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TUESDAY MARCH 6, 2012
Vacuum regulator failed at pool
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Monica Lamb-Yorski Tribune Staff Writer A failed vacuum regulator is believed to have caused the chlorine gas release at the Sam Ketcham Pool Sunday, Feb. 26, said the City of Williams Lake during a press conference Friday. According to the city’s preliminary investigations, the failed regulator allowed chlorine gas to fill water delivery pipes and the filter system. At around 8:15 a.m. on the day of the leak, the wading pool was being refilled with water in anticipation of a public swim later that day. See LEAK Page A2
Inside the Tribune NEWS A3 RCMP reports include assaults, B&Es. SPORTS A8 Stamps drop final in Smithers. COMMUNITY A13 Chilcotin War depicted in art. Weather outlook: Sunny then cloudy today, high of –3 C today. Cloudy Wednesday, high of 9 C.
Monica Lamb-Yorski photo
Teachers were out picketing in Williams Lake Monday including this group outside of Columneetza Secondary School. The legal strike continues through to Wednesday.
Taseko files claim against committee Western Wilderness Committee and its outreach director accused of defamation Monica Lamb-Yorski Tribune Staff Writer Taseko Mines Limited filed a Notice of Civil Claim against the Western Canada Wilderness Committee Thursday in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, accusing it and its outreach director of defamation. The claim accuses the committee and outreach director Sven Biggs for “a series of false and defamatory statements concerning Taseko and its proposed New Prosperity Gold-Copper Project.” Taseko’s vice president of corporate affairs, Brian Battison, told the Tribune the company is defending the facts around the project. “There’s no place for false or misleading information so that’s what we’re standing up for. The WWC is an influential powerful
organization. They have 60,000 plus members,” Battison said Monday, adding WWC should be held to the same standards of responsible conduct as Taseko is being held. Battison said Taseko has gone to great lengths to get the facts out to the people. “That’s why we created the micro site New Prosperity Mine Project; it’s a place where people can find the facts. We created it for open discussion and if you go to it you will see all sorts of people that are opposed to the project or concerned about this or that and they can ask those questions and get the facts,” Battison said, adding the company is encouraging informed public debate. The company feels, he added, that actions by WCC are discrediting Taseko’s credibility. WCC, he alleged, has communicated false and misleading in-
formation to its membership and has encouraged the membership to write to the federal government and express concern, based on the false information. “Many of their members did that and now that false information exists and lives on the Canada Environmental Assessment Agency website. When the public and people that are interested in the project are trying to make their minds up it’s important they get accurate information and the true facts,” Battison said. Taseko asked WWC to correct the record and set it straight and so far they’ve failed to do so, Battison said. Russell Hallbauer, CEO of Taseko, issued a statement Thursday stating the company has not taken the course of action lightly. “We have filed this notice of civil claim only after repeated
requests to the Western Canada Wilderness Committee to correct the record were not satisfactorily addressed. Taseko has expended considerable resources and effort to minimize the environmental impact of New Prosperity and we remain committed to developing an efficient, sustainable and responsible mine.” The Wilderness Committee has also issued a statement following Taseko’s claim. “We are very disappointed that this mining company has chosen litigation instead of fair and open public debate,” said Joe Foy, national campaign director for the Wilderness Committee in a news release. “We believe this court action stifles fair comment about Taseko’s environmentally risky mine proposal. See ABOUT Page A3
Tuesday, March 6, 2012 Williams Lake Tribune
Leak unrelated to other problems: city Continued From Page A1
Greg Sabatino photo
Gas that had built up in the pipes and filters was pushed by greenish coloured water into the wading pool. “It was not the result of human error,” said Mayor Kerry Cook Friday, adding the mechanical failure is still under investigation. Unfortunately the chlorine gas release occurred during a Blue Fins Swim Club meet, where there were visiting swim teams from Quesnel and Prince George. No one was in the wading pool at the time, but when the gas from the chlorine leak went into the wading pool it began to waft into the areas around the main pool where younger swimmers were warming up or sitting with parents in nearby bleachers. Within moments children began coughing, recalled Blue Fins president Dale Taylor. At the time of the leak, Taylor was at the other end of the pool and initially didn’t know what was going on until he noticed a lifeguard begin attending to a child. In the meantime, a facility maintenance employee, doing the routine check of the chlorine levels, noted a strong chlorine smell, stopped
A girl, equipped with an oxygen mask, is escorted to an ambulance following a chlorine gas leak at the Sam Ketcham Memorial Pool Feb. 26.
