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MERRITT HERALD FREE
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2014 • MERRITT NEWSPAPERS
GET READY TO CAST YOUR BALLOT The Merritt Herald sent a list of questions to each of the six candidates in the 2014 byelection for one city councillor. The responses are printed alphabetically by candidate’s last name. The candidates will also be available to answer more questions at a forum tonight at NVIT at 7 p.m. and another on Feb. 20 at the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame between 10 and 11 a.m.
• Mike Jolly Page 3 1. What experience makes you a good candidate for city councillor? I have lived in Merritt for over 40 years. During those years, I have been a volunteer with many organizations: board member for Nicola Family Therapy for over 20 years; secretary for the Nicola Valley Heritage Society for 14 years; treasurer for the Nicola Valley Association for Community Living (Ska-Lu-La) for 12 years; helped with the Merritt Country Christmas concert and recently organized the Children’s Community Choir. I also assisted in organizing Multicultural Day for Merritt’s 100th birthday in 2011. My employment since I came to this valley 45 years ago has been primarily with the public (School District 58) and private (First Nations) education systems as an educator. 2. What made you decide to run for city council? I have the time, background, interest and ambition required to contribute constructively to the decision-making process. 3. Are you familiar with city council and municipal government? What are your past experiences with civic politics? My interest in local government began when my father was the treasurer for Lanark Township in the Ottawa Valley, and local government happenings were often a topic at the supper table. Since 1973, civic government has been a part of my life in Merritt. I often attend council meetings, public forums and have directed petitions toward city council concerning various municipal issues.
• Neil Menard Page 3
LINDA BAIRD 4. What issues represent your priorities for the city? I would like to see more serious public discussion about sustainability issues. City council needs to be aggressively searching to attract stable industry that will supply sustainable jobs. 5. What is the biggest challenge facing Merritt today? One of the biggest challenges facing Merritt at this time is our aging and deteriorating infrastructure. City council needs to be rigorously proactive in the search for federal and provincial grant opportunities. 6. Merritt has had two byelections in two years. Are you committed to city council? If you’re elected, will you run again in the general election in November 2014? When elected, I will be committed to serving my full term of office.
• Ginny Prowal Page 5 1. What experience makes you a good candidate for city councillor? I moved to Merritt in 2004 from the Township of Langley. My husband Jack and I owned and operated an auto body repair shop so I am aware of the trials and joys of being a business owner. I am employed as an accounting and payroll clerk with the Nicola Tribal Association and I have been a bookkeeper for about 32 years. I volunteered as a 4-H youth leader for 10 years in Langley and in the Nicola Valley. I have been treasurer for many organizations and I have lobbied for government support of community organizations that I have been involved with. I am presently on the board of directors for Community Futures Nicola Valley and I am secretary for the Merritt Vintage Car Club. I have a strong background in business and personal finance.
• Julie Van Koll Page 11 attended and watched council meetings on TV on a regular basis. I have never been on a city or municipal council, but I know how the process works and I have a great desire to learn and serve. 4. What issues represent your priorities for the city? I feel the top priorities for Merritt are economic development and the revitalization of the downtown core. We have a rich heritage of history and outdoor living in this city and the climate for community activities that could attract tourists and residents alike. I am concerned with the tax costs to homeowners and businesses.
2. What made you decide to run for city council? I decided to run for city council because I believe in this city and want to see it flourish. I want to make a difference in the community where I live and work. I want to be of service to the citizens of Merritt. I also feel that the present council is in need of a new perspective and help in working together for the common good of the community. 3. Are you familiar with city council and municipal government? What are your past experiences with civic politics? I have always followed city and municipal council meetings where I have lived. I have
5. What is the biggest challenge facing Merritt today? I feel the biggest challenge for Merritt today is cultivating growth and development to become a community that attracts businesses and people alike. I do not believe taxation of existing businesses and residents is the only answer to raising capital to support community growth. Improvements to infrastructure and development are key to attracting people to our community. 6. Merritt has had two byelections in two years. Are you committed to city council? If you’re elected, will you run again in the general election in November 2014? I ran in the last byelection in 2012 and I will run in the November election. This term will help me serve this city. I am dedicated to this city and I want to help Merritt grow and prosper.
