Councillor Bedard was absent from the proceedings.

Question One: Council approved waving the facility and staff fees of $333.62 for the Skate with the Rampage on November 29 worth and $364.78 for the 2010 Annual Guns and Hoses Charity Hockey Game on January 30.
How council voted:

Mayor Jack Mussallem-- Yes
Councillor Anna Ashley-- Yes
Councillor Nelson Kinney-- Yes
Councillor Gina Garon-- Yes
Councillor Sheila Gordon-Payne Yes
Councillor Joy Thorkelson-- Yes
Councillor Kathy Bedard--Absent

Question Two: Council will send a letter to Honourable Kash Heed, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General protesting the increase from $500 to $1,000 per police officer for the Police Records Information Management Environment of British Columbia (PRIME-BC) effective January 1, 2010. Council received a letter from Minister Heed, dated September 22, 2009, and is disatisfied with the lack of consultation about the increase.

How council voted:

Mayor Jack Mussallem-- Yes
Councillor Anna Ashley-- Yes
Councillor Nelson Kinney-- Yes
Councillor Gina Garon-- Yes
Councillor Sheila Gordon-Payne-- Yes
Councillor Joy Thorkelson-- Yes
Councillor Kathy Bedard-- Absent

Question Three: Council adopted the 2010 Permissive Tax Exemption Bylaw No. 3287, 2009 totalling $456,214.87.

How council voted:

Mayor Jack Mussallem-- Yes
Councillor Anna Ashley-- Yes
Councillor Nelson Kinney-- Yes
Councillor Gina Garon-- Yes
Councillor Sheila Gordon-Payne-- Yes
Councillor Joy Thorkelson-- Yes
Councillor Kathy Bedard--Absent

Question Four: When the letters go out to the organizations that are being granted the tax exemption for 2009, the letters will notify people that the tax exemptions may not be forthcomiong for 2010 .

How council voted:

Mayor Jack Mussallem-- Yes
Councillor Anna Ashley-- Yes
Councillor Nelson Kinney-- Yes
Councillor Gina Garon-- Yes
Councillor Sheila Gordon-Payne-- Yes
Councillor Joy Thorkelson-- Yes
Councillor Kathy Bedard--Absent

Question Five: The two businessess that erected billboards on private land near the Port Edward bridge will be sent a second letter requesting that the billboards be removed. Under the city's current zoning bylaw, billboards and third party signs are prohibited. The letters will outline a reasonable time frame to have the signs removed and if necessary, the businesses will be billed for the cost of removal.

How council voted:

Mayor Jack Mussallem-- Yes
Councillor Anna Ashley-- Yes
Councillor Nelson Kinney-- Yes
Councillor Gina Garon-- Yes
Councillor Sheila Gordon-Payne-- Yes
Councillor Joy Thorkelson-- Yes
Councillor Kathy Bedard--Absent

City Hall Tracker, October 26, 2009

The city council agenda for Monday night tackled a number of interesting initiatives, from revisions to the City West Articles of Incorporation, to a concern over the increasing appearance of highway billboards east of the city, to a motion to waive rink fees for a Skate with the Rampage night and the annual Guns N Hoses Charity hockey game...

Our elected representatives took on the challenges of those items and more on Monday night.

October 26, 2009

Regular council meeting Agenda for October 26, 2009
Meeting of the Committee of the Whole Agenda for October 26, 2009
Notice of Closed Meeting for October 26, 2009

City council session for October 26, 2009

In attendance:

Mayor Jack Mussallem
Councillor Anna Ashley
Councillor Sheila Gordon-Payne
Councillor Nelson Kinney
Councillor Gina Garon
Councillor Joy Thorkelson


Councillor Kathy Bedard

Regular City council minutes for October 26, 2009
(none posted online as of November 26)

Daily News voting summary
Wednesday, October 28, 2009 edition

Attendance at City Hall to date archives

Upcoming events-- City council meeting Monday, November 10, 2009

It's the economy (October 29, 2009)

Red flags still flying on US economy, unemployment the glue that keeps a troubled marriage together and Wii would like you to buy more of our games , some of the items of note for Thursday.

