Saturday, March 31, 2012

2012 BC Community Achievement Award winners named

Yesterday - the Hon. Steven Point (Lt-Gov of BC) handed out the 2012 BC Community Achievement Award to a number of very worthy British Columbians

The body that looks at nominations for this award include:

Mayor Larry Cross of Sidney
Mayor Mary Sjostrom of Quesnel
Marlene Grinnell of Langley (2006 BC Community Achievement Award winner)
Patrick Kelly of Victoria (2009 BC Community Achievement Award winner)
Jane Frost of Vancouver (2006 BC Community Achievement Award winner)

Winners of this award in the Cariboo-Chilcotin include:

a) Catherine Belleau of Alkali Lake
b) David Dickson of Williams Lake
c) Trevis (Wes) Sissons of Quesnel
d) Werner Heine of 100 Mile House

See full details including bio details of all 2012 BC Community Achievement Award winners here

Spring Clean up Campaign in Quesnel

During the week of April 16-23rd in the City of Quesnel - there is a 'Spring Clean Up Campaign' to clean up the various neighbourhoods of Quesnel.  Read more details here or contact the Public Works Dept - City of Quesnel at 250-992-6330

Friday, March 30, 2012

Local Gov't Mtgs - Week of April 2-5

With the Easter Long Weekend starting next Friday (April 6th) - the following local governments are meeting this upcoming shortened week:

Wells - Wells Council meets Tuesday, April 3rd at 7:00pm in Wells Council Chambers (4243 Sanders Ave

Quesnel - Quesnel Council meets Monday, April 2nd at 7:00pm in Quesnel Council Chambers (2nd Flr - 410 Kinchant Street).  Read the Agenda/Reports here

School District #28 (Quesnel) - No meeting until April 11th
School District #27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin) - No meeting until April 24th

Williams Lake - WL Council meets Tuesday, April 3rd at 6:00pm in WL Council Chambers (450 Mart St).  Read the Agenda/Reports here

100 Mile House - No meeting until Tuesday, April 10th
Cariboo Regional District - No meeting until Friday, April 20th

Cariboo RD Board Highlights - March 30th meeting

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District:

Audited Financial Statements

Chartered Accountant, Ron Rasmussen presented the Cariboo Regional Hospital District (CRHD), the Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District (CCRHD) and the Cariboo Regional District’s (CRD) 2011 audited financial statements. According to Rasmussen, the financial position of the corporations remains strong. For inquiries contact the CRD’s Chief Financial Officer at 250-392-3351 or toll free at 1-800-665-1636.

Recruitment and Retention Strategy

The Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District (CCRHD) allocated $90,000 to be apportioned equally between the north, central, and south Cariboo to develop a Red Carpet program as a three-year pilot project. The CCRHD, in conjunction with the municipalities of Quesnel, Williams Lake and 100 Mile House, and in consultation with Interior and Northern Health, agreed to solicit suitable agencies or individuals to fill the role of community hosts. The purpose of this program is to assist in the recruitment of health care professionals to the north, central and south Cariboo. The Regional Hospital District will also submit the issue of recruitment and retention for discussion at the upcoming North Central Local Government Association convention, May 2-4, in 100 Mile House.

Taxes Held to CRD Target

During the meeting, both the CCRHD and the CRD proposed 2012 Budget and five-year financial plan were adopted. At the end of 2011, the Board of Directors provided CRD staff with a 2012 budget target goal of a two percent maximum requisition increase for inflationary purposes. The target has been achieved with the approved budgets reflecting an inflationary increase of 1.3 percent. The overall 2012 budget, including new/and or improved services came in at 1.9 percent. The financial statements will be available online soon at

150 Mile Official Community Plan adopted

During today’s meeting, the CRD Board of Directors adopted the new 150 Mile Official Community Plan (OCP). After receiving three readings at the CRD meeting on February 17, the document was sent to the provincial government for final approval before the CRD’s final adoption. To view the 150 Mile OCP document visit us online at and look under the Planning section

Health Roundtable

CCRHD Chair John Massier will be attending a Health Roundtable discussion on April 20, with Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP, Cathy McLeod. Joining Ms. McLeod for the session will be Dr. Kellie Leitch, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources, a prominent orthopedic surgeon as well as an associate professor of surgery. Discussion will focus on two issues. The first item is the identification of what issues should be dealt with at a Federal level to ensure a more sustainable and accountable health care system. Meeting participants will also look at an approach to measuring and reporting performance across health systems using common metrics.

Forest Capital of Canada Report Received

The Cariboo Regional District received the Final Report for the CRD’s 2010-2011 Forest Capital of Canada program. On November 30, 2009 the Canadian Forestry Association selected the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) to be the 2010-2011 Forest Capital of Canada to recognize the Cariboo Chilcotin as a region where forests affect the socio-economic and environmental health of its communities. With the decline of the forest industry as a result of the US housing recession and the impact of the Mountain Pine Beetle infestation, the Regional District saw the Forest Capital of Canada program as an opportunity to look to the future and promote new, non-traditional industries emerging in forestry. The two-year program focused on five key industries:

• Value-added forest products
• Non-timber forest products
• Ecotourism and wilderness adventure
• Bio-energy
• Agriculture (agro-forestry)

On February 22, 2012 the Cariboo Regional District handed off the designation to the 2012 Forest Capital of Canada, the Province of British Columbia, in celebration of the BC Forest Service’s 100 year anniversary.

