” Losing an illusion makes you wiser than finding the truth” ~ Karl Ludwig Borne

“…I know I can’t go back to working parallel to the real problems, hiding my opinions and yet somehow hoping that one viewer every night might piece together what I wanted to say. I thought if I paid my dues and worked my way up through the ranks, I could maybe reach a position of enough influence and credibility that I could say what I truly feel. I’ve realized there’s no time to wait. ”  ~ Kai Nagata, former CTV Bureau Chief, Quebec City, on Why he quit his job.

Powerful words from a young journalist who bravely bared his heart and soul to the world, after quitting his job at CTV- and nearly became famous for it. You may have already read it -his ‘manifesto’ went viral – but if you haven’t, grab a cup of coffee or a drink and take a few minutes to absorb and reflect at the link above. What Kai speaks to is a big problem for the media in this country, a media that is more and more often compromised by advertisers/profits/politics- take your pick. And in my opinion, Kai’s post became so big, so fast, because so many others like him working for news outlets across the country, felt exactly the same way. As he states in his follow up post 24 hours later : ” People are thirsty.”

We all have illusions, and when those illusions are shattered it can rock your world. My illusion, for the longest time, was that it is the duty- yes duty- of news outlets and journalists to report the truth, no matter what; to hold those in power at all levels accountable and to remain free of bias from any outside influence.

I’ve learned that is not always the case in this era where far too often profits are prioritized over journalistic excellence, ethics and integrity. It’s something that is never far from mind when I research and write, and I have hardly been the only one to talk about and question what has happened to the profession. In this post from last year, I refer to retired journalist  and fellow blogger, Harvey Oberfeld and his questions about influence, Sean Holman of Public Eye Online who examined a sponsorship deal involving government and our big local dailies.

And of course, more recently was a very revealing post written by Ian Reid, in which he speaks of the ‘club’ between local media personalities and local politicians, which of course matters because as Ian succintly states: ” The truth suffers.” If you don’t read these kind of revolutionary posts, you might not know that  “Bill Good( CKNW), Rick Cluff( CBC Radio Vancouver) and others share personal relationships with BC Liberal premiers, Cabinet members and MLAs.  They hang out.  They golf together.  They are personal friends.”

You might not know that Stephen Smart( bureau chief, CBC Victoria) is married to Rebecca Scott, who was a long time producer at CKNW and was most recently whisked away to Victoria by the former CKNW talk show host and new premier, Christy Clark as her communications director… but I’m sure none of these relationships and friendships and marriages could ever, ever, influence what or how something is reported in this province… right?

Ian’s post is key to understanding why some stories never see the light that could be shone on them by the mass audiences of the largest outlets in BC. And here is why:

“That could be the BC Rail story in a nutshell.  Much of the media was part of the strategy to sell from the beginning.  And they’re still a party to the cover-up.  The local Bell media clan – CTV and the Globe – were spoon fed by the prosecution with information that only supported the prosecution’s view that the full extent of the scandal is nothing but the actions of a small group of rogues.  And now the CTV newsroom staffs the Premier.

What’s worse is it’s not isolated.  The club brings the same vision to every story.  For every BC Rail story half hidden by the club there’s another two fully hidden.”

Isn’t that the truth.A serious matter when the current sitting premiers statements about her lack of involvement in the BC rail sale seem to be directly contradicted by the documents circulating on the net . But move along folks, nothing to see there, right?

And I think that last statement of Ian Reids might apply to far too many other stories as well. When I broke the Sea to Sky Shadow toll story, which became a series, it was first run by News1130, did a midnight run on the CKNW overnight news before being halted when the morning crew arrived.. and that was it. Nothing. A reporter from the Squamish paper did a couple stories on it, it went viral, and then nothing more in the media until Mark Hume of the Globe and Mail did a story that received national attention. There was proof, there were confidential, sensitive documents and there were outright lies written in emails from ministry of transportation PR reps, but there was no coverage from the biggest news outlets in BC. And I asked why, as did others.

Off the record, it came back to me that the shadow tolls on the Sea to Sky highway were old news to many in the media who knew about them back when the protests were happening at Eagleridge bluffs. Some of the protesters has discovered that ” vehicle usage payments” were part of the deal with the consortium financing it, and took it to the press, thinking the people of BC should know we are all paying for each vehicle that uses that road, but no. Nothing was done, no one was interested, the story was never told until some sensitive documents started finding me.

