...Fight The Next Election With Both Hands Tied Behind Its Collective Back.
In his latest column in the Globe and (nolongerempire) Mail, Gary Mason first praises John Horgan and the NDP for taking a stand against the killing of grizzly bears.
And then, obviously, Mr. Mason spends most of the rest of his screed taking Mr. Horgan to task for courting big money donors after first brushing aside the fact that the BCNDP have made it crystal clear that they will introduce legislation to halt this business if they are elected.
...Mr. Horgan, with the right, Bernie Sanders-type message, could have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars through small $50 and $100 donations. He could have said no to the same $10,000 dinners Ms. Clark attends, driving home the distinction between his party and one that trades ingress for dollars...
Now, on a very superficial level that makes a certain kind of simplistic sense, right?
Except, of course, Mr. Mason seems to be unaware (or unwilling to tell his readers) that, under the current rules that the Clarklandians refuse to change, 'hundreds of thousands' in small donations doesn't mean squat when it comes to dealing the BC Liberal's Big Money Cronification-Of-Everything Pay-To-Play Machine.
How do I know this?
Well, I actually went and looked at the publicly available records of party fundraising from 2015.
And right there, in non-searchable, scanned-in black and white it says that the BCNDP raised $1,068,479 from contributions of $250 or less in 2015 (see pg 7).
Which is great given that it is almost twice the $592,440 BC Liberals received in small donations last year (see pg 8).
But here's the thing that really matters...
In 2015 the Clarklandian cronification machine brought in $9,379,808 in big money donations, more than $6 million of which came from corporations and commercial operations.
By way of comparison, the Dippers raised $1,983,011 in large donations, most of which came from individual citizens (i.e. less than $400K and $150K came from unions and corporations, respectively).
Which means that the BC NDP cannot win by exclusively courting small donors under the current rules that they cannot change until the win.
Because even if they could raise a clearly impossible $5 million in brand new money through small donations from supporters without money or power (or cronification leverage) the Dippers would still be way behind the BC Liberals.
And that's just based on 2015 numbers without knowing how things have gone in 2016 when Ms. Clark and friends have gone hog-wild with the secret big money meet-ups.
Here's what I really have to say.
To hell with the obvious.
Because I, for one, do not want the only side that has a hope-in-heckfire of beating the BC Liberals to march into the upcoming election maelstrom without any money to fight the avalanche of crony-bought propaganda that is massing, golem-like, just over the New Year's horizon.
______ Why am I so upset about this codswallop given everything else that is going down in the local Lotuslandian proMedia at the moment?...Well, in addition to the fact that superficial obviousness was used, once again, by Mr. Mason to twist a story into something that it is not there is also the matter of headline to the piece: "Controversial fundraiser leaves B.C. NDP as guilty as the Liberals". Clearly, one look at the actual numbers (i.e. the facts) outlined above demonstrates that this is patently false....But, then again, it did take a lowly idiot blogger such as myself about 93 seconds to look up said facts...If you get my drift.
...So, that’s all well and good. Where things fall apart is when the government and opposition play partisan political games with what ought to be an autonomous company rigorously regulated by the B.C. Utilities Commission, an agency that should be unfettered in carrying out its responsibilities...
The 'government' and the 'opposition' are equally at fault here for things falling apart?
As you can imagine that got my attention.
So I decided to read on in search of the Vancouver Sun's evidence to back up this most interesting statement.
First up was their hit on the BC Liberals and their leader: ...Premier Christy Clark said she’s maintaining a cap on annual premium increases
of 4.9 per cent because she’s “fighting for the ratepayers, the people
who drive cars, who buy insurance, the moms and dads who are already
finding life unaffordable.”...
And did I mention that that $6.4 billion (with a 'B') has helped pay for the BC Liberal government's regressive tax cuts for the well off and resource extractors for the last ten years and build phony ponzi budgets while it screws those mom's and dad's further over their MSP premiums and BCHydro rates?
As for NDP's political skullduggery that proves that both sides are equally at fault on the ICBC rate increase matter?
