Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's the economy, Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Canada's slowing growth rate, 8% now the norm for Canadian Unemployment and a decision for the Irish to make, some of the items of interest from our Tuesday financial review.

Globe and Mail-- Ireland to struggle despite bailout
Globe and Mail-- Canada’s growth slows to a crawl
National Post-- Is the eurozone running out of time?
National Post-- Is 8% the new norm for Canada's jobless rate?
Vancouver Sun--Enbridge to offer Aboriginal groups 10% stake in B.C.-Alberta pipeline
New York Times-- A Winning Economic Strategy for the G.O.P.
Guardian UK online-- European Central Bank boss calls for even greater euro harmonisation
Telegraph UK online-- Ireland's Debt Servitude
Sydney Daily Telegraph-- Dr Ken Pidd says occupations can influence a person's drug use
China Daily-- Sinopec sees higher domestic oil demand
Times of India-- RBI takes step to ease liquidity for banks 

A bite from the hand that feeds the corporate beast

Bart Simpson is clearly in charge of production these days over at the Simpson's studios and some of the folks in the News department at Fox aren't very happy about it!

The long running television show has been having much fun with their corporate masters these past few weeks, as the opening credits of the show feature some digs at the expense of the Fox News Channel.

The ribald rivalry started off a few weeks back when the opening to The Simpson's featured a Fox News  chopper with the slogan "Not Racist, but Number one with racists".

A playful re-interpretation of the channel's positioning statements that earned the show a special place on Fox News's O'Reilly report, earning the producers of the show the less than coveted Pinhead salutation from O'Reilly himself.

That broadside provided a second barb directed at the News Channel on this weeks edition of the Sunday night cartoon, another news copter flying the latest message from the Simpson's studios to their stablemates over at the News Channel.

This one featuring the slogan of "Unsuitable for viewers Under 75", a snippet of television that was only provided for the North American audience, such was the rushed nature of the Simpson's counter offensive.

The full review of the All in the Fox Family Feud can be found from the Mediaite site, which provides much background on the bickering kids of Fox.

CN reminds the oil patch of a second option for oil transportation

"Our infrastructure is already there. We're not going to be the one to build tankage or vessel berths or anything like that in (Prince) Rupert. Certainly if there's a connection to be made between producers and if there are buyers in Asia that want to buy it, the rail network is there, we're ready to go now."-- James Cairns, a vice-president with the Canadian National Railway reminding oil sand executives of the CN Rail option for their transportation needs. 

The debate over shipments of oil from the Northern Alberta tar sands, currently focused on the Enbridge Gateway proposal may soon once again have another option to consider. Speaking at conference in Calgary to discuss the future of the Alberta oil sands, representatives of both Canadian railroads outlined their proposals to transport oil to coastal ports for shipment overseas.

CN's representative at the conference, James Cairns, explained to his audience that CN already has the infrastructure in place to transport the oil, all that is missing is a terminal with tanks for storage and berth for vessels to call at for shipment.

And while he advised that CN has no plans to build such facilities at either Prince Rupert or Kitimat, he stressed that should oil producers or shipping lines take that step, the railroad network is there an available immediately.

The proponents of the Northern Gateway proposal have been finding the going tough of late, as communities and First Nations councils express their concerns over the prospect of pipelines crossing through their territories.

Mr. Cairns outlined the advantages (in his corporation's view) of the rail prospects, that of a less risk of accidents based on the fact that rail spills are generally smaller than pipeline problems, and when incidents occur trains can be rerouted so deliveries can continue on.

He recounted for the conference how interest in the CN options increased in the wake of the Michigan and Illinois pipeline incidents of this past year. Providing CN with the opportunity to further develop their plans which we first heard of a last year when they outlined the scope of their "Pipeline by rail" project.

While the rail option may find a welcome audience in the Alberta oil patch, leaving behind the myriad of opposition groups for the cross country pipeline project, yet the future is still not assured as for the final destination.

While CN continues to provide the vision of oil transportation out of either the Port of Prince Rupert or Kitimat, the environmental movement and associated other groups in the Northwest will no doubt be turning its attention to the prospect of oil tankers entering the waters of the north coast either to Kitimat or Prince Rupert.

Those plans could very shift the debate from further inland to the coast, as both sides of the debate outline their positions and provide for the always controversial discussion over future economic development, weighed against environmental impact.

Podunk Below the Masthead, Monday, November 29, 2010

The Rupert to Tsawwassen ferry route may be back on the drawing board, Winterfest is almost upon us and winter weather makes for an interesting travel day for the Terrace airport, some of the items of note from our Monday news review.

