Armchair Mayor

By: Mel Rothenburger

Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). He continued to write columns for The Daily News until it ceased publication Jan. 11, 2014, and did regular commentary for CBC Radio.

Council should just say no to Ajax, period

July 15, 2017 - 5:00am

Kamloops City council has a big decision to make Monday, and it’s not as cut and dried as it seems.

True, the council will vote no on Ajax, because at least four out of the six members — Denis Walsh, Dieter Dudy, Tina Lange and Donovan Cavers — oppose the mine. Pat Wallace and Arjun Singh are question marks.

After that, it gets more complicated. It will be tempting to ask for conditions on the mine if the province and feds approve it despite council’s opposition.

Martin Mars a pricey symbol of hope against wildfires

July 14, 2017 - 5:00am

Where’s the Martin Mars?

That’s a question that’s been all over social media during the past week since the big outbreak of wildfires that resulted in a provincial state of emergency being declared.

In many people’s minds the huge Martin Mars — which can carry more than 27,000 litres of water — is a savior come wildfire season. Lives are at stake, after all.

The Mars is a majestic, impressive machine, and people love it. So pretty much every day, somebody asks why it isn’t being used, and the media scramble to get an answer.

Calm heads needed in row over evacuation order

July 13, 2017 - 5:00am

If an RCMP officer knocked on your door and told you to evacuate your home due to an approaching wildfire, what would you do?

Most of us would get out as fast as we could.

But, as it turns out, an evacuation order isn’t really an order; it’s just a very strong suggestion. They’re issued only reluctantly and under dire circumstances, but if you decide to stay in your home, you won’t be charged with anything.

Communications lesson learned from 2003 firestorm

July 12, 2017 - 5:00am Updated: July 12, 2017 - 4:27pm

KAMLOOPS — Right about now, frustration and impatience should be setting in among some of the unfortunate people who have been displaced from their homes by the wildfires.

Tempers will grow short as exhaustion takes hold, and questions about how the emergency is being handled will become more urgent.

While the response both in the woods and at evacuation centres has been nothing short of outstanding, it hasn’t been perfect.

The small things count for wildfire evacuees

July 10, 2017 - 3:30pm

KAMLOOPS — One can’t fully appreciate the enormity of the job involved in looking after wildfire evacuees until you drill down to the small things.

As we go about our everyday routines, we take for granted the small but necessary details of life. But we certainly notice them when they’re gone.

One of the most important roles of government agencies and volunteers is to provide those things for the people who’ve suddenly been forced out of their homes. The objective is to make life as normal as possible in abnormal circumstances.

Proof of God's existence is on the streets of Kamloops

July 8, 2017 - 8:22am

All my life, I’ve been skeptical about the existence of a supreme being. I was raised an atheist, but drifted toward agnosticism quite some time ago.

I dabbled in studying a bit of religion while in university and it convinced me I just don’t have the wherewithal, nor the blind faith, to get it. (Believe it or not, I still have the textbooks, two volumes of “Christendom, A Short History of Christianity and its Impact on Western Civilization.”)

Omar Khadr’s settlement a case of defending human rights

July 7, 2017 - 5:00am

Those expressing outrage at the $10.5-million settlement between the federal government and Omar Khadr should look more closely at the facts.

Contrary to what some might think or what some editorialists would have us believe, this isn’t a case of the government losing its mind and simply handing over a big paycheque to a confessed terrorist. It’s a settlement of a $20-million lawsuit. (He also reportedly will receive an apology.)

Proud Boys’ interruption of protest was a dumbass move

July 5, 2017 - 10:04am Updated: July 5, 2017 - 6:36pm

KAMLOOPS — Here we go again with another controversy over statues.

On Canada Day, five off-duty members of the armed forces walked up to a gathering of activists and Indigenous protesters at a statue of Edward Cornwallis in Halifax and spent roughly eight and a half minutes debating colonialization with several of those in attendance.

Carrying a Red Ensign, the interlopers exchanged some mildly heated rhetoric with the Mi’kmaq protesters, who were displaying an upside-down Maple Leaf. The men identified themselves as members of the Proud Boys, an ultra-right organization.

Rushing to build something on KDN property would be a mistake

July 4, 2017 - 6:00am

KAMLOOPS – Now that all hope of saving the Kamloops Daily News building is lost — the contract has been awarded to demolish it and put up a parking lot — we’re supposed to rest assured that City Hall is already thinking hard about what to build there.

At last week’s City council meeting, Acting Mayor Arjun Singh emphasized that it’s important for everyone to understand that the parking lot is temporary. We must come up with ideas for long-term use, he said.

City CAO David Trawin offered assurances that the appropriate committees will be brainstorming on the subject.

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