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NEWS AND EVENTS FOR PRINCE GEORGE AND CENTRAL INTERIOR

WEDNESDAY Feburary 14, 2018

Your community voice for the north!

Cabaret returns to P.G. stage this month Frank PEEBLES Citizen staff fpeebles@pgcitizen.ca

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Citizen Photo by James Doyle

Shelby Meany and Owen Selkirk pose for a photo during rehearsals for Judy Russell’s presentation of Cabaret. Meany plays Sally Bowles and Selkirk will play the Emcee.

elloooooo ladies... und gennnnntlemennnnnn.” Welcome to the hottest nightspot in Berlin, where the dancing sizzles, the drinks flow, and dark atmosphere leaks across the dance floor from the cracks in society. Welcome to Cabaret! Producer-choreographer Judy Russell has already scored major audience acclaim with Cabaret on two past occasions, once in 2000 and again in 2001 due to popular demand. An entire generation of viewers hasn’t been offered the gift of this international theatrical sensation, until now. Cabaret will come to the Prince George Playhouse for a winter’s run from Feb. 13-24 starring some of the city’s best stage performers. This is the Broadway musical that launched the superstar careers of Liza Minnelli as sultry

siren Sally Bowles and Joel Grey as charismatic but creepy emcee of the Kit Kat Klub. These are some of musical theatre’s most coveted roles. Bowles has also been portrayed by the likes of Jill Haworth, Judy Dench, Natasha Richardson, Brooke Shields, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Molly Ringwald, Emma Stone and most recently on Broadway Sienna Miller. In Prince George, the past two productions cast Catherine McCarthy as the scintillating diva. The emcee has been played over the years by such luminaries as James Dreyfus, Randy Harrison, Wayne Sleep, and it has become a vehicle recently for Alan Cumming in both London and Broadway. The Prince George version was done by Andrew Halladay to enduring fanfare. In this upcoming Russell remount, Bowles will be portrayed by Shelby Meaney while The emcee will be carried by Owen Selkirk. — see ‘THE AUDIENCE, page 3


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‘The audience loves the story and songs’ — from page 1 McCarthy will be back in the program, this time as Fraulein Schneider playing opposite Gary Chappel as Herr Schultz. Other casting includes Franco Celli in the pivotal role of Cliff the American writer, Adam Harasimiuk as Ernst and Sandra Clermont as Frau Kost. In addition to a support cast and dance chorus, the show will also feature music by musical director Curtis Abriel and band leader Greg Prosser. “I’m doing the show again because, yes, I know it is always popular and the audience loves the story and songs, but what really compelled me to do it is the news,” said Russell. “When you look at what’s happening politically today and what the Cabaret story is all about, you can easily see the relationship. It just became important for me to say something, to use this piece of theatre to talk about how a society can be taken over by forces of hate and forces of division, and the terrible things that can happen if people fall for it.” Cabaret was one of the first Broadway productions that used musical theatre as a platform for social commentary. It came to stage life only 20 years after the Second World War, and was an open metaphor for the dark side of human nature. It’s success and staying-power came from its strong music and vivid entertainment qualities. This is a story well told, with universal themes and slick presentation values.

Citizen Photo by James Doyle

Shelby Meany strikes a pose in front of a group of dancers during rehearsals for Judy Russell’s presentation of Cabaret. “Cabaret takes audiences deep into the seedy nightlife of the Kit Kat Klub in Weimar, Germany on the eve of Hitler’s rise to power,” Russell said. “Led by the enigmatic and dazzling emcee, Cabaret is an intoxicating theatrical ex-

perience, featuring well-known classics of the musical stage such as Don’t Tell Mama, Maybe This Time, and of course Cabaret. “Cabaret is a beloved and compelling piece of theatre and the winner of eight Tony Awards and has characters that are

not only complex and dark, but funny and delightful – all in all, deeply human.” Tickets are on sale now from Central Interior Tickets, located at 3540 Opie Crescent or online purchases at www.centralinteriortickets.com.


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Indigenous court no ‘get out of jail free card’ advocate says Mark NIELSEN Citizen staff mnielsen@pgcitizen.ca

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new kind of legal proceeding aimed at reducing the number of Indigenous people revolving through the criminal justice system is coming to Prince George and one of its biggest proponents wants to make one thing perfectly clear. “It’s not a simple get out of jail free card like some people may interpret this initiative,” Christina Draegen said this week. The northern regional manager of the Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of B.C. has been at the forefront of a

three-year process to bring to the city what the B.C. Provincial Court is calling a First Nations court. Draegen prefers to call it an Indigenous court and stresses it is open to anyone who self-identifies as Indigenous. Holding a status card is not a prerequisite. Starting on the first Tuesday in April and continuing on the same day each month thereafter, a provincial court judge will step down from behind the bench and sit at a table with a group of elders, lawyers, court workers and other stakeholders to work out a “healing plan” for the accused. Don’t let the name fool you. Living up to the plan will entail “a lot of work” on behalf of the subject,