Next CRD Board Meeting

Friday, April 20 – 9:30 am

6th Budget Meeting - City of Williams Lake

Last night - Williams Lake City Council met for the 6th time to discuss the 2012 Budget & 2012-2016 5 Year Financial Plan

However - the public was notified, via Twitter, that the Agenda for last night's budget meeting was available, 2 hours before the meeting and that clearly does not allow the public enough time to review the Agenda and provide appropriate input at the meeting.  If the Agenda had been available either last Friday (as had been done previously) or even Monday/Tuesday - that would have allowed sufficient time for the public to review budget items.  In the 'positive news' department - Council at their 5th Budget Meeting allowed the public to provide input prior to Council beginning its' budget deliberations and I hope this practice will continue... :)

Meanwhile, according to the minutes from the 5th Budget Meeting (Councillor Hughes was absent from this meeting):

1) Council unable to agree on several items including new planner position at WL City Hall & 'Wraps' for Utility Cabinets' - if all of Council was available then Council should be able to make a decision on these items.  Please note for the Planner position - Councillors' Geoff Bourdon and Sue Zacharias are in favour, Councillor Bonnell and Mayor Cook are opposed and no word on how Councillor Rathor feels about the new Planner position

2) There is public support for the Woodland & South Lakeside Drive projects and the public wants to see these projects go forward as a priority

3) South Lakeside Drive's budget increased "in principle" to $2 million with Councillor Geoff Bourdon opposed.  Council last night was to review how to achieve this

4) Councillor Geoff Bourdon was opposed also to a review of the Staff Training Budgets.  Councillor Ivan Bonnell however was in favour of this, as was a majority of Council

The next steps are:

April - finalize budget for presentation to the public for their formal input
May - Pass Budget and Tax Rates Bylaws prior to May 15th


End of Week News - March 30th edition

In Quesnel:

* CRD Area 'C' Director Massier/Wells Mayor Sharpe discuss Vanc and receive warm welcome regarding Barkerville - Purden Lake Route proposal - read here

In Williams Lake:

* Seniors' ask for more HandyDART hours - read here

Editor's Note - while I agree more hours for HandyDART for seniors' is great and should be supported, I wonder if the City/CRD should discuss this jointly as I have no doubt the issue of lack of hours for HandyDART is also an issue for CRD Rural Fringe seniors' who also pay for HandyDART and desire more hours so they can get to their appointments without necessarily rushing to fit inside an arbitrary set of hours

* Students teach their teachers' how to maintain a website - read here
* BIA Downtown Cameras - 'an ongoing project' - read here
* Saanich South MLA Lana Popham in Williams Lake to meet with ranchers - read here
* Report on last night's 'Sign Bylaw Public Meeting' - read here
* Mayor Cook's latest column - read here
* Bob Simpson: 'Power of an Independent MLA' - read here

In Provincial/Federal Politics:

* Vancouver Province political columnist Mike Smyth praises the 2012 Federal Budget - read here.  The Vancouver Sun also praises the 2012 Federal Budget - read here

* Vaughn Palmer: 'Whisper campaign' underway against BC Conservative MLA John van Dongen and his financee - read here

Thursday, March 29, 2012

My Take on the 2012 Federal Budget...

Earlier today - Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty presented the 2012 Budget to the House of Commons, but not before it was interrupted by protesters' who were led away by House of Commons Security and let go later on without charge

There are elements in this year's Federal budget that will be cause controversy and angst for the governing Federal Conservatives as follows:

* Change OAS eligibility from 65 to 67 - watch for the Federal NDP/Federal Liberals to fight this tooth and nail but with a Conservative Majority in the House/Senate, this measure is a fait accompli and will pass easily.  I agree with the measure, given the upcoming ratio of workers to retirees of 2:1 in about 20 years or 2022 compared with a worker-retiree ratio of 7:1 when OAS was brought in the 1970's

* One environmental review for major projects - Environmentalists shouldn't be surprised given hints were dropped last week about this measure.  Again - I support this measure as projects that need to have provincial/federal environmental reviews should have one review and not two

* Enforcement of 'charitable tax status' for charities - Environmentalists will be most upset by this move and although I haven't heard any complaints yet about this move, I'm looking to see what reaction will come forward from this move by Ottawa

Other Budget Highlights:

* Removal of the penny starting this fall
* Revamping of the Federal Pension System for Federal Workers and Federal Parliamentarians
* Reduction of roughly 19,000 Federal Jobs
* Use EI System to 'encourage' people looking for jobs to move to areas within Canada that has plenty of jobs

Overall, I am satisfied that this is a good budget - both today and long into the future and while some will find fault with this budget based on their own perspective, given the realities of the world today - this is a prudent and responsible budget

I look forward to the debate that starts tomorrow and ends on next Wednesday

You can review the budget highlights here and full 2012 Federal Budget documentation here

Finally - our local MP, Dick Harris, express his support for the Federal Budget.  Read more here

Cariboo RD hosts Invasive Plants Workshop

Courtesy of the Cariboo Regional District:

The Cariboo Regional District (CRD) Invasive Plant Management Program will be hosting the “Weeds and the Works” Workshop on Thursday May 3, from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm. The event will be taking place at the Pioneer Complex, 351 Hodgson Road in Williams Lake.

Through the Invasive Plant Management program, the CRD assists area landowners, farmers and ranchers tackle invasive plant problems.

The session will cover herbicide physiology and product information, aerial applications, safe handling and usage of herbicides, the importance of calibration, and a hands-on demonstration of spray equipment calibration. Demonstrations of backpack, truck mounted and ATV mounted sprayers will be part of the practical session. A tractor boom sprayer will be on display during the workshop to show proper calibration techniques. Participants are encouraged to bring their spray equipment if they would like some professional calibration assistance.

