Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Ottawa GONG SHOW


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KFC TACO BELL NANAIMO CLOSED AGAIN

HEALTH ISSUES CLOSE KFC TACO BELL
FOR THE THIRD TIME

The KFC Taco Bell store in the Dickenson Crossing Plaza has once again been closed due to cleanliness and safe food handling issues. This is the third time this store has been closed for such matters. They were ordered closed in July 2007 and in January of 2008.

On November 20 responding to a customer complaint, the VIHA health inspector ordered this restaurant closed due to a High Hazard rating and an inspection which uncovered three Critical violations.

The VIHA describes a High hazard rating as follows:

High: During the last inspection, significant problems were noted related to food handling and/or sanitation procedures. This may include such things as potentially hazardous foods stored well above correct temperatures, use foods from unapproved sources, extremely unsanitary conditions. The facility's current operation significantly increases the risk of food borne illness and the operator must take immediate corrective action. The facility is approaching the maximum level of risk considered acceptable for its continued operation and we may close it if conditions worsen or the operator fails to eliminate the hazards.

A followup inspection on Nov. 25 resulted in a High hazard warning once again with still one critical violation having not been dealt with.

A subsequent inspection on Nov. 26 found the critical violations had been dealt with however the facility was still given a moderate hazard warning and ordered to reduce hours of operation due to inadequate Food Safe trained staff working at the outlet.

The Health Inpsection Report can be seen using this Nanaimo Info LINK.

Editor's Comment: You have to question just how safe this outlet is when it gets closed two times in a year. Obviously the areas of concern were present before the inspection was made and given the follow up results this store is clearly poorly managed and staffed. I have heard it said that many cases of the 'flu' we think we have are actually minor cases of food poisoning. Given the condition of this establishment, getting sick after eating the Colonels recipe from here should come as no surprise. If you want to check the status of the places you trust to give you a safe meal you can check their inspection records using this Nanaimo Info LINK (click on the Food and Restaurant Inspections link in the right hand pane).

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Nanaimo Leisure Guide Fall/Winter

NANAIMO FALL/WINTER LEISURE GUIDE
AVAILABLE ONLINE

Leisure Guides are distributed to Nanaimo households for Spring/Summer and for Fall/Winter. You can view the printed guide at any recreation facility, or you can view the guide in pdf format by using this Nanaimo Info LINK.

There is lots to do in Nanaimo this fall and winter, be sure to check out the leisure guide to find the activity that is right for you. There is no excuse for spending all your time sitting on the couch just because it isn't summer any longer.

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BC Ferries Offer 33% Savings

“WINTER SUPER SAIL”
Save 33% on BC Ferries in December and January

BC Ferries is pleased to announce that starting December 1, it will offer a 33 per cent price reduction on all fares through its “Winter Super Sail”.

The “Winter Super Sail” applies to all passengers and all vehicles on all sailings and all routes throughout December 2008 and January 2009. The only exception will be pre-paid paper tickets purchased prior to December 1, 2008 and assured loading tickets.

The sale makes it easier for travellers to visit their families, friends and loved ones during the holiday season, and to get out and see more of our coastal communities, attractions and events during the winter season.

Customers are reminded that December 26, 27 and 28 are traditionally the busiest days for ferry travel over the winter holidays. Extra sailings will be added on the Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay and Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay routes over the holiday period.

While reservations are not required to take advantage of this limited time offer, they are strongly encouraged to guarantee your travel plans, especially during the busiest sailings. Full schedule information and reservations are available on line at www.bcferries.com or by telephone at 1-888-BCFERRY and ask about our “Winter Super Sail” program.

Customers are also reminded that BC Ferries’ fuel surcharge will be removed December 5 on all minor routes, including Horseshoe Bay to Langdale and on December 19 on all major routes.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

More Ottawa Drama


The Political Nonsense Continues

Yesterdays 'wait and see, stay the course' fiscal report delivered by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty brought immediate howls from the opposition. There is the usual political gamesmanship you would expect from the Liberals and the NDP, the government will of course never do anything to satisfy the opposition who should probably be renamed the official criticism.

So what is the real reason behind the threats of bringing down the government? Is it really because the Liberals or NDP have a better approach? Or is it the threat of taking taxpayers funds out of the hands of all political parties which has caused the uproar?

Among Flaherty's report was the stated plan to eliminate about $27 million which the taxpayer pays to support all political parties based on the number of votes received in the last election. Since the Conservatives got the largest number of votes, they would loose about $10 milllion, while the Liberals would lose about $7.7 million.

Of course the fifth estate probably does not like the prospect of $27 million of advertising revenue potentially disappearing from their coffers so they aren't pleased either. As if the liberal press needed another reason to skew reporting of the Conservatives.

The solution Liberals and NDP offer is to simply back up the Federal truck and start shoveling tax dollars out of it hoping that will solve the problem. No one seems to notice that the shoveling of trillions of dollars has not stopped the problem to the south of us, so why should we immediately begin doing the same thing?

Both the Liberals and NDP are adopting the usual 'the sky is falling' approach and seem unwilling to explain how they can throw all this money around while at the same time not running up a deficit. The Liberals on the one hand are criticizing the current government for the fact Canada is in a deficit while at the same time proposing we start shoveling out money which is certain to create an even larger deficit.

Why the Conservatives included the removal of taxpayer funding of political parties at this time is questionable, since they would know the other parties would object to such a measure, even though the Conservatives have the most to lose. This is the galvanizing point the parties can agree upon which could trigger the fall of the newly elected government.

It would appears the House of Drama has reconvened and the players have put on the familiar masks and are putting political gaming ahead of the interest of the taxpayer once again.

Have you ever listened to a televised question period in the House of Commons? Kindergarten classes demonstrate more maturity than that bunch most days.