Draegen Draegen emphasized. “Those who want to pursue this option will require great dedica-

tion and determination and a willingness to shift... in how they approach life,” she continued. Restoring cultural pride and erasing feelings of insignificance will be a major aspect. “When you’re coming from a place of insignificance, it’s disempowering,” Draegen said. “We’re trying to break that and we’re trying to give that person a chance to reconnect with their cultural being, their cultural identity so that they come out of that understanding and knowing that they are very significant.” Identifying any underlying health troubles, both mental and physical, such as fetal alcohol syndrome and the intergenerational trauma brought on by the

experiences many endured while attending residential schools, will also play a role. Candidates won’t be left stranded. Elders, staff from Urban Aboriginal Justice and the probation office will help with a strategy to get the supports offenders need. It adds up to a form of restorative justice in which the offender seeks to become a better person and, where possible, make it up to the victim for the damage caused by the crime committed. That process could take anywhere from six months to a year. Ceremonies will be held for those who complete their plans; for those who don’t there could be consequences – even jail. — see ‘THIS IS, page 6


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‘This is going to take some time’ — from page 4 Candidates are chosen by Crown counsel based on referrals from arresting police officers, native court workers and defence lawyers. The person must have pleaded guilty to the offence – which much be minor and have been committed in the city – and have agreed to taking the route. “We’re looking for those folks that have found themselves in that revolving door in the criminal justice system,” Draegen said. Aboriginal people, which includes all First Nations and Metis individuals, make up five per cent of the province’s population and about 11 per cent of the city’s. But they account for nearly one-quarter of B.C.’s prison population and, according to Draegen, about three-quarters of the inmates at Prince George Regional Correctional Centre. Coinciding with the new approach,

Draegen is hoping non-Indigenous people will also come to a greater understanding of where aboriginal people are coming from. She regards Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s official apology for the residential schools in 2008 as a turning point. “Now we’re believed,” Draegen said. “When you’ve come from a place of abuse and you’re not believed, there’s no place for healing.” That process will be a long journey, she warned. “This is going to take some time,” she said. “It’s seven generations of this trauma and we’re in just the first couple of years of healing so it’s not something that’s going to happen overnight.” An opening ceremony for the court’s launch is set for March 23 at the Civic Centre, 10 a.m. start. Everyone is welcome and lunch will be provided.


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WestJet delays Calgary-P.G. service

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Citizen staff f you booked with WestJet on the airline’s new service to connect Prince George to Calgary, your flight has been delayed – until June. The Calgary-based airline announced Thursday the launch of its once-daily service between the two cities on WestJet Link will be postponed to allow more time for the company to meet its operational requirements. June 20 is the revised launch date of the direct flights to Calgary, in partnership with Pacific Coastal Airlines. “WestJet apologizes to our guests for the inconvenience these delays may cause,” said Brian Znotins, WestJet’s vice-president network planning, alliances and corporate development. “Impacted guests are being offered several different options including alterna-

tive transportation to Calgary to embark on their travel from there, obtaining a full refund or changing the date of travel. We again apologize to our guests for this inconvenience and look forward to the launch of our flights from Lethbridge, Lloydminster, Medicine Hat, Cranbrook and Prince George in June.” Since the new service was announced in November, the airline has been accepting reservations for its Prince George-Calgary service at an introductory rate for flights booked between March 14 and June 27. Refunds or alternate travel arrangements will be offered to compensate those passengers. Scheduled flights, once they begin June 20, will utilize 34-seat Saab 340B aircraft and will include six WestJet Plus seats. The daily flights will be scheduled to arrive from Calgary at 2 p.m. PT and will depart from Prince George at 2:40 p.m. PT, arriving in Calgary at 5:30 p.m. MT.

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MP on mend after health scare Frank PEEBLES Citizen staff fpeebles@pgcitizen.ca

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odd Doherty wants you to take your personal health seriously, for the sake of your loved ones if not yourself. The Prince George-Cariboo MP delivered the message onto his Facebook page from his hospital bed recently, while recovering from a serious health crisis. After a hectic work week, he was at a Prince George Cougars game but started feeling sick. It got worse fast and he ended up in the emergency room. “After a lengthy and painful period of tests, CT scans, X-rays, ultrasounds and more tests – it was determined I was in need of emergency surgery to remove my gallbladder,” Doherty wrote in an emotional and expressive Facebook post. “During the surgery, I stopped breath-

Doherty ing and after some time the surgical team managed to stabilize me. While in post-op, more complications took place and in short, (Doherty’s wife) Kelly was informed that I was very very sick. — see ‘I’VE GOT, page 9


