Cullen returned to Ottawa
After polls closed in the May 2 election, NDP candidate and incumbent MP Nathan Cullen was returned to Ottawa, easily beating out the other candidates. Cullen finished with 19,431 votes, equal to 55.33 per cent of the vote, while his next closest opponent Clay Harmon of the Conservative Party finished with 12,255 votes, good for 34.5 per cent of the vote in the riding. Kyle Warwick of the Liberals finished with 1,268 votes, Roger Benham finished with 1,102 votes, Rod Taylor got 1,038 votes and Maggie Braun received 165 votes. This would be Cullen’s fourth term as Member of Parliament for the Skeena – Bulkley Valley riding.
Nationally, the Conservatives got a majority government and the NDP won Official Opposition with the Liberals well behind in the seat count.
ILWU reach long-term labour agreement
On May 3 members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) ratified a new agreement with the BC Maritime Employer’s Association, lessening the prospect of any job action at West Coast ports. The new agreement is for eight years, which the union says will provide stability and certainty to everyone involved, and includes a new program for maternity and paternity leave, which was one of the union’s key demands.
Feds approve Northwest Transmission Line
The Federal Government approved construction of the Northwest Transmission Line, ending several months of waiting on the part of people and businesses in the northwest. Approval was granted on May 6 by federal officials working with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Infrastructure Canada, the same agency providing $130 million of the line’s $404 million construction cost.
Hundreds protest Enbridge
Upwards of 400 people of all ages, walks of life, and ethnicity congregated at Mariner’s Park on May 12 to protest the proposed pipeline from Alberta to the B.C. coast and its subsequent oil tanker traffic. People had travelled from all over the region to attend. The timing of the rally was not unintentional. Representatives from Enbridge were in town for the annual North Central Local Government Association conference this week and the company is one of the conference’s platinum sponsors.
Revamped cruise season gets underway
The 2011 cruise season actually started on a Friday with the May 13 visit from the Norwegian Pearl, but that wasn’t the only thing different about 2011. A local Cruise Task Force initiated a number of new activities and programs to welcome cruise passengers, including placing buskers around town, a brand new visitor guide and moving the Salmonberry Market to the Atlin Terminal parking lot. Other activities during the year included a salt water touch tank, a fishing derby for kids and a social media campaign led by high school students.
Seafest Gardens cancelled
As residents from around the northwest prepared for the annual Seafest celebration organizers of one of the weekend’s larger events announced that it wouldn’t be returning in 2011. According to the Prince Rupert Lions Club the annual Seafest Gardens, which they have hosted for the past 30 years and often is attended by more than 1,000 people, had to be cancelled due to issues around security for the event.
Relay for Life a success
The annual Relay for Life took place at the on the track at Charles Hayes Secondary School on May 29 and the total amount raised was more than $55,000.