Well, according to the editorial board of the Vancouver Sun it comes down to the following:
...NDP critic Adrian Dix said a government announcement to stop insuring luxury cars valued at over $150,000 was designed to disguise ICBC’s forced release of hypothetical rate forecasts that suggest an increase of up to 42 per cent by 2020 in a worst case scenario...
______ And one thing I have not seen any member of the local puffed-up Lotuslandian proMedia punditry consider is the possibility that this luxury car thingy may actually be the very thin edge of the privatization wedge in disguise...Regardless, given the timing of the announcement and how little 3,000 vehicles impacts the actual ICBC bottomline in terms of real dollars, the fact that the VSun would raise it to this level of false equivalency re: what the BCLiberal government has done over the past five years and plans to do for the next five re: rate hike, is laughable in the extreme.
Don't know about you, but I for one sure am looking forward to a soon-to-be-published serial series of increasingly hard-hitting Ron Obvious columns focused on that number rather than the 'low Canadian dollar', or the 'increased claims' (but NOT per capita), or weasel-worded the story of how Ms. Clark's minon Mr. Stone is now going to give us all a break for awhile from these stealth tax....errr....dividend extractions which means that everything is just A-OK and pass the 4.9% happy talk.
And, now with his column on how the BC Utilities Commission has forced ICBC to reveal it's five year projection of rate increases of 42 percent to go with 37 percent rate increases over the last five years, it would appear that Mr. Smyth is also at least trying to get to the crux of that matter as well, particularly given that he also points out how ridiculous Todd Stone's attempt at high end luxury car deflector spike spin is.
Unfortunately, Mr. Smyth seems unable, or unwilling, to clearly state what the true driver of a decade of neverending year-over-year increases is, increases that are crushing (in the same way that the neverending year-over-year MSP and Hydro rate raises are also) those 'moms and dads who already find life unaffordable' that Ms. Christy Clark says she is 'fighting for'(as she simultaneously crushes them with all these continuous regressive rate increases that are funding her phony budget surpluses and letting folks who would not be crushed by paying a little more off the hook entirely).
Why do I come to this conclusion?
Well, first Mr. Smyth says the following re: the driver(s) of the increases:
...Why could ICBC rates go up so high and so fast? Because the accident rate is up, fraudulent claims are up, court-ordered awards are up, high-tech cars are more expensive to repair and a weak Canadian dollar makes American-made auto parts more pricey to buy...
Unfortunately (again!), Mr. Smyth offers no critical analysis of those so called drivers (i.e. what was the state of the Canadian dollar for example, say, between 2011 and 2013 when all of these increases began in earnest?).
And then, to 'compound' matters, at the end of the piece buried way, way, way under the lede, Mr. Smyth says this:
...And minister: Please stop using ICBC like a heavily lactating cash cow. The government practice of extracting “dividends” from ICBC — more than $1 billion siphoned in recent years — should be stopped right now, forever, before we pay a penny more...
Which is all well and good as far as the in-the-moment outrage goes, but...
Unfortunately (again, again!), Mr. Smyth just lets that last bit lay there, connecting no dots whatsoever.
Which means, it will soon be forgotten, and a sizeable chunk of those 'moms and dads who already find life unaffordable' will continue to think that Ms. Clark is actually trying to help them when she and hers have actually been crushing them for five years already, and will continue to do so for another five years if they are let off the hook by folks like the good Mr. Smyth if they refuse to connect the dots and tell British Columbians what is really going on here through May of 2017.
Premier Clark did not tell British Columbians who drive cars that she will return the hundreds and and hundreds of millions of dollars that she and hers have siphoned out of ICBC to build her phony regressive budget surplus by ripping huge chunks out of the collective back of said drivers (i.e. by levying a collective 30% increase over the last five years.
..."I think ICBC should keep the rates at a 4.9 per cent increase, which is what the government is committed to doing. People cannot afford these massive rate increases," said Clark. "I am fighting for the ratepayers, people who drive cars, the moms and dads who already find life unaffordable."...
Fighting for those fine folks, indeed.
