Friday, March 31, 2006

Slime And Retreat II


I suppose we could just write off the Colin Mayes Press-baiting incident as one of those 'bad-apple wingnuts gone bad' kind of thing. Which is probably what the CPC braintrust would like Canadians to do.

But I think that would be a mistake.


Because when looked at critically this incident seriously makes one wonder if the true tools of the Atwater/Ailes/Rove trade have made their way north.

Specifically, you take a significant weakness and make it look like your greatest strength by smearing someone who is calling you on that weakness by turning them into a bogeyman.

And none of it need be true, as long as it gets into the mighty whirlitzer. Heckfire, you can even pull an insincere mea culpa down the road if need be as long as the smear gets 'out there' and deflects any attempts to inquire into your side's critical weakness and/or true motives.

And, when viewed in that light, it is not difficult to imagine that this is the kind of thing that Mayes attempted when he tried to blame the press for the fact that Stephen Harper and his cabinet colleagues are ducking the press, not just by their own cowardly scurrying but also by their changes in protocol that severely curtail politico-press interactions in the House of Commons.

Yes, that's right. In the House of Commons.

Now, of course, Mayes is backing off and 'retracting' what he said.

To which we call - codswallop!

For the record, here is the text of the 'column' that Mayes sent to media outlets:

I was perturbed by media rhetoric regarding the relationship of Prime Minister Harper toward the media. What the Prime Minister has done is to inform the media that when he has something to say he will say it.

The media has blatantly painted a picture that our government is not open and transparent. We were elected just two months ago to run the affairs of the country for the people, not to accommodate the media.

May I remind the media that they are a vital part of democracy. Their role is to communicate to citizens and by doing so keep elected representatives accountable.

We are asking for more accountability from those that have the public trust and we are asking for ethical leadership.

We have recently witnessed corporate accountants and corporate executives in handcuffs being held accountable for breaking public trust in the investment world.

Our government's first order of business will be to introduce the Federal Accountability Act that will prosecute elected and senior public servants that break the public trust in the political world.

There is another group that has the public trust and that is the media.

Not all media, politicians and business executives are bad. Boy, would the public get accurate and true information if a few reporters were hauled away to jail!

Maybe it is time that we hauled off in handcuffs reporters that fabricate stories, or twist information and even falsely accuse citizens.

We know this will never happen because the media would cry ‘censorship', ‘authoritarian state', and all would be aghast, but the truth is we need ethical leadership from the media too!

Note the total ducking of the real issue, which is Mr. Harper's ducking of the media - to which we say 'if it looks like a duck, waddles like a duck (literally, more and more, every day), and quacks like a duck it very probably is'. That is the deflector.

Then note the statements which imply that the press has been fabricating and distorting on the issue without providing one, single, solitary scintilla of evidence that that is the case. That is the smear.

Finally, note the call for more false democracy by curtailing true instruments of democracy. That is downright scary (and classic Rovianism in action).


The Search Warrants


Sean Holman is reporting that the 'edited' warrants will be released @ 3pm today, Friday.

Check with Public Eye to get the details.

Comments later.

Update, 6:00pm Friday: Holman now says they won't be released until Monday morning due to defense lawyer footdragging, which was entirely unintentional we're sure.


Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Invisible Men


Yesterday, Neal Hall wrote an interesting piece in the Vancouver Sun about what we won't find out when the 'editted' search warrants associated with the British Columbia Legislature raids are made public, perhaps tomorrow:

The judge decided to exclude certain paragraphs related to three potential Crown witnesses -- Brian Kieran, Erik Bornman and Gary Rennick -- until after they testify at the trial, scheduled to start June 5.

In 2003, Kieran and Bornman were lobbyists with the firm Pilothouse Public Affairs Group. Bornman was also a former communications director for the federal Liberal party in B.C. and a member of Paul Martin's leadership campaign committee before Martin became prime minister.

Rennick was then chief operating officer of OmnniTrax, one of the companies that sought to buy BC Rail. OmniTrax was a client of Pilothouse......


......Previously, a heavily edited version of a document released by the court alleged that Dave Basi and Virk had assisted OmniTrax in its bid to purchase BC Rail by supplying information on the tender process.

