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In the lead up to the provincial election on October 24, Q101 will be posting several articles highlighting the local candidates’ thoughts on issues facing Merritt, Fraser-Nicola, and the province. 

The five confirmed candidates in the riding are Liberal Incumbent Jackie Tegart, NDP Aaron Sumexheltza, Green Jonah Timms, and Independents Mike Bhangu, and Dennis Adamson. 

Today, the five candidates were asked about small business.

In particular, the candidates were asked about ensuring that small businesses have the resources necessary to survive the winter and second phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

*Candidates are listed in alphabetical order

Dennis Adamson, Independent 

*Has not yet responded to Q101’s request for an Interview*

Mike Bhangu, Independent 

Immediately we need to give them more money. They need to be able to survive the pandemic and that should be our focus.  Small businesses are the backbone of our communities, and both of these parties have failed in my opinion. Yes, they come along and suggest that they will do something but have they? If they had done something, would small businesses be struggling as much as they are? No, I don’t think so. 

Aaron Sumexheltza, NDP

There are businesses that are suffering. I think skills training is very important. Of course, tax relief for small businesses to be able to move forward, you have to look at all avenues. Making sure that people are able to make enough money through better wages. Those are some of the important things that I think families and businesses are looking for. 

Jackie Tegart, Liberal (Incumbent)

One of the options that we presented to the government was rather than deferring taxes for small businesses we suggested it was time to forgive those taxes, to give them that leg up they need to survive over the winter. We are hearing from small businesses that although they were able to open in the summer, many had lost bookings that had been on their books for a year. They saw such a shift in who their clientele was. 

One of the things we really need to do is pay attention to what small businesses have told us they need and look at how we can assist them through the winter season. 

Jonah Timms, Green

I appreciate what has been done so far. I feel like a lot more business would be out of business if we hadn’t taken the actions we’ve had.

We need to maintain ways of getting small businesses to the local market. One thing that I would really love to see is having an online presence for our local businesses. We need better communication between the consumers and the sellers.

I would fully support setting up programs in local communities, so we have a list of businesses that are open and what they have for sale. That way we can start competing with those big mega-corporations and start purchasing things locally.


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The numbers of those testing positive for Covid-19 in British Columbia took a dramatic hike over the weekend as 358 cases were reported Monday by B.C.'s provincial health officer.

Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the three 24-hour reporting periods 130 new cases were reported from Oct 2 to 3, from Oct. 3 to 4 108 new cases were detected while 120 cases were reported on Monday.

"This represents a total of 358 new cases, including eight epi-linked cases, for a total of 9,739 cases in British Columbia,” said Henry. “There are 1,353 active cases of COVID-19 in the province with 3,010 people who are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases and 8,115 people who tested positive have recovered.”

She added that 66 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19, 16 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.

"Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 3,580 cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 4,980 in the Fraser Health region, 220 in the Island Health region, 322 in the Northern Health region and 89 cases of people who reside outside of Canada.

Henry also reported that there have been four new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 242 deaths in British Columbia.

In the Interior Health Region which encompasses the Nicola Valley, there were 13 new cases of Covid-19 being reported bringing the total to 548 in the region.

Currently, 19 cases are active and in isolation with two people being hospitalized


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(One of the most popular events of the Laughing Logger Sports Show is the log-rolling demonstration. This year's show will happen this weekend at the Merritt Rodeo Grounds.)


Organizers of the annual Laughing Loggers Sports Show say that despite Covid-19, the event has been given the green light and will thrill audience members with four shows beginning Friday night.

 The event now in its fifth year in the City will be held at the Merritt Rodeo Grounds and will be a Drive-In style show according to committee member Jerry Canuel.

"This is going to be a lot of fun for the entire family,” Canuel told Q101 news. “The show has been approved by Interior Health and we are good to go.”

Canuel added that due to social distancing requirements only 50 vehicles will be permitted for each show which begins Friday at 6 p.m. and continues Saturday at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.

 “It's absolutely free of charge thanks to generous support through donations so we encourage you to call ahead to reserve your space then fill up your car and come out for some great entertainment,” he added.

 The always popular Ben Lefler and his Laughing Logger Lumberjack Show will once again be providing the fun at the event which Canuel hopes the one-hour show will provide some much-needed distraction from the events of the day.

