Friday, April 30, 2010

It's the economy (Friday, April 30, 2010)

Canada's deficit to be smaller than expected, beware the trap of Europe and how bad will things get for BP, some of the items of interest for Friday's financial findings.

Globe and Mail-- Oil sands bitumen to flow to West Coast by 2015: Enbridge
Globe and Mail-- Goldman Sachs shares plunge
Globe and Mail-- Greece’s survival at stake, PM warns
National Post-- Wall Street sinks on Goldman angst
National Post-- Canada's deficit may be smaller than expected
National Post-- PotashCorp gives analyst deja vu
Vancouver Sun-- Premiers to sell Western provinces as common market on trade mission
New York Times-- Putin Calls for Merger of Russia and Ukraine Gas Firms
New York Times-- The Euro Trap
USA Today-- Chinese automakers still can't lick quality problems
USA Today-- Spain's unemployment rate passes 20%
Guardian UK online-- Greek bailout plan: optimism grows ahead of Sunday meeting
Guardian UK online-- Goldman Sachs faces criminal investigation
Guardian UK online-- Banks tell G20 new rules on holding capital could push UK back into recession
Times on line -- Greeks face tax, pensions and pay misery in austerity plan
Times on line -- Europe’s economy is the sick man of the world
Telegraph UK online-- Just how bad is it for BP as Gulf catastrophe widens?
Telegraph UK online-- Engineers attack lack of vision for economy
Telegraph UK online-- General Election 2010: cuts will doom election winner, warns Mervyn King
Melbourne Herald Sun-- Contagious? Fever in Europe
Melbourne Herald Sun-- Henry tax review tipped to include plan for drivers to pay by kilometre
Sydney Daily Telegraph-- Daniel Tzvetkoff may have millions in tax havens as relatives risk homes
People's Daily-- Hu declares open Shanghai World Expo
People's Daily-- China ranked fourth in travel spending
China Daily-- China vows to protect intellectual property at Shanghai World Expo
China Daily-- Ending restrictions key to Sino-US trade imbalance
Times of India-- Food inflation down to 16.61% on rabi arrival
Times of India-- India paves way to ink DTAA with HK

Podunk Below the Masthead (Thursday, April 29, 2010)

Somebody else wants to call Watson Island home but doesn't seem to want to pay to be there, Port Ed faces a slight tax increase and the Ride for Cancer once again will have some prince Rupert content, some of the items of note from Thursday's news rotation.

Daily News, front page, headline story
THE MILL AT WATSON ISLAND... OCCUPIED AGAIN? -- The imaginations are left to wonder who is making Watson Island home these days as reports come in that someone is using the moribund industrial site as a hideout, no sightings have been made yet but there are the tell tale signs that someone is squatting on the site. On site security personnel reported spotting someone of interest on the site but further investigation by the RCMP provided no suspect to discuss events with.

Francis Wolfe and Gordie Simonds are set to get back on their bikes again, ready to represent Team Prince Rupert at the 2010 edition of the Ride to Conquer Cancer. The 191 mile trek takes participants from Vancouver to Seattle in order to raise funds for cancer research. The pair will be seeking donations from local residents and a pair of local businesses, U Brew and the Oceanview Hotel  signed on this year to help raise funds for this years ride.

Port Edward residents won't be able to feel superior to Rupert taxpayers this year, as the District puts in place a slight increase in their tax rate this year as part of 2010-2014 Financial plan.

The Sports section follows up on the progress of a group of four Prince Rupert Minor Hockey players who recently attended the Best Ever under 16 hockey tournament in Prince George in early April.

(Daily News Archive items for April 29)

The mill at Watson Island - occupied again?
Rupert men ride to conquer cancer - once again 
Tax rate in Port Edward jumps up a bit
Monitoring of Rupert jails getting somewhat of an overhaul
No bone of contention here

The Northern View
No new items were posted to the Northern View website on Thursday

CFTK TV 7 News
No new items were posted to the Northern View website on Thursday

CBC News British Columbia, Daybreak North
No new items were posted to the Northern View website on Thursday

Daybreak North is only posting selected items on their website now. The most recently posted items can be found on the archive page for Daybreak North click here 

Daily News, front page, headline story
The Mill at Watson Island... occupied again?
Fugitive ... squatter ... or just an unwanted visitor? Authorities are wondering who is using the former mill site as refuge.
By Monica Lamb-Yorski
Staff Writer
Prince Rupert Daily News
Thursday, April 29, 2010

Call it a case of the uninvited guest.

That’s because someone has been camping out or using Watson Island as a place for a clubhouse, confirmed Chief Financial Officer Dan Rodin Wednesday.

During the night watch on April 18, security workers at the mill saw someone on the site.

“The RCMP were called and checked out one of the buildings, but were unable to find anything. There are two hundred and seventy odd acres there and lots and lots of places to hide,” said Rodin.

At this point, it is not known whether there is one or more people hanging out there and whether they are adults or youth.

 “We’re keeping an eye out for them and hoping to catch them. Unfortunately there are a number of ways to access the site. Someone can walk along the tracks from Ridley Island, although that’s very dangerous,” Rodin added. 

Corp. Carla Cook of the RCMP said the Prince Rupert detachment received a call from one of the security guards on April 18 about the sighting.

 “Apparently the night watchman had seen him, but it wasn’t until the morning that we got the call from the day-time staff. Some of our members searched one of the main buildings where the commissionaires have their offices, but there was so much in there that they could not do a full search,” Cook told the Daily News.

According to Rodin and Cook, the security personnel have seen bedding and evidence of someone staying on the site, but there hasn’t been any destruction.

 “I think it’s a case of someone squatting out there,” added Cook. “We told the staff if they see anyone to call us in again and we’ll come out there with our search dogs.”

Kristina De Araugo, Manager of Quickload Terminals, works frequently on site at Watson Island, where her company conducts business in the former administration areas and at the loading dock.

De Araugo said Wednesday she’s heard about the incident, but hasn’t seen anything herself.

 “The City’s been great about keeping us informed and we’ve taken all the safety precautions, such as locking up our forklifts, tools and equipment,” she added.

 Presently there is security at Watson Island 24 hours a day, seven days a week and people are not allowed to wander on the property unattended.

 “There are areas that are extremely dangerous,” Rodin said. “When people tour the property, they are given an accompanied tour because it is dangerous.”

