Weekend roundup for your reading pleasure!

With this stunning and somewhat rare West Coast Sunshine, we should all be outside enjoying the weather before it returns to nasty rain again!  However, I know a lot of people down with flu and colds now, and so I’ve compiled a few items of interest I found that I think you might want to check out!

1) Katherine Blaze Carlsons column in the National Post: ” Long Before Milf Interview, Christy’frickin’ Clark laughed her way through Questions on Her Looks andstunnedchristy Nudity In This Radio Chat ”    

Well, it’s about time you got on board, Katherine, but better late than never! The CFOX appearance was just part of the argument behind my December 27th post here and on the Huffington Post BC, but a crucial one, because as I wrote then, and stand by now, it set the standard for what was acceptable topic of conversation with the premier on that kind of station.  Don’t forget, you heard it here first, linked to within the comments section below the first post.  By the way, the earth opened up and nearly swallowed me live on Friday when I arrived home to an onslaught of messages about Bill Good.. gasp.. agreeing with my points in an earlier interview with Mike Smyth. Cue up the Audio Vault for 9 am Friday the 11th to hear firsthand.

2) Why is Christy Clark deleting messages of concern from movie industry workers, from her Facebook page?

Good friend and BC actor, Adrian Hough mentioned to me recently that Christy Clarks team had deleted dozens of message from her Facebook page, from members of the film and movie industry in BC… read on my friends!

The  countless messages  from both actors and actresses, and film/movie industry workers were left on her Facebook page in response to the news that the BC government could not make a case for any added emphasis in the BC Jobs Plan for film, television or video game industries.

Bob Mackin has the story : http://www.timescolonist.com/film-tv-gaming-left-out-of-bc-jobs-plan-1.44327

Interesting… Clark claims to have an open government that wants to communicate with the people, she states again and again she would rather talk to people than sit in the legislature… but when people want to talk to her… she ( her team) deletes their comments from her Facebook page?  Not exactly indicative of a leader who wants to hear from the people, if you ask me!

Luckily, one smart cookie took screen shots and posted them for posterity :http://www.ninja12.com/cc/

moneyNow, to me, the only reason she, or her staff would delete them all – and they were all civil – was so that no one else in the province saw the disappointment of a major industry being left out in the cold.  I find this compelling, because there is definite pressure on other sectors that have traditionally brought in revenue to provincial coffers, so why wouldn’t the government be interested in promoting and expanding that? And what will the impact be for BC film industry workers?  I asked Adrian for his take on this, and this is what he had to say:

BC actor Adrian Hough with Christian Slater” The film industry  has contributed something in the realm of 2 billion dollars to the province or more, but has been losing production like crazy, as well as talent to the East…which means that someone like me, who makes a living on frequent roles in production, Vancouver based, will have less opportunity.  Crews are being hit the hardest however.

I love living in BC, but if production leaves here, I might also be forced to.  My kids are here. I love BC.  The mountains, the ocean, the fresh air.  I like the community I have developed in the industry, and in my adopted hometown of Nanaimo. 

Making a living from the arts is possible, and most performers, and film people are incredibly generous with their skills, and selves, and work unreasonable hours.  The stories we tell are seen all over the world, as well as at home.. I think it does something good to people to be able to look at a film or television series,  and see someplace or someone they know.  Or recognize as their own. 

As far as economics go, talent and skills and stories are a totally renewable and unending (and therefore sustainable) resource.   ( my emphasis there-ly.)

But we have to remain competitive with Ontario and Quebec and the Maritimes and as for the ‘money people’, ( I have spoken to quite a few of them) they say that if they can take a show somewhere else, and save money in production, they will.  And it is happening.”

Talk about shortsighted leadership. Times are changing and so must we as we work towards a shift from a resource based economy to other economic engines.  Adrian makes a very compelling argument for fostering growth in an industry that, in an entertainment hungry society, could very well contribute more to our economy than it does now.

But hey, I’m just a writer/blogger/columnist… what do I know?  : )

**Note, I just noticed Bob Mackin has the same story poste, albeit an hour earlier, and has embedded a link to the site above on his blog- check it out here – credit where credit is due!!! http://2010goldrush.blogspot.ca/2013/01/film-folks-furious-premier-photo-op.html

3)  Andrew Nikiforuk, of whom I am a very big fan of, has a must read series on fracking over at the Tyee. In the series, he “takes a look at four very big claims the industry uses to reassure the public”  that fracking is A-ok for the environment, people and our future. A must read if you share the same concerns over fracking in BC as I do.


4) Last but not least, Rob Shaw of the Time Colonist has a story out this weekend very relevent to the payoff payout of Basi-Virk legal fees..… of which I’m not unfamiliar with…. which lends even more credence (not that it is needed) to the theory that this was a deal made to keep them in silence, and prevent a trial from revealing the truth to the public. The timing is very interesting.. in particular because of Auditor General John Doyles strong attempts to get at the truth behind this deal… oh wait… arent the Liberals trying to fire him?…. hmmmm.