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2 • THURSDAY, February 13, 2014
NICOLA VALLEY NEWS
RCMP looking for drivers on cellphones By Michael Potestio THE HERALD
Keep your eyes on the road, and not the cellphone is the message the RCMP wants drivers to be aware of this month. Throughout February, police in Merritt will be stepping up enforcement of distracted driving laws with an awareness and enforcement campaign. There will be both road checks and stationary enforcement in Merritt. Const. Kathy Prentice with the Central Interior Traffic Services in Kamloops told the Herald this is a province-wide campaign and a provincewide problem. Police will typically watch for violators from their marked police cars, but one tactic the Central Interior Traffic Services will use is a sting
a fine of $368 for driving without due care. Last year, 40,000 tickets for using electronic devices or driving without due care and attention were issued in B.C. and 27 per cent of driving fatalities were caused by distracted drivers. On average, 91 people in British Columbia die each year from distracted driving-related accidents. In southeast B.C., 34 people on average perish in distracted driving-related accidents. That number is 31 in the Lower Mainland. Police say drivers who need to make phone calls should use a hands-free device. Texting and sending emails while driving is prohibited. If drivers need to send or check a text or email, they must pull over to the side of the road and make a complete stop before doing so.
operation. A plainclothes officer will watch traffic from a street corner for violators and radio ahead to another officer who will pull said person over. The fine for using an electronic device without having your hands free or not using a hands-free device is $167, Prentice said. Additionally, three penalty points are applied against a driver caught texting or sending an email while driving. Drivers who do not have their full licence are not permitted to use any electronic device – even if it is a hands-free one. They too face a fine of $167 and three driver penalty points for driving contrary to their conditions. Drivers caught using an electronic device and committing another violation face
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NICOLA VALLEY NEWS BYELECTION 2014 and the residents of Merritt. This disconnect has led to much misunderstanding within the populace, and, I feel, has had an adverse effect on council’s ability to run a city with our best interests at heart. We need to get back to the basics and rebuild a strong foundation that will affect the current symptoms in a positive way.
MIKE JOLLY 1. What experience makes you a good candidate for city councillor? I believe I am a great candidate because I listen to what everyone has to say. I desire to support and help make lasting, impactful change here in Merritt. I do not have a personal agenda; I am here for the people. 2. What made you decide to run for city council? Honestly, the constant stream of information shared with me, primarily over the last two to three years. There is a disconnect between our city administration
3. Are you familiar with city council and municipal government? What are your past experiences with civic politics? I have immersed myself in the learning process; in particular, I have studied: the Guide for Municipal Council Members and Regional Directors; the Financial Disclosure Act and the Community Charter. Also, I recently attended the city’s budget planning meetings, and look forward to attending more relevant meetings. 4. What issues represent your priorities for the city? Within the city budget projections, I see everything falling into one of two categories: one being health and safety, the other being beautification. Within the town modes of thought shared by diverse groups and individu-
als are: invest in the core of what will make this city run more effectively, thereby giving us a better foundation; and beautify the downtown core in order to revitalize the downtown economy. At this point, I truly feel that the city needs to be focusing on the health and safety of all its citizens and lots of infrastructure in areas that are in sore need. We don’t decorate our home before it has a proper foundation or before the walls have gone up, so why would we with our city? 5. What is the biggest challenge facing Merritt today? I believe there are several core issues and many more symptomatic challenges or issues. I feel that we need to address the core issues in order to remove the symptomatic issues. As an example, rejuvenating the downtown core is not just about beautification. It is not just about big box stores being at the other end of town. There are multiple properties and store fronts owned by people who live out of town who don’t seem to have an invested interest in the greater good of the community. That is an issue, and part of that issue is the cost of running a brick-and-mortar business within structures where the cost
is too high and the building’s in dire need of being brought up to appropriate conditions. Our property values are dropping and our taxes are rising and many, in particular retired folk, can’t handle a two- to four-thousand dollar property tax. Are these the core issues? I think they go deeper than that and I think they will take more than seven months to rectify. The bottom line is, with the right leadership, a cohesive council and a qualified administration with a common goal, we could have a much smoother-running city in a position to grow. 6. Merritt has had two byelections in two years. Are you committed to city council? If elected, will you run again in the general election in November 2014? Yes. My wife and I chose Merritt. We are committed to Merritt, and we don’t plan on leaving Merritt. I understand that what needs to take place in the city, the evolving process that needs to happen, will not happen overnight, so a seven-month term helps no one. Whoever is chosen should feel a certain responsibility to making things right, and staying in as long as the citizens choose them.
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1. What experience makes you a good candidate for city councillor? I have lived here in Merritt for the past 10-plus years and worked here off an on through the ’70s to the early 2000s. I held an elected office position with IWA Canada that required me to be elected every two years. I retired from IWA Canada in 2003 as its first vice president for Canada. I worked most of my life in and around the forest industry. I served in the Royal Canadian Navy and was left with an honourable discharge. I went back to work in heavy construction as an iron worker and then back to the forest industry where I remained until my retirement in 2003. I am involved with the Nicola Valley Search and Rescue team. I volunteer with the Merritt Centennials Junior A hockey team as a helper with their required security. My two sons Doneau and Derry both played with the Merritt Centennials and thoroughly enjoyed their time here.
