Saturday, February 29, 2020

MLA's Week: February 24-27, 2020

The week for the most part was turned over for debate of  the Budget presented by Finance Minister Carole James on February18th, with both Northwest MLA's speaking to her themes during the last four days of the Legislature session

And as those commentaries were provided, the week was another tumultuous one for MLA's with the events in Wet'suwet'en territory and other communities of the province and across Canada related to that dispute claiming a significant amount of time in Question Period.

The prospect of a new Middle School for Prince Rupert also made for a small current in the information stream of the week, with Ms. Rice highlighting her enthusiasm for the prospect of the new school.

MLA Rice is ready for a ribbon cutting

The province also offered up some good news for a pair of Northwest communities, with funding for housing studies in both Terrace and Stewart.

Province puts 1.7 million towards community data collection on housing needs

The Minister of Health and BC's Public Health Officer hosted a number of updates this week on the ongoing work towards the Coronavirus situation.

COVID 19 update for BC notes steps of preparation in the province

This week also brought some additional funding for Metlakatla, with the Province putting money into a coastal erosion project

750K in funding from Province for Metlakatla coastal erosion project

We also took note of the shout out to Coast Mountain College from last weeks budget and how it will address housing issues in Terrace, noting how there still is no progress towards campus housing for the Prince Rupert campus.

As BC Budget hails Coast Mountain College housing plans for Terrace, Prince Rupert accommodation plans remain more of a Five Year plan

As for more on the week of work in the House for the spring session, the four days unfolded as follows:


On the week, Ms Rice was listed three times in the accounts of the sessions of the Legislature from February 24-27

The MLA's week started with a statement to the House on Tuesday morning on breastfeeding and forced lactation, with Ms. Rice bringing some personal experiences to her delivery of information.

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice shares more parenting moments with Legislature members

Wednesday Ms. Rice spoke twice in the Chamber, the first a statement on Racism and the impact it has had as close as her own constituency office, she also spoke to a range of themes on the Budget of February 18.

In Budget speech response, MLA Rice reflects on damage caused by Liberals in the past, advances from NDP in governance

MLA Jennifer Rice speaks to Racism and Indigenous issues with Legislature statement

The North Coast MLA is also a permanent member of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs, serving as the convener of that forum.

Transcripts of the work of the committee are available on the Legislature page for the Committee.

Select Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs


For our readers from the Terrace-Kitimat region, Skeena MLA Ellis Ross  was listed four times in the accounts of  the Legislature from February 24-27.

Beyond the expansive themes of the week, onThursday, Mr. Ross made note of visitors in the Gallery for the morning session.

The Skeena MLA was once again one of the lead Liberals in Question Period and on Wednesday he addressed more questions to the Government side on the dispute in the Wet'suwet'en territory.

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross finds national attention as resource debate roils the Legislature

Tuesday, Mr. Ross also provided for his thoughts on the recently delivered NDP budget.

In Budget debate, MLA Ross notes economic impact of changes in Skeena and work still to be done

Mr. Ross began the week with some comments related to his past experience on themes of Aboriginal Rights and title

Aboriginal Rights and Title, UNDRIP among themes for MLA Ellis Ross in Monday Legislature speech

Mr. Ross is also a permanent member of the Standing Committee on Legislative Initiatives.

He has also been appointed to the Standing Committee on Children and Youth

The Skeena MLA is also a member of the Special Committee for Review of the Police complaint process, you can follow their work here.

There is more background on both the North Coast and Skeena MLA's available from our MLA's Week Archive, as well as our constituency archives below:

North Coast constituency

Skeena and Stikine constituency

The Legislature returns to its work on Monday.

The full schedule for the Legislature for 2020  can be viewed here.

A larger overview of provincial issues can be found on our political portal D'Arcy McGee

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Senior Girls winding down their Provincials experience with two games today

The Charles Hays Senior Girls have one of two games out of the way on Day Three of the BC Senior Girls AA Basketball Provincials in Langley, with the Rainmakers making a run of the morning but coming up a bit short dropping their morning game to Mark Isfeld 63-52.

The Senior Girls launched the tournament on Wednesday, their first outing one which moved them over to the B side following a defeat over a very strong Okanagan Mission club.

They have one more match up on their schedule at the tournament, that taking place tonight at 6:30 when they will take on the winner of a match-up between Ballenas and Magee.

You can review their time in Langley from our archive page here.


As the Senior Girls were starting out on their adventure, the Junior Boys Rainmakers were heading home following their weekend of play at the Junior event at the same Langley facility.

The Junior Boys Makers started their tournament on Saturday and compiled a 1 - 5 record on the four days of tournament play, the win coming on Monday with a 61-56 victory over Brookswood.