Of course, whether you are a reader  in the lower mainland, the UK, or in Europe, don’t forget to check back tomorrow night for a sneak peak at  my upcoming column in Mondays edition of 24 hours Vancouver, The Duel, with Kathryn Marshall!

” Vancouver’s Olympics head for disaster” ~ The Guardian

This link is appearing everywhere online, and has been sent to me by a number of readers. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/jan/31/vancouver-winter-olympics-police

An interesting commentary, it at first appears to be an overseas Op-Ed, but on further examination the author turns out to be a local freelancer, who was in fact interviewed by CBC yesterday! ( thank you C.!)  ** note how many links it has from local sources documenting the harsh financial realities of our fair province, an amalgamation of why so many people are feeling more concern than excitement.  Although the author tends to- as one reader put it- hyperbole, I still think it presents a fairly accurate representation of how many people are feeling in these days before our world debut.  ( someone might do well to stick this right on top of Bill Good’s desk – I hear many are getting tired of his incessant nattering over the lack of enthusiasm over the games. Reality check Bill- we don’t all live in fancy condo’s on the harbour and have two jobs to count on, let alone one for the many laid off and out of work people all over the  province )

An excerpt:

              It’s now two weeks until the start of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic games, a city-defining event that is a decade in the making. But a decade is a very long time. Much of what seemed sensible in the early 2000s has proven to be the opposite: for instance, allowing investment bankers to pursue profits willy-nilly was acceptable when Vancouver won the bid in 2003, but is now viewed as idiotic. So it comes as no surprise that just days before the opening ceremony, Vancouver is gripped by dread. Not the typical attitude for a host city, but understandable when you consider that everything that could go wrong, is in the process of going wrong.


            “The Bailout Games” have already been labelled a staggering financial disaster. While the complete costs are still unknown, the Vancouver and British Columbian governments have hinted at what’s to come by cancelling 2400 surgeries, laying off 233 government employees, 800 teachers and recommending the closure of 14 schools. It might be enough to make one cynical, but luckily every inch of the city is now coated with advertisements that feature smiley people enjoying the products of the event’s gracious sponsors.

Conservative estimates now speculate that the games will cost upwards of $6bn, with little chance of a return. This titanic act of fiscal malfeasance includes a security force that was originally budgeted at $175m, but has since inflated to $900m. With more than 15,000 members, it’s the largest military presence seen in western Canada since the end of the second world war, an appropriate measure only if one imagines al-Qaida are set to descend from the slopes on C2-strapped snowboards. With a police officer on every corner and military helicopters buzzing overhead, Vancouver looks more like post-war Berlin than an Olympic wonderland. Whole sections of the city are off-limits, scores of roads have been shut down, small businesses have been told to close shop and citizens have been instructed to either leave the city or stay indoors to make way for the projected influx of 300,000 visitors.

While  most of the local media are pushing the feel good, rah- rah, “it’s all good” mantra, we are begining to see the international media descend in droves and are looking for other stories about the impact of the Olympics from residents and freelancers alike. Keep your eyes peeled…

” In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” ~ George Orwell

In the course of conversation with several  acquaintances recently, the topic of media bias – or lack of it, shall I say –  popped up. Of course, I thought it pertinent to ask whether anyone was aware that  the company that owns both our big  local papers , and other media conglomerates, have  made donations to political parties.

To say that everyone’s faces were shocked, is to understate the reaction.

  ” No! The media isn’t allowed to do that! Isn’t there a law against it? How is that fair?” 

Shrugging my shoulders, I told them there is no law against it. Sometimes the donations are quite large, as well. One example is Canwest’s $50,000 donation to the BC Liberal party in 2005.  Rogers Communications Inc. , owners of various media outlets, donated $20,o00  to the Liberals in 2007. 

While newsroom editors might make the claim that no organization or political party can or will influence how the news is reported,how can the public be sure this is true?   Neither company donated to any other political party, only the BC Liberals were on the receiving end of such good will.

The  Vancouver Province and  The Vancouver Sun have  also long-held lucrative government advertising contracts that generate significant revenue, and  if there was ever a video that demonstrated more clearly how the BC Liberal government manipulates the media in BC, this is it. Watch  Charlie Smith from the Georgia Straight  host a very telling interview with Gordon Campbell.

This week,  Sean Holman of Public Eye Online and The Tyee, has revealed yet another instance in which the integrity of unbiased news reporting by The Sun and The Province newspapers is again under fire… here is an excerpt:

    Sun, Province to Promote Governments’ Homeless Message

CanWest newspapers co-sponsor government-run public relations centre in Downtown Eastside during Olympics

Vancouver’s two major newspapers are sponsoring a government-run centre that will tell international media covering the 2010 Winter Olympics about how the province is dealing with homelessness issues in the city’s troubled Downtown Eastside.