Rainmakers to the Hall on Satuday

Saturday is enshrinement  day at the Basketball BC Hall of Fame and when the Class of 2010 is introduced two former Prince Rupert Rainmakers will take their place among the sporting greats of Basketball in British Columbia.

John Olsen enters the Hall on Saturday in the Builders category highlighting a lengthy association with the game that has marked most of his life so far.

The Vancouver Province's Howard Tsumara provides a look at the  many achievements that the 66 year old Rupertite has accomplished over the years, testimony to his love of basketball and his impact on the game on the local, provincial and University level.

Also sharing the spotlight on Saturday will be Luanne Krawetz (Hebb), another Rupertite and former Rainmaker who will join the honour roll in the athlete category.

The two former Rainmakers are the latest additions to the Baketball BC Hall of Fame, which has been celebrating basketball's past in British Columbia since the first inductions in 2003

The full Tsumara article, which also highlights the reign of the Rainmakers during the sixties is available on the Province website, and on the off chance the paper doesn't make it into Prince Rupert on a Friday, we provide it below.

Love of the game culminates in Hall 
Can't wait for Saturday 
By Howard Tsumura 
The Province 
Friday, April 30, 2010

In the mid-1950s, Prince Rupert was a city without a hockey rink, and the biggest dream a young boy could have was to play high school basketball for the Rainmakers.

So each day before dinner 12-year-old John Olsen would take the bottom out of a cardboard box, nail it to a wall and start to shoot, hoping one day to pull on the famed jersey of the local heroes.

 "The guys at Northern B.C. Power, which was just down the road from where I lived, they used to leave a light on outside so that I could play there after dark," recalled Olsen. "They also left a ladder there for me. So I used to shoot and shoot and shoot, and when the box was shredded, I'd climb right back up and bang on another one. My sister would have to come and call me when it was time for dinner."

 Like a young James Naismith nailing up peach baskets, Olsen knew the game would someday become his life.

And on Saturday, after a half-century spent enriching the fabric of the game in this province, the 66-year-old Olsen will be inducted as part of Basketball B.C.'s Hall of Fame class of 2010. "It wasn't even a basketball that I would use back then," Olsen said of his dimly-lit, back-alley shootarounds of his preteen days.

"It was probably a soccer ball. And the box might have been seven feet (off the ground). But what I remember most is just falling in love with the game."

From a playing career that included Boise State, UBC and the national team, to his work as both a builder and referee at Prince Rupert's annual First Nations tournament, to his stint as Basketball B.C.'s first president, Olsen has left a substantial imprint on so many facets of the game in B.C.

And as Olsen reflected on his early sporting days in Prince Rupert, the picture he painted was almost that of a small U.S. town, a place where basketball was literally the only indoor sport to play much of the year.

 "We didn't have a hockey arena, so no one played hockey and the soccer pitch was rained out all winter so we all played basketball," said Olsen. "I compare it to being on Team Canada in a small town.

"I think it was also an offshoot of the U.S. army being up there in the 1940s," he said. "They built two gymnasiums, including the Civic Centre, which is where I learned to play."

So talented was Olsen that he cracked the Rainmakers' senior varsity lineup as a ninth grader for the 1958-59 season under head coach Don Hartwig. The Rainmakers finished second at the B.C. tournament the next season and Olsen went on to become the only player in the history of the event to be named a B.C. first team all-star three times.

And what a team the Rainmakers were.

They travelled to Alaska for games, but gained their toughness by playing in the town's senior men's basketball league, where the physical play far outstripped anything they saw in high school games.

"We played against men, that was how we got ready," laughed Olsen, who routinely worked 16 to 18 hours a day in the fish-packing plants during his summer.

"They didn't want high schoolers beating them, and we got beat up pretty bad. But then when we got down to Vancouver, it was easy."

Olsen helped lead the Rainmakers to the 1960 championship final, a 69-52 loss to Vancouver College, as well as seventh and sixth place finishes the next two seasons, and those teams laid the foundation for the 1964 team, which remains the only team from the North B.C. West zone to ever win the provincial title.

Following high school, Olsen played two seasons at Boise State (1962-64) when the school was still a two-year junior college.

He then suited up under coach Peter Mullins for one season (1965-66) at UBC.

 "To this day, that is probably the most fun I have ever had playing basketball," said Olsen, who scored 21 points in his first start for the T-Birds, a win over the Montana Grizzlies at War Gym.

News of Saturday's induction has brought great memories flooding back.

 "This sort of feels like the completion of so many great things that have happened to me," he said. "I can hardly wait until Saturday." - - -

 HALL INDUCTEES Basketball B.C. will induct the following people into its Hall of Fame Saturday at the Delta Burnaby Hotel and Conference Centre:

 ATHLETES Greg Wiltjer, Bob Barazzuol, Jim Bardsley, Kelly Dukeshire, Gord Herbert, Luanne Krawetz (Hebb), Richie Nichol

 BUILDERS Mel Davis, John Olsen

 OFFICIALS Bill Crowley, Bob Ogdon TEAMS 1937-38 Vancouver Westerns (men), 1969-70 UBC Thunderbirds (women)

City Hall Tracker, April 26, 2010

Discussion on the Five Year plan, some public comment on recent events and development permits were among the concerns of council on Monday.

April 26, 2010

Agenda for Regular Council meeting of April, 26 2010 

In Attendance:

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

Absent from Council 


Regular council meeting minutes for April 26, 2010
Minutes for the Committee of the Whole meeting for April 26, 2010 
Minutes for the Special Meeting of Council for April 26, 2010

Daily News Voting summary
(Summary printed in April 28 edition)

Attendance at City Hall to date archives .

Next council meeting scheduled for May, 3, 2010
(A Special council meeting to deal with the Five year plan and budgetary issues)

City council scoresheet for April 26, 2010

The Wednesday, April 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 April 26 session of council. . This weeks feature appeared on page three of the Wednesday edition.

Question One: That Council will defer passing the 2010 Five Year Financial Plan, Fees and Charges Amendment and Prince Rupert Fee Setting Amendment Bylaw No. 3295, 2010 and reconvene discussions at a Special Council Meeting on May 3, 2010.

How council voted:

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

Question Two: That Council agree to write a letter of support for the Seal Cove Airport Society pursuing a Coast Sustainability Trust Fund grant to assist the resurfacing of the seaplane ramp at Seal Cove.

