Thursday, October 31, 2013

Harperland Uber-Alles! When You've Lost Ivison...

...Can The Base Be Far Behind?

Just askin'.

And speaking of bases that are asymptotic with, essentially, zero....This.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Just In Case You Missed It...Patrick Brazeau Is Going Berserk...

...On the Twittmachine Feed.

As in right now.


And here I thought it was Michael Sona, whose early work for the CPC I got to know way before he was thrown under that bus allegedly driven by Pierre Poutine's supervisor(s), would be the first to go all in and pull a  Johnny Dean on the Boss.


This Day In Snookland....Guess Who's Taking Credit For the Massey Bridge?


You know.... That bridge that the good Premier told us the cost of  'could be in the neighbourhood' of three billion dollars.

Why, it's none other than former Snooklandian, and current Vancouver Board of Trade President, Iain Black!

From the actual press release from the VBoT:

The Vancouver Board of Trade applauds today’s announcement that the Government of British Columbia will move forward with a new bridge to replace the aging George Massey Tunnel.

In January 2013, The Vancouver Board of Trade sent a letter to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure endorsing the replacement of the tunnel, after actively participating in the Province’s public consultation process. The Board of Trade pledged its support for the tunnel’s replacement, in an effort to improve the movement of goods and people along the Highway 99 corridor. Today’s announcement solidifies the Government’s commitment to delivering on that important initiative...


Maybe the Board of Trade should make a bid on that flack-hackery contract whose objective it will be, at taxpayers' expense, to create 'excitement' amongst the citizenry about the boondogg.....errrrr....bridge.

Heckfire, maybe even a director or two (pick your favourites here) could spearhead such a fine initiative initiative in public flack-hackery!

Here's a follow-up question or three for Ms Clark....Would five billion dollars still be in that 'neighbourhood' you were talkin' 'bout?....How about seven?...Or nine?...Of course, no Lotuslandian proMedia personality worth his or her industry association speaking fees would dare ask questions like that....Questions that might demonstrate that our good premier actually has no real plan or even a reasonable estimation of how much this thing will ultimately cost....OK?


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Disappearing Of Public Sessions On Kinder Morgan's Pipeline Expansion Proposal...What Is The National Energy Board Afraid Of?


Turns out that an NEB spokesthingy says that the board is, instead, going to hold 'on-line' sessions to ensure that the citizenry will have more opportunity to raise issues and ask questions.

Jennifer Moreau has the story in the Burnaby Now. Here is her lede:

There has been a change of plans for Burnaby residents who were hoping to attend an information session on the National Energy Board’s hearing process.

With Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion proposal on the horizon, the federal agency was planning to host a single info session in Burnaby. On Tuesday, the board announced it will now host a series of info sessions online instead.

Sarah Kiley, a National Energy Board spokesperson, explained that the change was made in case members of the public weren’t available for an in-person information session.

“We are looking at doing three or four online information sessions, (with) the exact same information. Reny (Chakkalakal, a process advisor with the board,) will be hosting them, so the same person who would be hosting a face-to-face public information session, just offering different options to people – different times different dates – and you can do it from your own home,” Kiley said...



Based on their own 'statement', it would appear that the NEB is using the fact that it only scheduled one public session on the pipeline as an excuse for holding  no public sessions.


Given all that, the following is a question that I have for the good Mr. Chakkalakal (and not the spokesthingy - I refuse to listen to answers from people who are NOT making the decisions/running the show)...

Why, specifically, did you not just schedule multiple public sessions instead?

Personally, I will never forget how the government of Gordon Campbell disappeared public hearings and, in my opinion, facilitated a subversion of the democratic process when KM first moved into British Columbia...


Will The New Media Model Lead To A De-Poodling Of America's Press Corps?


Don't know for sure.

But I do know one thing...

Which is that it is a good thing that a journo who is nobody's poodle (and who, apparently, got fired form the WaPo for that very reason), Dan Froomkin, has been hired by that Omidyar behemoth to work with Glennzilla...

Two New Journalists Join the Team
OCTOBER 29, 2013

We’re very excited to announce two new members joining our team: Dan Froomkin and Liliana Segura. Dan and Liliana will work alongside Laura Poitras, Jeremy Scahill, and me as we develop our new venture with Pierre Omidyar....


All this and not a Soros Dollar to be found anywhere.


What ever will the Screamers think?

And, from the 'What do I really know!' Dept...If you hit the Froomkin link above you will see how wrong my guess of where he would end up was...


This Day In Snookland...The Gordoning.


That was then, just before the election:


This is now, a few months after the election:

On the plus side (depending on your perspective)...Looks like you can buy three Flips for the price of one Ben Stewart...
And if you want a Flip re-run that is actually worth watching...Well...This.


Monday, October 28, 2013

If Gordon Campbell Flew In Today....Would They Send A Limosine Anyway?


During the production of his most excellent documentary on political party discipline, Sean Holman considered including a portion of this infamous media scrum with the current Snooklandian smart-meter reader (and former turdstorm-slinger), Mr. Bill Bennett, about his previous interactions with the king of the Golden Era.

And while the footage didn't make it into the movie (maybe because it has less to do with party discipline and more to do with oligarchy?) it is riveting nonetheless...

Earworm in the header, above, buggin' you?.....This!


This Day In Snookland...All Their Astroturfs 'R Us.


Back in the middle years of the time of our Gord (a.k.a. the 'Golden Era') an Astroturf group called 'Get Moving B.C.' sprang up that was anything but deep at the roots (i.e. it consisted of various and assorted sundry fine folks and, apparently, six actual 'residents').

