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Wally Oppal criticized as not Kamloops enough for Thompson Rivers University

The appointment of former B.C. attorney general Wally Oppal as the next Chancellor of the Thompson Rivers University has disappointed The Daily News of Kamloops. "You'll have to excuse us if we don't jump up and down and get all giggly over the appointment of Wally Oppal," says an editorial in the newspaper. Mr. Oppal has no connection to the university or to Kamloops, the editorial says. "Surely, though, there must have been someone who lives here or, at least, has childhood connections here, who would have been a suitable candidate to succeed Nancy Greene Raine. This city has certainly turned out its share of famous hockey players and other sports personalities, plus more than a few who've made a mark in the entertainment industry and other walks of life." Mr. Oppal, who did not make the trip to Kamloops for the announcement of his appointment, will have to prove himself, the newspaper says.


B.C. Liberal party members in Terrace were taken aback by the overwhelming support for a weighted voting system that gives each constituency equal say in the B.C. Liberal Party leadership vote regardless of the size of the membership, reports the Terrace Standard. "It's humungous. The scale is just huge," Skeena provincial Liberal constituency association president Donny van Dyk told the newspaper. At the Liberal party convention on Feb. 12, 1,319 were in favor and 23 people were opposed to the weighted system. The alternative would have been one-person, one vote. Not surprisingly, all 59 members who cast a ballot in the northern city of Terrace supported the weighted voting system.

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NDP leadership contender Mike Farnworth is promising party members in Kitimat that he would reach out to the regions for answers to the province's problems, the Northern Sentinel reports. Living up to his commitment, he sought out proposals for dealing with mining giant Rio Tinto Alcan and how to revive the forest industry in the region. It was unacceptable for Rio Tinto Alcan to become an independent power producer but he did not know how to stop the company, he said "But I do know there are ideas out there ... starting with 'we own that water, we should be making sure we get the best value for that water'," he said. On forestry, he admitted he was no expert and said he would seek advice from those who knew and the local communities, the newspaper reported.


Mike Farnworth's strategy of looking to the regions for answers to the province's problems brought immediate results. Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson announced his support for Mr. Farnworth a few days after the NDP hopeful came North. "I was impressed both with Mike's approach to the issues facing Northern B.C., and, most importantly, with his insistence that politics has to be done differently," Mr. Donaldson was quoted as saying in the Terrace Standard. "He understands that solutions to the challenges British Columbians face don't exist only in Victoria or the Lower Mainland, but will come from communities across the province," Mr. Donaldson said.


North Island MLA Claire Trevena has joined with several environmental groups to call for an environmental assessment of a water bottling proposal by the Kwiakah and Da'naxda'xw first nations and former gold mining executive Bill Chornobay, reports the Campbell River Mirror. The first nations have applied for water licences on 40 streams in Bute, Jervis, Toba and Knight inlets. The water would bottled in Vancouver and sold in upscale restaurants. Concerns have been raised about the daily collection of up to 25,000 gallons of water a day from each stream. "I am extremely concerned about the impact of these projects. Individually they may appear to some to be comparatively innocuous, but put together we are talking about a huge amount of water," Ms. Trevena says in a news release to the newspaper. "I have met with the Minister of Environment, Murray Coell, and hope that he looks at these plans as a whole, and orders a cumulative environmental assessment. We need accountability on this – not a quick survey."


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Meanwhile in federal politics:

The feeling is growing among the Tla'Amin (Sliammon) First Nation on the Sunshine Coast that the federal government does not intend to keep its word, the chief negotiator on a treaty agreement, Roy Francis, told the Powell River Peak.

Negotiators from the Tla' Amin First Nation and the federal and provincial governments reached agreement eight months ago but only the Tla'Amin and the province have signed off on the treaty. Ottawa says the federal government is still reviewing the treaty. Sophie Pierre, chief commissioner for the BC Treaty Commission, says she cannot find out why federal approval has been delayed. "I would guess there is political interference," Mr. Francis said. "Mistrust is festering in the community," he told The Peak.

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