To register, or for more details please contact the CRD’s Invasive Plant Management Program at 250-392-3351, toll free 1-800-665-1636, or email before April 30, 2012.

Jobfest 2012 coming to Williams Lake...

Courtesy of the Government of BC:

Editor's Note - see the full Jobfest 2012 website here

An innovative, engaging tour exhibition is ready to hit the road, visiting more than 25 communities in Northern B.C. to connect with young people and their families, educating them on labour market trends and the multitude of career opportunities in our province.

JobFest is a rock-concert themed mobile event that is designed to get youth and young adults excited about their futures, while teaching them about the various tools and resources government has developed to support them in their quest to find their perfect career – like the job trend tracker, which provides youth with analytics to help them select a career with good employment prospects.

The exhibit features a rock band, local community talent and speakers, two giant tents that look like amplifiers – one that will showcase the online career resources and tools, and one that is set up as a temporary tattoo parlour, where youth can select a removable tattoo of their chosen career and listen to a short presentation about that career while having the tattoo applied – and more.

JobFest will officially launch on April 18 in Abbotsford during the Skills Canada BC provincial competition. It will tour Northern B.C., visiting rural and remote communities until the beginning of July, with a tour of Southern B.C. slated to begin in August. JobFest is funded through the Canada – British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement.

Pat Bell - the Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation says:

“British Columbia’s youth are vital to our economic future, and it’s important that they have access to the information needed to make a smart decision about their future career. JobFest brings labour market and career information, tools and resources to them, and delivers it in a fun and engaging way.”

JobFest will be in Williams Lake from June 29th to July 1st at the Overlander Convention Centre.  See more details here

Jobfest will also be in Quesnel on July 4th and 100 Mile House on July 6th.  More details on exact locations in Quesnel/100 Mile House can be viewed here (Quesnel) and here (100 Mile)

2 City of WL Public Meetings today...

Tonight at 6pm - the City of Williams Lake will be hosting a public meeting on the proposed Sign Bylaw in WL Council Chambers.  More details can be read here

Also at 7pm tonight - Williams Lake City Council will hold its' 6th Budget Meeting, also in WL Council Chambers.

If you have a moment tonight - I encourage you to show up and provide input to WL City Council on either the Sign Bylaw, the 2012 City of WL Budget or both!


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

100 Mile News - March 28th edition

a) Local farm co-op grows stronger - read here
b) Mayor Mitch Campsall 'disappointed' on no local reps on Tax Panel - read here
c) Come and provide input to 100 Mile Council on 2012 Budget - April 3rd - read here
d) 100 Mile Council looks at bylaw to shut off municipal water/sewer for those who are 'deliquent' in paying their bills - read here
e) 'Unconfirmed' reports of cougars in Centennial Park - read here
f) New President for South Cariboo Chamber of Commerce - read here
g) Editorial: Local gov't left in cold - read here
h) Donna Barnett taken to task by 1 Lac La Hache resident - read here
i) 108 Mile Ranch resident says teacher demands are 'out of line' - read here

Give Adrian Dix a break!

In a blog post that'll annoy my BC Conservative/BC Liberal readers... and while I'm no fan of Adrian Dix, I think he got a 'bad rap' because of 1 transit ticket warning...

This past Sunday - the province's Leader of the Opposition and BC NDP Leader Adrian Dix was given a 'warning' for not producing a transit ticket on demand.  Read the Vancouver Sun article here.  Contrast that to current Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson who dug in his heels, fought his $173 fine for riding 3 zones and paying for two, said it was 'unjust' and then paid the  ticket

Meanwhile - Vancouver Sun political columnist Vaughn Palmer called it a 'significant misstep' (Dix not coming out about transit ticket warning) - read his column here

With all due respect to Mr. Palmer - Dix's transit ticket warning is peanuts compared to other mishaps by other political leaders.  One example is former BC Premier Gordon Campbell coming out and confessing that he was arrested for drinking and driving (and yes, that was the right thing to do).  Everyone makes mistakes in life and when you are a politician - you really do not have a 'private life' however the transit ticket warning has nothing to do with whether or not he has the skills to be Premier

If we are going to be critical of Mr. Dix & his party (and there are many BC NDP Policies to be critical of) - then let's debate those policies and ease off on him because of one transit ticket warning.  I think people of this province are very tired/cynical of the usual 'Gotcha' politics in this province (and yes, I'm guilty of same on a local political level)

Let us return to debating policies and leave issues in personal lives out of deciding who and which political party would make a good government for the people of British Columbia

SD #27 Board Highlights - March 27th meeting

Present - Chair W. Van Osch with Trustees T. Guenther, P. Baker, J. Austin, S. Boehm, and D. Neufeld

Absent - Trustee J. Cooper

Meeting called to order at 7:04pm

Agenda adopted
Minutes of Feb 28th SD #27 Board adopted


1) SD #27 Vice-Principal Jan Fitchner and 'Communities that Care' (CTC) Coordinator Carla Bulinger appeared before the Board to give an update on CTC (Powerpoint Presentation) as follows:

* 4th year of CTC
* Focus on needs of child
* Focus on 'positive behaviour' & work on 'negative' behaviour(s)
* Give children skills to manage challenges in their own lives
* Risk Factor & Protective Factor Profiles
* Discussion on 'Positive Action' & 'Roots of Empathy' Programs
* Desire to sustain/expand 'Positive Action' & 'Roots of Empathy' Programs
* Strategic Goals in 2012 include expanded communications and expand CTC Circle
* Glass Slipper Boutique Program commences on April 2nd
* Bus to Scout Island
* Power of CTC Model
* Review of Anahim Lake CTC Programs