That win came following a high energy overtime thriller the day before, that found the Makers on the short side of the 42 to 40 final with Valleyview.

You can review their tournament play from our archive page here


Next week, the Senior Boys Rainmakers make their way to Langley, set to defend their AA Championship from last year, they will tip off in the opening round on Wednesday March 4th.

They will learn who they break the ice with later this weekend, when the 75th Anniversary Tournament Draw is released.

For more items of note on Rainmaker Athletics see our archive page here.

Province puts 1.7 million towards community data collection on housing needs

The Provincial government has announced its plan to provide an investment of 1.7 million dollars for communities to collect and analyze data towards housing needs in their communities, that to better inform the province as to what issues that communities face and where the best allocation of housing resources should go.

As part of the preview of the project, the province noted that the data will inform housing needs reports, which will identify community housing needs, such as affordable housing, rental housing, seniors’ housing, as well as housing for people at risk of homelessness, families and people with special needs.

The reports will also help local governments support local economic growth by assessing future employment-housing needs.

Selina Robinson, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing noted how local governments have been very enthusiastic about the ongoing funding program.

“Housing needs reports are a way to gather important information as we partner with local governments to create the right housing for people in communities of all sizes around the province. The wave of enthusiasm and interest in applying for this grant tells us that local governments are eager to collect this information to help them build vibrant, thriving communities.”

The program is one which is administered by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities.

In the Northwest, two communities will be taking advantage of this round of funding from the provincial government with both Stewart and Terrace set to explore their housing issues further.

Terrace and the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine will receive $50,000 for their work; while Stewart will receive $15,000 towards their study.

 “The City of Terrace greatly appreciates the financial support to complete a housing-needs assessment. With the economic activity and the impacts of LNG and other resource projects in the northwest, housing pressure on residents in our community is significant. Funding for this assessment will allow us to move forward and address those challenges.” -- Sean Bujtas, deputy mayor, Terrace

The first housing needs report must be delivered by local governments by April 2022.

The list of communities to access the funding in 2019 can be viewed here.

More background on the announcement and a list of those communities set to receive the funding can be found here.

So far, Prince Rupert, Port Edward and North Coast Regional District do not appear on the list of communities that have accessed funding from the program.

Prince Rupert did put in an application for a housing study grant through the Northern Development Initiative trust in May of 2019 and conducted its own studies on themes of housing during their planning for Major Projects period five years ago.

For notes related to housing in the Northwest see our archive page here.

A look at more on the provincial scene can be explored from our Legislature archive page.

SD52 launches Survey seeking feedback on best site option for PRMS replacement project

With an Open House to show off their progress now behind them, officials from School District 52 are moving forward on their consultation plans towards a replacement building for Prince Rupert Middle School.

The Thursday night session which was hosted at the long past its lifespan Middle School provided residents with a glimpse at the road ahead for the School District

At the event those in attendance had a first look at the four sites that SD52 has identified as the best option for the new school.

The work ahead for the District will see the delivery of a Concept Plan for the Ministry of Education with a target date of the end of March to have that document on its way.

Towards that the School District is hosting a survey on its website that will allow those with an interest in the replacement program to offer their thoughts on the options available. The survey includes four short questions to help inform the District on how the public views the plans.

The Board of Education's notes on the proposed replacement program also include the powerpoint presentation that made for Thursday's event

As we noted on the blog earlier this week, Secretary/Treasurer Cam McIntyre delivered a presentation to Prince Rupert City Council on Monday evening, outlining the history of the School District's desire for a new facility, as well as to review the sites that have been identified as the Best options for development of a new middle school.

Those Cam's Notes on the project if you will, can be reviewed here.

Those with an interest in the replacement program can offer their thoughts from the survey page here.

The School District's Seismic Replacement page can be viewed here.

Further notes on Education in the Northwest can be found here.

Urban Nisga'a Alliance set to work on shared priorities

Members of the Nisga'a Urban Alliance are ready to move forward
on a range of priorities and initiatives
(Photo from  Gitmaxmak'ay Society Twitter Feed)

Three local organizations that represent Nisga'a residents in urban locations have concluded a planning session that has created a list of priorities for what will be known as the Nisga'a Urban Alliance.

The group consists of three locals, Ts'amiks which represents Nisga'a residents in Vancouver, Gitlaxdax which serves those Nisga'a living in Terrace and Gitmaxmak'ay, which represents Nisga'a residents living in Prince Rupert and Port Edward.

Their work  took place during the course of a full day of exchanging ideas, where they created these six priority themes for follow up on at subsequent sessions of the Alliance.