Still, despite that meagre number of actual roots of (allegedly) real grass, Get Moving B.C.  managed to crank-up the wurlitzer and convince big proMedia news organs like the Vancouver Sun that the populace really, really, really wanted a new Port Mann bridge.

Which is just another example of the mixed-up media/flack-hackery landscape we live in here in Lotusland.

But at least we, the people of British Columbia, weren't paying for said turf laying back in the day.

Apparently, all that will change in the run-up to the building of the Massey Bridge that will cost, according to Premier Christy Clark, somewhere 'in the neighbourhood' of three billion dollars.

From a recent column by Vaughn Palmer in the VSun:

...Confirming that the B.C. Liberals are charging ahead to replace the Massey Tunnel with a bridge, the transportation ministry is preparing to award four major service contracts for the controversial project...

{snippety doo-dah}

...The sought-after services are for engineering, technical advice, environmental management and community relations...

{snippety doodle-dandy}

...Together the four contracts are estimated to account for 405,000 hours of billable time...

{snippety doodle-dandiest}

...The fourth contract is to manage community relations, establishing the public face of the project and making sure it is a positive one: “Create excitement and interest in overall corridor objectives and specific project deliverables.”...


There you have it.

You and I will now be paying the flack-hackery so that we can 'excite' our very own selves.

Or some such bargeload filled to bursting with codswallop-type thing.

To be honest, I'm not even sure that a reasonable person could make up such a ridiculously ludicrous, not to mention an utterly wasteful, thing in their wildest of flu-laden fever dreams.

As for the Snooklandians....


Feel free to go have a look at our post on the turfing of the ice bomb bridge 'concept'...You will find a few of most interesting names there...
And just who was it that put this Massey Bridge bug in the Snooklandian ear in the first place, anyway?...More on that to come...


Seventeen Days Of Brutin.


I've had a good string of Saturday mornings lately.

Today was a lazy one spent scratching the dog's ears absentmindedly while I read the week's pile of dead tree news and listened to Jason Isbell.


The string started about a month ago when I got up and discovered the big pile of goo-laden cookies shown above that littler e. had baked for me.

My kids and I have name for that kind of stuff - stuff that is really good but really bad for you.

We call it 'Brutin'.

And I honestly can't remember why.

But I do remember the summer holiday we ate it for seventeen days straight.

The holiday day below, spent in a favourite Berkeley backyard of ours, was not one of them.

Did not go to see the Muscle Shoals doc last night...Why?...Well, the rock doctors met here and we played all night long...What I do with those guys is very loud and very blues based (i.e. it is not the kind of stuff I do here)...Did get them to stand still long enough to do 'Crash On The Levee' though...Just didn't tell them it was Dylan...
Speaking of which...


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Defending The Harper Government's War On Science...It's The Economy, Stupid!


Last week Philip Cross, the former Chief Economic Analyst for StatsCan, wrote an OpEd in the Financial Post titled 'What War On Science?'.

Initially, Mr. Cross argues that 'everybody does it'.

What, precisely, everybody does, particularly those governments that do not muzzle their staff scientists, I'm not exactly sure.

Then, just before he offers up the 'what are they whining about anyway because total funding is up' gambit, Mr. Cross lets fly with a bizarre argument that links the 'good' science to the GDP.

That laughable argument goes like this:

"...Some of the tension between government and science revolves around how science relates to economic growth. Higher growth is how the scientific establishment justifies its ample government funding..."


Should we start stuffing air conditioners, heating ducts, and breakfast cereal boxes with heart-smart asbestos flakes immediately?


Tip O' The Toque to Jessa Gamble and her piece posted at 'The Last Word On Nothing'.


The Man Is Dead.


I never got what Mr. Beer 'N Hockey got from the guy and all he did.

But I did hear a really interesting anecdote about Lou Reed that came from John Cale during his recent interview with Marc Maron.

Cale and Maron were discussing the early days - the days before the Velvets made that album that spawned a million bands, despite the fact only a few thousand actually bought the thing on the first go round.

And Cale got to talking about busking on the streets of New York with the not-so-sweet (at least back then) Lou.

And what was really interesting to me was not so much what Reed was doing musically but, instead, the way he did it.

Which was to challenge passers by to actively hate what he was up to.


As somebody who has tried a little of the busking thing where, essentially, you are begging members of the passing crowd to like what you are doing, Reed's approach tells me that he was never going to wait for any man to let him do his own thing.

Which says a lot, I reckon.


Sunday Morning Comin' Down...Replacing Holman.


Don't know about you but, as a certified provincial politics junkie who can't kick the habit, I once spent many a Sunday morning getting my fix listening to Sean Holman and his Rabble Rousers.

Which is not the name of a funked-up cowpunk swing band.

Regardless, these (sun)days I mostly try and make do with Enright and/or a tape delay of Scott Simon.

Both of whom do interesting stuff, but the subject matter is rarely Lotuslandian.

And as for the remaining local politically-focused shows on commercial radio?


We've been through all that before.

Except for this thing that Ian Jessop has been doing semi-regularly for awhile now on CFAX.

Which is to have Norm Farrell on for a half hour or so so that he can actually ask him questions, straight-up, and then listen to the answers before asking the next one.

Here is Norm from last Friday afternoon talking about sparkle ponies (i.e. decreasing, not increasing, provincial natural resource revenue) and more - the perfect thing for a Sunday morning comin' down.

