National Newswatch

B.C. auditor says tighter expense rules, oversight needed at B.C. legislature

Sep 20 2019 — Dirk Meissner — VICTORIA — British Columbia's auditor general says the province's legislature must set higher standards for expense reporting by top administrative officials following allegations of spending abuses made by Speaker Darryl Plecas. Carol Bellringer said Thursday an audit found weaknesses and gaps in expense policies in the offices of the legislature's clerk, sergeant-at-arms and Speaker. She said […]

Forest industry cuts continue in B.C. as Teal-Jones halts harvesting on coast

Sep 10 2019 — Dirk Meissner — VICTORIA — The latest shutdown announcement from a wood products firm in British Columbia threatens the jobs of 800 employees in what the province's forests minister concedes is an industry "correction." Teal-Jones Group vice-president Gerrie Kotze said Tuesday 300 logging contractors on Vancouver Island and the Fraser Valley are out of work immediately and 500 […]

B.C. greenhouse gas emissions near 2007 levels despite carbon tax

Sep 9 2019 — Dirk Meissner — VICTORIA — Carbon emissions in British Columbia in 2017 were only slightly below 2007 levels despite a long-running strategy to fight climate change that includes a carbon tax, new data shows. The data released Monday by the B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change measured 64.46 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in 2017 compared […]

151st Cowichan Exhibition includes new category: best home-grown pot

Sep 5 2019 — Dirk Meissner — VICTORIA — One of Canada's oldest fall fairs is putting a new twist on its annual showcase of local livestock, produce and fruit by adding a new category for best home-grown marijuana. The Cowichan Exhibition in Duncan, B.C., which dates back to 1868, has created a best cannabis category to embrace legalization and celebrate local pot growers, […]

Mount Polley mine disaster five years later; emotions, accountability unresolved

Aug 4 2019 — Dirk Meissner — VICTORIA — People are swimming and fishing in Quesnel Lake five years after the largest environmental mining disaster in Canadian history, but residents of Likely, B.C., are still struggling with unresolved emotions about what happened and who will be held accountable for the dam collapse at the Mount Polley mine.   A five-year deadline for federal Fisheries Act […]

B.C. not sufficiently protecting drinking water, says auditor general

Jul 30 2019 — Dirk Meissner — VICTORIA — The system of accountability to monitor protection of drinking water in British Columbia is of grave concern and doesn't appear to be a Ministry of Health priority, says the province's auditor general. Carol Bellringer says in an audit report released Tuesday that the health ministry and the provincial health officer are not sufficiently ensuring the safety of drinking […]

Flying was in his blood, says sister of pilot killed in float plane crash

Jul 29 2019 — Dirk Meissner — VICTORIA — The pilot of a charter float plane that crashed on a remote island on British Columbia's central coast was a passionate, caring adventurer with flying in his blood, says a Vancouver Island politician grieving the loss of her older brother. Pilot Al McBain was one of four people who died Friday when the Cessna […]

B.C. on right road with tougher ride-hailing driver rules, says expert

Jul 16 2019 — Dirk Meissner — VICTORIA — The British Columbia government's firm position on tougher driver's licence requirements for ride-hailing is a move in the right direction, given the experiences from other jurisdictions, a transportation expert says. "I would applaud the B.C. government for standing up, because most other governments have basically stood down," said Garland Chow, an emeritus associate professor […]

Many B.C. liquor branch contracts don’t comply with government standards: audit

Jul 10 2019 — Dirk Meissner — VICTORIA — Staff at British Columbia's liquor distribution branch should receive contract management training, says an audit that revealed contracts totalling millions of dollars were awarded without competition. Auditor general Carol Bellringer said Wednesday several contracts awarded by the province's liquor branch did not comply with procurement policies, including some that were awarded without an open bidding process. […]

Ride-hail firms can apply to operate in B.C. Sept. 3, ahead of launch this year

Jul 8 2019 — Dirk Meissner — VICTORIA — The journey to bring ride-hailing to British Columbia came closer to a destination Monday as the provincial government announced it will start accepting applications in September for companies to enter the market. Safety, insurance and penalty rules and regulations were updated, but still to come this summer are rules covering fares that drivers can charge, vehicle boundary […]

Plans to save threatened B.C. caribou on hold as NDP mends fences

Jul 6 2019 — Dirk Meissner — VICTORIA — Premier John Horgan's New Democrats continue to face widespread criticism in northeast British Columbia over the government's attempts to introduce plans to save threatened caribou herds. Political friends and foes say deep concerns remain about plans to save jobs and the caribou, calling last month's introduction of an interim moratorium on new resource development […]

Vancouver Island treaty agreement in principle includes West Coast trail lands

Jun 28 2019 — Dirk Meissner — VICTORIA — A popular British Columbia backcountry trail known for challenging hikers is slated to become part of a treaty agreement in principle between the federal and provincial governments and two Vancouver Island First Nations. Portions of the 75-kilometre West Coast Trail and Pacific Rim National Park Reserve are included in the proposed land, cash […]

B.C. teen overdose inquest recommends improvements in substance abuse treatment

Jun 27 2019 — Dirk Meissner — VICTORIA — A British Columbia coroner's inquest jury recommends improvements in provincial substance abuse treatment, detection and prevention services for young people following an inquest into the overdose of a Victoria-area teen. The jury cites B.C.'s health and education ministries and the Vancouver Island Health Authority in its recommendations after hearing from more than 40 witnesses into […]

Indigenous drummers lead pipeline protesters on 22-kilometre march in Victoria

Jun 22 2019 — Dirk Meissner — VICTORIA — The government approval of the Trans-Mountain pipeline expansion won't stop efforts in British Columbia to halt the project, protesters gathered outside Victoria's city hall said Saturday. About 300 demonstrators were adamant in their commitment to fight the pipeline twinning project, approved this week by the federal Liberal government, as they prepared to embark […]

B.C. home support for seniors is unaffordable, which boosts care costs: advocate

Jun 19 2019 — Dirk Meissner — VICTORIA — Most seniors in British Columbia can't afford the public home support system to keep them in their own homes for as long as possible, says a report from the province's advocate for seniors. Isobel Mackenzie said Wednesday data compiled by her office concludes home support service is too expensive for thousands of seniors and many end up […]