Tuesday, December 9, 2008

This e-mail is one of an ongoing series of information updates from Rural Team BC issued by Brandon Hughes (Canadian Rural Partnership/Service Canada). Any input or update ideas are welcomed. If you wish to be added to the list or taken off or for more information on the Team's activities mail me. Please feel free to forward this information to others who would be interested.

1. Food Security Grants - Thanks to joint newsletter of BC Healthy Communities and the BC Healthy Living Alliance - Community Initiative National Grant Program to Promote Food Security - The Epicure Foundation is committed to promoting food security in Canada by supporting Community Initiatives which help provide adequate physical and economic assess to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meet dietary requirements in order to sustain an active healthy lifestyle. To this end, the Epicure Foundation has launched it's second Community Initiative National Grant program; awarding grants of up to $5,000 to CI's across Canada supporting food security. Applications will be accepted postmarked up to midnight January 15, 2009. For more information visit http://www.epicureselections.com/community/foundation.aspx?culture=en-CA

2. Welcoming and Inclusive Communities and Workplaces Program - WICWP is a three-year pilot initiative which supports WelcomeBC by fostering inclusive, welcoming and vibrant communities in British Columbia where immigrants can realize their full potential, racism is eliminated, and cultural diversity is valued and celebrated. WICWP has four community-level program elements that focus on immigration, multiculturalism, workplace diversity and issues related to building and sustaining welcoming and inclusive communities. A Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the Knowledge Development & Exchange, Public Education, and Demonstration Projects has been posted on the BC Bid website, which will close on January 15, 2009. For more information, please visit the BC Bid website or review the Welcoming and Inclusive Communities and Workplaces Program Guidelines on the WelcomeBC website at: http://www.welcomebc.ca/en/service_providers/wicwp.html Please note that questions related to this RFQ must be directed in writing to Liz Lowe, Manager Procurement Advisory Services by facsimile at: (250) 387-7309 or by e-mail at: purchasing@gov.bc.ca.

3. Looking for a technical assistance grant for social enterprise in BC? Pre-qualify for an enp BC grant by attending a workshop this spring. Enp will host its social enterprise orientation sessions in Vancouver, Nanaimo, Surrey, Kamloops, Revelstoke, Kitamaat Village, Burns Lake, Vanderhoof, and Cranbrook. For additional information and dates, please check our website: www.enterprisingnonprofits.ca

4. Independent Power Projects – Many wild creeks around the province are being used to generate new sources of electricity for BC. These small private projects can generate significant electricity. On the down side, these projects may require the diversion of up to 90% of the creek’s water, diversion may be through new tunnels (large enough to drive a truck through), and clear cutting is necessary to run the power lines to the grid. Benefits to the local citizens other than the construction jobs are minimal. Educate yourself on the issues. Here is one government and one non-government source of information…



5. School Community Connections provides grants! - The School Community Connections program provides grants of up to $8000.00 to assist in transforming school facilities into vital, lively hubs for community activities and services. Applications must be jointly submitted by a school district and a local municipality. Deadline for submissions has been extended to the end of February. For more information or to learn about the types of projects that have been funded visit http://www.schoolconnections.ca/.

6. Sustainability Conference - With more than 100 speakers from the public, private, non-profit, and academic sectors. Featured Topics Include:

SustainAble Agriculture / SustainAble Business /Community SustainAbility (for local governments). To register, visit www.regonline.ca/bsc2009

Host & Facilitator: Fresh Outlook Foundation

www.freshoutlookfoundation.org • Email: jo@freshoutlookfoundation.org • Phone: 250-766-1777

7. Rural BC Secretariat - At the 2008 Union of British Columbia Municipalities Convention, Premier Gordon Campbell announced the creation of the RuralBC Secretariat, which is working hand-in-hand with rural B.C. communities to ensure they each have the tools to achieve their unique vision for the future. The RuralBC Secretariat within the Ministry of Community Development provides a direct service and information link between the provincial government and B.C.'s rural communities.
For example, this website offers local governments, regional districts, communities and families access to funding and assistance programs on-line. http://www.ruralbc.gov.bc.ca/