Not sure how the good Mr. Baldrey is taking this given that, while he didn't call Norm a 'cultist', he did descend to name calling of another kind on the Twittmachine awhile back...
By the way....Mr. Holman is doing fine - teaching young cow punks in Calgary to do what he does so well (and getting paid for it!)...He also produced the excellent documentary on party-based political gridlock that is Lotusland-focused called 'Whipped'.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

What Did The Stomping Of The Therapeutics Initiative And The Six Million Dollar Deal Have In Common?


A former very fine public servant by the name of Mr. Graham Whitmarsh, who just happens to be one of the two architects of the six million dollar deal that ended the RailGate trial just as Gary Collins was about to take the stand, did not work non-stop for the BC Liberal regimes of Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark before his recent, apparently permanent, departure.

Specifically, the good Mr. Whitmarsh took a little break from the Golden Era government a few years back and went to work for the pillar of society, purveyor of fine (reduced tax-levied) motorcars, and operator of golf courses, Mr. David Ho, with (surprise!) Mr. Gary Collins.

And when he came back to government, first in the Campbellerian end days, and then, later, in the dawning of the Age of Snooklandia, the good Mr. Whitmarsh spent some time running the Ministry of Health.

Which brings us to Rod Mickleburgh's recent post about the re-funding of the Therapeutics Initiative, an Health Ministry-funded entity that both the Campbelleros and the Snooklandians have done their best to kill for years, despite the fact that it has saved British Columbians millions of dollars and helped to protect them from useless and/or adverse drug reactions (or worse).

Here is Mr. Mickleburgh's final paragraph (but I recommend you go and read the entire thing):

...Finally, with the departure of Gordon Campbell-appointee Graham Whitmarsh as deputy health minister and the fine Stephen Brown in his place, the (provincial) government listened. Health Minister Terry Lake announced this week that the Therapeutics Initiative would be resuming its valuable work...

Imagine that!


Friday, October 25, 2013

There Ain't No Guilt In This Pleasure.



I've got a confession to make.

Which is that I actually watch Nashville.

I know, I know, I know, I know - It's only a matter of time until they pull a 'Who Shot JR/Powers Boothe/Jimmy Jones.

But, still, I like the idea of people sitting around just making up songs - and they do almost/kinda/sorta show you a bit of that.


If anybody ever told the real story of all that that sittin' around makin' the thing...

Well,  I would watch and listen over and over and over again.


What's that?

They already have? 

And it's playing in Vancouver right now?

The hell you say!


Dipper Developments: Is The Guard (Really) Changing?...Part Deux

Personally, I'm watching the Twittmachine a little more closely than usual this afternoon to see to see which way the old guard wind is blowing...

And why don't those fine Dipperian MLA's who are calling up fine folks like Mr. Bailey just go on the record with their comments so that we can keep score? 
In case you missed it, Part One is.....Here.


Wallin Then And Now....There Is An Actual Documented Record Of What Harper Said.


And the thing is, it's not hard to find.

Which is the infuriating, because the proMedia so often refuses to do the digging.

And/or they refuse to print/broadcast what they find/know.

In this specific instance, Norm Farrell gets right to the darkest heart of the matter just by reading Hansard.

You will find Norm's


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Dipper Developments...Is The Guard (Really) Changing?


From the CP (unbylined in The Province):

VANCOUVER — The provincial council of British Columbia’s New Democrats has put off a decision on the date of a leadership vote to replace outgoing party leader Adrian Dix.

Earlier this week, the party’s executive recommended that the vote be set for May 25 of next year.

The date needs to be ratified by a vote of the provincial council, which now says a decision won’t be made until the issue has been discussed at a meeting on Nov.17.

The council says the meeting, immediately following the party’s convention, will allow for a better process for discussion...

As we noted previously, this whole 'date for the BCNDP leadership vote' thing may be about a whole lot more than Nathan Cullen.

Which means the kiboshing of the party executive's attempt to ram through an early date by the provincial council may actually open the door to a new guard, from inside the party, to have a run at the thing.

Which was a point that John Horgan made the other day on the MoCo.

Which makes this date change stuff a pretty big deal, right?

Particularly when you consider the fact that the entire puffed-up punditry around here has been calling for a changing of the Dipper guard, pretty much non-stop, since May 14th at approximately 8:17pm give or take 90 seconds or so.

Well, apparently not.

Because if you are the Dean of the Lotuslandian Legislative Press Gallery it would appear that it is actually a point of cynical derision.

Or some such thing....



Is Mr. Frum The Greatest Serial Obfuscator Of Them All?


I don't give a hoot-in-heckfire about how or why David Frum pulled off his resurrection shuffle down south so that he could re-merge, unscathed and Sunday show-safe, as the 'reasonable' conservative who never really believed in the Bush Doctrine, the Prince of Darkness, or the divide, stomp and conquer strategy of the four horseman of the racist apocalypse (eg. Atwater/Ailes/Rove/Luntz) that is killing America.

But I do care that Frum might try to pull off his 'reasonable' act up here in the event that his buddy in Straussianism, Mr. Harper, finally pulls the chute and brings him home to run the MoCo.

Which is why, I think, it is important to point out that Mr. Frum has been making stuff up about Canada for quite awhile now.

We noted one particularly egregious instance of this awhile back, here.

And another more recently, here.


As for the tweet, from yesterday, above....

Well, Frummy does know that what he wrote there is actually the opposite of what is really going down, right?

Which has me wondering if he will soon coin some sort of nifty descriptor for the dynamic Wallin-Duffy duo like, say....

...The Axis of Bo-Weevils?


This Day In Snookland...A Twittmachine Feed That Is Not Ours.

Not that we have taken a disliking to said feed based on anything that has flowed through it so far...