The Northern View
Councillor concerned BC Ferries re-examining Prince Rupert to Tsawwassen route-- Councillor Sheila Gordon-Payne relays her impressions from the latest exchange of ideas with BC Ferries regarding proposed changes to North-South ferry routing (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Prince Rupert Winterfest just around the corner-- With rumours bouncing across the city of cancellation, the Prince Rupert Special Events Society sets the record straight on this years Winterfest celebrations set to get underway this weekend(see article here) Sahar Nassimdoost provided this review for the evening news (see video here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Not Guilty of Dangerous Driving-- An American man involved in a police related shooting last November in Smithers, has one less charge to worry about, after being found not guilty of dangerous operation of a vehicle (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Rampage Tied with River Kings for First in CIHL West; Kitimat Right Behind-- A review of the weekend action in the CIHL and the impact of those results on the west division standings (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Santa arrives -- Terrace claims the first sighting of Santa this season, as the Jolly Elf clad in red arrived by Helicopter this weekend landing at the Terrace Canadian Tire store (see video report here)

Terrace Standard
Airlines continue to fly despite storm-- Monday's winter weather in Terrace causes some disruptions to the Terrace Airport schedule, but the airport manager advises all would be passengers to go to the airport with the prospect of flying on their minds (see article here)

Terrace Standard
Kitselas, BC Hydro sign agreement on Northwest Transmission Line -- The Kitselas First Nation signs an agreement for development funds and training related to the construction of the Northwest Transmission Line (see article here)

Terrace Standard
Winter Tire use urged-- Results of winter tire checkpoint in the Terrace area last month shows that residents are heeding the message of using winter tires in the Northwest, though there is still room for improvement (see article here)

QCI Observer
Councils cooperate-- Two Haida Gwaii community councils make plans to continue on with quarterly combined meetings (see article here)

QCI Observer
Forest tenure study in works-- The Village of Masset supports an application from the Misty Isles Economic Development Society seeking funding for a forest tenure acquisition feasibility study (see article here)

QCI Observer
Helmet law to be more strictly enforced-- Queen Charlotte RCMP intend to ensure that Islanders are complying with the bicycle helmet laws (see article here)

KRBD Ketchikan radio
St. Gregory pastor removed while investigation occurs -- Alaskan authorities conduct an investigation into questionable material found on the computer of a Sitka area church (listen to radio report here)

KRBD Ketchikan radio
Bob DeArmond (1911-2010) created "window into past"-- Sitka residents review the impact of journalist  Bob DeArmond who passed away last week (listen to radio report here)

KRBD Ketchikan radio
Paul removed from STA council-- A member of the Sitka Tribe of Alaska Tribal Council is removed from his seat after being found guilty of neglect of duty and gross misconduct (listen to radio report here)

CBC News Northern BC Daybreak North 
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

Monday, November 29, 2010

It's the economy, Monday, November 29, 2010

World markets find no reassurance from Europe, America's parallel path to Spain and Italy suffers an Irish blow back, some of the items of interest from our Monday financial review.

Globe and Mail-- Husky makes bet on natural gas
Globe and Mail-- Markets scoff at Europe’s bid to clean up financial mess
National Post-- High Loonie home to roost
National Post-- Irish bailout gets EU ready for next crisis
Vancouver Sun-- Vancouver Whitecaps partner with video game giant EA Sports
New York Times-- The Spanish prisoner
Guardian UK online-- UK is back on track
Telegraph UK online-- Contagion strikes Italy as Ireland bail-out fails to calm markets
Sydney Daily Telegraph-- Parliament passes bill to split Telstra
China Daily-- Rising labor shortage hits key delta regions
Times of India-- Indian tourists flood foreign shores

A brawl that was nowhere at all?

The Prince George Citizen is finding itself the subject of a little closer inspection (and a bit of derision by some) these days, after a story from last week which painted the city's police and fire department personnel in a less than flattering view.

In a piece that was published on last Wednesday, the Citizen apparently reported that some of the city's Fire Department and RCMP detachment got into a brawl at the city's Legion, that following the November 11th Remembrance Day observances in the city.

We would offer up a link to that story, however, after a fair amount of surfing the paper's website, it would seem that the item either never appeared in the online edition, or was removed from it later in the week.

We only became aware of the tempest brewing over the Citizen's reporting on that story, after an item appeared on the paper's competitor in the region, Opinion 250.

The Opinion 250 item reviewed a rather extraordinary press conference called by the Mayor of Prince George Dan Rogers, who with the Superintendent in charge of the RCMP for Prince George on one side and the head of the Fire fighter's union on the other, offered up a review of what was supposed to have happened.

However  following his review from the events of November 11th, Mayor Rogers apparently has found that no such incident took place at the Legion as reportedly described by the Citizen.

Likewise the city's weekly paper the PG Free Press, provided a story that seems to outline the concern in the community regarding the Citizen's original story of last week.

The Prince George Citizen also provided details of the Mayor's press conference, however with but a slight reference to their own story of earlier in the week that seemed to spark all the drama.

No retraction, nor clarification appears to have been provided to date, nor has a link back to the original item been featured on the paper's website. And in fact, in a comment for the weekly paper, the Citizen's publisher Hugh Nicholson is standing by the original story suggesting no further action will be taken by the paper on the issue.

Further reading of the comments section to the Citizen's short item seems to provide a bit of background on that original story, having apparently been spawned by a letter to the editor,  outlining an alleged rude incident at the Legion that day. The story that seemingly came in part from that letter, has provided for much discussion of the Citizen's editorial and reporting standards of late.