the filling process, and directed the two lifeguards on duty to begin evacuating the area. By 8:17 a.m. a 911 call went out, and first responders from the RCMP, Williams Lake Fire Department, Wildwood Fire Department, 150 Mile Fire Department, and the B.C Ambulance Service attended the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex, helping everyone who had been exposed to the chlorine gas. The pool area was evacuated within five minutes, the city says. Eventually 73 people, 45 of them children, were taken to Cariboo Memorial Hospital, said Dr. Sydney van Wyk, chief of staff. “It was a mass casualty situation where more
people came through the emergency room in a couple of hours than we would have in a given day,” van Wyk said. “I’ve spoken to someone that’s been at the hospital close to 15 years and they said they’ve definitely not encountered something with this number of people at least.” When patients arrived they were triaged in terms of severity, and then according to the severity giving them the resources they required. Van Wyk doesn’t anticipate long-term complications because people were exposed the one time. Complications are more likely when people are exposed continually over long periods of time, he
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added. While most of the patients were treated and released quickly, two people were admitted overnight, and one eight-year-old boy from Quesnel was kept in hospital until Friday. Taylor said the boy was diagnosed with chemical-induced pneumonitis and will continue visiting a respiratory clinic for check ups in Quesnel. Interior Health Authority told the Tribune so far hospitals have not seen any additional people return for treatment as a result of the exposure. Taylor told Cook during the press conference he was disappointed that the club has not officially heard from the city. “We had parents on the deck, we had swim-
mers, we had coaches helping out, and we never heard anything. I guess I’m looking for an apology of sorts. We had a lot of kids in danger on our behalf,” Taylor said. It’s not only the local club that should have heard from the city, but the Wave Riders from Quesnel and the Barracudas in Prince George as well, Taylor added. Cook said the first priority was dealing with the incident and making sure everybody was healthy and released. “It was good news to hear that the eight-yearold was released today. That was our primary focus, then starting the investigation, and the next step.” While a date for the final investigation report is not yet known, Geoff Goodall, general manager of planning and operations, said as soon as information becomes available it will be released to the public. The main focus has been to determine what led to the chlorine being released at the pool. At this point the city does not know when the pool will reopen. The city also stressed that while the main pool tank and underground water piping have been problematic, it is in no way related to the chlorine gas leak.
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This week at FEELINGS
Your Preschooler and… Feelings Your child’s emotional development is also an important part of getting ready for school. Since birth, your child has been developing many emotions, from sad, to happy, to angry. Entry to school will be helped by learning to handle feelings appropriately. As part of emotional growth, your child will typically develop deeper qualities like caring, self esteem, flexibility and may better understand others’ feelings. All of these things will help him or her meet the challenges of school. Generally, your preschooler will begin to talk more about feelings and understand both negative and positive emotions. Being able to cope with frustration and anger typically improves between age three and Kindergarten. Preschoolers may begin to develop a sense of self esteem and confidence.
Try some of these with your preschooler: 1. Talk about feelings and what might cause them: “You are feeling really happy. Is it because we’re going to the park?” 2. Expand vocabulary using new words to describe your child’s feelings like “disappointed”, “frustrated”, “excited” and “surprised”. 3. Listen to and accept your child’s concerns. Reassure and comfort with a cuddle, showing the love that you have for your child. 4. Encourage your preschooler to talk about him or herself: “Tell me three things that you like to eat.” “Can you think of something that makes you happy?” 5. Pause while reading a book and ask your preschooler how a character might be feeling. 6. Show how to handle emotions positively yourself. Suggest to your child different ideas for coping with emotions and how you do it. 7. Address inappropriate behaviour immediately and calmly. Preschoolers usually have fewer tantrums, but may fight over things like toys. Help cope with tantrums by discussing afterward what helps your child feel better when experiencing frustration or anger. 8. Model patience and persistence in all your tasks. Children will learn to stick with things by acting like their parents.