In the meantime Ms. Clark is is still doing her best to keep on giving uber-regressive tax breaks to those who need them least.
Or, putting it another way this is nothing but a stealth HST on wheels
Meanwhile, in case you missed it, Ms. Clark's Transport Minister Mr. Todd Stone threw a little iodine onto the scarred backs of those 'moms and dads who already find life unnaffordable' when he told them that he wouldn't actually siphon any of their money out of ICBC this year (see very bottom of Rob Shaw's VSun piece).
As for next year, and the year after that, and the year after that...
_______ The real story here?...The BC Utilities Commission is demanding that ICBC come up with projections for rate increases for the next four years....Today...So be watching for that...Or not. Update: Wednesday afternoon....Meanwhile while we wait for the long term rate increase projections....Deflector spin Uber-Alles direct from Todd Stone's mouth
In the 'credit-where-credit-is-due' department, Mike Smyth wrote a very good piece in the Province today that explained why banning pill presses is a meaningful and concrete thing to do when it comes to starting to deal with the opioid crisis that is killing people in this province by the hundreds.
Mr. Smyth also explained how the banning of these pill presses has been legislated by an all-party consensus in Alberta.
Interestingly, in the kicker, after he first lays out other ways the BC Liberal government is NOT dealing concretely with the opioid crisis, particularly in the realm of treatment, Mr. Smyth has this to say:
...The government is taking action, however, when it comes to pre-election advertising.
An ad campaign called “Fighting the overdose crisis” is currently running on TV and online and cost $275,000. Some of the ads prominently feature the premier saying: “We must protect our children.”...
Given their past performance wherein political expediency has so often trumped substantive policy, is it possible that the wizards behind the BC Liberal government curtain are refusing to do anything meaningful and concrete because, if it did, it would get in the way of their propaganda roll-out?
Regardless, when it comes to meaningful and concrete steps, governmental inaction on this file can only result in one thing...
And that is a further escalation of the human tragedy that is happening right here and right now.
The Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Morris has issued the following statement on the overdose crisis:
"I’d like to put a stop to the distraction from the deadly serious issue of our overdose crisis that has been taking place today, with regard to Premier Christy Clark's comments that we had a confirmed case of marijuana laced with fentanyl.
"As we’ve all heard from the Vancouver Police Department, this was reported in error, and we’ve also heard from the RCMP that the reports out of Masset earlier this week are also not confirmed.
"With that now clear, let’s move forward in our fight against this deadly drug. We continue to warn the public that any and all drugs can be tainted with fentanyl, including marijuana. We implore everyone to take this caution seriously as we are seeing an average of two people dying a day in this crisis in our province. Let’s turn our focus back to saving lives."
Oh well, nothing whatsoever to see there, so let's just move on.
_____ Tip O' The Toque to NVG for the heads-up. Again, I am not
attempting to suggest that the fentanyl crisis is not real... I fully understand that it is life threatening for many of our most
vulnerable citizens...My issue here is that our local proMedia continues
to demonstrate that it is incapable of dealing with demonstrable
falsehoods from our premier in a straightforward and consistent
manner...And, to be absolutely clear, I find this inability to deal with
such falsehoods, especially when they are clumsily camoflauged by the premier's own flack-hackery, to be particularly egregious when it helps provide
cover for the fact that the premier is not dealing with the matters at hand
in a substantive manner.
police did a major seizure, they found cocaine with fentanyl, heroin
with fentanyl, methamphetamine with fentanyl and marijuana with
fentanyl,” she (Clark) said...
And the following is precisely what the Vancouver police department said in response to Ms. Clark's claim:
...In a statement to CKNW, Sgt. Brian Montague says the VPD has NOT seized any marijuana laced with fentanyl...
And, with those facts established, the following is what Global BC television anchor Sophie Lui said last night on the 6 O'Clock news about Ms. Clark's claim (see 7min 20sec mark, here):
"...The VPD disputes that claim..."
According to the fine folks at Global BC there are no actual undisputed facts here because, clearly, they decided to tell their viewers that this whole thing is a flip-of-a-coinish "he said/she said" -type deal. And, most importantly, they did this without presenting any new evidence to suggest that Sgt. Montague's original statement was in any way incorrect.