Enough of the drama already. . . . . . . just get on with governing!

allvoices

Wal Mart Worker Killed By Mad Shoppers

Crowd Surge Knocks Door Off Hinges Wal Mart Employee Trampled by Crowd

If this was the first of April you would be forgiven for thinking this is a sick joke. However, it is sick but it is no joke.

Bargain crazed shoppers in New York's Long Island broke down the stores front door and knocked the employee to the floor. The employee was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead at 6:03 AM.

A crowd of about 2,000 had gathered outside the store for the 5:00 am opening. Employees had opened the interior doors and were preparing to open the main entrance doors, when the crowd surged and knocked the doors off their hinges.


The history of the term 'Black Friday' has several origins, the most current being the time of year when bargain crazed shoppers put companies into the black with their frenzied spending.
Perhaps from today on, the day will take on a whole new, and darker meaning.


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Nanaimo Historical Society

Historical Society to Unveil
New Interpretive Signs


On Thursday, 2008-Dec-04, 12:15 p.m. the Nanaimo Historical Society, in partnership with the City of Nanaimo, will be unveiling two new interpretive signs containing the stories of nine ships associated with the history of Nanaimo’s harbour and the City’s development as a community.

Featured ships include the Sutil, Mexicana, Beaver, Maude, Nanaimo, Rainbow, Oscar, Princess Elaine, and Atrevida. The sign unveiling will take place on the downtown waterfront walk next to the “Pacific Sails” sculpture just north of the seaplane terminal.

The public is invited to attend the event and celebrate the completion of the ne interpretive panels made possible by the generous financial assistance of the Provincial Government’s B.C. 150/Spirit of B.C. funding initiative and the Nanaimo Port Authority.

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$500,000 E&N Rail Line Study


$5M FOR E&N CORRIDOR TAX RELIEF,
TRANSPORTATION STUDY


The B.C. government is committing $5 million to provide property tax relief along the E&N line and to fund a key study of rail options on southern Vancouver Island, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Kevin Falcon and Small Business and Revenue Minister Kevin Krueger announced today.

The Province is allocating $500,000 for a study to determine the costs and viability of upgrading the E&N rail line for freight and passenger travel. The study will consider opportunities for expanding freight usage of the line, and for developing passenger rail services in support of tourism and for travel by residents.

“There’s growing interest in alternative forms of transportation on Vancouver Island, so the time is right to do a thorough business case analysis,” said Falcon. “This will provide us the basic information on costs and ridership that we need to responsibly assess transit options. With this information, we can make the investments that make the best use of taxpayers dollars and move the most people and goods in the most efficient and economical way.”

A request for proposals for companies to carry out the business case will be issued in the new year, for completion in 2009. Stakeholders and the general public will be consulted as part of the study. The findings of this study will complement a BC Transit-led study that is developing a long-term transit plan for the region and will be assessing rapid transit options from the West Shore to downtown Victoria.

In addition, the Province has eliminated the uncertainty around taxes owing under the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Belt Tax Act that may have been payable by the Island Corridor Foundation on its acquisition of the railway corridor. This potential liability was estimated at $4.5 million.

“Eliminating the uncertainty around the Belt Tax demonstrates government’s support for the Island Corridor Foundation as they move forward with their business plans to connect communities on the island,” said Krueger. “The Province is committed to addressing climate change through our Climate Action Plan which includes providing support and expanding options for public transit.”

The Island Corridor Foundation, a registered non-profit foundation, has as one of its main purposes the preservation of a rail corridor to connect all communities along its route with rail services.

“Its essential we take tangible steps to support economic growth on Vancouver Island, particularly in the challenging global economic climate we find ourselves in,” said Technology, Trade and Economic Development Minister Ida Chong. “Our successful management of the provincial economy over the past seven years leaves us in a better position than most to not only weather the financial storm, but be able to continue to support economic growth right around British Columbia.”

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Canadian Fiscal Update

Canadian Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty
Delivers Fiscal Update


The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, today announced in his 2008 Economic and Fiscal Statement that the Government will take actions to restrain spending, protect Canada’s hard-won fiscal advantage and reinforce the stability of our financial system amid this period of global economic uncertainty.

"Without a doubt, here in Canada and around the world, these are difficult times that will require difficult choices," said Minister Flaherty. "We cannot ask Canadians to tighten their belts during tougher times without looking in the mirror. We have a responsibility to show restraint and respect for tax dollars."

The Government will continue to manage spending responsibly. To that end, this Statement takes action to:

  • Eliminate the taxpayer subsidy for politicians and their parties.
  • Reduce the cost and ensure the effectiveness of government operations.
  • Ensure sustainable federal public sector wage rates and modernize the pay equity regime. This will also apply to MPs, Senators, Cabinet Ministers and senior public servants.
  • Put Equalization on a sustainable growth path.

Minister Flaherty said the Government continues to plan on balanced budgets. However, given the fluidity of the economic situation and the rapid decline in commodity prices, a deficit cannot be ruled out.

"Our goal must be to ensure the strength of the economy—to protect jobs, to encourage investment and to help businesses grow," the Minister said. "We must do that while protecting the long-term fiscal position of the Government, so that if we must run a deficit, when the economy improves, we return quickly to balanced budgets."

While the Government has already taken major actions to strengthen and preserve the competitiveness of Canada’s world-leading financial sector, this Statement takes further measures to:

  • Support the financial system in extraordinary circumstances.
  • Provide solvency funding relief to federally regulated private pension plans.
  • Enhance credit availability through Crown agencies for Canadian businesses affected by the global credit crisis.
  • Reduce the required minimum withdrawal amounts for Registered Retirement Income Funds by 25 per cent for 2008.

The Government will consult with provinces and territories, and all Canadians, to develop responses to short-term economic issues, while continuing to implement its long-term economic plan. The immediate priorities are to accelerate infrastructure projects, improve opportunities for workers and sectors affected by current economic conditions, strengthen our world-leading financial system in line with our G20 commitments, and improve the competitiveness of the Canadian economy.