The document alleged that Basi and Virk may have received a benefit for their actions from Bornman, who allegedly recommended the two men for jobs with the federal government, even with the knowledge that Basi and Virk's credentials had been fabricated or exaggerated.

It is alleged that Virk and Basi wanted jobs with the federal Liberals and Bornman recommended the two aides in a list sent to Mark Marissen, who ran Paul Martin's leadership campaign in B.C. Marissen is the husband of then-deputy premier Christy Clark.

So, guess we'll have to wait to find out if the Spiderman suit was used in this caper as well.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006




Sure, it may not have been the weirdest stuff of all time but if you were one of the first kids who found DEVO on the outer edges of Leftcoast Canuckistan, circa 1978, you could, at the very least, consider yourself a little bit outside of the stream of main.

But now?

Well, apparently, if you are a DEVO 2.0 devotee you are actually a nouveau weenie mothersbaughkateer.

Which has us wondering - just how fast can Alfred Wallace's grave spin in reverse anyway?


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Run For The Hills!


Just wondering.....

How many LINO's* and/or former cabinet making minstrels will suddenly announce that they are heading off on junkets, extended holidays and/or fact-finding missions to Antartica to determine the healing properties of palatial penquin poop in the next few days?

VANCOUVER (CP) - A B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled the media will be allowed to look through search warrant information used in the 2003 raid on the B.C. legislature.

But heavy editing ordered by Justice Elizabeth Bennett will stall that process for a few days. She ordered the release of information contained in four warrants that led to charges against two former ministerial aides and a third government employee.

And can't wait for some enterprising freelancer to find out if anybody takes a multiple newcycle powder via Harmony Airways.

*Liberal In Name Only


Monday, March 27, 2006

The Canuckistani Connection


What would it look like if Popeye Doyle took off after a big time Canuckistani pusher in, say, Winnipeg?

I mean, he couldn't go racing under an el train to chase down the perp (ie. an internet pharmacist) or anything, could he?

But, then again, I guess he might run into that bus stalled in the intersection at Portage and Main being driven by the guy in the John K. Sampson song who has just decided that the Guess Who sucked and that the Jet's were lousy anyway.

And what's my point?

Well just this......that despite the fact that we were recently bamboozled into electing a gang of petite-cracker neoStraussians who are doing everything the Rovians want, and more, we are still treated like a bumbling barrel of evil monkeys whenever we can be of service to the poll numbers in der Homerland:

Citing increased concerns about the quality of drugs entering the United States from Canada, federal authorities have stepped up seizures of the prescriptions and sent strongly worded legal warnings to consumers, including some in Massachusetts, who have ordered the discounted drugs. "What we're trying to do is protect the public from unsafe medications," said Lynn Hollinger, spokeswoman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. "It was a growing problem we felt was of concern to the American public."

So, our question is this - was Little Stephen informed beforehand and, if so, did he bow deeply and reply.....

" Thank you sir! May I have another?"

Original link source: georgia 10 by way of Billmon.


Saturday, March 25, 2006



.....Can Art Make You Weep?

Truth be told, I have no idea.

But it happened this morning.

And I never saw it coming as I was driving north along that not-quite-banal stretch of Renfrew where the land dips below the mountain view just before you get to the PNE.

My youngest kid, E, was strapped in the back of the VW (notso)microbus banging away on our travel version of hungry hippo, her tap shoes lying on the seat beside her.

I was fiddling with the radio up front while simultaneously trying to coax a few, last drops of yesterday's cold coffee out of a blue thermos mug with the 'Roche' logo on the side scratched off (on purpose).

As we climbed back out of the frog's hollow, a car shot out of the side street, maybe it was Adanac. It really didn't come close to hitting us but I pulled out my best Phil Hartmanesque 'caveman lawyer' voice anyway and yelled, 'What are you - Drunk?'

This caused E to look up from her non-digital hand-ear coordination game and ask 'Why did you say that Dad?".

I told her not to worry. I was only joking.

Like I said already, the scene was not... quite.... banal.