When I Was A (Much) Younger Man...


Bigger E. was not always thus.

In fact, back in the days of Berkeley she was the tiniest of e's.

And on Saturday mornings we almost always got up early and walked up Hopkins past Monterey Market to the park next to the King School Pool.

It's just a little park, really, with a few swings and a climber, a small field, and a toddler area right next to a huge eucalyptus tree.

Because the lab I worked in back then was up in the hills, the smell of eucalyptus will aways be Berkeley too me.

But for tiny e. eucalyptus trees meant hats.

Because that's what the shells of their fallen seeds look like:

And on those Saturday mornings I would line those little fallen hats up along the edge of the toddler area.

And e. would rush around knocking them down as fast as she could up screaming 'hats!' gleefully as she did so.

Afterwards, sometimes, we would head across the Bay to the Zoo to watch, amongst other things, the giraffes reach up to grab and chew eucalyptus leaves.

Often we would rent a wagon to haul our kid around when she got tired.

But sometimes our kid would help me pull it.


It really does all go by in a flash...


Here's Bigger E. and me, from this just past summer, covering a Danny Michel song....

The last of our tiny tomato haul this year, which is lined-up, hat-like, on our deck railing in the image at the top of the post  somehow got me to thinking of all this....


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Hey, Dippers!...Before You Decide On That Leadership Date...

....Why Don't You Listen To What Horgan Has To Say?

Here is the link to nine minutes of Mr. Horgan talking to that other Gregor guy on the CluffMaster-free MoCo Morning Show from Victoria yesterday.


For the time-challenged and/or link-hitting averse, here's my short and snappy summary...

1) He wants the party to give the new/younger (i.e. non-old guard) MLA's like Mungall, Eby, Hebert and Fleming time to blossom.

2) He is in favour of waiting until 2015 for the Leadership decision to facilitate the above.

3) If Mr. Dix were to step down prior to a 2015 leadership race he would be willing to consider a short stint as interim leader.

4) He seems to be really concerned that, especially if the new/younger folks don't get a chance to really step to the fore, that the BCNDP may truly become a perpetual opposition party.

(if anybody has issue with the above, feel free to correct me/add insight in the comments)

My take?...Makes a heckfire lot of sense...Also seems that Mr. Horgan made the decision to step aside for all the right reasons.
BTW...Scotty on Denman called the potential for an interim leadership deal before any of the proMedia punditry (see comments, here).


This Day In Snookland...The Neighbourhood.


(Updated at the bottom of the post...)

...“Could be in that neighbourhood”...

That was Premier Christy Clark's erudite and very finely-tuned, extremely fiscally thoughtful response to the floating of the kinda/sorta/maybe possibility that the Massey Megabridge thingy might cost three billion dollars, as re-quoted by the Dean in the VSun yesterday.

Mr. Palmer also noted that there may be little incentive for the Snooklandians to spend that kind of money on a rapid transit line out Broadway to UBC for all kinds of reasons (Beware the Shiny Gregor!), including the fact that, unlike the Massey Megabridge, such a line will service ridings that they do not own.

Interestingly, in response to our latest Ferries post, a reader sent along a note in which they wondered if, maybe, the Snooklandians don't give a hoot-in-heckfire about BCF because most of VIsle and the rest of the Coast is currently Dipperland...
Update: Peter Ladner makes a good point about all this bridge building/car carrying madness, which is....Car travel on Lotsulandian bridges is actually down, significantly....Gosh....Perhaps the good Mr. Bateman (you know the fine fellow from the CTF who is so worried about how public monies are spent), who ran, in my opinion, an Astroturf operation that helped pave the way for the three billion dollar Ice Bomb bridge, could tell us what he thinks about that (and if you click through on the link you might find the name of the fine fellow who was promoting the Turf most interesting....In a 'Quick Wins' sort of way...If you get my drift).


Lotuslandian Media Circles Within Circles Circling Most Circularly...

And it's all being done very smoothly, of course (i.e. no herky-jerky stuff allowed).

In cased you missed it (and why wouldn't you have unless you, like me, are a member of the 'cult' that the good Mr. Baldrey helped name), Ms. Cox is quite close to one of the original RailGate principals (i.e. the guy who was scheduled to take the stand just before the six million dollar, prior inducement-assisted, 'deal' went down)....Interestingly, back in the day there was very little (i.e. no) concern raised in the proMedia's smoothly moving circles about (at the very least) the potential for...Well...You know...


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

This Day In Snookland...Credit Where Credit Is Due...


...For finally fixing a problem/disaster that they themselves (and their Golden Era Cronies) created.

Stephen Hui, of the GStraight, was one of the first off the hop on this one. Here's his lede:

THE HEAD OF the University of British Columbia's faculty of medicine says it's "good news" that the B.C. Liberal government has restored funding for the Therapeutics Initiative.

Managed by faculty members, the project provides evidence-based information about prescription drugs with no money from the pharmaceutical industry. The province had suspended its contract with the Therapeutics Initiative in September 2012, making the project's future uncertain.

According to the government, the reinstated contract is worth $550,000 a year and compensates UBC for providing health education and carrying out PharmaCare evaluations...

However, all is not completely happy-shiny-people quite yet.


Because the (in my opinion) deflector spinsterish 'probe' of the Snooklandians continues. Cindy Harnett of the VTC has that story at the bottom of her piece, here.

Need background on the TI, and all that it is really and truly is good for, not to mention evidence that the initial attempts to kill it preceded the 'probe'?.... See this.


BC Ferries: Enjoy The Death Spiral While You Escape The Crowds...