"The next fiscal year will be difficult," said Minister Flaherty. "But Canadians can be fully confident that we will overcome whatever hardships may lie ahead in 2009 and beyond."


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Only in Ottawa You Say

Canadians Pay for Massages for
All Members of Parliament


It was reported last night that among some of the perks our Federal politicians enjoy are unlimited massages whenever they are needed. Apparently there is a male and a female massage therapist on staff for the purpose of working out the kinks in our elected officials.

They also have free meals and dry cleaning services among other things, to make their sacrifice to the service of Canada less difficult.

Now for the 'Only in Ottawa' comment. When asked what they thought about having a massage therapist available for all MP's several who were interviewed had no idea the massages were available.

Only in Ottawa would we hire and pay people to provide a service and then not tell anyone the service is available!

Those are YOUR tax dollars being spent you know!

allvoices

Recycle Prices Plummet

Not Just the Stock Market Falling

With the current uncertainty in world markets the price of recycle material has been falling like a rock since the end of October. Cardboard which once fetched $200 a tonne is barely worth $20 now in just a few short weeks.

Scrap metal prices have also fallen to the point where mountains of scrap metal are accumulating waiting for the prices to rebound. There simply is no demand for the scrap right now as manufacturers worldwide drastically reduce their consumption.

What will that mean locally? The recycle centre on Kenworth Rd. is already considering refusing some materials in the not too distant future as they are running out of room to store material. The cost to ship the material is greater than what will be paid which means the center either refuses materials or they ship them out at a lose. Obviously you can't run a business at a loss for very long, unless you are a form of government.

The whole system of recycling only works if all components continue to operate and if there is no demand to recycle then the material becomes garbage until the price rebounds. So how long can we continue to pay to store garbage?

Of course it could be that the whole stream will begin to slow down as consumers begin to consume less if financial predictions are true.

It would also help if the local newspapers quit cutting down trees and went strictly to an electronic version of their product. No trees were harmed in the production of Nanaimo Info Blog. :^)

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Statue to Return

Pirate Statue to Return Downtown?

It is reported in the local daily that Pirate Chips owner Angela Negrin will be returning the colorful statue next Monday.

It had been removed after City staff said it was a sign and as such was unlawful. It had been sitting there for years without notice and the timing of the removal order was suspect.

In a previous post on this blog I suggested staff lighten up as the statue clearly adds something to the downtown. Perhaps removing the sign and just leaving the statue would be more acceptable.

There also was an ongoing battle with Negrin and former mayor Gary Korpan over a bumper sticker Negrin had in her window. She claims the sticker meant no reference to Korpan, (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).

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BC Ferries Financial Results

BC FERRIES RELEASES SECOND QUARTER

FINANCIAL RESULTS

British Columbia Ferry Services Inc. (BC Ferries) today released its second quarter financial results with net earnings of $53.7 million and $62.1 million for the three- and six-month periods ended September 30, 2008, down from $61.0 million and $75.4 million for the three-and six-months ended September 30, 2007.

As BC Ferries continues to invest all of its retained earnings into its asset renewal program, amortization and financing costs will continue to increase. As a result, the company expects its future net earnings will continue to decrease in the near term before improving, which is consistent with the company’s long-term financial plan.

During the quarter, BC Ferries continued to experience a downtown in traffic. The high cost of gasoline and the global economic situation adversely impacted tourism from the United States and personal travel decisions locally. In response to the decline, BC Ferries has undertaken a number of cost-saving measures, including deferring filling staff vacancies and reducing or deferring corporate travel, consulting, advertising and other discretionary expenditures.

For the six months ended September 30, 2008, $246.1 million was invested in BC Ferries’ fleet, terminals and information systems. “Since the beginning of the fiscal year, we’ve invested more than $209 million in new ships and vessel upgrades and another $32 million in our terminals,” said BC Ferries President & CEO, David L. Hahn. “These investments ensure that our customers continue to receive a safe and reliable travel experience whenever they travel with BC Ferries.”

Total revenue for the three-month period ended September 30, 2008 increased from $220.2 million to $232.1 million while total operating expenses increased from $150.8 million to $165.9 million, compared to the same period last year. For the six-month period ended September 30, 2008, total revenue was $404.0 million compared to $379.9 million for the six months ended September 30, 2007. Operating expenses for the same six-month period were $319.4 million, up from $288.4 million for the six months ended September 2007. The principal reason for the growth in operating expenses was fuel.

In order to offset the company’s rising cost of fuel, a fuel surcharge was implemented August 1, 2008 on all BC Ferries routes, except the northern routes. As the price of fuel has subsequently declined, the British Columbia Ferries Commissioner agreed that BC Ferries could reduce the current fuel surcharges by 50 per cent. This reduction was implemented on November 4, 2008. On November 21, 2008, the Commissioner further authorized the elimination of the remaining surcharges. This will take effect during December 2008.

Notwithstanding the recent decrease in world fuel prices, the cost of fuel continues to be a concern. During the six months ended September 30, 2008, BC Ferries paid its suppliers $72.3 million for fuel compared to $47.9 million during the same period last year.

Other notable events during the quarter included the sale of the 48-year-old Queen of Tsawwassen and the launch of the Northern Expedition, a new vessel that will replace the Queen of Prince Rupert on the northern routes. The new 150-metre ship will have 55 staterooms and will accommodate 130 vehicles and 600 passengers. The Northern Expedition is expected to be in service in the spring of 2009.

The full financial statements, including notes and Management’s Discussion and Analysis, are filed on SEDAR and will be available at www.sedar.com.


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Mystery Shopper Fraud Alert

RCMP WARNING

West Shore, British Columbia; November 21, 2008.

