Quesnel Municipal Elections 2014: All Candidates Forum at Royal Canadian Legion October 28 by Arthur Topham



Arthur Topham

Editor & Publisher, QuesnelCaribooSentinel.com


QUESNEL, B.C.:- The 2014 Quesnel Municipal Elections got off to a great start this year with the first All Candidates Public Forum held at the Royal Canadian Legion on Tuesday evening, October 28th.

By 7 p.m. the hall was full to capacity and commencing with a few brief introductory remarks from Quesnel District Chamber of Commerce President Graham Armstrong the business of moderating the evening's performance was turned over to Simon Turner of the Quesnel Rotary Club.

Simon, as per usual at Legion events, called upon the audience to rise up on their feet and then initiated a few moments of silent meditation and prayer followed by a rousing chorus of "Oh Canada". Then he proceeded to enlighten the audience on the organizational format that was to be followed throughout the evening.

Keeping with recent precedents set over the past few years the public attending the forum were told that if they had questions for the candidates that they would have to submit them via writing. The questions would then be picked out of whatever candidate's box they were placed in and hopefully they would get an answer to their query.

Just how truly fair such a process is remains controversial as it basically nullifies a longstanding tradition in Western democracies wherein citizens who've taken the time to attend a forum find themselves no longer able to exercise their freedom to walk up to an open microphone and direct their concerns to whomever of the candidates that they wish to get a reply from. It also, unfortunately, opens the door for potentially partisan decisions on the part of those choosing the questions thus creating the possibility of adversely affecting the resulting dialogue.

Simon then explained to the audience how the little Christmas lights – green, yellow and red – (inserted into a small black wooden box and set up on a table in front of the long row of hopeful candidates) would light up and be used to signal the speakers so they didn't go over their allotted 3 minute time period for either presenting their views and platform or their reply to whatever question that might be asked of them. If, for whatever reason, they were to get too immersed in their  own oratory and failed to follow the sequence of coloured prompters then the person holding the stop watch would ring a warning bell and cut short any further excess of verbiage on the part of the would-be politician.

The audience, having understood how the game was to be played, were thus prepared and Simon called upon the two mayoral candidates to come up and present their opening remarks. The order of speaking was to be alphabetical and so Bob Simpson, the new challenger for the position of Mayor of Quesnel, was the first person up to the podium.

Simpson  gave a dynamic, positive and forward-looking speech to the audience outlining his reasons for why he felt he would be the best person to lead a council and the city over the next four year civic mandate. Bringing a love of the area and a wealth of ideas gained over his previous years of experience as Cariboo North's MLA, first as a Cabinet Minister for the NDP government and then as a sitting Independent, Simpson was able to confidently announce to the listening audience clearly reasoned perspectives and proactively viable solutions to the current issues relating to Quesnel's infrastructure and governance as well as outlining some of the more serious pending challenges facing the city due to the provinces changing economic landscape.

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Time for Quesnel to Honour its Heritage


The Cariboo was blessed to have it's own homegrown artist Mr. Barrie Jason Curtis who devoted many years of his life to embellishing the region with countless artistic treasures  that have given the area its unique sense of historic perspective. But all of Mr. Curtis's work has not been preseverved and cared for as it ought to have been.

The mural shown in the above photo was painted by Jason Curtis back in 1984 when the city of Quesnel had embarked on a mural project designed to highlight the Cariboo Gold Rush theme that the city is known for.

Mr. Curtis painted a number of large murals that were located in various locations both in West Quesnel as well as in the downtown area of Quesnel proper.

For whatever reason the city never followed through on the upkeep of these murals many of which were beautifully done and conveyed a realistic historic sense of the area with scenes from the early days.

Thirty years later only three of Curtis's murals are still hanging on buildings in town. One is on the old Sparting Printing and Advertising building in West Quesnel just off the Moffat Bridge on the right. It showns a scene of one of the old sternwheelers that used to travel from Soda Creek up to Quesnel during the gold rush period. It is in need of referbishing.

The one in the worst condition (see above) adorns the north wall of the Bank of Nova Scotia on the corner of Reid Street across from Willis-Harper Home Hardware store and is becoming more of an eye-sore than a source of pride for the city. 

This close up of the lower right hand corner of the mural is a good example of the type of disrespect that the city is showing for the mural and it begs the question as to why such neglect has been allowed to carry on for so long. Is it the responsibility of the Bank of Nova Scotia to look after the maintenance of the mural? If it is then why hasn't the city approached the bank and asked them to look into having the mural repainted?