Globe and Mail-- Can U.S. economic recovery last?
Globe and Mail-- Is rally a bear in bull's clothing?
Globe and Mail-- No job? Divorce is off the budget
National Post-- Stock markets boosted by U.S. GDP numbers
National Post-- China's opinion only one that matters for US debt
National Post-- NB Power, Hydro-Quebec ink energy deal
New York Times-- U.S. Economy Started to Grow Again in the Third Quarter
New York Times-- I.M.F. Raises Growth Forecasts for Asia
USA Today-- GDP report spurs return to stocks after 4-day slide
USA Today-- Two economists see red flags again for stock market
Guardian online UK-- Businesses still starved of lending as money supply slows
Guardian online UK-- US economy emerges from recession
Times on line UK-- Shell to axe 5,000 jobs amid 73% profit fall
Times on line UK-- Britain out in the cold as US exits recession
Times on line UK-- Economists expect Bank of England to pump another £25bn into the economy
Telegraph UK online-- Nintendo profits plunge as Wii sales tumble
Telegraph UK online-- Britain the laggard as US returns to growth
Telegraph UK online-- US emerges from recession
Sydney Morning Herald-- Asian stocks fall on growth concerns
Sydney Morning Herald-- Rio set to steal BHP's thunder
Brisbane Times-- Banks have turned corner: ANZ chief
Brisbane Times-- BHP banks on global rebound
Victoria Herald Sun-- Market dives nearly two per cent
Victoria Herald Sun-- Skill shortage to re-emerge
People's Daily on line-- Oil tumbles on unexpected increase in gasoline stocks
People's Daily on line-- China to tighten rules on personal loans
The Times of India-- Inflation rises 1.5% on costlier food items
The Times of India-- Extra fast economic recovery in India, China, Australia: IMF

Podunk Below the Masthead, Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Good News for weary Rupertites waiting for a doctor, RCMP investigate the discovery of a body on the waterfront and did Canpotex's email finds itself in some interesting places? Some of the items of the news cycle for Wednesday.

Daily News, Front page, headline story
LOCAL HEALTH CARE GETS A SHOT IN THE ARM-- Details of some steps in motion to alleviate the doctor shortage in the city, as Prince Rupert City council learns of the arrival of one doctor in town, with three more on the way. As part of the health care initiative, the Greene Clinic will reopen in January as a primary health care clinic, offering those 4,000 Rupertites currently without a family physician the opportunity to access health care with their own doctor.
The schedule for the H1N1 roll out has been released, with clinics set to begin next week at the Rupert Square Shopping Mall. Wednesday's paper reported that there were no confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus in the community, though that would quickly change as school came to a close on Wednesday and the School District sent out a letter advising of one case at Westview school.

Metlakatla Chief Councillor Harold Leighton provided some background on the recent decision of the Lax Kw'alaams and Metlakatla First Nations to ask for judiciary review on the Canpotex potash project site. A move that has some in the community concerned that Canpotex may decide that there are too many obstacles in place on the North coast for their project, moving it instead to Vancouver. In a Daily News interview Leighton outlined the reasons for their intervention, among them the location of the site resting over several important former sites and traditional areas, as well as it being a fishing ground for members of both communities.

500,000 dollars in funding are up for grabs from the Aviva Community Fund, and Recreation Director Michael Curnes knows just the project for some of that money. Curnes is urging local residents to log onto the Aviva community fund website and voting for a project that would see the installation of four metal umbrellas over the city's new Green Gym at McClymont Park. The cost of the four umbrellas would be around the 30,000 dollar range. As of Wednesday the Rupert project had 107 votes cast, the first round deadline is November 29th when sixty projects will get the go ahead to the next round, the final decision is set for January 25th, 2010.

The Sports section featured a couple of articles on life on the road with the Prince Rupert Rampage.

