SNELL: Stereotyping hurts no matter who it is directed toward

In 2008, my father walked into the bedroom that he shared with my stepmother and little brothers, pulled a hunting rifle from under the bed, loaded a bullet, and ended his 35-year battle with schizophrenia and major depression. A week later I painted over the blood splatter and filled the bullet hole in the ceiling with my older brother. This was the end of my father’s story, and the beginning of my career as a storyteller. Continue reading “SNELL: Stereotyping hurts no matter who it is directed toward”

IMPACT FEES: Bowman claims wins in court loss

Mayor Brian Bowman is unrepentant over a court decision requiring the city to repay $27 million in impact fees, which it levied in a tax-like manner against residential developers.

Bowman put a positive spin on the ruling, saying the court order sets a precedent in two ways.

“I’m very pleased that the court has stated that imposing an impact fee is legal,” he said. “Secondly, I’m very pleased to see the court affirm that growth in the city is not paying for growth. This has been one of the fundamental arguments that parties in this legal challenge have been making.”

Bowman said the issue in court was the manner in which the impact fee bylaw was drafted and the court’s technical reading.

“It appears that it was overly broad in how the monies were to be invested,” he said. “So then the next question becomes, what are the next steps?”

In terms of accountability for the court ruling, Bowman said city council approved the bylaw to introduce the impact fee.

“The bylaw and the manner in which it was introduced, the court took issue with,” he said. “I’m pleased that we have the roadmap, and for those property owners that have felt they have been unfairly subsidizing the cost of urban sprawl, this decision does provide a roadmap forward.”

In terms of the cost of legal fees in the case, Bowman said he couldn’t come up with a figure “off the top of my head.”

“Obviously the preference was the legal challenge wasn’t initiated — we didn’t initiate it — it was initiated by the applicants,” he said. “And so I have no doubt there will be legal fees incurred by all the parties.”

Bowman explained the city has been on the receiving end of one set of rules, while capital region partners operate under another set of rules.

“We are operating in a framework that treats the city unfairly,” he said. “And obviously we are working within the framework that is imposed on the city by the province.”

Mike Jack, chief corporate services officer for the city, said impact fees are no longer being collected as of Thursday morning. He said the move was to demonstrate good faith in light of the court ruling.

“In terms of actual administration, the decision of Justice Edmond doesn’t become officially pronounced until the parties get together to decide on an appropriate wording for the order, and then it is issued by the court,” he said. “All I can indicate is it would be premature at this stage to comment on whether refunds may in fact be occurring at some point. We do need to thoroughly examine the decision with our counsel and determine what the next steps will be.”


Saskatchewan premier floats idea of oil pipeline to Churchill

On the same day that Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal overturned four challenges to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion launched in 2019 by B.C. First Nation, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe announced the establishment of the Pipeline Projects Assessment Committee (PPAC), “a cabinet committee focused on evaluating potential pipeline projects in Saskatchewan, and possible government involvement in investing, stimulating, or generally advancing these projects.”

“Our government recognizes the necessity of further developing pipeline infrastructure to help our energy products reach key global markets,” said Moe.

Continue reading “Saskatchewan premier floats idea of oil pipeline to Churchill”

NCN gas bar employee renowned for outstanding customer service

It only takes a small light to illuminate a dark room. If Northern Manitoba’s crime, addiction and poverty problems are the room, then NCN gas bar attendant Owen Spence is one of the lights.

The 25-year-old Thompson resident, who is on a journey of introspection and self-improvement, was recently a guest speaker during a YWCA Steps to Success customer service workshop. Spence regularly receives tips from customers at Nisichawyasihk Cree Nation (NCN)’s Cree Road gas station.

Continue reading “NCN gas bar employee renowned for outstanding customer service”

The Financial Post: Persistent deficits and higher spending raising Canada’s economic ‘vulnerability’: Fitch

A raft of new spending items in the federal budget aims to stimulate an economy that’s lost momentum, with some analysts predicting a recession on the way. Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

The Liberal government’s preference for continued deficits and increasing program spending “could increase the vulnerability of public finances to a faster economic slowdown or sudden shock,” according to Fitch Ratings.

Canada has the second largest gross government debt of ‘AAA’ rated countries after the United States, which is ‘incompatible’ with its gold-plated rating, according to the ratings agency.

While the credit agency concedes that increased spending and projected deficits in Canada’s latest budget remain consistent with a falling federal debt burden, the forecast assumes the economy will avoid a recession.

Continue reading “The Financial Post: Persistent deficits and higher spending raising Canada’s economic ‘vulnerability’: Fitch”

Fernie paragliders achieve winter soaring flights

There is a special kind of loneliness that only glider pilots seem to appreciate…climbing thousands of feet above the mountains in columns of rising air, suspended underneath engineered fabric, with only a small reserve parachute separating the pilot from injury or death if things go wrong. It’s a beautiful sport in spring, summer and fall for the small, but stalwart, group of Elk Valley paraglider pilots. And they are pilots. The current open distance world record cross-country flight in a paraglider is 588.27km, a tasked achieved in Brazil this October. Climbs over 10,000ft are common. But as winter arrives in the valley, hopes of soaring flights are usually abandoned in place of speed paragliding, a death defying fringe sport comprised of adrenalized aviators who barrel-roll through canyons of ice at 120km/hr. Continue reading “Fernie paragliders achieve winter soaring flights”

Steelmaking coal experts optimistic on price despite emerging green-tech

Steelmaking coal is experiencing a moderate recovery after prices dropped to US$130/t in July of 2019, sparking layoff news at Teck Resources, North America’s largest producer of steelmaking coal, which has six operating coal mines in Alberta and B.C. that produced 26.2 million tonnes of steelmaking coal in 2018.

According to Statistics Canada, steel production in the U.S., Canada, and China a key indicator for steelmaking coal markets has risen from approximately 160 million tonnes in 1990 to approximately 760 million tonnes in 2008. Since 2008, at the onset of the global economic downturn, annual steel production has averaged around 725 million tonnes. Continue reading “Steelmaking coal experts optimistic on price despite emerging green-tech”

Editorial: Suicide and Hillary Clinton’s private yogi

How I came to live with Hillary Clinton’s private yoga instructor, Nateshvar, started with a gunshot. My father. He walked into the bedroom that he shared with his two children and wife in East Vancouver, retrieved his prized hunting rifle from under the bed, and ended his decades long battle with mental illness.

I wasn’t surprised when I got the call from my stepmother. In a way, I felt relieved for the whole family, who’d been living under the dark cloud of my father’s paranoid schizophrenia since the late 70s. My brother Daniel and I repainted the bedroom and filled the bullet hole in the ceiling. Continue reading “Editorial: Suicide and Hillary Clinton’s private yogi”

Kootenay cattle ranchers roping in prosperity

Cattle ranching is a critical industry that binds together all chapters of the great Canadian agriculture story. The Waldo Stockbreeders Association in Jaffray B.C., which celebrated its 80th anniversary on Saturday, is part of the glue that holds the book together. The event took place in the Jaffray Community Centre on Saturday evening. Compared to Fernie, with its thriving nightlife and modern art scene, the ranching culture around Jaffray, with its large open fields juxtaposed to serrated peaks, is like visiting another country where cows still roam the range, men in cowboy hats fix fences, and children work in kitchens. Continue reading “Kootenay cattle ranchers roping in prosperity”