8. ForedBC - FORED operates on the assumption that informed citizens need to be environmentally literate. The association works with community stakeholders of all ages to achieve that goal. What is meant by environmental literacy? In brief, it means having the ability to grasp the basic concepts: scientific, economic and social that surround environmental issues and their consequences. Decisions made today in towns and cities involving roads and zoning will have environmental impacts for a generation. If citizens don't have a basic understanding of any of these debates, they will reward, reject or ignore decision-makers at their peril. Conversely, these same decision-makers, if guided by an informed electorate, will make better environmental choices. http://www.landscapesmag.com/common/main.cfm

9. Northern Development Funding Opportunities - Northern Development is an independent regional economic development corporation focused on stimulating economic diversification and job creation in central and northern British Columbia, a region that is strategically located, and offers a resource-rich economy with many competitive advantages and incentives for business. As the leading economic development agency in the region, Northern Development will be the catalyst to inject $2 billion every decade into communities within the region to realize their economic potential. The corporation supports community economic development initiatives with funding for economic diversification infrastructure, feasibility studies, marketing, capacity building, grant writing, community halls, recreational facilities, and community foundations


10. Real Estate Foundation Supports Land Use Decision Making – Why do we think this is important? Because a number of you have told us that the flow of new information about land use, community, and real estate related topics is overwhelming. You’ve said that you’d like us to build on one of the strengths of the Real Estate Foundation’s first 20 years: its ability to enhance and support the “conversation” about land and land use practices within and between various interested parties. We hope that the CIT Information Resource does this, by sifting through some of the wealth of land use related information and making it more digestible, more easily understood – more “conversational”…. (more at www.communitytransition.org)

11. Funding for Heritage Projects – In honour of BC150, the Province is providing $1.7 million to celebrate and recognize the significant role that heritage plays in the provincial economy, Tourism, Culture and the Arts Minister Bill Bennett announced today. This funding is provided in partnership with the federal government’s Department of Canadian Heritage, in support of the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Crown Colony of British Columbia in 1858. The funding is to be allocated in two ways. One million dollars will be provided to support community heritage projects through one-time grants of up to $20,000. This funding will be administered by the Heritage Legacy Fund of British Columbia Society and available to registered non-profit societies, registered federal charities and local governments for the creation of heritage legacy projects throughout the province. Projects can include presentations, demonstrations, school tours, historical research, first-person interpretations of people, special events, and minor preservation and maintenance work to heritage sites. The remaining $700,000 will be provided to the community-based managers of provincial heritage properties such as Barkerville, Fort Steele and Hat Creek Ranch to facilitate similar celebratory and commemorative projects at these significant Crown-owned historic sites. For more information, please contact the Heritage Legacy Fund of British Columbia Society, toll-free at 1-877-522-0150 or email bc150-heritagelegacyfund@shaw.ca.

Brandon Hughes

Regional Policy Advisor

Canadian Rural Partnership/Service Canada

P - 250-354-3178

F - 250-229-4459

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Federal Election in Rural BC

Skeena Bulkley Valley

Comfortably held by Nathan Cullen of the NDP. His total vote dropped, but his percentage of the vote increased putting him a hair under 50% and therefore one of the MPs in Canada with a real mandate from his riding. Nathan has been a decent MP for the region and puts effort into serving his area, though I know there are people on the right that would prefer not to approach him.

It is a shame Sharon Smith, mayor of Houston, did not win. She would have been a good addition to the Harper government.

The big loser in this area are the Liberals. The party was reduced to less than 200 votes and 5.6% of the vote. Effectively tied with the Greens and only 805 votes ahead of the Christian Heritage Party. In 2004 the Liberals thought they had a chance to win this riding and nominated Miles Richardson. In 2000 they came second in the old Skeena riding. The party has given up here.

Mary-Etta Goodacre ran for the Canada Action Party and polled a total of 108 votes. She is the wife of former NDP MLA Bill Goodacre.

Cariboo Prince George

Dick Harris is back for the Conservatives and he has moved the vote for the party nicely above 50%. The riding looks unassiable safe Conservative ground.

The NDP nominated a dubious candidate in Bev Collins. Bev Collins was formerly very active in the Canadian Action Party. CAP is a party I find distrubing because of their fortress mentality nationalism that seeks an "other" to blame. She did manage to keep the NDP at the same percent of the vote as in the past two elections.