...In The Scenic 'Seawest Lounge'.

Jack Knox has a piece in the Victoria Times Colonist today on a report/submission from the 'Ferries Advisory Committee Chairs', which is a group that represents coastal communities that depend on BC Ferries for all manner of things.

Interestingly, it would appear that the 'Chairs' were never taken over by the Golden Era quislings and cronies that Mr. Campbell (and his successor) have installed, willy-nilly, province-wide.

Why have I arrived at that conclusion?

Because the Chairs have just released a report that says something that we, and others, have been saying for some time now.

Which is that the constant fare increases (and, yes, that includes that bloody reservation fee) are driving down ridership and, thus, revenue:

...“This is an affordability death spiral,” the submission states. “It is the core problem facing coastal ferry service.”

The paper argues that instead of increasing revenue, fare hikes are choking off ridership. It predicts that means Ferries will miss budget targets by at least $20.5 million during its current four-year contract with the government...



There has been quite a bit of caterwauling from the usual suspects recently about executive compensation at BC Ferries, approved, of course, by the above mentioned cronies and quislings.

Which I agree is an issue.

But a bigger issue, I think, is the fact that it would appear that that the very same, very well compensated executives do not have to travel on BC Ferries regularly like the rest of us.

Why have I arrived at this second, somewhat more tentative, conclusion?


Firstly, because I spend lots of time walking the Whackadoodle up and down a little strip of sand where the North Arm of the Fraser meets the Georgia Straight, I see those Helijets filled to bursting with cronies, quislings and executive types (but never ever uber-fine fellows dressed in Spiderman garb) whipping by non-stop.

Secondly, every time I cross the Straight on a ferry that luxurious Seawest Lounge pictured above, which was built to buffer said executives, cronies and quisling from the great unwashed, sits pretty much empty.

In fact, much of that luxury seating sat unused, on both trips we took, coming and going, on the Thanksgiving Weekend just past while the regular riders paying the salaries and stipends of said executives, cronies and quislings (eg. families with small kids) were were forced to sit on the floor in steerage due to the lack of seats.


You can read the full submission of the Chairs, here....Gosh, wonder how long it will take the Snooklandians to get rid of them now?....I mean, it's not like they haven't gotten rid of truth tellers before...Right?


Saturday, October 19, 2013

RailGate Resurfacing....Boss! Boss!...The Spur!!!


Well, well, well.

Looks like that little chunk of track that may or may not have been dangled as some sort of bizarre 'stay in the game/quid pro quo' strategy a decade ago, is back in the news again.

Lori Culbert had the latest chapter in the BC Rail 'Spur Line' saga in Thursday's VSun. Here is her lede:

Troubled BC Rail sold off its trains almost a decade ago and was absorbed into the transportation ministry in 2010, and yet it still has 20 executives and staff that collectively made nearly $4 million last year.

The question critics ask is what are these employees doing, after the government sold its trains and leased its rail lines to CN in a controversial 2004 deal that sparked a police raid of the Legislature, a high-profile criminal trial, and the public paying $6 million in defence lawyer bills?

According to government documents, the primary mandate of BC Rail now is to support the expansion of goods coming into the province through the Pacific Gateway Strategy, which involves “acquiring, holding and managing railway corridor and strategic port lands and making related infrastructure investments.”

BC Rail still owns the 40-km spur line to Roberts Bank port, manages the CN lease of its railbed and tracks, and operates a real estate subsidiary...

All of which is interesting, as far as it goes.


What Ms. Culbert's piece (as published at least) failed to mention is the fact that, just like the rest of BC Rail tracks, the Spur Line was also for sale way back when.

And then, suddenly, in the spring of 2004 (i.e. a few months after the Ledge raids when the investigations were going pretty much every which way) the bidding on the Spur was suddenly halted when the Horsemen informed a very fine fellow named Kevin Falcon that the process was 'tainted'.

Which brings us to another chapter of the saga that appears to have little, if anything, to do with clandestine meetings at lupine-like restaurants and/or gladiator games on mile-high gridirons. We summarized that part of the tale thusly:

...(The following is from) the transcript of a RailGate-associated RCMP wiretap of a conversation between Mr. David Basi and Mr. Bruce Clark (Ms. Christy Clark's brother) wherein they discuss a 'Request for Proposals' (RFP) for the BC Rail 'Spur Line' in the fall of 2003. The transcript was finally released to the public in early 2011:

David Basi: "So basically, um, what we have is the draft RFP."

Bruce Clark: "Okay."

Basi: "Um, that uh, we have t' make changes and y'know, uh, um, we can draft it anyway we want now, right: so..."

Clark: "Whose, wh', whose hands is it in?"

Basi: "It's, it's in our hands right now."

Clark: "Okay."

Basi: "Uh, and then it'll go back to transportation. And then they'll look at it and then they'll uh, um, issue the official RFP."

Clark: "Okay. What are the time lines like?"

Basi: "Uh, two weeks."

Basi: "So, I can sit on this thing for two weeks. So if you come back next week then you can take it and look at it, show it to them. They can, they can, y'know, change some of the words around, that's obviously, some buzz words they wanna see in there, right?"

Clark: "Yeah."

Basi: "And these, these companies know how to, how to, y'know, get the fluff out of this shit and how to tailor it to themselves, right?"

Clark: "Of course." 

...{snippety doo-dah}... 

Clark: "Wonder, wonder if it would be better if you got it couriered from here or not?"

Basi: "I don't care. Whatever you want. I don't care."

Clark: "Okay, well maybe I'll get you to courier it to Europe for me, or something."