How council voted:

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

Question Three: That Council will support a letter of permission to Mavi Innovations Inc., a renewable energy company, to conduct computer modelling of the tidal currents in the region. The sites under consideration are North and south of Butze Rapids, Galloway Rapids, Zanardi Rapids and southwest of the rail crossing and Porpoise Harbour near Watson Island. 

How council voted:

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

Question Four: That Council approve an application by B. C. Housing to build two different housing complexes for seniors on Kootenay Avenue. One would have six units, the other would have four.

How council voted:

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

Question Five: That Council defer giving first and second reading to amendments to the Official Community PLan that will require the community to include targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and policies and actions of the local government with respect to achieving those targets. 

How council voted:

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

Prince Rupert Fire Rescue responds to downtown fire

Roads are blocked and traffic has been re-routed along a stretch of 2nd Avenue West in the city as Prince Rupert Fire Rescue puts the finishing efforts on an early morning alarm that has caused significant damage to a downtown apartment building.

The building known as the Epicurean building caught fire in the early hours of Friday morning, adding to the list of downtown structures that have suffered a similar fate in recent years.Friday morning's fire is located just one block away from last years fire at the Inlander on the same street.

RCMP members have blocked off the Avenue and surrounding area from Tim Horton's at 6th Street to the Daily News at 7th, as fire hoses criss cross along the avenue while the PRFD pours water on the building which once was known as a restaurant, but now is mainly known for its apartments on the upper level.

No details have been released yet as to the nature of the fire, or to the status of the residents in the building at the time of its start. Likewise, no information has been released regarding the damage to the building and how it may reflect on its future use.

The early morning call would appear to be the first time that the Fire Department's newly arrived fire vehicle has been put in operation on a major incident. The local community portal hackingthemainframe had the first reports of the early morning blaze and offers up a picture of the Fire Department at work at the most intense moments of the fire.
Update: 10:30 am -- The Northern View offers up some information from the fire scene with a report posted mid morning on Friday.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

It's the economy (Thursday, April 29, 2010)

Mr. Carney's the pin-up boy of financials, Shock waves in Europe over Greece and Icebergs ahead says Dr. Doom, some of the items of intrigue in today's financial news.

Globe and Mail-- Mark Carney among Time’s ‘most influential’ people
Globe and Mail-- Greek crisis endangers private sector
Globe and Mail-- Canada offering $550-million for new border bridge: Michigan
National Post-- Harper to push on for global financial reform
National Post-- Can Greece cut its deficit by 10 points in two years?
National Post-- Fiscal restraint will be a 'major drag' in 2011: CIBC
Vancouver Sun-- Vancouver Airport Authority chairman Graham Clarke steps down after 18 years
Vancouver Sun-- B.C. Liberals' energy vision sees consumers cut back
New York Times-- Euro Rises After I.M.F. Increases Aid Pledge to Greece
New York Times-- Can Europe Save Itself?
USA Today-- Got milk? Only if it comes from a cow, group argues
USA Today-- Obama selects Janet Yellen for No. 2 at Federal Reserve
Guardian UK online-- Greek debt crisis: Europe feels shockwaves as bailout falters
Guardian UK online-- Santander boss dismisses fears of debt crisis in Spain
Guardian UK online-- Mervyn King warned that election victor will be out of power for a generation, claims economist
Times on line UK-- We’ll help you solve debt crisis, President Sarkozy tells Greece
Times on line UK-- Oil spill off US coast is worse than we thought, BP admits
Telegraph UK online-- Spain isn't Greece, Portugal isn't Ireland; where does that leave Britain?
Telegraph UK online-- David Cameron needs to hit Gordon Brown's record where it hurts: jobs, jobs, jobs
Telegraph UK online-- Greece is just the 'tip of the iceberg', Nouriel Roubini warns
Melbourne Herald Sun-- Exports up but farmers wary
Melbourne Herald Sun-- Sunrise gas tipped to bypass Darwin
Sydney Daily Telegraph-- Darwin misses out on $5bn Woodside gas project
People's Daily-- China to strengthen financial support for recycling economy
People's Daily-- Ministries to inspect on overseas project contracting
China Daily-- Starbucks to take China by storm with instant coffee
China Daily-- Trade measures signal more active response
Times of India-- Food inflation falls to 16.61%
Times of India-- Finance minister gives debt relief to coffee growers, tax relief to others

Follow the money trail, if you can!

If it's Thursday do we take the cash from the fountain outside city hall?

There seems to be a wee bit of confusion over where the city is paying the maintenance and assorted costs regarding the Watson Island mill site from  these days, at least if you are left to divining the city's financials from the pages of the city's two competing newspapers.

Last week the Northern View (read full article here) offered up their interpretation of the financial moves at City Hall when it comes to Watson Island with the City's reprenstatives in Financial Officer Dan Rodin  and Councillor Sheila Gordon Payne explaining as thus “Operationally Watson Island isn’t affecting us that much. We’re not using taxes or fees to pay for that property because the money is coming from reserves,” he said, noting that the City has been “very careful not so spend money from the anticipated taxes” from the mill. “This budget is not tight because of Watson Island, the money from that is coming from reserves. We’re spending as though that is not an impact on the budget…The bind we’re in now is not because of the costs associated with Watson Island,” added councillor Sheila Gordon-Payne."

So it was a little surprising to learn in the Daily News on Wednesday (read full article here) that no, the money for Watson Island isn't apparently coming from reserves but from a slight surplus which the city achieved last year.

Chief Financial Officer Dan Rodin said the money to cover the costs at Watson Island is coming from the City’s surplus, not its reserves. “Last year the City managed to get in the black. Our financial statements aren’t quite finished, but they will be presented to council in three or four-weeks time. There is a small surplus there that we are drawing down to pay for the pulp mill expenditures,” Rodin explained.

Putting aside the idea that the surprise surplus is it seems a tad illusionary, considering the constant increase in taxes that the city seems to devote to its tax paying citizens (if they had a surplus would taxes have to go up?), the merry go round of financing the Watson Island holding pattern is getting a little confusing.

We're not sure if one of the trusted news organizations in the city got its wires crossed, if the city has inadvertently provided incorrect information to one or the other or if it's some new accounting practice where every day you take your daily requirements from a new location, but it's a little confusing as to where the Watson Island maintenance costs are drawing their funds from.

One thing is certain, whether it's from a surplus, a reserve or from pennies dropped on the floor at City Hall, eventually we imagine the money comes from one source, the folks paying the taxes in Prince Rupert.

