COLUMNS: Facing challenges

The big news in the city last week was getting $500,000 from the province to begin the process of establishing a heritage village.

The big news in the city last week was getting $500,000 from the province to begin the process of establishing a heritage village starring the 153 Mile store and, hopefully, eventually, a new museum. It’s a start. Lots of work to do.

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One matter that isn’t high on the community’s agenda but should be is the challenges facing the forest industry. Cariboo Chilcotin, like other forest dependent areas, will be affected by the challenges which include decreasing timber supply, uncertainties over the Softwood Lumber Agreement, government policies and even climate change. Mills have been closing all over the place, including in the interior, and more closures are expected. If (when?) the forest industry takes a dive in our community, are we ready for it? What can we do?

Anyone concerned will have the chance to discuss the future of our forests as it impacts our local economy — and our lives — at the Cariboo Arts and Culture Centre on March 16 at 7 p.m. Ben Parfitt, Forestry Analyst for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and Peter Ewart, co-founder of Stand Up for the North Committee, will be keynote speakers. The public is invited to attend and add their two bits worth to the discussions. The issue won’t be resolved at one meeting, but it might galvanize enough people to Do Something.

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Today is International Women’s Day. It’s probably getting more attention this year, at least in the U.S. and Canada because of President Donald Trump and Canada’s Conservative leader candidate Kevin O’Leary. Trump professes to be a feminist but he has his own version. Among other things, mini-Trump O’Leary complains that having to work with so many women at CBC is “ridiculous.” I personally don’t like labels. Regardless of gender, skin colour, race, religion, whatever, people are people. However, as public figures. both Trump and O’Leary might be labelled jerks.

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If the current SD27 school calendar wasn’t broken, the trustees wouldn’t be fixing it, but changing the Christmas holidays to begin Dec. 25 has me baffled. If a family is going out of town to spend Christmas with Granny, how can they get there in time?

Diana French is a freelance columnist, former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.