Surely the Bank of Nova Scotia has the funds to fix this deplorable situation. If for nothing else other than making their own business look good. As it now stands it certainly isn't adding to anyone's appreciation of either the mural or the banks exterior look.

Jason Curtis's artwork has been the mainstay of Cariboo Gold Rush theme from the start. His famous and well-loved childrens coloring book called The Cariboo Goldrush Coloring Book plus his many paintings and signs and even Quesnel's logo itself including the gigantic sign at the junction of Hwy. 97 and the Barkerville Hwy all have added that very special flavour to local area. 


On top of all of those initiatives Jason Curtis's artwork and ideas are what gave the whole Billy Barker Days theme its lifeblood.

All of this legacy has been poorly handled by the city of Quesnel and the city's attitude is best reflected in the fact that it let all of the mural project go to wrack and ruin with the odd exception here and there.

Not something to be proud of given that Mr. Curtis was a local resident born in Barkerville back in 1933 and a man who gave his heart and soul to helping make the Cariboo a place of beauty.

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The Dustry Trunk is now open for business


The Dusty Trunk, a truly unique shop filled with an incredible array of antiques, collectibles and one of a kind crafts, located one kilometre east of the famed Cottonwood House Historic Site on the equally famed Barkerville Highway (Hwy #26) is now open for business.

This is a gift shop that you don't want to miss on your way up to Wells, Barkerville and the Bowron Lake chain.Owner, Sheila Phinney, has arranged her store with something to capture the eye of any passerby as will be evident from the photos below. 

The Phinneys also operate the Rooster Ridge Camping site for travellers who wish to camp overnight and explore in and around the local area. There are some sites with hook ups, some with hydro all in a quiet setting. Spend the weekend and enjoy the Saturday night jam sessions held every weekend at the Cottonwood Community Hall. This is a once in a lifetime experience for those who love to dance and listen to real old-style country music performed by local musicians from around the Cariboo.

Here are some of the fabulous items that visitors will find hidden away in the Dusty Trunk. Do drop in and check it out!




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The Dusty Trunk now open in Cottonwood, B.C.


Note Please: The Dusty Trunk will be closed until mid-May, 2013 during the winter months. Sorry for any inconvenience.

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Arthur Topham charged with hate crime


Arthur Topham charged with hate crime

By Autumn MacDonald - Quesnel Cariboo Observer
November 23, 2012

After waiting five months, Arthur Topham has now been officially charged with willful promotion of hatred.

RCMP searched and seized property of the Quesnel resident in late May of this year, after it was determined there were “reasonable grounds the offence of promotion of hatred was committed.”

Crown officially moved forward on the charge earlier this month.

Since then Topham has had to comply with certain conditions, including restricted Internet access and is prohibited from maintaining his websites (including the Radical Press domain.)

Crown continues to request the courts permission on further restrictions.

Topham, who adamantly denies the charge, says he’s hopeful having his day in court will raise awareness surrounding free speech and the definition of “hate crimes.”


“This is not to say that I have full confidence in Canada’s judicial system but it will hopefully give me an opportunity to present the facts and the truth before a judge and jury of my peers; something that would never have happened if the case had been decided by a tribunal,” he said.

“In that regard, therefore, I welcome the opportunity to challenge these Draconian “hate” laws that have been set up to protect vested interests here in Canada.”

Topham says ever since he was charged with a hate crime in 2007 he’s been forced to battle with the Canadian Rights Commission and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

Back in 2008 the Quesnel Cariboo Observer published a story in which Topham had received a complaint from the Canadian Human Rights Commission stating he was promoting hatred towards Jews and citizens of Israel.

Topham maintains a site, RadicalPress.com with the tagline “Digging to the root of the issues since 1998.”

Currently Topham is permitted to continue posting to his site; Crown is seeking to prohibit posting.

“Of course my immediate concern is that the crown wants to assume that I have already been found guilty and therefore shouldn’t be allowed to write or post on my website in
order to defend myself against these spurious charges,” Topham said.

“Given how the msm is smearing me already I feel it would be highly unfair to take away my charter rights prior to this case being heard in a court of law.”

Topham’s next court appearance is slated for Nov. 27.


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Shuffling with Santa and The Salvation Army


Shuffling with Santa and The Salvation Army

On December 1st, Canadians from 39 cities will hit the ground running, walking or shuffling in the The Salvation Army’s 22nd annual Santa Shuffle.