Contact your local school or 250-398-3839 for more information on this program for 3 and 4 year olds & their parent/care giver. SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 27 (CARIBOO-CHILCOTIN)
Williams Lake Tribune Tuesday, March 6, 2012
About 130 WWC members wrote letters Continued From Page A1 “People should be able to enjoy full participation in the Federal Environmental Review process, including the right to comment — without fear of time-consuming and costly litigation.” Foy told the Tribune Monday that roughly 130 WWC members wrote letters to CEAA opposing the New Prosperity Mine project and the organization will continue to vigorously speak out against the proposed mine. “We have a responsibility to be reasonable and work within the law, with respect to Taseko Mines, but we also have a responsibility as a B.C. environmental group to stand up for our values and speak truths and we believe this mine should not proceed,” Foy said, adding WWC is “shocked” the various levels of government would allow the project assessment to proceed in the face of such strong opposition from the Tsilhqot’in, in whose territory the proposed mine would be developed. “The high environmental risk and longterm environmental risks, and impact on human rights in respect to the Tsilhqot’in Nation, we strongly and proudly oppose this mine and will do so with all our abilities.” When Taseko asked WWC to remove some of the information it posted about the project, Foy said WWC did make some changes to its website. “We do not think we were ever in a position of libel or defamation or anything like that. We
Science World features paper windmills Monica Lamb-Yorski photo
Science World at Thompson Rivers University Williams Lake campus attracted inquirers of all ages Saturday including Ashlynn Jennings, 4, (left) and Jaidyn Huston, 4, who created and coloured paper wind mills at one of the fair’s many booths.
have sent Taseko a letter that outlines the changes we have made. However, since we sent it and made those changes, they have sent us the statement of claim,” Foy said, adding within the week he hopes to post the letters on the WWC website that have gone back and forth between the two parties. “I understand in their view we haven’t done everything they want,” Foy said. The full New Prosperity project description has been made available for public review. These and other resources may be found at www.newprosperityproject.ca.
Homeowner shot with pellet gun The RCMP were kept busy between Feb. 23 and 29 with a range of incidents ranging from impaired driving to domestic disputes. Feb. 23: • A male driver, stopped by police, failed an approved screening device test. His vehicle was towed. • The RCMP arrested a male after receiving a report of a domestic dispute on Third Avenue North. While a male and female, both intoxicated, were pushing and spitting on each other, it was determined the male was the aggressor. He was later released from custody when sober to appear in court at a later date. • One male was picked up on warrants from Alexis Creek. • Three curfew checks were determined to be compliant. Feb. 24: When a homeowner caught a male attempt-
ing to break into his residence he ran after him. The suspect turned and shot the homeowner with a pellet gun, narrowly missing his face. The homeowner managed to catch the suspect and subdued him until the police arrived. The suspect was arrested and later released to appear in court at a later date. Feb. 25: • A woman reported her purse was stolen after she had placed it down while she was grocery shopping. • A male reported that a man and woman were fighting in the lobby of a local hotel at 3:24 p.m. in the afternoon. When police arrived they learned a male was arguing with a female employee, and the hotel staff wanted him removed. The male left the hotel without incident. • A spousal assault on Second Avenue resulted
in the arrest of a female after she scratched a male’s face, neck and hands. She was later released on an undertaking to appear in court at a later date. • When police attended a domestic dispute between a common law man and woman, it was determined the man had assaulted the woman. He was arrested and held to appear before a justice of the peace. • After providing two samples of his breath, both over the limit, a male was charged for impaired driving. • Two males were involved in a consensual fight at a local drinking establishment. No further follow up is required. • When an unknown male attempted to steal auto parts from the Bee Jay Towing lot, he was interrupted by security and fled from the scene. He has not been located.