The constant infighting amongst our council members inside and outside the chamber. The water meter issue being touted at the expense of our citizens when education and conservation is what should be discussed and implemented.
NEIL MENARD 2. What made you decide to run for city council? I decided to run for council because I felt there was a lack of support from council in regards to new business like the movie theatre, which would be a plus! No support whatsoever for the Merritt Centennials Junior A hockey team, which is the longeststanding Junior A hockey team in B.C. for 40-plus years.
3. Are you familiar with city council and municipal government? What are your past experiences with civic politics? I do not have a lot of experience in civic politics, but I truly believe that may be a good thing, and will certainly be asking for all the information I can get in regards to doing the job. My career involved politics and could be very political at times. As I mentioned earlier, I had to be elected to my position every two years, which changed to every four years late in my career. 4. What issues represent your priorities for the city? I believe there needs to be more accountability, more trans-
parency, and more openness. We need to represent our entire community, not just specific issues. We must be a responsible government with integrity, we need to communicate to the entire citizenship.
Feb. 11 Headlines Available at newsstands today.
NHL STA R TO VISI
T PAGE 3 Nicola Val ley’s Ne ws Voice Since TUESDAY, FEBRU ARY 11,
6. Merritt has had two byelections in two years. Are you committed to city council? If elected, will you run again in the general election in November 2014? You ask if elected would I run again in November. If I feel I have made a difference and the good Lord willing and the creek don’t run dry, then yes, I will run again in November.
MERRITT NEWSPAPER S
FREE COOKIN STORM G UP A
Masked men poin t gun at
A local ened at man was threatgunpoin men in Merritt t by masked The Navigat or pulled up alongsid The man last week. e his car reported obscenities after he RCMP shortly to started driving. he was leaving who put at the victim, man in friend’s A a his the house to an RCMP and drove car in reverse seat of the rear passenger Street around on Voght Navigat pect vehiclehome. The sus8:50 p.m. ing a balaclav Merritt press release. on Feb. or wear3 did not Street and a coverin a call from RCMP received to follow face was a black when he noticed appear g his Lincoln men inside arrested the three p.m. describithe man at 9:05 police. him, the man told at him. pointing a shotgun Navigat idling on without or ng the situaa nearby are schedul tion and Twenty inciden It appears The men street. ed to appear the suspects Edward -four-year-old t. court in Merritt matched the vehicle, which mistook gator yelled in the Naviin Soviak, a descript the on March 18. threats and from Coquitlam; er Merritt victim for anoth- vehicle known ion of to police. a Mark Kraljev24-year-old None of known to resident who is YOU R By 9:20 the charges police, accordi p.m., against them HOM ETO and Merritt ic from Surrey located the vehiclepolice ng have been proven in Tyler Grieve; and 27-year WN FLO Nicola Avenue near -old court. and Housto and Merritt of Coquitlam ORI NG n assault face charges AND INST with a weapon See more of ALL ATIO police briefs . They page
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• Masked men point gun at wrong man
A local man was threatened at gunpoint by masked men in Merritt last week.
• Theo Fleury to speak in Merritt Thursday This Thursday, Merritt will be visited by a former NHL All-Star, Stanley Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist.
• Seeing red for Heart and Stroke Stop in at a business in Merritt this Valentine’s Day and you’ll likely be seeing red.
• Two more Cents commit to U.S. colleges The pipeline of Junior A hockey players from the Merritt Centennials organization to American universities continues to flow.
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5. What is the biggest challenge facing Merritt today? We need to be very concerned for the health, safety and wellness of all our citizens and our employees. We must be aware of our finances and tax base at all times. We must be totally honest and deal with total integrity.
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4 • THURSDAY, February 13, 2014
NOTICE OF ELECTION BY VOTING PUBLIC NOTICE IS HEREBY given to the electors of the City of Merritt that an election by voting is necessary to elect one (1) Councillor and that the persons nominated as candidates and for whom votes will be received are: COUNCILLOR – ONE (1) TO BE ELECTED
City applying to NEB on pipeline hearings The following is an excerpt from the Feb. 11 regular city council meeting agenda. City council voted in favour of applying to participate in the National Energy Board hearings for the TransMountain pipeline expansion project at its regular meeting on Feb. 11. The city was invited by the NEB to apply to be considered to become a participant in the upcoming hearings. The TransMountain pipeline is a $5.4 billion pipeline project being proposed by Kinder
Morgan. The proposed pipeline would run from Strathcona County, Alta., right through to the Lower Mainland. The pipeline would run for approximately four kilometres through the City of Merritt, including a portion of the city’s airport runway. Those who are directly affected by the proposed project will be allowed to participate in the hearing and those with relevant information or expertise may be allowed to participate. As the proposed pipeline runs through the community and directly on city land, the city would likely be eligible
to be a part of these proceedings. Background Kinder Morgan currently has a pipeline that transports bitumen from Edmonton to the refinery and ship terminal yards in Burnaby. The pipeline currently runs for approximately 4.5 kilometres through Merritt, including the airport. The current pipeline is 60 years old. The proposal would include twinning the pipeline and using the old, smaller line as a secondary or emergency pipe. Kinder Morgan made a presenta-
tion to city council in early 2011 regarding the proposed project. The upcoming hearing planned by the National Energy Board is part of the government’s due diligence and regular public consultation process for this project. According to Kinder Morgan, the City of Merritt stands to gain economically from the project. Merritt has been identified as one of the main bases for the project, which will use the city as a key station point for work crews, equipment, administrative functions and materials.