Establish quarterly meetings of the Alliance to ensure continuity and communication

To investigate establishing a joint charitable foundation to be eligible for more grants and to be able to issue tax receipts

To partner on Economic Development to become more financially self sufficient

To partner on housing for homeless, low income and Seniors

To partner on Health and Wellness initiatives in collaboration with Nisga'a Valley Health Authority

To partner on language, culture and youth for program and service delivery.

The Alliance will next meet in Prince Rupert on May 22nd.

For updates on the work of the Gitmaxmak'ay Nisga Society in Prince Rupert/Port Edward see their Facebook page and twitter feed.

As they work on their initiatives, the will be working in concert with the Nisga'a Lisims Government in the Nass Valley, more on developments for the Nisga'a can be explored through our archive page here.

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross finds national attention as resource debate roils the Legislature

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross has been one of the lead participants in
debate at the Legislature this week

The focus on the ongoing issues in the Wet'suwet'en and the larger protests being found across British Columbia have put Skeena MLA Ellis Ross to the front of the stage of the political debate in the province.

With the Northwest MLA now finding expanded media exposure and making for a frequent guest on political interview programs not only in this province, but on the national stage as well.

Much of the media attention came as the Coastal GasLink issues reached dominated the newsflow of the last few weeks, with the experiences of Mr. Ross from both his provincial time and that as Chief Councillor for the Haisla Nation making for much of the narrative of the discussions.

Railroad blockades 'setting back reconciliation 20 years,' warns BC MLA Ellis Ross
Former Haisla Chief, now a Liberal MLA is key voice in pipeline fight
Debating the LNG pipeline through Wet'suwet'en land
First Movers: How Indigenous people in BC exercise their economic and political power will have massive implications
Indigenous Opposition MLA hopes hereditary chiefs and government find "middle ground"
West Block news magazine February 23, 2020
'These groups are using us for their agenda to stop resource development:" MLA and Haisla member Ellis Ross on his Twitter battles in support of the Coastal GasLink pipeline

Wednesday, the Skeena MLA was once again in the spotlight in the Legislature as he took to the Question Period of that day to again make note of his concerns over foreign money being used towards interfering in the the affairs of the province, through increased actions against the British Columbia resource sector.

The back and forth between Mr. Ross and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth providing for a snapshot of the larger debate that has dominated the Legislature for much of the week.

Mr. Ross led off his Wednesday contribution to the theme with his question for the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

The Haisla Nation Chief and Council have been working hard for 15 years to bring an end to the social issues that plague not only our own band but bands all across B.C. and Canada. And we've been successful over the last 15 years. 

Through hard work, we now have jobs. We have training programs. And we have taken the real first steps 15 years ago to break the cycle of poverty. 

 But now you see these groups, funded by American money, coming in and trying to tell my people that they're ignorant and don't know what's best for them. 

So my question is to the Solicitor General. Will he join me and categorically reject this foreign money that is being used to keep our people from a secure future?

The Minister's reply indicates some of the exasperation that the Government side is finding from the current line of questions from the Opposition of late.

We completely reject foreign interference in the affairs of British Columbia, whether it be through money or otherwise. 

I only wish that that side of the House had rejected the interference of foreign money in our economy for the 16 years when they sat on this side. 

Whether it came through bank drafts, donations to sit next to leaders at fundraising dinners or in duffel bags into casinos.

Mr. Ross followed up with one additional question for the Minister.

So ... I'm sick and tired of these groups that have hijacked Aboriginal issues for their own self-interests and are creating tensions and adversity for First Nations in B.C. and Canada. 

We know that the main organizer of the blockade at the Port of Vancouver is not even Canadian. She's an American. She moved here from the United States eight years ago. 

 So again, my question is to the Solicitor General. Will he join me and denounce this foreign funding of blockades and the people from these other countries that want to tell us how to live? 

Minister Farnworth -- I thought that was the answer that I just gave the hon. member — that there is no place in this province or anywhere else in this country for outside interference. 

I'll also remind the member that it was this side of the House that put limits on third-party donations — again, something that they did not do. 

And I'll also remind him once again ...  that I'm glad that after 16 years of doing nothing about big money in politics or how much you paid for a ticket to sit next to the leader or dirty money coming into the country in duffel bags, that they're concerned about that now, finally, too.

The exchange between the Minister and MLA can be reviewed from the video archive of Wednesday starting at the 2:10 PM mark.

The focus on out of country money, influence and activism on environmental issues was a theme picked up by the provincial medias this week, much of their narrative is  a theme which Mr. Ross has been speaking towards for a number of years now.

