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An RCMP officer from BC says it is time for bus passengers to buckle up and get rid of the false sense of security associated with buses. Constable James Ward, who interviewed survivors of the deadly Christmas Eve bus crash near Merritt, B-C., says there is a misconception that, because the buses are so large, passengers think they’ll be OK in a crash. RCMP investigators said in a statement that the bus was travelling west from Kelowna towards Merritt when it went off the road, crossed the median and flipped onto its side, killing four people.

BC Premier David Eby says his government will enter the new year with plans to keep supporting families and make the most of a predicted budget surplus. In a year-end interview, the premier says he’s aware the province faces possible economic challenges, but the government wants to stick to its priorities by supporting cost of living, public safety, health care and housing measures. A budget surplus of 5.7-billion dollars was revealed in the government’s economic update this year, but economic growth of less than one per cent is also predicted going forward.

With the support of a forecasted 5.7-billion-dollar budget surplus, BC’s premier is promising the spending will continue into the new year. In a year-end interview with David Eby, the premier says in 2023, the government will introduce more initiatives to help people in tough times and tackle homelessness across B-C, while sticking to his promise not to call an early election. He also says the government will seek to remove encampments at Vancouver’s CRAB Park and along Hastings Street — while launching initiatives to address homelessness.

The northeast side of Snowpatch Spire in Bugaboo Provincial Park, a popular spot for Canada’s rock-climbing community, has been marred by a rockslide. Bugaboo mountain guide Tim McAllister says the collapsed rock face featured multiple, world-class, and very challenging, free-climb areas; making it one of the great, granite alpine climbing areas of the world. People familiar with the spire say the rockfall has affected about a dozen rock climbs.

The American military says it had a dangerously close encounter with a Chinese fighter jet. The international incident happened over the South China Sea, when the fighter jet flew within 20 feet of an Air Force reconnaissance plane forcing the American pilot to maneuver to avoid a collision. And it is not the first time. The same behaviour led to a 2001 in-air collision in which a Chinese plane was lost and the pilot killed.