BUSINESSES OPERATING IN NEIGHBOURHOODS? ATTENTION those who are interested in participating in the home-based business task force A series of meetings are being planned to discuss home based businesses operating in neighbourhoods and what impacts; positive or negative that exist.
Surname BAIRD CROSS JOLLY MENARD PROWAL VANKOLL
Usual Names Linda Noreen Mike Neil Ginny Julie
Jurisdiction of Residence City of Merritt Thompson-Nicola Regional District City of Merritt City of Merritt City of Merritt City of Merritt
GENERAL VOTING DAY will be open to qualified electors of the City of Merritt on Saturday, February 22, 2014 between the hours of 8:00 am and 8:00 pm at the following location: Lower portion of City Hall – 2185 Voght Street, Merritt, B.C. Advance voting opportunities will be held at City Hall, 2185 Voght Street, Merritt, B.C. on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Carole Fraser Chief Election Officer
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING PROPOSED CITY OF MERRITT OFFICIAL COMMUNITY PLAN AMENDMENT BYLAW NO. 2162, 2013 ZONING AMENDMENT BYLAW NO. 2163, 2013 The City of Merritt Council will be holding a Public Hearing pursuant to Section 892 of the Local Government Act, to consider amendments to the City of Merritt Official Community Plan Bylaw No. 2116, 2011 and the City of Merritt Zoning Bylaw No. 1894, 2004 for the lands, shown as “subject properties” on the sketch plan below: The City of Merritt Council will consider amending: r 5IF0GGJDJBM$PNNVOJUZ1MBOCZBNFOEJOHUIF&BTU.FSSJUU%JBNPOE7BMF6TF %FTJHOBUJPONBQ r ;POJOH"NFOENFOUCZBNFOEJOHUIF.FSSJUU-BOE6TF%FTJHOBUJPONBQCZ DIBOHJOHUIFDVSSFOU[POJOHGSPN$4FSWJDF$PNNFSDJBMUP3-PX%FOTJUZ Residential. If you feel your property interests may be affected by the proposed amendment and you wish to address City Council on any matters pertaining to this bylaw, please attend the Public Hearing at City Hall on: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 7:00 pm :PVSDPNNFOUTDPODFSOTNBZBMTPCFQSFTFOUFEJOXSJUJOH JOBEWBODFPGUIF meeting by addressing them to the undersigned, or at the public hearing in person, by petition or by attorney. No letter, report or representation from the public will be received by Council after the conclusion of the Public Hearing. Sean O’Flaherty, RPP 1MBOOJOH%FWFMPQNFOU4FSWJDFT.BOBHFS
We are looking for representation from those with existing home-based business, those who have businesses in commercial areas, and those that are simply interested in the matter.
Note: This is the first of two consecutive Public Notices. %BUFEUIJTUIEBZPG'FCSVBSZ BU.FSSJUU #$
If you are interested in participating in the discussion and wish to attend 4 to 5 1-hour meetings on the task force please contact Sean O’Flaherty at City Hall at 250-378-8620.
ADVANCED VOTING OPPORTUNITIES NOTICE OF ADVANCED VOTING
for the 2014 By-Election will be held on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 and Wednesday, February 19, 2014. Both Advanced Voting Opportunities will be conducted in the Community Room at City Hall from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Next council meeting: Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014 Council agendas and minutes at www.merritt.ca
City of Merritt ★ 2185 Voght Street, Box 189 Merritt, BC V1K 1B8 ★ Phone: 250-378-4224
THURSDAY, February 13, 2014 • 5
NICOLA VALLEY NEWS BYELECTION 2014 1. What experience makes you a good candidate for city councillor? I was born and raised in North Vancouver and moved to Merritt in 1971. Both my sons where born and raised here. At that time, it was difficult to explain even where Merritt was except to say it was about 60 miles south of Kamloops. Look at us now! I am a good candidate for council as I have 40 years of experience as an active community volunteer, serving on various committees and events in Merritt. I’ve made presentations to council and keep up-to-date by attending council meetings, public forums and any open house.
