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Responsive Governance

Posted on May 27th, 2016 by


By Dean Midyette
Pioneer Publisher
The Village of Canal Flats mayor and council need to be applauded. In the wake of the Canfor mill closure late last year, they have been working overtime to create a solid foundation for stability and growth.
It would be easy for the council to come up with soundbites with no substance or panicked kneejerk reactions, to refer to “creating a business-friendly environment” or “encouraging a positive aura that will attract new residents.” Fortunately for the 700 residents of Canal Flats, their elected officials have taken the correct …

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“Pay”-ing attention

Posted on May 20th, 2016 by


By Dean Midyette
Pioneer Publisher
On June 1st, the province will be increasing fines for distracted driving with the hope that it curbs rampant cell phone use while operating a vehicle. Currently, distracted driving is the second highest cause of vehicle related fatalities in British Columbia, trailing only impaired driving (see story on page 5) and the number one contributor of vehicle collisions across Canada, with eight out of 10 resulting from this selfish behaviour.
According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, you are 23 times more likely to crash while driving distracted.
The …

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Support relief efforts and be prepared

Posted on May 6th, 2016 by


By Dean Midyette
Pioneer Publisher
The pictures are horrifying and the stories from those forced to flee are heartwrenching. Fort MacMurray is burning with no end to the flames expected in the near future. At the time this editorial was written, over 80,000 people had evacuated the city and over 1,600 structures were confirmed burned.
Residents have described the city as “a war zone” and “apocalyptic”. Firefighters are arriving from neighbouring communities and the federal government is assessing the situation with plans to direct our Armed Services men and women to assist. We …

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Responsible management

Posted on April 22nd, 2016 by


By Dean Midyette
Pioneer Publisher
There have been reports swirling in the provincial media over the last few weeks in certain school districts about proposed school closures and mismanagement of district funds amid calls of chronic underfunding for public education.
Let’s remember that school boards are legally bound to table balanced budgets. Failure to do so results in the firing of the trustees by the Minister of Education who would then appoint a trustee to oversee operations until the next election cycle.
The Vancouver School Board is facing a massive deficit of $27.2 million …

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Full speed ahead

Posted on April 8th, 2016 by


By Nicole Trigg
Pioneer Staff
The topic of a proposed 20-horsepower limit for the main channels of the Columbia River came up during the federal All Candidates Forum held at the David Thompson Secondary School theatre last fall in the lead up to the October 19th election.
Candidates were asked what they would do, if elected, about implementing a limit on the river’s main channels that wind through Fairmont as well as between Invermere and Golden — a proposal local stakeholders had agreed to years before.
At the time, Stetski pledged he …

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Last Past the Post

Posted on April 1st, 2016 by


By Dean Midyette
Pioneer Publisher
During the federal election campaign last fall, Justin Trudeau and the Liberals committed to changing the first past the post voting system currently being used. Earlier this week, the government released the changes they will be presenting to parliament.
Voters will now be given one vote for every $10,000 per year they earn, rounded down. Income from provincial and federal social assistance programs, Old Age Security, Canada Pension Plan and any money from other programs such as Employment Insurance will be included when calculating income and votes. …

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Fighting fentanyl

Posted on March 25th, 2016 by


By Nicole Trigg
Pioneer Staff
You can’t see, smell or taste fentanyl. As little as two milligrams — an amount equal to a couple of salt crystals — can be fatal. Other drugs can easily be cut with it so users don’t even know they’re taking it until it’s too late. As the fentanyl-related overdose rate and death count also rises, the question of how to curb this trend is what local authorities are trying to tackle. The distribution of take-home Naloxone kits is a short-term strategy to stop people from dying, …

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Stay avalanche aware in spring conditions

Posted on March 18th, 2016 by


By Nicole Trigg
Pioneer Staff
As we move into spring, the sun and warmth up in the mountains hold huge appeal. That being said, just because cold weather survival is no longer requiring so much preparation and effort, this doesn’t mean that the backcountry is any less dangerous. Spring presents new hazards that are not encountered during the colder winter months.
According to Avalanche Canada, March is the worst month for avalanche fatalities. Moving from winter to spring creates significant changes in the snowpack, and weaker layers that have been buried become …

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Ethics of eating

Posted on March 11th, 2016 by


By Nicole Trigg
Pioneer Staff
A disturbing news item made headlines earlier this week when it was reported that Health Canada is planning to end mandatory one-year pesticide safety tests using dogs. It turns out that, for any food-related pesticides such as crop sprays, toxicity tests involving non-rodent animals have been going on since the 1980s.
In this particular testing, dogs (typically beagles) are specifically bred to be poisoned. The testing begins when the dogs are six months old, and continues for a year, during which time the beagles live in cages and …

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Calling for change

Posted on March 4th, 2016 by


By Dean Midyette
Pioneer Publisher
In 1973, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program was established to allow employers to hire highly skilled workers. By all accounts, it was highly successful and represented a path to citizenship for those immigrating. In 2002, a “low skilled workers” category was added. This category of workers now makes up most of the foreign workforce. It was revised again in 2013, with the governing Conservatives making it more difficult and expensive ($1,000 per employee, up from $275) for companies to hire foreigners. The accelerated application process was scrapped. …