That really surprised me, that the presence of these payments had been known to so many in the media who have been around for a while. And it was an eye-opener, since how could that not be newsworthy? Even some junior reporters were surprised at all of it. My first personal experience with how it all works, and perhaps theirs too.

It’s true that losing an illusion makes you wiser than finding the truth sometimes, but my illusion that the press should be free from any obligation other than the public’s right to know, is one I wish was still unbroken.

I’ll leave you now with an excerpt from that previous post examining media bias, because there is no other way to end this but with a reminder of a code of ethics every newsroom should have on their wall – in my opinion – and one every news director or editor should paste on the screen of every reporters computer:

“It is important to note that the Society of Professional Journalists have posted on their site, a code of ethics.  Among these voluntary guidelines, are sections devoted to  acting independently, and being accountable :

Act Independently
Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public’s right to know.

Journalists should:

—Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
— Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.
— Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.
— Disclose unavoidable conflicts.
— Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.
— Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence news coverage.
— Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; avoid bidding for news.

Be Accountable
Journalists are accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers and each other.

Journalists should:

— Clarify and explain news coverage and invite dialogue with the public over journalistic conduct.
— Encourage the public to voice grievances against the news media.
— Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.
— Expose unethical practices of journalists and the news media.
— Abide by the same high standards to which they hold others.

Clearly, one has to wonder what new journalism graduates must feel like when they enter todays newsrooms. After all, you spend 4 years being taught ethics, morality, and the importance of unbiased reporting, find yourself  full of youthful righteousness  ready to show the truth…. and  then step on the newsroom floor only to find the news you are assigned to report is very different from the news you should be reporting. That you can’t piss off the advertisers. That there isn’t enough of a budget to do a diner review, let along an in-depth investigative piece on the real story of non-profit billing practices. That bad government news stories are run on Fridays and good news ones they want to pump are run on Mondays, and that all those  other clever young journalism graduates  of past are now nothing more than flunkies paid to shill for the “bad guys”.

How disappointing the reality of some modern news organizations values can be, how tragic the consequences are. Citizens are now often faced with having to decide for themselves what is truth or spin, what is real or altered, what is contrived or motivated by hidden factors they have made public.

Sadly, it would appear the famous words of George Orwell are still as relevent as they were when first spoken:

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

And the media story continues that the mayors car was broadsided…

** UPDATED below the main story:

There are again, some serious issues with media reporting accurate information when relaying what happened in the accident involving the mayor in April of 2010.

CBC  online ran this story this evening, with a clip from  the CBC evening news, showing the photos of both vehicles and again, stating that the mayors vehicle was broadsided at a stop light. Meera Bains is the reporter, and one wonders if CBC actually even looked at those photos – which clearly show another story altogether – or confirmed details with the mayor  or RCMP. Certainly the mayor herself has not been eager to correct the media’s inaccurate reports over the last year.  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2011/08/09/bc-dianne-watts-news-conference.html

This comes after The Province was asked to correct recent reports that also indicated the mayor was hit and a ” For the Record.” was printed in a later edition correcting the story. A reporter from The Vancouver Sun who printed inaccurate information relating to that 2010 accident refused to reply to a reader who asked for the source of her information and a correction.

Why does this matter you may ask? Because this latest report clearly focused not only on Watts recovery, but also campaign plans for the fall. And the media’s continual failure to get the story right, or even report the fact the mayor of one of largest cities is being sued in civil court with alarming allegations, is a slap in the face of the profession itself.

In particular from the CBC.

It is news anytime a mayor is being sued for anything, let alone an accident in which so much conflicting information was being given for so long. The mayors car was not broadsided, the mayor hit the other vehicle involved.  The details of that lawsuit can be seen here : http://lailayuile.com/2011/07/26/surrey-mayor-dianne-watts-named-as-defendant-in-civil-suit-relating-to-2010-car-accident/

I have contacted Meera Bains and the CBC asking where she/ they confirmed the details reported in the story and that they re-check their source, and that a followup be run with the correct version.

** update 10:30 am.

While CBC has not printed a retraction or made note of their error to clarify their mistake to readers, the online version of the above story has now been altered to read  ” injuries sustained in car crash”, rather than ” when her vehicle was broadsided at a stop light”.

Neither a CBC staff member or the reporter involved have stated where the incorrect information was obtained that was reported in the evening news, nor have they edited out or aired a correction to the 2:38 minute clip at the above link, which shows both vehicles and the erroneous statements about who hit who in the accident.