The West Shore RCMP are warning consumers in regards to a company seeking mystery shoppers.

Shoppers respond to ads in local newspapers and on newspaper websites seeking mystery shoppers from a company identified as Ace Corporate Solutions.

Mystery shoppers believe they are participating in a money wiring survey for Western Union. Shoppers are requested to cash a bank draft, take their participation wage and wire the remaining funds to a different location.

Once the cheques are processed by the banks, which could take several days, the bank draft for funds usually exceeding $2000 will bounce; therefore leaving the shopper responsible for the funds transferred, wire transfer fee and all charges levied by the respective bank.

The West Shore RCMP are urging individuals to exercise extreme caution when responding to these ads.

Note: While this warning was issued by the West Shore RCMP usually these scams move around and could come to Nanaimo next. So now you know.


allvoices

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Conference Board of Canada Auto Industry Report

Canada’s Automakers To Lose $1.7 Billion In 2008

Ottawa, November 25 — Canada’s auto manufacturing sector is expected lose money for the third consecutive year in 2008, with losses ballooning to $1.7 billion this year, according to the Conference Board’s Canadian Industrial Outlook: Canada’s Motor Vehicle Manufacturing Industry.

“Canadian auto manufacturers remain caught in a maelstrom of cyclical and structural industry changes, a trend that is unlikely to improve until at least 2010,” said Sabrina Browarski, Economist.

Despite aggressive price cuts and sales incentives, anemic sales figures highlight the difficulties faced by automakers in sustaining consumer demand. New vehicles sales in the U.S. are expected to fall to their lowest level since 1992 in 2009. Even the recent decline in the Canadian dollar will provide little help to exports.

In line with weaker demand from U.S. consumers, new vehicle production is forecast to decline by 15.3 per cent this year. With another decline expected in 2009, production will fall to an eight year low.

Canadian motor vehicle manufacturers will continue to lose well over $1 billion in 2009. U.S. consumer sentiment and economic conditions are expected to improve in 2010, leading to a rebound in the Canadian industry’s financial results.

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New Family Doctors Come to Vancouver Island


DOCTOR RECRUITMENT
STRATEGY GETS RESULTS

Over the last seven months, 59 physicians and two midwives have been recruited by the Vancouver Island Health Authority to fill vacancies from Port Hardy to Victoria, announced Health Services Minister George Abbott.

“I am delighted that the authority has had such success in recruiting new family doctors and specialists to the region,” said Abbott. “This government, in partnership with the BC Medical Association, is continuing to provide British Columbians with better primary health care through programs aimed at recruiting and retaining physicians in areas where they are needed most.”

VIHA has been proactive in its pursuit of physicians, and has created a team dedicated to overseeing recruitment. In particular, VIHA’s partnership with the University of British Columbia in establishing training opportunities for medical students at the Island Medical Program, and the increase of postgraduate postings outside large urban centres, have resulted in medical students and residents gaining experience in a variety of Vancouver Island communities.

The combination of these efforts, along with the power of support from local communities, has resulted in increased recruitment of physicians in rural areas. Thirty per cent of physicians in VIHA are over the age of 55, making recruitment vital to ensuring care for patients can be maintained and improved.

“While we are appreciative of the hard work VIHA staff and local communities do to attract new physicians, there is much more to be done,” said VIHA chair Jac Kreut. “We are acutely aware of the challenge we face. Our People Plan identifies improved recruitment and retention as a top priority, and we will continue to actively recruit physicians where they are needed throughout Vancouver Island.”

Find out more about working at VIHA by visiting this Nanaimo Info LINK.


allvoices

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Jet Pack Flight 'Gotta get one of these!'


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Playing With Food Pays Off For Chinese Artist


Liberty Leading the Vegetables
by Ju Duoqi

Liberty Leading the People by Eugene Delacroix

Ju, a former website and computer game designer in the Sichuan province has been producing art from vegetables since 2006.

The 35-year-old artist boils, dries or pickles vegetables to perfect their appearance before assembling them, adding the fastest-rotting ingredients last. After photographing her work, she turns it into a meal.

She is able to produce one or two works of art per month which sell for $1500 to $2000. Her work is currently on display in a Bejing gallery for two months.

To see more of what you can do with vegetables use this Nanaimo Info LINK.

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BC FERRIES DROP FUEL SURCHARGE AND TAKE 33% OFF FOR TWO MONTHS


BC FERRIES TO ELIMINATE FUEL SURCHARGE

BC Ferries’ President and CEO David L. Hahn has announced that the Company has received authorization from the British Columbia Ferry Commissioner to remove the remainder of its fuel surcharge in December.


The effective dates are as follows:

• Friday December 5, all minor routes and the route between Horseshoe Bay and Langdale.

• Friday December 19, all major routes, Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay and Tsawwassen-Duke Point.


BC Ferries would like to remind customers that effective Monday December 1, all sailings will be 33% off for a two month period until January 31, 2009.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

B.C. Financial Report


B.C. ADJUSTS TO
GLOBAL ECONOMIC CHALLENGES

The impact of global economic instability has resulted in an $804-million decline in provincial revenues for 2008/2009. The decrease in projected revenues reflects weakening economic growth and a decline in commodity prices.

The Province’s second quarterly financial report shows an estimated surplus of $450 million in the 2008/09 provincial budget, down from the estimated $1 billion projected in the last quarterly report, said Finance Minister Colin Hansen. The surplus remains $400 million ahead of what was projected when this years’ budget was introduced. The second quarterly report also includes a $500 million forecast allowance in the event of further deterioration to government’s fiscal position.

“The global economy is facing major challenges, and the significant drop in our revenues proves that B.C. is not immune,” said Hansen. “But we are better-positioned than other jurisdictions in North America. Our strong and prudent fiscal management over the last seven years means we are now able to take measures that provide some certainty to families and businesses while maintaining a resilient economy and a balanced budget.”