Media observers say The Vancouver Sun and The Province should investigate the veracity of the information that will be presented by the centre, not sponsor it. But The Province’s editor-in-chief has said that sponsorship deal would only create a conflict of interest if it had been arranged by the paper’s newsroom — which it wasn’t.

~ snip~   

“It’s a conflict of interest. Newspapers shouldn’t be in the business of promoting anything like that. They should be reporting it. And, if they do report on it (now), it becomes suspect because they’re involved in it,” he said.

“If this centre turns out to be a bust or whatever, they’re not going to report on it honestly because they’re part and parcel of it. There can’t be arms-length reporting of something in which you’re involved.”

Four firms connected to the real estate development industry have also signed-on to sponsor the centre.

READ the entire article by Sean Holman, HERE, or HERE, and as usual I recommend that you also check out the comments section that follow. Sean has also posted an update to this story HERE, listing  some of the other( real estate) companies involved in sponsoring the booth.

Retired reporter turned blogger, Harvey Oberfeld, has covered another aspect of such interference in unbiased and unadulterated news reporting, and that is the medias involvement in the news during the 2010 Olympic Torch run. In this blog post, Harvey makes a good point about why broadcasters should not have accepted positions as torch bearers during the run across Canada:

Talk about conflict of interest! Surely the public could be forgiven if they fail to believe that, after accepting this  ”honour” at the Olympics,  these on-camera  “talent” will also give us an honest or critical assessment of what’s really going on during the Games … and not just  hype  designed to support and project  a positive image of happenings at the Olympics. 

I have no problem with individuals, companies, community organizations, public organizations supporting the Games. I personally hope they work out terrifically for Vancouver, B.C.,  Canada and all the athletes and participants.

But the media who cover the games and activities should NOT also take part in them.  Period!

Harvey has continued to follow this issue in his most recent post, ” 2010 Freebies: Media MUST Come Clean “, where he calls on the local media to divulge any and all freebies they have received from VANOC, the Olympic sponsors( Coca- Cola, RBC, etc),and government agencies/crown corporations, prior to games reporting. This, so we know from what angle that reporting comes from. Here’s an excerpt:

To ensure a “clean” Games from a journalistic point of view, I believe the media MUST come clean beforehand.

Has VANOC or Games sponsors provided any free passes to simply VIEW (not professionally cover) events for any media staff: whether executives, managers, staff  or their family members and friends?

Has VANOC or Games sponsors  assisted (even if they paid for them) any media executives, managers, staff or family members and friends to obtain TICKETS to any sporting events or social gatherings?

Have VANOC or Games sponsors provided ANY KIND  OF FREEBIES to media members???  ANY KIND OF FREEBIES!

Have any government bodies, Crown agencies,  companies  or individuals provided any FREEBIES related to the Games to media members or assisted in obtaining TICKETS to any events?

The media must come clean!

In the most gracious manner, Harv has even offered the use of his blog as a confessional of sorts, for the local media to set the record straight.

So far, the silence has been deafening.

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.

Bill Tieleman leaves the Bill Good Show

A sad day, in my eyes, as Bill announces he has not been able to reach an agreement with CKNW for his appearances on the station.


 Bill will continue to share his views on everything political in his 24 Hours column, The Tyee and of course, his blog! As well, Bill has recently made  a couple of appearances on the blogger panel of CBC’s show Politics and Power, so watch to see where Bill pops up next.

From the Tyee: ” Libs look like they’re hiding info until election ends: ethics expert.”

The Tyee has again highlighted an irritating yet important issue for the Libs this election in the following article excerpts:

BC Rail Trust Fund: Timing of Financial Blackout Questioned


Libs look like they’re hiding info until election ends: ethics expert.


By Andrew MacLeod
Published: May 5, 2009


That a trust fund dedicated to northern development failed to publish its financial statements on time suggests possible political interference, says a Simon Fraser University business ethics professor.

“My sense is we do have a problem here,” said Mark Wexler, who teaches at SFU. “Without a good explanation, the public is led to believe the Liberals have something to hide by putting it off until either just before the election when nothing can be put into the press or after.”

“If they do deliver it one day before the election, that seems awfully convenient,” Wexler added.

The BC Liberals founded the Northern Development Initiative Trust when they privatized B.C. Rail in 2004 to soften the blow to the already hurting northern interior of the province. The trust has received $185 million in taxpayer money, but Tyee columnist Will McMartin reported yesterday the directors failed to meet an April 30 deadline to publish their updated financial statements.

And, as McMartin reported, there is reason to believe the trust has lost tens of millions of dollars.

“If Campbell was in the opposition, I don’t think he’d find it acceptable,” said Wexler….”