Apple's heavy handed approach to Gizmodo stirs the backlash

The recent moves by Apple to repatriate their prototype iPhone have provided for some less than helpful publicity about the company's rather draconian approach to copyright and technological protection.

Much has been reported now of the recent raid by San Francisco area police at the home of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen, a raid which went all Jack Bauer in approach as officials seized computers and other gadgets, seeking to learn how Chen came upon the next gen of Apple products.

Chen had posted on his Gizmodo site and online narrative of the product  allowing the truly devoted of the Apple class to learn more about their Holy Grail, since that review was posted however things have gone a little strange for Chen as he outlined further in subsequent Gizmodo updates.

As is the case in the competitive world of the techno geeks, rival websites like CNet and Endgadget are making much of all the excitement over the missing phone, how it was retrieved and where the story may go from here.

Frankly, its all too much inside techno geek baseball for our poor little head, so we'll turn it all over to the one man who can make sense of it all for us and point the fingers in the proper direction!

Comedy Central's John Stewart offered up the best reply to the ongoing drama, check out the April 28th program opening which makes it all so clear.

Podunk Below the Masthead (Wednesday, April 28, 2010)

The people have a few questions for council, EI stats go up in Rupert and recreation issues become part of the ongoing debate at council, some of the items from the Wednesday news files.

Daily News, front page, headline story
PUBLIC IN A QUESTIONING MOOD REGARDING THE FIVE YEAR PLAN-- With the clock ticking on a required decision by mid month on the city's budgetary concerns, local residents took to council chambers on Monday to ask more than a few questions about the city's financial direction.

In news that isn't a surprise to job seekers, the unemployment rate in Prince Rupert continues to go up as Prince Rupert records an increase in the number of people collecting EI in the city. As the annual EI figures are released from Statistics Canada.

Nathan Cullen, the NDP MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley offers up the latest talking point on the great HST debate the thought that perhaps the Liberal government of Gordon Campbell should take the concept to the people in a referendum.

High school golf and soccer highlight the Wednesday sports section from the daily.

(Daily News Archives Wednesday, April 28, 2010)

Public in a questioning kind of mood regarding the five-year plan 
All eyes on EI Metlakatla building nears completion 
The Wheat and the Barley plan to leave a good taste in Rupert
Cullen favours taking it to the people (but not the HST)

The Northern View
City council discusses the role and management of local recreation complex -- The Northern View takes a look at the ongoing discussions over the fate of recreation issues in the city as the possibility of a two week closure of the civic centre continues to stir debate (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Countdown to Radiothon begins-- CFTK promotes the upcoming radiothon hosted by the radio network across the nation (see article here)

CBC News Northern British Columbia, Daybreak North
No new items were posted to the Daybreak North website on Wednesday

Daybreak North is only posting selected items on their website now. The most recently posted items can be found on the archive page for Daybreak North click here

Daily News, front page, headline story
Public in a questioning kind of mood regarding the five-year plan 
By Monica Lamb-Yorski 
Staff Writer 
The Daily News
Wednesday, April 28, 2010

 Residents were out in force seeking answers to questions regarding the city’s budget

Half a dozen locals brought concerns to City Council Monday evening regarding the City’s Five Year Financial Plan. When it came time to give the plan its third reading, council deferred the plan until a special council meeting scheduled for May 3.

From Calvin Thompson’s suggestion that the City should seize the opportunity of present low interest rates to borrow money to address infrastructure concerns to Charlotte Rowse’s concerns that the present maintenance fee at Watson Island is drawing down the City’s reserves, public queries ran the gamut.

Thompson also questioned the timing of the budget presentation, suggesting Prince Rupert is the last community, if not one of the last, to be submitting its financial plan to government. By legislation the budget must be passed by May 15.

“I don’t feel it’s been given the opportunity for public input,” Thompson said of the budget. “It should have been presented two council meetings prior to this. Whereas a decision will be made within fourteen days, it would have been a better working process had it been presented at an earlier date.”

Mayor Jack Mussallem said he didn’t disagree with Thompson’s comments on the process and the time.

 “I would like you to understand, however, that this year has been exceptionally challenging to the council and staff to prepare this budget. Even today there are still considerations going on with this budget,” he said.

The City has continued to revisit it, and most recently attempted to discern the effect of the HST on the budget. 

Thompson, while he acknowledged the challenges, said the issues shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone. 

When he meets with friends, neighbours and people that ask him questions in general discussion, he commented, many feel there is a lack of a plan coming from the City.

Describing the City’s as a conservative approach to budgeting, that takes away the hype of believing good things are just around the corner, Thompson said he would like to see a clear direction set out by the City for its taxpayers. 

“There is a necessity to have a functioning direction that is clear for people to understand where their tax money is going, what is needed for it to be going, so that there can be support for an action plan as (put) forward by council through the issues they deal with on a regular basis and by input from all the classes of taxpayers and that we move forward with that knowledge,” he commented.

Thompson wondered why the City isn’t taking advantage of low interest rates to borrow funds for infrastructure spending, based on its assets, and heard from the mayor, council has decided to be prudent for the upcoming year, to keep the tax increase as low as possible.

 “There is no smoke and mirrors here. There is no hype about any port. This budget is as real as it gets. This tax increase is what is acceptable to provide adequate service,” Mussallem responded.

 Predominate of Rowse’s questions was the City’s use of its reserves to maintain Watson Island and the lack or progress in the sale of the property.

 “Why aren’t we doing something about the mill? Why are we using our reserve money and why are our taxes going up again?” Rowse asked.

Mussallem said the City is mindful of the $74,000 to $100,000 monthly maintenance cost there. “It is of great concern and a tremendous strain. The council would like to work as quickly as possible to get that property sold and back on the tax roll.”

Chief Financial Officer Dan Rodin said the money to cover the costs at Watson Island is coming from the City’s surplus, not its reserves.

“Last year the City managed to get in the black. Our financial statements aren’t quite finished, but they will be presented to council in three or four-weeks time. There is a small surplus there that we are drawing down to pay for the pulp mill expenditures,” Rodin explained.

Larry Golden asked about funds received by the City from CityWest and Chances Casino and was told by Rodin the City received $1 million from CityWest in 2009 and anticipates received the same amount in 2010. The City received $425,000 from Chances in 2009 and has budgeted for $400,000 in 2010.