(Daily News Archive Articles for Wednesday, October 28, 2009)

The Northern View
Dead Body found at Prince Rupert waterfront-- A body discovered by RCMP at the Lightering dock near Kwinitsa station around the noon hour on Wednesday had been identified by late in the day. Police had informed the next of kin during the course of their investigation, though no names were released by police in the matter which had been running the rumour mill for the majority of the day. The Northern View posted updates through the day with further details (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Canpotex document leaked
A purported document relating to the recent moves by local First Nations regarding an environmental review of the Canpotex site made its way onto the internet on Tuesday, and the suspected private correspondence added to the growing twists and turns of the quest to locate a potash terminal at Ridley Island. Canpotex advised that they had no official statements to make about the terminal situation at the moment. The document first appeared locally on the local portal hackingthemainframe, though there is as of yet no clear indication from Canpotex that it is a true reflection of any internal communications on the local aspects of the proposed terminal project (see article here)

Daily News, Front page, headline story
Local health care gets a shot in the arm
By Monica Lamb-Yorski
The Daily News

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

City council learned Monday evening that Prince Rupert is one step closer to solving its doctor shortage.

A new primary health care clinic should be open in the former Greene Clinic by January.

Three doctors have signed on and a fourth is being pursued. In addition, a nurse practitioner will be returning to be part of the health care team.

According to Marina Ellinson, Chief Operating Officer for Northern Health's western region, the new clinic should meet the needs of the 4,000 local residents who have been without a family physician for some time and it will not be a walk-in clinic.

"We have been working hard to make sure the emergency room isn't crowded and it's been a difficult recruitment process," Ellinson told council. "Northern Health knows that Prince Rupert needs a long term and innovative solution."

The new clinic will provide patients with a physician they can have a long-term relationship with, rather than seeing various doctors in the hospital's emergency ward.

Councillor Joy Thorkelson asked how many patients will be able to access the new clinic and heard that the doctor ratio is generally one to 1,000 - 2,000 patients.

"There are spots for four doctors so we're hoping that the 4,000 people that are without a doctor can be attached to one," Ellinson said.

Asking council to be patient, Ellinson admitted she couldn't give definite dates of the clinic's opening, but said Northern Health is hoping for early December or early January.

"There are lots of details yet to come," she added.

As reported in by the Daily News in August, the new clinic will be set up so that doctors arriving in Prince Rupert can start to work immediately.

When asked by councilor Gina Garon if the doctors are required to sign a timeline commitment, Ellinson said that was a good question.

"I think we can say these physicians are coming to make Prince Rupert their home," she assured.

Councillor Kinney asked about addiction support services and was told initially the clinic will set up its primary health care services and then will work with the community to add more levels of service.

And while the model of a primary health care clinic will be new to Prince Rupert, having had a nurse practitioner at the Greene Clinic previously was a step toward that goal, Ellinson said.

"In a primary health care clinic the physician is the cornerstone, but that physician is one part of a multi-disciplinary team that includes nurse practitioners and mental health workers."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

H1N1 comes to class and School District 52 offers up an advisory

School District 52 sent home a letter to parents on Wednesday night, advising of the first reported case of the H1N1 virus in the city's schools and outlining the steps the School District has in place to deal with the situation and what may follow in the weeks and months to come. (click on letter to the left for details)

Westview school was identified as the location for the first confirmed case of the virus, a development which was being monitored by School officials in conjunction with Northern Health, according to the letter from Lynn Hauptman, Superintendent of Schools, the custodial staff conducted an additional cleaning of the Westview school on Tuesday evening.

The letter also outlines some simple health precautions for families at home to follow to try and reduce the spread of the virus through the schools as well as the latest vaccination information provided by Northern Health.

The School District and Northern Health are monitoring the situation and watching attendance levels at the school. Public Health will be advised if absence levels reach more than 10 per cent, in the meantime the schools are to remain open, as the pandemic is considered to be at the moderate stage at the moment.

The School District advised that they will continue to keep the flow of information current, as they receive further details, advisories or learn of further developments.

The advisory from the School District comes as the numbers of reported cases begins to increase across the country, the last few days have provided pictures of long line ups in many Canadian cities where the H1N1 vaccine is available, the initial vaccine sessions were designated for those at the most risk. And access to the flu shots is dependant on supply and the very different schedules that have been designed by local health authorities.

On the North coast, the flu shot clinics are not scheduled to start until next week, with the exception of the Queen Charlotte Islands where the vaccine has already been made available.