All of which has me wondering why any thinking person would actually pay any attention whatsoever to this particular Lotuslandian proMedia outlet given that it has such a hard time dealing with demonstrable facts on the ground straight-up?
Why would they?
_______ Of course, Ms. Lui's he said/she said thingy was immediately followed by a 'the lacing is not beyond the realm of possibility'-type scare story from reporter Jill Bennett who herself stated that it was probably just old, inaccurate information that Ms. Clark was quoting from without providing any evidence that such old, inaccurate information actually exists. And please, please, please do not misunderstand me...I am not attempting to suggest that the fentanyl crisis is not real and not really, really serious and often life threatening for many of our most vulnerable citizens...My issue here is that our local proMedia continues to demonstrate that it is incapable of dealing with demonstrable falsehoods from our premier in a straightforward and consistent manner...And, to be absolutely clear, I find this inability to deal with such falsehoods to be particularly egregious when it helps provide cover for the fact that our premier is not dealing with matters at hand in a substantive manner. A Tip O' The Toque to reader ChuckS. for the heads-up about Global's (dis)treatment of this particular story.
In point of fact, I'm almost certain said wizards don't even care what is actually in the story as long as they get the deflector spin headline that kills all newscycles of substance over the weekend.
As for actual governance and policy?
_______ In actual hard (not cider) blogging news....Merv Adey and Norm Farrell both have excellent criticisms of the local puffed-up punditry up at the moment....Now, if you'll excuse me I'm off to watch my kid make music...Details, with sounds, to follow...
And as for the minister actually responsible for this type of stuff?
Well, he says that facts don't matter as long as you scare the crap out of people.
Or some such shadowy shadow of a possibility-type thing:
...B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Morris said on Friday that he hadn't spoken to the premier about where she got her information, but he said, even if there was no hard evidence, her message was worthwhile.
"I'm looking at it from a public safety perspective here, and if there's a shadow of a possibility that fentanyl can be laced into marijuana or any other substance that we have out there, we need to be as vocal and vigilant as we can to make sure people are aware of that, so that's where I'm coming from," he said...
That’s the claim Premier Christy Clark is making, as she takes her pitch for more help in the opioid crisis to Ottawa.
Speaking to reporters today, Clark said the toxic narcotic had turned up in pot seized by Vancouver cops.
“Vancouver police did a major seizure, they found cocaine with fentanyl, heroin with fentanyl, methamphetamine with fentanyl and marijuana with fentanyl,” she said.
It’s a worrying claim, but it’s also one that’s news to Vancouver Coastal Health’s Chief Medical Health Officer Patricia Daly.
“I can only speak for what we know in the Vancouver Coastal Region, and we haven’t had any reports of fentanyl contamination of marijuana here at this point,” she said...
...In a statement to CKNW, Sgt. Brian Montague says the VPD has NOT seized any marijuana laced with fentanyl...
A real bonafide health crisis wherein concrete things could be done to start dealing with it right here and right now and the premier, instead of doing those things here and now, is just making stuff up to scare people?
_______ Of course, this crap could (and likely will) turn up anywhere in the future....But the point is that Ms. Clark just made up the stuff about the Vancouver police, specifically, finding it in weed out of nowhere, for the cameras...So, if the proMedia lets her off the hook on this point down the line we will remember and scream at them (again).
Please bear with me while I do something rarely seen around here (i.e. use political party material, straight-up), but I think there is an important point to be made based on the oft-repeated behaviour of our current provincial government. And, of course, this something you won't see discussed in any serious manner in the local proMedia once the horse race begins in earnest.
Don't know about you all, but I for one do not want to see a fentanyl overdose graph that looks like the housing price graph at the top of the post come this time next year before something significant is finally done.
Monday evening I was waiting at the light at 16th and Macdonald and, like Bob Mackin before me, I was surprised in the extreme when I looked to my right and found the visage of the Clarklandian Advanced Education minister staring right back at me.