Feb. 26: • At 2:07 p.m. the RCMP were advised that a male and female were together against a condition not to have contact with one another. An officer attended the residence, saw the two standing together in the entry way, and arrested the female for breach of conditions and held her in custody to appear before a judge in the morning. Feb. 27: • A property owner off the Horsefly Road reported that someone was snowmobiling through his property. He has requested patrols by officers when they are in the vicinity. • After receiving a report of a suspicious vehicle and suitcase near Broadway Avenue and Rowat Road, police attended and located a DVD player, Backgammon game, 50 New Pence coin, Otterbox belt clip case, brown
Impala leather suitcase, and a cardboard box with miscellaneous clothing/blankets. No owner has been located. • While a female was at Columneetza Secondary School playing badminton, her blue Volkswagen Jetta had its passenger window broken and her Garmin GPS unit stolen from inside. She called in the theft at 10:12 p.m. The matter remains under investigation. • At 10:30 p.m. a female reported that three males were snooping around the vehicles parked in her yard on Third Avenue North. She and her husband scared them off then followed them a short distance. The matter is under investigation. • Two males were arrested for break and enter after the RCMP received a residential alarm at a building on Mackenzie Avenue
North at 10:24 p.m. They attended the scene and found the residence’s rear door forced open. A search inside revealed nothing, but soon afterwards the males were discovered near the scene. • All three curfews conducted were found to be in compliance. Feb. 28: • When a local resident fell victim to a phishing scam through an e-mail from PayPal asking her for verification of her account, she reported the scam. • Someone handed in a found pink backpack containing two Saskatchewan birth certificates. • A female was arrested for punching another female at a local secondary school and was released on an undertaking to appear in court at a later date. See BEAR Page A4
CARIBOO REGION WEATHER FORECAST Normals for BARKING SPIDER MOUNTAIN BIKE the period:
Sunny/increasing cloudiness in afternoon High -30C Low -120C
Wednesday Cloudy High 90C Low -20C
Thursday Sunny High 120C Low 20C
Friday Cloudy High 70C Low 30C
Saturday Cloudy High 60C Low -30C
High 5 C Low -60C 0
Sales • Service • Accessories
CROSS COUNTRY SKIS 19 North 1st Avenue, Williams Lake, BC V2G 4T6
Mon, Tues, Thurs & Fri 10:00am - 6:00pm • Wed & Sat 10:00am - 5:00pm
250.392.5177 or 250.305.5172 • www.barkingspidermountainbike.com
Tuesday, March 6, 2012 Williams Lake Tribune
Bullies, step aside
Mar 2 to Mar 31 Greg Sabatino photo
Students, teachers and administration showed their support at both high schools last Wednesday by wearing pink for Pink Shirt Day â€” a day to show bullies they wonâ€™t be tolerated any longer. Here, students, teachers and administration from Columneetza secondary show their support for the cause.
Bear spray victims refuse to be co-operative Continued From Page A3 â€˘ Local officers are working with Terrace Youth Probation on a local breach of probation charge. â€˘ At 9:54 p.m. officers seized 0.1 grams of crack cocaine from a female passenger in a vehicle. â€˘ Officers attended a bear spray incident
on Mackenzie Avenue at 12:02 a.m. and located two males that had been assaulted. The pair refused to cooperate with police and refused medical attention. The RCMP later located two other males that has also been assaulted with bear spray. Neither would provide details about the suspects. No charges are recom-
Telus expands broadband internet Canoe Creek and Beaver Valley are among several B.C. communities to receive broadband Internet service through Telus later this year, announced the company Friday. Telus says the move is part of a $3 billion investment in advanced technology and state-ofthe-art facilities over the next three years. Telusâ€™s investment includes connecting 35 remote and geographically challenging B.C. communities to broadband Internet this year, including Moyie, Man-
ning Park, Clucluz Lake, Kitwanga, Canoe Creek, Hansard, Beaver Valley, Wetâ€™suwetâ€™en, Reid Lake, Boswell, Appledale, Elco, Bridge River, Jaffray, Little Shuswap Lake, Duncan Lake, Christina Lake, Inklyuhkinatko, Kanaka, Neskonlith, Nicomen, Nooaitch, Sahhaltkum, Siska, Trout Lake, Marble Bay, Ditidaht, Tork, Pender Harbour, Puckatholetchin, Saltry Bay, and Skatin. Further information on the announcement is available through Telusâ€™s website.
