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Two important developments British Columbians need to pay attention to, now.


Congratulations all around today in certain circles as the story came out via twitter that longtime Vancouver Sun associate editor/columnist Fazil Mihlar has left the dwindling world of newspapers for greener pastures.

Very gr$$n pastures in fact – Mihlar is the new Assistant Deputy Minister for the the B.C. Government new oil and strategic initiatives division. This is the first important development you need to pay attention to.

Hardly a surprise and likely a perfect fit, considering Mihlar editorialized often about the benefits of pipelines, and the oil and gas industry. In fact, Enbridge has been posting his editorials along with other favourable press on their facebook page going back as far as 2011:


Of course, as several commenters on my facebook page remarked, no one can fault Mihlar for making the jump to a steady,secure job with nice bennies, from one in an industry that is in a steady decline.

However, I’ve already heard plenty of public comment on the perception this leaves, and perhaps, should leave, on the public who still believes that newspapers are paragons of objective reporting. I don’t know why the public still believes this, because newspapers have been endorsing political candidates left right and centre. Ok, that’s a lie, they usually endorse the right 😉

Joking aside, it’s a credibility issue. Kind of like after writing extensively about the liberals, I suddenly took a communications job with the NDP.

You’d likely question whether I had been writing because I believed in what I was writing, or because it helped the political party I now worked for. Never going to happen but it’s a good example.

Another commenter, Stephen Rees , brought up an equally pertinent point:

“Once upon a time hiring and promotion in the BC public service was based on ability and qualifications. There was a process to determine first the requirements of each job, and then candidates were assessed on their ability to meet those requirements. Public service was apolitical. While at work, officials were supposed to put away their political beliefs and preferences, and work in the best interests of the province and all its people. “

One hopes that the new ADM will be able to separate his personal political leaning and ideology from his professional obligations, and put the publics interest first and foremost in everything he does.

Moving on to the second important development today…. another strategic initiative relating to the oil in BC… or should I say oil moving through BC.

A parade of cabinet ministers and senior bureaucrats will head to British Columbia starting next week as part of a major push to mollify opponents of building oil pipelines to the West Coast, CBC News has learned.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is signalling he intends to make progress on proposals to connect Alberta’s oilsands with ports in British Columbia and the lucrative Asian markets beyond.

The new initiative is in large part a response to a report from the prime minister’s special pipelines representative in British Columbia.

Quite interesting to have a new pro-oil & pipeline Assistant Deputy Minister on board in the oil and strategic initiatives division on the West coast… at the same time Harper is ramping up his strategic initiative for British Columbians back East.

Some might say that’s quite a coincidence – I’d say BC is in for some interesting times ahead.


  1. I just think Mihlar’s a hypocrite for taking the job in the first place. After all that Fraser Institute ranting and raving about “big government”…


  2. I thought BC didn’t matter anymore and they were happy as pie to send the pipelines back east or through the territories? They said we blew it. Perhaps it’s time for Harper, Alberta & big oil to admit BC is holding some cards & won’t be pushed over.


  3. I guess Mihlar said “pick me, pick me” so many times and he’s done of Liberal ass kissing that they made room for him at the trough. So much to look forward to, everyday is another headline on Liberal mis management.


  4. Apologies Laila, a bit off topic, but in the end it’s all about the nasty oil and moving it one way or another.

    The pipelines, and with the trains. You don’t get any answers, just move along folks nothing to see here. CN, you know, Gordo’s favourite company who he sold our BCR too and would have had long term knowledge of what was going on, what was planned, helped to set it up (paid off with a new job in England) and his buddy Hunter once headed, don’t give a rats ass about any thing, any one, only their stock holdings and $$$ paybacks.

    And the train derailment that killed 40+, just the beginning of more tragedy to come. But hey, they’re only every day citizens, going about their lives. Just the cost of doing business in many companies eyes, imo. How many don’t we hear about? Be it derailments or leaks.


  5. So where are Vaughn Palmer and Keith Baldrey lined up to work? If one goes to the electricity generating industry and one to the rail transportation industry the Vancouver Sun should just about have achieved their goal.



    And where may the other workers end up? On the unemployment line unless of course they’re prepared to take a substantial wage loss. … “would be to open a new plant only if operating costs can be reduced by 70 to 75 per cent. ”

    …”Godfrey, a Tory who is also chief executive of Postmedia newspapers.”
    He is also a member of the board of directors of CanWest Global Communications,[24] RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust, CargoJet Income Fund and Astral.[7]

    Wht’s the saying: Follow the money.


  7. Absolutely takes my breath away!!….such absolute abuse of privilege @ the expense of citizenry who will be left holding the bag for toxic clean-ups etc etc……


  8. Only problem is, this BC Govt. were voted in by a portion of the general public with a handy majority. We have 3 and one half years to go of this stuff.


  9. “She simply would not be able to enter the legislature as anything but a guest.
    Which, when you think about it, is not much different from what she is doing right now”

    Good one Laila! One might wonder if she even knows how to find the Ledge. We know she doesn’t care much for Victoria, maybe that is just another reason she hates to go there. She spends more time in Asia than she does in the Legislature, she’s an Asian at heart ya know.


  10. Mihlar’s wife, Laura Jones, is also a product of the Fraser Institute, where she spread global warming denial propaganda (in cahoots with the Koch Brothers’ Cato Institute), under the ludicrous title of “environmental economist,” fought against threatened species protection and anything generally that protected the environment against rapacious industry.

    These are dedicated corporatist cultists (or perhaps morally bankrupt opportunists) who should indeed make us fear for the future of democracy and our irreplaceable environmental assets.

    Perhaps this development is no more “scary” than the other ultra right operatives from the Harper regime who have moved in and out of the Liberal war room, but I believe it reveals exactly what we can expect down the line in regards to pipeline “negotiations.”


  11. While I find the “appointment” of ANOTHER former newsperson as a govt shill utterly repulsive and a grotesque conflict of interest.

    ” How did you get the job?”
    “Oh I wrote endless stories and Op Ed pieces that were unfailingly positive towords the govt….”

    One wonders when either keith baldry or vaughn palmer will take the plunge and “go govt”……?
    Lets face it the gig they have now must be pretty damn boring. A bobblehead doll could do their jobs.


  12. This is seriously very scary. It’s a personal peeve of mine to see supposedly ‘non-partisan’ journalists sell their souls to political ideologies for personal gain. Interesting times ahead certainly for BC. Good post, Laila.


  13. It clearly demonstrates that if you support the government while in the media, you shall be rewarded. If you don’t support them well, you get left out. So we should expect more glowing reports from the already corrupted media.
    It does not bode well for any of us, except those in power and their sycophants.


  14. Fazil was one of the Sun’s more blatantly shameless editors, plugging Fraser Institute propaganda. I’m surprised he isn’t in the Reform Party…it would be a nice fit. When he stops being employed by the BC government to be an oil and gas lobbyist, he’ll be lobbying for a senate seat no doubt. Typical of grifters like him.

    The Vancouver Sun hasn’t been a newspaper for a long long time. Ditto for the Province and the Times Colonist, the three stooges of BC journalism. Most of what they print is syndicated news with the headlines changed up and a few local stories here and there. They employ very few actual journalists anymore, preferring fluff writers like Shelley Fralic, whose saccharine columns make me throw up.

    They wonder why they can’t get subscribers.


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