Tuesday, January 26, 2016

ProMedia In Lotusland...There Is A Club, 4,384th Edition.


Kate Webb, writing in the Vancouver Metro last week, let fly a pretty good rant about the really important still unresolved issues that emerged in the (very long) tail of Christy Clark's Health Ministry firings.

Then, near the end of her piece, Ms. Webb had this to say:

...I don’t know how to make people pay attention, even though there are so many jaw-dropping revelations and allegations, because it’s such a complicated story...


Is it really 'people', in general, who need to start paying attention?

Or is it, more specifically, people in the proMedia who need to start really doing their job so that the 'people' actually know what to pay attention to.

Case in point, why has so little attention has been paid to this 'story' from Tom Fletcher of the Black Press that is not ancient history (i.e. there is no excuse for ignoring it as 'old news'):

The B.C. government's quit-smoking assistance program is now available to people who drop by a pharmacy to qualify for free nicotine replacement products.

As of Jan. 1, 2016, participants no longer have to register by calling 8-1-1 to reach the HealthLinkBC medical advice service. The program has also expanded its offerings to include nicotine inhalers and lozenges as well as gum and patches...


....The program also covers 12 weeks of prescription drugs Zyban or Champix, with cost depending on coverage under the Pharmacare program. Details are available here or from your doctor.


Why might some proMedia digging into all those unresolved issues listed by Ms. Webb in her piece be warranted in getting the real story behind this latest bit of stenography provided to the 'people' by the good Mr. Fletcher?


It turns out that the stenography was tapped out on January 1, 2016 which was curiously timed given the following, as noted by Ms. Webb:

...Fast-forward to Dec. 29 (2015), when the government announced it had awarded a sizable cash settlement to (fired Health Ministry workers Bill) Warburton and his wife Rebecca Warburton, who also worked for the TI (Therapeutics Initiative). The amount was not disclosed, but it is likely in the millions, and the government has also given cash settlements to all the other living TI researchers. But because Bill Warburton’s case will not go to trail, none of his allegations of government corruption will be tested in court...

'Nuff said?



Unknown said...

Roderick MacIsaac was working on an evaluation of Champix when he was abruptly fired days before his contract expired, and interrogated for hours. As we all know he later committed suicide. Now, with all the settlements completed there is no-one for the Ombudsperson's sham investigative team to interview as those who could provide evidence contrary to government spin have been effectively silenced by gag orders. This is a travesty of justice on so many levels.

Kim said...

Champix and Aleve have both caused me significantly disturbing nightmares. I tried to report my results to the pharmacist who recommended Aleve and they said they don't report patient findings, because it's already in the fine print.

sd said...

I remember it well and commented on it here.Big pharma got its way even after a man's death.B.C. Rail, Mt Polley,hidden taxes posing as "fees",LNG B.S.( insert lie and deception here),triple delete.It's hard to keep track.

Anonymous said...


It's pretty clear who is running B.C. and here I refer only to B.C. The rest of Canada is run the same way.

The corrupt RCMP ignore the organized crime gangs and only incarcerate petty crimes and never organized crime mafia, knowing they are peddling deadly drugs to our last 3-4 generations of vulnerable kids who become addicted and hundreds/thousands of our kids have died and more to come because nothing is done about the mafia gangs operating and running B.C.

It was never a war against drugs, it was a war against our young, vulnerable kids of the last 3-4 generations who are now hopeless addicts (these same kids, like us when we were young think they are invincible) thanks to the RCMP doing nothing even when they see these mafia gangs selling drugs to kids on the streets and school grounds. Now they are lacing all their deadly drugs with fentnyl(sp?) which kills kids within seconds and still the corrupt RCMP and their buddies in the B.C. Lib Mafia do nothing.

All hope for B.C. is lost, we are done as I have read by January, 2017 following all the horrible things the B.C. Mafia have planned for the rest of this year, all of them deadly things against humanity and we don't have a chance of survival and yes, RK, even Champix and that other quit smoking drug (forget the name of the second one)the B.C. Lib Mafia has been told that they are bad drugs and continue to only supply through MSP these two terrible drugs but will not cover any safe ones even though they have been told over and over that Champix and the only other one they cover is a bad drug but in true Mafia style they do not care and Gordo's/Harperman's 20 year contract is a farce and were kept on for the second year contract to continue doing nothing about the very serious crimes committed by the Mafia.

Scotty on Denman said...