mended in this case. â€˘ Three curfews were conducted and all found compliant. Feb. 29: â€˘ When RCMP were called to keep the peace in a civil separation between a female and a male, no issues surfaced. â€˘ The theft prevention officer caught a female attempting to steal five pairs of
sunglasses and clothing from a local store. Officers attended and released the female on an undertaking to appear in court at a later date. â€˘ The RCMP were called to an assault on Broadway Avenue and arrested a male for assaulting a female. Both parties were intoxicated. The male was re-
leased to appear in court at a later date. â€˘ A local grocery store reported a man stole some meat. Staff were not able to catch him when he left the store. The investigation is still ongoing. â€˘ Four curfew checks were conducted. One individual was found to be non-compliant and breach charges were forwarded.
Dinner & Auction Fundraiser Saturday, March 10, 2012 6:00 pm (downstairs)
Thank You to our sponsors and to
Huge Silent Auction
for hosting this fundraising event! CLASSIFIEDS 250-392-2331
Come Out and Support Your Hometown Team!
Main Gallery -
Ann Nicholson - The Chilcotin War: A Colonial Legacy The artist, coming from the colonial experience of South Africa, explores the colonial experiences of the Tsilhqotâ€™in that led to the war of 1864.
Upper Gallery -
Casey Bennett - Faces of Industry
A portrait series of men and women who make up the local industrial economy.
Hours The St Station House Mon. to Sat.Gallery 10am - 5pm Free and Gift Shop Admission
#1 Mackenzie Avenue N. (at the foot of Oliver St.) Phone: 250-392-6113 Fax: 250-392-6184
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250-392-1161 41 S. First Ave. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Obtain or renew dog licenses by March 31 to avoid $10 penalty The City wants to remind residents that dog licenses must be obtained or renewed by Jan. 1 each year. For those that have not yet obtained or renewed their licenses, a $10 late application fee will be added to the license cost after March 31. Licensing fees are: r4QBZFEPSOFVUFSFEEPH r6OTQBZFEPSVOOFVUFSFEEPH r-BUFBQQMJDBUJPOGFF BGUFS.BSDITU $10.00 plus regular license fee r3FQMBDFNFOUMJDFOTFUBH r"HHSFTTJWFEPH â€œDogsâ€™ licenses are their ticket home,â€? says 4FOJPS #ZMBX 0GĂ DFS %FCCJF 8PPE i*UT not only required for every dog to have a license, but it helps connect lost dogs to their owners more quickly, as well as other CFOFĂ UTu Dog owners are also asked to ensure contact information with the City is up UP EBUF " EPHT MJDFOTF JT WBMJE GPS POF year, from January 1st to December 31st. " QPSUJPO PG UIF NPOFZ DPMMFDUFE GPS EPH MJDFOTJOH HPFT UP UIF 8JMMJBNT -BLF #$41$"-JDFOTFTDBOCFPCUBJOFEBU$JUZ )BMM .BSU 4USFFU PS BU 5PUBM 1FU #SPBEXBZ"WFOVF
CITY OF WILLIAMS LAKE
Williams Lake Tribune Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Re-Opening March 8th
Royal Canadian Legion
Today is the Last Day to get your tickets for the
Solid Wood Furniture & Mattresses
Under New Ownership
Dinner & Dance Saturday, March 17th
385 Barnard Street 250-392-7311 (ofce) 250-392-4255 (lounge)
510 North Broadway beside Spectra Power Sports
Williams Lake & District Credit Union Community Investment Fund Erin Hitchcock photo
Sheila Downey (left), Surinderpal Rathor, and Diane Walters are among many volunteers involved in the Community Volunteer Income Tax program that helps those on low income file their taxes. Five sittings take place this month.
Tax program volunteers assist those on low-income places: • Glen Arbor on March 12. • Seniors Activity Centre on March 19. • Sunset Manor on April 9. • The Seniors Village (Retirement Concepts) on Western Avenue on April 16. • The Salvation Army on April 23. Each session runs from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Rathor notes that sessions at Sunset Manor, Glen Arbor, and the Seniors Village will be held particularly for residents of those facilities. However, if others are only able to attend those sessions they will not be turned away.