CBC staff have been asked to air a correction to the story, and edit the story that is still posted on that link above, however since they have not, nor have they responded further, I have filed a formal complaint with the CBC Ombudsman.

*update April 14th, 2012 –

From CKNW:

Lawsuit against Surrey mayor going to court next year
Surrey/CKNW (AM980)
Laura Baziuk | Email news tips to laura.baziuk@corusent.com
4/14/2012A lawsuit against Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts is going to court next year.Shawnene Redekopp is suing the mayor after the two were involved in a car crash.In April 2010, Watts and her husband were heading home from a work event when their SUV collided with Redekopp’s vehicle at 128th Street and 24th Avenue.All three were taken to hospital.Police at the time said alcohol was not a factor.There have been conflicting reports on who had the green light and who t-boned who.Redekopp is suing the mayor for driving without due care, among other allegations — which have not been proven in court.

The matter is set to go to trial in October 2013.

****UPDATE APRIL 27th, 2014: Documents entered to the Supreme Court of British Columbia on February 25th, 2014, indicate the liability trial has been adjourned – the matter was settled by mediation.

Breaking news this early Wednesday AM : CBC reports that CSIS has indications that cabinet ministers in two provinces under the influence of foreign countries , and some BC Liberal ministers may be under suspicion – Premier Gordon Campbell declines comment.

Wow. There are some advantages to waking up prior to 5 am, and this would be one of them- seeing the news ticker on the CBC site toss a headline about political governments in Canada being under the influence of the foreign countries, in particular China.

In fact, CBC has already contacted Premier Gordon Campbell for comment on this story, and he refused. As of yet, CBC seems to be the only local news on this developing story, and the timing cold not be more interesting as the Chinese president arrives in Canada for a visit. Here is an excerpt from the written story :

Some politicians under foreign sway: CSIS

Last Updated: Wednesday, June 23, 2010 | 12:45 AM ET Comments648Recommend387

CBC News

“There are several municipal politicians in British Columbia and in at least two provinces there are ministers of the Crown who we think are under at least the general influence of a foreign government.”

Richard Fadden, director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, in an exclusive interview with the CBC. (CBC)Canada’s spy agency suspects that cabinet ministers in two provinces are under the control of foreign governments, CBC News has learned.

Several members of B.C. municipal governments are also under suspicion, Richard Fadden, the director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, told CBC News in an exclusive interview.

“We’re in fact a bit worried in a couple of provinces that we have an indication that there’s some political figures who have developed quite an attachment to foreign countries,” Fadden said.

“The individual becomes in a position to make decisions that affect the country or the province or a municipality. All of a sudden, decisions aren’t taken on the basis of the public good but on the basis of another country’s preoccupations.”

He said the politicians and public servants see it as a long-standing relationship and have no idea they are being used.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/politics/story/2010/06/22/spying-csis.html#ixzz0rgC13T00

There is also a video link to the interview with CSIS on the right hand side bar of  the CBC page this story occurs on.

I also located this link: http://thechronicleherald.ca/Front/9016949.html that details more:

VICTORIA — National security experts are questioning the timing of a stunning allegation by the head of Canada’s spy agency that several Canadian politicians, including two provincial cabinet ministers, are under the control of foreign governments.

Richard Fadden, the director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, told CBC News Tuesday night that CSIS and the Privy Council Office are discussing the best way to inform those provinces.

Wesley Wark, a national security expert at the University of Toronto, was puzzled by CSIS rush to inform the public before contacting the jurisdictions involved.

“This puts CSIS dangerously out front in what could become a serious and damaging political issue,” Wark told The Canadian Press in an email early Wednesday.

“It’s not the business of CSIS to finger politicians it believes are threats to national security.”

Fadden declined to name the two cabinet ministers or their provinces, but he said a number of public servants in British Columbia are also under suspicion.

He said those politicians have not hidden their association with the foreign governments. But there have recently been indications that they are shifting their public policies because of the involvement with that particular country.

A veteran B.C. political scientist called the allegations against several B.C politicians “very serious” and said Canadians should be concerned.

“Given the source, there’s a certain amount of legitimacy attached to the suggestion,” said University of Victoria Prof. Norman Ruff.

“It suggests that public policy in this province isn’t necessarily being conducted in the best interests of British Columbians,” said Ruff.

“There are influences on public policy in British Columbia both on the local and provincial level which aren’t solely in the interests of British Columbians.”


Meanwhile, officials in British Columbia were caught off guard by the allegations that some among them could have a foreign government’s interests at heart.