The Citizen is owned by Glacier Media, the one time owner of the Prince Rupert Daily News until selling off the Rupert paper to Black Press earlier this year.  Reading the comments associated to the Opinion 250 web site's report on the issue, (scroll to bottom here) may bring back a few memories for those in Rupert who had their own thoughts on the delivery of news in Prince Rupert by Glacier management at the time.

The commentaries associated to some of the Citizen's own stories, also provide for some instructive reading as to the credibility and relevance that the paper seems to have of late for a fair number of the city's residents.

It would seem that without further documentation and research by the Daily paper and  judging by the anecdotal evidence from the comments on both the paper's own and the Opinion 250 websites that no such full scale confrontation between Fire and police members took place in Prince George on Remembrance Day.

Leaving the reputations of those two institutions in the city to remain pretty solid, while the same it would seem can't be said for Prince George's Daily paper of record.

Rampage Review Week Nine

With a weekend sweep of the Hazelton Wolverines, the Prince Rupert Rampage made the leap to a first place tie with the slumping Terrace River Kings in the Western division of the CIHL.

The Rampage had a bounty of goals to be counted on Saturday and Sunday, as Rupert scorers accounted for 17 goals to pace the Rampage to the weekend sweep.

Saturday nights match found the Rampage on the successful end of an 9-3 decision, while the Sunday afternoon game featured an 8-1 victory for the home side.

565 fans took in the Saturday night game, cheering on  a hat trick from Colt Stava, while Kendal Stace-Smith scored twice, Rob Miller, Tom Jackson, Steven Lawrence and Aaron Armstrong picked up singles on the evening.

Keith Movold collected the victory with 13 saves on 16 shots on the night in a mostly tame affair, with but three penalties called in the full sixty minutes of action, all of them in the first period.

The second half of the double header went on Sunday afternoon in front of 332 fans, Colt Stava kept the pace from the first game with two goals on Sunday on the way to the 8-1 Rampage victory, Kendal Stace Smith and Rob Miller also had two goals on the afternoon, while singles went to Chris Woodrow and Brett Stava.

Daniel Lorette was in the nets for the Rampage on Sunday, facing 27 shots with only marker making turning on the red light for the Wolverines.

Sunday's game was a more physical match than Saturday's, with the Rampage picking up the bulk of 33 minutes of penalties assessed in the game. The Rampage had 10 penalties for 21 minutes, while the Wolverines spent 12 minutes in the penalty box on six infractions.

The twin victories for the Rampage pushed them to the top of the Western division standings, as the slumping Terrace River Kings continued to have their struggles through November, losing to Kitimat on Saturday night by a score of 8-3.

The Rampage wins combined with the Terrace loss leaves both teams with the same amount of points at 10 atop the division, the Rampage have played one more game thus far in the season but have a better goals for record based on their success this weekend.

This weekend's action sets the scene for Saturday night, when the Rampage travel to Terrace for a game which could push them free of the River Kings at the top of CIHL west standings.

Besides the Terrace Kitimat game this weekend there were two other CIHL games on the schedule for week nine. Those results can be found below

Burns Lake 6 Houston 5
Smithers at Omenica (no score provided yet to CIHL website)

You can find a full review of the Rampage season so far from our permanent link on the blog, which you can check out here.

Further reports on the action from the weekend can be found below.

Nov 28-- Prince Rupert Rampage win two at home against Hazelton Wolverines
Nov 29-- Rampage Tied With River Kings for First in CIHL West; Kitimat Right Behind

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Adverse weather results in BC Ferry cancellations

With an intense pacific from set to cross from Haida Gwaii to the North Coast overnight and into Monday, BC Ferries has announced the cancellation of two sailings of the Northern Adventure.

Late Sunday evening the Ferry Corporation announced that the Sunday night departure from Prince Rupert, scheduled for 11 pm had been cancelled, and with that cancellation the return trip from Skidegate to Prince Rupert has been cancelled as well.

The decision to cancel the crossing for Sunday night was based on the latest Environment Canada forecast calling for strong winds set to begin overnight Sunday.

BC Ferries hopes to return to scheduled service on Monday evening with the 11 pm departure for Haida Gwaii

Passengers seeking further information can access the latest details at the BC Ferry website or contact BC Ferries at 1-888-BC Ferry (223-3779).

Tie down the Christmas Decorations

Ambitious Rupertites who took advantage of the warm weekend weather to set up their outdoor Christmas Decorations, may wish to make sure that their Santa's, helicopters, Snoopy's and other inflatable and not so inflatable decorations are fully secured by Monday morning.

Environment Canada has issued a Wind Warning for the North coast for Monday, advising of winds gusts of 80 to 100 kilometres through the day, all part of an intense pacific frontal system set to cross over from Haida Gwaii and work its way inland through Monday and into Tuesday.

The forecast calls for rainfall amounts for Prince Rupert to be towards 30 mm by the end of the day, though temperatures on the coast will remain quite mild with a high of 8 expected on Monday.

The frontal system however does promise substantial precipitation further inland, with Stewart expected to receive 30 cm by Monday evening, while Terrace and Kitimat can expect up to 15 cm of snow and perhaps more through Monday.

