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Christy Clark at Seaspan Shipyards in North Vancouver, on Tuesday June 7, 2011. (DARRYL DYCK/Darryl Dyck/ The Globe and Mail)
Christy Clark at Seaspan Shipyards in North Vancouver, on Tuesday June 7, 2011. (DARRYL DYCK/Darryl Dyck/ The Globe and Mail)

Regional Report

On jobs, auditing and that OBC: The insults are flying in B.C. Add to ...





John Les, parliamentary secretary to Premier Christy Clark, has insulted Nanaimo with his suggestion that young people should consider moving to where the jobs are, notably to northern cities like Terrace and Kitimat, to expand their horizons, says an editorial in the Nanaimo News Bulletin.

“If brain-drain is the Liberals’ answer, Nanaimo doesn’t need it,” the newspaper says. Nanaimo has been particularly hard hit by the recent downturn in the provincial economy, with an unemployment rate almost twice the provincial average. Retail, restaurant and hospitality jobs have disappeared, the paper says. “Those jobs were vital in keeping young workers here in town, hopefully to work while attending post-secondary education to achieve a higher standing, or serving as a secondary income for families,” the newspaper says.

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“Shipping out Nanaimo’s future workforce and secondary incomes, along with our newly educated university students, to far off cities isn’t the answer. What needs to be established in the Harbour City is a made-in-Nanaimo approach.”



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Municipalities across British Columbia are nervous about the provincial government’s plan to create a municipal auditor-general, says Kitimat’s Northern Sentinel. Union of BC Municipalities president Barbara Steele says municipalities do not know what this auditor-general is supposed to do. “We don’t know what they’re looking to fix,” she said.

Community, Sports and Cultural Development Minister Ida Chong says the auditor could show municipalities how to save money. Ms. Chong is insulting municipalities by suggesting they are incompetent, the newspaper says. Kitimat has a balanced budget every year, its books are audited and available to anyone who wants to see them, and the municipality has a referendum before borrowing money above a low threshold. “Many municipalities with limited tax revenues could probably teach the province a thing or two about saving money,” the newspaper says.

“The scary line is that this new watchdog could look at property tax rates. This is where we should start becoming very afraid.”



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The Order of British Columbia has been diminished by awarding the honor to former premier Gordon Campbell, say editorials across the province.

“People who have previously been awarded the OBC have advocated for change, organized non-profit organizations, served their communities without asking for recognition and actually made a positive difference in people’s lives,” says a Black Press editorial in the Campbell River Mirror .

“Honestly, can we say this about Gordon Campbell? Sure he helped bring the Olympics here, but under his rule he cut social services, strong-armed unions and allowed scandal to rock the Liberal boat. Think BC Rail. Think DUI. Think lying about the HST.” The newspaper says so many “truly worthy people” deserve the honour more than a politician with a cloud over his head.”







The Western News of Penticton says the Order of British Columbia for Mr. Campbell seems out of place now.

"What was the committee thinking?” the newspaper says. “It’s been only days since one of the former premier’s unfortunate legacies, the HST, went down to defeat after it already cost him his job and quite possibly his party’s grip on power come the next election. And the committee wants to give him the province’s highest award while the HST fiasco, which will cost in the billions once it’s reversed, is fresh in everyone’s minds?” His lengthy record of public service deserves consideration for the award, the paper says. “But that consideration should come later when his record can be looked at with some semblance of sober second thought.”



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Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops is sending the wrong message by pushing the BC government to give a raise to president Alan Shaver and other senior administrators, says the Daily News in Kamloops.

At $200,000 in salary and benefits, Mr. Shaver is earning about four times the average salary for a man in Canada, the newspaper says. Also, Mr. Shaver is on a salary program and within a few years will catch up to colleagues at University of Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island University who now earn about $250,000 a year. The university board should not draw comparisons with Royal Roads and University of Northern B.C., where presidents earn more than $320,000, the paper says. The university board “threatens to undermine its own budget. . . when it cries poverty about the wages of its senior administrators. TRU's president should, and will, earn more as time progresses. His colleagues are well paid by any standard.”







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Meanwhile in federal politics



The Northern View in Prince Rupert reports that Ottawa decided to withdraw from a funding agreement for a planning process that was supported mostly by folks who oppose the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. The Pacific North Coast Area Management Initiative was to create a comprehensive plan to manage environmental and economic needs of the North Coast from Haida Gwaii to Vancouver Island.

Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ regional director general, Susan Farlinger, told the newspaper that the process had to be streamlined in order to meet a deadline of December, 2012. “[We]need a plan that is practical and will provide a framework for moving forward,” she said. The local MP, New Democratic Party member Nathan Cullen, says the Conservatives were looking for any excuse to try to undermine a coastal management plan that could have caused problems for the Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline project. “I think it’s [the Conservatives]giving in to their friends in the oil patch. It’s going to hurt Canada’s ability to have a clean ocean environment. . . They were looking for a reason to get out and they found one,” says Mr. Cullen.







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