On Oct. 22, Premier Gordon Campbell announced a 10-point plan to mitigate the impact of the economic decline on British Columbians. The plan will improve B.C.’s economic competitiveness, reduce costs and provide an additional $485 million in tax relief and support for businesses, families and individuals over the next three years.

The report notes that recent private-sector estimates now project B.C.’s annual real GDP growth will be 1.4 per cent in 2008 and 1.3 per cent in 2009. “Although growth forecasts for B.C. are lower than previously forecast, the overall growth outlook for B.C. in 2008 and 2009 at this time is projected to be more optimistic than Canada as a whole,” said Hansen. “The weaker economic outlook clearly means lower revenues going forward, in excess of $3 billion over the three years of the current fiscal plan.”

The Province is committed to maintaining its record of sound fiscal and economic management. The 2008/2009 budget is the fifth consecutive balanced budget. Since 2004, the Province has received seven credit rating upgrades to the highest possible current status of Triple A. In preparation for Budget 2009, the minister of finance will meet with the independent Economic Forecast Council on Dec. 5, 2008 to obtain its views on the economic outlook. The Second Quarterly Report 2008/09 is available online by using this Nanaimo Info LINK.


allvoices

Nanaimo Taxpayer's Dollars

How Nanaimo Taxpayer's Dollars
Are Being Spent


We all have to pay our taxes in order to provide the type of community we want to live in. It is good to turn on a tap and out comes water, or to flush a toilet and out goes water! To be able to get from here to there on well maintained roads and sidewalks. To be able to go for a swim in a heated pool in the middle of winter or to go skating when there is never any ice outdoors. To be able to call the police to deal with a situation or person that is well outside our comfort zone.

The list of services and amenities we all enjoy is indeed a long one and none of them come for free and are supported only by taxpayers dollars. Remember, whether it is municipal, provincial or federal, governments do not have ANY money of their own. Every dollar the government spends has come from someones pocket. So whenever we say 'the government will pay for it' we are really saying that all of us are going to pay for it.

RCMP HOLDING CELL UPGRADES
$750,000


We all want our police to be given the tools to do their very difficult job to reduce potential danger to themselves and those they are trying to help. There are few among us who would wish to deal with the people and circumstance we ask our police officers to handle. Many times I am sure they must deal with people who are either drunk with alcohol or high on drugs making them very difficult to deal with. Some of the others they deal with are truly 'bad guys' who may or may not be armed and would not hesitate in assaulting or killing a police officer in order to remain free.

In order to continue to do their jobs with greater safety and to reduce injury to those in their charge it is reported that about $750,000.00 needs to be spent on holding cell upgrades. The local holding cells fall short of standards which have been established for holding cells in this country.

The expenditure is said to be necessary to do the following:
  • install surveillance equipment in 8 cells
  • install sprinkler systems in 5 cells
  • replaced barred doors with sliding doors
  • install ten smoke detectors
  • install approved toilet fixtures
  • replace bunks with concrete sleeping platforms

In addition there were some other improvements which are not listed but will be done as well. A spokesman for the City is reported to have said the City is aware of the needed upgrades and intends to have them completed by next Sept. at an estimated cost of $55,000.00 per cell.

This is an example of a large amount of taxpayers dollars which will be spent by the City which of course means will be spend by the local taxpayers.

Editor's Comment: These are holding cells which means no one is expected to spend a lot of time in them so I presume prisoner comfort is not the top concern. They have also served to house prisoners for the short term for a long time now so you have to wonder if these expenditures are really necessary or are really someones idea of buying a Cadillac when a VW will do?


allvoices

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Olympic Torch in Nanaimo Oct. 2009

OLYMPIC TORCH COMES TO NANAIMO
WITH THE WHOLE WORLD WATCHING


NANAIMO IS A CELEBRATION COMMUNITY!
THAT'S A VERY BIG DEAL!


The Olympic Torch Relay will visit 187 celebration communities, 115 Aboriginal communities, 20 key places of interest, 14 Canadian Forces Bases and stations, and 690 other route communities.

Nanaimo has the distinct honor of being one of the celebration communities where the torch stops for a celebration as opposed to passing through, which is a really big deal also!

We've got nearly a year to put on our best face, sweep the place up and get ready to let the world have a glimpse of what Nanaimo has to offer!

YOU COULD CARRY THE TORCH FOR 300M

If you would like to be an Olympic Torchbearer and carry the official torch for 300m of it's journey across Canada use this Olympic Torchbearer LINK to find out more.

allvoices

Friday, November 21, 2008

Nanaimo Gas Prices Still Too High

NANAIMO DRIVERS STILL BEING RIPPED OFF!

Oil prices fell to less than $50 per barrel yesterday continuing it's downward march from the high of $150 we saw last summer.

Gasoline is being sold in Ottawa for 72.5 today, compared to the price in Nanaimo of 92.9 at most stations. So what gives???

Time to wake up and stamp your feet a little and let these gouging oil companies know we are tired of being ripped off.

How much of the current financial mess can be blamed on the greed and gluttony of companies like the big oil companies?

If high prices are not enough to get you steamed it is being reported in the Ottawa Citizen that Federal Inspectors found that 600 gas pumps were shortchanging consumers by as much as 4.5%. To see the full story use this Nanaimo Info LINK.

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Strong Leadership To Protect Canada's Future

Office of the Prime Minister / Cabinet du Premier ministre

In his official reply to the Speech from the Throne, Prime Minister Stephen Harper today served notice that he would use his new strengthened mandate to act quickly to protect Canadians in a time of global economic instability.

“All Members of Parliament should resolve to put aside clearly partisan considerations and try, wherever possible, to work co-operatively for the benefit of Canada,” said the Prime Minister. “This will help us deal with the enormous challenges that confront Canada as part of the global economy – challenges which have only grown since our election concluded just five weeks ago.”