As the system comes ashore transportation options could suffer for delays and such.

Road conditions will be updated from the Drive BC website, as well BC Ferry Service Notices can be found on the BC Ferry website and Air Canada flight notices out of YVR can be accessed from the YVR website.

Podunk Below the Masthead, Friday, November 26, 2010

A blockade goes up in Oona River, health care in Prince Rupert celebrates it's 100 and a Terrace businessman hopes that his re-development project attracts new shops for the city, some of the items on interest from our Friday news review.

The Northern View
Kitkatla puts up shipping blockade in Oona River -- A dispute  between the Kitikatla Nation and the Provincial government regarding logging issues in its territory has resulted in a blockade of the Oona River barge ramp (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Hospital 100th -- The celebrations of 100 years of patient care in Prince Rupert is reviewed as Sahar Nassimdoost looks back at the history of the Prince Rupert Hospital (view report here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Coroners inquest postponed-- The inquiry into the shooting death of a Hazelton man by the RCMP has been postponed by request of the family (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Burns Lake Residents head to the polls -- A by-election for a position on Burns Lake Council takes place on Saturday (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Skeena Landing -- A Terrace businessman opens up a new enterprise in an old industrial area of Terrace (view report here)

CFTK TV 7 News
CMSD Consultations -- The progress so far of the Coast Mountain School District closure and reconfiguration plans (view report here)

Health Forum--  A review of a health forum in Smithers that looked at factors in the Northwest for healthy living (view report here)

Terrace Standard
Northwest jobless rate drops -- The jobless rate for the Northwest in October tumbled to below double digits for the first time in two years, listed as 8.7 per cent (see article here)

QCI Observer
GMDC meeting postponed -- A meeting of the Greater Massett Development Corporation is postponed after some members advised that they would be out of town on the November 28th meeting date (see article here)

CBC News Northern BC Daybreak North 
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

Friday, November 26, 2010

It's the economy, Friday, November 26, 2010

The shifting Canadian job market,  the two Ireland's and Germany at risk from EU rescue efforts, some of the items of interest from our Friday review of the financials.

Globe and Mail-- Spain denies need for bailout as debt fears spread
Globe and Mail-- Canada’s shifting job market: the rise of contract work
National Post-- Global economy facing 'major adjustments': Dodge
National Post-- A tale of two Ireland's
Vancouver Sun-- Ian Thow, disgraced B.C. investment adviser, loses appeal
New York Times-- Eating the Irish
Guardian UK online-- Ireland hurries bailout deal as Portugal and Spain deny need for aid
Telegraph UK online-- EU rescue costs start to threaten Germany itself
Sydney Daily Telegraph-- Payment delays continue for NAB customers
China Daily-- China approves new plan to boost green industries
Times of India-- LICHF: From loans boom to scam blues

Podunk Below the Masthead, Thursday, November 25, 2010

Parking at a premium in Prince Rupert's harbour,  Ski season is underway in Smithers and Vancouver's weather creates travel woes for Terrace airport, some of the items of interest for our Thursday news review.

The Northern View
Prince Rupert harbour fills for the first time in over a decade -- A harbour full of ships at anchorage makes for an interesting headline approach from the Northern View (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Prince Rupert Residents Parles Francais-- The relocation of a Fracophone Association to Prince Rupert provides the opportunity to enhance the language and culture in the northwest (see article here) Sahar Nassimdoost provided this report for the TV 7 News

CFTK TV 7 News
Hudson Bay Mountain Ready for the Season -- The ski season gets underway on Friday for Hudson Bay Mountain as the winter resort opens up for the ski season (see article here) (video report here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Terrace's economic development officer tackles investment readiness -- Terrace's Economic Development Officer is keeping busy preparing new initiatives to capitalize on upcoming projects in the region (see article here) (video report here)

Terrace Standard
Weather causing flight delays-- Vancouver's weather woes on Thursday provided for delays on flights to Terrace (see article here)

QCI Observer
Concern growing over night hunting-- Residents of the Tlell area are expressing their concerns over night hunting near their homes (see article here)

QCI Observer
GMDC meets Sunday -- The annual meeting of the Greater Massett Development Corporation is set for Sunday afternoon (see article here)

QCI Observer
Telethon takes to the air Saturday-- The Lions Club hosts its annual Timmy Telethon this Saturday at the Howard Phillips community hall (see article here)

CBC News Northern BC Daybreak North
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

King Pacific Lodge gains another accolade

The King Pacific Lodge, tucked along the central coast within the confines of the Great Bear Rainforest has once again wowed the world, this time collecting an award as North America's Leading Green Hotel of 2010, declared so at the World Travel Awards in London, England.

King Pacific was one of three British Columbia green hotels nominated for the award, with Brentwood Bay Lodge and Spa and Raven Havens also making the short list, however when it came time to hand out the honours, it was King Pacific that took to the stage in acceptance.

The lodge which is towed from its winter harbour in Prince Rupert to Brentwood Bay in time for the June to September season has long been considered one of the top resorts to pull up a deck chair at.