B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell’s office said the premier would not be available for comment.

Municipal officials in Victoria and Vancouver appeared surprised at Fadden’s statement and declined to comment.

Now, while the story did not name names, if one were to contemplate such allegations,  and contemplate which foreign country seems to hold a ton of political clout, China is definitely the first name that springs to mind . The BC Liberals have pursued a long relationship with the Chinese government, one that has always spoken to me of ulterior motive, when it appears China benefits far more than those workers here in BC.

We have long been exporting raw logs to China, even as more and more sawmills here in BC have closed, leaving workers unemployed and penniless.

Hell, the  BC government even has a webpage dedicated to the their Asia Pacific Intiative, part of which is the building of the South Fraser Perimeter Road to facilitate the movement of goods being imported and exported into BC. You can read all of that here: http://www.gov.bc.ca/fortherecord/asia/as_economy.html?src=/economy/as_economy.html

The premier has travelled to China  very frequently in the past few years on trade missions, as has forestry minister, Pat Bell – as this google search will detail : http://www.google.ca/#hl=en&q=pat+bell+to+china&aq=f&aqi=g10&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=&fp=35789763958bd7d8

Just saying. Should be fun to watch where this one goes, but perhaps it might be the beginning of the end, of our gradual sell-off of BC assets to foreign stakeholders.

Let me leave you  to think about what this shocking story means for all of us. And if you really want to see how far off into left field Gordon Campbell and his closest ministers  are when it comes to what British Columbians want and need, watch this, their latest attempt at…  hmmm. Ahh ? Oh bother, I don’t even know what they are attempting on this one.  Just watch it and shake your head like I did.

Give it up Campbell. We just don’t care to hear anything you have to say any more.

*****Updated 1:23 pm .

Gordon Campbell has come out swinging at CSIS for the comments made during a CBC interview: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Gordon+Campbell+slams+CSIS+director+over+foreign+infiltration+allegations/3191469/story.html

This can only be good, I say, either way – at least we might get some answers as to how this information was arrived at and who CSIS may or may not be investigating.


An Olympic sized Canadian bail-out for Intrawest could mean all Canadians pay for the 2010 games – whether they want to or not.

From the NY Post :

Fortress says it is negotiating with the Canadian government, which it says promised to make it whole for the time Whistler/Blackcomb mountain is used for the Olympics. Intrawest is trying to get roughly $90 million, and wants to be paid before the Games start on Feb. 12, a source said.
If it does not get paid, Fortress plans to start legal proceedings, the source added. It is unclear if that could disrupt the Winter Olympics.

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/ski_venue_cold_cash_CI7Dzm00ESILjSYEvdc0YN#ixzz0eJDxF26L

CBC has also picked up the NY Post story, featuring it HERE.  
So,let me get this straight…..Stephen Harper makes everyone stop playing in the big government sandbox because someone uncovered a few turds in the sand that his camp couldn’t manage to hide, yet someone still managed to promise a private corporation  $90 million Canadian taxpayer dollars? All  so the 2010 Olympics can continue as planned?
HELLO, Stevie, did you ask anyone if they wanted to pay for this? Shouldn’t we have a vote on this?  Good God, what next?
( in a funny Olympic twist, it turns out the torch run in Surrey is going to travel right through my neighbourhood…. but the kicker is that it travels right by no less than 4 well-known crack houses  on a stretch of 60th avenue that are  not only huge eyesores in this lovely neighbourhood, but also an ongoing threat to both residents and schoolchildren alike.  RCMP are routinely patrolling the areas and the break ins  have increased along with petty theft from area homes, and residents and the local PAC have complained loudly, to no end.
Should be interesting to see those olympic photos, and you can count on me to be on the route that afternoon with my camera in hand to see if the addicts come out to cheer the runners along or not… and how they intend to cover that crap up. )

Bits and Bites, Wednesday October 7th, 2009

Good morning, and a lovely one at that. The stars were all twinkling brightly during my early run today, and the air was crispy cool. This has been the perfect fall so far, at least to me. What more could you ask for than crispy leaves, warm cider and roasted chestnuts and the smell of wood smoke lingering on the breeze….

First up today, I want to direct you to a wonderful little video I found recently, and the man who produced it, Doug Pyper. Doug Pyper is a gifted commercial photographer, writer and all around creative genius. I discovered first his blog, which led me to his commercial website, his companion gallery,  and in turn, a video posted on Youtube  that had been removed. As someone who is against the majority of run of the river projects being built in BC by IPP’s, I was immediately intrigued, and contacted Doug to find out more. Doug immediately sent me a copy to view myself, and I spent some time with the kids watching this unconventionally artistic production.