This riding is also one where the Liberals really suffered. They managed to get enough votes to get their election expenses reimbursed, but barely. The Liberals have never come close to doing this badly in this riding, or the predecessor. In the darkest anti-Trudeau the party did not do this badly.

Prince George Peace River
Jay Hill easily won here for the Conservatives and even boosted the party percentage of the vote.

The NDP remained in a distant second spot with their vote holding.

The Greens managed to break 10% and will get reimbursed their election expenses.

The Liberals came fourth with 8.5%, about 1/2 of what the party has done in the past. The amount they likely spent in the riding is not much, so the amount they will not get back is not that important.

Kamloops - Thompson - Cariboo
This was an open seat as Betty Hinton of the Conservatives did not run again. Cathy McLeod did win it again for the Conservatives and with a higher percentage of the vote. She managed to get 46% of the vote. The riding has been considered one all three parties could win and has often been won with only 40% of the vote.

The NDP held much of this riding as Kamloops under Nelson Riis. Michael Crawford brought the NDP vote up to a healthy 35.9%, another rise of 5 percentage points over the last election. Michael also ran for the NDP here in 2006.

Ken Sommerfield also repeated for the Liberals, but saw a 60% drop in his percentage of the vote. He barely managed to stay above 10% and only marginally ahead of the Greens. His result makes this a two person race next time.

Okanagan Shuswap
Former Salmon Arm mayor Colin Mayes is back again as a Conservative MP. He pushed his vote back over 50%.

The NDP ran Alice Brown for the third time but the vote dropped to just under 20%. The NDP did win this riding in 1988.

The Greens placed third here with Huguette Allen and 17.3% of the vote. She was a bit short of 10 000 votes, but this is still one of the best Green results in the election.

The Liberals, like everywhere else in the interior, did very badly here. Not only did they come fourth, they did not break 10%

Kootenay Columbia
Jim Abbott put up a strong win again, this time just short of 60%. Jim is one of the last member of the '93 Reformers.

The NDP more or less held their own.

The Greens came third and just managed to break the magic 10% number.

The Liberals were once again badly behind with less than 10% of the vote.

BC Southern Interior
Alex Atamanenko had a commanding win which put to rest the question of the 2006 election where the Conservative candidate withdrew but still had his name on the ballot.

Robert Zandee for the Conservatives came second with 35.6% of the vote, not really very close.

This is another third place finish for the Greens, but just short of the 10% needed.

One more place where the Liberals did very badly, only 6.9% of the vote.

Okanagan Coquihalla
Stock Day cruised home to another win and boosted his vote to 58.2%

The other three parties all came in at 12.1% to 16.5% in the vote, though the Liberals came fourth here

Kelowna - Lake Country
Another strong Conservative win, with all three other parties finishing in the mid teens for support.

Vancouver Island North
Round three of John Duncan versus Catherine Bell. John Duncan is back as the Conservative MP for this riding with the strongest win of the three contests. His percentage rose by five points in the last two elections.

Catherine Bell hung onto the same vote she had last time, but this was not enough to win again.

The Greens came a distant third with 8% of the vote.

The Liberal did not even break 5% of the vote

Overall Analysis

Rural BC has two parties, the Conservatives and the NDP. Other than Vancouver Island North, the ridings were comfortably won by the incumbent party.

The Liberals have utterly abandoned this region, their vote is lower than ever and in many cases at the levels fringe parties achieve. They are effectively tied for third with the Greens in a region that has more people than Nova Scotia.

Kaska and Hard Creek Nickel Reach Agreement

(Prince George, BC) – Cat Lee, Chief of the Dease River Band Council, Walter Carlick, Deputy Chief of Daylu Dena Council, Donny VanSomer, Chief of the Kwadacha First Nation, Dave Porter, Chairman of the Kaska Dena Council and Mark Jarvis, President of Hard Creek Nickel Corporation (TSX—HNC) are pleased to announce the signing of their “Cornerstone Agreement”. The Agreement is designed to be the foundation of a respectful, cooperative and progressive relationship to facilitate the development of Hard Creek’s Turnagain Project. An integral aspect of this Agreement is that it is based on mutual rights recognition.

For the full news release, please open the following link:


Thank you,

Mark Jarvis


The TSX does not accept responsibility for the accuracy or adequacy of this news release.