4. What issues represent your priorities for the city? A) Stability at city hall. 2013 was particularly difficult for council and this city. Empty staff positions affected stability, timely decisions and increased pressure on remaining staff and replacements. Council was trying to function within this environment without a full complement of members. B) Air quality. The blowing dust affects the cleanliness of this city. We can do better without adversely affecting the “economic backbone” of our community.
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Open Monday - Friday 9 am - 6 pm Saturday 9 am - 5 pm 5. What is the biggest challenge fac2145 Quilchena Avenue, Merritt, BC ing Merritt today? Phone: 250-378-4695 Fax 250-378-2106 A) Every community requires an identity, branding or logo to sell to investors, tourists and new residents. Does “Country Music Capital of Canada” serve that purpose? Are we the “heart” or “hub” of the Southern Interior, with mulhrblock.ca | 800-HRBLOCK (472-5625) tiple highways and outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing and golf, to name a few? © H&R Block Canada, Inc. At participating offices. Some restrictions may apply. See office for details.*If H&R Block makes an error in the preparation of your tax return, that costs you any interest or penalties on additional taxes due, although we do not assume the liability for the additional taxes, we will reimburse you for the B) We need to have economic growth to provide job stabilinterest and penalties. ity for our children and grandchildren to work, live and thrive in Merritt. We must promote diverse activities, sports and leisure as part of a vibrant, active and thriving comif you missed our recent wine tasting, you must try this munity.
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3. Are you familiar with city council and municipal government? What are your past experiences with civic politics? I’ve never had a seat on any council but I do have a broad interest in politics on every level. Unlike volunteering for a specific event or committee, council requires a broad perspective in the best interest of the whole community. I know there are volumes of reading material pertaining to proposals or motions. I have the time to dedicate my full attention, carefully study, understand and discuss in order to reach a consensual decision that benefits the majority.
6. Merritt has had two byelections in two years. Are you committed to city council? If elected, will you run again in the general election in November 2014? I appreciate the cost for byelections and training new council members. For me, the remainder of 2014 would be a learning curve. I am well aware of the time commitment required to sit on council. However, November 2014 will be a general election for all positions with time enough to decide.
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2. What made you decide to run for city council? I decided to run for council because I’m ready to take the next step. I’ve been a volunteer long enough with a working knowledge of city procedures and feel obligated to contribute more as a councillor. I do not have a specific or personal agenda, but a broad interest in anything that affects this city, its residents and future.
THIS IS YOUR BONUS ENTRY COUPON VALID BETWEEN FEBRUARY 6 AND MARCH 31, 2014. BRING YOUR COUPON INTO ITS CORRESPONDING MERCHANT NOW TO REDEEM YOUR BONUS ENTRY. SEMI-FINALISTS ARE DRAWN EACH WEEK UNTIL MARCH 31, 2014.
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6 • THURSDAY, February 13, 2014
HERALD OPINION Prescription pot pretense ending By Tom Fletcher BLACK PRESS email@example.com
VICTORIA – On April 1, medical marijuana growing licences expire across the country, and only licensed commercial growers will be able to legally fill a prescription for pot. Ottawa is moving to clean up the mess it created by issuing medical licences all over the country. Since then, municipalities have complained that small-scale medical licences have been greatly exceeded, with many used as fronts for a criminal drug trade that has made B.C. infamous around the world. How big is the problem? There are about 38,000 Canadians licensed to carry marijuana for medical purposes, and half of them live in B.C. Their permission to grow their own or buy it from designated small-scale growers is withdrawn in a couple of months. Here’s a look at the community level. Police in the Fraser Valley suburb of Maple Ridge estimate that it alone has 500 properties licensed to grow pot. No, Maple Ridge is not a world hotspot for glaucoma or arthritis. It is historically known for its secluded properties and as a base for B.C.’s prison system and the province’s Hells Angels. Police have only an estimate because Ottawa’s bungled medical pot scheme conceals the location of licensed growers from provincial and local governments. RCMP Insp. Dave Fleugel told Maple Ridge council last week that his detachment will first target medical growers they know are linked to organized crime. But it’s difficult to determine which are legal and which are not. “This has the potential to cripple the courts,” Fleugel said.
