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regional report

British Columbia Finance Minister Kevin Falcon in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011.Darryl Dyck/ The Canadian Press

Finance Minister Kevin Falcon should be fired if he cannot make a commitment to run in next year's provincial election. That's the opinion of a Black Press editorial run in the AbbotsfordNews. Mr. Falcon was asked about his plans after former Liberal MLA John van Dongen left the party to join the B.C. Conservatives. Mr. Falcon said family priorities might take precedence over political aspirations. The newspaper says voters were investing in the future when casting ballots for political representation. "At all levels, we seek visionaries with both long- and short-term goals to better serve us. The minister of finance, it must be noted, is the architect of the annual budget, projecting our economic needs well into the future," the newspaper says. "If Falcon can't commit, [Premier Christy]Clark must find someone who will."


A glass of wine or beer in movie theatres sounds like a good idea. But the Kelowna Daily Courier says serving liquor is not so simple.

What about all those teenage kids who work at movie theatres and are not old enough to serve liquor, says the editorial by managing editor Jon Manchester. "It's highly unlikely theatre managers would lay off staff to replace them with older workers who would demand more money," the newspaper says. Also, the movie rating system doesn't mesh easily with new regulations that allow alcohol only in theatres closed to minors. The newspaper speculates on the benefit to adult-only entertainment but concludes "the prospect of booze and porn houses just doesn't seem like something most B.C. communities would be too excited about." And the consider the price. "With the fortune it costs for pop and popcorn at the cinemas, can you imagine how much you would have to pay for a beer?" The newspaper concludes that "in reality, it's a trend unlikely to reach the Okanagan any time soon."

The local newspaper in Kamloops, less than three hours north, offers a different perspective. "It was time that the province modernized its laws," says an editorial in the Kamloops News.The editorial endorses rules governing consumption and requirements for managers, licencees and servers to take courses. Liquor in movie theatres will "give a struggling industry, which includes two theatres in Kamloops that pay taxes, the opportunity for a new revenue stream, both by way of the liquor sales and the potential for new patrons who might choose to attend and enjoy a glass of wine with their movie popcorn," the newspaper says.


The optics are seriously flawed in the appointment of Charles Jago as a mediator in the government dispute with the teachers, says an editorial in the Peach Arch News. "Wherever one stands on the current teachers' dispute, it must be recognized that it is crucial for all sides that the mediator appointed should be considered by all parties to be independent and impartial at the outset," the paper says. However Mr. Jago has contributed $1,000 to the B.C. Liberals. "The public may have a hard time believing one would dish out that kind of money for something one doesn't endorse, and [Mr.]Jago's presence at such fundraising events implies, at the very least, some philosophic alignment with the party," the paper says. "One can only imagine the sound and fury that would have been heard had a left-wing government appointed a mediator who had made such contributions to the BCTF or NDP." The newspaper also notes that Mr. Jago saw and suggested changes to provincial legislation related to the appointment of a mediator before it became law, even before the BCTF had a chance to submit its own suggestions for mediator. "That he contributed to any of it clearly compromises the process," the newspaper says.


Meanwhile in federal politics: The price tag for the F-35 jets caught the eye of several editorial writers in local newspapers. The 100 Mile Free Press says the Conservatives pulled the wool over the nation's eyes by denying the escalating cost and technical problems during the federal election. "They were rewarded for their evasiveness by being handed a majority government. It lends credence to the old adage you can fool all of the people some of the time," says an editorial by newspaper editor Ken Alexander.

The Langley Times says members of cabinet who knew about the astronomical jump in costs should have blown the whistle. "The Conservatives won a majority government last spring, largely on the basis that they would be the best stewards of tax money and would be the best party to help manage the economy," the paper says. "The party needs to prove . . . that it can take care when spending tax dollars, and are ensuring taxpayers get the best bang for their buck."