~ snip~

“The fund has likely lost in the order of $25 million after directors shifted to a more risky investment approach, the Tyee’s McMartin calculated.

Wexler said The Tyee’s calculations looked about right. “They wouldn’t have lost nearly as much had they maintained the portfolio they started with,” he said. The directors kept a low-risk portfolio when the economy was relatively stable and moved it into higher-risk investments at a time when there were clear warning signs, he said. “Their acumen as businessmen is somewhat in question.” ”

….. read the remainder of this column on the Tyee website here: http://thetyee.ca/News/2009/05/05/NDIT/

Another must read is the lead up by Will McMartin :

A New BC Rail Cover-Up?

The Campbell government put money from its BC Rail sale into a trust, but a shift to riskier investing likely lost $25 million. We can’t know for sure, because trust directors are breaking the law by not posting statements.

Major media’s lack of coverage of Basi/Virk development speaks volumes

Let me see, what headlines did I find today…

Is Laibar Singh ever going home?– His ‘saviors’ say Laibar Singh is ready to go to India  and that his lawyer has been fired – yet the lawyer in question maintains that he has not been fired and in fact, Laibar wants to stay. Click your heels Mr. Singh, as Dorothy said ” There’s no place like home…there’s no place like home….” http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2008/03/11/bc-sikh.html

Ken Dobell and his lobbying shenanigans -Old man, even older news, and hes not going anywhere, anytime soon, unless someone digs up something else to ensure his departure. Watch and see -he will get nothing more than a slap on the wrist and a new contract somewhere. Rest assured, Ken Dobell has a hand in everyones back pocket…  http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2008/03/12/bc-dobell-pleads-guilty.html   http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2008/03/10/bc-dobell.html

The premiers defence and ‘confidence’ in his staffs obvious poor judgement regarding Ken Dobell– oh yes, dear Jessica McDonald. Poor thing, how is it she couldn’t see the writing on the wall… it must really suck to find out you are just another pawn in the game of BC politics

BC ferries TSB report results -Big shocker here – no one was paying attention.Who’s driving the ferry? Can we have onboard cameras installed on the helm so we know someone is actually in there ? It took two years for this information to be confirmed in a report. Not to mention that BC ferries doesn’t appear to be the safest form of transportation… http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2008/03/12/bc-tsb-queen-north-report-final.html

Liberals threaten federal electionGee, Stephane Dion, or Stephen Harper? Its like choosing Arsenic or Cyanide- which one hurts less?  http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/03/12/liberals-motion.html

But are there are no headlines detailing the ever-growing shadow over Gordon Campbell and his office,  regarding his involvement and activities  surrounding the Basi/Virk trial.

The reputation and integrity (what is left of it) of the BC premiers office is at stake yet again, and one would think that this is news that all British Columbians should be hearing about, yet little- if anything- that develops in this riveting case is ever reported in The Sun or The Province. I talked to people both locally and in the interior, and no one seems to really know anything. Although the average working Joe might have heard of the names Basi/Virk, do they know exactly who they are, how the premier is involved, and what it could mean for the Liberal party of BC?

Not a chance.

This is one of the biggest,ongoing stories in politics anywhere, and yet we are provided with no ongoing coverage by any major media outlet. No weekly feature, or updates.

Why is that?

 It could lead one to surmise that the local media is able to be influenced by those who are compromised most in this story. What other explanation is there? How about a two page special chronicling the entire saga to date,  to get those who have not been privy to the events that have transpired, up to speed? Its anything but a boring read.

Dave Basi and Bob Virk, are two ex-government ministerial aides that have been charged with corruption ,stemming from the legislature raids several years ago. Disclosure has been going on forever and has been plagued by delays, obstructions and missing evidence.

Now, defence attorneys are asking for Premier Gordon Campbell to testify and answer some pertinent and loaded questions regarding allegations of political interference surrounding the release of documents required as evidence. It is alleged that the Premier arbitrarily changed a court protocol on disclosure, and now defence -and the opposition –  want answers as to why he would do such a thing without involving a government lawyer.

Read the entire story here, on political commentator Bill Tielmans blog : http://billtieleman.blogspot.com/2008/03/defence-demands-premier-gordon-campbell.html

Bill Tielman has been diligently providing almost daily coverage since the beginning, and not without consequence. His office was broken into and ransacked at one point, with a cryptic message left – an obvious message from someone pissed off by his dogged determination at relaying this story to the public.

It brings to mind the role media outlets play in our political landscape. Sadly, I think the majority of the public relies on mainstream media for their political information and news . The standard should be held that our mainstream media remains unbiased and reports the news in its entirety- good or bad.  So when a story of this political importance is conspicuously ignored over and over, the motive for doing so must be questioned.

After all, the more informed the public is about political process in British Columbia, the better. 

Information is power.