I have to agree with Anon: Police aren't doing their job. It's simply not good enough to shrug and say," But they never sent us anything," or "We woulda got around to solving murders and missing persons reports [mostly First Nation women and girls] 'cept we haven't gotten any funding for that kind of stuff---not for a long time, anyway" And, of course we'd have to include, "Don't look at us [police]---we didn't do anything." Well, exactly.

What police HAVE been doing, however, includes some very disturbing stuff, the deaths of innocent citizens in their charge naturally would have to rank up there with the worst things a police force COULD do, but, while they "haven't been doing anything", extra curricular things like charging citizens without doing due diligence (to determine if those charges are actually warranted) is pretty worrying when it looks like an excuse to initiate a forfeiture procedure was all they were really after. We recall that the shady, unaccountable, and probably abusive Civil Forfeiture Office regularly awards the people who set up the Office ---and the police who send victims its way--- substantial amounts of forfeited money; the whole reason behind prohibiting even the perception of conflict of interest is so we don't have to continually wonder if the government and police really are in a conflict of interest. Don't bother asking the CFO: over 95% of its forfeitures do not result from trials at court where evidence and proceedings are normally presented for the public to see justice being done, nor even from charges; thus we cannot "prove" the perception of conflict. That's good enough for the BC Liberals and the police. But conflict-of-interest guidelines are still on the books so it shouldn't be good enough for anybody---sure isn't for me, and, I'll bet, for a lot of people, especially CFO victims who are innocent but couldn't afford to fight the forfeiture in court (probably designed to cost more than the forfeited target is worth).

I remind Mr Mounce that one may sign a "gag order" in order, say, to receive "hush money", but there's no legitimacy in law for this (anyone says different usually has self-serving reasons for saying so), and if such a deal conceals evidence of a crime, it is itself a crime. No contract, even if fully agreed upon by both parties, may absolve either---or anyone, for that matter---from obeying the law. That's a fact.

Thus I wonder why suspicion of crimes being perpetrated would require or depend on either the public's awareness or news-journalists' inclination to investigate it in order for police to act. Material benefit---regardless if its an individual, a clique, or the whole force---derived from NOT acting also breaks a number of laws. Apparently even that doesn't qualify as a criterion.

Lamentable as it is, ordinary people are woefully oblivious (we did elect Christy, after all), and journalists may be as oblivious, or indifferent, or precluded from investigating unethical behaviour---or even shills for dark forces like right-wing chauvinist "journalist" Tom Fletcher---but tacitly allowing hush-money payments, conflicted benefits from abusive official extortionists, or cavalier performance by the police is a serious, serious problem that hurts everyone, regardless partisanship or affection towards our society.

Nobody should be fooled: any of this stuff, the health-worker tragedy, CFO unaccountability, the Police---heck, even BC Hydro, IPPS and Site-C---would result in much-deserved spankings all 'round if they ever had to answer to an ordinary judge upholding ordinary law. That appears, almost incredibly, to be the nut to crack, getting any of this stuff into court. Meantime, don't forget: Hush-money, gag-orders, wilful police inaction and negligence are all as illegal, if not as grave, as threatening an innocent person to the point of suicide.

Unknown said...

Scotty on Denman: I enjoy reading your contributions but I've got to spank you a little bit here. First, you're riding the wave of recent anti-police sentiment, which appears to be clouding your vision and has put you way off course here. There is no evidence that a crime has been committed here - yet. The only investigation that is taking place is a butt-covering expedition by government cronies that will uncover little more than toe-nail clippings in the cafeteria sink. The pay-outs were one of the means to ensure that Chalke would be able to report that while there might have been malfeasance on someone's part there is no evidence to prove this or identify the decision makers. Deleting evidence is another means. And yes, the government used the RCMP as a smoke-screen to bide for time and cover up
their tracks. The RCMP traditionally do not like to investigate government wrong-doing, as they are now effectively controlled by the federal government, who have a problem with investigating their own. When they do investigaate, a la BC Rail, they clearly suck.

One of the theories here is that the BC Liberals were pressured by Big Pharma to fire these researchers as their efforts were uncovering unflattering information about the nature and quality of their peddled products. They donate generously to the Liberals. This is just that, a theory. Uncovering incriminating evidence to prove bribery, fraud, breach of trust, let me tell you, is a great deal more difficult. Until incriminating evidence is found, and I believe it's out there, this will remain a civil, not criminal, investigation. And yes, gag orders are effective in civil proceedings, as are privacy laws and a compliant media.

Jay Chalke will be no more effective in uncovering the truth here as I would be as a character witness on behalf of Laura Miller.

RossK said...

Excellent discussion everyone - thanks.

And thanks sd - you did, indeed, point me back in the right direction back at the turning of the calendar's page.

