Natives, Nelson and, of course, the NDP - Kamloops This Week
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Natives, Nelson and, of course, the NDP

“The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities.”
- Lord Acton.

From natives to Nelson and one-armed bandits, it’s been one heck of a week.
• Thumbs down: To Shuswap Nation Tribal Council chair Art Manuel and native protesters at SnowJob 2001 for attempting to turn investors and tourists off the Kamloops economy. Whether you deserve land, resources or cold, hard cash, discouraging people from bringing money into the economy, which, by the way, we all share, probably isn’t the smartest way to support your cause.
• Thumbs up: To the Kamloops, Little Shuswap and Whispering Pines bands for seeing the light and supporting SnowJob. A strong economy benefits all peoples.
• Thumbs up: To Kamloops MLA Cathy McGregor, who personally raked me over the coals for my “Thumbs down: To the NDP, well, just for being the NDP,” in the last Rearview. Arguably one of the few respected NDP MLAs left, it’s good to see Cathy hasn’t lost her bite despite the sinking ship she occupies. A word of advice, however: Best save your bite for the Liberals, Cathy. You’ll need it.
• Thumbs down: To the NDP’s last “balanced” budget. After ballooning the provincial debt to $34.7 billion from $17 billion in 1991, a final balanced budget won’t be what you’re remembered for.
• Thumbs up: To the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, for settling the dispute with Judy Koropatnicki about a malfunctioning slot machine. All right, all you gambling addicts in withdrawal, it’s safe to embrace those one-armed bandits once again.
• Thumbs up: To Nelson Riis. After a jaw-dropping loss to Betty Hinton, the life-long socialist is on the verge of building a multi-million dollar housing company. Featured in this weeks McLean’s magazine, Riis’ Rockport Homes is providing efficient housing to second-and third-world countries. The company opens its first plant in Chile this July. Who says a New Democrat can’t make a sound businessman. How did Ujjal let this one get away?
• Thumbs up (and good luck): To city engineers Maurice Gravelle and Ernie Kurtz, who sent away a Canada/British Columbia infrastructure program application for $69 million this week. If it succeeds, every single Kamloops taxpayer may be spared the agony of having to sell a kidney to pay for their utility bill. If not, let’s hope the $9.3 billion injected into health care opens some kidney-operating rooms at Royal Inland.
• Thumbs up: To Darren Liebrecht, who parked his rig, leaving his family with little income, to fight for the trucking industry.
• Thumbs down: To all you truckers who failed to turn out to Saturday’s meeting with Liebrecht to form a regional association. Granted you work 18-plus hour days, but if you don’t stand up and take advantage of this man’s energy, you may soon have more time on your hands than you ever imagined possible.
• Thumbs down: To the previous Kamloops Indian Band council, who obviously didn’t plan ahead for the River’s Trail. Had they done a better job communicating with their members and accountants this beautiful project could have been a success.
• Thumbs up: To Bonnie Leonard for having the fortitude to realize the band’s limitations, unlike her predecessors.

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