I’m back…..although not willingly.

After taking some time off over the last 10 days, I return to the real world under protest. Nothing like a departure from all things modern and obtrusive to put some perspective back into your life, which is how I spent my time off. No watches, no tv, no computer and no schedules. And other than suffering from over a couple hundred bug bites and a river otter attack ( no lie) it’s all good. I’ll bring you all the details later this week.

Funny though, after not hearing ,reading or watching any news for that time, it was a delight to see  this bit by Tieleman on one of the latest turns in the Basi-Virk hearings:

” BASI-VIRK – Defence alleges Christy Clark may have leaked confidential BC Rail information from cabinet to Erik Bornmann – lobbyist for OmniTRAX “

What? Ex-deputy minister turned talk show host for the once mighty CKNW alleged to have possibly leaked confidential material ? Well, it’s not like anyone following this never-ending story didn’t know her name was going to come up at some point- her brother Bruce is a big L Liberal player whose home was searched under warrant pertaining to the privatization of  BC Rails Roberts Bank spur line- among other interesting allegations. And let us not forget the RCMP did make a visit- without warrantand with full cooperation – to the home of Christy Clark and  her Big L  Liberal hubby Mark Marissen, who is well known as a strategist and ‘communications’ specialist for the Federal Libs. ( check out this older column by Tieleman for the A to Z on the BC Rail investigation  http://billtieleman.blogspot.com/2008/12/a-z-of-basi-virkbc-legislature-raid.html )  And yes, it goes without saying that all of these are unproven allegations, yada, yada,yada… but I like it anyways.

And what else did I find upon my return? Ah, yes, it appears that King Gordo is going to table a new budget come fall. ( Big surprise, eh? ) AND, he is not committing to the deficit he repeatedly rammed down the throats of voters as written in stone. In fact, despite the fact that economists have known for some time Gordo would never be able to keep that budget, and that he would have known it was impossible to keep that deficit figure, Gordo now appears to be prepping the massed for an unpleasant surprise. As quoted in this Tyee blog post in The Hook :

“We’re obviously living in a very volatile time,” said Premier Gordon Campbell following the swearing in of the B.C. Liberal Party caucus today. “When facts change we have to be willing to change.”

It looks to me like Campbell thinks the people really are stupid enough to believe that the economy has just tanked since his re-election. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, Campbell voters. Any by the way, he also mentioned he is looking for another $1.9 BILLION( yes, billion) in cuts.

Still the biggest unreported story in the mainstream media, the Enbridge Gateway pipeline project I blogged about here and here  recently, was again the subject of summit to address the environmental risks associated with the proposal.  And interesting enough, a link left in the comments sections that quotes part of a column published in the Prince George Citizen is no longer available online. That same link was left here in my comments section by a reader( Astro). The column mirrors my thoughts on Enbridge’s initiative to start a ” grassroots” organization funded on their bankroll. Censorship? All I know is that ex-mayor Colin Kinsley still pulls strings where and when he can, not to mention the new mayor and Council in Prince George are for the project.

Now, the other interesting bit to note is that to this day, I am still the only writer to have addressed the significance of Yvette Wells notebooks pertaining to the BC Rail/Basi-Virk hearing, which was posted to this blog on March 10th of this year, right after the NDP made the documents available to all the press – photocopies and a researcher on site. You can read that post and see the picture of those documents HERE.

In fact, Bill Tieleman even commented on this in his Tyee column of May 11th, earlier this year:

” So far there is no “smoking gun” that incontrovertibly proves the defence theory correct, although there is considerable evidence that points in the direction of a viable hypothesis.

But one piece of information contained in the NDP release of 8,000 pages of information previously obtained by defence lawyers through freedom-of-information requests has not been discussed anywhere so far except by blogger Laila Yuile, and posted online by the NDP ”

It’s still seems more than a little crazy that the lowly blogger, reviled by many of the MSM as unreliable,unprofessional and lower than low, would be the only one to spot this gem among the hundreds of pages the NDP handed right over to the press. Taken from the above mentioned blog post from March 2009:

The  notebooks.