The Chair thanked the delegation for their presentation


1) The Board adopted School District No. 27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin) Procedural Bylaw B2702
2) The Board adopted School District No. 27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin) Public Particpation at Board Meetings Bylaw 27054
3) The Board extended the Canoe Creek (Stswecem'c/Xgat'tem)Local Education Agreement to June 30th, 2012
4) The Board received the Closed Meetings Report of Feb 28th/March 6th
5) The Secretary-Treasurer (B. Roller) advised the Board of an upcoming funding reduction of 1.5% for the 2012-13 School Year but School District #27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin) will receive $102,000 to implement the BC Education Plan
6) The Superintendent of Schools (D. Wright) presented the Board 4 Video Clips as follows:

a) Marketing 12 at Columneetza Secondary
b) Inter-Generational Program (Cataline Elementary) at WL Seniors' Village
c) YES 2 IT Program at TRU (Youth Exploring Skills to Industry Training)
d) RCMP Academy Program at Columneetza Secondary

7) The Board's Committees' will meet as follows:

a) Education Committee - April 2012
b) Environmental Stewardship Committee - May 1st, 2012
c) Policy Committee - April 10th

8) The Board received the 'Open Correspondence' Item as of March 9th
9) The Board resolved that its' April Open/Closed meetings be held at 100 Mile Jr Secondary

Meeting adjourned at 8:33pm

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Christy Clark speaks out on van Dongen defection

Courtesy of CTV Vancouver Island:

Premier Christy Clark says the defection of her former solicitor general will benefit only the opposition NDP.

John van Dongen crossed the floor Monday, quitting the Liberal Party to join the BC Conservatives.

The Premier calls it a bad decision that will weaken the province’s free enterprise coalition.

The Premier also backed away from personal attacks on van Dongen by Liberal Party members, characterizing them as a human reaction.

But not every Liberal appeared to get the memo to tone down the rhetoric.

Pat Bell was offering up comments Tuesday on van Dongen’s “personal troubles” as a reason for his defection.

And even the Premier was advancing the notion that the estranged MLA had trouble working with her and other leaders.

The question now is whether the Abbotsford South MLA’s defection will cause a political shift.

The NDP, Conservatives and Liberals are waiting to see what the people think, closely watching two by-elections underway on the mainland

And so too are Liberals MLAs.

With the government dropping farther in the polls everyday, it could make another party look more attractive.

WL News - March 27th edition

a) WL Council keeps water/sewer rates at 2011 levels but unable to agree on supplemental items like a new position for a greenhouse gas planning technician position with WL City Councillors' Sue Zacharias/Geoff Bourdon in favour, Councillor Laurie Walters wanting it a 1 year position with an evaluation after and Mayor Kerry Cook opposed - read here

Editor's Note - Interesting coincidence that two Councillors' who live outside the City push for new position while the local elected officials (City of WL) living in the City are not as keen for the new City Staff position.  Also - on March 15th, the City announced a public budget meeting on March 29th however this morning the City 'tweeted' the following at 8:32am this morning (hasn't not yet been corrected)

Public budget meeting tonight in City Council Chambers, 7 p.m.

How unfortunate the City chose to move its' 6th Budget Meeting from the 29th to tonight with absolutely no advance notice to the public.... :(

UPDATE at 12:26pm March 27th - 'Tweet' from the City of Williams Lake: Budget Meeting #6 not tonight but on March 29th (Thursday) at 7pm as previously advertised 

b) Shirley-Pat Gale to receive 'Diamond Jubilee' medal - read here
c) Spanish Mountain Gold/Soda Creek First Nations' sign agreement - read here
d) Video from yesterday's unveiling of 'Rick Hansen Monument' - view here
e) Bob Simpson speaks out on BC Liberal defection of John van Dongen - read here

Today's local government events:

a) 6pm Committee of the Whole (WL Council) Meeting at WL City Hall
b) 7pm SD #27 Board meeting at the SD #27 Admin Office (350 2nd Ave)

Finally - WL City Staff have withdrawn from tonight's Committee of the Whole meeting their 'Utility Cabinet Wrap' proposal.... I wonder why?? I didn't see anything wrong with it that it needed revision.... still, it is a very worthwhile project when it does formally come forward for consideration by Williams Lake Council

City of Kamloops receives impressive ranking

Courtesy of the City of Kamloops:

For the second time in one week, Kamloops received high ratings in a national scorecard of communities across the country. Today, March 22nd, KPMG announced that Kamloops was chosen as the top British Columbian community for overall competitiveness to do business. Twenty-six business factors were compared against 110 cities in 14 countries around the world. Key elements considered in the ranking include cost of labor, taxes, real estate and utilities. Other non-cost competitive comparisons include availability of education and skilled labor, infrastructure, regulatory environment, cost of living, and personal quality of life. Other British Columbian cities on the list include Prince George, Vancouver and Victoria.

Earlier this week, Kamloops was ranked 44th of out of 190 Canadian cities as the Best City to Live by MoneySense Magazine. The city shot up the list 66 places from its 106th rating in 2011. Only Saanich and Victoria ranked higher than Kamloops in 2012.