 ‘Vanishing Rainbows’ is a haunting, visual feast for anyone who loves the raw beauty left in this province,and the value of our natural, clean rivers and streams – and it is far from your standard documentary type shoot. By combining still shots, video and music, Doug has created what I suspect will become part of the legacy of Mick and Gabriella “Storm” Grabowsky.

 Mick and Storm and horse ranchers, and the sole inhabitants of Glacier Creek Valley.

 They have lived in the valley for years, and to them it is more than just a home, it is a way of life lost to most of us in the modern world. The stunning Glacier Creek runs right through their property, and is as crucial to their ability to live as the air we all breathe. Unfortunately, Mick and Storm live right downstream from a planned independant power project being built by Axor– a project that plans to dam, divert and run the creek through several large pipes and tunnels, effectively cutting them off and putting an end to their way of life forever.

  While this project may be news to some of you, it has been foremost in the minds and hearts of those who are fighting to protect British Columbia’s most precious creeks and rivers, and Glacier creek is listed on the list of BC’s most endangered rivers. Most recently, the project was stalled by their inability to provide a detailed plan for how they intend to protect the fish that inhabit and spawn in this creek, but the company expects to forge ahead within a short time. The BC government still has this project listed as ‘ under review’.

I spent the first 18 years of my life living just north of Prince George. I still recall fond memories of fishing and playing in various streams and rivers in the area, many of which have since been altered, polluted or otherwise tainted. In some ways, we are all responsible for those travesties, but this is different. Glacier Creek is not just a beautiful recreational creek, it is a life source for Mick and Storm Grabowsky and one of the few water sources in BC that remains pristine and untouched. I don’t make often make recommendations, but I strongly urge you to check out Dougs sites, and contact him to see a copy of that video. It might just open your eyes, your heart and your mind, and inspire you to help Save our Rivers too…

( Many of you may not be aware of the extent that these Run of the River IPP’s are planned for the entire province. Check out this blog post I did earlier this year that contains a map of proposed and current projects, as well as links to other information regarding IPP’s: http://lailayuile.wordpress.com/2009/05/01/province-of-bc-criss-crossed-by-independent-power-projects/)

As a writer who often must do a lot of research, I am the first to admit that I rely heavily on my computer. With a click and some taps, a world of knowledge is right before me. However, when I grew up, computers where just becoming mainstream. I recall our schools computer lab, filled with Apple computers, and computer class consisted of learning to program the game Hangman successfully. How times have changed… now schools are often built with wireless connections, laptops often take the place of writing notes, and kids are forgetting what it means to practice good handwriting. That why I found this viewpoint written by Robert Smol,titled ” Time to get computers out of the classrooms“, so compelling, and I agree wholeheartedly. Long gone are the days when kids filled libraries, busy searching books and doing research, and Robert argues that the growing reliance on computers has inadvertently created a generation with a lack of writing and research skills, among others.

Ask a high school student today to find information in their own textbook or in a newspaper that is not online and you are likely to encounter blank stares and painful groans.For today’s students, the web has bred a sense of information entitlement where they expect the correct information to somehow come to them rather than the other way around.

In other words, a “Wikipedification” of research is going on that is blurring both the value and the accuracy of what these students are turning up.In practical terms, this means that the “hits” that come up first — which are all too often variations on the same theme — are taken as authoritative sources, without any real consideration as to where the original material comes from and what it is based on.

As a result, I will often find students basing their academic research on blogs or rants in discussion forums instead of on more reliable academic sources largely because personal blogs and discussion forums are simple to understand and easier to read.

As a blogger, I would be appalled to find a highschool student citing me in a mid-term paper!Not because I am inaccurate – I try to confirm everything and cite credible sources- but because a highschool student shouldn’t be taking my word for it, they should be determining what is true and correct firsthand. Robert makes a good point, that can be easily translated into a host of other arenas. One of my biggest beefs are cashiers and bank tellers who have no ability to count back change, or do simple math on the spot. Woe is the customer who gives a cashier a large bill, but then comes up with the extra few coins to make the total after the cashier has rung it through, because unfortunately, most become so confused at how much they should give you for change, that it creates a delay at the checkout. We have become so used to technology doing the “dirty work” that doing anything manually is becoming a lost art. For myself, I remain blackberry free, and the only thing I take with me on a job is my cellphone, camera, notepad and pen. Yes, I still actually take notes….and I can add on the spot. What do you think ?