 Not just any notebooks, but the notebooks of  Yvette Wells, who up until now has remained an obscure figure in all of this.

 Yvette Wells  was the  Executive Director of the Crown AgenciesSecretariatat the time of the sale. The Secretariat is responsible for the accountability of  crown corporations, so keeping that in mind, it could be said that she was basically the person to oversee the accountability of the entire BC Rail sale  in her position. She would very much have been the “go-to” person of preference to reference anything to do with the ongoing negotiations.

Her notebooks were released because of the relevance of the information within them to the entire BC Rail deal, and they do not disappoint. Among all the hundreds of pages that I read through, the following excerpt clears any question as to the fairness of the bidding process for me. 

” dilema :

          - don’t want to mislead other bidders

           – don’t want to tell them CN are getting other info -  don’t want them to do work, spend $

           - don’t want them to drop out b/c if can’t resolve issues- we may go back to other bidders.

           -  CN got data from CIBC that they shouldn’t “ 

October 22, 2003 notes.

Wow.

Kind of hard to explain those notes away no matter how you try to spin it. Remember – this was coming from someone who was in charge of accountability and governance of crown corporations.

In fact, many of her copious and detailed notes back up  the accusations voiced by other bidders in reference to an unfair bidding process.”

Read the rest of this significant item HERE.

Why – with the exception of Bill’s recent mention- has this bit gone ignored? Where is Yvette Wells now, and why hasn’t her name come up in court? Please, slip this one to the judge and lawyers will you?

I’m sure there is more I’ve missed, but these are a few things that grabbed my attention. Along with the little CKNW Angus Reid poll that found its way into my email this morning. Apparently the big ratings drop over the fall winter season, where CBC radio ended up beating them nearly across the board, seems to have left them trying to figure out what moves to take to grab those listeners. The survey touched on items like internet radio, ipods as well as suggestions as to what we, the listeners would like to hear.

Now, the topic of CKNW and masthead host Bill Good has been something the political blogging community has been touching on for a while. He claims to be unbiased, but revealed his Liberal inclination to listeners through his on-air discussions throughout the election,and it appears to have turned off a lot of listeners.  Now, I think a host that has a bias and doesn’t hide it, is great and that can lead to rousing talk on air- the entire point of it. But when a host who has built his reputation on being neutral suddenly rears his political head in a rather obvious way, it turns people off. People want the real deal, not hidden connections and unadvertised agendas. 

 That, along with all the ads, the poorly written and dispatched “breaking news” emails and the same  bland, old day after day routine, is enough to send even the most devoted listener looking elsewhere.  And CBC seems to offer the best alternative to the once mighty giant CKNW.

What do you think? What do you listen to, and why? Are you turning away from conventional radio towards other sources? I’m curious, since it has always been my intention to offer a weekly podcast show here, although I haven’t incorporated it as of yet. Looking for your suggestions and feedback  on this topic as I look towards the future of this blog and the launch of the new Laila Yuile site.

Oh yes, and more on otter attack coming up later this week!

 

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17 Responses to I’m back…..although not willingly.

  1. Loren says:

    Cknw has been on a downturn for years, as their main audience slowly dies off. They have never been able to attract and grab the younger generation for more than momentary blips( such as the anti-bullying ratings game) Twitter wont make a difference nor will Facebooking. Are they insane? Get some new hosts!

    What they need is a host who isn’t merely pandering to the corporate sponsors.Christy Clark just doesn’t have that sex appeal factor that could bring in the younger business crowd as advertisers.She can talk politics but lacks in the personality department.
    All this aside,their election coverage was appalling in it’s one sidedness sway for the Libs.

    I would like to see some interactive medium on your site, something that allows us, the readers, to chat or interact with you in real time. May I suggest the software or whatever it was that Gazetteer used on election night? Or how about a bi-weekly editorial podcast or other media file? I’d definately enjoy that.

  2. David Ebner says:

    On the coverage of Gateway, The Globe and Mail has followed it closely, starting in 2005 and 2006, through its fallow period in 2007 and 2008, and now again as Enbridge makes its second push. A long story was recently prominently on the front of the paper’s business section. Too often bloggers act as though they are doing the work the “mainstream media” is not. This is true in some cases; in others, it is not. David Ebner, Globe and Mail, Vancouver.