Rodin explained when the Museum of Northern B.C. sold half of its building to the Kitkatla Band, the City received approximately $1.3 million dollars from the sale. “That money is not part of our surplus, but will be used to pay down the debenture when it becomes due.”

Originally the agreement with the museum was that the City would lend money to the museum board to buy the building. At the same time. the City entered into an agreement to pay the museum approximately $198,000 a year as a grant.

 “The balance at the end of this year of the outstanding loan between the City and the museum is approximately $600,000. We should only be paying the grant to the museum for another three and a half years,” said Rodin.

 If the museum hadn’t sold half the building, Rodin said, it would have taken another 15 years to pay off the debenture.

Ok, you won your stupid game, so get off our field!

Ah soccer, it always seems provides all the drama of a good wrasslin' show.

Wednesday's semi final between Inter and Barcelona provided the usual thespian activities of the pitch, a few dives to the ground, a few elbows to the head, a red card to make things interesting and eventually a victory for the Italians.

The kitty bar the door style from Inter provided them with a 3-2 aggregate victory and berth in the Champions League final against Bayern in May, the victory was a particularly gratifying moment for Inter's manager, Jose Mourinho who ahem, seems to have some history in the Barcelona stadium.

 While the manager was battlin the Barcelona goaltender (who apparently wasn't keen on the display of joy), the helpful folks at the Barcelona stadium decided to cool things down with a water show, turning on the sprinklers as the Inter players celebrated on the field.
 We gather if this kind of game finishing thing catches on, that sometime before the NHL playoffs come to an end we'll be seeing the Zamboni out on the ice cow catching some NHLers...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Kill the Podunkian?

Every day my mailbox receives all varieties of correspondences, some helpful tips from fellow Podunkians on items that might be of interest to the collective, not to mention the many, many, opportunities to increase my wealth through a number of helpful correspondents mostly it seems located in Africa.

There's a wealth of Eastern European women apparently seeking a friend and of course there is no shortage of medications or natural remedies that might spur on love interests at any opportunity.

All in all enough mail, that if delivered by the local Canada Post carrier would guarantee employment for decades and increase the work force by hundreds we imagine.

Today however, we went into a whole new direction, an interesting approach to relieving my Podunkian bank account of the few dollars I may have left in these recession plagued times of Podunk.

The Assassin, has spoken and apparently I'm on the clock!

After a few preliminaries, we apparently get down to the heart of the correspondence, a warning of dire consequences if not followed to the letter...

From the email account:

How are you.

    Am very sorry for you my friend, is a pity that this is how your life is going to end as soon as you don't comply.As you can see there is no need of introducing myself to you because I don't have any business with you, my duty as I am mailing you now is just to KILL/ASSASSINATE you and I have to do it as I have already been paid for that.

    Someone you call a friend wants you Dead by all means, and the person have spent a lot of money on this, the person also came to us and told me that he want you dead and he provided us with your name ,picture and other necessary information's we needed about you. So I sent my boys to track you down and they have carried out the necessary investigation needed for the operation on you, and they have done that but I told them not to kill you that I will like to contact you and see if your life is Important to you or not since their findings shows that you are innocent.

    I called my client back and ask him of you email address which I didn't tell him what I wanted to do with it and he gave it to me and I am using it to contact you now. As I am writing to you now my men are monitoring you and they are telling me everything about you.
    Now do you want to LIVE OR DIE? As someone has paid us to kill you. Get back to me now if you are ready to pay some fees to spare your life, If you are not ready for my help, then I will carry on with my job straight-up.



Needless to say, we're not exactly walking around turning our head every few seconds, nor are we jumping at every loud noise, or quiver with fear with every shadow that may cross the window.

We put this down to a less than lucid attempt at the ages old internet spam game, the equivalent of the once familiar telephone game of "I have a secret", or  the reverse of "I saw what you did and I know who you are".

While we imagine we've hit a nerve or two over the years of blogging, we for the most part have faith in the readership that all their cylinders (well, ok for some, most of their cylinders) are firing on all levels.

Though if we had to make up a list of potential suspects, wherever would we start.

Regardless, random spam delivered to a yahoo mailbox isn't exactly going to send us into the witness protection program.

We feel that our efforts are worth the occassional, oh wait, there's someone at the door...

it's the economy (Wednesday, April 28, 2010)

Financial ebola, pay by phone gets a whole new meaning and Australia delays its environmental plans, some of the items of interest for Wednesday.

Globe and Mail-- S & P cuts Spain rating, crisis widens
Globe and Mail-- Greece needs up to €120-billion
Globe and Mail-- Toyota to recall about 50,000 Sequoia SUVs
National Post-- Greek crisis is spreading 'like Ebola': OECD
National Post-- Home price gains slow in February
National Post-- Dates to watch for Greece and the Euro
New York Times-- Spain’s Debt Rating Cut as Finance Officials Meet
New York Times-- Cash, Check or Charge? How About Cellphone?
USA Today-- Dunkin' Donuts returns to Russia after '99 retreat
USA Today-- Goldman CEO: 'I don't think our clients care' we're short;
Guardian UK online-- European markets fluctuate as financial turmoil spreads to Spain
Guardian UK online-- Election is ignoring the dysfunctional banking system
Guardian UK online-- Shell profits surge 60% as oil prices rise
Times online UK-- Spain downgrade sparks European sell-off
Times online UK-- Greek tragedy may not play in Spain
Telegraph UK online-- Goldman Sachs answers? Leave it to Lloyd Blankfein
Telegraph UK online-- 'The pound makes Britain immune from the Greek crisis? Nothing could be further from the truth'
Telegraph UK online-- Greek financial crisis could hit Britain, warn economists
Melbourne Herald Sun-- Rudd warns on Europe as markets slide
Melbourne Herald Sun-- Relief, anger over ETS
Sydney Daily Telegraph-- Rising prices put pressure on rates
People's Daily-- Rural laborers find work in the capital
People's Daily-- Economic cooperation across Taiwan Strait gains momentum: official
China Daily-- Foreign trade rebound still fragile: ministry
China Daily-- Realty curbs will not pinch growth
Times of India-- Infrastructure sector grows 7.2% in March
Times of India-- Panel to help with public expenditure

Looking for answers for down town crime troubles

Prince Rupert's mean streets are once again the topic of concern of the business community as the owner of Loaded Sports took his thoughts to Prince Rupert City council on Monday.