 “We hope that we can instill some laughter and joy to those who come to the show despite the hardship that has happened throughout 2020,” Canuel noted.

 According to Canuel Friday nights program is being dedicated to the First Responders of the community while Saturday's shows are dedicated to loggers, truckers forest and mill workers, the Merritt Business Community, and the Merritt Cruisers Car Club.

“It's important that we recognize these groups who have made a difference in our way of life, especially during the pandemic,” he said. 

To reserve your spot for the Drive-In Laughing Loggers Sports Show contacts Clint at 378-1597, Etelka at 315-3290 or Jerry at 315-5103.


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‘With the first overall selection.’

It’s a phrase that young hockey players lay in bed dreaming about hearing.

But the truth of the matter is, there is only one first overall pick per year, and going first doesn’t destine you for greatest as much as going in the seventh round destines you for a career in the minors.

Just remember, Nail Yakupov went number 1 and is currently playing in Russia, while Hendrick Zetterberg was selected 210th.

So, while he won’t hear his name called during the first round this evening, Merritt’s own Talon Zakall still has the ability to write his own history through hard work and dedication to the craft.

The Merritt Centennials defenceman has been garnering some draft buzz in recent months and is slated as a dark horse to be drafted in the late rounds of the 2020 NHL entry draft.

If that were to happen Talon would be only the fifth Cent to be drafted directly from the organization and the first since Casey Pierro-Zabotel went in the third round to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2007.

“I think it’s pretty crazy to think about, I think it’s something that every kid dreams of growing up. Even to be considered in the draft is an honour,” said Talon. “Just keep my fingers crossed, keep my head down, keep putting in the work, and hopefully good things happen.”

 While being drafted would be a massive honour, Talon is still working towards the next step in his personal development as a hockey player, an NCAA Division 1 commitment.

“What I want to do next is play hockey at the next level and try to excel my game from there,” added Talon.

Closer to home, Talon is gearing up for an unusual season in the BCHL with the Centennials as they look towards their first preseason tilt on Friday.

“I think all the guys are really excited, we haven’t really had a taste of hockey here in Merritt since the spring. It will definitely be really nice to get that into that first exhibition game,” said Talon.

Rounds 2-7 of the NHL draft will be held on October 7, starting at 8:30 am pacific time.


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On Twitter: @Q101Merritt

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A fifth candidate will be on the ballot when residents of Fraser-Nicola head to the polls on October 24.

Dennis Adamson is now confirmed by Elections BC to be running as an independent.

Adamson brings intrigue with him into the provincial race, as prior to announcing his candidacy to run as an independent he was serving as the VP of the NDP’s Fraser-Nicola Riding Association.

Adamson along with 12 others all resigned from the riding association following the acclamation of Aaron Sumexheltza.

“We all joined the NDP because it was a democratic organization and with Craig Keating and Raj Sihota at the top positions they have just dictated how things go in our riding. Last time they interfered with the nomination for Harry Lali because they were pushing Aaron at that time,” said Adamson after stepping down in September.

“He (Aaron) wasn’t our candidate, we never wanted him. We don’t feel like he portrays the true NDP spirit and we’re just being bullied on by Craig Keating and Raj Sihota who think they know our riding better than we do,” added Adamson.

Adamson joined Q101 News to discuss his new campaign.

“I was one of 13 people that left the NDP executive because of having a candidate forced upon us,” began Adamson. “I thought about joining the Greens, then figures I don’t want to be part of any party anymore. I just want to be able to represent the people, fight hard for them, without being a member of a party.”

With his deep ties to the local NDP, Adamson discussed the possibility of splitting the NDP vote with Sumexheltza, essentially aiding in Liberal Jackie Tegart’s re-election bid.

“Well, I hope not, I hope that people decide that I’m who they want to send to Victoria and all vote for me,” added Adamson.

The five candidates now confirmed to be running in Fraser-Nicola are;

Liberal Jackie Tegart (Incumbent)
NDP Aaron Sumexheltza
Green Jonah Timms
Independent Mike Bhangu
Independent Dennis Adamson


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On Twitter: @Q101Merritt



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