See ‘Medical marijuana’ Page 7
Publisher Theresa Arnold production@ merrittherald.com
The non-controversy of a Coke commercial
Emily Wessel Merritt MUSINGS Did you watch the 2014 Superbowl? If so, you’re not alone: more than 11.5 million people tuned in to the biggest football game of the year and to witness the Seahawks smash the Broncos. Probably equally as famous as the football are the Superbowl’s commercials, which any selfrespecting multi-million-
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MERRITT HERALD 2090 G
dollar corporation would gladly spill some precious bucks on for 30 or 60 seconds of airtime. Coca-Cola was one of those companies, and aired a spot featuring people doing “American” things (horseback riding, surfing, camping, eating street vendor hotdogs, running through canyons) to America the Beautiful as the background track. If you tuned in to the opening ceremonies from the Winter Olympics in Sochi, you might have seen the special 90-second version of the ad that debuted. However, there was something about the 60-second Superbowl spot that seemed to really tick some people off. Apparently, the offensive part of the commercial was that different parts of the
song were sung in different languages. Apparently, many people consider English the language of America. One tweet from Superbowl Sunday read: “I’m not racist but, This [sic] is America! We speak English!” Ironically, many of these Twitter users crying in outrage about English being the quintessential American language do not seem to know how to use it properly. One even wrote, “Speak American if your in America commercials are dumb [sic].” My guess is the irony is lost on them. Not long after the commercial aired, the hashtag #SpeakAmerican was trending on Twitter. Seriously!
Editor Emily Wessel newsroom@ merrittherald.com
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Maybe some people’s rage can be chalked up to different languages confusing them as to which song it was. Some thought it was the national anthem, while others thought it was God Bless America. Many users of Facebook and Twitter vowed to boycott Coke from then on. (I hope they have considered all of the Coca-Cola Company’s subsidiaries, including Dasani, Minute Maid, Powerade and Sprite, to name just a few in the beverage industry.) Who knows, maybe all this hot-headed promised boycotting will lead to a reduction in America’s obesity epidemic. Coke has since responded to the “controversy” by standing by both the ad and its message, that America is “beautiful” not
Sports writer Ian Webster sports@ merrittherald.com
in spite of its citizens’ differences, but because of them. Situations like these tell me several things. For one, some people have absolutely no idea about their country’s history. Two: knee-jerk reactions to some “offensive” stimuli only leads to more offensive statements. And three: the very thing that makes social media so attractive (its accessibility) is also one of its most repulsive qualities. But most of all, while I find it baffling that people seem to have no problem spewing incredibly ignorant comments for all to see, I am even more baffled that in this day and age, this commercial, simply by virtue of featuring more than one language and people from many ethnicities, is considered “controversial.”
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THURSDAY, February 13, 2014 • 7
YOUR OPINION Medical marijuana users must go back to using commercial producers From Page 6 “Something is going to have to take a back seat if we are going to go after all of them.” The police and fire department have proposed an amnesty or grace period, allowing people to disclose their location and have it properly dismantled without penalty, to help deal with the volume. This mess was created by Ottawa in response to a court ruling that forced them to make medical pot available. The Harper government remains trapped in a failed waron-drugs mentality that prevents any innovation or even common sense. Then there is the circus in Vancouver, where self-styled princes of pot exploit the confusion of the medical marijuana law to run an Amsterdam-style retail trade. Cannabis Culture, the pot and propaganda empire built by Marc Emery before he was jailed in the U.S., rants about the government’s “war on patients,” amid garish ads for “pot by post” and exotic weed varieties. “By Health Canada’s own estimate, the cost will increase from $5 per gram to $8.80 per gram – going up by nearly 400 per cent,” its website warns. Apparently smok-
ing lots of weed really is bad for your math skills. Dana Larsen, who spearheaded the illconceived and failed decriminalization petition last year, heads up the serious-looking “Medical Cannabis Dispensary.” It has done so well at its location in the drug bazaar of East Hastings Street that it’s got a branch office on Vancouver’s west side. Its official-looking forms have a long list of conditions where only a confirmation of diagnosis is required. In addition to genuine conditions such as side effects of chemotherapy, it includes anxiety, psoriasis, spinal cord injury and even “substance addictions/withdrawal.” And did you know you can get a vet’s note to buy medical pot for your pet? Larsen has boasted about the exotic offerings of his stores, including “watermelon hash oil” at $150 for 2.5 grams. Wow man, that’s like 400 million per cent higher! Fittingly, this farce goes back underground on April Fool’s Day. Medical users can only order shipments from an approved commercial producer. Tom Fletcher is legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press. Twitter: @ tomfletcherbc