Basi: "You want me to courier it to Europe?"

Clark: "Sure, you could do that."

...{snippety doodle-dandy}...

Clark: "Or uh, or, or can it be faxed or something or?"

Basi: "Oh it can be faxed, yeah. Do you wanna give me a fax, secure fax number?"

Clark: "Yeah, I'll get you a secure fax number and we can do it that way."

Basi: "Yeah, you get me a fax number and I'll fax it to you.

Clark: "Sounds great my friend."

One last thing....As for that 'troubled' descriptor right at the top of Ms. Culbert's pyramid lede....In our opinion (and we are not alone) that type of stuff lives on because a fiction that was deliberately written by the architects of the Golden Era so that it could be used both to change public opinion and to make a massive tax write-off possible for the pre-selected winning bidder of the big prize....OK?


Friday, October 18, 2013

That Day In Snookland...The Railgate Reunion?


Bob Mackin has been doing a little digging into who was 'invited' to Christy Clark's 'private' Cabinet swinging Swear-In back in the early summer:

Premier Christy Clark broke from tradition on June 7 with a Cabinet Naming Ceremony at Canada Place. In case you missed it, the entire 54-minute, 37-second extravaganza is available on YouTube...

{snippety doo-dah}

...So who went? That is a good question. The attendance list was not released, but the list of invitees was. See it below. I pored over the document and made some lists of my own...


And, guess what...

Pretty much the entire BC Rail 'Sale/Not-Sale gang (sans Spiderman, of course) was invited to the really big show:

...There were eight key figures from the 2003 controversy on the invite list: CN chair David McLean, ex-Premier Gordon Campbell, lobbyist/strategist Patrick Kinsella, ex-lobbyist/Campbell aide Jamie Elmhirst, ex-BC Rail director James Shepard, ex-Finance Minister Gary Collins, ex-Deputy Minister Chris Trumpy, ex-BC Liberal Party executive director Kelly Reichert...

Imagine that!

Go read Uncle Bob's entire post to learn more, including how the 'timing' of the Swear-In ensured that there was no need to follow lobbyist reporting rules.
Speaking of digging and nuggets and all that.....Norm!


This Day In Snookland...Let The Shinying Begin.


First out of the gate with the 'news' of a new shiny object for the Lotuslandian proMedia to focus on, post-Horgan walk-away was, it would appear, Sunny Dhillon of The Globe:

...(Vancouver mayor Gregor) Robertson was in New York last week for a mayoral summit and will next month lead a delegation of business leaders to China. After the speech he told reporters he’ll look for opportunities to partner with Chinese companies and attract investment into Vancouver.

He also, after again being asked, insisted he’s not interested in the B.C. NDP leadership...


Meanwhile, the Dean actually spoke to Mr. Horgan, kinda/sorta. And in the bet-hedging that ensued Mr. Palmer floated an idea that reader scotty-on-denman had already suggested in the comments to a previous post:

...(I)f the party executive opted to hold off the (leadership) vote until 2015, Dix might continue with his intention to step down next year. In that event, John Horgan could be on the short list for interim leader.

Imagine that!

For the record, the denizens of the PacificGazette's subterranean homesick bluesroom  (i.e. the Whackadoodle and me) actually like the interim leader idea...
And, in news that actually matters (that I missed because I've been climbing in and out bloody cigar tubes), the Snooklandians are STILL NOT funding the Therapeutics Initiative.
Interestingly, last night the cigar almost had to land in Seattle because of the dreaded, get this....Fog!....Apparently, those old Mulroney/Schreiber buses just aren't equipped for flying through pea soup.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Did Mr. Horgan Just Clear The Tracks For...


I dunno for sure.

And, regardless, I'm pretty sure the punditry will focus their attention on a shiny thing called Gregor for a news cycle or three.


But this I do know...

Horgan would have been a heckuva premier.

And I think he would have been a fine, not to mention feisty, campaigner.

But there is all that 'old guard' baggage to consider.

Which just might be telling us something about the extent of the coming changing of that old guard.

Which could, I think, really and truly be a good thing electorally.

And don't forget - I'm no party insider....So those of you who are may want to have a go of it in the comments...


This Month In Snookland....Bring On The Bush Ranger Action Heroes!


Yesterday, we noted that our fine Premier is getting together with Alberta's finest to talk pipelines 'n stuff after a November 5th Vancouver Board of Trade Mtg.

And, guess what...

An even finer fellow named Ian Anderson from Kinder Morgan's northern branch plant is going to be there too.

Along with, at least according to the Board of Trade's website, a couple of other shadowy men (and/or women) from a shadowy planet:

Imagine that!

What's with the Bush Ranger action-hero stuff in the header you may be asking?.....Well...You know....Golden Era history...Who needs it!


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

This Day In Snookland: We All Say Things To...

...Get Elected.

First there was this...

"We all say things when we are trying to get elected." 


Then there was this...

Alberta Premier Alison Redford met with B.C. Premier Christy Clark on Monday over the Northern Gateway oil pipeline project, and both women agreed the meeting was unproductive and “frosty.”

“Well, I'm an Albertan and when you talk about sharing Alberta's royalties with other jurisdictions, things tend to get a little bit frosty,” said Redford...

{snippety doodle-dandy}

...“We’re about the environment and there is no price that can be put on protecting our environment in British Columbia — there is none,” said (BC's [not] Premier Christy) Clark on Monday...


And now, finally (and inevitably?), there is this...

B.C. Premier Christy Clark and Alberta Premier Alison Redford today released the terms of reference guiding their joint working group to open new energy export markets.

