Recent comments

  • Solar Showdown   1 day 12 hours ago

    It may come as a surprise to many to learn that in 2010 the largest solar photovoltaic power plant in the World was built in Sarnia, Ontario.

    Although it has since been surpassed in size, it demonstrates that solar power on a large scale is technically feasible in Canada.

    What may be even more of a surprise to many is that the Sarnia solar project was developed by Enbridge .... better known in more recent years for its proposed contoversial Northern Gateway pipeline.

    The biggest solar power project in Canada west of Ontario was recently announced by the City of Kimberley, B.C., and is to be built on the site of the old Cominco Sullivan mine on land donated byTeck. 

     

  • LETTER: Dan Albas needs further education   4 days 9 hours ago

    NEW

    Beverly McLaughlin, chief justice, deserves apology from PM, international jurists say:

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/beverly-mclaughlin-chief-justice-deserves-apology-from-pm-international-jurists-say-1.2718342

     

  • LETTER: Dan Albas needs further education   5 days 8 hours ago

    RALPH GOODALE
    HARPER CONSERVATIVES "ON THE ATTACK" AGAINST COURTS

    Remember in 2006 when Stephen Harper tried to reassure Canadians that they didn't need to worry about his "extreme tendencies" because three "safeguards" in our system of governance would hold him in check?

    One was the Senate as a chamber of sober second thought. Well, so much for that idea! Mr. Harper has mangled the Senate with wrong-headed appointments and constant manipulation. Trust is gone.

    Secondly, a strong public service was supposed to keep him within the confines of decent public policy. But Mr. Harper quickly made it known that advice from government officials is not valued and those who "speak truth to power" get punished. So intimidation reigns.

    The third safeguard was the Courts. And that's where the rubber hits the road.

    The judicial system has a measure of constitutional authority and independence that the first two do not. Governments are not above the law. When Prime Ministers, Parliaments and bureaucracies go wrong, citizens must have the right to challenge them in court.

    A number of courts at various levels - including judges who have been on the Bench for years and some who only just arrived - have questioned the legality and constitutionality of various Harper government actions and pieces of legislation. The issues at stake frequently involve the Charter of Canadian Rights and Freedoms, like a recent ruling that this government's treatment of refugees is, in some ways, "cruel and unusual".

    This enrages Harper Conservatives who have never accepted the legitimacy of the Charter - unlike some 80% of Canadians who regard it as a defining characteristic of our nationhood.

    So you have the unseemly spectacle of Stephen Harper and his entourage on frequent rampages against the courts and judges (including attacks on the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada) and the interpretations of the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Charter.

    What these Harper Conservatives ignore is that the Charter itself was duly and laboriously crafted, debated and enacted according to law. It reflects the democratic will of Canadians, which cannot be easily trumped.

    And it contains a safety valve - i.e., the "notwithstanding" clause - which dissidents can use, if they've got the courage. In other words, the Harper Conservatives could, in fact, legislate their distasteful ideology, but they would have to declare, upfront and explicitly for all Canadians to see, that they are doing so "notwithstanding" the traditions and values of a free and democratic society.

    Of course they'd rather not invoke the Notwithstanding Clause because it destroys their facade of respectability. So instead, they rant against the courts, accusing them of bad faith and "end runs" around democracy.

    Before embracing such criticism, note the prevailing mentality among the folks around Mr. Harper which led his Chief of Staff to think it was "okay" to make a $90,000 payment to a sitting Parliamentarian. Is that the kind of judgment you can trust, without recourse? And that's not all - take a hard look at the bruised and battered "democracy" that characterizes this Harper regime:

    • Hundreds of millions of tax dollars squandered on partisan government advertising to skew public opinion. Vicious attack-ads paid for with tax subsidies. Campaigns of character assassination aimed against charities, non-governmental organizations, church groups, public servants, scientists, statisticians, Officers of Parliament and public-interest watchdogs.

    • Tampering with Access-to-Information procedures. Stonewalling the Parliamentary Budget Officer. Limiting the work of House of Commons Committees.

    • Blatant misuse of Omnibus Bills, Prorogation and Closure to stifle reasonable debate and avoid accountability.

    • The conviction of the Conservative Party for more than a million dollars in illegal election campaign spending. The resignation of a Conservative Cabinet Minister over election violations in Labrador. The "robocall" electoral fraud trial now underway in Guelph. The Prime Minister's former Parliamentary Secretary on trial for other alleged election offences in Peterborough.