Funds raised during the 1K or 5K walk or run will help The Salvation Army support the millions of Canadians currently living in poverty. This Christmas, The Salvation Army is emphasizing that every gift can make a big difference in the life of a person in need, and this family-friendly event is a great way to get involved.

We’ll see you at the races!

To register, or for more information, click here.


Click here to watch video



Email us
or visit our website
2 Overlea Blvd,
Toronto, Ontario M4H 1P4
©2012 The Salvation Army. All rights reserved.


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Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Bill Bennett will take part in three events in Quesnel on Tuesday, Nov. 13.


Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Bill Bennett will take part in three events in Quesnel on Tuesday, Nov. 13.
Nov. 12, 2012
Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development
QUESNEL – Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Bill Bennett will take part in three events in Quesnel on Tuesday, Nov. 13.
Time: 11:05 a.m.
Bennett will visit a Quesnel Drinking Water Supply project (Production Well #10) to view the recent upgrades funded by a Towns for Tomorrow grant.
3534 Hilborn Rd.
Matt Gordon
Director of Communications
Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development
250 896-4923
Matt Wood
Communications Supervisor
City of Quesnel
250 255-1170
Time: 1:30 p.m.
Bennett will tour the College of New Caledonia campus. This tour will focus on the success of the college’s trades program that is providing skills training for the next generation of B.C. workers.
100 Campus Way
Matt Gordon
Director of Communications
Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development
250 896-4923
Time: 2:45 p.m.
Bennett will visit the Quesnel Search and Rescue Centre for a funding announcement.
#14 Johnston Bridge Loop

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Revolt against Basi-Virk payoffs was behind van Dongen's jump By John Twigg



The Daily Twigg  Vol.1 No. 33  March 28, 2012

B.C. Politics Trendwatch
In this issue:
1. The moves behind van Dongen's jump
2. New polls add to Premier Clark's woes
3. MLA Bob Simpson views feeding frenzy

Revolt against Basi-Virk payoffs was behind van Dongen's jump

By John Twigg

The sometimes frantic pace of B.C. politics seemed to take a bit of a breather yesterday as if everyone wanted to stand back and digest the earthquake from the day before when longtime B.C. Liberal MLA John van Dongen not only left that party but also instantly became the first sitting member of the upstart B.C. Conservative Party.

While lots of people had known for quite a while that van Dongen (Abbotsford-South) was amongst the most aggrieved Liberal backbenchers on the verge of leaving the Liberals in protest of Premier Christy Clark's evident mismanagement of numerous issues, very few if any other MLAs or any pundits knew he would take a second step into the Conservatives' ranks too. (I saw one suggestion that Independent MLA Vick Huntington knew it was coming, but no others.)

Clark sees Liberals as the only free-enterprise choice

Several versions of what had happened eked and leaked out about exactly what took place, including various versions from van Dongen, Conservative leader John Cummins, blogger Alex Tsakumis and other participants, and there were even more versions about what it all will mean and lead to going forward, and of course there was lots of misleading spin from Clark when she finally faced the media shortly after the noon newscasts yesterday to the effect that in her mind she's determined to keep the B.C. Liberal Party as the only practical way to preserve a free-enterprise coalition that can prevent the New Democratic Party from winning power in the 2013 provincial election (which sounds to me like a line coached into her by strategist Patrick Kinsella).

"The only thing that John van Dongen accomplished yesterday was making it a little easier for the NDP to get elected in British Columbia," Clark said, typically understating the gravity of her situation.

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MLA Van Dongen shakes balance of power in B.C. politics with shocking exit from Liberals to join B.C. Conservatives By John Twigg



MLA Van Dongen shakes balance of power in B.C. politics with shocking exit from Liberals to join B.C. Conservatives

By John Twigg


The lure of "a broadly based, credible free enterprise option in the next provincial election" and the alleged lack of accountability in Premier Christy Clark's B.C. Liberal Party government have caused 17-year Liberal MLA John van Dongen to suddenly join the upstart and until-now seatless B.C. Conservative Party.

"When more and more decisions are being made for the wrong reasons, then you have an organization that is heading for failure," an even-voiced van Dongen told the hushed Legislative Assembly on Monday afternoon in a personal statement right after Question Period, calmly and quietly sending an earthquake through the structures of B.C.'s partisan politics.

Van Dongen explained he has been concerned for more than a year about what he alleged were inconsistencies in what Clark told people about what her own role had been in the B.C. Rail sale when she was running for the party leadership, which she narrowly won one year ago this month, and about other concerns such as the $6-million settlement for Basi and Virk in the BCR scandal as well as certain other issues.

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