1060 - 1090 W. Georgia St., Vancouver, BC, Canada V6E 3V7
T: 604-681-2300 F: 604-681-2310
E: info@hardcreek.com W: http://www.hardcreeknickel.com

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

British Columbia Southern Interior

Currently held by Alex Atamanenko of the NDP. He ran in 2004 and 2006. In 2004 he came close to unseating Jim Gouk. Jim severed as a Reform/CA/Conservative MP from 1993 until he retired in 2006.

No one in the national NDP gave Alex any chance of even coming close to winning in 2004 and he only had $22 000 to spend. In 2004 he barely spent more than the Greens.

In 2006 the Conservative nominee ran into problems and was dropped by the party making it very easy for Alex to become elected as MP.

The West Kootenay area has been fertile federal ground for the NDP. From 1949 to 1974 the CCF and then the NDP held the riding. From 1974 to 1988 the area bounced back and forth between the NDP and PCs. The margin was normally less than 2000 votes.

Assuming the NDP vote does not collapse, Alex has to be assumed the most likely winner in the election.

In 1993 this area was picked up by the Reform Party. For a number to elections the NDP were not a serious factor in the region. The Conservatives should be able to recover from the problems from 2006, though will Rob Zandee be able to win? I do not think he can pull it off this time.

BC Southern Interior is one the better Green votes in the country. In 1997 and 2000 Kootenay Boundary Okanagan had the highest percent of Green votes in Canada. In 2004 BC Southern Interior was their 4th best result and in 2006 their 6th best result.

If Andy Morel of the Greens works hard, he should be able to pull his party in third place. But the argument will be that people need to vote NDP otherwise the Conservatives will win. IF the greens are going to win a seat, this has to be one of the ones they put their resources into. If they do not make a first rate effort in a riding that has been one of their top areas in the country then the party may as well close up shop.

The Liberals are a non issue in the riding. Their best result came in the 2000 election in Kootenay Boundary Okanagan when former NDP cabinet minister Bill Barlee ran as a Liberal. He pushed the party vote to just over 27%. As far as I can tell there is no Liberal nominated yet. I can see the carbon tax being a big lead ballon here.

Also running is Mark Cochrane of the Canadian Action Party.

2008 Federal Election in Rural BC

From now until October 16th I will be looking at the ridings of rural BC and the issues that matter to rural communities in BC.

The 10 Ridings are:
  • British Columbia Southern Interior
  • Cariboo - Prince George
  • Chilliwack - Fraser Canyon
  • Kamloops - Cariboo - Thompson
  • Kootenay - Columbia
  • Okanagan - Coquihalla
  • Okanagan - Shuswap
  • Prince George - Peace River
  • Skeena - Bulkley Valley
  • Vancouver Island North
There are rural areas that are part of urban ridings, but they do not represent rural BC. Even some of the 10 above are less rural than I would like, but they are all still very much connected to the rural economy and lifestyle.

The only interior riding not on this list is Kelowna - Lake Country. This is a small urban riding and has no connection to rural issues.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Kicking Horse Bridge

Last week we went as far as Golden and had a chance to see the new Kicking Horse Canyon bridge - for some reason blogger and my pic file are not coordinating and I am getting it sideways only......

I am impressed with this bridge, it is the most significant single highway structure in BC outside of the lower mainland. It feels very European to me. The time saved is about 30 minutes, quite an improvement over a 8 km section.

How to find interesting things to see

I love finding interesting things to see when traveling around the province. A nice small waterfall, a valley overview, hoodoos, a bridge, a mountain and more.

The problem is that no one in tourism seems to be care about letting anyone know about the little treasures that are out there. Towns make tourism websites that promote the local businesses but not what there is to see.

On our way back from Salmon Arm I was looking for some sights to see between Kamloops and Hope along the Coquihalla. But there was nothing I could find online. There have to be some amazing spots out there, but I do not know how to find them.

In the Salmon Arm area I am surprised that Margret Falls are not better promoted. They are especially amazing in the winter in the snow. The Pritchard bridge is a fairly unique old one lane wooden bridge, but we do not hear about it.

BC Tourism could take the initiative and make a website of surprise treasures in the province.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Reversing the Tide - Successful Strategies for Rural Communities

Reversing the Tide: Strategies for Successful Rural Revitalization – This conference, to be held in Prince George October 6-8, 2008, will convene world class organizations from BC, Canada, and abroad, to share their tested strategies for successful rural revitalization.