    • A Conservative scheme, defended publicly by Stephen Harper, to use robocalls to influence an independent electoral boundaries commission.

    • The new Conservative "Elections Act" which makes it harder for many Canadians to vote and easier for electoral fraud to go undetected.

    Given this perverse approach to democracy, it's probably a good thing that ordinary citizens have at least some ability to fight for their rights in court.

  • LETTER: Dan Albas needs further education   6 days 11 hours ago

    I listened to this show and was stunned by the lack of knowledge of the Harper Conservatives . Are we the people really that stupid? Only 40% voted for them This is NOT democratic. They want autocratic rule bought and paid for by corporations.

  • Interior Health CEO, Dr. Halpenny, makes house call to Kootenay Lake Hospital   1 week 6 days ago

    What a joke. Mr Halpenny says that Nelson residents have HART to rely on for fast safe transport. Wrong again Mr Halpenny.

    Well Mr Halpenny, everyone has heard of the Golden Hour, its name indicating the importance of getting treatment within an hour of an accident, stroke or heart attack. The Hart transport has never enabled a patient in Nelson to be treated in an hour. In fact no patient has arrived in Trail within three hours!! Nelson needs its surgery and internal medicine back, services that the IHA moved from Nelson to Trail. Helath care in Nelson is not adequate and nowhere near what it was even 40 years ago. And the costs have gone up each and every year so they haven't saved us a cent, just less care for more money.

    Just another expensive abysmal failure brought to you by the Kelowna focused Inferior Health Authority. The IHA has been nothing but bad news for Nelson health care.

  • Surprisingly no one hurt as horse trailer flips near Playmor Junction   1 week 6 days ago

  • Surprisingly no one hurt as horse trailer flips near Playmor Junction   1 week 6 days ago

    A heart-warming story of community  co-operation and caring. Thank you so much to all who used their patience,skills and talents in a complex and challenging situation.

  • Grand Forks man dies after jumping off Nursery Bridge   2 weeks 2 hours ago

    And you are???

  • Grand Forks seniors home included in "Happy" video   2 weeks 4 days ago

    Beautiful!!  So nice to see everyone enjoying themselves.  What great rhythm those participants have!!  Way to go!!!

  • Grand Forks man dies after jumping off Nursery Bridge   2 weeks 5 days ago

    Thank you for the correction. My information came from the BC Coroner's Office -- they said Search and Rescue was called. When I called the Fire Hall, they were unable to talk to me.

  • Grand Forks man dies after jumping off Nursery Bridge   2 weeks 5 days ago

    One of the basic tenets of news reporting is to have the facts correct. Unfortunately, the writer of this article failed to achieve this goal.

    Grand Forks Fire Rescue volunteers were the ones in the water and on land conducting this rescue operation.

     

  • Tahltan Nation prepare Aboriginal title case against Arctos Anthracite coal mine   4 weeks 3 days ago

    What the SCC established is that the consent of three parties will henceforth be required to advance a project: the resource extraction corporation, the provincial/federal government, and the First Nation on whose land the development is proposed.

    That there is a difference between "engaging" First Nations and obtaining their consent is evident in the number of legal challenges initiated by First Nations who are opposed to a project. Have you ever heard of a resource corporation or a government hauling a First Nation before a court to challenge their refusal to consent to a project? That is the effect of the SCC decision.

    As to Canada having the "toughest regulations and duty to public consultation" in the world, I'll take such claims with a grain of salt. I participated in a number of Canadian public consultations (e.g., Northern Gateway) and if that is "world class" then the terms does not mean much. If you can refer me to an independent academic comparative analysis of such regulations world-wide, I'll read the book before taking your claim at face value.

  • Tahltan Nation prepare Aboriginal title case against Arctos Anthracite coal mine   4 weeks 4 days ago

    In BC there are 14 recent Resource Sharing Agreements granting First Nations 37% of mineral taxes.

    And the Tahlan deserve one too; and they'll get it - as will every other First Nation in BC probably for all future mine developments.

    Andre, the public is ignorant of the relationships between First Nations and Mining (let alone understanding the mining industry). The industry has now had many years of engaging different interest groups and communities in the very challenging province of BC; where some of the toughest regulations and duty to public consultation exist anywhere in the world.