But as the old Arthur Black timeslot drew to a close, Brent Banbury quit his snappy snarking on the radio and played a long, looping, live version of Damien Rice's lullaby titled 'Eskimo'.

God, it was beautiful; especially the cello and the soaring voices.

So I drove slowly on purpose and even went around the block a couple of times, risking the wrath of the tap dance teacher, just to make sure we could listen to all of it.

I parked on Kaslo right near Tom and Jerry's, the diner where all the cops go, and pulled back the sliding door, popped E out of the carseat, and swung her, carousel-like, to the ground underneath the cherryblossoms.


We walked hand-in-hand towards Hastings behind a tottering old lady in overcoat and stockings who was having some difficulty walking, either because of a wobbly heel on her scuffed velvet grandma pumps or a very sore ankle - E thought it was the latter, and whispered as much to me.

As we passed her E looked up at the lady, squinted into the sunlight, and smiled.

It only took a moment for the lady's mask of pain and worry to slide away so that she could smile back.


I had to glance away.

To look for my eskimo friends and to hide the tears of joy in my eyes.

Apologies to JR Cash and Driftglass


Friday, March 24, 2006

Can A Crone Be Conned?


Sometimes we can't help but wonder if the term 'neocon' should, perhaps, be changed to neo'crone'.

Case in point - the latest act of kindness and generosity from the Bush family matriarch:

Former first lady Barbara Bush donated an undisclosed amount of money to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund with specific instructions that the money be spent with an educational software company (called 'Ignite!', note the Yahoo-like exclamation point which we are absolutely certain is absolutely unintentional) owned by her son Neil.

Since then, the Ignite Learning program has been given to eight area schools that took in substantial numbers of Hurricane Katrina evacuees.

You may remember that Mrs Bush has already demonstrated her extreme empathy for those refugees of Hurricane Katrina that managed to escape the FEMA-assisted prison at the New Orleans SuperDome and make their way down the gulf coast to Houston:

“What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they (the refugees, many with a different colour skin than Mrs. Bush) all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them.”

Now, Neil 'Silverado' Bush may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, and his Mom may not be a true crone, at least not to him, but that does not mean that the middle-of-the-pack Bush boy is not himself a crony:

One investor (in Ignite) is Winston Wong, a second-generation Taiwanese semiconductor tycoon who recently founded Shanghai Grace Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation with the son of Chinese President Jiang Zemin. Last December Neil Bush visited Beijing to share dinner with Jiang Zemin and meet with political heavyweights like Wu Jichuan, China's minister of the information industry.

According to the New York Times, Bush negotiated with the education minister of the United Arab Emirates to introduce Ignite's software to the emirate's schools.

Hamza El Khouli, an associate of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and chairman of First Arabian Development and Investment Company, not only invested with Ignite, he also hosted Bush, his family and Ingite's CEO Kenneth Leonard on the Red Sea last March.

Of course, some of Ignite's investors are closer to home. There's Tim Bridgewater, a top Bush fundraiser, who co-founded Interlink Management with Neil Bush in 1994. Les and Anne Csorba are also Bush contributors and worked in the first Bush White House in the White House Personnel Office and the Office of Personnel Management, respectively. And former President Bush and Barbara Bush have even chipped in, too.

And how's that for a closed loop - from Texas.... to Taiwan.... to China.... to Egypt... to the good 'ol UAE... and all the way back to Texas, and Babs herself again. Whooeeee!

Which is not to say that it's all business, all the time for the now footloose and fancy-free Mr. Bush. By way of example, check out some of the perks that apparently came his way due to a spate of reciprocal cronyism involving the above-mentioned Taiwanese semiconductor tycoon Mr. Wong:

HOUSTON, Texas (Reuters, Nov 2003) -- Neil Bush, younger brother of President Bush, detailed lucrative business deals and admitted to engaging in sex romps with women in Asia in a deposition taken in March as part of his divorce from now ex-wife Sharon Bush.

According to legal documents disclosed Tuesday, Sharon Bush's lawyers questioned Neil Bush closely about the deals, especially a contract with Grace Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp., a firm backed by Jiang Mianheng, the son of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin, that would pay him $2 million in stock over five years.