The quest for information has been frustrating for many Canadians and British Columbians are no exception. The Province's 8-1-1 hotline, has seen an overwhelming number of calls over the last few days, leaving many unable to reach the health professionals with their questions for hours in some cases.
The various websites from Health Authorities have also seen a surge in interest, with the number of hits increasing by large numbers as British Columbians try to access the latest information in what seems to be a growing sense of confusion for many as to what is available and when and where it may be acquired.

Of interest to the School District will be an item from the CBC website, which advises that the province has plans in the works to speed up the schedule for school age students. The recent high profile death of a Toronto area student and other cases of infection among school age patients, apparently putting their needs suddenly higher up on the list of those to get precedence for the vaccine.

Perhaps the increased interest by the province in school aged children could give an added push towards a school based vaccination program over the next few weeks, in order to ensure that students, teachers and school staff have access to the vaccine without delay.
Beyond that, having reassurance that enough vaccines are available and the introduction of a more orderly system for distribution might help to lower the levels of anxiety that seem to be increasing around the country over the last few days.

The latest advisories from Northern Health can be found on their website, while preventative tips can be found from the website.

It's the economy (October 28, 2009)

Kitimat faces the future without a pulp mill, Undercutting the undertaker and, UK Posties prepare for a long haul, some of the items of note for Wednesday.

Globe and Mail-- West Fraser to close Kitimat paper mill
Globe and Mail-- China runs risks with yuan policy: Carney
Globe and Mail-- Hydro-Qu├ębec to acquire N.B. Power
National Post-- Market watchers see more pain to come
National Post-- Canadian Oil Sands seen keen for Syncrude stake
National Post-- Flaherty fiddles with pensions
USA Today-- Some suggest a short lived bounce for the US economy
USA Today-- Wal-Mart starts selling caskets, urns online
Guardian online UK-- Royal Mail and CWU blame each other for impasse as postal talks collapse
Guardian online UK-- Tesco rules out Northern Rock takeover
Times on line-- The oilman who went back to nuts and bolts
Times on line-- Three cheers for the death of old economics
Telegraph UK online-- Britain faces gas shortage in six years due to Russia
Telegraph UK online-- Where Gordon Brown feared to tread, Kroes is ready to trample
Telegrpah UK online-- Postal strikes to go ahead as union workers raise funds for long haul
Brisbane Times-- Surge in tax refunds for crisis year
Brisbane Times-- Rio and Chinalco look to heal rift in Mongolia
Victoria Herald Sun-- Bad debts savage NAB profit
Victoria Herald Sun-- Underlying inflation 3.5 per cent
People's Daily on line-- Unit GDP energy consumption in China drops 13 %
People's Daily on line-- U.S. sets preliminary duties on China steel products
The Times of India-- Core sector growth slips to 4% in Sept
The Times of India-- No. of directorships for individuals to be capped

Another blow to the Northwest economy, as Kitimat's Eurocan announces it is closing

"We deeply regret the impact the mill closure will have on our 535 employees, their families and the community and we will ensure those who are affected are treated with fairness and respect," -- A statement from West Fraser Chairman, President and CRO Hank Ketcham, announcing the closure of the Eurocan mill in Kitimat.

There is shock and concern for the families of those affected by a major announcement in Kitimat today, as the city's second largest employer, Eurocan, announced that as of January 31, 2010 the Eurocan pulp mill will close.

In a press release distributed by the company on Wednesday, West Fraser outlined the many challenges that faced the mill over the last few years, many of which apparently in the company's eyes are insurmountable.

Among the contributing factors were, historically high costs and negative returns. As well as recent sawmill curtailments in the region, which have reduced the supply of lower-cost residual wood chips to Eurocan and increased the mill's reliance on more expensive whole log chip.

Those concerns combined with the struggling world economy highlighted since December of 2008 with Eurocan experiencing a drop of approximately 40 per cent in the net selling price of its products.

With all of those factors considered, West Fraser began what they call a "deep and thorough review", seeking ways to offset the declines, in the end they determined that the only alternative would be permanent closure.