The two Premiers also announced they would next meet in Vancouver on November 5, following Premier Redford’s address to the Vancouver Board of Trade...


All The Leaves Are (Not Quite Yet) Brown...

...But This Is The Last Sunflower.

Meanwhile, while she wasn't here for Thanksgiving, Bigger E. had a big dinner of her own with Turkey and, apparently, three, count 'em Three!, homemade pies.

Oh, ya....

And she also had time to put together this version of Wagon Wheel with her friend Y, down in the St. Laurent Metro Station:

Actually, truth be told (assuming it was not a rigged scene), we actually saw photographic evidence of the remainders of the pies on the Skypemobile the morning after...
And, just so you know, the leaves on Karen's tree never listen to The Mamas and the Papas...


Monday, October 14, 2013

Are Canadian Workers Once Again Training Temporary Foreign Workers...

...To Take Their Jobs?

Alison thinks so.

And she makes a pretty good case that it's happening in Tar Sands country:

Fort McMurray Today reports that 270 unionized welders and pipefitters contracted to the Husky Sunrise tarsands project were laid off and replaced by cheaper temporary foreign workers from Mexico, Ireland, Portugal and Italy.

Husky says their work was over but a commenter under another article who was a worker on the site disputes this :

"The work contracted to Black and McDonald was no where near complete. We had to conduct a handover to Saipem (a mostly Italian workforce), detailing to them where we had stopped work so that they may continue. In the final week, Saipem foreign workers were actually in the facility working side by side with us; a very uncomfortable situation for those of us about to be laid off."

Meanwhile, Alison also notes that Blair Leckstrom is doing his very best to become a vision of derision straight outta something from our Neil:

Got a man of the people, says keep hope alive... Got fuel to burn, got roads to drive...


Well, it turns out that the former member of Gord's Golden Minstrel Ministry has gone to work for HD Mines.


That's right.

That HD Mines:

Months after controversy gripped a Chinese-backed company's efforts to bring in temporary foreign workers to mine coal in British Columbia rather than hire Canadians, newly surfaced documents show the federal government granted a key dispensation to a different, similarly Chinese backed B.C. project to hire nearly a hundred workers on the basis that they spoke Mandarin.

The project that drew criticism and court challenges in the fall was HD Mining's attempt to hire 201 foreign workers for its Murray River coal project near Tumbler Ridge, B.C. Newly revealed Services Canada files show that a partner company in HD Mining was itself given permission to bring in almost 100 foreign workers after listing Mandarin as the sole language requirement...

All of which is just another way of letting you know that, if you are not visiting Alison's 'Creekside' regularly, you are missing a lot.

Passage about HD Mines 'criteria' for workers to work in British Columbia mines is the lede of a solid, well-researched story by Jeremy Nuttall last spring in The Tyee.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Hey, Ari...Mullah Boehner Just Called...

....And He's Got A Deal For You And Yours.

From just one of a billion 'both sides do it' HR Puff-'N-Stuff fluff pieces that are (really, really) hurting America:

...President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, spoke on the phone Friday afternoon after the latest Republican offer, a modified deal for a short-term debt limit hike that sets up a framework for negotiations on a bigger budget deal...

Who's Ari?....Well, in case you've forgotten he used to shill and fling the swill for these two finest  of the fine, fine fellows...And we all know how that turned out, right?


Friday, October 11, 2013

This Week In Snookland: Nevermind The People's Business*...

...'Cause I'm Shillin' For Shell!

*aka....The British Columbia Legislature


Monday, October 07, 2013

There Was No 'Gimme, Gimme' For Young Gump Worsley.


Former New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens and Minnesota North Stars goalie Lorne 'Gump' Worsley entered the Hockey Hall of Fame a long, long time ago, in 1980.

But it was only this past weekend that Mr. Worsley was finally inducted into his hometown 'Point-St-Charles Hall of Recognition.'

His daughter Lianne told the Montreal Gazette's Stu Cowan that he would have been ecstatic about the latest honour:

“He would have loved this … he would have been really, really happy about it,” Lianne said about her father. “It’s too bad they didn’t do it when he was still alive, because he would have been there with bells on. He loved the Point.”

But here's the thing...

After the Gumper had finally given in to his fear of flying that was made, way, way worse by expansion and ended his playing days in the early '70's he still returned, with his growing brood, to the Pointe from time-time:

...“When we used to get too cocky at home, if it was: ‘I want, gimme this,’ he would say: ‘Get in the damn car.’” Lianne recalled. “So he’d pile the kids in the car and he’d drive us to the Point and then he would tell us how when he played hockey as a kid outside that they had to use road apples and that they had to use Sears catalogues as pads, ‘So don’t you start with the gimme, gimme, or I’m just going to give you a Sears catalogue.’...

All of which got me to thinking about one of my favourite John K. Samson song-poems of all time...

And in case you were wondering....Stu Cowan also had a companion piece last week explaining how Gump got his nickname.


This Day In Snookland...The 'L' Word.


Based on the pre-game, leak-assisted wurlitzering that was Mike Smyth's column yesterday, it would appear that the Fazil-assisted Snooklandians are gearing up to play the 'Let's All Pitch-In And Fix Our Oil Spill Problem' card in the upcoming newscycle or four.

But anyone who has been paying even the slightest attention knows that our woeful spill response capability is very, very old news indeed.

Instead, the newer (non-Malaysian) 'energy' news is about the cleanliness (or lack thereof) of Christy Clark's herd of LNG  sparkle-ponies  that was broken by Justine Hunter of The Globe last week.