( oddly enough, this CKNW headline showed up in my mail as I was writing this- case in point…)

CKNW Breaking News…
BC Ferries says computer problems have resulted in manual processing of tickets at both the Tsawwassen and Horseshoe Bay terminals, resulting in sailing delays.
Sent at 7:08am:

Finally, Thanksgiving is coming this weekend, and while this can be a warm and loving family occasion for some… for others? Not so much. For those of you who find you need to fill a prescription for Valium before attending a family holiday,check out this link for one mans Thanksgiving Survival Guide…. ( warning: he uses the “F” word several times, so don’t look if that is going to bunch your underwear) Feel free to share your Thanksgiving memories – good or bad!

That’s it  for today- hope you enjoyed!

Premiers Ideas to assist the forestry industry nothing but thin air and far too late to save anyone.

”  The B.C. government will do more to expand markets and opportunities for local wood products globally and within the province in an effort to boost the forest industry, Premier Gordon Campbell said Wednesday.

Campbell said he will adapt a “wood first strategy” aimed at increasing the use of B.C. wood in publicly funded buildings across the province.

“Our public buildings have got to be our front line of display of what wood products can do and if we can do that in British Columbia others will follow,” Campbell told delegates at an annual truck loggers convention in Vancouver. ”  read the full story here: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2009/01/14/bc-campbell-forest-industry.html

I am always amused and dismayed when election time comes around – amused by how far politicians will go to try and get a vote here and there, and dismayed by the way some people lap it up. It doesn’t matter if it is the Liberals, or the NDP, or the Marijuana party- they all do it.

The reason for my scoffing in the example of this latest statement from Gordon’s mouth should be clear. The forestry industry has carried this province for generations, much like the auto industry in Ontario. It has also become a shadow of its former self, due much in part the actions ( or inaction) of our local politicians. Go back to the first cries for help  from communities in central and northern BC when it became evident that the pine beetle was munching its way through our future harvests, circa 2001. How long was it before any real action took place? When assistance finally did make its way into some- not all – communities, it was damage control at its worst.

So now that over 10,000 forestry workers are out of work and twiddling their thumbs, ( and the number is climbing weekly), now that over 34 mills have shut down permanently or indefinitely, now that  the few mills that do remain open are on curtailed shifts, now that many people have lost their homes, their trucks, their livelihoods, NOW the premier comes out and says that he is going to increase the use of BC wood in public buildings so that he can show the world what BC wood can do? ?

 He says that if  BC acts as an example, others will follow. Hello Gordon, others in the US and overseas have been using our wonderful BC wood for years – it is YOU who hasn’t been following their lead.

What a load of bull. Why didn’t the premier come up with idea years ago? No, the premier was too busy doing other things, while our lumber industry slowing starting bailing water in what has become known as the lumber meltdown, the worst one anyone in the industry has ever seen. Well, the ship is nearly sunk, and those on board are barely treading water looking for a lifeboat that’s never going to show up.

To make a long story very short, we can go right to the US housing market. In the last few years, US housing starts dropped drastically, yet BC producers kept pumping wood into the market. Then came the US housing crash, with all the sub-prime mortage holders defaulting. Another shot to the belly for our forestry industry, which had to cut back on production province wide to account for the glut of the wood that was going nowhere fast. No ones building , therefore no one is buying.  

Couple this setback with the Liberals deregulation of  the sytem that allocates the right to cut  lumber, and you see why we are where we are. Previously, tree cutting rights would be granted to companies on condition that the wood fibre be processed locally. Now that this requirement has been loosened, there has been a massive increase in the export of unprocessed logs – nearly doubled in the last 10 years. This has also led to tree cutting licenses  greatly rising in cost, as deregulation has made  them increasingly attractive to speculators- some of them as real estate holdings.

Mills have been closing one by one in the last few years, and this situation will get worse before it gets better. Only the companies that have very deep pockets can survive this sort of downturn. Smaller companies have already kissed their futures goodbye.

If I seem a bit bitter about this, it’s with good reason. My entire family works in the forestry industry, and they can see the writing on the wall.My brother was thinking about travelling out of province for work. Thankfully my dad and uncles are all near retirement age,but even their pensions are at stake if things get worse. I feel badly for those I went to school with who chose to follow their fathers into the family business, because some of them are busy losing their lives now.