Mayor Peter Milobar is pleased with Kamloops' position on both national rankings. "Kamloops is being recognized as the place to do business, not only in B.C., but across the country. This is something we need to be bold about," states Mayor Milobar. Milobar further comments, "When you combine business competitiveness with one of the best cities to live in Canada, you've got a community that is positioned to grow and prosper. That's something we all have a stake in and can be proud of."

Venture Kamloops is not surprised with the results. Kamloops has worked hard to develop a community that is not only attractive for business investment, but provides and excellent place to live and raise a family. "It is now our time to shine" says Venture Kamloops Executive Director Dan Sulz. "The combined results of the KPMG Competitive Alternatives study and the recent ranking in MoneySense Magazine top Canadian cities is proof that Kamloops is the place to start a business, expand and grow your business and will provide excellent marketing material for the City," comments Sulz. This is excellent news with perfect timing as Sulz heads out to participate in immigration fairs with the Provincial Nominee immigration program (BC Government) to attract businesses and people to live, work and play in Kamloops.

In 2011, Kamloops won the B.C.'s Most Small Business Friendly Award and was ranked the top community for investment in the B.C. Interior by the Real Estate Investment Network. Kamloops was also recognized as the fastest growing small business community in B.C. by Small Business BC. and as a top ten city of the future in the Americas by Foreign Direct Investment Magazine.

For more information visit, or read the report.

Media Contacts:

Mayor Peter Milobar
City of Kamloops

Dan Sulz - Executive Director
Venture Kamloops

New Dance Lesson Opportunity in Quesnel

Over on their Facebook page - Gold Pan City Dance says their next dance lesson (Karate) starts next Monday (April 2nd)

For more information, call 250-992-2292 or visit their Facebook page here

Quesnel Council Meeting(s) Online...

Yesterday in a test upload - the City of Quesnel uploaded the March 12th Quesnel Council Meeting in its' entirety which you can view below (a 2 hour video clip):

Meanwhile in Williams Lake - the City's Communications Coordinator will tell Williams Lake Council this at their 'Committee of the Whole Meeting' tonight regarding uploading Williams Lake City Council meetings to view online:

Currently, (Williams Lake) Council meetings are still broadcast on Shaw only. The City does not have the capacity currently to webcast. YouTube is not well-suited for longer videos, such as meetings

Curious that the City of Quesnel is willing to try the option of placing its' Council meeting online (with consent of Shaw Cable) but Williams Lake is not willing to pursue the same.  If Williams Lake/Quesnel Council are not prepared to place web cameras' in their Council Chambers, then the next best thing for the Cities of Quesnel/Williams Lake is to pursue a 'partnership' with Shaw Cable which would allow these organizations to place the video from WL/Quesnel Council Meetings' for viewing online 'on demand' by the public and at no cost to the local taxpayer

Sounds like a winner to me!!


Monday, March 26, 2012

BREAKING NEWS - John van Dongen joins BC Conservatives'

In a bombshell - John van Dongen informed the BC Legislature that he'll be leaving the BC Liberal Caucus & tearing up his BC Liberal Party membership and joining the BC Conservatives' immediately

He blasted BC Premier Christy Clark for lapses in government policy including the $6 million deal for Basi-Virk in the BC Rail Trial & the $35 million BC Place naming rights deal collapse

This situation was predicted by some on Twitter about 10 days ago and the real question is - how many other BC Liberal MLA's will join MLA van Dongen...?

I'm sure political pundits & media will have much to say later today and in the days ahead...

BC Conservative Party Leader John Cummins says van Dongen's move is "a sign of the times" & is getting other "inquiries"

UPDATE #1 - Press Release from BC Conservatives on van Dongen defection:

John Cummins, Leader of British Columbia’s Conservatives, welcomed John van Dongen, MLA for Abbotsford South into the BC Conservative Party.

“John van Dongen is a man of principle and integrity, and I am delighted that he has joined BC’s fastest growing party,” said Cummins. “I am excited to work with John as we reach out to British Columbians and share our message of fiscal responsibility, ending the catch-and-release justice system, and reducing the influence of special interests in the political process. John’s experience in the legislature will be invaluable in holding the government to account.”

When asked why he made the move, “I decided to join the BC Conservatives because they are a party devoted to integrity and are motivated by a genuine commitment to public service,” said van Dongen. He went on to say “I am energized to be part of a principled, honest and growing party that offers the people of BC a credible, free enterprise option in the next provincial election.”

UPDATE #2 - Personal Statement of John van Dongen leaving BC Liberals for BC Conservatives:

Mr. Speaker, I rise and ask for the attention of the House to make a personal statement.

For almost 17 years I have risen in this chamber to represent the best interests of both my constituents, and the best interests of all British Columbians. I have done so as a member of the Official Opposition for 6 years, a Cabinet Minister for 8 years and as a private member for the last 3 years.

Throughout that time I have been keenly aware of both the privilege and responsibility that comes with being an elected member of this Assembly. I have always tried to conduct myself in a manner consistent with the expectations of those who entrusted me with this office. I am by no means a flawless individual, but have strived for personal and political integrity. I have always taken ownership of my own shortcomings.

Mr. Speaker, I had hoped that there would have been renewal in my party and in government. But, in the past 12 months, that has not happened. Indeed, every week constituents question government actions and issues that I am not able to defend.

What I believe people expect from political leadership are core values that include integrity and a genuine commitment to public service.

Integrity includes honesty, ethics and personal character. Integrity is non-negotiable. It is foundational for a strong organization. Most importantly, integrity includes accountability.

To this day, Mr. Speaker, there are still serious unanswered questions regarding the writing-off of 6 million dollars in legal fees in the BC Rail case contrary to government policy. Questions I have been asking for a year-and-a-half, and questions the Auditor General is seeking answers to through the courts.

