Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Deconstructing The BC Liberals' Boomerang Smear.


Yesterday, the BC Liberal Party put out a press release masquerading as a running smear, with boomerang potential, against the NDP candidate running in Burnaby-Lougheed.

Here is the lede from that BC Liberal Press release:

Vancouver - Today’s BC Liberals have uncovered yet another example of Jane Shin appearing to mislead voters about her educational credentials.

In a magazine called The Vankoreans, Jane Shin is featured on page 64 with a list of her education and employment experience.

In it she claims to have “earned a doctorate at UBC in genetics and cell biology.” In fact, according to a resume obtained by the BC Liberals, Ms. Shin describes herself as a “candidate” for a Bachelor’s degree in Science from UBC.

Nowhere in the article does it mention that she attended a Caribbean medical school called Spartan Health Services University (SHSU)....

The press release then goes on to further question the fact that different aspects of Ms. Shin's training and expertise have been highlighted in various publications and websites in different ways.

As a result, the BC Liberal Party press release lists a series of questions that 'must be answered', at least one of which is based on something that Ms. Shin herself did not write, and the others of which center around how one defines a 'practicing' physician (or not).

In addition, the BC Liberal Party candidate who is running against Ms. Shin is quoted as saying the following in the same BC Liberal Party smear which, again, was released yesterday:

...“We now know that Ms. Shin has altered her LinkedIn, BCIT and BCNDP websites once she was asked about her credentials,” says BC Liberal candidate Ken Kramer (in Burnaby-Lougheed). “It is clear that Ms. Shin has not been up front about her education and her experience, which seems to be changing daily."

“It is clear that the NDP is desperately trying to save Ms. Shin’s candidacy by hiding her from the media and refusing to account for her changing credentials.”...


Also yesterday, I noted that many people highlight the most impressive aspects of their CV's while downplaying others.

Of course, this is very different from claiming (or implying) that, based on the 'impressive' aspects of your CV, that you have, for example, actually received an actual degree from an institution of higher learning when you have not.

Now, with that in mind....

Firstly, did Ms. Shin herself (rather than a magazine called 'Vankoreans') claim that she (i.e. Ms. Shin), actually received a 'doctorate' degree from UBC in Genetics and Cell Biology?

Well, the VSun's Jeff Lee had the answer to that one up last night:

...Eun Yong Kwon, the editor of, said a reporter made an error in copying and translating Shin’s biography from an English website.

Shin’s CV states she was a bachelor of science candidate with a major in genetics and cell biology at UBC. It goes on to say she graduated with a doctor of medicine degree from Spartan Health Sciences University...


Have you got that?

The BC Liberal press release/smear led with something from the magazine 'Vankoreans' that was incorrectly written by a reporter and is directly at odds with what Ms. Shin herself actually wrote in her actual CV in which she does not state that she received such a 'doctorate degree' from UBC but rather that she was a Bachelor of Science degree 'candidate' in genetics and cell biology at that post-secondary institution (I'll explain what all this means at the bottom of the post).

Secondly, did Ms. Shin actually receive an M.D. degree from 'Spartan Health Sciences University'  in the Caribbean as she, herself, claims in the CV she actually wrote?

Well, Mr. Lee of the VSun appears to have the answer to that question as well:

...On Tuesday the B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons confirmed that Shin is not licensed to practice medicine in B.C. but that she is entitled to call herself a doctor since she has a medical doctorate from Spartan Health Sciences University in St. Lucia. The facility’s program is recognized by both the B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Medical Council of Canada...

Thirdly, has Ms. Shin stated or claimed, in the public prints, that she is practicing clinical medicine as a licensed physician in British Columbia? 

Well, apparently not, at least according to the Burnaby NewsLeader's Wanda Chow in a piece published yesterday:

...In an interview last October when Shin won the NDP nomination for Burnaby-Lougheed, she was clear that she is not a practising physician and that she decided to attend medical school after contracting a serious illness when she was 16.

But during her medical training she fell out of love of practising medicine when she found her interactions with patients limited to only about five minutes each. She turned her attention to academic medicine when she completed her training...

Got all  of that?



Just what is the BC Liberal Party candidate, Mr. Kramer, who is, apparently, a lawyer, and thus presumably knows and understands the libel laws of Canada, now saying about all this, after he and his started the smear rolling yesterday with their press release?

