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Tory Leader Stephen Harper plays ball-hockey in Ottawa on April 3, 2011. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Tory Leader Stephen Harper plays ball-hockey in Ottawa on April 3, 2011. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Regional report

Should Prince George feel slighted that Harper and Ignatieff have never visited? Add to ...

Could Stephen Harper or Michael Ignatieff find Prince George on a map? That's the questioned posed by the Prince George Free Press.

Federal politicians speak about the importance of British Columbia's North and Interior but will they ever bring their campaign to the regions, asks an editorial in the newspaper. None did last time, the paper says.

"Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper has been prime minister for five years and a couple of election campaigns. He hasn't been here during that time. Liberal Party leader Michael Ignatieff went on a much-ballyhooed summer tour of the country in 2010. It didn't bring him to Prince George," the paper says.

Green Party leader Elizabeth May and NDP leader Jack Layton were both in the city last fall. "So they at least know where Prince George is."

Whatever the party leaders say about the North and B.C.'s Interior will ring hollow if they do not show up in the northern capital of B.C. during the current election campaign, the paper says.



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In the opening days of the campaign, pundits and politicians were talking about whether Canadians wanted an election. But the election will not be such a dull affair after all, at least for British Columbia's Gulf Islands, says the Gulf Islands Driftwood.

The election is attracting considerable attention to the local scene. "[It's] not because a major local issue is set to pierce the debate or we're even considered a bellwether riding. Once again, it's because of personalities," says an editorial in the newspaper.

Federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May is running in the riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands, a seat cuurently held by Conservative MP Gary Lunn.

"Election of Canada's first Green member of Parliament would certainly make history, as [Ms]May's campaign materials are touting. Few people may have wanted a federal election this year, but now that it's here, we know it's going to be interesting - and certainly more important than it may have first appeared."



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On Vancouver Island, some residents in the riding of Vancouver Island North MP John Duncan are raising concerns about the fate of a 30-year old, 70-foot Coast Guard cutter called Point Race.

Mr. Duncan says the boat, which serves the area around Campbell River, is rusting out and will be replaced this spring by faster 47-foot vessels. But a former captain of Point Race, the local boat builder who has worked on the cutter and others connected to the Coast Guard do not agree, reports the Campbell River Mirror.

The cutter is in good condition, mechanically and structurally, and has not reached its service lifespan, says Steve Daigle of Daigle Marine and Welding . Geoff Sanders, the retired captain of the Point Race, concluded the cutter was better suited for towing, carries more equipment, has more room for emergency personnel, has longer range and better stability in rougher weather A retired Quadra Island lightkeeper Jim Abram said he would blockade the harbour to keep the new boat from coming in, the newspaper reported.



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Conservative Party candidate Dan Albas has decided he had one address too many for the election campaign. Mr. Albas, who has the Conservative nomination in the safe Tory seat of Okanagan Coqihalla held by retiring MP Stockwell Day, has requested an unpaid leave of absence from Penticton city council until the day after the federal election, reports the Pentiction Western News.

He also asked to be relieved of his duties as chair of a city committee and to have other city councillors take over his other duties at city hall. "I am still taking e-mails and phone calls, and helping people where I can," Mr. Albas told the newspaper. Mr. Albas does not have to resign as a councillor if he is elected, the newspaper wrote, but it is very unlikely that he would not.



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Meanwhile in provincial politics:



The Merritt Herald says the resurgent Conservatives "could very well be the undoing of the BC Liberals," mostly because the party is emerging at the same time as the federal election.

"At the very least, the NDP will benefit from having their election machine oiled and tested during the federal election we have just entered," Dean Morrison writes in the newspaper. "[Ms]Clark on the other hand will have to face a party that will also be involved in the federal election. Unfortunately, her members will be locked in what is turning into a vicious battle, one that even she with all of her charisma may not be able to put back together."



 

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