Most recently, the unexplainable cancellation of a 35 million dollar naming rights agreement with Telus is another example of failed leadership.

There have been other lapses in proper accountability and I expect more to come. When more and more decisions are being made for the wrong reasons, then you have an organization that is heading for failure.

Today, Mr. Speaker, I rise because I can no longer carry on with my duties as a member of this government. I have decided to resign as a member of the BC Liberal Government Caucus and I am cancelling my membership with the BC Liberal Party.

Mr. Speaker, I believe the people of BC deserve a government that will look in the mirror and honestly contemplate what it sees in the reflection; a government that people have trust and confidence in; a government that models true accountability for its own actions.

To my colleagues in the government caucus, as well as those in opposition and those who sit as independent MLA’s --- I celebrate each of you and your willingness to serve the people of British Columbia. This is not an easy job, and so to all of you who continue to strive for excellence, I applaud your efforts.

To my constituents --- in the coming days and weeks I look forward to speaking with you and further discussing the decision I have made. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, I have much to share -- and will in the coming weeks, make it clear that while this was not an easy decision, it was the only decision I could arrive at in good conscience.

To the government caucus staff, constituency assistants and party staff --- it has been a privilege to work with you.

To all those public servants who I have had the honour of working with --- rest assured that my work with you to accomplish the goals and policies that were right for all British Columbians has been one of the most meaningful aspects of my time in public office.

To my family and friends --- thank you for standing by me through some difficult times. In
particular, I wish to thank Sherri and Lukas for their continued love and support.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, moving forward I will do what I have done for the past 17 years --- I will put my time, energy and talents to serve my constituents and the party that can best provide British Columbians with a broadly-based, credible, free enterprise option.

Therefore, I am pleased to announce that I will now be sitting in this House as a member of the BC Conservative Party. I look forward to continuing to work hard for my constituents in Abbotsford- South, and for all British Columbians.

Thank you Mr. Speaker, and thank you members.

Rick Hansen 25th Relay Anniversary Photos in WL

Interested in photos from yesterday's Rick Hansen 25th Relay Anniversary in Williams Lake??

WL Relay Photos - click here
"End of Day" Photos at CMRC - click here
Unveiling of Rick Hansen Monument in Williams Lake- click here

Quesnel Health Expo - Sat March 31st

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

Do you have questions about your health? Want to know about local services?

Find out the answers at the Quesnel Health and Community Services Expo, which runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday March 31st at the Quesnel & District Arts and Recreation Centre. Visitors will be able to sign up for comprehensive health screenings, listen to talks by experts, or ask questions about improving health and wellness at a number of exhibitor booths.

This year, the Quesnel Child, Youth and Family Network joins a partnership between Leisure Services and Northern Health to expand the Expo to include more information about local community services.

"The Quesnel Child, Youth and Family Network believes that health can be measured in many ways. We are proud to be a part of this Expo so we can share with the community the wide spectrum of services that our Network partners have to offer," said Patty Kimpton, Network Chair.

"The Expo provides our community with comprehensive health screenings and health and wellness information at a convenient location," said Diane Rogers, Leisure Services Recreation Manager. "This is a great opportunity for all of us to get our loved ones to have a screening and spend some time learning about how we can improve our health."

Visitors can sign up for Northern Health's Comprehensive Health Improvement Screening Clinic with registered nurses and a physician. This year Northern Health has revised their screening program. Along with heart health risk screening which includes onsite blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose testing, and screening for lifestyle risks, they have added goal setting and a complete health check up using an evidence-based, confidential and secure web-based program. The web program will give you a tool for health maintenance for your lifetime. Anyone can sign up but people over 40 or who have a family history of heart disease or diabetes are encouraged to sign up. A $10 fee covers the cost of the cholesterol/blood glucose test.

According to Margie Wiebe, Primary Care Nurse and Primary Health Care Developer from Northern Health, "There is no substitute for having your own family doctor and getting regular checkups, but the Quesnel Health Expo can supplement your personal health maintenance through low-cost risk screenings because early detection is the most important factor for reducing heart attacks and for improving outcomes for all health conditions."

Presentations will include Self-Care for the Caregiver by the Alzheimer's Society of British Columbia at 1 p.m. and a Healthy Cooking Demonstration by the Complete Health Improvement Project (CHIP) Program at 2 p.m. For more information, or to register for Northern Health's Comprehensive Health Improvement Screening, please contact 250-992-8200. More details are also available at

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Upcoming Local Gov't Business...


* CRD Area 'C' Director/Wells Mayor Robin Sharpe to present on Wells/Barkerville - Purden Lake road route - view presentation here

* Update on Quesnel ICSP process - read here

Williams Lake:

* Local BIA reps to discuss False Alarm Bylaw, Winter Committee Funding, Boitanio Mall, Community Branding, Revitalization and Downtown Camera Project Update with WL Council in Committee of the Whole

* Communications Policy Amendments/Presentation - read here/here
* Utility Cabinet 'Wrap' Project - read here

Cariboo Regional District:

* Recruitment/Retention of Health Care Professionals - read here
* Update on 2012 CRD Final Budget Numbers - read here
* Forest Capital of Canada 2010/2011 Final Report - read here
* Part of Young Rd, west of Alexis Creek to be shut down - read here
* Adoption of 2012 CRD Budget Bylaw - read here
* CRD wants to look at regulating signage for Home Based Businesses - read here

Editor's Note - the CRD has not really looked into this matter at great depth but I did receive concerns in Area 'F' in the 2008 local gov't election around signage for home-based businesses in the 140 Mile area & if the CRD Board is going to look into this matter, I'm not sure how they can look into signage and not look at the bigger issue around home based businesses - especially if they are going to look into signage then it would be only fair to look at the general issue of home-based businesses in rural areas and decide "Should we regulate home businesses in certain rural areas and specify conditions thereto...?"