Join delegates from all levels of government, First Nations, economic development and community economic development practitioners, interior BC business & finance organizations, academics, and non-profit organizations to learn about real life success stories that can be taken back to interior BC communities.

Delegates will learn about economic, environmental, and social well-being issues that contribute to vibrant rural communities via plenary sessions and small workshops. Topics will include, but not be limited to current thinking on future economic and social trends relevant to interior BC communities, effective regional rural investment, affordable housing to support in-migration, and effective partnerships between Aboriginals/non-Aboriginals.

For more information and to register for the conference please visit, www.civicinfo.bc.ca/Conference/ruralrevitalization.asp. Early registration is highly recommended since space is limited.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Dennis Mackay not running for re-election

Dennis Mackay is one of the MLAs that I have a lot of time for. I like the fact that he is forth right and open with his opinions. I have never felt he is in politics for his own benefit, but is there to do what he thinks is best for his community and to express opinions that are not raised.

When we have MLAs that are willing to critize their own party, when there are MLAs putting the interests of the electorate over their own political career, we all benefit.

The loss of Dennis Mackay and Corky Evans will be a huge blow to the legislature post May 2009. These two men from opposite sides of the house have worked hard for rural BC and their type of voices will be even more important as the legislature grows in size and rural political representation is still smaller.

There is no need to be from a rural riding to be a voice for rural BC. One of the strongest voices in the house for rural communities has been Ralph Sultan from West Vancouver, though he to may chose to retire.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Short Exchange about the woes of Lillooet with Erdman

Mining is a long shot at the best of times. There are only a few dozen mines in BC and maybe another 30-50 strong projects in development.

The Lillooet area has some potential, but nothing really dramatic at the moment. The Elizabeth Project is mainly a stock market thing and not much else. Bralorne - I have no idea what Louis Wolfin is doing, it looked good on paper but nothing is happening. Much of the highest potential for mines has been made off limits in the South Chilcotin park. There is some early stage exploration happening near Lytton, but all early stage projects are longshots. I believe that the Cayoosh Creek area near to town holds a strong potential for a hard rock gold mine. The area has not been really looked at by anyone in decades or more and modern technology has never been used to explore the old mine sites.

And finally there is Hat Creek.......

What you do not note is micro hydro. The Lillooet region has the potential to produce thousands of megawatts of micro-hydro (Walden North is one example in operation). There are hundreds of sites in the region. If you were to develop 5 to 10 per year you would be producing a lot of blue collar construction work for decades. Something in the order of 100 construction related jobs per year. Once the sites are build, there is a need for people to operate them and maintain them, the more there are, the more people will be able to base themselves out of Lillooet permanently for the work.

Small manufacturing has always been possible, but Lillooet is not in a good location for it because of the logistic problems.

I still believe the former forestry building would be a good office complex and should be put to that use. Imagine convincing a video games company to make use of it for their work. It gives them away to offer a very different lifestyle for their workers - or even allow them to 'get out of the city' for a few months and be in adventure land.

Lillooet's biggest tourism problem is that it lacks the infrastructure to get people to stay and enjoy. First off the town needs a backpackers hostel - whoever figures out that one will have a strong and steady business 12 months of the year. Second the area needs to make the back country the focus and offer ways to help people get out there and enjoy the hiking, ice climbing and other more extreme adventure tourism. I believe there is a very good business possible for someone to be a Stein Valley taxi service - drive people to the top from the road that comes off of the Duffy Lake and then pick them up in Lytton. Connect this to a place with overnight accommodation and you can charge for 2 nights in town to stay (one before and one after) and another fee for the drop off and pick.

Agriculture needs at least a few people with some money to build up the business. The heavy gardening/light farming model is not going to make for the break out.