In his official reply, the Prime Minister provided additional details about the priorities outlined by the Governor General in yesterday’s Speech from the Throne including:

The Harper Government will conduct a thorough strategic review of all program spending to streamline operations and save taxpayers money and this review will also include all Crown corporations and assets. As part of this review, all Departments and agencies will be required to produce detailed quarterly financial statements accessible to the public.

  • The Harper Government will encourage investment in the uranium mining and airline sectors by raising the threshold for foreign investment while retaining the right to block foreign investment if it jeopardizes national security.

  • The Harper Government will provided targeted supports to industries by reducing tariffs on imported machinery and equipment, extending the mineral exploration tax credit, extending support for international marketing of forestry products and providing incentives for energy-from-biomass.

  • The Harper Government will restore funding to Canada’s regional economic development agencies, make regional economic development funding available in high-unemployment Southern Ontario for the first time ever and create a new agency dedicated to the economic development in Canada’s North.

  • The Harper Government will support small businesses by further raising the small business tax threshold, indexing the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption to Inflation and establishing a new venture capital fund for entrepreneurs.

  • The Harper Government will push for an agreement on a Canadian internal economic union that would reduce interprovincial trade barriers, improve labour mobility and increase investment.

    “Canada’s economy, like Canada’s people, is durable and resilient,” concluded the Prime Minister. “If we pledge ourselves to work together in the service of Canada, I have no doubt that we will emerge from these troubled times, stronger, better and more united than ever before.”

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    Impact of Marijuanna and Organized Crime on Society

    MARIJUANNA'S IMPACT ON SOCIETY

    The RCMP continues to support National Drug/Addictions Awareness Week November 17-21, 2008 by educating the public on the harmful effects of marijuana and its dangerous links to organized crime.

    Marijuana is a powerful intoxicant, negatively affecting the brain and central nervous system having short and long-term effects. Some short term effects include slowed-down reactions, clumsiness, reduced ability to concentrate, increased appetite, feelings of calmness with occasional paranoia. Some long-term effects include impairment of higher brain function, decreased motivation, chronic illness due to pesticides and fertilizers used in grow-ops as well as eventual psychological and physical dependence among heavy users.

    It is important for parents to discuss this with their children because early use of marijuana by youths is detrimental to school performance, decision-making, planning, reaction time and impulse control in common activities, resulting in loss of potential for the future.

    According to the Centre for Addictions Research of BC, 70% of people between 15 and 24 years old have tried cannabis (marijuana plant name) and 47% of 18 to 19 year olds have used it in the last year.

    “Marijuana continues to be grown or overseen by organized crime groups who target our young people with this illegal drug trade as well as other drugs sold on our streets such as cocaine and ecstasy,” said Cpl. Richard De Jong.

    Addictions to marijuana and other illicit drugs supplied by organized crime groups can lead to a lifetime of dependency causing those involved to commit crimes of opportunity such a break and enter or robberies to support drug users’ habits. Crimes associated to the production of both marijuana and synthetic drugs are for nothing more than illicit financial gain by organized crime.

    Drug production labs run by organized crime groups are illegal and do not produce substances for medical purposes. In fact, there is a great deal of violence associated to controlling these illicit gains and quite often these acts of violence cause society an increase of health care and emergency services costs.

    The negative impact of organized crime is multifaceted and affects everyone personally, socially and financially. For example, marijuana grow-ops are often subject to “grow-rips” where other criminals break in or home invade where they think a marijuana grow operation is taking place but often target the wrong home, victimizing innocent families and placing neighbourhoods at risk. This is why it is important for every member of society to play their role in combating these crimes by reporting any suspicious activity to their local police.

    For more information on the negative impact of marijuana and organized crime as well as how to talk to the young people of your family on its impacts, please click here.


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    Thursday, November 20, 2008

    BC Legislature Returns

    LEGISLATION INTRODUCED TO

    MAINTAIN A STRONG ECONOMY

    VICTORIA – Proposed legislative amendments introduced today will fulfil Premier Gordon Campbell’s 10-point economic plan and help ensure British Columbians have financial stability during the global financial crisis.

    British Columbia is well positioned to weather these turbulent economic times,” said Finance Minister Colin Hansen. “The proposed amendments build on our solid foundation of prudent fiscal management. We are providing tax relief to families and small businesses, while taking action keep British Columbia’s economy strong and competitive.”

    The Economic Incentive and Stabilization Statutes Amendment Act will bring changes to a total of eight government Acts. They include:

    · Amendments to the Income Tax Act will accelerate income tax relief for individuals and families, putting more money back in people’s pockets and back into the economy. A five per cent personal income tax cut, on the first $70,000 in income, will be in place for this year, putting an additional $144 million back into taxpayers’ pockets.

    · Amendments to the Income Tax Act that will accelerate tax cuts for small businesses. Effective Dec. 1 this year, the rate will be dropped to 2.5 per cent – a full two years ahead of schedule. That is a 44 per cent tax cut in just one year. This will inject an additional $146 million over the next three years back into small businesses, across B.C.

    · Amendments to the Land Tax Deferment Act to create a new program which will allow homeowners facing financial hardship, and who have at least 15 per cent equity in their homes, to defer their 2009 and 2010 property taxes.

    · Transitional provisions to modify the way property assessment is carried out under the Assessment Act for the 2009 taxation year. This means that for roughly 90 per cent of properties the 2009 assessments will be based on the value on July 1, 2007 or July 1, 2008, whichever is lower.

    · Amendments to the School Act to introduce an industrial property tax credit for 2009 and future years. Owners of major or light industrial property will receive a credit that reduces their school property taxes by 50 per cent.

    · Amendments to the Financial Institutions Act to provide unlimited deposit insurance protection for depositors in BC credit unions. It is also amended to enhance the supervisory powers of the Financial Institutions Commission that is responsible for the regulation of credit unions.