The premier has often been criticised for acting like the entire province resides within Metro Vancouver, and this attitude is starting to catch up with his voters to the north. People are getting tired of being last on the list for everything from desperately needed improvements to highway and roads( oh, didn’t we recently hear a promise about that?) work programs, pine beetle assistance and re-education for workers left without jobs and don’t even mention the state of health care in the interior. In Prince George,( along with other communities) to say it is completely inadequate for the population is being generous with praise.

If ignorance is bliss, Premier Gordon Campbell must be giddy by now.

The economic implications are staggering. 


Millions of trees were killed by the pine beetle, and the wood cannot be used for structural purposes due to the fungus that permeates most of it. Thousands of people out of work, perhaps permanently, because when lumber production does pick back up, soon thereafter we will be facing a shortage of trees- damn those beetles. Trees simply don’t grow as fast as they are cut, and if you still think that has nothing to do with us here on the coast – you are dead wrong. We depend on the revenue the province makes from the forestry industry, and our success depends on theirs. That revenue filters into our hospitals, our schools and every other sector. The provincial coffers take  a serious blow and so do we. The cuts have to be made somewhere, although it evidently wont be to the 2010 planning. But that’s another story we haven’t seen the worst of either.

Somehow in the midst of all of the carnage, a new course should have been charted by our leader, and it wasn’t. We here on the coast will be directly impacted because the  government has failed to assist the forestry industry in  aggressively and creatively responding  to the current  economic crisis. These communities need new economic plans, new industry and agricultural revenue sources to sustain themselves, and government guidance and funding to set these plans into action.
In short, they need more than the premiers vague references to asking the feds for help, and hemming and hawwing over putting BC wood into BC buildings – something that he should have been doing all along.

Time for the RCMP to do the right thing: Pull tasers out of service pending further independent testing.

Forgive me, but I’m opening the door to ‘taser talk’ again. ( The last time I did this it initiated an ongoing debate in the comments section that lasted for several months.) Last night I watched an excellent documentary on The National, regarding tasers. More specifically, the older x26 model manufactured prior to 2005, of which thousands are in active service all over Canada. 

CBC News and Radio Canada commissioned an independent study of these tasers, testing them using scientific standards and protocols designed   by Pierre Savard, a biomedical engineer at the University of Montreal, using Taser International’s specifications. Of the 41 tasers tested, 4 delivered significantly more current than Taser International says is possible – in some cases, up to 50% more than stated. The findings are particularly significant in part because police officers are trained to aim the Taser at a suspects chest, increasing the chances of  cardiac arrest if a larger current is delivered.

RCMP have now pulled random sampling of tasers in the field and say preliminary reports indicate no problems. They will not say how many tasers have been tested or where/how  the testing was conducted, but in a surprising move, Quebec justice minister Jacques Dupuis announced Friday the province was pulling older weapons off the streets to test them. They are also pulling samples of newer models to check the current output as well.

Taser International has issued an official statement here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/pdf/taser-official-statement.pdf

Taser usage in Canada has been a contentious issue since its addition into the arsenal of weapons used by the RCMP. Clearly, the safety of officers who serve the public is important, but just as important is the certainly that this weapon performs in a consistent and reliable manner.

Currently, there are more international safety standards for cell phones than there are for tasers and there have been no independent or government initiated controls or standards by which the force can rely on – the only testing and standards have all been done by the manufacturer, Taser International. The CBC test clearly shows that their information cannot be relied upon as being  100% accurate in some cases. In addition, no method has been developed for RCMP divisions ( or other police forces) to test the ongoing performance of the Taser in the field,leaving them powerless to monitor reliability or find weapons that may not be performing to specifications.

I question why this weapon has been able to be used on an international basis without such safety standards in place ? It would seem almost negligent to me  that police forces have so hastily laid claim to a weapon whose  manufacturers claims  have not been ascertained by anyone other than themselves.

Yes, Tasers have assisted officers in subduing suspects. Yes, Tasers can and do prevent on the job injuries – in some cases. And while I do believe there is a place for a weapon such as this within policing, the number of deaths related to taser usage is significant enough that combined with the outcome of this test, the only option would seem to be to pull all weapons and call for immediate government regulation and testing. At least, that’s how I see it.

