Wednesday, April 22, 2015

If The Trees Fall In Mr. Leyne's Forest, Will Anybody Hear?


After running through three demonstrative examples where it appears to be clear that specific government documents existed when responses to FOI requests told the opposition that they did not, Mr. Leyne of the Victoria Times Colonist wrote the following:

...The working theory from the NDP is that government has adopted the widespread practice of claiming important records don’t exist. “No records” is the new “no comment.”

But that’s not exactly news. A national survey a year ago turned up a similar conclusion. And FOI law is a background issue that doesn’t really move too many people.

What’s also in play is the NDP’s penchant for getting (BC Liberal Minister Amrit) Virk up on his feet during question period...


That sounds an awful lot like column writing by polling in which things that really do matter are subsequently waved away with the 'it's just raw politics, anyway' coup de grace.

Both of which got reader Merv Adey righteously ticked.

So much so that he sent the following letter to the VTC's editor:

...Re "NDP Eager to put Virk on Hot Seat", your columnist does journalism no favors when he minimizes the revelations brought forward by the NDP in the Legislature Monday April 20th.

As he notes, the NDP sought information from multiple sources within government, notably from a gentleman named Nick Facey who worked for Amrik Virk during the height of the scandal around Kwantlen College executive compensation. I dryly note Virk was forced to admit he had "forgotten" that he was involved in efforts to skirt the compensation rules when he was a board member at Kwantlen.

So the NDP asked for emails from Facey during that time. "No Records" was the response. But the emails did turn up, largely blacked out as cabinet advice, from the Minister's files. There are other examples from Hansard that day.

Leyne claims that the FOI issue doesn't move many people, and governments across the country , what, routinely lie to FOI requesters? I'm not sure I understood him. But if I were to assert that our Press Gallery is content to fill the newspaper pages with gossip from the golf course, rather than digging for factual information, and that the Press Gallery found this nonsense acceptable from gvernments, people would be mighty upset.

The Freedom of Information and Privacy Act protects our democratic institutions by forcing governments to inform us of what they are up to. It's a damn shame Leyne doesn't find a government routinely evading the act more appalling...

No word yet on whether or not Mr. Adey's letter has been published by said editor.

To give non-partisanish 'weight' to the serial government obfuscations that have effectively hidden important information from the public about how their government is run, independent MLA Vicki Huntington chimed in as well.
And, of course, the crashing trees that Mr. Leyne decided not to mention in his column? Well, if he'd told his readers about things like that they just might come to the crazy conclusion that the BC Liberal government does, in fact, have a track record of making sure the public doesn't find out what it's really up to....Crashing trees like, say,  the ancient douglas fir known around these here parts as the 'Dobell Doctrine'  that was later bookended by the third growth hemlock called the  'Dyble (non) Investigation'....



Lew said...

Well done Mr. Adey.

Perhaps Mr. Leyne can share with us his efforts as a journalist to address the fact he's known for at least a year the government is illegally hiding the truth he is professionally bound to seek.

Anonymous said...

I read les leyne as soon as I can each day. I have a low opinion of leyne as a journalist but he is invaluable as an indicator of what our government would like us to believe.

There are tiny flurries of minuscule passion throughout his columns all brought together at the end when along with ennui(which one suspects is leyne's principle passion) we are left with a feeling of "nothing going on here folks...move along).

chuckstraight said...

I`d like Mr Leyne to know that this kind of thing does "move" an old guy like me. It is astounding to know that he does`t give a shit himself.
Journalist-Shill-which is it Mr Leyne?

scotty on denman said...

I find it appalling that what Leyne and others blow off is in fact evidence of breaches (undoubtedly plural in an of itself and with regard to a wide array of specifics which government---and their shills in MSM---barely deign to conceal) of public trust. Say again: BREACH OF PUBLIC TRUST.

Yes, I guess it's fuzzy, but it's also against the law. In many instances, "no record" is, ipso facto, against the law.

Imagine telling Revenue Canada you've got "no record" of your income. Rest assured they'd make one up, intentionally much bigger than the probable truth. Applying this law equally means that when government says "no record" it must mean it is concealing lawlessness. The concealing is as much a crime---don't they know that?

Anonymous said...


Earning a crust often requires compromising one's soul. Governments count on this.

Such sacrifices are often handsomely rewarded if one is patient.

Anonymous said...

If a bank responded with the same reply that there was no record of all the funds being depleted from your account, surely an investigation and major concern would be in order. Obviously, Mr Leyne does not hold politicians to the same standard. Maybe Christy Clark was right after all; Victoria is a sick culture, especially when aided and abetted by the media.

North Van's Grumps said...


This looks like the right space and time for the introduction of The Limelighters Max Goolis foremost name in political garbage

Anonymous said...

Andrew MacLeod has a few word too...

The alpha & omega quotes:

"The British Columbia government is routinely blocking access to documents that should be made public by claiming that the records don't exist, says the NDP opposition."


"There was no single cause, she [Elizabeth Denham, B.C.'s Information and Privacy Commissioner] said, but many of the responses that said the government found no records came from the premier's office."

RossK said...



And you know what we like to say to the Lotuslandian proMedia...

When the evidence takes you inside the Premier's office that is most definitely not the time to STOP digging.

Of course, if this were 1972 the Keef would probably call Woodward and Bernstein idiotic beat reporters with no established credibility.

Or some such thing.


RossK said...


Beauty way to go!


Stephen said...

Shades of Baldrey. Apparently since the Linos won the election they can obfuscate and if you have a problem with that it falls under the "too damn bad department" cause no one cares except the bloggers and dippers.

Anonymous said...

Max Goolis! Perfect.
"Spends his whole life in the gutter, shovelling like mad."

RossK said...


Absolutely...That and..."The voters have spoken, so nothing matters"...I distinctly remember this argument being used by the Ledgie Boys and the Goodship Watercarrier regarding BC Rail after both the 2005 and 2009 elections.


Anonymous said...

Globe better

Microwave tower?