Bush, who inked the Grace deal in August 2002, said he had not yet received any stock from the company, which built a plant in Shanghai that began production in September. He is supposed to consult for the company and be on the board of directors, he said.

He said he joined the Grace board at the request of Winston Wong, a co-founder of the company and the son of Wang Yung-ching, the chairman of Taiwan's largest business group, Formosa Plastics Corp. Bush never mentioned Jiang Mianheng in the deposition.

Wong, he said, also is an investor in his latest venture, Ignite!, an Austin, Texas, educational software firm.


The Bush divorce, completed in April after 23 years of marriage, was prompted in part by Bush's relationship with another woman. He admitted in the deposition that he previously had sex with several other women while on trips to Thailand and Hong Kong at least five years ago.

The women, he said, simply knocked on the door of his hotel room, entered and had sex with him. He said he did not know if they were prostitutes because they never asked for money and he did not pay them.

"Mr. Bush, you have to admit it's a pretty remarkable thing for a man just to go to a hotel room door and open it and have a woman standing there and have sex with her," Brown said.

"It was very unusual," Bush said.

Yes, it was unusual Mr. Bush.


But, given the family values, or lack thereof, involved, we can only wonder - what did your Mom think?

Because, based on her philanthropic actions and her business investments, we certainly have no reason to conclude that she found the business part of the deal unusual in any way.

Note: All comments in parentheses, above, are ours.
Heredity Graphic: Courtesy the very fine Ignite! Learning Program 'Media' site which plays a pared-down, post DEVO-inspired, not-quite 'Schoolhouse Rock' bubblegum pop ditty about 'Heredity' that begins with the lyric "Oh, why do I look like my Mom and my Dad?..... The answer's in my DNA." Now, with absolutely amazing content like that we can see why the educational movers and shakers from the United Arab Emirates are lining up to get the product into their classrooms, but it does leave us wondering how the base feels about the fact that Mr. Bush's company's take on heredity is helping those evil promulgators of heresy at the National Center For Science Education spread their vile and viscious fact-based truths and consequences.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Spirit of Hartley Bay


"I'm bursting with pride, for the quietly heroic Gitk'a'ata First Nation at Hartley Bay BC. I heard one of them say, "Nobody took charge. Each person did everything they possibly could." Even children. Even elders. Even in the dead of night in the middle of a storm at sea. Heroes, every one of them. I'd like so very much to know that this marvelous community is thanked and appreciated and remembered for this. Here's one idea. British Columbia needs a new ferry in a hurry. The last BC-built ferries were christened Spirit of British Columbia and Spirit of Vancouver Island. Wouldn't it be great to see a B.C.-built ship serving that northern route, honouring those wonderful people, as "The Spirit of Hartley Bay."
BC Mary, On The Comment Threads, Mar 23, 2006

While Vaughn Palmer gave it to both sides today, he did throw an extra high hard one at the LINOs: "Plus the Liberals insisted that this be an exercise in "alternative service delivery," meaning time was spent exploring whether a private operator was interested in providing the northern services." Enough with the craptactular weasel words already! It's called privatization, pure and simple. And if that is what your radical ideology tells you that you must do at least have the guts to come out and say it to us straight-up. Sheesh, these ChickenCons sure can be infuriating.


Liberal Leadership Gone Wild


For the last couple of weeks Sean Holman has been lifting the veil and showing us which local (ie. Vancouver-based) Liberal apparatchucks have been 'hosting' receptions/campaign launches for potential Federal Leadership contenders. Which, in and of itself, is interesting as far as it goes (ie. will the Marrissen/Clarks go all the way with Celine S. Dion? etc.), but what we really want to know is the following.......

.....Who will be hosting this guy?

Cape Breton's outlandish fiddler Ashley MacIsaac has expressed an interest in leading the federal Liberal party.

This week, MacIsaac, 31, insisted to various media outlets that he has been a lifelong Liberal and that his bid for the federal leadership is not another stunt.

"I know that I've courted a lot of press in the past for situations in my entertainment life," he said in an interview.

"I have for many years relied upon the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll image to sell tickets. That's not what I plan on doing to sell my particular platform of what I think the Liberals need to do to move forward."

