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British Columbia Premier Christy Clark addresses the Vancouver Board of Trade in downtown Vancouver, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011. (Jonathan Hayward/ The Canadian Press/Jonathan Hayward/ The Canadian Press)
British Columbia Premier Christy Clark addresses the Vancouver Board of Trade in downtown Vancouver, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011. (Jonathan Hayward/ The Canadian Press/Jonathan Hayward/ The Canadian Press)

Regional Report

Christy Clark's jobs plan leaves B.C. cold Add to ...

Unveiling a jobs plan without announcing a goal for actual job creation is quite original, says The Prince George Citizen.

“The Liberals would have you believe that having a concrete objective is 'irresponsible,' and to some extent they're right,” a newspaper editorial says. “The government's role in terms of economic development is to create the environment that allows businesses to prosper and, in the process, hire people into well-paying, family-supporting jobs.”

The Liberals say their approach would lead to the opening of eight new mines and expansion of nine others by 2015. But the whole plan will come tumbling down if either the federal government or First Nations decline to get on the bandwagon, the paper says.

Another challenge will be to make the most of what is mined. “As much as mines produce hundreds of good-paying, family-supporting jobs, can Victoria find a way to encourage establishment of smelters and higher-level mineral processing on this side of the Pacific?” the paper asks. “The Liberals would be wise to spend a good part of the next three years thinking about ways to meet that goal.”



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The jobs plan received a less enthusiastic reception in Nanaimo. The city is still feeling the sting from John Les’s suggestion that its citizens who want work should consider going North for jobs.

“Premier Christy Clark decides to skip an Island stop altogether as she announced her jobs strategy this week. Forgive us if we’re feeling a bit slighted on the employment priority front,” Mitch Wright says in the Nanaimo News Bulletin.

“With an unemployment rate that topped out above 16 per cent earlier this year and continues to hover in the double digits, jobs remain high on the agenda in Nanaimo, even if the provincial decision-makers don’t care enough to even pay lip service to job-creation in the region.”

Mr. Wright notes that Ms. Clark announced $15-million for a transportation corridor that was part of a $300-million development at Prince Rupert’s s port. The announcement reminded him that Nanaimo’s port authority has its own deep sea facility sitting mostly idle out at Duke Point.

“The most action it’s seen is when the multi-million dollar crane caught fire in the spring of 2007,” he wrote. “There’s plenty of potential there for economic development, with the existing resources and facilities in place, but seldom used.”



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Christy Clark was wise to ditch the idea of a fall election, especially if the campaign would have matched the recent ads attacking BC Conservative leader John Cummins, says the Alaska Highway News in Fort St John.

The newspaper says the Liberals were hypocritical for criticizing Mr. Cummins as an unprincipled politician for taking a $100,000 pension after they promised to get rid of MLA pensions but then brought in a rich pension plan for themselves. The Liberals attack Mr. Cummins as unprincipled for voting NDP in the 2009 provincial election while calling himself a Conservative.

“How could Clark and company have been so tone deaf as to include the line criticizing politicians who say one thing and do another? They’ve just been slapped for doing exactly that with the HST. Then there are the promises not to sell B.C. Rail, rip up contracts or expand gambling, all examples of politicians who say one thing and do another,” the paper says.

The radio ads have tied Ms. Clark to “dishonest, sleazy, American-style ads – hardly a good thing for someone promising a new style of politics,” the paper says. “The party has spent money on an amateurish, sleazy smear campaign that does more damage to its own cause than the target.”



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Reports that child killer Clifford Olson was dying of cancer revived the debate over capital punishment in some newspapers. Abbotsford News editor Andrew Holota, in a column that ran in several newspapers including The Standard in Hope, writes Mr. Olson’s death will leave behind many questions.

The justice system had dealt with him dozens of times before his killing spree. Before his rampage in 1980, Olson had spent all but five years of his adult life in prison. Some sources put his number of previous convictions above 90, Mr. Holota writes. At the time of his arrest, a dozen outstanding charges of sexual assault against him had not been dealt with because transporting him to jurisdictions where the crimes had been committed would have been too expensive, Mr. Holota says.

After he was arrested for the abduction, rape and murder of eight girls and three boys in 1981, he exchanged information about their whereabouts for a $100,000 trust fund for his wife and son. He sent letters from prison, one of which went to the parents of a victim, describing how the boy had been killed. He asked for early parole, requiring victim impact statements from families forced to relive the horror all over again.

Mr. Holota estimates the cost of keeping Mr. Olson in prison for 30 years could have been $2-million. “A few dollars worth of stout rope back in 1982 would have saved so much money, and so much pain,” Mr. Holota writes.



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Meanwhile in federal politics:



New Democrat Nathan Cullen, MP for Skeena-Buckley Valley, received some encouragement to run for the federal NDP leadership from Kitimat Northern Sentinel columnist Allan Hewitson.

“More of us, I believe would like to see him do more, be seen more and represent us more vociferously – and professionally on the issues that affect us,” he writes.

A run at the NDP leadership would give constituents a better look at Mr. Cullen, he says. “[His]website tells us a lot more about what he is not in favour of, than what he would like to see for the region in the coming four critical years.”

Mr. Hewitson says Mr. Cullen’s record shows him to be a fairly traditional NDP member, concerned about people, communities, the environment and supportive of Jack Layton’s vision. “So, why not see how he carries some of the big West Coast issues in a meaningful “scrap” with like-thinkers,” he writes. “ I have little doubt that Mr. Cullen’s constituents would support his challenging for the leadership and I think they’d all like to see how he handles himself in competition. So I say, go for it Nathan. It’ll certainly add interest to the race and give us all a better understanding of reasons to return you to Ottawa when we next go to the polls.”







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