* Xeni Gwet'in lodges another complaint around lack of consultation for Strata Building Conversion at Chilko Lake - read here

Editor's Note - as I explained to CRD Area 'D' Director Deb Bischoff yesterday, the CRD Board has received this request now twice and perhaps the Board should decide, on a policy basis, if it should in fact engage in "Government to Government" consultation with Xeni Gwet'in... and if the CRD Board resolves this in the affirmative then it should push for a consultation agreement/protocol ASAP... as such a protocol/agreement in place would resolve many, if not all, land use issues...

Temporary Chlorine System for Sam Ketcham Pool

On Wednesday at the regularly scheduled Central Cariboo/City of WL Joint Committee Meeting - Geoff Paynton (City of WL Director of Community Services) will ask the Joint Committee to approve an amendment to the 2012 Central Cariboo Recreation Capital Budget to allow for the purchase of a temporary liquid chlorine system for the Sam Ketcham Pool

As Mr. Paynton notes - the system will cost $25,000 to install & part of or the entire system may "move" to the permanent system to disinfect water in the Sam Ketcham Pool to which a consultant will be appearing before the Joint Committee at a future date to discuss the permanent solution for a chlorine system for the Sam Ketcham Pool with costs involved & the pros/cons of each proposed system

Read the report of Mr. Paynton here

Wednesday's Meeting of the Central Cariboo/City of WL Joint Committee will be held at 5pm in the Cariboo Regional District Boardroom (Suite D - 180 North 3rd Avenue) - across from Sam's Restaurant & 7-11

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Changes to BC Cabinet...

Earlier today - BC Premier Christy Clark, as President of the Executive Council of British Columbia (BC Cabinet), announced the following changes:

a) Richmond-Steveston MLA John Yap becomes Minister of State - Multiculturalism
b) Vancouver-Langara MLA Dr. Moira Stilwell becomes Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health (Health Care Innovation)

c) Richmond Centre MLA Rob Howard becomes Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transportation & Infrastructure (Air Service Agreements)

You can read the full details and the bios of the above individuals here

Cariboo RD Board to debate support for 'New Prosperity'

At its' meeting on Friday, March 30th - the Cariboo Regional District Board of Directors' will debate support of the 'New Prosperity' Mine near Fish Lake in the Nemiah Valley as proposed by Taseko Mines

The request to debate the above is being put forward by Cariboo RD Area 'J' Director (and former Xeni Gwet'in Chief/current Xeni Gwet'in Band Councillor) Roger William

In support of his request - he has submitted the following information to the Board:

Prosperity Project: I understand that CRD supported Proposed Prosperity Mine Project on Fish Lake (Teztan Biny) in the 1st CEAA Panel Hearing Process, which was turned down by both Canadian CEAA Panel and Federal Government; We are now looking at the New Proposal and 2nd Panel Hearing for Proposed Prosperity Mines Project on Teztan Biny; I feel that CRD needs to revisit their support, as this is new and 2nd Proposal. This proposal is 3rd Option in which Taseko Mines Ltd. themselves in 1st Panel Hearing in 2010 put forward as a lesser option then Option that was turned down; I put forward a Motion to rescind CRD’s support of Proposed Prosperity Mines;

Director William has also put forward items relating to the approved Strata Title for Chilko Lakes and Aboriginal Title - you can read the information to these two items here

I wouldn't be surprised if current Xeni Gwet'in Chief Marilyn Baptiste, elders from Nemiah Valley & supporters of Xeni Gwet'in were present in the Cariboo Regional District Boardroom while the CRD Board debates support for 'New Prosperity'

If I had to predict it - I believe a vote of support for 'New Prosperity' by the CRD Board would go something like this:

Yeas - 10 Directors'
Nays - 6 Directors'

Armstrong (Area ‘A’)
Dixon-Warren (Area ‘B’)
Massier (Area ‘C’)
Kemp (Area ‘E’)
Bischoff (Area ‘D’)
Sorley (Area ‘F’)
Richmond (Area ‘G’)
William (Area ‘J’)
Wagner (Area ‘H’)
Mernett (Area ‘K’)
Glassford (Area ‘I’)
Rattray (Area ‘L’)
Sharpe (Wells)

Sjostrom (Quesnel)

Cook (Williams Lake)

Campsall (100 Mile)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Local Gov't Meetings - Week of March 26 - 30

Wells - No Meeting until April 3rd

Quesnel - Committee of the Whole Meeting (with In-Camera Mtg to follow) on Monday, March 26th at 7:00pm in Quesnel Council Chambers.  Read the Agenda/Reports here

School District #28 (Quesnel) - No meeting until April 11th
School District #27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin) - Regular Meeting on Tuesday, March 27th at 7:00pm in the SD #27 Boardroom.  Read the Agenda/Reports here

Williams Lake: Committee of the Whole Meeting at 6:00pm in the Rick Hansen Boardroom.  Read the Agenda/Reports here

On Thursday, March 29th - Sign Bylaw - Public Presentation Meeting at 6:00pm in WL Council Chambers with Public Budget Mtg #6-2012 to follow at 7:00pm

Cariboo Regional District - Central Cariboo/City of WL Joint Committee Mtg at 5:00pm on Wednesday, March 28th in the CRD Boardroom.  Link to Agenda/Reports here

On Friday, March 30th - CRD Board meets at 9:30am in the CRD Boardroom.  Link to Agenda/Reports here

Rick Hansen Monument unveiled Monday

Courtesy of the City of Williams Lake:

The community is invited to join City Council members, dignitaries, sponsors, and Rick Hansen himself as the new Rick Hansen monument is unveiled Monday, March 26 at 11 a.m. at the Tourism Discovery Centre.