First, there was Ms. Clark's reiteration of the very carefully parsed 'clean' pitch of uber-fauxiosity:

...“My commitment is to have the cleanest LNG facilities in the world,” Ms. Clark told an editorial board meeting of The Globe and Mail on Tuesday.

The Premier has made that promise to British Columbia repeatedly, a commitment that could have repercussions for natural gas producers if it applied to extraction of the raw resource.

“We have set a goal to have the cleanest LNG in the world,” the Premier told the World Economic Forum in Tianjin, China, last year...

Then came an attempt to obfuscate obtusely when it came to the reality of the thing, also straight from the mouth of the  'Say Anything' Premier herself:

...(Ms. Clark) clarified on Tuesday that she never intended for that commitment to capture the emissions produced upstream.

“We don’t produce LNG in the northeast, we produce natural gas. We will produce liquefied natural gas in the northwest, so that’s what we have been talking about,” she said. “There is no ‘L’ in LNG until it gets to Kitimat or Prince Rupert.”...


Does Ms. Clark really think the world will swallow her codswallop that 'upstream' frack-gas from the North-East will suddenly become 'clean' just because it has been shipped to, and then liquified in, the North-West?


Friday, October 04, 2013

What Real Editorial Pages Editors Should Do Every Single Day...


...Is write stuff like this:

...(T)hrough it all, the response of the Conservative party has been either spin (in the case of in and out), stubborn support (Del Mastro, Penashue), silence combined with juvenile deflection (robocalls) and even, a judge found, outright “trench warfare” to prevent the courts from looking into allegations of electoral fraud.

In short, every election since Stephen Harper became prime minister has been associated with some Conservative battle with Elections Canada, some scandal over broken rules.

It is hard not to wonder whether Harper’s Conservative government has a problem with Elections Canada...


The above passage was written by Kate Heartfield, the current editorial pages editor of the Ottawa Citizen.

And it came just below her lede, which consisted of a concise short re-cap of the various and assorted sundry 'difficulties' that Mr. Harper and colleagues have had with Elections Canada over the years (although Ms. Heartfield did miss this one).

More importantly, Ms. Heartfield then provides a detailed, data-backed analysis of the 'difficulties' (and more) before she finishes with the following bit of 'anti-false equivalency' conclusion making:

...Stephen Harper is not a corrupt politician in the old sense, and he does not run a corrupt government. Compared to his predecessors, there is little of the cronyism, featherbedding, influence peddling and so on that has been the hallmark of traditional political corruption in Canada. This helps explain Harper’s substantial appeal to the middle class.

Yet Harper’s Conservatives have shown themselves willing to twist the rules into whatever shape is necessary to win. To spin. To control information. To push all possible boundaries, from prorogation to questions of privilege to manipulation of electoral law.

Combine that with enormous stubbornness and unwillingness to retreat, and you have what is starting to look like an unsettling disdain not just for the “jackasses” in the electoral bureaucracy, but for the democratic process itself...

This really is editorial page writing of the finest kind.

And it deserves to be lauded as such because it both informs the public and puts public officials on notice that they will be held accountable for any and all fast ones they try to pull based on the actual evidence at hand.

And that's we need a whole lot more of around here.



This Day In Snookland...Ms. Clark Goes To Washington.

Nice shot of the Capitol Dome in the background....


Can't help but wonder how long will it be before 'attended' Congress starts showing up in the good Premier's bio.


Thursday, October 03, 2013

US Government Shutdown: Speaking Truth To The Crazy...

...By The Craziest Of Them All

Catherine Thompson of Talking Points Memo has the story. Here's her lede:

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) on Wednesday said she wasn't worried about Republicans caving to pressure to end the government shutdown because "this is about the happiest" she's seen her conservative colleagues in a long time...

{snippety doodle-dandy}

..."This is about the happiest I've seen members in a long time, because we see we are starting to win this dialogue on a national level," she said.

As the House debated a short-term government funding bill over the weekend, Bachmann told the Washington Examiner that she and other conservatives didn't fear a government shutdown because they viewed it as a chance to block Obamacare...


Meanwhile,  Jay Rosen (whose 'Press Think' is now on the Blogcrawl) gets to the heart of the matter about the real reason this special brand of 'Ted Cruz Crazy' just keeps on keepin' on (gettin' worse).


Wednesday, October 02, 2013

This Day In Snookland: SNC Lavelin Comes To....


That's right sportsfans.

And it looks like consultants are wild.

As for zero-based budgeting?

Not so much.

The Oceanside Star has the story. Here's their lede:

Qualicum Beach council Monday awarded a contract for $99,993 to SNC Lavalin to do engineering and science work for the town's Waterfront Master Plan.

The town has a $150,000 Gas Tax Innovations Fund grant to develop the plan. Planning director Luke Sales explained that they set aside $100,000 for Phase One of the plan and $50,000 for Phase Two, which will involve more public consultation.

Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer noted that the four bids received on Phase One were all just under $100,000 and wondered if they would have been lower if staff hadn't revealed how much they had to spend.

However Sales and engineering director Bob Weir said their approach was to say, "What can you give us for $100,000," and they feel the resulting bids represented good value for the town.

Their report to council said that even though SNC Lavalin's bid was highest (the four bids were separated by about $3,700), "SNC Lavalin set itself apart through an excellent work plan, a clear understanding of local coastal conditions, and a deeper portfolio of previously related work in the region."...


SNC-Lavelin setting itself 'apart' from the rest.

Rumour has it those fine folks are very, very good at that.

In certain jurisdictions at least.