Friday, October 20, 2017

NO MORE ......... MORNEAU

GOOD THING WE KICKED OUT THE CORRUPT CONSERVATIVES!!

Click image to see Global article


How's that promised $10 billion deficit doing??


On Tuesday, the finance department annual report presented adjusted figures and our expenses ran in less than predicted and revenues were slightly higher, giving us a deficit of only $17.8 billion. I say “only” because it was projected this spring to be $23 billion.

Remember Trudeau promised a $10 Billion maximum deficit

Now it would have been one thing if Trudeau had itemized the spending priorities that warranted the $10 billion deficit. But he never did. It was just a number pulled out of nowhere on the campaign trail.

Then they discovered once in office that they wanted to spend more, so blew their promise out of the water. Their new numbers were what caused a finance department report from last Christmas to predict deficits until the 2050s.

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

NEW MORTGAGE RULES CUT BUYING POWER

21% of your homebuying power lost!

This Huffpost article reports that new mortgage rules will require mortgage applicants to pass a stress test to determine if they can afford the mortgage.

According to calculations from mortgage comparison site Ratehub.ca, the new stress test will reduce the amount of home you can afford by around 21 per cent.
Currently, a household with an income of $100,000 can afford a house worth around $706,000, assuming a 25-year mortgage at 2.89 per cent. Under the new rules, that household would only be able to afford a house valued at $571,000.


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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

?? Nanaimo City Council Question Period ??

JUST ANOTHER SIGN OF THIS DIVIDED COUNCIL
Or Nanaimo politics as usual?

At the city council meeting of Oct. 16 a new format for handling Question Period was introduced raising eyebrows, which has been pretty much a hallmark of this council. Remember the early days when the gallery was lined with flip flops protesting that apparent disregard for campaign promises by the Mayor?

It is hard to believe that nearly three years have now passed since the 'three amigos' were campaigning for change with the overturn of the Colliery Dam drama as being a central campaign plank.

From the beginning it appeared that sitting in the 'big chair' was actually well beyond the new Mayor's skill set. It is not unfair to say that chaos and pandemonium were the order of the day during those early months. At the centre of the upheaval was the intent of this newly minted council to make good on their promises to not waste anymore tax dollars on the Colliery Dam debacle.

Having seen the light, the Mayor changed camps on the Colliery Dam issue and moved squarely into the city hall staff camp. The city hall staff camp in my opinion had so much capital invested in selling the Colliery Dam story to the public they simply could not admit it was a complete waste of tax dollars.

This was the genesis of the divide between the new captain of the ship and the crew. It was highlighted with the Mayor ignoring resolutions of council and at times making questionable calls from the chair which finally led to challenges from council. The height of which was 7 of 8 Councillors signing a letter asking for the Mayor to resign.

During this Council's term we have also seen the great divide which occurred when Mayor McKay and Councillor Brennan decided that the hiring of the new city manager was something they could not accept regardless of the consequence of their breaking rank from the majority of Council.

That rift and the ensuing animus has painted/tainted this council's public persona to this day.

To the question of Question Period  

It could be argued that there should be no reason to change the protocol for asking questions of council pertaining to agenda items providing the Chair is performing their duties. On this city council, therein lies the rub.

During the Oct. 16 council meeting, councillor Brennan, while arguing against the changes commented that the old system has worked well for years up until the last two. Seemingly while arguing against the change, she appeared to agree with the need for the change.

Counillor Kipp responding to a question from the podium explained that due to poor chairing question period was becoming a soapbox for future politicos looking for some television time. The inference was that if the podium were asking questions with political benefit to the Chair they were being allowed, even if the 'question' was turning into a political speech of sorts.

My two bits

For what it is worth, changes should not be needed in the format for handling questions from the public about agenda items. It is a very simple rule to interpret and one of the easier matters for a Chair to rule on and enforce. Because there are issues surrounding how the Chair has performed their duties this change made by staff seems supported by the majority of Council. That said, it does have the appearance that staff is trying to usurp the authority of the Chair.

Whatever happened to the idea of regular Town Halls?

Remember when this newly minted council was all green and bubbling over with optimism and promises to be open and transparent?

Back then there was this idea of making the entire council open to unrestricted questions from the public, in a public forum on a regular basis. Remember??

I would submit that if Council wants to avoid the appearance of trying to limit the public asking questions in public at Question Period, then open Town Hall meetings could address that concern.