View the entire episode, read the reports and responses through this link: http://www.cbc.ca/national/blog/special_feature/a_deadly_landing/the_taser_test_1.html

Background stories on Robert Dziekanski and other taser related  stories can be viewed here: http://www.cbc.ca/national/blog/special_feature/a_deadly_landing/

Bye, Sam…

Wow! Did the photographer who snapped the front page photo on yesterdays edition of the Province score , or what? If the adage ‘ a picture tells a thousand words’ is true, than the look on Kim Capri’s face in that photo speaks volumes!  Gee, the last time I saw a face like that was on my teenage daughters face after I told her she couldn’t go to Quebec… I guess no one ever schooled Kim on the merits of accepting defeat with dignity. Thanks Kim, I haven’t laughed that hard in I don’t know how long!

Even though I am not a Vancouver resident, I too, am happy to see the end of Sam Sullivan. No more smarmy comments to the press, no more crazy plans and no more ‘Sams Stats’- meaning sometimes I think he just pulls this crap right out of some dark recess in his brain. Take for example the article on CBC.CA today.

Even disabled citizens are happy to see the mayor go, because they claim he has been doing a huge disservice to them by playing the media card of Vancouverites living in the most accessible city in the world. In fact, the BC Coalition for Disabled Persons agrees this is a very misleading statement for the mayor to be continually touting, allowing for the impression that every thing is ok for those in wheelchairs when it clearly, is not. http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2008/06/09/bc-limitedaccess.html

Funny this comes up, because my husband and I recently saw a woman in a motorized wheelchair who was experiencing great difficulty in crossing the street because the curb was so high, just off Commercial. She wheeled to the edge, saw there was no ramp to cross the street, shook her head and sighed, and headed off down the side street to the first driveway she could find that was sloped enough for her to access the road. She then had to try and find another  similar driveway on the other side to continue on her way, and head back to the main street. Wow, I felt so helpless to assist her, sitting in traffic like we were, watching what was obviously not a safe situation for her to do something as simple as crossing the street. If this is what she had to go through every time she had to cross a street, a simple 4 block trip would take forever to complete.

In the CBC article, the mayor even admits he doesn’t review plans for accessibility issues, because  he ” sets policy and that’s it. ”

Nice work,Sam. A disabled mayor who obviously refuses to use the power he has inherent to his position, to assist those who need it most.  He yaks and yaks and yaks endlessly about how great everything is, but in actuality, has done nothing. In fact, one of the women interviewed in the article says, the cause of accessibility would be much better served if he simply ceased to address it. 

Bye Sam, Its been fun watching you spout your nonsensical rhetoric and rules. Too bad you cant take Kim Capri with you.


“Price To Pay” – CBC story w/ Susana da Silva

Mayor Dianne Watts says “Newton has not  been neglected…” in this following clip, despite everything we know to be reality. Both residents and business owners who actually deal with the consequences of the cities neglect daily are  very eager to see the unveiling of the mayors new Newton Plan at the June 16th council meeting. And let me be clear about one thing: I do not live within the slum-like area of the Newton core, my residential neighbourhood is quite some distance away and yet we have increasingly begun to see the effects of that neglect within the Newton core- in fact, it stands out even more because it is a nice residential area.

 The hookers have moved as far away from King George as Panorama Ridge and are heading towards Scott Road, and along with them the requisite dial a dope dealers in their pimped out cars and suvs. Perhaps when the mayor and council start seeing these factors within their own neighbourhoods, they will realise what needs to be done. There is no such thing as isolating social degradation and confining it to one area, at least not in Surrey.

 Listen to the clip of Susana’s story here :





*****  UPDATE JUNE  06 *****  

As per Susana da Silva this evening…… everyone is talking beavers..lol.. and the Newton Drug/crime /prostitution story has been put off until this weekend , or Monday. She will advise as soon as the Beaver Killing Story dies down.  Susana, guard those ankles- there may very well be another beaver lurking nearby!!!


So, here I am watching Ian whatshisface on CBC news at 6, and they start to talk about Surrey so of course I’m all excited to finally see the piece – and whats the big news? The city of Surrey killed a beaver in a pond because it was pissing off the locals.

Bumped by a beaver, wheres the justice in that….?

Susana tells me it should run for sure tomorrow night at 6pm, but as everyone knows in the biz, theres always a newer and better story, so no guarantees it wont get bumped if something smashing happens in Surrey overnight….

No baby yet, but I did spend some time worshipping a fertility goddess while 8 acupuncture needles got my baby “chi” rocking, and followed that up with some nasty herbs guaranteed to irritate my female organs… : )