Fletcher coverage of BCTF unfair Dear Editor, I was disheartened after reading Tom Fletcher’s article (End this bloody B.C. school war, Feb. 6) Fletcher’s use of language sought only to inflame the difficult and complicated situation rather than cast light upon it. Tom Fletcher, a Black Press columnist, deliberately uses words such as bloody war, bleeding, sniper, trigger-happy, trench, under fire and wounds to create the effect of spectacular ongoing physical violence teachers are waging against the BC Liberal government. Further, Fletcher resorts to mean-spirited hyperbole bordering on name-calling, referring to one teacher as “the lunatic fringe of the BCTF.” The problem, to use a more apt war analogy, is that when newspaper columnists resort to school yard tactics, lazy analysis and yellow journalism, the true casualty is the loss of meaningful public discourse on serious issues. A better approach would have been to actually report on the legal arguments of each side in the BCTF versus the B.C. provincial government court case. Instead, he appears to be a lapdog for the government and its long standing anti-teacher position. Fletcher denigrates the Supreme Court of Canada by declaring that it had somehow “invented” the right to collective bargaining in 2007, and that was the reason the BCTF won its recent case. Actually,
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the correct phrase would be to “recognize” the right to collective bargaining, which, by the way, has been a cornerstone of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights since 1949, and a right provincial public sector labour unions have held in Canada since the 1970s. Astonishingly, he glossed over the ruling of Justice Susan Griffin who struck down Bills 22 and 23 and confirmed for a second time that in B.C. it is illegal to strip away the rights of an organized labour group (in this case teachers) when negotiating working conditions with their employers. Nowhere in his one-sided rant did he consider any of the legal or moral responsibilities of the courts to protect private or public employees from abusive employers or why restitution is required when employers are found guilty, as was the case of the BC Liberal government. Nor did he bother to explore any possibilities for a negotiated settlement, which both sides claim they want. Instead, he penned a thoroughly biased and third-rate analysis of a complex situation that was embarrassing to read. As Mark Twain said, “For any complex problem there is a simple answer, and it’s wrong!” For someone with a position to influence public opinion, that is a grave disservice indeed. Loch Eddy Merritt
Columnist anti-union, uncritical of government Dear Editor, After reading Tom Fletcher’s editorial (Merritt Herald, Feb. 6) I have come to two conclusions. One, Mr. Fletcher hates unions, especially the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF). Two, in pursuit of number one, Mr. Fletcher will not let logic or fact stand in his way. Mr. Fletcher agrees the government should appeal the latest B.C. Supreme Court decision so Liberal members can hide! Mr. Fletcher agrees with government spending more tax dollars appealing a decision the government has now lost twice so Christy Clark does not have to answer questions about how badly government bungled the legislation (twice) and how they bungled bargaining with teachers so badly the court found the government had bargained in bad faith. Mr. Fletcher maligns the Supreme Court of Canada when he says the Supreme Court “invented” rights. The highest court in the land recognized that collective bargaining was a right under the “freedom of association” of the constitution. Mr. Fletcher engages in the usual scare tactics
that we see from the government. His uncritical support of government perspectives while at the same time manufacturing “straw dogs” in the NDP, Adrian Dix, and Tara Ehrke reflects a bias that is not worthy, in my opinion, to be called an editorial. It has crossed the line into government propaganda. And just for the record, teachers did not engage in an illegal strike in 2012. All phases of the BCTF job action were legally approved by the Labour Relations Board. The government has had 12 years to resolve this issue with the BCTF. The government could have avoided this “war” if they had entered into meaningful discussions and bargained in good faith with teachers regarding class size and composition. Instead, the government has endlessly defended their 2002 legislative tactics of removing legally bargained language from contracts. Sadly, the Liberal government continues to throw students under the bus as they continue their attacks on teachers.
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8 • THURSDAY, February 13, 2014
NICOLA VALLEY NEWS
Bus trip frustrates local family By Emily Wessel THE HERALD
A woman who’s new to Merritt is upset with Greyhound’s request policy for wheelchairaccessible buses after a series of mishaps last month. On Jan. 12, Maria Evans and her 19-yearold daughter Callie were waiting for the bus at the local station to head down to Vancouver where Callie was scheduled to have surgery. Evans said they arrived a half-hour before the bus to the coast was scheduled to arrive, but it never came. She, her daughter, and six others were left at the station, she said. A bus to Kamloops eventually came, and the driver offered to take the Merritt passengers to Kamloops where they could catch an express bus to Vancouver. Evans said she and her daughter took the driver up on that offer. After a two-hour wait at the Kamloops station, they were finally on their way to the coast. Evans said the driver picked up the remaining Merritt passen-