The Northern View provided a comprehensive review of the concerns of Marc Page, a down town business owner who clearly was frustrated by the ongoing issues of vandalism and violence in the down town area. Page used the public commentary forum of council to express his thoughts on the issue

The Mayor in reply provided much of the same that we've heard in the past on the situation, advising that the city has requested another judge for the community, asked the RCMP to bring back it's down town bike patrols and is hopeful that the reborn Citizens on Patrol program may provide some solution to the problems of the down town core.

All of which most likely would be helpful if implemented, but considering the long running nature of the problems now many local business owners may be of the opinion that they've heard it all before and are looking for more concrete developments.

Other councillors weighed in with their thoughts on the cause of the troubles, though we're left with the impression that for the moment this topic is more of a debating club item, than something that will provide a clear plan from council as finding a solution to the problems outlined on Monday.

Retailer, city council discuss 'violence and vandalism' in downtown Prince Rupert 
By Shaun Thomas 
The Northern View 
Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Loaded Sports owner Marc Page made use of the public comment period during Monday night’s Committee of the Whole meeting to voice his concerns over violence and vandalism in Prince Rupert’s downtown core.

“To me it seems like it is only getting worse with what the kids can get away with because they know there are no repercussions, they won’t get a criminal record and they can be back out quickly. They may have to meet with a counselor, but they could miss that meeting with no consequences…In reality it’s no skin off their back,” he told council, alluding to windows being smashed at a number of businesses and adding that he knew the root of the problem was much deeper and complex in terms of poverty and possible substance abuse.

 “What can we, as a city, do to get these kids on the right path?”

 Mayor Jack Mussallem noted that the City has requested another judge for the community and asked the RCMP to re-implement bike patrols downtown and the Citizens on Patrol Program, which now has about 14 volunteers following two information sessions held earlier this year.

 “We’re doing what we can, but the unfortunate thing is that it never seems to happen quickly enough,” he said. 

Other council members said that while the City can take a leadership role in addressing the problem, it is going to take a concerted effort by everyone in town to seek out a solution.

 “We can all provide ideas, but at the end of the day we need to brainstorm as a community,” said councillor Anna Ashley, nothing that it was not just kids responsible for the vandalism and damage.

 “I think that there is a real divide in the community between those who have money and those who don’t and those who have social problems and those who don’t…If we can bridge some of that divide, we can work together to find a solution,” said councillor Joy Thorkelson, suggesting the City, downtown merchants and social service groups like the Friendship House could begin to meet around the matter.

Along with better promoting volunteerism to provide role models for local youth, another idea Page brought forward was to establish a 24-hour place young people can go if they don’t feel that they can be at home.

 “If they go home at three a.m. and their dad is drunk and going to be abusive, there should be somewhere they can go,” he said.

 Councillor Gina Garon added that she feels that expanding the drug and alcohol rehabilitation day program to youth was something that needed to happen “sooner than later, because that’s where it all starts”.  

Podunk Below the Masthead (Tuesday, April 27, 2010)

The travel vaccination clinic returns to the city, questions arise over Regional District's budget requests and vandalism and violence in the down town area once again are brought to city council's attention, some of the items of the Tuesday news listings.

Daily News, front page, headline story
TRAVEL VACCINATION CLINIC TO REOPEN ON THE NORTH COAST THIS MAY -- Local residents can once again receive travel medicine and vaccinations in Prince Rupert, when the Travel Medicine and Vaccination centre opens up an office on May 5th in the McBride Street Primary Care Medical Clinic. The travel services will be provided every Wednesday evening from 5:30 to 9 PM. The travel clinic was last located in Prince Rupert in the fall of 2009 but was cut due to Northern Health's restraint program, travellers then had to make the trek to Prince George or Vancouver to receive their inoculations and consultations.

Skeena Queen Charlotte Regional District's budget requests will hit local taxpayers in the pocket book as the Regional Government seeks an increase of 26 percent, looking for a total increase in funding from Prince Rupert of close to 100,000 dollars. Local residents and former employees of the District attended the most recent R D meeting and questioned Mayor Mussallem about a variety of cost related issues surrounding the District's plans, the bulk of which involve staffing requirements recently implemented by the District.

The Daily outlines a tribute to former City of Prince Rupert employee Bob Thompson, as we outlined on the blog in early April, Thompson along with a number of other city employees have taken retirement or left the city's employment this month, the Daily providing a biography of Mr. Thompson's service to the city in the Tuesday edition.

The Sports section reviews last weeks Milk Run at Charles Hays Secondary School.

(Daily News Archive for Tuesday, April 27,2010)

Travel vaccination clinic to reopen on the North Coast this May SQCRD budget comes under fire
Thompson tackles retirement
Outfitter caught wearing the goat horns
Abuse victims addressed in local production

The Northern View
Retailer, city council discuss 'violence and vandalism' in downtown Prince Rupert -- Prince Rupert's vandalims and random violence downtown was addressed at the most recent city council session as a local retailer outlined his frustrations with the situation (see article here)

The Northern View
Ridley says funding formula must change -- Ridley Terminals reviews its financials from 2009 and expresses its belief that the funding formula in place over financial matters needs to be changed to better reflect the Terminals requirements (see article here)

The Northern View
Local featured in employment success book -- Two local residents are profiled in a new book called RESPECT, a 30 page project which tells the stories of people with developmental disabilities who are in the workforce and includes the stories of Jamie Alexander of Prince Rupert and Harmit Atwal of Terrace. (see story here)

The Northern View 
MP meets with Alaskan senators -- Nathan Cullen's trip to Washington provided him the opportunity to discuss issues of concern between BC and Alaska as he met with Alaskan Senate and Congressional representatives (see article here)

The Northern View
City to host 2011 NCLGA meeting -- The City will once again call on volunteers to help it host an upcoming meeting, as the City confirms it will be hosting the 2011 North Central Local Government Association convention next May. The convention will bring 200 to 300 visitors to the city for three day (see article here)

The Northern View
BC Annual gets underway Sunday -- The Lester Centre is once again home to a key BC dance competition as the BC Annual is set to get underway on May 2nd for a week of competition. (see article here)

No items of concern to Prince Rupert were posted on the CFTK website on Tuesday

CBC News British Columbia, Daybreak North
No new items were posted to the Daybreak North website on Tuesday

Daybreak North is only posting selected items on their website now. The most recently posted items can be found on the archive page for Daybreak North click here 

Daily News, front page, headline story

Travel vaccination clinic to reopen on the North Coast this May 
By Monica Lamb-Yorski 
Staff Writer 
Prince Rupert Daily News
Tuesday, April 27, 2010

After going without for almost half a year, locals will now have access to travel medicine and vaccines, when a Travel Medicine & Vaccination Centre (TMVC) opens an office in Prince Rupert on May 5.