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‘I’ve got a tough road ahead’ — from page 8 “My family gathered as they were told things were not looking well,” he added. In addition to the gallbladder malfunction, a massive infection was also coursing through his body. Despite the sedation, fatigue and other sensory challenges, he said, he could still see the anguish his family was enduring. He was overwhelmed by understanding that his own life-choices were at the root of this episode. He took quick and careful stock of his professional life and his personal life in those critical days of medical and emotional distress. “I missed a critical component to being able to accomplish (my) goals – taking care of myself so that I was around to accomplish those goals,” he said. “Despite the gym memberships, treadmill at home, gym at the apartment, I always find a reason to put off that exercise plan. There’s always a pressing call, email, text or meeting that

takes its place. Not anymore. I don’t have the plan as to how I’m going to do it yet but I know I have too much on my ‘to do list’ so healthy changes are coming. And I’m challenging my friends, family and colleagues to do whatever you need to do to make this a priority in your lives also. Please.” He was discharged from UHNBC and is recuperating at home now and his staff are meeting with the public on issues with federal implications. Doherty is on the road to recovery and is expected back at his MP duties once his doctor gives him the all-clear. That depends on his body’s response to rest and medical attention. “In my quest to accomplish all my goals, I lost sight of what’s most important – taking care of one’s self,” Doherty said. “You can’t help others if you’re not well yourself. So to my colleagues in Ottawa – who’s up for some early morning walks and workouts? I’ve got a tough road ahead but I’m on the mend...”

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Opening act named for Johnny Reid show in P.G. Frank PEEBLES Citizen staff fpeebles@pgcitizen.ca

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ohnny Reid never comes alone. Whenever the Scottish-Canadian country star tours the land, the concert is always an extravaganza of music and personality. Local audiences know this by now, from past appearances, so when he booked CN Centre for an appearance on his new Revival tour, it was only a matter of time before other names would emerge in support. The first came quickly. Glass Tiger is a power-pop band that has won legions of fans since the ’80s and their legacy is as glittery as their peak period on the charts. They will be along for the rockin’ Reid ride. On Tuesday, another special guest star’s

name was disclosed. Jessica Mitchell will also get to perform her hit country stuff on the Revival junket. Glass Tiger has some obvious commonalities with Reid. There’s the kilts, of course, since frontman Alan Frew is also a ScottishCanadian. And there’s the pop sensibility that have made both of them preeminent songwriters. The commonality between Reid and Mitchell is the voice. He is called country’s Joe Cocker and she is known as country’s Adele for her powerful vocal delivery that seems to mail lyrics directly to your core. “I’m thrilled to have Jessica join us,” said Reid. “She’s a great performer with great songs and a soulful voice. She’s the real deal and a perfect fit for Revival.” — see MITCHELL, page 11


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Mitchell nominated for CCMA in roots category — from page 10 Mitchell has been splitting her time between Toronto and Nashville, in recent years, as her career blossoms. She has already impressed the industry with sharply written songs like Grown Up Things, Working On The Whiskey, A Place Called Gone, and That Record Saved My Life, among others. David Foster once surprised her with a duet on her song Buy You A Drink. She has toured with headliners like Kiefer Sutherland, Tom Cochrane, Royal Wood, Terri Clark, Ron Sexsmith and was picked to sing Only Love Can Break Your Heart on behalf of Neil Young at the 2017 Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. And true to that Adele comparison, she recently performed Skyfall for a Canadian

Film Centre gala just to prove it was all true. Mitchell earned a nomination at this year’s Canadian Country Music Awards in the Roots Artist Of The Year category. From that, and the rangy collection of artists she’s opened for, it’s apparent that Mitchell’s music style has a lot of colours outside the country lines. It’s a flexibility that stands her in good stead and stands her in the same genre-bending camp as Johnny Reid. Reid, Mitchell, Glass Tiger, Reid’s large touring band The Soul Providers and perhaps many more will be on the Prince George stage March 8. Tickets are available for the CN Centre show at www.ticketsnorth.ca or at the arena’s box office.

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Vanderhoof co-op supports Big Brothers, Big Sisters Ted CLARKE Citizen staff tclarke@pgcitizen.ca

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he Vanderhoof-based Four Rivers Co-operatve has a $100,000 pot to distribute annually to non-profit community groups and charities that rely on fundraising and government grants to operate their programs. And when it came to deciding who gets some of that funding, an application from Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Prince George was near the top of the list.