This year Conde Nast Traveller magazine awarded the Lodge it's 2010 Readers Choice awards, as the magazine's readers selected in the top resort in Canada for the third consecutive year, just another award to pop up on the Lodge mantle.

The latest award comes from the owners commitment to sustainable practices, respect for culture and commitment to green beliefs, all of which are clearly meeting the standards of excellence that the Lodge's 750 visitors a years have come to expect.

A maximum of 34 guests at a time arrive for their stay in the pristine wilderness of Brentwood Bay, a three night all inclusive escape from the real world that will cost them $4,750 per person.

The attention to detail at the Lodge and it's commitment to environmental respect is clearly paying off for the owners, management and staff at King Pacific, a standard that suggests that they best keep some room on the mantle for a few more awards in the years to come.

The full review of their success at the World Travel Awards can be found from the Vancouver Sun.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

It's the economy, Thursday, November, 25, 2010

Positive trends for Canada's economy, pondering the end of the Euro and BC's on track for budget targets, some of our items of interest for the Thursday financial review.

Globe and Mail-- Could debt crisis break up euro zone?
Gobe and Mail-- Canada should do better as downturn ends: TD’s Clark
National Post-- What if the eurozone broke up?
National Post-- Taseko government leak 'pure speculation': Baird
Vancouver Sun-- B.C. on track to meet budget deficit target
New York Times-- Will Ireland Default? Ask Belgium
Guardian UK online-- Ireland contagion fears grow as borrowing costs climb again
Telegraph UK online-- Governor of Bank of Ireland Patrick Honohan attacks 'unsatisfactory' accounting rules for banks
Sydney Daily Telegraph-- Kindy wiggles out of name dispute
China Daily-- Central bank pledges to intensify fight against inflation
Times of India-- Molson Coors eyes Cobra

Season's Greetings from Canpotex!

As we head into the Christmas season, that annual tradition of the Christmas card season is once again at hand.

An opportunity for Rupertites to keep in touch with those old friends that have been away for awhile, and Wednesday such was the case from the folks at Canpotex, who dropped a line through the Northern View to say they were still thinking of us.

When we last heard from our Saskatchewan acquaintances, almost a year ago as things turned out, they were weighing their options on whether to build a new Potash Terminal in Prince Rupert or to expand further their current shipping terminal in North Vancouver.

The prospect of jobs danced in our heads as last Christmas came and went, passing through New Years and well into Valentine's Day, with nary a word of any further progress.

Of course it's understandable that we fell out of touch, Canpotex was rather busy this past year, part of the Saskatchewan family of potash companies that was busy beating off a hostile takeover bid by Australian giant BHP Billiton.  Helped along towards that goal with a helping hand from the Conservative government, as Mr. Harper and his cabinet sided with the homegrown (sort of) collective, rather than turning the keys to the Potash kingdom over to the Aussie interlopers.

With most of the last year taken up by fighting off that takeover bid, there was clearly little time to consider such outstanding issues as the need for expanded shipping capacity anywhere, let alone on the north coast.  Especially we imagine if there was some concern that the company was to be gobbled up by an international giant.

So, it seems with the Australian threat now taken care of, the Potash corporation and its affiliates such as Canpotex can get back on track so to speak, with their own forward thinking plans for the moment.

Which brings us back to where we were last Christmas, wondering where the future may take us when it comes to the world of potash shipments to the world and what place Prince Rupert may have in the long term.

We really don't know much more about their plans than we did a year ago, though it seems their first order of business this time around may be to make sure that they are on side with local First Nations before any other decisions are considered.

For now however that may be enough for local proponents of potash terminal development on the North coast, these stirring embers of potential development will leave the city's politicians, bureaucrats and of course its real estate agents once again thinking of glad tidings for a new year, all be it seemingly delayed by 365 days or so.

Podunk Below the Masthead, Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Canpotex keeps in touch, Coast Mountain School closure and configuration discussions almost at an end and the Haisla sign on for LNG development in Kitimat, some of the items of note for our Wednesday news review

The Northern View
Canpotex says interest remains high for terminal in Prince Rupert -- A short press release stirs up the dreams again of a potash terminal for Ridley Island (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News 
School closure and reconfiguration consultations wrap up next week -- The Coast Mountain School District prepares to wrap up their consultations on potential changes to the District's configuration and roster of schools (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News 
Northern Gateway town hall in Terrace to be held February 1-- The date is set for discussion in Terrace on the Enbridge Northern Gateway project, a forum planned for February 1st at the REM Lee Theatre (see article here)

Terrace Standard
Pedestrian struck by vehicle--RCMP in Terrace are seeking more details of an incident in downtown Terrace on November 15th, which saw a resident struck by a vehicle while cross Lakelse Avenue (see article here)

Terrace Standard
Bakery officially opens-- A couple from Prince George who relocated to Terrace have opened up a new business venture in the city (see article here)

Terrace Standard
City sets date for Enbridge town hall meeting -- Further details on the planned public forum in February to discuss the Enbridge Gateway project (see article here)

Terrace Standard
Regional District gets a grant-- The Provincial Government provides the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine with a 1.1 million dollar grant (see article here)

The Northern Sentinel
Haisla make history-- The Haisla Nation ratifies an agreement with Apache Canada for a 49 year lease for construction and operation of the Kitimat LNG terminal (see article here)

The Northern Sentinel
Reward increase for capture-- The reward for information leading to the capture of alleged killer Kevin Vermette has been increased to 25,000 dollars (see article here)

CBC News Northern BC Daybreak North
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

Sabre rattling at Regional District?