The clinic will be located at 501 McBride Street in the new Primary Care Medical Clinic. The office will initially be open on Wednesday evenings from 5:30 to 9:00 pm, but will expand as demand warrants, possibly to Saturdays. 

“We are excited about bringing back a dedicated full service travel clinic to Prince Rupert after a number of months since the closure of the public health travel clinic” said TMVC’s manager Ray Christopherson in a press release. 

“TMVC is the largest medical organization in B.C. specializing in providing vaccinations for travellers and for occupational purposes. We have 21 offices located throughout British Columbia. All offices are Public Health Agency of Canada designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres.”

Nurse practitioner Toby Hilton will be leading the vaccine clinic and will be available to provide vaccinations, prescriptions for travel diseases such as malaria and traveller’s diarrhea, and travel advice.

Hilton worked at a travel clinic in the fall of 2009 and has also done travel consulting with public health.

 “I really enjoyed it because I’ve travelled a lot and I enjoy talking to people about their trips,” Hilton told the Daily News. “Most recently I was in Vietnam and Cambodia and have volunteered in orphanages in India, Bolivia and Guatemala.”

According to Hilton, Northern Health Authority closed its travel vaccine service in November due to economic restraints. “It was considered a non-essential service. There are other health authorities that have cut back theirs as well,” she explained.

Previously, travellers could visit a public health nurse for vaccinations, but since November, people have had to travel to Vancouver or Prince George to have a consultation and travel shots.

“Some people book appointments with their family doctor for advice and some vaccines can be ordered in, but doctors are not licensed to give some vaccines, such as yellow fever. Someone in Prince Rupert going to Africa needs the yellow fever vaccine and they need it ten days before they leave,” Hilton said, adding that the lack of travel vaccines locally has been in inconvenience for travelers in the Northwest.

Travel vaccines are a specialized field and having someone that has access to updated databases and the latest information for travel to different countries is essential.

 “TMVC is looking at opening a clinic in Smithers and eventually Terrace, but not yet, so we’re the closest right now,” Hilton added.

The clinic will stock a complete range of travel and occupational health related vaccinations including the new Shingles vaccine. It will also offer a selection of travel health accessories such as mosquito nets, repellents, first aid kits and water purification products.

 “We are committed to providing business and pleasure travellers with the highest level of service and expertise,” added Christopherson.

Hilton said unfortunately there are people who are not aware of what they need until they are ready to leave for a trip. 

“Then they learn they have to delay their trip by a couple of weeks and that ends up costing more money.” 

Appointments can be made by calling 1-888-288-8682. You can also visit the web site at

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

It's the economy (Tuesday, April 27,2010)

The greed of Goldman, Canadian bubbles and calling Greek debt junk sends investors to the exits, some of the items of interest from Tuesday's financial findings.

Globe and Mail-- Goldman accused of ‘unbridled greed’
Globe and Mail-- Report warns of housing bubble threat
Globe and Mail-- Gulf oil spill could affect rules for Arctic
National Post-- Fed meeting starts on day of global market turmoil
National Post-- U.S. will raise yuan through nuance
National Post-- Canada showing signs common to asset bubbles: report
Vancouver Sun-- Massive housing development being built in Richmond
Vancouver Sun-- Regional airports move ahead with expansion plans
New York Times-- Senators Put Goldman on Defensive Over Mortgage Deals
New York Times-- Stocks Tumble After Greek Debt Is Downgraded
USA Today-- Ford posts $2.1B 1Q profit on strong sales
USA Today-- Economist: 'Two steps forward and one step back' for housing
Guardian UK online-- Goldman Sachs: Fabrice Tourre defends his 'Frankenstein products'
Guardian UK online-- Standard & Poor's downgrade Greek credit rating to junk status
Guardian UK online-- BP profits jump after oil price rise
Times on line UK-- Commentary: Germany is right to be worried
Times on line UK-- Investors take fright as Greece debt declared junk
Telegraph UK online-- Goldman Sachs hearing: expect more questions, not answers
Telegraph UK online -- Stock markets tumble as Greek debt is cut to junk, Portugal downgraded
Telegraph Uk online-- General Election 2010: voters need honesty on where cuts will come
Melbourne Herald Sun-- Judge approves $39.5 million AWB pay-out
Melbourne Herald Sun-- Back to boom but at a cost
Sydney Daily Telegraph-- Producer price rise may mean rate hike
People's Daily-- Economist confidence index stays at record high
People's Daily-- IMF and World Bank meetings show China's rising influence
China Daily-- Yuan valuation not top concern for US firms in China
China Daily-- Realty sector cooling off
Times of India-- India may grow still faster; inflation a 'big worry': RBI chief
Times of India-- Road projects go on fast track

Podunk Below the Masthead (Monday, April 26, 2010)

The Anti HST crusader will soon appear in Prince Rupert, Gary Coons continues to quiz BC Ferries on security of data concerns and City Council decides to wait another week before rendering  a final approval to the budget, some of the items of interest in the Monday newsfiles.

Daily News, front page, headline story
ANTI-HST CRUSADE AND VANDER ZALM VEER TO THE NORTH COAST -- Bill Vander Zalm finding his anti HST message a welcome missive for many, makes plans to take the crusade to Prince Rupert with a My 21st appearance planned for the city, where he will share more of his cause to over turn the Liberal government's plans to harmonize the federal and provincial taxes.

Gary Coons continues to express his concerns over matters of operation of BC Ferries, this time he wants the Ferry Corporation to address the handling of credit card information, stemming from a number of incidents that the North Coast MLA recently made the privacy commission aware of. BC Ferries responded to some of his concerns with a statement that their research shows that their database is safe and nearly impossible to hack into. Mr. Coons however is still hopeful that the privacy commissioner will investigate and verify that there have been no security breaches.

Details of Fairview Management's Good Food Box Program make the page three feature of the Monday edition, a project which once a month provides fresh produce and staples for fifteen dollars. Sales now top forty two boxes a month, almost double the amount since they first took the project public.