Now, Bill Richardson is probably too obvious a choice (not that he wouldn't be a great one), but how about the always fantabulous Freddie Lee?


There's No Free Bus


Looks like the man who garnered margin of victory votes that helped elect Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan last November, James-Not-Jim Green, still owes people money. Mike Howell of the Vancouver Courier has the story:

The company that rented a bus for $9,000 to former independent mayoral candidate James Green for his campaign still hasn't been paid, says the owner of the company.

But Sheldon Eggan of Charter Bus Lines of B.C. Ltd. said Green has stayed in touch with his company and promised he will pay his tab for the use of the 40-foot bus.

Eggan didn't know Green admitted in a Courier story to owing more than $150,000 in debts-an amount he owed prior to renting what Green described as a "rock star" bus in November.


Green said he still plans to pay his bill, but wouldn't say when that will be. As he told the Courier in a November cover story, "I plan to pay all of my debts off."

In the same story, Green admitted he went bankrupt in 1986, but said he decided not to go bankrupt again over his latest string of debts because it wouldn't be the honourable thing to do.

He said the $9,000 bus tab and the $2,500 he owes for the creation of his website will be included in his campaign disclosure forms, which are due at city hall by March 20. Green said he planned to file his forms today.

He knows the identity of those who donated to his campaign will be of a significant public interest because of the controversy when he garnered more than 4,000 votes in the November election.

Vision Vancouver accused Green of taking votes away from its candidate Jim Green because of voter confusion over the similarity of the names. Vision's Green lost to the NPA's Sam Sullivan by fewer than 4,000 votes.

Sullivan was also questioned for making a phone call on the independent Green's behalf over a campaign office. Some speculated the NPA set up the independent Green to take votes from Vision's Green to ensure Sullivan would win.

Both the independent Green and Sullivan have vehemently denied the accusations. The independent Green said his disclosure forms will make for "boring reading."

"Not much money came in, right," he (James-Not-Jim) said. "I know people are looking forward to discovering something untoward. Let's put it this way, there's none of those ridiculous claims in there that there's money from the NPA or Sam Sullivan."

Green says he received about $2,000 in cash donations, a $2,800 in-kind donation for a newspaper ad and another in-kind donation of $500 to $600 for a campaign office at the Plaza of Nations.

Well, it looks like the amount received was actually a little more than that. We've had a look at Mr. Green's financial disclosure statement that was filed on Mar 20th (warning:pdf) a few days after the story above was published. In the disclosure Green says he pulled in $8,300 in donations, $3,700 of which came from a single 'redacted' corporation. Green's expenditures are listed as $23,000 in total. So, to sum up as it were, James-Not-Jim says he's $15K in the hole on this one.

Now, if somebody who did have an interest, financial or otherwise, in seeing things unfold as they eventually did were to slip Mr. Green a nice tidy wad of green to cover the difference it just might be viewed as a bargain indeed, especially given that Smilin' Sammy says he spent $488,000 of the NPA's $1.9 million all by himself (still no word, however, on where all of Smilin' Sammy's KnoWards green came from the previous fall though).

James-Not-Jim lists campaign-related 'transportation' expenses as a paltry $120.03. So, where'd he hide the Rock-Star Bus costs?
And something we missed at the time: James-Not-Jim, and/or those who were running him, had the audacity to run a 'Vision' page on his website which, in a testament to the long-lasting nature of successful copulatory exercises of the rodentia kind, is still actually up.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Blame Game


From the AP:

PRINCE RUPERT, British Columbia -- A large British Columbia ferry hit a rock and sank off the Queen Charlotte Islands in rough weather early Wednesday, but authorities said all 101 passengers and crew members were safe.

And it was good to hear the CEO of (the long ago privatized) BC Ferries David Hahn and premier Gordon Campbell praise the (still unionized) crew for doing an amazing job to save everyone on a sinking ship, in rough seas, in the middle of the night.

But why is it that Mr. Campbell can never waste an opportunity to blame previous governments for things that happen on his watch:

"Everyone in B.C. knows that the capital plan of the ferries was allowed to deteriorate through the decade of the 90s,"

Is there nothing that this man won't attempt to spin regardless the situation?