Starting a campaign in Quilchena, where Mr. Wilkinson by more than 40 points last time out, six months before the election?
Is there something in the tea leaves that we don't know about?
______ Update: There is a third possibility (which came our way from a reader offline who was only half-joking I think)...What if some wizardarian member of Marky Mark's Klout Klub has been leaning on the riding association to open things up for Madame Premier?...If so, how better to mark the territory for Mr. W?
...I believe Trump is going to focus much of his attention on the four blue states in the rustbelt of the upper Great Lakes – Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Four traditionally Democratic states – but each of them have elected a Republican governor since 2010 (only Pennsylvania has now finally elected a Democrat). In the Michigan primary in March, more Michiganders came out to vote for the Republicans (1.32 million) that the Democrats (1.19 million)...
...From Green Bay to Pittsburgh, this, my friends, is the middle of England – broken, depressed, struggling, the smokestacks strewn across the countryside with the carcass of what we use to call the Middle Class. Angry, embittered working (and nonworking) people who were lied to by the trickle-down of Reagan and abandoned by Democrats who still try to talk a good line but are really just looking forward to rub one out with a lobbyist from Goldman Sachs who’ll write them nice big check before leaving the room. What happened in the UK with Brexit is going to happen here. Elmer Gantry shows up looking like Boris Johnson and just says whatever shit he can make up to convince the masses that this is their chance! To stick to ALL of them, all who wrecked their American Dream! And now The Outsider, Donald Trump, has arrived to clean house! You don’t have to agree with him! You don’t even have to like him! He is your personal Molotov cocktail to throw right into the center of the bastards who did this to you! SEND A MESSAGE! TRUMP IS YOUR MESSENGER!
And this is where the math comes in. In 2012, Mitt Romney lost by 64 electoral votes. Add up the electoral votes cast by Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. It’s 64. All Trump needs to do to win is to carry, as he’s expected to do, the swath of traditional red states from Idaho to Georgia (states that’ll never vote for Hillary Clinton), and then he just needs these four rust belt states. He doesn’t need Florida. He doesn’t need Colorado or Virginia. Just Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. And that will put him over the top. This is how it will happen in November...
After reading the entire piece I could see that Moore was really saying that Trump would win by bamboozling desperate folks with hope.
And that hope thing is important to remember, I think.
Because, despite the ugly things that have happened over the last 72 hours, Mr. Trump did not win because he had the support of the racists. After all, he always had them, just like every Republican nominee has had all the way back to Nixon's southern strategy.
Instead, Trump won because he offered a relatively small group of desperate people in rural and exurban areas of rust belt states a little hope mixed with the rage.
At worst false, and at best misguided hope, sure.
But that 'hope' thing is a very different message than the one that is pouring out of TeeVee screens and hate radio at the moment.
Earlier today we surmised that our fine Premier was going on the offensive in response to her much, much, much more offensive and concerted attempts to dismantle public education in this province over the last fourteen years.
Premier Christy Clark says extra funding could be coming for the public education system following her government’s loss in a key court case at the Supreme Court of Canada.
Clark said the financial implications of the court ruling remain unclear, but the government anticipated the ruling and is ready to sit down with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation to negotiate.
“We’ve already put $100 million aside into this learning improvement fund which is in response to the expectation this is where we’d end up,” she said in an interview Friday.
“If it costs more money, that’s a good thing in lots of ways because it’s a good investment to put money into classrooms and our kids. The discussion then is going to be how do we go about allocating that.”
The premier said she remains optimistic about negotiations with the BCTF because “we all want to get to the same place, which is let us have class sizes that work and more special assistants.”...
No sign, at least in the piece of itself, of any follow-up from Mr. Shaw asking why Ms. Clark did not do this in 2002 when the stripping occurred at her hand, in 2004 before she ran away from GordCo, Inc, in 2011 when she became Premier/when the first BC Supreme court decision came down, before the 2013 election, after the 2015 Appeals court decision.
Premier Christy Clark says she’s ready to sit down and negotiate with teachers over class size and composition.