More details about Mr. MacIsaac's work investigating the efficacy of Champix can be found in this excellent VTC Edit from November of 2014.


You read that right.



Lew said...

Whoever is approving the millions in settlements with the fired researchers must have a reason. There is no court judgement awarding anything so the reason must be that the amounts have been determined through negotiations between the researchers and their counsel, and government officials and theirs. If there was no wrongdoing on the part of government, there should be no payouts. But in order to use public money to settle, the government had better know exactly what happened.

The researchers’ position would seem to be fairly straightforward. The argument would be they did nothing wrong. The government on the other hand, would have to know exactly what happened in order to first negotiate, and then to assign or accept liability for whatever happened. Otherwise the government would be blindly paying millions to make an undefined (or politically embarrassing) problem go away. That would clearly not be in the public interest. But without an unbiased public investigation how do we determine whether it reaches the level of breach of trust? Even in BC we should be entitled to that determination.

As for police involvement, I note that the RCMP conducted an international investigation in the Amanda Todd suicide and it uncovered quite a bit more than the initial appearance of internet bullying. They should at least take a look into the events surrounding the Rod MacIsaac suicide in light of some of the claims made by his family and the other researchers. If nothing else it would establish some much-needed public confidence. As stated by Mark Mounce above, some of their efforts surrounding previous government shenanigans suck.

RossK said...

Lew (and others who really know about this stuff)--

Would those settlement payouts have required TB/cabinet approval?

Or is it possible they used that previously Dean'splained 'not technically a debt' dodge to avoid such a responsibility/liability.


Lew said...


The Crown Proceeding Act provides at section 14(1) that:

“If a claim is made against the government and the Attorney General certifies, either before or after proceedings authorized by this Act have been commenced, that
(a) the Attorney General considers that the claim, if pursued, could result in an order referred to in section 13 (4) for the payment of money by the government, and
(b) it is in the public interest to settle the claim in an amount set out in the certificate,
the Minister of Finance must pay that amount to the person making the claim.”

So it appears that the Minister of Finance (who as Minister of Health in the case at hand was the guy who presided over the shenanigans that led to the claim in the first place) has authority to pay. He gets to clean up his mess with our money.

It should not go unnoticed that the very same current Finance Minister and former Health Minister was the very same former Attorney General presiding over the shenanigans in the Basi/Virk payoff, where his deputy at that time advised the former Deputy Finance Minister to sign a release for which he did not possess the requisite authority (despite the Dean’s best efforts to pretend otherwise). That former Deputy Finance Minister was the very same Deputy Health Minister who signed the letters of dismissal in the researcher firings leading to the claims now being settled out of court. Those two guys are responsible for a hell of a lot of public money disappearing down the drain.

How long do you think they’d last in the private sector with records like theirs? Or in a public office in any province other than BC?

Scotty on Denman said...

Mr Mounce: Say, you sound like you know what you're talking about. But I'd like to be clear: I'm not "riding a wave," certainly not a recent one, and sure nothing like how I felt about some police actions (as opposed to inactions) some years back. Some good changes have been affected since then---but a ways to go. I guess you know.

I had no intention of alleging a crime was covered up by the signing of a gag order, but mentioned it in context of the rest of the mess. It's a mess.

RCMP "suck" at investigating government? No way! But, to be clear, the big problem with BC Rail was with the judicial proceedings---I think they dwarfed police shortcomings in this case. I really didn't like the judge who presided over most of the trial---years and years---getting raised to a higher court precisely at the time it happened. Forgive me if I perceived an impropriety. Some things are just unbearable in perception.

Your understanding of breach of public trust sounds very interesting, and I suspect it's more than I could understand if I spent the rest of my coil reading precedences, or following the political thread from complaint (I'm guessing) to policy. Would you believe I'm a child of breach of public trust? (Pickering Airport Expropriation), Survived that and many, many spankings since.

A sincere thanks,

Lew said...

As Mark Mounce and Scotty no doubt are aware, there is a big difference between a "gag order" issued by the judge in a proceeding, and the non-disclosure terms concocted by parties to contractual agreements.

The BC Liberals have been using these non-disclosure clauses in their frequent out-of-court settlements to avoid political embarrassment for certain. Whether they are also covering up unlawful activity is open to question. And because of the meagre evidence the public is able to see because of leaks or other means despite the best efforts of the government and some key elements of the the media, they are fair questions that deserve answers in a democracy.

Just because Franky and Lefty sign an agreement not to talk about anything related to a particular bank robbery does not mean the police can't ask them for an alibi.