“Jean Martin may end up, along with anyone else who wishes to submit their name, under consideration to be on that committee...When it’s in the by law it’s there for a reason. The bylaw is a law of the regional district, why should the regional district be outside its own bylaws,” -- Mayor Jack Mussallem outlining the background for his suggestion to Regional District  

Was it a veiled threat, or just a reminder of the normal course of business for a relatively little known regional committee?

This week's Northern View provides an interesting and informative glimpse into the workings of Regional District and the current controversies over the workings of the Regional Recycling centre.

In particular, the  paper's review of the recent commentary at Regional District chambers regarding the make up of the Solid Waste Management Advisory Committee, has once again highlighted Mayor  Jack Mussallem's verbal jousting sessions with recycling advocate Jean Martin.

The events and comments at Regional District's most recent gathering having left Ms. Martin with the feeling of sorts that her time on the Committee may be nearing its end, though not perhaps of her own choice.

The helpful reminder that the board serves at the pleasure of Regional District is something that for the most part probably goes un-noticed by most residents of the North coast, the issues of recycling and Regional District for that matter, probably not high on the list of priorities for them.

However, by her advocacy Ms. Martin has certainly brought an interesting focus to the issue, providing a passionate review of past practices in that area of Regional Financing and highlighting that at times, the policies of that segment of the Regional District seem to be a bit out of touch with the folks that actually use their facilities.

Her intercessions on behalf of Rupertites have been well chronicled over the last few months, including the rather heavy handed approach that the Mayor has taken with her as she raises her issues and seeks answers from both Regional District and its main financial contributor the City of Prince Rupert and its taxpayers.

The impression that the Mayor may wish to see her go away, while perhaps helpful for his peace of mind, provides more ammunition for those that find this council to be one which pays lip service to accountability and transparency.

The appointments to the Committee may indeed be by Imperial fiat of Regional District, but by seemingly wishing to dismiss a thorn in the side the members of that council, those members may find that they are doing more damage to their reputations than they will to Ms. Martins.

While the Mayor is correct in his review that the Regional District can't ignore it's bylaws on Committee participation, the sticking issue with such a tempestuous issue as this one is going to be who makes those decisions at the end of the nomination process.

One imagines before any changes are made, or a list of contenders is put forward there will be a debate among city council members as to who should make up that committee.

A debate that one hopes will be conducted in public, in council chambers and not in the now famous closed session.

Even more helpful for local residents would be for the results of any committee votes to be made public. Instructive as to how each councillor stands on the issues that Mrs. Martin may have raised over the last few years, as well as to how they vote when it comes to selecting any new members to the committee.

In an era of apathy in municipal issues, trying to marginalize, if not get rid of a hard working and devoted advocate for a popular program seems to sending the wrong message to the city's residents. Providing in a most clumsy manner, the impression that those that may ask too many questions aren't particularly welcome to sign on for committee work.

With that optic in mind, Regional District may wish to ponder the public face they are giving to their workings these day.

By seemingly appearing to want to get rid of anyone who dares to question the workings of a publicly funded body, they may be providing the opening for a backlash from those that write the cheques, not to mention perhaps raise some questions as to the credibility of this form of government.

Ironically enough, that regional forum where the fate of Mrs. Martin's may be decided is one made up of appointed members,  yes elected to their particular city council's, but selected from within those councils for participation in the regional district talking club. 

A situation that provides for a reminder of the layer of un-accountability that exists at that regional level and may soon make Regional District members a little uncomfortable with a growing focus and review of their work there. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It's the economy, Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Europe's seething time, Spain proves to be the greatest risk yet and China and Russia drop the dollar, some of the items of interest from our financial review for Wednesday.

Globe and Mail-- Canadian dollar surges
Globe and Mail-- Europe seethes as economies wilt
National Post-- Canadian home prices drop in September
National Post-- Ford Motor cuts debt by US$1.9B
Vancouver Sun-- B.C. boomers set to prove Paul McCartney wrong: survey
New York Times-- Amid Bailout Dangers, Spain Poses the Greatest Risk
Guardian UK online-- Irish austerity plan to save €15bn
Telegraph UK online-- Ireland unveils austere €15bn budget to cut deficit
Sydney Daily Telegraph-- Virgin Blue flags capacity growth
China Daily-- China, Russia quit dollar
Times of India-- Traditional yet modern is new marketing mantra

Sarah Palin: Going Rogue as a charter member of Kim Jong Il's fan club?

Oops Wasilla, we may have a problem.