  3. “It looks to me like Campbell thinks the people really are stupid enough to believe that the economy has just tanked since his re-election.”

    A combination perhaps of a dumbed down populace and a legacy media owned and run by his friends and supporters; however one figures it, it keeps working for Gordie.

    “And by the way, he also mentioned he is looking for another $1.9 BILLION( yes, billion) in cuts.”

    These, true to form will be cuts to muscle, never fat. We’ll lose courthouses, prosecutors, cops, pay paramedics peanuts … but continue to pour $7 million+ every year into The Ministry of Healthy Living and Sport, for one example.

  4. Laila says:

    Thank you for stopping and pointing that out David (Ebner) - it is true that the Globe that most often covers items in depth that are not covered( or perhaps by only a brief mention) in The Sun or Province, or on local evening news – all three of which many people in BC rely on for sources of information. Case in point, Basi-Virk.

    It seems to me, however, that a very large portion of British Columbians still seem rather clueless that the pipeline project even exists, many of whom are on the coast here. None of my neighbours know. None of the people I talk with on the street know, or have even heard of it.Even up the sunshine coast, there are so many who haven’t even a clue as to whats going on.
    No one seems to know oil tanker traffic along the BC coast is a real possibility with this project.

    I’ve received quite a few letters from people in Rupert and Kitimat who feel all but ignored by the press. While the numbers of readers who are exposed to the Globe are obviously high, the vast majority of average working people may never open one, again, relying on The Sun or The Province.

    David in North Burnaby- Sadly, I think you are correct. Wait til the 2010 bills start rolling in. At least he can’t say he didn’t see that coming.

  5. David Ebner says:

    Laila, very true, all counts. I’d add that the PG Citizen does good work. All in, it is the overall oomph of widespread coverage, in print, on the air, online (individual blogs and on), that will make the difference. In terms of attention, it’s still pretty early, I guess, in the process, but never too early for people to pay attention. The worry would be people only pay attention when it is too late. We’ll see if and when–expected soon–Enbridge files with the National Energy Board. There would certainly be some attention once that process evolves. Public hearings would be likely.
    Dave

  6. Laila says:

    Ah yes, those good old public hearings where far too often it is done so the public can continue the illusion that their input really matters, after so much money has already changed hands…

  7. David Ebner says:

    It is true the NEB has a long record of finding the proposals of large and small oil and natural gas companies ‘in the public interest.’

  8. Laila says:

    On the subject of bloggers and traditional reporting, it would be nice to see more synergy between the two. I think we fill different niches,that together, could be harnessed to better serve readers of both.

    I work as a freelancer writer for a variety of clients and the blog works as both advertising for my writing, as well as a discussion forum for various issues I think my readers might be interested in hearing about. Sometimes I refer to articles or columns as a starting point for the opinion, and this is where the relationship between the two is lacking. There is some sort of opportunity here for both niches, I think.

    What’s your thought on this?

  9. David Ebner says:

    The more information the better, is what I am thinking. A lot of things are on the go. City papers would do well realize their (already partly fulfilled) role of aggregator–links to prominent local bloggers would be one idea, used by some (the Guardian, I think–that paper (nee the Manchester Guardian, has always been progressive).
    I second your thoughts and I think in the next two years we will see thinks accelerate notably. The Globe’s new editor, John Stackhouse, appointed a couple weeks ago, is very keen, digitalwise.
    I also recommend twitter.com/mathewi for all sort of links to the melding of old and new media.
    I think a big lesson is “old” media stick around longer than people would guess in the storm of change. Think: Radio. (Which I love.) Each medium complements the others, with the web being a melding of it all. So I wholeheartedly support what you say. The Van Sun, and Globe BC, would be well served in efforts to cover more remote places such as Fort Nelson or Kitimat to connect with, and promote, and benefit from, important local voices.