Information on the application process and requirements is available on our website at: www.wldcu.com/Personal/InOurCommunity/CommunityInvestmentFund
or at any Credit Union branch. Preference will be given to organizations that are members of Williams Lake and District Credit Union.
Those who cannot attend any of the above sessions but would like assistance can contact Rathor at 250-3985222. Volunteers can also travel west of the city to assist individuals. Though taxes don’t need to be filed until the end of April, Rathor asks interested people to drop off their tax information early in order to avoid an influx of submissions at the last minute. “The sooner they file their returns the sooner they get their refund,” he says, adding that clients will need to provide their signature to authorize volunteers to E-file their taxes.
Application Deadline is March 31, 2012
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Fundraiser for the SPCA • Fundraiser for the SPCA
CJ’s Southwestern Grill March 24th 5-11 pm
Evening of great Italian food, fabulous entertainment, fun games & an exciting auction.
Thank you to our official wine sponsor
Tickets $25/person available at: Animal Care • WL BC SPCA Beaver Valley Feeds Cool Clear Water • Total Pet Williams Lake Veterinary Hospital
All proceeds go to support the WL & District BC SPCA
Fundraiser for the SPCA • Fundraiser for the SPCA
Volunteers with the Community Volunteer Income Tax program are ready to help lowincome people file their taxes for free. The program was started by the federal government in 1971, says Williams Lake and district local co-ordinator Surinderpal Rathor, who has been involved in the program since 1975. “We are not trying to take business away from the professionals,” Rathor says. “Our mission and objective is to help those who need help, who cannot afford to pay to get their income tax done.” He notes everyone, by law, must file their income taxes regardless of their income. Those who could benefit from this program include students, single parents, seniors, and immigrants, for example. “We have a threshold of $25,000 (for a single person),” he says, noting the threshold is a guideline only. Each volunteer will use his or her discretion in deciding who is assisted. Rathor explains that a single person may have made more than $25,000 last year but
has since been laid off, for example. That person may be a candidate for the program. He says the volunteers will not file income taxes for a business or anyone who has capital gains or loss. They will also not file the taxes of a deceased or bankrupt person. “We have a very select clientele,” he says. “We focus more on parents and senior citizens and the single people on welfare.” Rathor says he loves being involved in the program and “playing with the numbers.” He notes the program is completely non-profit. “We are trained by the government but we do not work for the government,” Rathor adds. “And we do not charge anybody for anything.” The volunteers’ experience ranges from one year to 30-plus years and are very knowledgeable, he says. Those interested in having their taxes done by a volunteer can drop off their tax and contact information, including their phone number, at the Seniors’ Activity Centre on Fourth Avenue and the Womens’ Contact Society on Oliver Street. There will be five sittings in the following
Fundraiser for the SPCA • Fundraiser for the SPCA
Erin Hitchcock Tribune Staff Writer
Williams Lake and District Credit Union is now accepting applications from local organizations and community groups for projects and initiatives geared to helping local communities achieve greater economic success and improve quality of life. Grants are available for projects focussing on youth, entrepreneurs, immigrants, low-income working families and aboriginal peoples.
Fundraiser for the SPCA • Fundraiser for the SPCA
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Dr. J.D. Neufeld 250.392.7227 402 Borland Street
Tuesday, March 6, 2012 Williams Lake Tribune
s 0UBLISHER3ALES -GR Lisa Bowering s %DITOR Erin Hitchcock EXT email@example.com Free press can, of course, be good or bad, but, most certainly without freedom, the press will never be anything but bad. - Albert Camus
Ministers could learn from Dr. Seuss
Bill 22 benefits teachers and students
riday night GDs #5,6, and 7 and I went to see The Lorax, a movie based on the Dr. Seuss story written 40 years ago. The Lorax speaks French for the Connection trees, but couldnâ€™t Diana French stop the O n c e â€™l e r from doing a total clearcut. In the treeless, polluted city that results, the villain in the story is making a killing selling bottled air. He claims (rightly) that people will buy anything that comes in a plastic bottle. The movie is well done. My little granddaughters (almost eight and almost five) were so engrossed in it they hardly ate their popcorn. I suspect they might be buying bottled air if our society keeps on its current path but, in the movie, a boy saves the day and the trees come back. Dr. Seussâ€™s moral is â€œUnless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. Itâ€™s not.â€? The Lorax story is timely because more and more groups and individuals are worrying about maintaining our trees. Earlier this year the auditor general sounded the alarm about the sorry state of B.C. forests and recently the B.C. Association of Foresters joined the chorus, saying our forest inventories are so far out of date it is impossible to manage the forests sustainably. Silviculture companies say business has been so slow for years that tree planters have gone on to different things. However, Minister Pat Bell (jobs, tourism, and innovation) is bragging that the value of B.C.â€™s softwood lumber exports to China surpassed the $1 billion mark, that lumber exports have risen by more than 1,500 per cent since 2006, and exports to China have already surpassed the provinceâ€™s goals. Minister Steve Thomson (forests, lands and natural resources) believes our forests are in fine shape. Maybe if they both went to see The Lorax they might realize the auditor general and the foresters have a point. Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.