They were on hand during the intermission of the Prince George Spruce KingsChilliwack Chiefs B.C. Hockey League game on Feb. 2 at Rolling Mix Concrete Arena to receive a cheque for $15,000. “Big Brothers and their peer mentoring program is so important, we understand kids who don’t have that role model, life is difficult for them,” said Four Rivers Cooperative marketing co-ordinator Renee Dick. “They do so much for our youth and our board is really big into ensuring a good future and Big Brothers definitely does that. The children are our future, they’re

the ones who are going to be innovators as they get older and if you don’t support them and give them the confidence and the tools when they’re young, they might not be able to reach their potential and do what they would have done if they’d just had that hand reach out and help them when they were kids.” The Co-op bought 130 tickets for Big Brothers, Big Sisters program participants to attend Friday’s game. Formerly known as Vanderhoof and District Co-operative Association, Four Rivers Co-operative was rebranded in May

2017 to reflect the broad geographic area it serves, from Terrace to the west, Valemount to the east, Quesnel to the south and Fort St. James to the north. Already operating two cardlock gas stations in the city, the Co-op is stepping up its presence in Prince George with a gas bar/convenience store/car wash in the Westgate subdivision, expected to open within the next month. Groups can apply for the program from Sept. 1-Oct. 31. “It’s just another way we can put our profits back into our communities to help make them better,” said Dick.


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Hundreds attend memorial for northern health advocate

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n estimated 700 former patients, physicians, medical professionals and friends gathered at the Prince George Civic Centre on Jan. 26 to commemorate the life of a key leader in northern B.C.’s fight for healthcare. Albert Scott Kelly, better known to patients as Dr. Kelly, lived most of his adult life as a family physician in the north. As speaker after speaker recounted, Kelly played an instrumental role in the establishment of the Northern Medical Program at UNBC and the establishment of the B.C. Cancer Centre for the North. He was perhaps the most well known political advocate for medical services in northern B.C. Kelly passed away Dec. 12, 2017. Granville Johnston, who was a patient

of Dr. Kelly’s for almost 25 years, drove in with his wife from Sinclair Mills to attend the memorial event. He remained a patient of Kelly’s after moving away from Prince George, and continued to make the hourlong drive for appointments. Johnston said it was Kelly’s unique manner as a physician that endeared him to so many people. “He made people feel like they were a friend, rather than a patient and a doctor,” Johnston said. “That feeling was instilled in everything he did as a doctor when he was training.” Devan Reddy, a family physician who had known Kelly for 10 years, said Kelly’s bedside manner was different from the fast-paced, digital style of medicine that has become common in some busy practices. — see ‘YOU KNEW, page 14

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GATEWAYnews Citizen file photo

Joanna Kelly speaks at her father, Dr. Bert Kelly’s, Celebration of Life on Jan. 27 at the Prince George Civic Centre.

‘You knew he would inspire you’ — from page 13 “He had a way of intermingling the fast-paced activity and at the same time coming across as being a friend. Now that’s a skill set you can’t teach at medical school,” Reddy said. “So he was not just an amazing physician, but he was also a humble, inspiring human being.” The evening memorial opened with a bagpipe procession, a nod to Kelly’s background as an immigrant from Glasgow, Scotland. Speakers at the memorial included Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond, Northern Health CEO Cathy Ulrich, NMP founder Geoff Payne, NMP dean Paul Winwood and Kelly’s daughter Joanna Kelly. Bond affectionately referred to Kelly as a ‘pebble in my shoe,’ a reference to her being the subject of his persistent political advocacy. Kelly would often deliver a speech, known as the ‘Kelly report,’ at the annual Bob Ewert Memorial Dinner, a fundraising event for the Northern Medical Programs Trust. Kelly would outline both the achievements and the shortcomings of local politicians when it came to medical needs in the north. “I admit that I was always filled with fear and trepidation prior to receiving the report. But as I reflect on my relationship with Bert Kelly, I can tell you today that I am grateful for the lessons I have

learned,” Bond said in a speech. Kelly played a significant role, along with many members of the community in Prince George, in organizing a storied rally of 6,000 residents at CN Centre in June of 2000. The rally aided in bringing about a $10 million dollar health services agreement with the thenNDP government, and provided momentum for the eventual establishment of the Northern Medical Program. Aside from Kelly’s role as a community activist and agitator, he was also remembered as a medical teacher and mentor. Taya O’Neill studied under Kelly as a first-year student, and later graduated from the Northern Medical Program. She remembered that Kelly would often lead student discussions of patient care and political advocacy over brunch at Nancy O’s restaurant on Third Ave. “It didn’t matter if you had an exam coming up, or had just got off a sleepless on-call shift. You made it to those brunches because you knew he would inspire you, and that your passion for healthcare would be refueled,” O’Neill said. Friends and colleagues have established a legacy fund in Bert Kelly’s name to support health education in northern B.C. Those interested in donating, or in finding out more about this fund, can visit pgcf.ca or call 250-562-7772.


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Gateway to the Nort  

Gateway to the North - Feb 2018

Gateway to the Nort  

Gateway to the North - Feb 2018

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