An alternative to an official town hall meeting, which can be costly to organize and administer, would be to set aside one hour once a month at a regular meeting of Council during which the public could ask whatever questions they liked. A simple time limit on the question would control the desire to make political speeches.


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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Foreign Money Meddled In Canadian Election

Foreign money funnelled towards Canadian political advocacy groups affected the outcome of the 2015 federal election, according to a document filed last week with Elections Canada and obtained exclusively by the Herald.


To read the complete article in the Calgary Herald, click here.

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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Could Tragic Fire Deaths Have Been Avoided?

By adopting recommendations of
Nanaimo Fire Department Study?

What I offer here is based on my memory of what was presented to the previous city council of Nanaimo. I realize memory can be less than accurate but believe this to be a fair report on that event.

Under a request from Councilor Grieves Fire Chief Lambert undertook a study of how to best make use of the resources available to the Nanaimo fire department. I was present at the council meeting when the study was presented and remember how coolly it was received by Grieves and some other members of council.

The consultant that had been hired to evaluate how Nanaimo Fire Dept. resources were being used and to make recommendations going forward addressed council with a well prepared presentation.

It was at this meeting that I first heard of the advantages of using two man, rapid response firetrucks and methods to utilize the time when firefighters are not actually 'working'. If memory serves it was reported that about 50% of the time a firefighter is 'on duty' they are not being called upon.

The study had analyzed structure fires in Nanaimo and if memory serves, it was Fire Hall #1 that dealt with the vast percentage of those calls.

One of the thrusts in the report was a strategy adopted by other departments, in England I believe, whereby firemen went into areas where structure fires were most often occurring. In these areas the fireman proactively went to each household and made sure a functioning smoke detector was in place. If not, I believe they were even installing them during that visit.

To me, the whole study made a lot of sense but got the immediate push-back from the firefighters and their union who clearly were not in favour of the idea of the two man firetrucks.

Since that time Chief Lambert left the city, and that was the last I ever heard about the two man firetrucks as the door was solidly shut on that proposal.

At the beginning of this council, Bestwick introduced the motion that would carve in stone the four-man firetrucks we are now paying for. This I believe was actually done before the final fire department plan had been adopted. I think the backroom pressure by the IAFF and the local members finally bore fruit with Bestwick's motion.

To the point of the headline ...... had that plan been adopted, and firefighters had been actively engaged in making sure functioning smoke alarms are in place, could the recent death of three residents been avoided?

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

SEARS CANADA TO CLOSE COMPLETELY

Click image for complete article

Huffpost reports that Sears Canada is asking the court permission to liquidate all of the company's assets and wind down their business.

They have been operating under creditor protection since June and have been unable to find a buyer that would continue to operate the business.

The retailer says it "deeply regrets this pending outcome and the loss of jobs and store closures".

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Friday, September 29, 2017

TIME FOR WINTER TIRES IN B.C.



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Victor Mema Sued By Sechelt


It is being reported in the Bulletin and on Nanaimo News Now that Victor Mema is being sued by his former employer trying to recover nearly $10,000.00.

Mr. Mema was hired by the City of Nanaimo in Sept. 2015 replacing longtime finance director Brian Clements.

The claim being made is that Mema used the municipalities credit card to make purchases that were not approved. Mema has said he has a counter claim but did not divulge any details.

Nothing further will be made public until the matter is settled in court.

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Water Release - Nanaimo River Chinook

Increased flow Oct. 4 - 8

During the week of October 2, Nanaimo Forest Products and the City of Nanaimo will be releasing water from the Fourth Lake and Jump Creek reservoirs to provide a temporary pulse flow to the Nanaimo River.  A partnership between the Nanaimo Fish Hatchery and the two water licensees, in concert with Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations has existed for a number of years.  The parties come together annually to coordinate an early fall flush of fresh, cool water to encourage Chinook salmon waiting in the Nanaimo River estuary to move upstream to begin spawning.

The pulse release will be noticeable starting Wednesday, October 4, and will taper off by the weekend of October 7-8.

Through careful management of the reservoirs, there is sufficient reserves available to be able to facilitate the pulse release, despite this year's drought.

Mature Chinook salmon typically wait in the tidal portion of the Nanaimo River, until the first fall rains provide enough flow to move upstream. The pulse release provides that flow, and over the past several years has aided in recovery of this species.

"With the recent rain, flows have increased slightly, but not significantly enough to trigger the Chinook in the lower Nanaimo River to migrate upstream.  A pulse release again this year will definitely be beneficial."
Brian Banks, Manager, Nanaimo River Hatchery

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