    The Mining Industry "gets it" and even shows leadership in these relationships.

    Local community doesn't get it though; First Nations are far more sophisticated advocating for the interest of their own.

    Maybe our villages and towns MIGHT also benefit for their OWN Resources Sharing Agreements. The idea would go far to change the parasitic relationship between urban centers and the rural hinterland.

  • Tahltan Nation prepare Aboriginal title case against Arctos Anthracite coal mine   4 weeks 4 days ago

    The resource revenue industry will have to take the time to consult the dictionary to understand the difference between consulting and consent.

    First Nations too  have an opportunity to weigh the long-term impact of job promises and investment. It would be worth their effort if First Nations were to go to Norway, spend a little time there to appreciate just what a sovereign wealth fund is, and how to manage such a fund for the long term benefit of the people from whose land resources are extracted.

  • Tahltan Nation prepare Aboriginal title case against Arctos Anthracite coal mine   4 weeks 4 days ago

    And a response from the mining industry...

    Today, the Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia (AME BC) responded to the Supreme Court of Canada’s judgment that Aboriginal title over the land area as requested by the Tsilhqot’in Nation is granted, but that provincial laws and regulations still apply on the land.

    “While this is a complex and precedent-setting case that will require further review, we at AME BC know that the path forward is for the federal and provincial governments to continue consulting with the Tsilhqot’in Nation,” stated Gavin C. Dirom, President & CEO of AME BC. “The outcome of such consultation will enable further investment from the mineral exploration and development industry that will create jobs and shared economic opportunity for all British Columbians, including the people of the Tsilhqot’in Nation. Improved certainty about title, consistent decision making processes and the application of predictable and reasonable laws and regulations are critical to successfully attracting investment to British Columbia.”

    “It is important to recognize that the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed that provincial laws and regulations will continue to apply in the Tsilhqot’in Nation Aboriginal title area, subject to section 35 of the Constitution Act,” noted David McLelland, Chair of AME BC. “Government has the duty to consult with First Nations, but members of AME BC recognize that respectfully engaging with First Nations early and often creates mutual understanding, trust and respect. We have seen that mutual benefits can often occur when this approach is taken by everyone involved, including industry, First Nations and government.”

    “The exploration and development of mineral claims in the area could provide real and significant economic development opportunities and long-term net benefits to the Tsilhqot’in Nation and to everyone in British Columbia,” concluded Dirom.

  • Parallel realities   4 weeks 6 days ago

    can you possibly write so it is easier to read?  How about  it?

  • COMMENT: 'Class Composition' is more than an abstract bargaining term in the current BC teachers' strike   5 weeks 3 days ago

    The government's legislation was not just "deemed unlawful" by the courts, it was found to be in contravention of the Constitution. 

    As to the consequences, take that class of 32 including 8 "coded" kids in your example. Not only will the education of those 8 "coded" kids be inadequate because the kids will not get the focused attention they need to learn, the education of the other 24 kids suffers as well for the same reason. Any extra time and attention dedicated by the teacher to the "coded" kids is "stolen" from the "uncoded" ones. The government's position is a lose-lose-lose position: legally, for "coded" kids, and for "uncoded" kids.

     

  • A Closer Look at Indian Dance--this Thursday in Castlegar   5 weeks 5 days ago

    CORRECTION: Please note that this dance performance actually runs from 4-5PM today. From 5-6 there will be a food and drink sharing as well as free dance lessons for those interested.--ed.

  • Reality is not what it used to be   7 weeks 12 hours ago

    Wise people have noted that the proper journey of life is from self to other. Unfortunately, possession of money invariably enhances the Self and impedes spiritual progress. It's a pretty simple fact but, as a species and as individuals, we have a really, really hard time digesting it. Jesus was pretty clear on the subject, for example, but the religion that was formed around his name hasn't done a very good job of practising the whole 'camels and eye of the needle' thing.

  • Reality is not what it used to be   7 weeks 12 hours ago

    You may want to at Alasdair MacIntyre's 'After Virtue' to your list of recommended books.

    Here is a thought of his that relates to your topic:

    "We should [therefore] expect that, if in a particular society the pursuit of external goods were to become dominant, the concept of the virtues might suffer first attrition and then perhaps something near total effacement, although simulacra might about."