When the gates close for good on January 31st, 2010, 535 employees will be out of work at the mill and the service industry in Kitimat and Terrace will suffer a large hit as well, with any number of local businesses no doubt now preparing to feel the impact of the decision today.

The closure will have a major impact on the budget plans for the City of Kitimat, and comes at a time when that community is concerned about the fate of Alcan's operations in the city and what the future may hold for that company.

Northern Sentinel-- Eurocan paper mill in Kitimat to close permanently

Podunk Below the Masthead, Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Profiling a long time dock worker in the city, the School District gets caught in the middle of a language dispute and the details are released on the planned clinics for the H1N1 vaccinations for Prince Rupert, some of the details of the day for Tuesday.

Daily News, Front page, headline story
MEET THE 'GODFATHER OF THE LONGSHOREMEN'-- Tuesday's paper features a profile of a long time working member on the Prince Rupert waterfront, as Monica Lamb-Yorski recounts the life and times of local longhsoreman Danny Juricic.

School District 52 finds itself in the middle of a tempest with its plans to introduce the language of the Haida and Nisga'a in Prince Rupert schools. The project appears to have become an unwelcome addition to the curriculum as far as Tsimshian elders are concerned, who pulled no punches in expressing their discomfort with the plan.

The Gates to Fairview and Ridley Terminals will close this week as local port authorities conduct Maritime security exercises (MARSEC) at the two terminals. The Fairview exercise will take place on October 28th, with the public viewing area closed as well and all access to the port limited to those with the proper security clearances. On the Friday, the 30th the same exercise will take place at Ridley Terminals.

Economic stimulus in Prince Rupert is more along the lines of ongoing maintenance projects, as opposed to the job creating types that many thought the stimulus plan was designed for. The City has been working on the Hays Creek Sewer relocation project as its major stimulus project, there have been dock repairs made at Rushbrook and Fairview docks, the Post office and Fisheries building has also received some funding for some upgrades to the wheel chair access to the building. The rather underwhelming nature of the local stimulus package had NDP MP Nathan Cullen wondering about whether effectiveness of the local work as far as long term job creation may go.

The Sports section continues its look at the Grade Eight high school vollyeball season.

(Daily News Archive Articles for Tuesday, October 27, 2009)

The Northern View
Schedule for North Coast H1N1 vaccination clinics announced-- Details on the Prince Rupert roll out for the H1N1 vaccination were updated by Northern Health, Clinics in Prince Rupert are set to begin next week. The local clinics will take place in the upper level of the Rupert Square Mall from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on November 5, 9:30 a.m. to six p.m. on November 6 and 11 a.m. to four p.m. on November 7. The first week of vaccinations is earmarked for those at the greatest risk (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Northern Health Releases H1N1 Clinic Information-- TV 7 provides the larger Northwest picture for the H1N1 clinics (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Heightened Security Drill -- Another view of the planned security exercises set for Ridley and Fairvew Terminals (see story here)

CBC Northern BC, Daybreak North
Waiting for vaccination-- An interview with Northern Health's Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. David Bowering, who outlines the details on the H1N1 vaccination roll out (listen to interview here)

Daily News, Front page, headline story
Meet the "Godfather of the Longshoremen"
The front page, headline article for Tuesday, apparently was not post worthy for the Daily's website (go figure)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Not all statistics tell the full story

“We don't know whether people are departing for new employment, or if they are exhausting benefits and persisting in the unemployment pool – and that is problematic"-- Toronto Dominion economist Grant Bishop, highlighting a major discrepancy between official unemployment numbers and what the real rate may be.

The latest EI statistics have been released across Canada, the monthly summary that charts the number of Canadians engaged in the workforce or chronicling the numbers of those that are on an active EI claim. Numbers which show a slight decline in August across the country, but are twinned with indications of growing numbers of unemployed in BC and Ontario.

Globe and Mail-- New jobless claims rise 8.2 per cent
National Post-- Numbers on EI benefits dip in August, but up on year

When the numbers go down and the prospects go up, the government is quick to trumpet the success of their programs, or find signs of progress in the new data, eager to show that they have the economic picture well in hand.

However, some of those announcements and congratulatory tones may be based on a rather flawed number and one that may not be steeped in the day to day reality for most Canadians.