    · Amendments to the Court Order Enforcement Act and the Pension Benefits Standards Act to protect Registered Retirement Savings Plans and similar funds inside other registered plans from seizure by creditors.

    · Amendments to the Law and Equity Act in anticipation of the new Tax Free Savings Account created by the federal government to ensure that the designation of a beneficiary will be honoured on the account holder’s death.

    Premier Campbell announced the 10-point economic plan on Oct. 22. The plan will provide an additional $485 million in tax relief and support over the next three years.

    Editor's Note: Originally the Legislature was to sit in the fall commencing in Oct. However Premier Campbell cancelled that sitting saying there was no new legislation to deal with. That was last September before the financial crisis hit. This would make you wonder if ANY of our worldly leaders had any idea where the economy was heading. Seems to have caught everyone napping.

    This session of the Legislature is scheduled to only sit for five days, with Finance Minister Colin Hansen tabling the latest economic figures on Monday.

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    Throne Speech Opens Canada's 40th Parliament

    Speech from the Throne:

    Protecting Canada's Future

    Today, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaƫlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, delivered the Government's Speech from the Throne to open Canada's 40th Parliament. In her speech, the Governor General outlined a broad agenda the Government of Canada will follow to protect Canada's future in a time of global economic instability.

    Under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Government of Canada will follow a five-pronged plan to protect Canada's economic security:

    • Reform global finance by working with our allies and trading partners to re-examine and renew the rules that underpin the global financial system.
    • Ensure sound budgeting so that Canada does not return to ongoing, unsustainable structural deficits while putting all federal expenditures under the microscope of responsible spending.
    • Secure jobs for families and communities by encouraging the skilled trades and apprenticeships, supporting workers facing transition, and providing further support to the automotive and aerospace industries.
    • Expand investment and trade by modernizing investment, competition and copyright laws while working with the United States to address shared challenges and pursuing trade agreements in Europe, Asia and the Americas.
    • Make government more effective by reducing red tape, fixing procurement, improving program and service delivery, and improving the management of federal agencies, boards, commissions and Crown corporations.

    In addition to detailing the core economic priorities of the Government, the Speech from the Throne also outlined other areas where the Harper Government will be looking to deliver results for Canadians:

    • Securing our energy future by developing our rich energy resources and pursuing new cleaner energy supplies, including further development of natural gas resources in Canada's North. The Government will also ensure it is ready to regulate new nuclear projects.
    • Tackling climate change and preserving Canada's environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2020, ensuring that 90 percent of our electricity needs are met by non-emitting sources by the same deadline and banning bulk water exports.
    • Helping all Canadians participate by further improving the Universal Child Care Benefit, increasing access to maternity and parental benefits under Employment Insurance, and acting to help Canadians who care for loved ones with disabilities.
    • Keeping Canadians safe by strengthening the sentences for serious criminal offences, putting in place new rules for food and product safety, and introducing a new national security statement.
    • Contributing to global security by ensuring that our foreign policy is based on Canadian values, rebuilding the Canadian Forces with the best possible equipment, and transforming the Canada's engagement in Afghanistan to focus more on reconstruction and development.
    • Building stronger institutions including moving toward representation by population in the House of Commons for British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario, introducing fixed terms for Senators, allowing for Senate nominees to be selected by voters, and enshrining the Government's respect for provincial and territorial jurisdiction in a Charter of Open Federalism.

    Canadians elected a government to look out for their interests in a time of global economic uncertainty. With the strong governing mandate outlined in the Throne Speech, Canadian individuals, families and businesses can be assured that not only are they protected for the future, but they will also emerge from this period of global economic instability stronger than ever before.


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    GRIZZLY BEAR ATTACK


    On November 19th, 2008 at approximately 12:15pm, Port Hardy RCMP were notified an adult male was attacked by a grizzly bear.

    An adult male from Port Alberni was working for a Shake and Shingle company at Strachan Bay in Mereworth Sound. The male was attacked by a Grizzly Bear. The male was airlifted out of Strachan Bay by a company helicopter. The male was brought to Port Hardy Hospital and transferred shortly thereafter to a hospital down island. The male was in critical condition.

    This attack happened in an isolated area. No one is in danger at this time. This is a Conservation lead investigation. The Port Hardy RCMP are rendering assistance wherever possible.

    The Wildlife Attack Team has been deployed and will be attempting to track down the grizzly bear. The Wildlife Attack Team is composed of Conservation Officers who specialize in certain techniques.

    The name of the injured and the company he works for, will not be released at this time due to a pending investigation.

    Location:

    Mereworth Sound is located on the West Coast Mainland of British Columbia, just North-West of Northern Vancouver Island.


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    Wednesday, November 19, 2008

    SALVATION ARMY NEEDS HELP

    KETTLE DRIVE NEEDS VOLUNTEERS

    The annual Salvation Army kettle drive was underway yesterday although they are lacking in volunteers this year.

    To date only half as many volunteers have come forward compared to the 600+ the Army had last year.

    If you can assist the Salvation Army with this years kettle drive then call 250-740-1004.

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    NANAIMO HOME INVASION


    ARMED MEN ROB HOME AND OCCUPANTS

    Nanaimo RCMP are investigating a home invasion that occurred Nov. 17 in which three armed men kicked there way into a residence and made off with money and electronics.

    Shortly before 7 pm a 911 call came from a residence in the 500 block of Rosehill St. The caller said three armed men had entered the rooming house , tied up the occupants and had fled in a vehicle. Officers attended along with Police Dog Services but were unable to locate the suspects.


    Witnesses to the incident said several occupants of the residence were sitting in the kitchen when the back door suddenly flew open and three masked men, one armed with a shotgun, the other two brandishing pistols made their way in.