Lillooet should look at a food tourism - wine, artisan cheeses, breads, fruits and a decent restaurant or two that cater to the upper end.

jade valley wrote:
Some thoughts re financials and local forest sector (not for paper, just thoughts) We must admit that the article below is dramatic and when such 'reputable' outlets say this, the whole truth is probably a lot more dramatic than that:


When one reads the above financial article by CNN and considers its alarmist message in tandem with the article in the Lillooet News last week saying that our local mill's company is close to a billion in debt and can't meet obligations to bond holders, and bond holders won't renegotiate payment schedules, and when one then factors in the dramatic decline in housing starts and all the unclaimed houses flooding the market due to sub-primes, one must ask if the long- predicted diminution of our local forest industry component is not closer than we thought. If so, the question then becomes 'What next?'

a) tourism, b) agriculture, c) mining d) small manufacturing?....

d) Small manufacturing, whether a tech media studio, pottery, jade carving, furniture-making like Walden North once did, or food processing is possible and can benefit from the relatively low overhead cost-benefits in living here.

c) Mining is seeing a dramatic up-swing across the Province and particularly the Kamloops area and this local highly mineralized region has many proven deposits of copper, silver, molybdenite, nickel, as well as the gold region able to produce again with new technology and capitalization. It needs a 'mineral miner', not a 'paper miner'.

b) Agriculture was once much more developed here than now. Lillooet had a fruit growers co-op selling volume to the coast as well as a cannery in the building of the second hand store next to the railway. When Lillooet was host to the Japanese-Canadian internment camps, they soon produced many fields of vegetables supplying this cannery. When I was a teen, I remember large fields of onions, beans, and field tomatoes machine harvested and shipped to the coast market both across the river and out Texas creek Rd. As these 'high end yield' products went, they were replaced largely by hay production, which, in effect, exports large volumes of nutrients from benchland topsoil at very low income per acre compared to more intensive agriculture like U Pik. The price of food is rising dramatically, and the rising cost of gas mandates that food be grown closer to home.

a) Tourism is perhaps our most under-developed potential, due in part to the forest industry's discomfort with the 'environmentalism' associated with this industry.
Also, many workers comfortable with the forest industry or mining industry do not see themselves easily making the adjustment to the tourism industry, and this fear is often expressed as: ' I don't want a job as a chambermaid for some lodge.' The reality is different, of course. The tourism industry requires a wide variety of jobs, from lift mechanics to all the trades, continuing construction crews, to cooks, managers, service industry professionals, guides, drivers, pilots, white collar workers, and all kinds of ancillary job aspects and new industries that attach themselves here due to the proximity of a tourism venue here.

The 'government sector' is a 'service sector' to industry; it is not industry as such and cannot provide a substitute for a productive economic base. When we are talking about the 'economic development' of a region, we are talking about 'private sector economic development', and no amount of government initiatives, studies, commissions, and safety nets can make up for the global fact that economic productive activity that works is private sector activity. Our post-war decades, globally, have proven this in spades, and locally we have borne witness to this for decades now.

What governance at all levels CAN do locally, is send out the message (advertising) about our local advantages of climate, resources, and favoured location so that the private sector with the required skills and capitalization knows we exist. With always forestry to fall back on, we have not done this, and so have fallen way behind the rest of the province in this regard of diversifying our economic options in the interest of long-term job-stability. This diversification initiative has been talked about for decades, but not effectively acted upon. With the alarming news about the US financial situation noted in the CNN article linked above, I would expect it's time to make up for lost ground in this regard.

Best regards, ET-M

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Friday, March 14, 2008

The New Electoral Boundaries in BC

This week the NDP and the Liberals agreed to a new set of boundaries in BC for elections. They chose to preserve the northern and rural ridings and added six ridings in urban BC.

I am happy to see representation kept for the north, but I am concerned with the population gaps that are emerging. There will be 10 ridings in BC that will be under 75% of the average population of a riding, the smallest population will be less than half the average. Stikine will have just over 20 000 people and on the other end of the spectrum there will be five ridings with close to 60 000. The gap is getting too big to justify. One in eight ridings being well under the population numbers is going to lead to problems for representation.

The disparity can continue for a long time, federally we are willing to accept that BC deserves a lot less representation than Atlantic Canada or the praries, but it is not ideal and will be leading to problem with the concept of confederation.

There is only one good answer to the problems of representation in BC. The north needs to separate and form a new province. The economies of the north and urban BC are too different to put them into one province

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Town Without Children

This is a song by a friend of mine, Erdman Tuemp of Lillooet BC.

His song echos a problem in almost all the small towns of BC - there needs to be some substantive change to allow youth to remain in the towns and to have youth be interested in staying.

A large motivation for why I left Lillooet in 2004 was that I could not see a future for my kids in the town. I could not see the teen years being anything positive.