But one very important piece of data, one that is growing in importance as the economic malaise continues on, will be missing from that stats package today. The listing of those Canadians who no longer show up on the EI rolls, but haven't returned to the workforce yet.

Globe and Mail-- EI data don't count those who run out

They are the Zombies of the stats pool, wandering in some bureaucratic nether world, out of sight, out of mind it seems and for many out of options.

For Prince Rupert and many other Northwest communities their numbers and situation have been a constant for years. On a claim for their term of collection and then disappearing on paper, but not in person. Perhaps moving on to welfare rolls if they qualify, others to the myriad of job search related programs that seem to just hide them for a while. Some may have returned to family structures for support, while others moving out of the region in the quest for better employment options and taking with them a tax base for a struggling community.

Now that the issue of the unreported and under employed is starting to appear in the larger communities, the key flaw in the government's statistic keeping is getting a second look. With calls for a better accounting of the unemployment situation in the nation being a main focus.

Though some do question just how dedicated that governments of all levels may be in providing a better picture of the true state of employment in the country.

Some provinces have better record keeping than others, in British Columbia the data is more complete, with the most recent reports from April showing that the number of two parent families that have claimed welfare in the last year has risen by 77 percent, indicative of tougher times across the province, as the EI claims run out and the job options grow slimmer. Six months later it would be interesting to learn what those numbers look like as the economic slowdown continues.

The EI numbers over the last decade have always been a bit of a shell game, indicative it seems only of active participants in the program, but discounting the numbers of those that exhausted their claims, but may not have found any other options in the workplace to get back on track.

There is no complete national data base that provides the full picture of who is working, who is not, who has been forced onto the welfare rolls and who may have fallen between the cracks of the social safety net.

With EI and welfare divided between different levels of government, and some provinces not able to provide a true picture of their welfare rolls, the overall compilation of numbers would appear to be a challenge.

Human Resources and Skills Canada, which oversees the EI program has not been able to provide an updated and complete number of those Canadians who may have exhausted their benefits.

The last data they have published tracks back to 2007, considering the much documented arrival of the recession late last year and many of the the job losses in the larger urban areas that have arrived with it, one can't help but wonder just how high the EI rate really might be. Especially if the government were to include all of those non participants in the workforce, who today just don't seem to exist in any formal government accounting.

Then again, we're not sure that any government would be particularly thrilled about having to release that number, nor finding out how Canadians would react to the bottom line on unemployment.

It's the economy (October 27, 2009)

Dr. Doom sees more financial bubbles, Christmas parties are in some trouble and for the Potash Corporation the sharks may be circling, some of the items of note for Monday.

Globe and Mail-- Potash Corp.: It's all about a takeover
Globe and Mail-- Jim Flaherty unveils pension reform
Globe and Mail-- Office holiday parties to be reduced, scaled down
National Post-- Flaherty introduces proposed pension changes
National Post-- Loonie intervention 'not to be taken lightly'
National Post-- Roubini warns of another financial crisis
New York Times-- Small Indian Maker of Electric Cars Looks to Upsize
New York Times-- U.S. Home Prices Continue to Stabilize
Guardian online UK-- Pre-budget report predicted to hit rich and banks
Guardian online UK-- Retail optimism on the rise, CBI says
Times on line-- Leak forces Russia to scrap gold sale
Times on line-- Retail sales grow at fastest rate since slump
Times on line-- Barratt frets over Royal Mail strikes
Telegraph UK online-- BP shares jump as oil company doubles cost cuts to $4bn
Telegraph UK online-- McDonald's flight shows Iceland's policy works
Telegrpah UK online-- The coming government debt famine?
Brisbane Times-- Industrial sector likely to face big shortage
Brisbane Times-- Australian super worst in OECD
Victoria Herald Sun-- Wall Street's haves and have nots
Victoria Herald Sun-- Business confidence at 7 year high
People's Daily on line-- Premier Wen delivers strong message for East Asian cooperation
People's Daily on line-- China locked into financial policy
The Times of India-- India slips to 114th place in global gender gap ranking: WEF
The Times of India-- GDP likely to grow by 6.5-6.75%: FM