    They proceeded to tie the two men up with zap straps then emptied their pockets and wallets of an undisclosed amount of cash and prescription drugs. A third occupant of was located in an upper level room and was forcibly thrown down a flight of stairs, luckily avoiding any major injury.


    A few minutes later three other persons came to the residence and were confronted by the suspects. They to were tied up with zap straps. One of the victims was carrying a laptop computer and that forcibly taken by the suspects.

    The three males then fled through the back door to a waiting newer model, dark colored SUV. They were last seen driving west bound along the alley way between Rosehill St and Bradley St.


    The three males were described as being Caucasian. One was approximately 6 ft with blonde hair and was wearing a bandana over the lower half of his face. The other two wore dark colored balaclava’s and were 5 ft 7 to 5 ft 8. All had on dark clothing and the firearms were described as being black.

    The Nanaimo Forensics Unit attended along with the Serious Crime Unit and are actively perusing the investigation.

    Anyone with information on this incident are asked to contact the Nanaimo RCMP or call Crime Stoppers at 1-80-222-TIPS.

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    Tuesday, November 18, 2008

    GAS SAVING TIPS


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    AIR CADETS NANAIMO REGISTRATION

     AIR CADETS REGISTRATION
    EVERY THURSDAY 6:00 PM - 9:30 PM

    At 205 Collishaw Air Cadet Squadron we believe that by encouraging and challenging youth, we will develop future outstanding citizens. We believe that to achieve this goal involves a partnership between home, school and air cadets. To obtain optimum benefit for the youth in such a partnership, it is essential that an environment of trust, sincerity and co-operation be fostered between all parties.

    New cadets must have reached their 12th birthday at time of enrolment & are required to be released prior to reaching their 19th birthday. Membership is open to all youth within this age group. If you want to join, print out and fill in this application form, & bring the original of your health card & birth certificate. We parade at the Nanaimo Military Camp, British Columbia, Canada & have use of an Armory, parade square, classrooms, flight simulators, & office space.

    Our regular training night is Thursdays from 6:00pm to 9:15pm (Sep-Jun) & includes drill, classroom work, & physical fitness. Our Administration Night is Monday from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. Feel free to drop by or contact us for more info.

    Registration is open every Thursday at the Nanaimo Military Camp at 719 Nanaimo Lakes Road from 6:00 - 9:30PM in building 719. For more information visit the website or contact Susan Morgan via email susan.morgan@cadets.gc.ca or by phone 250-390-2289.

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    SAFE HANDLING AND COOKING OF SHELLFISH


    Health Canada Reminds Canadians About the

    Risks of Eating Raw or Undercooked Shellfish

    Health Canada is reminding Canadians that raw bivalve shellfish - such as oysters, clams, scallops, mussels and cockles - can carry bacteria, viruses and toxins that can cause foodborne illnesses if they are not stored, handled or prepared appropriately.

    Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating recommends that Canadians eat at least two servings a week of fish and seafood. However, as with all foods, it is important to store, handle and prepare shellfish and seafood appropriately to help prevent illness. In particular, children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems (including people with liver diseases) are more susceptible to foodborne illness and should avoid eating raw or undercooked shellfish.

    Here are some steps you can take to prevent foodborne illness from these foods:

    • Buy bivalve shellfish and seafood from reputable sources, and keep them cold (below 4 °C). A retailer selling raw shellfish should be able to show you a shellfish shipper's tag. Only shellfish from approved sources with a shellfish shipper's tag should be eaten.
    • Refrigerate these foods immediately after purchase. Do not put live shellfish in a closed container or into fresh water. Cover the shells with a damp cloth and place on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator. Store shucked shellfish in a closed container. Raw shellfish can be kept refrigerated for a few days, depending on their freshness and quality, and can be stored in the freezer for 2-4 months. Shucked oysters should be frozen if you do not eat them within two days.
    • Check the packaging on frozen seafood. Make sure that the packaging is not torn or open and that there is minimal frost or ice crystal formation on the packaging. Too much frost could mean that the seafood has been frozen for a long time or has been thawed and refrozen. Place the frozen seafood in the freezer immediately after purchase until you are ready to use it. You should never defrost seafood at room temperature. Thaw food in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave if you will be cooking it immediately. If thawing in cold water, replace water every 30 minutes.
    • Keep raw bivalve shellfish separate from cooked foods and follow good hygiene practices: wash hands before preparing foods, wash hands after handling raw shellfish, and wash counters and utensils with soap and warm water after preparation.
    • Make sure your shellfish is fresh. Fresh oysters, clams, scallops, mussels and cockles should close their shells when you tap them.
    • Shucked oysters (usually sold in tubs) are not meant for raw consumption.
    • It is best to cook oysters, clams, scallops, mussels and cockles to minimize the chances of foodborne illnesses. Guidelines for cooking shellfish are:
      • Boil oysters, clams, scallops, mussels and cockles until the shells open, and then boil for an additional 3-5 minutes. You should also boil or simmer shucked shellfish for at least 3 minutes or until the edges curl.
      • Steam for 4-9 minutes and throw out those that did not open.
      • Fry for at least 3 minutes at 190 °C (375 F).
      • Bake for at least 10 minutes at 230 °C (450 F).

    If you wish to harvest bivalve shellfish yourself, make sure you do so in areas that are open for harvesting. Contamination due to impurities or natural toxins from marine algae can occur at any time of the year, and cooking will NOT destroy these toxins. Contact your nearest Department of Fisheries and Oceans office listed in the blue pages of your local telephone directory for information on areas currently open for bivalve shellfish harvesting. You may also want to check with your local or provincial government about harvesting restrictions or consumption advice for shellfish not purchased from commercial establishments.

    It is estimated that there are as many as 13 million cases of food-related illnesses in Canada every year. Many of these illnesses could be prevented by following proper food handling and preparation techniques.


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