Castlegar News Thursday, December 29, 2011
May Incumbent Alex Atamanenko wins big in Southern Interior
Alex Atamanenko was re-elected in BC Southern Interior by a wide margin on Monday and will join about 100 of his NDP colleagues as the Official Opposition in the House of Commons. Atamanenko ended up with roughly 51 per cent of the popular vote. In the 2008 election he won with 47.5 per cent of the vote. “I felt positive throughout the campaign, and one of the reasons I did is because we had a bunch of new people helping out in each of the
campaign offices,” Atamanenko said during his victory party at the Portuguese Hall in Castlegar on Monday evening. “And the vibe I got at the door was that people had, by and large, been happy with the work that my staff and I had been doing.” His win was just one of dozens across the country for the NDP, as the party exploded in popularity — particularly in Quebec — and posted its highest seat count ever, by far. Atamanenko said he’d be happy to stay
on as the federal agriculture critic for the NDP but the job will become much more serious — and much more difficult — now that his party forms the Official Opposition to the Conservative Party’s majority government. “I would suspect I’ll retain my role as agriculture critic, and basically it will be up to me ... to make sure we move on with a Canadian food strategy, to make sure we don’t introduce further genetically modified organisms, to make sure
cattle producers get a fair shake and we don’t have the GM apple introduced in Kelowna,” he said. “It’s a tremendous responsibility, not only in our party but on my shoulders, whatever portfolio I retain as a critic.” Despite the NDP’s historic gains, Atamanenko said he was “not happy with the outcome federally” and worried about what the new Conservative government will do with its majority in the House of Commons. “I think they’re
June Pageant a ‘great experience,’ says newly-crowned Miss Castlegar
going to try to ram through legislation,” Atamanenko said. “Their crime bills are going to go through, they’re going to do away with the Canadian Wheat Board. And any other legislation that they want to run, we’re not going to be able to stop them. We’re going to do our best, but it’s going to be very difficult.” Conservative candidate Stephen Hill met with about 20 supporters at Rave’s Restaurant in Trail Monday, resigned as he watched Atamanenko
cruise to victory but at the same time elated with the Conservative majority. “It couldn’t be better,” Hill said. “We wiped out the Bloc, we wiped out the Liberals and we’ve got a majority government for four more years — that’s perfect. With just over six per cent of the vote, Green candidate Bryan Hunt didn’t capture the kind of attention he was looking for in the vast riding, which covers Salmo in the east to Princeton in the west and the U.S. border north to Kaslo,
including Nelson. “I think our country is sending the wrong message here,” he said from his home in Calgary. “I think allegations of elections fraud with the Conservatives and certainly the contempt of Parliament, which has never happened in our Canadian history, and the message we sent was ‘We’re OK with it.’”
This report was put together with files from Valerie Rossi, Jim Bailey, Andrea Klassen, Kim Magi, Bob Hall and Robson Fletcher.
Chances are this one could be a winner JIM SINCLAIR
KIM MAGI Castlegar News Reporter
Castlegar News Editor
Miss Castlegar Marie Soukeroff started her duties immediately after Friday night’s pageant for Sunfest weekend. “It was a busy weekend,” said 16-year-old Soukeroff, who is in Grade 10 at Stanley Humphries Secondary School. As Miss Krueckl Financial at the pageant, she edged out seven other girls for the title and will now travel to other pageants and towns with Miss Castlegar Princess, Sabrina Broad, as ambassadors for the city. The contestants were judged on training, personal interviews, speeches, talent, evening gowns and impromptu questions. During the training, which began in January, Soukeroff said she and the other girls became very close and she’s happy with how far they’ve come. “All the girls did so well and everyone should be proud of themselves,” she said. “The training was so
A healthy crowd of interested parties was on hand July 26 for the ribbon cutting of the new Chances Gaming Centre just north of West Kootenay Regional Airport on Highway 3A. Manager Chad Bullock, ownership member Ralph Berezan and up to 60 newly hired local employees could have been forgiven for some preopening butterflies as onlookers shuffled and waited. Just before 1 p.m. some brief comments were made by Castlegar Mayor Lawrence Chernoff, Bullock, Berezan and BC Lottery Corporation director of operations Rod Bailey. They knew the gallery was waiting for the wraps to come off the brand new facility. The Mayor re-emphasized points he had made following a council meeting some weeks before, that the gaming centre is a benefit for the city and area, and ought to stem the tide of gaming-destined funds
Marie Soukeroff was named “Miss Castlegar” on Friday night. Kim Magi photo
beneficial to all of us, it was great.” Soukeroff said her favourite part of participating in the Miss Castlegar program was getting to know all the other girls. “They’re such great people,” she said. Although all eight girls are close in age and all go to Stanley Humphries, Soukeroff said they didn’t really know one another before training started. “We weren’t as close as we’ve become over the past five months.” Participating in the program helped boost her confidence, Soukeroff said. “I’ve learned so many valuable skills
that are going to help me in the long run.” Miss Castlegar 2010, Mariah Morris, offered some points of advice to Soukeroff too, she said. “She said it’s a great experience and to just have fun.” After riding in Saturday’s Sunfest parade with the other Miss Castlegar contestants, Soukeroff and the other girls participated in Sunfest activities then helped with the Lions’ Family Day and children’s parade on Sunday. Next for Miss Castlegar and Miss Castlegar Princess will be Sam Steele Days in Cranbrook, where
they’ll represent the city in the parade and the pageant there. Soukeroff doesn’t know what the year will bring yet, but she’s already sorted out what she’s going to wear. “Me and my princess already decided that later on we want to get matching outfits,” she said. However, more important things lie ahead first. “I’m honoured and excited to be given the chance to represent the City of Castlegar and I’m excited for the upcoming year and I know it’s going to be a great learning experience,” she said.
Mayor Lawrence Chernoffmakes it ofﬁcial – cutting the ribbon at the new ‘Chances’ gaming facility. Jim Sinclair photo
being taken out of the area. Just prior to the ribbon cutting manager Chad Bullock, a Fort St. John native, said things had all gone “really well” leading up to opening day. “It’s been great hiring the staff,” he said. “We’ve found a lot of excellent, wonderful people in the area. “When I first arrived in June it was primarily just a shell. As you can see it’s an amazing facilty... it’s going to just detail the area.” Bullock comes to Castlegar by way of a similar stint in Terrace. One of the challenges he feels has been met, something related to a relatively out-of-the-way location, is an efficient
supply network. On this point he also feels the Terrace experience will serve him well. As for the sense of anticipation Bullock said, “It’s going to be great working with all our staff. They’re all prepared and excited. Some of them, I know, didn’t sleep very well last night. They just wanted to get in here and show the public what we have.” Rod Bailey told the throng that research indicates the facility is expected to generate over nine million dollars annually, with a percentage of that money sticking around the area. Just how the ratio works out will be interesting to keep track of in years to come.