The steel 12-foot high monument commemorates the 25th Anniversary of the 1985-1987 Man in Motion Tour around the world, which raised $26 million for spinal cord research and inspired millions of people. It will stand at the Tourism Discovery Centre as a permanent commemoration to Rick Hansen.

The City has collected $68,000 in pledges from community sponsors, including $25,000 from Taseko Mines Limited, to fully cover the cost of the project.

We are so proud to have a hometown hero like Rick Hansen,” says Councillor Surinderpal Rathor, who collected the pledges. “He is an incredible inspiration to us all. And it was in this spirit of commemoration that major sponsors and community members generously donated to make this monument a reality. This was truly a community project, and from the bottom of my heart, I wish to thank each and every donor for their contribution. Your generosity is so greatly appreciated.”

The unveiling event begins at 11 a.m. Monday, March 26 with the arrival of Rick Hansen, and includes songs in honour of Hansen, the presentation of gifts, and a thank you to sponsors.

Two Provincial By-Elections Called

Yesterday afternoon - BC Premier Christy Clark called two by-elections in Port Moody/Chilliwack for Thursday, April 19th

With the official call - all political parties can spend up to $70,000 per riding

Meanwhile - lots of discussion on this topic:

Mike Smyth - read here
Vaughn Palmer - read here
Alan Forseth - read here and here

Finally - Charlie Smith of the Straight is openly musing about an idea that Christy Clark goes into retirement, Kevin Falcon takes over as BC Liberal Leader and the BC Liberals improve their chances of winning in 2013 - read here

As for myself - I think that Port Moody is all but a 'write-off' for the BC Liberals (I believe the NDP will take it) meanwhile Chilliwack is a possibility but it depends on the exact dynamics of the campaign and how severe each party makes a misstep in the campaign and if they can recover...

Stay tuned - the two by-elections will be a wild race to watch and follow and I believe it'll a look into the 2013 Provincial Election

Cariboo Region News - March 23rd edition

In Quesnel:

* North Cariboo Multi-Centre Fundraising begins - read here
* Local resident compares BC Hydro & a 4th Grader - read here
* Retired Quesnel teacher says Education needs to return to 3R's - read here

In Williams Lake:

* WL Council directs that the local Advisory Planning Commission be dissolved - read here
* Trails in region receive provincial funding including trail overpass project in Williams Lake - read here
* WL Victim Services looks for help - read here
* WL RCMP to receive new FLIR tool or Forward Looking Infra-Red - read here
* Sue Zacharias speaks out on 2012 MoneySense Poll - read here
* New Mine near Likely?? - read here
* Diana French: We take fresh water for granted too often - read here
* Bob Simpson: Where's the workforce plan? - read here
* Weekly Williams Lake Mayor column - read here
* John Kerr of Tatlayoko Lake says Federal Budget Data should be 'Open Data' - read here

In 100 Mile House:

* Group to present information on dangers of joining a gang at PSO - read here
* Funding for Bridge Creek trails - read here
* 100 Mile Fields store to remain open? - read here
* Local MLA defends performance of Christy Clark - read here
* New Life for Forest Grove Fire Department - read here
* Leave 'Robocalls' Investigation to Elections Canada - read here
* Concern raised about reduced salary for hospital pharmacists - read here

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Official Election Spending List released - City of Williams Lake

Earlier today - the City of Williams Lake released the full list of campaign financial disclosure information that candidates (successful or not) were required to submit by 5pm this past Monday.

See media stories on this topic here/here

As of tonight - all but Paul Kandola & Teresa Fairburn have filed their election campaign financial disclosure forms.  If Mr. Kandola & Ms. Fairburn do not file a campaign finance disclosure form by Wednesday, April 18th then they will be disqualified from running in the October 2014 civic election in Williams Lake

For the record - here is the full list of campaign election expenses in the 2011 Local Gov't Election for the City of Williams Lake

Office of Mayor - 3 of 3 reporting:

Amount Spent
$ per vote
# of Votes received

Scott Nelson
$31.56 per vote
Kerry Cook (Mayor)
$6.22 per vote
Walt Cobb
$13.18 per vote

Office of Councillor - 12 of 14 reporting:

Amount Spent
$ per vote
# of votes received

Surinderpal Rathor (Councillor)
$2.71 per vote
Richard Vollo
$5.61 per vote
Laurie Walters (Councillor)
$2.08 per vote
Peter Bowman
$2.93 per vote
Michael Bouchard
$2.78 per vote
Sue Zacharias (Councillor)
$1.07 per vote
Mike Jacobsen
$1.44 per vote
Ivan Bonnell (Councillor)
$0.90 per vote
Gord Keener
$1.20 per vote
Danica Hughes (Councillor)
$0.45 per vote
Steve Forseth
$0.45 per vote

Geoff Bourdon (Councillor)
$0.00 per vote

Based on the above - the evidence shows you didn't necessarily have to spend a lot to get elected such is the case for WL City Councillors Geoff Bourdon and Danica Hughes