n light of the B.C. Teachersâ€™ Federationâ€™s recent decision to hold a three-day strike this week, I would like to express my support for the students and families affected by MLA this dispute. Musings T h e Donna Barnett B.C. government is doing its best to accommodate the needs of students, families, teachers, and staff at B.C. schools. Students and families deserve to have confidence in the education system, schools, and teachers. Parents deserve to know how their children are doing at school, and we will try to prevent another school year from passing without this line of accountability. On Feb. 28, the B.C. Government introduced Bill 22, the Education Improvement Act, to help facilitate an agreement between government and the union. This bill sets a six-month â€œcooling offâ€? period, during which a mediator will work to achieve a reasonable settlement that satisfies all parties. Bill 22 also introduces several initiatives that will benefit teachers and students, including the $165 million Learning Improvement Fund. This fund allows school districts to hire additional teachers and special education assistants, provide more teaching time, and support teacher training and professional development. We are putting more money into classrooms, improving supports for students and teachers, and facilitating consultation on class organization. We have restored the opportunity to bargain class size and related matters, and we are providing additional compensation for teachers whose class sizes exceeds the student limit. Together, these provisions are significant gains that recognize the important role and contribution of teachers. We are committed to reaching a responsible conclusion to this dispute that protects the best interests of students, parents, and families in B.C. I hope that we will continue to move forward in a constructive and amicable way in order to restore certainty and trust to our education system. Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin.
Political dirty tricks turning voters off Every time an election rolls around there is plenty of hand-wringing and angst-ridden postulating about getting more people out to vote. How to we engage more of the electorate? How do we engage more youth in the political process? The easiest way would be for our politicians and the minions who work for them to stop doing what theyâ€™re doing. The Robocall scandal should enrage the Canadian public but will, more likely, just result in them tuning politics out. Robocall is where calls made on election day from a firm hired linked to the Conservative party were directing people away from polling stations. A slew of former employees at a call centre in Thunder Bay, Ont., revealed last week they were using a script to make live calls on behalf of the Conservative party that contained erroneous information about voting locations. The suggestion, of course, is that in close ridings Liberal and/or NDP supporters were directed to wrong locations for polling stations. This, if proven to be true, is a lot worse than trying to smear a politician.
Itâ€™s election tampering and those responsible should spend some time looking out from the inside of one of the Conservativesâ€™ new prisons. The Conservatives, so far, have suggested that if anyone knows anything about the â€œrobocallsâ€? they should contact Elections Canada and have suggested that they made two million calls on election day so mistakes were bound to happen. While political careers may be damaged or destroyed, the real damage is to our political system. We all want people to become more engaged in our political system but who in their right mind wants to get involved in this kind of despicable chicanery? Sadly, this is what politics has become so those who donâ€™t want to stoop to gutter-sniping and dirty tricks avoid politics â€Ś and thatâ€™s a shame because our country suffers for it. The only way this type of cellar-dwelling politics can end is if our politicians, in the backrooms and the war rooms of political life, say â€œnoâ€? to such tactics. And if politicians want more Canadians to become engaged and involved, all they have to do is bring integrity and honesty back. â€” Prince George Free Press
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