A closer look at some of the key players in the Lower Mainland's Wet'suwet'en protests
Are foreign interests fomenting Indigenous dissent about Canada's resource development? says BC Liberals undermine Indigenous Leadership with insinuations about foreign funding

The Skeena MLA himself addressed the theme with this editorial page contribution to the Times Colonist on Wednesday.

For more notes on the work of the Member for Skeena at the Legislature see our archive page here.

A wider overview of the provincial political scene can be explored through our political blog D'Arcy McGee and our Victoria Viewpoints archive.

COVID 19 Update for BC notes steps of preparation in the province

The Map tracking the spread of COVID-19 from
John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland

So far the larger danger for British Columbians from the global COVID 19 outbreak seems to be that of the spread of misinformation and panic; rather than actual cases of the virus which was first reported in the Wuhan province of China back in December of 2019.

With the virus expanding its reach in a rather fast pace in recent days, now found on all continents with the exception of Antarctica, the measures being taken in various countries varies depending on the severity of the outbreak.

The most recent update on the British Columbia continues to note that only seven cases have been confirmed in this province, with another six found in Ontario for a confirmed count of thirteen to date.

In their latest update delivered on Tuesday, Minster of Health Adrian Dix and Dr. Bonnie Henry, the Provincial Health Officer observed that all BC patients continue to recover at home and under care by public health officials, with the first individual that was recorded in BC now having recovered.

The Province has taken note of the increasing count of patients found around the world and what the next stage of the outbreak may bring.

“In recent days, we have seen an increasing number of countries around the world with a growing number of cases. While the risk of spread of this virus within British Columbia remains low at this time, we are watching the global evolution of COVID-19 carefully and are focusing efforts on containing the spread of COVID-19 in B.C. and in Canada.

We are preparing for all possibilities that may occur in the coming weeks, including the possibility of a pandemic. A pandemic is the spread of an illness to a large number of people on a global scale. 

We are asking people to do their part in making sure they prevent transmission of infections to others in our communities and in our health-care system to best protect everyone in B.C."

The symptoms of COVID-19 which became the new name for the outbreak earlier this month are similar to flu it seems, with a fever, cough and respiratory problems the main elements.

There currently is no vaccine available to protect us against the infection and the current series of flu shots will not have any impact on this virus.

The precautions that you can take to prevent the spread of coronavirus can be reviewed here.

You can learn more about the outbreak from both the Province and the Federal government from the links below:

Federal Government site

British Columbia Government site

The World Health Organization website also offers up the latest advisories on the global situation.

With no cases of COVID-19 recorded in Northern BC to this point, for the most part, Northern Health is defaulting to the provincial information flow.

You can review our archive of past statements and local information here.

For notes from across Canada and British Columbia we have been archiving the latest items through our political portal Darcy McGee

Ottawa Observations

Victoria Viewpoints

Fore items of interest from Northern Health see our archive page here.

MLA Rice is ready for a ribbon cutting

The proposed replacement of Prince Rupert Middle School made for a
theme for MLA Jennifer Rice in the Legislature this week

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice got a little bit ahead of School District 52 this week, speaking towards plans for a new Middle School as part of her Budget review on Wednesday at the Legislature.

The need for a new facility has been a long running theme for the MLA, made one of her top priorities when she was an opposition member when Ms. Rice would frequently raise the issue in the Legislature, taking on then Minister of Education Bernier over the glacial state of action.

Since taking to the government side, the public statements from the North Coast MLA in the Legislature have been significantly fewer, with her work on the file perhaps more of the behind the scenes elements of the government caucus discussions.

As part of her presentation. the MLA was channeling some apparent excitement for this long anticipated structure and making for a commentary that suggests the bulldozers are but hours away from revving up their motors.

After years of underfunding, our government is making record investments in education, with more support and safer learning environments for students. We have funded more than 80 school capital projects, including seismic upgrades, school replacements and land purchases for future and safer schools. 

I'm happy to say that work is underway right now in replacing the Prince Rupert Middle School in my riding. This is a school that has had so many devastating impacts, from a leaking roof, broken boiler, asbestos in the walls, lead in the drinking water, and, of course, it's not seismically safe. 

I'm really happy that a new school will be built in the coming days and months and weeks ahead.

However, the timeline for development at SD52 may be a little bit longer than that of the optimistic and hopeful notes from the MLA.

As we noted in our observations from a Monday night appearance at City Council, Cam McIntyre, the Secretary/Treasurer for the School District outlined the status of the Board's work to this point, noting that they are now at the site investigation phase.