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‘Growing’ closer

Posted on February 26th, 2016 by


By Dean Midyette
Pioneer Publisher
The election last October may have been a referendum on Stephen Harper’s policies, but when it comes to the issue of legalizing marijuana it was also a “reefer”-endum. Canada is now inching closer to changing laws that apply to the growing of marijuana as well as its distribution, sale and use.
Last week, a federal court judge struck down a law enacted by the previous Conservative government that barred medical marijuana patients from growing their own cannabis. In the decision, the justice stated that patients “have demonstrated that …

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Celebrating businesswomen

Posted on February 12th, 2016 by


By Nicole Trigg
Pioneer Staff
There are so many inspiring women in the Columbia Valley who are movers and shakers, contributing to the local economy, helping it grow, and even helping reinvent it.
The Pioneer’s annual Women in Business feature provides the public with the chance to get to know more about who some of these women are and their accomplishments, and to understand what drives their dedication as well as what motivates their business and/or entrepreneurial spirit. It’s also an opportunity for residents and visitors to identify which ones, of the services …

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A current of community caring

Posted on February 5th, 2016 by


By Nicole Trigg
Pioneer Staff
There have been so many incredible fundraisers in this community over the past several years that have provided for individuals and families facing times of crisis.
The Support Timmy event at Panorama last Saturday night was no different. Anyone who went can vouch for how much people in the Columbia Valley care for those in need.
In a letter written by Tim Goldie’s wife, Laura Lindsay, that was read out to the assembled crowd, she likened Tim’s brain cancer diagnosis to being dropped in the middle of the ocean …

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Full court press

Posted on January 29th, 2016 by


By Dean Midyette
Pioneer Staff
The British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) will be back in court, this time in front of the highest court in the land. The Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to hear arguments from the BCTF and the province regarding whether teachers have the constitutional right to bargain class size and composition. In 2002, then-Minister of Education Christy Clark introduced Bill 28 and imposed a new contract on teachers which stripped class size and composition language from the contract. In a 2011 ruling the courts found that the …

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Deer cull revisited

Posted on January 22nd, 2016 by


By Dean Midyette
Pioneer Staff
The video of the fawn being culled in Cranbrook is making its rounds on social media and has been posted on YouTube. Regardless of how we individually feel about dealing with urban deer, we also need to look at the political process through which these decisions are made.
In Cranbrook, the decision to implement a cull was made by their city council in-camera. This means it is out of the public eye and those privy to the process of making the decision are bound by privilege and cannot, …

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Good timing

Posted on January 15th, 2016 by


By Nicole Trigg
Pioneer Staff
In 2012, according to Statistics Canada, Calgary’s median family income rose 5.2 per cent to $98,300, making Calgary Canada’s richest city in terms of median family income at the time (the national median total family income was $74,540). Around the same time, in 2011, the B.C. government calculated the median household income here in the Kootenay region at $56,000, lower than the B.C. provincial average of $60,333.
Not exactly enticing for young families and professionals looking to settle in the Columbia Valley, but this disparity in income …

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Trap… and relocate

Posted on January 8th, 2016 by


A long-awaited alternative to culling deer is in the beginning stages. While clearly Invermere is one municipality that has thrown its weight behind culling as a way to control the urban deer population within its municipal boundaries, not everyone has agreed with this method. This has been evidenced by several local public protests and many letters to the editor, as well as the efforts of the Invermere Deer Protection Society in the form of an animal rights lawsuit against the District of Invermere, which was ultimately dismissed, but did cause …

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Voices of hiding

Posted on January 1st, 2016 by


By Nicole Trigg
Pioneer Staff
It’s with a heavy heart that many in the Columbia Valley are learning the news of the closure of the Three Voices of Healing treatment centre. Since moving to the valley from Creston in 2012 and taking up residence on Shuswap Indian Land, the wellness facility has received a tremendous amount of support from the community at large and The Pioneer has had nothing but good news to report. In December 2014, the Three Voices of Healing Society Wellness Centre earned the highest accreditation possible for a …

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A tie tradition

Posted on December 24th, 2015 by


By Dean Midyette
Pioneer Publisher
In this week’s Echo, I wrote about our family’s traditional Christmas. What was omitted were some Christmas shenanigans that became a part of my family’s traditions over 70 years ago.
In 1954, one of my uncles gave his brother-in-law a tie. Adorning the tie was a green and gold satellite tie pin (Sputnik I, the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth, was launched three years later).
The following year, the tie was re-gifted back to its original owner at Christmas, much to the glee of the family members …

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Gas grumblings

Posted on December 18th, 2015 by


By Nicole Trigg
Pioneer Staff
Gas is down, but it could be lower, according to a Bank of Montreal economist. A little bit of research led him to discover that while gas is the lowest it’s been in years across Canada, it should be, on average, almost 20 to 30 cents less, given the current bottom-of-the-barrel oil prices. So what gives?
A few factors, it turns out. The low Canadian dollar translates into costlier gas, which is based on U.S.-priced crude, a lot of which is refined in the States.
Then you have …

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