“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache, carries with it the seeds of an equal or greater benefit.”

~~ Napoleon Hill -- American Author -- Oct 26, 1883 to Nov 8, 1970

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Lost jobs equals decreased population, equals reduced services, equals closed businesses, equals closed schools

The latest from the BC government says that it is, " ... seeking public input on rural education as part of a strategy being created by Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Education Linda Larson to better understand the needs of students, parents, schools and communities in rural BC ..."

I guess the biggest need would be to actually keep schools, in rural communities, open.

Problem is however, that the government has failed, miserably, to provide the supports and structure rural communities need, as well as failing to have resource development approved to ensure long-term, and increased employment, in rural British Columbia.

In key sectors, for rural and small town BC, job losses have been dramatic (BC Stats Earnings and Employment Trends - October 2016):
  • Agriculture ... down 33% since 2006
  • Forestry and Logging ... down 19% since 2007
  • Fishing, Hunting and Trapping down 31% since 2007

Lost jobs equals decreased population, equals reduced services, equals closed businesses, equals closed schools.  On top of that it also means closed hospitals, court houses, and government agencies.

The latest in a long list of job losses will be just down the road in Merritt, in a matter of months ... over 200 direct jobs as a results of Tolko closing their mill in just a few weeks.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

What you say ... no talk about debt, health care, education, jobs, and resources?

With six months still to go until the next provincial election in British Columbia, I'm already I am asking myself, "Who will I vote for? Will there be a candidate I can support?  Who will not only say the things I want to hear, but follow through on them?"

I've created a list of things I will be listening to hear answers to, in the months ahead.  It's a short list for now, but will likely grown, and be edited and revised, in the weeks and months ahead.  These are the things I will use to help me when the moment comes to place my "X" on the ballot.

What personal skills, knowledge, and background to you have which will make you the best candidate for the people of Kamloops South Thompson to consider in casting a ballot for you?

If elected as the MLA for Kamloops South Thompson in next Mays provincial election, what will be your top priorities for the riding?

How will you seek input, from constituents, in issues important to the riding, and how will that affect how you vote in the legislature?

Many provinces have multiple parties represented in their legislatures, however BC for decades now seems to be locked into a two party system, as in the US.  What negatives, and positives, do you see for the people of BC with the system as it currently is?

Politics in BC has become very adversarial.  Do you believe there is a way this can be reduced?  If "Yes", what would be the benefits to the way we are governed?

Do you believe there should be more free votes in the legislature, so that elected officials can vote the will of constituents, even if it is in conflict with the will of the government, IF there was a way it did not bring down the government? 

What you say ... no talk about debt, health care, education, jobs, and resources? 

Yes those are VERY important, however, I think answers to the above will strongly factor in to how our elected representative will act on them.

As I mentioned, that is my list -- for now -- and a lot more will factor into my decision on election day.  It will do for now though. 

My question to you is, how will you decide to vote, and what will factor into that decision?

I'm Alan Forseth, in Kamloops

Thursday, November 17, 2016

REALLY... there aren't enough places already for people to get a drink?

Yesterday, from the BC Government's Jobs Plan, came news that, "... liquor licences will soon be available to all types of BC businesses, including barber shops!"

REALLY... there aren't enough places already for people to get a drink?

The news release went on to say that effective January 23rd of next year:

Businesses like barber shops, salons, spas, cooking schools, art galleries and book stores will be able to apply for a liquor licence to diversify their business model and serve liquor to customers.

All types of businesses will be able to apply for a liquor primary licence, so long as they do not operate from a motor vehicle or target minors.

This change will provide flexibility for businesses to expand and offer new services to their patrons ... and increase consumer choice for British Columbians.

Well, thank goodness they won't be able to operate from a motor vehicle, but tell me, "How exactly will these patrons, imbibing on the spirits, be arriving and leaving from said businesses?"

But you say, "I should have the convenience of enjoying a glass of bubbly while I enjoy reading my new book, or have my nails trimmed and buffed."

Too bad ... enjoy it at home!

There are already three dozen liquor stores in Kamloops ... few if any restaurants don't already have liquor available ... and it's the same for nearly every hotel in the city as well.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Finally at least one news media outlet is saying what I have for years ... enough crap about doing your job; it's what you're supposed to do

Two things caught my eye today, that has spurred on my post today. 

One was the fact that the Tri-City News has decided to trash media releases from the BC government, that are little more than generic announcements about every day things ... the other was the announcement that former TV personality Steve Darling will be a candidate for the BC Liberals in next Mays provincial election.

First to the Tri-City News.  In an editorial dated November 8th, titled "We're waiting for the good news", they state:

"Stop, already! We get that the BC Liberal government wants credit for spending money to maintain the province's schools. But it's time the province stop sending press releases about small pots of money that are being spent on things like roof repairs and flooring upgrades — work that should be going no matter who is in power and doesn't require the additional spotlight of media coverage."

HURRAY ... finally at least one news media outlet is saying what I have for years ... enough crap about doing your job; it's what you're supposed to do.  Painting lines on a highway, filling in potholes, fixing a roof, renovating a hospital ward ... that's NOT news, and it's NOT worthy of news coverage, or the (tens of) thousands of dollars that get spent flying, and driving, around Cabinet Ministers to grandiose news announcements.

Is there really that little of importance, that you are doing as a government, that you have to frivolously waste taxpayers money for this kind of crap? 

