Bits and Bites – Wednesday,June 10th 2009

Good morning people! I’m still not used to being back- something about all this noise is really hitting me hard! Damn, even the suburbs are ridiculously noisy all the time, which is why my 5 am run this morning was such a pleasure. Simply put, it was quiet. Which reminded me again why I must try to get away from it all more often than I do.

Delta police are finally recommending charges against the mountie involved in a fatal accident that took the life of  21 year old Orion hutchinson back in October 2008. Constable Benjamin Monty Robinson could be facing one charge of impaired driving causing death, and one count of dangerous driving causing death, as police have forwarded the charges to Crown for approval. Orion Hutchinson was struck by the mounties vehicle and died of his injuries. At the time, Robinson was driving with his two children in the car, and left the scene immediately. He was later arrested, given a breathalyzer which he failed. He claims he was not drunk while driving, but upon leaving the scene with his kids, had two shots of vodka  that put him over the limit. Yeah…… sure. You may recall Robinson is also one of the officers directly involved in the taser death of Robert Dziekanski ( warning: this link takes you to the video of the incident)at the Vancouver Airport in 2007, the investigation of is still ongoing in the Braidwood Inquiry. At this time, none of those officers are facing charges.

This is what I think about drunk driving related charges. In my opinion, any death as a result of someones choice to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not an accidental death. I would compare it to a homicide. I don’t care what defense the sleazy lawyers come up with, if you know you are going to be drinking, make arrangements. No excuses. Robinson has set up the perfect defense so far, as I hear it. Left the scene, but allegedly left his identification and returned to the site of the accident, thereby he didn’t ” hit and run”.  By leaving the scene, he gives opportunity for the defense to show that the possibility was available that he could have consumed alcohol after the collision, although a judge has already denied that claim in the officers attempt to get his licence back earlier this year. This is one case that is sure to receive much media attention because of the notoriety of the officer involved.

Over the past few years, there have been a a number of missing persons cases that remain unresolved in the lower mainland, in particular, several surrounding the abrupt disappearances of young men between 18 and 35. Some of the victims families believe the cases may be related and some are said to have similarities, although RCMP have not made any connections.

 CBC has now compiled a list of the men, complete with photos, descriptions and the particulars of each case- all of which can be accessed HERE. In the interest of closure for the families, I’d urge you to look at the photos and if there is anything you know – no matter how insignificant it may seem – or anyone you recognise, get in touch with the RCMP or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477 to remain anonymous.

Summer in near and that means that B.C.’s recreational areas are about to be flooded with people escaping the confines of the city. Although most people take precautions against mosquito and fly bites, surprisingly there are still many who are not aware of the potential danger of tick bites.Here in BC we have a majority of western black-legged ticks, otherwise known as deer ticks. The danger in a tick bite comes if the tick is carrying Lyme disease, something that is easy to handle if diagnosed early, but creates a multitude of health problems if not caught. The problem is that diagnosis here in BC is not often easy, and so often physicians will give antibiotics with a reported tick bite, regardless of whether the tick has Lyme or not.

This is something I dealt with last year after my 4 year old son received a tick bite in May while at our getaway place off the sunshine coast. It seems the tick hopped on his clothing while going up or down the beach cliff trail, and not knowing ticks were found on the island, I didn’t think to check his body after the beach excursion. it wasn’t until later that afternoon when I noticed a dark spot on the back of his head, among his hair under the little hollow at the base of his skull. Sure enough, the deer tick had embedded itself and was already feeding and starting to swell. Ick! Never having removed one, we called someone on island who was familiar with their removal, and she had it out in no time. We kept the tick in a small jar -as everyone should- for testing if need be at the CDC in Vancouver.  Unfortunately, in the week after our return, my son developed a fever and swollen glands, and it was decided that a full course of antibiotics would be the safest bet for a full recovery.  So, learn from this mistake, because ticks are found all over the lower mainland , the Fraser valley, the sunshine coast and the rest of BC.

And last, but not least, if you are a child of the eighties like I am, you’ll,like,totally get me,dude, when I tell you that this was one of the most totally bitchin’ music videos of my youth….. ( ohmygod,I’m like,totally, like, dating myself here..) But hey, it still makes me get up and dance!

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 )  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.


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!