Now if I could only get Erdman to make an MP3 of this song, our send me the chords......


A town without children

Lays deep in this land

Where waters are flowing

The old take their stand

Against new beginnings

Afraid to arrange

New forms of employment

Afraid of all change

The old are officials

On government pay

They fear any change would

Make them go away

The old made careers with

The jobs that weren’t there

They built on relief that

Was based on their care

(ch) They think they’re important

With what they believe

While holding positions

Their children all leave

The old were sincere in

Their care for the lost

But somehow they lost track

Of who pays the cost

The old are officials

Who fear any change

They know their own limits

And limit the range

Their Main Street is peaceful

Few children roam there

The old do their shopping

All stooped full of care

From holding positions

That drove the young out

The old are the righteous

Who never knew doubt

(ch) They think they’re important

With what they believe

While holding positions

Their children all leave

The waters are flowing

The land fills with Spring

The flowers are blooming

With songbirds that sing

The old cling to old ways

The young go away

Officials are always

Important that way

A town without children

Is dreadful at best

The old are officials

Who limit the rest

The government pays with

No jobs to be found

And so these officials

Won’t turn things around

(ch) They think they’re important

With what they believe

While holding positions

Their children all leave

The sun’s always shining

On fields made to grow

A town without children

Has no where to go

Officials are well paid

To stop what may come

For those needing jobs that

May help feed the young

Officials are objects

That do not know life

To keep their positions

They feed endless strife

They block all the options

That others may find

They block all the children

Because they are blind

(ch) They think they’re important

With what they believe

While holding positions

Their children all leave

The old are officials

In towns where they rule

The people with children

Will not be their fool

With families leaving

The old will remain

To walk down their Main Street

To walk there again

The government pays them

To keep the pretence

That governance trumps what

Is just common sense

The cities are growing

As towns have to shrink

Because of officials

And what they all think

(ch) They think they’re important

With what they believe

While holding positions

Their children all leave

This Main Street is peaceful

With old folks all day

With government pensions

They’re happy that way

With old folks officials

Who climb every rung

This Main Street has no room

For anyone young

They block any jobs that

Young families need

To cling to positions

From which the old feed

They care for beliefs that

Keep old folks where they

Make towns without children

To keep them at bay

(ch) They think they’re important

With what they believe

While holding positions

Their children all leave

Friday, February 15, 2008

5th BC Rural Communities Summit

5th BC Rural Communities Summit
" Building Communities Together "

A joint conference of the
BC Rural Network, Cariboo Regional District and Rural Team BC
100 Mile House Lodge and Conference Centre
March 13-15, 2008
100 Mile House, BC

The BC Rural Network, in partnership with the Cariboo Regional District and Rural Team BC, are please to host the 5th BC Rural Communities Summit in 100 Mile House, BC.

The need and desire to improve networking and exchange of information among rural communities has been clearly identified and requested by rural stakeholders across BC.

“Building Communities Together” will be an opportunity for rural residents, and representatives of rural organizations from across the province to come together to discuss ways to coordinate their efforts to improve networking and build the capacity of rural communities in BC.

  • More than 25 workshops and presentations that will provide new skills, explore the experiences, and share the lessons learned by rural and remote communities across BC.
  • Social events and networking opportunities to develop new contacts and partnerships
  • The Annual General Meeting of the BC Rural Network
  • Inspiring speakers and plenary sessions
  • Youth sessions and participation: planned and presented by rural youth


The conference registration brochure, as well as travel and accommodation information is available on-line. Please click on the Registration tab at the top of this page.

You may also request a print version of the registration package by contacting Maureen at:

A limited number of travel bursaries are available on a first come, first served basis to rural residents and representatives of rural organizations who would otherwise not be able to attend. Information on how to apply for a travel bursary is also available on the Registration page, and in the print packages.

Be sure to make your travel and accommodation arrangements early, to avoid disappointment!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Province of Northern BC

The time is here for a province of Northern BC.

Canada would benefit from there being two pacific coast provinces. Northern BC would be very motivated into making the ports of Kitimat, Prince Rupert and Stewart into major ports for the nation. The highway 16 corridor could be made into the primary import/export conduit for the nation.

