Just a little incongruous I get it that Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies MP Bob Zimmer is tickled pink that Donald Trump is the president-elect of the United States. And I get it that Conservatives are tickled pink that the Keystone XL Pipeline project might be back on the table now that Trump is president. But I just had to laugh at the incongruity of Zimmer’s statement: “As Official Critic for the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative, I will be stressing the importance of the Keystone Pipeline as mutually beneficial for us both.” Does that mean he’s “critical” of the developing the Asia-Pacific Gateway Corridor Initiative, where Kinder Morgan’s TransMountain pipeline proposal would go, and, as such, is promoting the Keystone project instead? Hmmm, I’m getting confused, not sure what the Asia Pacific Gateway has to do with shipping oil to refineries in the southern States. 11.09.16 Horrors of Halloween Let me get this straight. I can dress up as Satan for Halloween. I can even dress up as Hitler. But I cannot dress up as a clown. Oh, the horrors of Halloween. 10.31.16 Friends of Steve Darling Former GlobalTV morning news anchor Steve Darling has some friends. Darling was let go by Global last Friday … reasons for which have not been divulged, except Darling posted that his position had been eliminated. Darling was let go after spending 18 years at the station. Less than a week after his departure, a Facebook page called Steve Darling deserved better treatment has popped up.  The group was formed “to give support and show Steve Darling we will miss him and are standing behind him 100%,” according to the page. They are asking people to unlike Global on Facebook, unfollow them on Twitter, and remove their app from their phones. In less than a week, the site has 14,511 members. 10.13.16 Debating the debate It was kind of hard to ignore the presidential debate Monday night. I think the Food Channel was the only channel not covering the debate, likely because everything on the menu was hard to swallow. We need Gordon Ramsey to take Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump aside and give them a good talking to. And on Tuesday, it was hard to get away from the debate over who won the debate. Even Kathi Travers, Jo Graber and Lisa Redpath were talking about it on the local radio CFIS. Kathi is a transplanted American, so she would have some good insight. They pretty much all agreed that Clinton won the debate and, judging by all the other pundits I listened to Tuesday, most agree that Clinton was very well prepared while Trump was not. Kind of a roundabout way of saying she did much better than Trump without actually saying she won the debate. Pretty much everyone agrees that there were no knockout punches delivered by either of them and neither likely lost any support. However, Trump left an opening that even someone with my blazing lack of speed could have got a haymaker through. It came when Clinton was pressing Trump about his refusal to release his tax returns. She went back to when Trump was seeking a casino licence and had to disclose his tax returns, which made them public. She pointed out that those returns suggested Trump, in those years, paid no income tax. Trump, who had suggested moments earlier that his income last year was about $650 million, said no paying taxes made him “smart.” Really? The guy who wants to be president, which relies on taxes from its residents to actually operate, is proud of the fact he does not pay taxes to the country he wants to run. I suspect that may be the real reason why Trump does not want to disclose his tax returns. And Clinton did not pounce on the opening. She came back to it later, but the opportunity to deliver a knockout punch was lost. 09.28.16 Everybody knows One of my all-time favourite songs is Everybody Knows by Leonard Cohen. It starts out with the wonderfully fatalistic: “Everybody knows that the dice are loaded, Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.” And later on it has such gems as: “Everybody knows that the boat is leaking, Everybody knows that the captain lied.” The song is all about how the fix is in and how we pretend it isn’t. The song popped into my head last week when Finance Minister Mike de Jong announced the provincial government won’t be increasing Medical Services Premiums due to, well everybody knows, our wonderfully robust economy. “Strong economy provides dividends, screamed the press release headline. It’s not that our economy isn’t doing well. It is. But, everybody knows, cancelling the fee hike is because of the serious pushback Liberals received since they announced yet another fee increase earlier this year. 09.18.16 Eighteen storeys and counting Move over Wood Innovation and Design Centre. On Thursday, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr visited the University of British Columbia’s campus to celebrate the “topping out” of the Brock Commons Residence.  This 53-metre, 18-storey building is the tallest wood frame building of its kind in the world. Well, we were on top for a while and hey, the WIDC is still pretty skookum. 