gers on the way back through Merritt. They arrived at Evans’ parents’ house in Coquitlam several hours later than anticipated, but in time for Callie’s surgery. Evans said the problems with the bus service worsened when they were ready to return to Merritt on Jan. 21. “We know my daughter’s going to need a wheelchair when we go back. They’re putting 45 staples up and down her knee,” Evans said. Evans said she phoned Greyhound’s customer service while she was leaving the hospital to reserve a spot on a wheelchairaccessible bus. She said she was told to go to the Coquitlam station to request the bus in person, but when she got there, she was told she’d have to reserve it in Vancouver. Her sister drove her to Vancouver to reserve a spot on the bus. They purchased a third seat for Callie to elevate her leg on. When the bus arrived with a flat tire, it wasn’t wheelchairaccessible, Evans said. That’s when she
learned it takes three days to request a wheelchair-accessible bus. She said she struggled to help her daughter up the three steps and was outraged that she wasn’t told about the notice despite several interactions with service clerks at bus stations and over the phone. Evans said her past experiences with Greyhound were positive overall. She recently moved to Merritt from the Lower Mainland with her husband and their two kids. She said the family had been visiting Merritt for about 25 years, and sometimes she would travel here by bus if her husband and their kids went earlier in the family vehicle. “Previous experiences were pretty good,” she said. She and Callie arranged to take the bus in the first place so her husband and son could use the car. Greyhound spokesperson Lanesha Gipson said the company requires at least 48 hours’ notice in order to guarantee one of Greyhound’s 33 wheelchairaccessible buses, adding
the Word, the World
By Herman Kneller
person pulled the raft loads and went through the same procedure. It was slow, but it worked. The men each took their quarter section (they paid the few dollars) and it was theirs to move on to. Now came the big job to move 250 miles with horses, wagons and cattle, five kids (the youngest one and a half years old.) This was going to take a bit of time. The horses and cattle had to have time to feed along the way as well as rest. A small, covered wagon became our home. We would sleep in it for weeks to come. A make-shift stove had to be made. Everything to set up house keeping had to be taken, along with things for the garden for when they would get there.
A road was in the works. It was not too good from Loon Lake. The bridge across the river was still to be built. In the mean time, to get across the river with your wagon and its contents, You built a raft and put a cable on each end, laid that in the river. You loaded Just think how much simpler it your things on the raft, took the horses through the river, then pulled the raft will be when the Lord takes us to over and tied it, then you pulled the Heaven. wagon through the river. Then, there Next week: The Big Move you were on the other side. The next
Last week we looked at the north opening up for homesteaders. At St. Walburg, the rail ended and so did the prairie land. The country was settled to Loon Lake, about 35 miles north, then it was no man’s land. North of Loon Lake was not good farm land, but changed at the Beau River. From there, the country for miles around was surveyed and was staked into 160 acre quarter sections. It was being worked on to Loon Lake and was surveyed to good soil where it would end.
requests can be made in a shorter timeframe but can only be guaranteed with two days’ notice. “That basically ensures we have one available at the time and date that the
customer needs one,” Gipson said. “That’s the only way we can guarantee it.” She said the request can be made over the phone, online or in person.
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BUILD! RENOVATE! LANDSCAPE! DECORATE! Participating Businesses Accent Blinds Company Inc. Aloha Studios Alternative Water Solutions BC Hydro (Vancouver) Caroline’s Cakes Centra Windows Inc. City Furniture & Appliances ( Merritt) City of Merritt (Economic Development) City of Merritt (Leisure) Costco Wholesale (Kamloops) Dragon Decorative Concrete Company Eagle Homes Epicure Selections (Moores) Fenix Massage Fifth Avenue(Guinn) Findlay’s Kamloops (0698327 BC Ltd.) Fortis BC (Surrey) Goddyn & Associates Gold Country Communities Society Investors Group (Salmon Arm) JC PaintWorks Kitchen Fitters Knowledge First Financial Moore’s Custom Exteriors Ltd. Nicola Valley Institute of Technology Nu-Vue Exteriors Ltd. Nucerity (Pitcher) Nuﬂoors (Vanderwal Flooring Inc.) Pain Relief (Capstick) Pampered Chef (Kies) Primerica (Gallagher) Property Guys.com (VanKoll) Riplees Ranch Pet Foods(Nicholls) Robinhood Security Services Shaw Cable (Kelowna) Spartan Woodworks Stor-X Organizing Systems (Kamloops) Thompson Valley Rooﬁng Ltd. Tri-City Heating & Air Conditioning Tupperware (Wallace) Ultimate Bath Systerms (KTS)
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THURSDAY, February 13, 2014 • 9
January 30, 2014 - February 26, 2014
Film sets sail at 7:30 Monday SAVE A still from the 2012 Norwegian movie Kon-Tiki, based on the true story of an anthropologist who crossed the Pacific Ocean on a hand-made raft. The film is the fifth of six in the Nicola Valley Film Society’s 2013-14 season.
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authored by Heyerdal in 1948. He also filmed the expedition and turned it into an awardwinning documentary in 1951. The book, now published as Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific in a Raft, has been translated to over 60 languages. This 2012 reimagining of the adventure is named after the handcrafted raft, which took its name from an ancient Incan sun-god. The film begins at 7:30 p.m. in the NVIT lecture theatre. Tickets are available before showtime for $5.
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