“The good thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from.” ~ Andrew Tanenbaum
In going through my emails this evening – a never-ending job these days it seems – I came across one from a reader commenting on the Twitter exchange between Rich Coleman and myself on March 20th of this year. https://twitter.com/colemancountry
Scrolling back to that morning, Coleman had nattered about John Hogan’s comment on NW: “There is a sucker born every minute.”
I called him out and commented that he was hypocritical for taking after Horgan, when he refused to apply the same standard to Bill Bennett’s now infamous “NDP Turds” comment.
Later on that day, Coleman was still nattering about it and out of the blue tweeted a YouTube video of himself to me and another follower. When I asked why he was sending me his YouTube video, what followed was a snarky response to me that he thought I deserved some ‘face time’ and that my call out behind my feed wasn’t constructive.
Clearly, either I had hit a nerve or Ritchie was having a bad day. Either way, the exchange did not go unregarded by many.
Enjoy. A video of Rich Coleman, titled: Q: How do you feel about direct criticism from the press/media?
Please take 2 minutes to watch this.
Ah yes… there we go, those horrible blogs that write things that are not factual, just make things up and have no standards or accountability. Those blogs can just say anything and isn’t that a shame? No one to hold them to account. Sounds like a bunch of politicians!
First, I will be the first one to agree that there are some really terrible blogs out there that will write anything, say anything and to hell with what anyone thinks. That is the nature of the internet and it doesn’t just apply to blogs. Reader/buyer beware.
However, there are also many excellent blogs out there that offer a different type of public service and alternative news source, some of which are on my blog roll to the side. I write both opinion pieces and editorials, but have also broken some very compelling news stories. The Sea to Sky Shadow Toll series, the precedent setting Tercon vs Ministry of Transportation decade long litigation and SCOC ruling and many others. Some have been covered nationally, some completely ignored, but the stories are here nonetheless, with proof, documents etc. The same goes for many other top BC bloggers.
I absolutely trust that all of our collective readers can tell the difference between what is good, accurate and verified… and what is not … and in that respect the blogosphere is no different from my more mainstream colleagues.
There are very good journalist’s, reporters and columnists… and at the opposite end there have been unsettling cases of reporters or columnists who have plagiarized work or even simply made things up. I won’t even get into the other issues plaguing reporting and conflicts of interest.
That is human nature, and as the quote above states, there are so many standards to choose from even where there is a set of professional expectations written to adhere to. It is glaringly obvious that in the video above, Rich Coleman fails to see the irony of his lament over bloggers who make false statements and or those who criticize him.
For in fact, if I were to have the inclination to make such absurd videos, I would say how difficult it is to be a journalist, or a blogger, when politicians say things that aren’t factual, or distort facts.
Or when they deflect a question because they don’t feel like answering when the truth isn’t working for them.
Or when we have to file Freedom of Information requests for basic information from a government that claims it is the most open and transparent government BC has ever had.
Or when they deliberately withhold and politically interfere with legislative process and or reports because the truth is going to show they once again, deceived the public who voted them in.
I’m all about accountability. I can’t speak for anyone else, but if my name is on it, and I wrote it, I have to answer for it. I verify sources, have hard copy backup, documents, whatever I need to write my stories. It’s my name, my reputation and I’ll answer to what I have written or risk the consequence.
From what I have seen over the last two years in particular, that is a higher standard than either Coleman, or most of his Liberal caucus colleagues can say about their own behavior. Hence the quote in the headline: “The good thing about standards is that there are so many of them.” Coleman seems to like to pick which standards apply to others…but not apply them to his own party.
This brings me to an excerpt from an older post that I will leave you with today, since we are talking about standards and accountability. I think it is quiet relevant again, since we are mere weeks from an election and new government. Something to think about.
Why are our politicians and public officials not held to a higher, and stronger level of accountability? Where does it all start and how do we fix it?
I noticed an oath of the wall of the legislature when I visited Victoria last month, the Oath for Public Service Employees.
As a member of the British Columbia Public Service, I, ………………………………… , [employee name] do solemnly swear/affirm [circle one] that I will
1 loyally serve the people of British Columbia through their democratically elected government,
2 honour and faithfully abide by the Standards of Conduct for Public Service Employees, and
3 to the best of my ability,
(a) act with integrity, putting the interests of the public and the public service above my own personal interest and avoiding all conflicts of interest, whether real or perceived,
(b) safeguard confidential information, not divulging it unless I am either authorized to do so or required to do so by law,
(c) base my advice, recommendations and decisions on the objective evidence that is available to me,
(d) serve the government impartially, and
(e) conduct myself honestly and ethically, in a manner that maintains and enhances the public’s trust and confidence in the public service and does not bring it into disrepute.
Interestingly enough – and I would love it if someone could help me out here – I could not find anything more than the following for the oath an MLA must swear before the Lieutenant Governor before becoming a member of the Legislative Assembly:
I, ………………, swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II [or her successor], her heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God.
( It is interesting to note that it does not state ” I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the people of BC…” but rather, they still bear faith to the queen of a country that bears no real status in our governance in modern times. To me, changing this would be a start. )
I,______________________, affirm that I will serve Her Majesty duly and faithfully, and to the best of my ability fulfil the responsibilities and trust granted to me as a Member of the Executive Council of British Columbia.
I,______________________, affirm that I will keep confidential all matters dealt with in the Executive Council, and I will not disclose any of the same to any person other than a Member of the Executive Council except as authorized by it or as required in the lawful discharge of my duties as a Member of the Executive Council.
Affirmed before me at Victoria, British Columbia
this___ day of________, AD 20____
Wow. Apparently, our government expects and holds public service employees to a higher standard of professionalism and dedication than they do themselves… Really. Go back and read those oaths again, and then you tell me what’s wrong with this picture.
It surely won’t solve everything, and it certainly will not prevent an unethical and dishonest person from being elected into public office, but it would be a start.
The time has come when the people of British Columbia will not be taken for granted any longer, because after all, it is was not the Liberals who made this province what it is, it was us, and it will always be us.
Politicians of every party across this great province would do well to remember that, because British Columbians are a powerful political force in their own right.