    A further thought:

    "In what does the unity of an individual life consist? The answer is that its unity is the unity of a narrative embodied in a single life. To ask 'What is the good for me?' is to ask how best I might live out that unity and bring it to completion. To ask 'What is the good for man?' is to ask what all answers to the former question must have in common."

    Reading MacIntyre reveals the politics we have been pursuing in Canada for well over a decade as something we ought not take too much pride in.

  • Reality is not what it used to be   7 weeks 15 hours ago

    The Nelson-y idea that money is 'attracted' to evolved souls is disgusting and evil. Sorry, sub-Saharan Africa--you're just not ready for a full belly yet, not like the Boomer elites of Nelson, BC! If people are willing to believe that, why don't they just come completely out of the closet as white supremacists, given how unequally material wealth is divided along racial lines in this world?

    Better to posit that wealth is a sort of cancer that's attracted to weak spiitual immune systems--it ultimately swallows up and replaces the soul. We don't only see this insane attitude in pot-dulled hippie discourse--Christianity manifests the same concept through the concept of 'stewardship' to which some of that religion's more benighted believers subscribe.

  • Who needs $80 billion? Starve us some more!   7 weeks 1 day ago

    There is not much to add to your column, Murray, but I do want you to know that I read your columns, and that I appreciate the time and effort you put into presenting responsible political opinions and comments.

    Writers of your caliber remind us that, as much as Thatcherite ideologues would want to see ourselves as taxpayers rather than citizens, to agree that there is no such thing as society, and that the purpose of humanity is to serve the needs of the economy, to follow such an ideology will invariably produce costly consequences. Most likely, and that is most unfortunate and unfair, the true cost of current government decisions, federal and provincial, will not be paid by the generation that voted for these politicians, it will have to be paid by our grandchildren.

  • OP/ED: Minister releases statement on BCTF job action   7 weeks 1 day ago

    ... the government is, in the final analysis, the people. Right? Whose nose is being cut to save whose face?

    The kind of condition your daughter has to cope with, Ken, is not all that unusual. We were lucky. Our son is autistic, and at the time he was about 7 at the time the B.C. Government was headed by Dave Barrett. The government then funded a special school for autistic kids, the teacher-student ratio was 2 to 1. That's right, two teacher per child.

    Although of limited ability due to his autism, our son lives under supervision in the lower mainland, but has a full-time job cleaning in a restaurant kitchen in the lower mainland. Minimum wage, but has not been unemployed for a single day in his adult life.

    Was the public expense of his education worth the effort? Even if you ignore the personal experience and the social aspects of the life he has enjoyed, on purely economic terms the answer is a clear yes. 

  • OP/ED: Minister releases statement on BCTF job action   7 weeks 1 day ago

    You may be right Andre, and maybe class size and composition is an issue where "The Provincial Government needs an education about education" .... to steal the title of one of your previous comments. 

    One of my daughters is a teacher. When she told me her Grade 4 class had 29 students, my comment was "well....when your mom started teaching she had 43 students in her Grade 4 Class."

    My daughter then told me that her class has about 60% ESL (English as a second language); including two new immigrants with no Engish at all. Six of her students have IEPs (Independent Education Plans) because 3 are autistic, 1 mentally challenged and 2 with other learning disabilities.In addition, she has to cope with two students with severe behavioural problems.

    Out of her 29 students only 5 could be classed as "typical, ordinary students" and she commented that if all her students were like those 5 she could teach a class of 50.

    Bundling the kind of mix my daughter has to teach, together in one class seems unfair to everyone including teachers, students and parents. It only benefits the employer (the Government) by allowing cutbacks in special needs educatiion.

    I can understand why teachers want class size and composition on the negotiating table.          

  • OP/ED: Minister releases statement on BCTF job action   7 weeks 1 day ago

    I have not done enough research to categorically state the following to be true.

    My understanding, however, is that the reason salaries for B.C. teachers are below the Canadian average is that teachers had agree to a lower rate of pay in exchange for class size/composition considerations. Class size/composition, so teachers maintain, affects teaching efficacy.

    The government then went along with it then. Today the government is determined to use the lower salaries as the base line for future wage increases, but to detach class size/composition from the contract.

    The teacher traded salary for class size/composition, and now the government wants to maintain the salary half of the deal but reverse the class size/composition half.

    No wonder tempers are flaring.