Would be Presidential candidate Sarah Palin has once again seemingly provided a less than firm grasp on foreign policy, a worrisome trend for those that fear that the Mama Grizzly may yet one day get a chance to memorize those nuclear codes.

Appearing on the Glenn Beck radio show (a home like no other for the Tea Party Queen) Ms. Palin, while discussing the current worrisome situation on the Korean peninsula, offered up the firm unequivocal stand that America needs to stand with their North Korean allies.

No doubt a shocking thing to hear for those in South Korea, who have for some fifty years now thought of the United States as their allies in the still on the books war between the Koreas.

She did make a recovery later on, correcting her original error, but only after a bit of interjection from the helpful host.

Hmmm, now perhaps this is some super secret mission of Mrs. Palin, a bid to disarm the suddenly belligerent North Korean Leader, offering up the hand of friendship.

A salutation from afar for the Rogue State from the gal that went Rogue, a gesture that we're sure the Dear Leader and his heirs and successors would find some comfort with.

But more likely and as history seems to point towards, it's probably more a case of yet another example of her lack of the basics when it comes to the world's trouble spots.

It would seem that the one time Governor and hopeful Presidential candidate might need a few more social studies sessions before she's ready for the world stage...

The whole disjointed proclamation can be found courtesy of the mediate website.

Podunk Below the Masthead, Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The City gains some financial relief at Watson Island, more intrigue to the local Recycling issue and one more call for those that need a family doctor to drop into the Primary care clinic, some of the items of note for our Tuesday news review.

The Northern View
City of Prince Rupert saving $75,000 a month on Watson Island costs -- The City of Prince Rupert gains some relief from its financial woes, as prospective investors in the Watson Island site take over the maintenance costs during their due diligence (see article here)

The Northern View
Police incident ends in Fraser Lake -- The weekly catches up to the details of a robbery spree in the city last week, as we outlined on the blog on Thursday, a pair of alleged thieves who struck in Prince Rupert were apprehended in Fraser Lake (see article here)

The Northern View
Prince Rupert Rotary Auction raises around $40,000-- Despite a declining economy, the Annual Rotary Auction raised 40,000 dollars for local Rotary projects (see article here)

The Northern View
American anti-Enbridge speakers coming for free talk -- Speakers from the United States will be making a tour of the Northwest to discuss the ramifications of the Enbridge pipeline project, the Prince Rupert session takes place on December 4th at the Tom Rooney Playhouse (see article here)

The Northern View
Recycling debate continues as committee members sought -- The ongoing debate over Recycling issues in the city gets a little more intriguing, as the Mayor offers up some opinions on the nature of the Mainland Solid Waste Management Advisory Committee (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Prince Rupert doctors available for those in need -- Northern Health issues another call for patients, reminding North coast residents that those still in need of a family physician can gain access to one through the city's Primary Care Clinic (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Ski and snowboard season approaching at Shames -- The small dusting of snow of this week offers up hopes for a successful snow season, TV 7 provides a look at the latest from Shames Mountain which hopes to open up for business on December 10th (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Highway Cam Now Operating in Nass Valley -- Motorists in the Northwest have one more asset to take advantage of in their travels, as Drive BC introduces a highway cam for the Nass Valley (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Attempted Armed Robbery in Smithers-- Smithers RCMP are investigating a reported attempted armed robbery at the city's movie theatre on Monday night (see article here)

Terrace Standard
Rising costs force city cuts-- The City of Terrace examines a number of options as it prepares its "hold the line budget" for 2011 (see article here)

Terrace Standard
Arbitrator rules in employees' favour -- A Labour arbitrator rules against West Fraser over the firing of six Skeena Sawmill employees prior to the closure of the Terrace mill, had West Fraser been successful in their defence of their actions, the six employees would have been denied severance payments from when the mill was closed (see article here)

Terrace Standard
Highway cam on line in Greenville -- Details on the introduction of a Highway Camera on the Nass Highway (see article here)

Terrace Standard 
Council eyes Ferry Island boat launch-- The city of Terrace approves a 1,000 dollar survey to examine the prospects for a boat launch at the city owned Ferry Island campground (see article here)

KRBD Ketchikan radio
DOT hears locals' concerns over Downtown Revitalization Project -- A plan to revitalize a portion of the downtown area of Wrangell, Alaska is proving to be a controversial project (listen to radio report here)

KRBD Ketchikan radio 
Thanksgiving dinner sponsors see needs grow-- Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States and Southeast Alaskan churches and organizations are seeing a growing need for assistance from residents in their communities (listen to radio report here)

CBC News Northern BC Daybreak North 
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

Questions over the passenger list on Canadian research vessel

"It was refitted at the cost of $30 million to taxpayers to research climate change. Not to look for oil for some of the biggest polluters on the planet." -- The thoughts of Nathan Cullen, NDP MP for Skeena - Bulkley Valley and Environment Critic, expressing his outrage at the use of a Canadian coast guard ship for research by a pair of oil companies.

There are more than a few raised eyebrows in Ottawa these days over the disclosure that a Canadian Coast Guard vessel, CCGS Amundsen, is being used to provide research material for two International oil companies seeking information on Arctic drilling prospects.