It’s the premier’s first comments on the issue, since the Supreme Court of Canada issued a landmark ruling yesterday in favour of teachers in their 14 year battle with the province.
Clark says the province was prepared for the possibility of a loss.
“We all want to put more special needs teachers in classrooms, we all want to make sure that classes are the right size for kids, so I’m excited about that possibility we’ve got ahead of us,” she said...
______ And, just so you know, this bit of craven word salad spinning was NOT a one-off with CKNW...Instead, it looks like it is a concerted propaganda blitz in which the 'special needs teacher' is being used as a trope....The shamelessness of it is truly breathtaking.
"It’s difficult to overstate what a shattering blow the B.C. Court of Appeal’s ruling Thursday on classroom working conditions is to the B.C. Teachers’ Federation. The union didn’t just lose. It got thumped in unequivocal fashion...
...The union will not win at the country’s highest court. It would be better off negotiating terms of a peace accord with the government."
Remember back in the darkest dark days of GordCo, Inc. when every BC Liberal government member's non-answer to any and all questions about BC Rail, including those that had little or nothing to do with the actual 'trial', was concluded with 'It's before the courts'.
And just in case you've forgotten, this was taken to a laughable extreme by then Attorney General Wally Oppal when he was cornered by, gasp!, Ron Obvious and the Dean...
It turns out that those Golden Era days have nothing on what's going on in Clarkland right here and right now.
What am I talking about this time Alfie?
Well, in today's report on the stuff that was being passed by the Ministry of Health to the RCMP about the fired Healthcare researchers by Andrew MacLeod in the Tyee, a Clarklandian PAB-Botian-type member of the flack-hackery had this to say when asked for an explanation:
“The Ombudsperson has begun his investigation, and I expect any questions will be answered through that process.”
_______ The YouTube video above was shot by the invaluable chronicler of all that went down during the reign of GordCo Inc., Sean Holman.
....(Clean Energy B.C.) invited (former premier) Harcourt, and former premier Gordon Campbell, to deliver keynote speeches to this year’s conventions as the “architects” of government policies that enabled private-power producers to establish, and then expand to account for a quarter of B.C.’s electricity supplies, said executive director Paul Kariya...
...Harcourt argued that the province should devote more resources into developing other renewable-power sources, including sources such as wood-fired biomass generation, pursue more aggressive efforts on climate action and “cut (our) losses” with Site C.
“You mothball it, you say ‘we’ll put $2 billion in, but not $15 to $17 billion,” Harcourt said, with the latter figures being his guess at cost overruns based on the experiences of other big dam projects around the world.
Campbell, however, maintained that Site C adds to B.C.’s backbone of constant hydroelectric power that can be used to balance the addition of more electricity from intermittent sources such as wind or run-of-river hydro. “Full disclosure, I announced Site C,” Campbell said. “I was for Site C and I remain (in favour of) Site C. I think (it) creates (power) storage capacity for us that’s important.”
However, Campbell said he doesn’t want to see Site C built in a way that would preclude further private-power development...
So there you have it, straight from the former Premier's mouth....Cronies in the public trough slopping around while having their cake and eating it too!
______ The quotes above are from a story by Derrick Penner in Monday's VSun....Tip 'O The Toque to an Anon-O-Mouse in the comments for the heads-up. Also had an off-line tip from a reader who knew that the good Mr. Campbell was in town because they saw him on the street in downtown Lotusland recently...Apparently the willeeeees that ensued took quite some time to subside...
Metronews' David Ball had that story recently. Here is his lede:
As child poverty in British Columbia climbs, kids are reaching school age more vulnerable than anytime in the past 15 years, a new University of B.C. report has found.
One in every three B.C. children now enters Kindergarten under-performing on a childhood wellbeing index developed by the university’s Human Early Learning Partnership, the Early Development Instrument (EDI)...
It would appear that little thing with the fine folks behind the BCLiberal party's curtain who are so full of 'ideas' is so ideological....errrrr... political.