Well, here is what he told the Burnaby Now's Jennifer Moreau in a piece that was published earlier today:

...When asked to comment, Liberal candidate Ken Kramer, Shin's competition in the Burnaby-Lougheed riding, said he's more interested in reaching out to voters than raising questions about other candidates.

"I'm trying to stay away from what others are doing," Kramer said. "My number 1 responsibility is to make sure I'm out there and meeting people right now and telling them about the positives I've accomplished in my career and how I'm going to take that positive and translate that in Victoria."...


On a whole lot of levels.

Including the column inches that the smear machine managed to get cranked out on this particular matter in less than 24 hours (which, ironically enough, seems to be the only local rag where it hasn't been wurlitzered - yet).

And I'm not even going into the fact that BC Liberal Party's online Army also found something completely separate, which was an off-colour comment that Ms. Shin typed on an online forum...

11 years ago.

When she was a 21 year old kid.

Charlie Smith wrote about that in the G Straight this morning (and if I was going to go looking for the further evidence of the  'work' of the online Army mentioned above, I would start in the comments below Mr. Smith's piece).


As for that Boomerang thing that the architects of the smear now seem to be backing away from?


Remember how, throughout her entire leadership campaign, for example, we were constantly told how Ms. Christy Clark had attended the University of Edinburgh and the Sorbonne, as well as SFU?

And remember how just two weeks ago Ms. Clark herself told us how she got to know Margaret Thatcher while she was going to school in 'Britain'?

And do you ever remember Ms. Clark ever making it abundantly clear us that she never actually graduated from any of those schools?


Did Ms. Clark's handlers/wizards/surrogates/press releases/online-resumes imply something very different?

Just to be very clear here, the medical school that Ms. Shin graduated from is most definitely not top-of-the-pops, or even close....But, based on the evidence currently available, it appears that she did carry out legitimate post-MD training at a number of other places not in the Caribbean....This is not unusual, and some of these young folks with this kind of training later go on to successful careers, either in the academic realm, which appears to be the case with Ms. Shin, or in clinical practice...
As for this 'doctorate' thing....If one receives a doctoral degree in either Cell Biology or Genetics at UBC one does not receive an M.D. degree....Instead, one receives something often affectionately called a graduate 'Phud'  degree in the trade....And as for a 'candidate'?...Well this is someone working their way towards a degree...Most often that is used to describe someone working on a graduate degree who has completed their super-scary 'comprehensive exam' about halfway through the ordeal (the 'comp' exam is usually much scarier than the final defense because it is wide-open in terms of subject matter and thus not restricted to the subject of the student's thesis project)...In the case of a 'Bachelor of Science' candidate?...Well, that would refer to an undergraduate student who is majoring in something like, say 'Cell Biology and Genetics'....How do I know all this stuff?.....Well....You could say I have a little direct experience....OK?



North Van's Grumps said...

Apparently, running Red Lights is not the only "game" of chicken in town for Christy Clark.

"Getting into an accident two years ago (2009) where she rear-ended another driver at Granville and 16th, a case the driver and ICBC are still haggling over in court." Van Mag May 2011

Did this "accident" happen after running the red light or ...... after the car in front of her stopped for the red light?

macadavy said...

'Phud'? Explain please! Otherwise your insider explanation is much appreciated by one who walked away from the irrelevant ivory tower in the sixties. (No offence to one who wears his credentials as lightly as you do!)

RossK said...

Thanks for the info NVG--


Macadavy --


When I was in graduate school we actually called it 'gradual' school because it's where you go and go and go until you gradually decide to stop.

And no offense taken...It's really just a 10 thousand hour thing...Not that much difference between learning what I do and, say, learning how to be a welder, I reckon.

Anonymous said...

What do you mean, Cristy never completed her education. From what I see she, she has a masters in bullshit.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of smears...

What's up with the VSun's Barbara Yaffe?

For years she's been writing about all-things-Ottawa, but now she's on a 'I hate the NDP' rampage.

Now wonder Shaw's media empire is collapsing: they insult half their potential market.

North Van's Grumps said...

Laila Yuile has an update on Christy Clark rear ending a vehicle ... 16th and Granville.. in 2009...

Settled out of court just before the election began in earnest...

B.C. premier settles vehicle accident claim out of court