When it comes to a timeline, Mr. McIntyre provided a chart on Monday for Council, making note of the path ahead, with a Concept plan to be submitted to the province by March 31st and noting that he was hopeful that if all falls into place approval from Treasury Board could be received by Christmas.

Though putting a shovel in the ground would still seem to be a fair bit off in the distance yet, the same for any ribbon cutting ceremonies.

Last Night SD52 hosted an Open House to provide an update for the community on the way forward towards replacement of PRMS, offering up a wider overview of the four final site options that they are  considering for the new facility.

The School District provides more background on the PRMS replacement project and takes the opinion of the public on the site options through a page on the SD52 website, those notes can be found here.

For more notes of interest on education in the Northwest see our archive page here.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Nisga'a Nation adds its voice to the LNG debate with strong support for industry development

The Nisga'a have joined the debate on LNG development
in British Columbia issuing a statement
 in support of the industry today
(photo from Nisga'a Lisims Government)

As events continue to  unfold in the Bulkley Valley's Wet'suwet'en territory, and Wet'suwet'en supporters and anti-LNG protesters remain in place at a number of locations in British Columbia and across Canada, one more Indigenous voice has been added to the mix.

With the Nisga'a Nation issuing a statement today, staking out a definite stand in support of LNG Development in British Columbia.

The information release, which was posted to the Nisga'a Lisims Government website today, outlines how they had reached their decision to support development of gas resources in the province after a rigorous environmental assessment process and a thorough process of consultation.

"Our decision to support LNG development was made only after a rigorous environmental assessment process and a thorough process of consultation. We continue to believe that such processes can result in an LNG project that strikes the right balance by bringing significant economic opportunities to our Nation and our people, while minimizing impacts to our lands and resources."

Making note of the alliance that they have built with the Lax Kw'alaams, Metklatkatla and Haisla Nations through the First Nations Climate initiative, the Nisga'a further expressed their concerns over recent events and the impact it may have on their future plans.

"We are very concerned that our aspirations and tireless efforts to bring environmentally responsible economic development to our lands and economic prosperity to our people may be frustrated by a small and disruptive minority who oppose LNG development, many of whom have agendas other than advancing the interests of Indigenous people in British Columbia."

The full statement can be found below:

The first public commentary from the Nisga'a Nation will make for an important addition to the current debate over the issues of the Wet'suwet'en area. 

As well, their views reinforce the themes of those who have commented as to how the dispute in the Bulkley Valley has at times, been overtaken by a range of environmental groups who have used it to push for their own agendas against LNG development.

For more of our items of interest from the Nisga'a Lisims Government see our archive page here.

In Budget speech response MLA Rice reflects on damage caused by Liberals in the past, advances from NDP in governance

MLA Rice offered her thoughts on the BC Budget on Wednesday evening

As we outlined earlier this morning, this week at the BC Legislature has for the most part provided for a forum for MLA's to share their thoughts on last week's BC Budget, with speaker after speaker rising to either praise Finance Minister Carole James document, or find any number of shortcomings from it.

As noted earlier today, Skeena MLA Ellis Ross spoke at length to the topic as part of the Tuesday evening session at the Legislature in Victoria.

Wednesday evening, North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice spoke of the achievements of the NDP government, while also sharing her thanks for the many people who have helped her in her travels in politics.

The MLA also used her allotted speaking time on the theme of the BC Budget of last week to recount some of her notes on the past days of the BC Liberals in government.

We've made a lot of progress in 2½ years of being in government, and Budget 2020 is our plan to keep B.C. moving forward. We're putting people first and making different choices than the former government. 

We're repairing the damage their choices created and fixing the problems facing families today. 

Things can't be fixed overnight, but by continuously building upon the work we do, we're making positive changes. 

 Budget 2020 is about making life more affordable, improving the services people count on and creating good jobs and opportunities in every corner of British Columbia. 

And We can't afford to turn back. There is much more to do, but by focusing on people, life in B.C. is getting better every day. 

With Ms. Rice currently serving as the Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness, she also outlined some of the work of that department as part of her review.

I'd like to talk about the work we're doing at emergency management B.C. People know the difference when a government puts them first, and this work has only just begun. I can tell you that it has not always been easy, especially in the worlds of emergency preparedness, response and recovery. 

I've been privileged, as Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness, to have a front row seat to the growth of emergency management in this province. 

Because the first day our government took office, we were in the middle of the largest evacuation in B.C.'s history. More than 65,000 people were forced from their homes, and 1.2 million hectares of land burned. 

2018's fire season saw fewer evacuees — around 6,000 people — but also broke the record for area burned — over 1.3 million hectares. 

And then there were the many floods, the devastation in Grand Forks top of mind among them. 

