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On Monday, Ontario imposed a blanket ban on cellphone use in schools across the province. While most schools had individual policies in place, the province chose to implement a standardized ban.

Students are now prohibited from using their cellphones in classrooms unless they’re required for health or medical purposes, to support special education needs, or for education purposes allowed by the teacher.

Here in School District 58 Nicola-Similkameen, Superintendent Steve McNiven confirmed to Q101 that neither the province nor the district has a cellphone ban in place.

“In SD58 it is generally left to the teacher to determine classroom rules regarding cellphones,” added McNiven.

In imposing the ban in Ontario, the Ministry of Education reported that 97 per cent of parents surveyed supported a cellphone restriction in some capacity.


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The last time Will George, Manager of Economic Development, Tourism, and Communications presented to Council his qualifications came under fire from Coun. Mike Bhangu. 

“Where did you gain the skills to put together an ad?” Asked Bhangu. “Because I’m looking at this ad compared to others and I believe that these other ads are much better. Our ad seems to be lacking.”

“He’s been hired by our CAO,” began Mayor Linda Brown. “If you have a question about the project itself, yes, but I think personal qualifications are not part of this table.”

Tonight, Will will once again be presenting again to the Council.

“We will be looking at the MRDT and the tourisms structures that exist around the province,” said Will. “Council will have a chance to debate and have a discussion on how we want to move forward with tourism and marketing.”

The Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT) was introduced in 1987, by the Provincial Government, to provide funding for local tourism marketing, programs, and projects. The tax is intended to help grow BC revenues, visitation, and jobs, and amplify BC’s tourism marketing efforts in an increasingly competitive marketplace. There are more than 50 communities in BC who now collect the MRDT and invest more than $28 million to promote themselves, currently, the City of Merritt is not one of the 50+ communities.

This evening the resolution on the table for Council to consider will be “that staff work with Merritt & Nicola Valley Destination Marketing Society towards re-establishing the MRDT in the City of Merritt.

Tonight’s meeting begins at 6 pm in the Council Chambers at City Hall. 


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In October the BC NDP introduced a bill to the legislature laying out how the province will incorporate the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP).

The bill which is currently making its way through the legislative process would be the first of its kind in Canada.

Upper Nicola Band Chief Harvey McLeod joined Q101 to discuss the work he’s been doing to ensure the bill gets passed.

“I’ve been doing my own lobbying with some of our Liberal MLAs to ask them to support the legislation so it can go through and be given royal assent,” said McLeod.

The BC Liberals have not stated a public position on the bill as there has not yet been an official vote held on the bill.

(The following is from an article written by Chief McLeod)

On October 24 the BC Government introduced Bill 41: Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. As a Board member of the BC Assembly of First Nations, as elected Chief of the Upper Nicola Band, and as a First Nation community member, I’m excited about this. We were involved in drafting the legislation. I think it shows that the province, and the people of BC, are ready to have a real relationship with the 203 First Nations who have lived here since time immemorial. They are ready for reconciliation.

The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, which many say is a road map for reconciliation, must ensure that we can all meet our purpose. And for those of us who depend on the forest industry to survive, that means the adoption of this new legislation must lead to new ways to keep our industry working.

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Green Party of Canada

Elizabeth May has announced that effective immediately she is stepping down as leader of the Green Party of Canada. May served in the role since 2006, becoming the first Green MP elected to Parliament in 2011.

Robert Mellalieu ran locally for the Green Party in October’s election and joined Q101 to share his reaction to the news.

“I’m saddened, but I’m looking forward to a new era. Elizabeth has put a foundation in place that we can build upon for years to come,” said Robert. “I’m happy for her, I’m sad for me, I think she deserves a break.”

During her speech, May mentioned the possibility of becoming Speaker of the House.

“She always strived for making the Parliament more respectful and trying to get the maximum work done. I think she would be good as Speaker,” said Robert.

With May stepping aside, there’s now a vacancy at the top of both the Federal and BC Green Parties, as Andrew Weaver announced earlier this year, he would also be stepping down ahead of the next election.

Robert who has run under both the provincial and federal banner believes it can be a positive time of growth for the parties.

“I think it will be good to get some excitement going. We now have a much bigger pool of people to pull from that will be interested in running for leader,” said Robert. “I think it’s a really good time.”

The Federal Green’s leadership race will end in October of next year. The BC Greens will name a new leader in June of 2020.


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The Thompson Okanagan Region is the first Canadian destination to join the World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO), joining 27 committed partners across 5 continents.

“We warmly welcome the new sustainable tourism observatory of Thompson Okanagan, which has demonstrated already at this early stage its strong commitment to advance sustainability based on evidence and participatory processes, key elements of successful sustainability strategies,” said Dirk Glaesser, the UNWTO’s Director, Sustainable Development of Tourism.

The network was established 15 years ago to “support destination stakeholders to take focused and coherent action to accelerate the shift towards sustainable consumption patterns, thus turning the goals proposed by the international community into reality.”

Glenn Mandziuk, President & CEO of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association spoke to the recognition: “We are honoured to be selected as Canada’s first destination to join a network of leading organizations from around the world as part of the UNWTO‘s INSTO program that will help us share, measure, and understand the economic, social and cultural implications of tourism. We believe this important announcement continues to showcase our Region’s strong commitment to developing tourism in a responsible and sustainable manner.”

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