LNG venture offers First Nation a game-changing $1 billion

Plus, Victoria eyes Vancouver and Telus gets tangled in a small-town feud

A billion, with a b
An LNG venture led by Malaysia’s Petronas has offered an aboriginal group an unprecedented sum of money to obtain its consent: $1 billion. If the Lax Kw’alaams band approves the offer—to be voted on later this month—Pacific NorthWest LNG’s proposed $11.4-billion export terminal near Prince Rupert still has one more major hurdle, however: federal environmental approval. Nonetheless, “This will be a real game-changer for many First Nations in terms of how they can build their future,” B.C. Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister John Rustad told the Globe and Mail. The $1 billion would be paid out over the course of 40 years.

Growing pains
Vancouver isn’t the only B.C. city with a growing number of pot dispensaries. Victoria now has 15 of its own. Mayor Lisa Helps told the Globe and Mail that city council will offer recommendations May 7 regarding how to respond—and that they’re closely watching what happens in Vancouver. She said federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose, who has asked Vancouver to abandon its plans to regulate dispensaries—which would “legitimize and normalize” pot use, Ambrose argued—should instead work with Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. Cities, she said, need to start regulating now, with or without the federal government. “If we wait around for senior levels of government to rescue us, half the stuff we need to do wouldn’t get done,” Helps told the Globe. “This is, again, another situation where local governments need to take leadership.”

The price of a pay phone
The town of Coalmont, B.C.—population: 100—lies 50 kilometres east of Hope and, now, 20 kilometres west of the nearest outdoor pay phone. A strange feud between two locals, the reason for which remains unknown, climaxed when Roland Giroux allegedly drove his car into Warren Spence, who, at the time, was using a Telus pay phone. Giroux is now being charged with attempted murder, but for townsfolk, another price was paid: Telus says it can’t justify the costs of replacing the pay phone. In a town with shoddy coverage and its share of poor, sometimes phoneless folk, this has some locals upset. (via CBC)