Northern BC would have a population of 320 000 people - the second smallest in Canada but a province with a lot of resources on hand. Large oil and gas reserves - enough for several generations. Most of the new mines in Canada. Large coal reserves. The Peace has grains and the rest of the region has a low to cattle. And the grand daddy of all is forestry. This would be a province that would be able to look after itself.

Northern BC would also be able to be control its own destiny - it would decide the pace of development. It would no longer be beholden to all these MLAs from the south.

The creation of Northern BC would quickly speed up the development of Prince George as a significant city. With the building of a legislature and a new civil service, Prince George would gain a new class of people. Right now anyone going to the senior levels of the civil service or in elected politics has to leave the north. With a capital in PG, there would be more people moving in.

With the rise of PG as a capital, there would be bigger demand for flights in and out of PG. The CBC would have full time radio there and the market for other media would expand. The rise of PG would also mean that transport would change - there will be a demand for flights from Dawson Creek/Fort St John, Prince Rupert, and elsewhere into PG. The need to fly to Vancouver and back would be reduced. Connections with Alberta would be increased.

Northern BC could choose to look to the south or Alberta for some services or create their own.

Northern BC is also home to the most interesting and innovative university in Canada. UNBC is the core to the dynamic expansion of the economy of Northern BC.

In 20 years I can see Northern BC as a strong province with 500 000 people and unparalleled financial resources. The province would be centred on three main hubs. The Peace for Oil and Gas, Prince George for government and forestry and Prince Rupert/Kitimat/Terrace for shipping.

Northern BC would be well placed to work with Alaska and Yukon to build the rail, electrical and pipeline infrastructure needed to bring the North into the grid of the rest of North America.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Province of Southern BC

The time has come to consider Southern BC as separate province. The economics of southern BC are dramatically different than the north, the island or the lower mainland. It has very different needs than the other regions.

I would propose splitting the province roughly along the lines of the Health Authorities. This would mean the new Southern Interior province would run from Manning Park to the Rockies and have the Thompson Nicola Regional District as the northern boundary, though Clinton and area would move into the north.

This new province would have a population of about 650 000. In the context of Canada this is on the low end, only PEI and NFLD having a smaller population. In 15 years, by about 2023, the population will pass that of New Brunswick and by the middle of the 21st century the population will be in the range of Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Southern BC would be a strongly resource based economy with forestry and mining being core. It would also have a strong agricultural sector and a strong tourism sector. Currently the economics are politically defined by the lower mainland.

The province would boast about a dozen world class ski resorts. It would also be home to the bulk of the wine industry.

The region also has two universities and a quickly growing knowledge sector.

The way BC is governed means that it would not take a lot to divide the provincial civil service as it already has a strongly regional nature.

The new legislature of Southern BC would likely have about 50 MLAs instead of the roughly 12 they have at the moment. The average MLA would represent 12 000 people. This means that there will more people elected from the rural communities of the region. Merritt and area would elect an MLA, so to would the Gold Trail area.

Even though Kelowna is the big fish in the new province, it is not overly dominant. Kelowna represents about a quarter of the population. Kamloops alone is a strong counter balance outside of the Okanagan.

Nationally this new province would have 6 Senators and 8 MPs. Right now the area has 6 MPs and and no senators tied to the area.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Hwy 37 Power

I was alerted to an article on the Terrace Standard about the Hwy 37 power issue. With the shelving of the Galore Creek project, a large part of the financing for the extension of the grid fell away. It looked like the power line would not go ahead. But the other companies in the region have stepped up and offered to put money in the development stages of the project.

I am happy to see that the idea is not dead and is being pushed. I would like to see the construction of the line all the way to Yukon and Alaska and connect them to the grid. There are huge green power sources in the north and the line would make them possible.

With a power line in place there are so many options possible for development along the hwy 37 corridor that would benefit all of BC. There are numerous mines that only need access to power to make them feasible. It makes sense to build this piece of infrastructure. I believe that the business case is good enough that it could be built privately. If I had the resources to spend time on developing it as a business, I would be pounding the pavement to get the line built as far as Alaska. I am sure that Alaska and Yukon would offer to cover some of the costs. One can make a lot of money wheeling power.

I would look at going big right away, a 500 Kv line with the ability to twin if needed. There is the power out there. If you build it, they will come.

I think I might spend some time fleshing out what it would cost to build.