Of course, two can play that kind of stupid game. Me, I sure am happy to see all that extra 'reservation' money going into shiny new facades for the terminal walls. And who needs cotter pins in propellers as long as we've got plasma TVs in the kids' play areas anyway?

But since Mr Campbell raised it, the larger point is this: Just like the dysfunctional MCFD and the dysfunctional regional health authorities that were created by his government and his ideology, Mr. Campbell owns BC Ferries now because, over the last five years he has made it what it is today.

Or, to turn a phrase in the pop culture vernacular.....

Glen Clark is Way Done Gone, Davey Hahn.

So stop this political blame-game business with (what used to be) our ferries. Let the saftety board do it's job, find out out what happened, and then fix the problem.



Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Willful Ignorance......


.......On Crack?

"Had I known that the enemy was going to use airplanes to kill on that fateful morning, I would have done everything in my power to protect the American people."
George W. Bush, Speaking To The US Airforce Academy Football Team, May 2002

"I said no one could have imagined them taking a plane, slamming it into the Pentagon - I'm paraphrasing now - into the World Trade Center, using planes as a missile. As I said to you in the private session, I probably should have said "I" could not have imagined, because within two days, people started to come to me and say, "Oh, but there were these reports in 1998 and 1999, the intelligence community did look at information about this."
Condeleeza Rice, Speaking to 911 Commission, Apr. 2004

"My attitude about the defense of this country changed on Sept 11 (2001)."

George W Bush, explaining to Helen Thomas* why he really went to War In Iraq, Mar 2006


"Suicide bomber(s) belonging to al Qaeda's Martyrdom Battalion could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives (C-4 and semtex) into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), or the White House"
US Federal Intelligence Report, read (presumably) by William J. Clinton, Sept 1999

"We have not been able to corroborate some of the more sensational threat reporting, such as that from a XXXXXXXXXXX (redacted) service in 1998 saying that Bin Ladin wanted hijack a US aircraft to gain the release of 'Blind Shaykh' Umar 'Abd al-Rahman and other US-held extremists. Nevertheless, FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.”

Presidential Daily Briefing, read by (presumably) George W. Bush, Aug 2001 (pdf)

The White House bills the president's month-long retreat to his Texas ranch in Crawford as his "home to the heartland" tour. Some reporters jokingly call it "home to the wasteland." True, Crawford is little more than a crossroads on a drought-stricken prairie, bereft of even a grocery store. From afar, it's hard to imagine why the president of the free world would spend so much time in the middle of nowhere and in temperatures that, in August, intimidate even the local scorpions.

Francine Kiefer, Christian Science Monitor, Aug 2001


The F.B.I. agent who arrested and interrogated Zacarias Moussaoui just weeks before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks told a jury on Monday how he had tried repeatedly to get his superiors in Washington to help confirm his certainty that Mr. Moussaoui was involved in an imminent terrorist airline hijacking plot. But, said the agent, Harry Samit, he was regularly thwarted by senior bureau officials whose obstructionism he later described to Justice Department investigators as "criminally negligent" and who were, he believed, motivated principally by a need to protect their careers.

Harry Samit, Speaking at Moussaoui Trial, Mar 2006

*The little old lady who, by simply asking questions and not taking shite for an answer, turns Mr. Bush's swagger into a snivelling sneer of 'I am wearing no clothes' fear.


Sunday, March 19, 2006

When A Media Outlet Stops Shillin'....


.....The Corporation Takes a Grillin'

There is lots of talk about corpmedia suppression of the big story these days.

And the comeback, all the way down to the rank and file, is always that 'nobody ever told me to kill a story.'

And thus, all criticisms of bias are always waved away.

But even when it is not overt "go-along-to-get-along-journalism" can still lead to pablum.

And, interestingly, one of the best ways to see this clearly is to observe it in reverse.

Which is exactly what happened in the Vancouver media market last week.

And it had nothing do with a luv-a-fair gone wrong between Canned West and the LINOs or anything else of significance whatsoever.

Specifically, we are talking about the broadcast rights relationship between CKNW and the Vancouver Canucks, which ended this week after thirty-five years.