Global TV ... CTV ... The Sun ... The Province ... the CBC ... the Times Colonist and others; take notice of a small community paper and follow suit!  DON'T give governments, at any level, ink space for nothing announcements.  Instead, like the Tri-City news, write an editorial yourselves decrying this meaninglessness drivel coming from the governments propaganda departments.

Enough on that, and on to the second thing that caught my eye today ... and that was the announcement by BC Liberals, that they have brought former Global morning news personality Steve Darling to their team as a candidate, for Burnaby Lougheed.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Public service is not an option for a healthy community or for a democratic society; it is a prerequisite

Steven Puhallo

Steven Puhallo is the Executive Director of the Kamloops North Shore Business Association (NSBIA). He has had a successful career as a public affairs and strategic communications professional with a broad range of experience at senior levels of government and in the private sector.

Today, I have provided him with the opportunity to have a guest post on my blog.

By way of background, Steven is the Executive Director of the North Shore Business Improvement Association (NSBIA) in Kamloops.  Working with the NSBIA board of directors, they visualized and launched the “We Are The North Shore” marketing campaign that has helped re-kindle community spirit.  The organizational also hosts the incredibly popular Overlanders Day summer family festival, which I was honoured to have played a small role in, with Steven and his team, at the inaugural event.

Many of you also know Steven as an active member of the BC Liberal Party, which honoured him with an outstanding volunteer award in 2014.  He has served as a campaign manager, provided strategic insights on numerous election campaigns, as well as serving as the Chief of Staff to several BC government ministries.  This is an individual who is passionate about public policy and democratic participation.

On the personal side, Steven is an active outdoorsman and says he enjoys our beautiful wilderness whenever he can. This he humbly attributes to growing up in 4H, the rodeo community  and working on his family’s ranch in Westsyde. He comes from 4 generations of cattle ranchers and farmers in the Kamloops area.

As nearly all reading this are aware, I am not a member of the BC Liberal Party, nor am I a supporter.  I do however appreciate the dedication that individuals, willing to serve, will offer to others ... no matter what their political stripe.

Last week I asked Steven if he would take a few moments, to share with me, his thoughts on public service.  I am delighted he agreed, and would like to share what he had to say with you.  Here then, is Steven Puhallo, with his thoughts on public service.

Public service is not an option for a healthy community or for a democratic society; it is a prerequisite. We hear a lot about ‘volunteering’ and ‘giving’ and how important it is. Public service can take many forms. From military service, where you join knowing it may cost you your life; to waving someone stuck in traffic through so that they can make their turn onto the next street; this is all doing something in the public good. These two examples bookend the different degrees of giving but all come from a want to do good.

But why is it so important?

Public service is the foundation of the freedoms we have and the lifestyles we enjoy.

These are things that now, sadly, we take for granted all too often. That we can travel freely, worship openly, love who we want, study what we want, work where we want and at any profession we seek to train for, live where we want, do what we want. These are the benefits of generations of good people seeking public service as their vocation.

Irrelevant of personal gain or favour, the men and women who have sacrificed their time to serve us, the public, are the foundation of our democratic and just society.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Twenty-seven percent of BCs Provincial Debt is at the mercy of whatever fluctuating interest rates end up at!

This weekend the BC Liberals are meeting in Vancouver, and by all accounts, it's living up to the expectations of a being a Rah-Rah-Rah cheerleading session, leading into next May's general election.  Much of the focus of course is on the economy, with a claim to be leading in Canada ... as well as a claim to be "Spending within our means".

On the claim of "Spending within our means" alone Christy Clark is proudly telling British Columbians that:

Alone in Canada, your BC Liberal government has achieved four
balanced budgets in a row, with a fifth on the way. That’s how BC has
maintained its highest-possible triple-AAA credit rating.

These economic achievements are important because of what they allow us
to do. Every penny we don't spend in interest charges can be invested in
British Columbians and the hospitals, schools, and services we all depend on.

And thanks to this fiscal discipline, BC is on track to be operating
debt-free as early as 2020, for the first time since 1975.

SO ... what is the difference between Debt and Deficit ... at least according the Ministry of Finance?    

Debtrepresents the money borrowed from lenders for a variety of reasons ...
the province pays interest for the use of the money it borrows and is obligated to repay it at a set date as determined by the terms of the debt instrument...

Deficitan excess of expense over revenue. The annual deficit is the amount by which the total annual operating expenses for the year exceed total annual revenues. The accumulated deficit is the sum of all deficits and surpluses incurred ... also represents the amount by which the total liabilities of the province exceed its total assets...

Ministry of Finance Provincial Debt Summary (First Quarter Results)

Estimated debt for 2016 / 17:   $67,690,000,000
  • Cost to service debt:  3.3 cents / dollar ($2.23 BILLION)

Estimated debt for 2017 / 18:   $69,886,000,000 (an increase of $2.2 BILLION)
  • Cost to service debt:  3.5 cents / dollar ($2.45 BILLION)

Estimated debt for 2018 / 19:   $71,891,000,000 (an increase of $2 BILLION)
  • Cost to service debt:  3.6 cents / dollar ($2.88 BILLION)

Why should these figures be of concern to us ... other than the fact debt continues to increase at an alarming rate?  Well the BC Provincial Debt Profile also shows us that 27% of our provincial debt is at a floating rate.

Twenty-seven percent of our debt is at the mercy of whatever fluctuating interest rates end up at! 

The good news or silver lining, is at least up to this point, is that the Bank of Canada left its benchmark overnight rate unchanged at 0.5 percent at its October 2016 meeting.  That, according to economists, shouldn't be cause to not be concerned about the future.