...Christy Clark’s Liberal Government turned the resource royalty and rights program upside down. In 2016, BC started paying gas producers to remove and sell BC gas. By ordinary accounting standards, natural gas cost the province more than $400 million in fiscal year 2016.
With the Liberal plan to provide massive amounts of electricity to gas producers at a fraction of the price BC Hydro pays to acquire power, the gas industry is at the centre of a looming financial disaster like no other before it in BC history...
Wonder how many of those credit-raking extractors are foreign leverage-seekers on that BCLiberal party donor list compiled by Dermod Travis and Integrity BC that sits at the bottom of Douglas Todd's piece in yesterday's VSun?
Not that any of that foreign leveraging could have possibly gone directly into the good Ms. Clark's apparently conflicty-free pocket or anything over the last five years.
What percentage of the never deplorable, but always faithful (at least as long as there is no viable BC Con party), folks at #BCL16 would have voted FOR a resolution calling for the worsening of such relations?
_______ And just who, exactly, is working so hard to make sure that the BC Blues stay blowed-up real good, again, anyway?
Of course, the devil is always in the double speak-free details.
Not to mention the execution.
_______ Meanwhile, the ACTUAL bus claw back for the disabled continues...And, now that it has been mentioned... Still waiting, with bated breath, for that scathing VSun OpEd on the BCL Premier's inappropriate use of 20,000 bus passes to pay for propaganda-driven photo-ops....Or some such thing.
The BC Liberal Party is doing something really, really Yuuuuuuge(!) on 'accountability' with esteemed cabinet members this fine Saturday morning.
However, unlike, those chosen few who are willing to secretly fork out thousands in return for influence....errrr...dinner, it appears that the rank-and-file are just not that interested in what's on offer:
With all that going on in the wake of concerted critical coverage on issues of substance over the past couple of weeks, what's the wizardry to do?
Well, with no local version of a guy named Comey in the fold, it would appear that they've decided to go with their next best thing. The hit piece.
Would'a thunk it could still happen?
Especially now that their former guy on the inside of the hit piece-making machinery is now fighting humanity's greatest challenge by pretending that challenge, which he has previously disavowed, doesn't even exist (kinda/sorta like upstream emissions don't exist, also).
President Barack Obama rebuked a crowd of Hillary Clinton supporters Friday after they shouted down a man holding a Donald Trump sign. Obama was addressing a get-out-the-vote rally for Clinton here when the man, wearing a military uniform and hat, stood up in the bleachers and prompted the response from supporters of the Democratic nominee. "Hold up! Hold up! Hold up! Hold up!" Obama shouted over and over as the supporters drowned out his calls for order. "Everybody! Hey!" Obama yelled. "I told you to be focused and you're not focused right now." The President then reminded the crowd "we live in a country that respects free speech," adding the man looked like he possibly served in military, saying, "we ought to respect that."...
Not presidential, also via CNN: ...Trump later on Friday mischaracterized Obama's handling of the protester, accusing Obama of becoming "unhinged" and of "screaming at this protester." "Frankly, it was a disgrace," Trump said at a rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania...
First Andrew MacLeod checks in with those actually affected. They are not happy about the document-dump driven delay to a 'toothless' investigation in the Tyee:
People wrongly fired from the health ministry in 2012 shouldn’t have to learn about major developments in Ombudsperson Jay Chalke’s investigation through media reports, say lawyers for some of the former employees in a letter sent to Chalke Thursday.
“Given the legitimate concerns they already had about the government’s decision to refer this matter to your office for a toothless closed-door investigation, our clients should not be expected to monitor Committee proceedings to find out about key developments,” wrote Gary Caroline and Joanna Gislason...
In the wake of the firings of several Health Ministry researchers four years ago, the B.C. government had no answers, no explanation. The Opposition and those affected by the firings have encountered nothing but roadblocks in their quest for answers. A lawyer asked to review the incident reported she couldn’t get to the bottom of it because she couldn’t find the documentation that would normally accompany such actions.
Now B.C. ombudsperson Jay Chalke’s investigation has been handed nearly four million documents apparently related to the review.