09.15.16 Has no one else gone to China? Listening to the national media blather on about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau‘s trip to China this week, one would think no other national leader has even made an effort to tame the Red Dragon since Pierre Trudeau established ties in the 1970s. In fact, comparing Justin Trudeau‘s trip with Pierre Trudeau‘s seems to be all the national media cares about. In doing so, they do a disservice to all the leaders between the two Trudeaus who made inroads there. We need only look back to Stephen Harper. The former Conservative prime minister, who quietly bowed out of politics this week, did more to allow Chinese to do business in this country than any other … some think that‘s a good thing, others not so much. The one thing that all of them have in common … and Justin Trudeau doesn‘t appear to be breaking the mold here … is holding the Chinese account. The Chinese have dismal records for human rights, worker rights, and environmental protection, and yet, because they have scads of money due to giving themselves monopolies, we slather all over ourselves to do business with them. We don‘t even seem to be pretending to hold them to account for human rights abuses, and that‘s very disappointing. 08.31.16 Return to newspapering It all came back pretty fast. Spent some time last week helping out at the Quesnel Cariboo Observer. They were caught short-staffed and I managed to help out for a few days. It has been more than a year since I did fulltime newspapering. It was fun (knowing, of course, I was only there for a few days. Still, very nice to work on a paper product again and deal with the folks who walk in the door, such as the guy who had to tell me about the scammers pretending to be from the Canada Revenue Agency and threatening to send the sheriffs after him. I think we have all gotten one or two of those phone calls. BTW, they are a scam. 08.30.16 Grow your own It was a banner day for a lot of pot smokers yesterday as the Liberal government took its first wobbly steps toward legalizing marijuana. Under new regulations announced yesterday, those prescribed marijuana for health reasons, such as dealing with chronic pain, can one again grow their own. This reverses a Conservative government edict a few years ago that prohibited users from growing their own. The libertarian in me says why should the government be telling me what I can grow in my backyard if I am growing it for my own use. It is kind of like forcing us to buy our carrots from the supermarket at this time of year, when we can grow plenty in our backyard. However, nothing is ever black and white (sometimes I envy those who see the world that way, but not usually). Right here in Prince George the media has reported on police raiding medical marijuan grow operations to find that someone licenced for 20 plants is growing 200. No doubt about, it is not for personal use. I also remember interviewing a man here in Prince George a few years back, when the Conservatives were changing the laws. He had cancer and suffered from chronic pain. Understandably, he was unable to work and, thus, was on a limited income. Growing his own marijuana was a way for him to save money when precious little was coming in. Growing your own for medical reasons is risky though. When it is illegal you face the wrath of the state that will bust your butt. When it is legal, you face the wrath of dealers who will bust your door down and steal your stash. The guy I interviewed wanted to remain anonymous for just that reason, as it had happened to him. Another reason users like to grow their own is that homegrown is always more potent than store- bought (applies to booze too). Allowing those who are legally prescibed to use marijuana to grow their own just makes sense. Can we not just let them handle their pain without taxing it? 08.12.16 Newspaper bloopers and other fun stuff Having captured the coveted Black Press Blooper Award twice, I usually keep my mouth shut when it comes to newspaper typos. However, a typo in the Fernie Free Press (my alma mater … so to speak) made me laugh. While Vancouver and the Lower Mainland struggle with how to deal with the wealthy buying up property, the City of Fernie seems to have come up with a novel solution. The headline City flushing out source of affluent is priceless. The story, of course, is about the sewer system and effluent. 08.08.16 What a drag it is getting old NDP leader John Horgan, making a point about health care in Prince George last month, quipped about having eye surgery. The result is he can see a bumblebee a kilometre away but cannot see his fingertips. We hear ya … #wishingmyarmwaslongersoIcouldreadthe menu. From Facebook to Deadbook? Happy birthday to me. Yes, it is my birthday today and it is nice to know that even after I head off to the great beyond, I can still post to Facebook. I share a birthday, July 7, with Ringo Starr. So I probably should not have been surprised this morning when I checked out my Facebook feed that none other than John Lennon, from his Facebook page, was wishing his old bandmate a happy birthay. It seems Facebook has linked up to Deadbook, the hereafter equivalent, so we can keep posting. I wonder if Lennon has his location services turned on? Could UK go from EU to CU? Could the Brexit exit spell opportunity for some Commonwealth countries. A group called Commonwealth Freedom of Movement Organization thinks so. It has started an online petition calling for the formation of an EU-like affiliation between the U.K., Canada, Austrialia, and New Zealand. “We believe in the citizens of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand benefiting from a freedom of movement initiative, advancing the ever growing cultural, historical, economical and political connections that we already share through our Commonwealth ties,” states the organization. You can sign the petition here.
Editor’s Blog By Bill Phillips