While the growth of emergency management B.C. has been a constant over the years, reflecting the influence of climate change, we've really moved the needle since 2017. 

And this year's budget includes an additional $32.7 million for emergency management, including amounts for regional capacity emergency events and minor response actions. 

Among the many ways this is reflected is a $2.7 million increase to address resourcing needs at EMBC. This will help ensure we can meet the increasing demand from communities across the province for support in preparing for, responding to and recovering from emergencies. 

But the truth is that it's going to take all of us, all of society working together to build the resilience we need to protect British Columbia. The truth is that this government is building something that is truly special, and we have a lot to lose.

Education also made for a few talking points for the North Coast MLA, who also made note of the new focus for SD52 towards replacement of the long past its lifespan Prince Rupert Middle School.

After years of underfunding, our government is making record investments in education, with more support and safer learning environments for students. We have funded more than 80 school capital projects, including seismic upgrades, school replacements and land purchases for future and safer schools. 

I'm happy to say that work is underway right now in replacing the Prince Rupert Middle School in my riding. This is a school that has had so many devastating impacts, from a leaking roof, broken boiler, asbestos in the walls, lead in the drinking water, and, of course, it's not seismically safe. 

I'm really happy that a new school will be built in the coming days and months and weeks ahead.

As a long time advocate on environmental issues, Ms. Rice also made note of the BC NDP's work through their Clean BC climate plan and the recent adoption of the UN Sendai framework.

This budget outlined government's commitment to continuing to protect B.C.'s air, land and water. 

Our provincial government is actively engaged in identifying the impacts of climate change on our people and our economy. This increased awareness will be built into all our planning, particularly in the area of community and public safety, and disaster risk management and emergency management. B.C. will continue to fight pollution, reduce emissions and build a prosperous economy for everyone. 

We know that new legislation is needed to address these modern realities. That's why we're modernizing B.C.'s Emergency Program Act, our emergency management legislation that hasn't been updated in several decades. We want to improve outcomes for people in disaster-impacted communities. 

We're doing this by ensuring that this legislation and our practices reflect the UN Sendai framework for disaster risk reduction, the province's interim disaster recovery framework and lessons learned during the unprecedented 2017-2018 wildfire and flood seasons. 

Legislation is currently targeted for introduction in the Legislative Assembly this fall, with phased implementation potentially beginning in spring of 2021. 

Our government is also proud to have adopted the Sendai disaster risk reduction framework in 2017. Sendai is a comprehensive approach to disaster reduction and mitigation which aims to reduce the socioeconomic impacts of natural disasters and human-caused hazards.

Issues of Reconciliation also made for some of her commentary on the night, with Ms. Rice who was a strong proponent towards adoption of the principles of UNDRIP, speaking to the state of Indigenous relations.

I also want to take a moment to touch on something that is near and dear to a lot of us in this House. For 2½ years, this government has worked in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to make progress on reconciliation. 

Last fall we made history when we enshrined the United Nations' Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act into law. 

 Our government has also taken important steps to develop a new relationship in regard to emergency preparedness response and recovery with First Nations Indigenous Peoples. 

It is often their communities that bear the greatest impact from disasters, such as wildfires and flooding. Indigenous leaders and emergency management practitioners have told us that First Nations must have a strong, self-determined role in emergency management. 

We must forge new and stronger relationships that are collaborative and that better respect the unique perspectives and needs of Indigenous Peoples.

The full transcript of the North Coast MLA's remarks can be found here (5:30PM) ,

While a video presentation is available through the Legislatures Video Archive, starting at the 5:30 PM mark.

For more notes on the work of Ms. Rice in Victoria see our archive page here.

SD52 recruitment video highlights the Prince Rupert experience for prospective teachers

The natural beauty of the North Coast and some of the
lifestyle opportunities that it offers
make for a career recruitment video for SD52

As they continue their work towards filling staffing positions at School District 52, the District has released a video that provides a glimpse for would be teachers and specialists of just what the North Coast and Prince Rupert has to offer beyond the chance to build on a career.

The one minute visual odyssey covers a lot of territory from local attractions and culture to some of the stunning images that can be found in travels around the region.

Opening with the Question of "Why Prince Rupert" the sixty second travelogue speeds by featuring many familiar sights and locations for locals, all images that offer some of the lifestyle opportunities that can be found on the North Coast.

Like many communities outside of the major population centres, School District 52 has faced some challenges in filling positions and finding staff for programs, the most recent area of concern found from the SD52 French immersion program.

A quick check of the Make A Future Career placement website, shows that there are currently seven positions listed, some featuring multiple employment opportunities in the Prince Rupert School District.