  10. Laila says:

    Well said. Melding is the key word- a marriage of sorts between the old and new.
    Work beckons now that my afternoon break is over, but thanks for chatting David, and feel free to stop by and give your take on whatever we are talking about. I like the way you think!

  11. Gary L. says:

    Welcome back Laila! I was beginning to fear that you had followed David Berner’s footsteps! Re: Christy Clark, add Judith Reid and Gary Collins to the mix. They ALL bolted for the nearest Exit Door when Railgate grew legs…………………… hmm. History ditates that it is NEVER the alledged crime, but the coverup that squashes the house of cards.Gordo and the Budget/Election? Well, just one more nail in the coffin as to why people are disenfranchising themselves from voting. And there is Vanilla Bill on NW, feigning bewilderment, and crying crocodile tears, lamenting “why, oh why are fewer people going to the Polls”? I am onto his game, and I don’t like it.
    Now, about the river otter?
    Cheers

  12. Lancaster says:

    As a person in my mid-20′s and have been listening to the station since I got my first radio way back when, I’m starting to think that CKNW may be along the path of oblivion. All their current personalities are too bland or aren’t willing to “stir-the-pot”.

    Bill Good is a good radio host, but all his shows are very generic (in a bad way), and as you mentioned before, his “neutrality” is also now in question.
    Christy Clark is boring to listen to. She doesn’t offer anything interesting and doesn’t make any lasting impressions either.
    Jon McComb/Philip Till are probably the only shows I enjoy listening to. They will actually try to make the show entertaining and easy to listen to. Plus they do dwelve further into the story than almost all the other hosts.
    Dan Russell is starting to sound like a broken record, that’s why I listen to the Team1040.
    I dunno who the weekend/substitute people are, they all the sound the same.
    I do enjoy Michael Campbell, especially when he was filling out for Jennifer Mather a few years back. It’s a shame they don’t give him more air-time, since I find his views from an economist angle very fascinating.

    Now that CKNW got rid of David Berner, Peter Warren, Don Taylor (as short as hist tenure was), Frosty Forst (along with Jennifer Thompson), Stirling Faux, plus many others…. replacing them with mono-toned personalities and inexperienced reporters…. plus losing the broadcasting rights to the Canucks and the Leos…. they’re going to eventually end up like CFUN… and where are they now?

  13. Laila says:

    Gary L : Have no fear, I don’t think I’ll ever run out of things to write about. Insatiable curiosity! The river otter story is coming, just catching up on all the emails from my absence.

    Lancaster – I agree totally – Stirring the pot is a lost art. It seems that the safe bet is not to offend anyone or rile things up like the old guys used to. Ah, to imagine David Berner on air again!!!
    I do really like Jon McComb, and although I hear a lot of people dislike Philip Till, I think he’s funny. You have to ‘get’ him to like him. I’m sure he’s full of stories.

    The biggest controversy to hit the NW airwaves in a long time, IMO, was the Bruce Allen rant that pissed off many in the Indian community as well as other immigrants. That got more people listening just to hear what all the fuss was about, and started generating discussion.

    That’s what I enjoy about this blog, the freedom to write what I want, without pandering to any advertisers or corporate types. I’ve talked about Sikh infanticide, gender inequality, racism, reverse racism, abortion, crime,… the list goes on if one goes back and reads through the archives. And it’s all generated honest and open discussion, with very little flack. I think people are looking for that honesty on air too, but will we ever see that ? I’m not sure. That’s why I rarely listen to radio anymore at all.

    But what would both of you think about podcasts or some kind of audio features here? Any suggestions?

  14. I think Laila podcasts is a terrific idea.

  15. Gary L. says:

    Podcasts yes! However, I feel like a greedy little kid! I want MORE, yet you are the only one doing the “work” on this Site. We the readers, are just enjoying the ride!

    Cheers

  16. Astro says:

    If you wish, I could send you the complete article about Enbridge titled “Pipeline Propaganda.” It is more than 5 pages long (1675 words I think.) Let me know if you want it.

  17. Laila says:

    Astro,if you can send it PDF format, that would be easiest to embed for me. Or, cut and paste the portions that are msot pertinant. I will email you the address.

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