This scandal has gone from the ridiculous to the absurd. But it is no comedy — careers were put on hold or ended, reputations were besmirched and one person took his own life. The controversy has dragged on far too long, and still no end is in sight...
...The issue is not what alleged transgressions led to the firings, but the process involved. To call it flawed is too gentle a description. This is one of the worst human-resources blunders in the history of Canadian public service, and yet no one has been called to account; no one has explained what really happened and why...
The thing is, now is not the time to stop with the digging and the prodding. And it is most certainly not the time for bob-and-weave, protect-the-insider-access-pipeline-at-all costs, wet-noodle "columnizing".
Otherwise it will soon by March, Mr. Chalke will announce he can't possibly release his report so close to the election, and everyone will shrug their shoulders and walk away.
B.C. ombudsperson Jay Chalke has an obligation to release, in part or in whole, his report into the firings of eight Health Ministry drug researchers before the provincial election in May, said Dermod Travis of government watchdog group Integrity B.C...
On the heels of revelations Tuesday that Chalke’s investigation has uncovered four million related records for review — as compared with the 200,000 the Health Ministry estimated were relevant — critics are questioning the disparity and the delaying of the report until at least February or March.
“I think the government fully expects the report won’t come out before the election,” Travis said.
The “document dump” by the provincial government was “fully intended” to delay the ombudsperson report until after the May 9 election. It was originally due last month...
I highly recommend you read Ms. Harnett's story in its entirety.
If you go by what the Ombudsperson had to say yesterday you might be a little worried about that.
From Rob Shaw's VSun piece: B.C.’s ombudsperson says he’s facing delays in his investigation of the firing of government health researchers, and he may release his final report just before the 2017 provincial election.
Jay Chalke told an all-party committee of MLAs Tuesday that he now expects to complete his work in February or March. The election is set for May 9...
And why, oh why will this take so long?
Turns out that suddenly a magical reverse triple-delete pony with sparkly wings has miraculously appeared:
...Chalke told MLAs one of the reasons for the delay was that he has received four million records, instead of 200,000 that the government had initially estimated it would provide his office...
I would say something snarky here if lives and careers hadn't been ruined by the governments words, deeds and actions on this one.
______ Interestingly, one of the 'angles' in Mr. Shaw's piece was that this might actually lead to a pre-election Comey if Mr. Chalke's report were to be released just before May 9th, 2017....I'm betting it will instead be a post-election Fitzmas unless, of course, what Mr. Chalke has to say can be spun positively by the Clarklandian wizardry.
First, the lede at the top of Mr. Palmer's piece in today's Vancouver Sun: When the B.C. Liberals pre-emptively fired the Vancouver School Board two weeks ago, they held back a government-ordered (Milburn) audit of the troubled district because of an outstanding concern about privacy...
...When he fired all the trustees, Education Minister Mike Bernier said he can't release that (Milburn) report because BC's acting privacy commissioner is investigating a complaint involving the possible disclosure of personal information.
"That report, again, will come out soon and then, you'll be able to see the information in there."
Acting Privacy Commissioner Drew McArthur was later asked if that's true.
"I'm not in a position to confirm or deny anything associated with the VSB."
"So, you can't talk about whether or not you've been contacted by the Education Minister to determine whether or not that report should be released?"
Staff have now confirmed an investigation is underway, but there's nothing keeping Bernier from releasing the audit results.
They say 'The Commissioner was not involved in the Ministry of Education's decision not to release' it...
It would appear that one of those things may not quite be like the other.
______ The bizarre thing (or maybe not given his proven ability to pull all punches when push comes to insider access/fence sitting shove) about Mr. Palmer's piece is that he acknowledges that the decision to fire the VSB was made BEFORE any of the apparatchiks (and/or the mouthpiece....errrr...Minister) actually saw the Milburn report before waving that most notable fact away with the following... "Still, the more than 300 pages of findings go a long way to show how the VSB has been an outlier — an outcast even — among the province’s 60 school districts."....Because, you know, a government that uses a serially-hired gun's hatchet job as media-splashed cover to the predetermined firing of a democratically-elected school board is not the real story here, right?