The School District is no doubt hoping that their video presentation will help at least to get the North Coast into the employment mix and create some inquiries from teachers across the Country who may be interested in finding out more about what the Prince Rupert experience has to offer.

You can view the SD52 video presentation here.

The top end production comes from the creative mind and skilled camera work of Prince Rupert's Lonnie Wishart.

For more items of interest related to education in Northwest BC see our archive page here.

Road Remediation Requirements make for part of Budget Preview Notes from Monday

Prince Rupert's roads will see some attention from the City in 2020

The horrid state of much of the city's road infrastructure has seemingly made it to the do list for the City of Prince Rupert, with a one million dollar roads program included as part of Monday's Budget Preview presentation.

The good news for those suffering the bone jarring ride along on many of our city streets was delivered by the City's Chief Financial Office as part of her Monday night notes.

"The recommendation to increase the roads paving by double this year, versus last year  Taking the paving budget from $400,000 a few years ago to one million this year. Which is an increase of 100 percent in two years"

Following the CFO's presentation of Monday night, Mayor Brain and Councillor Cunningham made a few pre-paving observations for the plan for 2020.

"We sitting on Council really appreciate what you have done, it makes our job a lot easier, we can walk down the street now ... on the newly paved roads that are coming"

The paving promise can be reviewed from our notes from the Monday budget preview here.

The good news was also shared by Mayor Lee Brain through his Facebook portal immediately following Monday's one hour and a bit Council meeting.

And those concerns of the public on the state of the roads were clearly quite true, not only for the city's Council members, but for the Mayor himself.

With the growing anger over the state of the city's roads even intruding on the normally very positive vibes relayed through his own social media pulpit.

The indication that the 2020 funding will be significantly larger than from years past does however leave one to wonder of the success of the 2019 roads program.

An initiative that at one  point had reportedly also been topped up to the one million dollar mark.

And a plan that like this year, was at the time greeted very positively by City Council last year.

"People do want to see better roads, I feel that this has kind of been take care of now with the additional $500,000 of the gas tax, which will now put us at a 1 million dollar paving budget for the year, which is 600,000 dollars more than it has been for the last 20 years." -- Councillor Wade Niesh on the City's paving plans for 2019

Though last year's paving program seems to have come with only a few results found around the city, with much of the work seemingly for the benefit of travellers along the Airport Road on Digby Island and those making the transit along Wantage Road to the City's Public Works yard.

Considering how the city likes to compile achievement lists for their followers on the range of Facebook forums that they host. Perhaps offering up a comprehensive review of all the past work for the public to check out might be a welcome addition to the information flow.

That bit of info sharing which perhaps could even posted to the city website, could list which roads have been paved over these last six years and looking to the future, where the latest round of funding will be allocated.

Such an archive might make for a helpful guide for residents when it comes to charting progress on the road infrastructure around the city.

For now you can review the state of the city's infrastructure over the last few years through our archive page here.

More items of interest related to City Council Discussions can also be found from our Council Discussion archive.

In Budget debate, MLA Ross notes economic impact of changes in Skeena and work still to be done

MLA Ellis Ross took part in the Legislature Debate on the
2020 budget, speaking Tuesday in the House

A good portion of much of the debate in the British Columbia Legislature this week has been turned over to the discussion of last week's British Columbia Budget, with MLA's from all three parties speaking to some of the themes delivered in the NDP government's financial plan of last week.

Tuesday afternoon made for the opportunity for Ellis Ross, the MLA for Skeena to take to the Legislature Floor, offering some of his views on Finance Minister Carole James document as well as to offer up some background on the economic foundation found in his constituency.

He opened his review with thanks to those across the riding, from both the urban areas and First Nation communities for the support that brought him to Victoria, his presentation making for a snap shot of his time on the Haisla Band council and then his shift to the Legislature stage as MLA for Skeena.

I was honoured when I was asked to run for my own village council and was elected and found out that there is a whole pile of Aboriginal issues that have to be addressed. I was also honoured when I got asked to run for chief councillor and then got elected — surprised, but still honoured.

But taking on the bigger role to represent the riding of Skeena has been surreal. It goes beyond being an honour, because now 30,000 to 40,000 people want me to represent Skeena and put Skeena on the map and actually address some of the issues that are happening in Skeena right now.

So it's with great pride that I take my place in response to the 2020 B.C. budget. 

We're going through great change in Skeena due to the growth in our local economy. It's been steady over the years, especially when you talk about the mining outside of our riding that affects Terrace, and we're talking about the forest and range agreements that actually included First Nations in the forestry industry 12 years ago.