The Amundsen, the most advanced research vessel in the Canadian fleet, normally is used to track the changing nature of the environment and the impacts of climate change on the Canadian environment. 

However in the last two years, six weeks of its tasking has been dedicated towards the impact of exploratory drilling plans for the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean.

British Petroleum and Imperial Oil both have chartered the vessel at 50,000 dollars a day for the six week period over two years, a move that the Coast Guard apparently has no qualms about but one which environmentalists and the Skeena - Bulkley Valley MP clearly aren't impressed with.

Gail Shea, the Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans seemingly isn't accepting the criticisms of the MP or the environmental movement, suggesting that the science from the BP and Imperial funded trips will benefit all users and provide a better understanding of the impacts of industrial activities in the Arctic.

The tempest that is brewing was featured on the CBC's website as well as on the National, items which you can review here..

City Council tracker for November 22, 2010

Council receives a pair of presentations from the Museum, and Tourism Prince Rupert  as well as discusses variance permit applications. The city manager also provides his report on outstanding council initiatives.

In Attendance: 

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

Absent from Council: 

Next council meeting Monday, December 6, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It's the economy, Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fewer hot dogs for Ontario teachers, fewer dollars now for Spain and the power of Oprah, some of the items of interest from our review of Tuesday's financial news.

Globe and Mail-- Fed cuts economic outlook
Globe and Mail-- Should euro weaklings just default?
National Post-- Teachers' sells 15% Maple Leaf stake at discount
National Post-- Irish bailout may leave EU strapped for Spain
Vancouver Sun-- Oprah endorses Lululemon pants; firm's shares at record high
New York Times-- F.D.I.C. Says Many Small Lenders Are Still at Risk
Guardian UK Online-- Euro crisis worsens after bond investor says cash will be taken out of Ireland
Telegraph UK Online-- Altogether now, sing along with the Irish... Who’s Sorry Now?
Sydney Daily Telegraph-- Ireland 'highlights our strength', says Wayne Swan
China Daily-- China takes steps to guarantee domestic oil supply
Times of India-- Govt will 'overcome' difficulties to tame inflation: PM

Will the Republicans sacrifice the American economy for potential electoral glory?

The Republican party is hanging out with some pretty interesting company these days, treading the same economic line as that of Germany and China.

A trio featuring a number of diverse agendas, but all seemingly seeking to reign in the Federal Reserve as it continues to try to stimulate the American economy and create jobs to bring down the current high levels of unemployment of 10 per cent and more across the USA.

Paul Krugman's article in the New York Times from Friday provides some fascinating reading, all leading up to a theme of suggestion from the Nobel prize winning economist that the Republicans, recently emboldened by their gains in the House of Representatives and the Senate, may not actually wish to see an improving economic picture over the lead up to the 2012 Presidential election year.

By their actions and similar inclinations as those of the Germans and the Chinese, Krugman has christened them with a new title, something that the slogan happy Republicans may not particularly like, tethered with the Germans and Chinese as part of an "Axis of Depression".

He followed up that thesis with a review of the Republican agenda on Sunday, which paints the Republicans as an obstructionist group, determined to sideswipe the government of the day in the quest for   political gain and on the cusp of perhaps a complete political breakdown with serious consequences for the Americans that will be caught up in the fall out.

The current attacks by Republicans on Federal Reserve policies have even enticed Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to make a rather unusual political statement, outlining his concerns over the growing criticism from Republicans, tying them into that same group that Krugman cobbled together for his articles of the weekend. 

While Republicans may dismiss Krugman's offerings as more Liberal propaganda, the prospect of Republican efforts to erect roadblocks to President Obama's agenda at every turn seems to indeed propose for two years of political chaos at a most dangerous time frame for the US.

And as Canadians have learned over the years, political fighting in the US and the subsequent problems that it may bring to their economy have a funny way of impacting on their neighbours to the north, making for the events of Washington these days well worth watching from our side of the border.

A light dusting of winter

Tuesday morning brought the first snow of the season, a small dusting that covered roads but resulted in little trouble on city streets.

City crews had most major routes sanded by the morning drive to work or school and with accumulations of only about 5 cm expected through the day, there isn't any anticipation of driving concerns for those that take their time and have properly prepared vehicles for the conditions.

The forecast for the next few days provides for much of the same, some occasional flurries giving way to rain showers as warmer temperatures arrive on the north coast.

The flurries will continue into the evening with a low of 0, Wednesday may feature an additional 5 cm of snow wit the winds picking up by afternoon and a high of 3, Thursday will feature rain with a high of 6 before cooler temperatures while more snow flurries and/or rain are forecast for the weekend.

In addition to the slight dusting of snow, portions of the North coast Inland area are in the grip of an Arctic outflow warning with wind chill values bringing the temperatures down to -20 degrees

Tuesday's snow has made for slippery conditions on Highway 16 to the east, with compact snow reported from Houston eastbound towards Prince George.

A full report on road conditions in the Northwest can be found at the Drive BC website.

While weather conditions have been much stormier and colder to the south, no weather related concerns were relayed from either Air Canada or BC Ferries for Tuesday