The Sports section features a look at this years Prince Rupert Youth Soccer Association season, with games under way and grass field open at the earliest date in the last five years.

(Daily News Archive Items for April 26)

Anti-HST crusade and Vander Zalm veer to the North Coast
Hacking it up BC Ferries style not very popular 
Moving on — local resident reflects on Manitoba incident 
New book features two Northwest men
In the mood for good food at NWCC

The Northern View
No new items were posted to the Northern View website on Monday.

Prince Rupert budget deferred -- CFTK has our first look at the budget deliberations of Prince Rupert City council, with council deciding to defer a final reading on the budget until May 3rd, allowing for more time to work on the details and final figures before the final vote (see article here)   

New Senior Housing for Prince Rupert -- A look at the latest plans to offer more housing choices for Prince Rupert's seniors (see article here)

CBC News Northern British Columbia, Daybreak North
No new items were posted to the Northern View website on Monday.

Daybreak North is only posting selected items on their website now. The most recently posted items can be found on the archive page for Daybreak North click here 

Daily News, front page, headline story
Anti-HST crusade and Vander Zalm veer to the North Coast 
By George T. Baker
Staff Writer
Prince Rupert Daily News
Monday, April 26, 2010 

 The campaign to over-turn the HST is set to arrive in Prince Rupert next month

Boff, zoom bam, newly minted anti-tax superhero Bill Vander Zalm will be flying to Prince Rupert to bring his fight the HST crusade to the North Coast.

It has been confirmed the former premier will be bringing his Fight HST rally tour to Prince Rupert on May 21, where it is expected he will meet with hundreds of supporters of his HST opposition campaign.

According to local Fight HST organizer Gina Clark, Vander Zalm will make good on a promise to visit the North Coast in late May, though a location and exact time have not been established.

And all is going well with the campaign, she added

 “We are doing well collecting names in Haida Gwaii, Bella Bella and Bella Coola,” said Clark. “We are getting quite a lot of canvassers in those places.”

Locally, at least twenty-four people have signed up in Prince Rupert and three on Haida Gwaii.

Estimates from those organizing the fight have placed current numbers at about 1,200.

At the Third Avenue Coffee Shop, owners Vince and Connie Amante have said they have had little trouble getting locals to sign the petition.

 In little less than three weeks, they alone have signed up at least 440 people to their sheets they have provided in their eclectic coffee temple and suntan bed salon.

However, a problem with the campaign could arise if signatories are not putting down their proper electoral addresses.

As part of the rules, the signatories must place the address from where they are registered to vote. If that is not their current address, then signatories must visit

There are 85 constituencies in B.C., and 10 percent of registered voters in each constituency must sign the petition for it to force the introduction of a bill or province-wide vote on repealing the HST. 

The HST will replace the seven-percent provincial sales tax and the five-percent federal goods and services tax.

The new 12-percent levy will apply to many goods and services currently covered by the GST but not the PST. 

“It’s going good.

 “But it would be better if those who signed the original sheet, that was not legal, would come here, King Koin or to Fishermen Hall to sign the real one,” advised Amante.

Fight HST is the kind of populist campaign that generates an immediate wave of support, but it’s not clear what effect it will have on B.C. politics.

Meanwhile, BC Liberal MLAs are gearing up to defend the HST.

Finance Minister Colin Hansen said Monday the government’s annual mailing on budget measures, which will include information about the new tax, would be vetted by Elections B.C. to ensure it doesn’t violate the province’s Initiative Act.

Under the act, opponents of the HST, which blends the federal GST with the provincial sales tax and applies it to more goods and services, have until July 5 to gather enough signatures to force a referendum on the tax.

British Columbians are not a shy bunch when it comes to public outrage over provincial government policy. But populism does not necessarily lead to altering the provincial leadership’s position, according to Northwest Community College political science professor Hondo Arendt.

 “I don’t think that will happen just because it seems that the previous few times people have tried to get all the petitions together and fulfill all the requirements they haven’t even come close to enough to force the issue,’ said Arendt.

Of course, even if there are enough signatures, the signatures do not require that the provincial government vote to repeal the HST.

Arendt added that while this may appear to spell doom for the BC Liberals, the reality is that voters have short memories and that when it comes to the next provincial election, it may not be a front-and-centre issue.

 “I think the public will feel ripped off. But I also think that it will probably be forgotten by the next election. I suspect that the BC Liberals are counting on that and they don’t seem to be giving any ground on it,” commented Arendt, who has also run for the Green Party in previous elections.

A Simon Fraser University economics professor, however, doesn’t understand why people view the tax with such anger.

Simon Fraser University tax policy expert, Jon Kesselman, said that British Columbians will have good reason to celebrate when the much-maligned HST takes effect on Canada Day, according to a new paper he authored. In a column appearing in the latest issue of Policy Perspectives, a Business Council of British Columbia publication, says if you pass the HST through an economic prism it passes with flying colours. 

In The Harmonized Sales Tax—Through an Economic Prism, Kesselman concludes the impending amalgamation of the provincial sales tax and the federal goods and services tax will improve tax simplicity, economic efficiency and equity.

 “Some losers will arise in sectors that have enjoyed a tax-preferred status for many years, such as restaurants and home construction,” says Kesselman, a co-originator of the Tax-Free Savings Account. “But overall British Columbians will gain through a more competitive business sector yielding, over time, more investment, increased employment, and better-paying jobs.”

 The Business Council of B.C. executive director Jock Finlayson has been a large supporter of the HST and the BC Liberal party in the past. And the council itself is promoting the shift to the HST, which will place a larger tax onus on consumption rather than production.

The idea is to make job creation more palatable for producers, while hoping that consumption would remain the same.

 However, small business owners, restaurateurs, low-income earners and service providers will no longer be GST exempt. But Kesselman notes harmonization will save the B.C. government and ultimately taxpayers $80 million annually in public costs and partial compensation to businesses for collecting the PST.

The SFU Canada Research Chair in Public Finance added, “Businesses and other B.C. entities now collecting the PST will save a further estimated $150 million per year in compliance cost. Business cost savings of $100 million per year will flow through as lower prices for consumers.”

Kesselman called the PST “a dying breed” that survives in only a few jurisdictions around the world. He suggests that consumers would find the amalgamated provincial and federal sales taxes more palatable if the government adopted a tax-inclusive pricing system that doesn’t treat the HST as an add-on expense.

With files from Canadian Press