That actually helped it. But it's LNG that really has made our economy explode, and it has provided opportunity for all walks of life, not just Aboriginals. Everybody from all across B.C. and Canada are coming to Skeena for a job, whether it's directly with the LNG project, or some of the businesses that are popping up that are servicing the LNG project.

His overview traced much of the development of the LNG industry in the North, including the work that the Haisla put in towards attracting the LNG Canada terminal currently under development in the Kitimat area.

He also made note of the partnerships that were built during his time as Chief Councillor in Kitamaat, hailing the efforts of the then Liberal government on issues of housing, health care and economic development not just for the Haisla Nation, but for the larger Kitimat and Terrace communities.

Of note from his commentary, the recent success found towards the Mills Memorial Hospital rebuild project.

When I was chief councillor, I was asked if I could join the effort to lobby to replace the Mills Memorial Hospital, so I did. I went and toured the hospital three times. I actually used to go to that hospital at times. 

My family used that hospital a few times. I was surprised at how run-down it was. When the B.C. Liberals came to town one year, and they said, "Yes, we're going to make a commitment to replace the hospital," I thought: "We're on a great path. We're on a good road. We've got to keep it up." It wasn't me. I didn't do it. It was actually the people of Skeena that relentlessly kept up the lobbying effort. It was them. 

They actually brought in First Nation chief councillors to come in and tour it and join the fight. So all the First Nation leaders came in from all the surrounding areas, toured the hospital and said: "Yes, we need this." 

So After 2017, when the B.C. Liberals won the election but lost the Legislature, it only made sense to keep up the fight. 

Because given what was coming to Skeena in terms of LNG, a lot of different areas were going to have impacts that would need assistance — from corporations, provincial government, federal government. 

So it was very gratifying for me to go back and congratulate all of those people back home when we saw Mills Memorial Hospital in the five-year capital plan of this 2020 budget. 

I congratulated all of those leaders for all of their work. Some of those leaders aren't even with us today.

Other themes addressed in the MLA"s expansive review of political themes were Reconciliation efforts, Revenue sharing options including the work of the Resource Benefits Alliance in the Northwest, He  also called attention to the need for attention to the Transportation infrastructure and the need expanded health programs.

He also made note of the need to continue to build up First Nation communities through economic opportunity and address social issues around British Columbia.

Noting how Skeena has become a major economic force for the province, Ross weighed in on the current level of protest found not only in the Northwest but across BC and Canada.

Skeena is now becoming one of the major economic drivers behind B.C.'s economy, just because of the LNG initiatives. I mean, a $40 billion investment. Then right behind that, you're talking about a $20 billion investment for KLNG. 

You're talking about a $1 billion investment for Cedar LNG. You're talking about a $1 billion investment for PTE, which is basically propane. 

But It took a lot of work to get here — 15 years of hard work, of consultations and accommodation, which actually equates to reconciliation. 

That's the goal: reconciliation. Every community from Prince George to Kitimat, including one community down channel, the Gitga'at, participated in these processes. 

So it's quite disturbing to find out that the member for Nanaimo said that she supports the protests. 

I support protests, as long as you don't obstruct anybody's way of life. It actually defeats the purpose of reconciliation when you block ports, when you block railways. 

And then the people that depend on those goods and services, who have no idea about rights and title and have no idea about LNG, can't get to the hospital. 

This is not the way to get to reconciliation. If anything, it's setting us back 20 years, because there's going to be a lot of animosity, only because 99 percent of the story isn't being told.

Mr. Ross's closing comments  made for a call to continue forward and to build on the achievements found across the Northwest so far.

We definitely do not want to go back in time. We do not want to force out the private sector. They're the ones that are keeping our communities together. The private sector is the one that allows us to have the opportunity to keep our kids from leaving our towns. 

In search of jobs, in search of a life. You give them a choice to stay home close to their family, and we get to visit our grandkids. That's part of my selfish motive in that equation. 

But a lot of people in Skeena like this idea, Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal. In fact, if anything, for the LNG project happening right now, I get a lot of non-Aboriginal grandparents coming up to me, thanking me because their kids moved home with their grandkids. 

 It's a tough choice, and that's what these leaders of our municipalities and our First Nation communities had to balance. 

How much do we do this in terms of the environment versus the economy, in terms of the future of our communities? It's a very tough choice to make. 

But it's getting tougher, and this budget is making it even tougher, not just for Aboriginals but for our communities and the private sector.

The full transcript of his comments of Tuesday can be found here.

The presentation to the Legislature can be viewed from the Chamber Video here, starting at the 4:56 PM mark.

For more notes on Mr. Ross's work at the Legislature see our archive page here.