As a result, the gloves came off with a vengeance.

Suddenly, Todd Bertuzzi really is a cancer in the dressing room, Markus Naslund has lost it, and Mark Crawford is no longer the second coming of Scotty Bowman.

In fact, it has gone so far that even the normally milquetoast personality of Jeff Patterson has started breathing fire in the graveyard that is the latenight weekend shift.

Next thing you know somebody on the no-longer-so Giant'98 may do something crazy like call for the heads of the Gasmen running the operation again.

Unless, of course, they take a look around and realize that maybe, just maybe, the writing is on the wall for the bloated sports department at 'NW.

Naw.......what were we thinking.

Because former media shills gone wild would never, ever knuckle under again.

Would they?

Al Davidson photo credit: The very fine BC Radio History Page.


Friday, March 17, 2006

Are We All Neville Chamberlain.....



"The President's strategy affirms that the doctrine of preemption remains sound and must remain an integral part of our National Security Strategy."
Stephen Hadley
US National Security Advisor (and longtime PNACkian)
Mar 17, 2006


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Our Price vs The LINO Club Price


Our Price:
VANCOUVER -- British Columbia's Information and Privacy Commissioner is holding an inquiry into the government's demand for nearly $173,000 to process a request by the Sierra Legal Defence Fund for the names of corporate polluters.

The non-profit environmental organization had asked the provincial government to release information about which B.C. companies have violated environmental laws and regulations.

But the government has written back to the group stating that processing the request will cost $172,947.50.

The LINO* Club Price:
The Independent Power Producers Association** of BC represents private-power developers who have been handed a virtual monopoly on the creation of new electricity in B.C. through the provincial government’s 2002 energy plan. IPPBC members stand to make billions over the next couple of decades selling power—not just to BC Hydro and to the province, but to American buyers who may pay more for it.......

.....The money is so easy, it’s hard to know where to start. But a useful comparison might be with the oil-and-gas companies. At least they actually have to look for those energy resources. Not so the private power producers. In 1983 (and again in 2000 and 2002), the provincial government funded major studies of small hydro sites across the province, listing the locations, the amount of energy that could likely be produced, and various other critical data. All this is available for free to applicants.

As Rafe Mair said awhile back, just before he was canned for, we think, hammering too hard on all things environmental and fiscal......'It appears these people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.'

Which is very likely true.

But that realization will be cold comfort indeed when we wake up bleary eyed after the big party in 2010 and realize that none of this province is ours anymore.

*Liberal In Name Only
** ie. The 'Club'

Being Their Own Hard Men


I have no idea whether or not Mr. Rumsfeld identifies with Colonel Kurtz.

But he sure seems hellbent on using the same methods.

The US military says it has launched its biggest air offensive in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, targeting insurgents near the central city of Samarra.....

A massive air offensive?

Three years after Mission Accomplished?

Regardless the bollocks of the realpolitique, perhaps this is worth considering.....

Imagine if the bombing came to our town.

Then, after the carnage, including the death of children, imagine if we found out that the people blowing up our neighbourhoods had called the thing 'Operation Swarmer'.

Would we not all be insurgents then?

For a grown-up view of Iraq free of green-zone ensconced flack-hackery and pre-packaged info-dom pablum, please go to Dahr Jamail's place.


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Gagging The Messenger


Nicholas Simons was involved in writing the review of the handling of the tragic Sherry Charlie case.

He is a former social worker and has since become elected a rookie NDP MLA.

He was also simultaneously gagged and smeared on this issue.

CKNW is now reporting (8:30pm newscast) that Mr. Simons has received a letter from the Ministry of Child and Families extending a gag order that he cannot shed any light on the case.

Which has us wondering if the current Minister in charge aspires to the nickname Colonel Cathcart, because it certainaly appears that he has done a most excellent job of binding Mr. Simons in a cruel and unusual Catch-22.


Basi/Virk - The Countdown Continues, Part Deux

T-Minus 81 days

Last time we checked in on the countdown, all the lawyers were worried that releasing the details of the big Ledge Raid search warrant would lead to 'tainted' witnesses.

Gosh, we sure hope they didn't mean folks like, say, Mark Marissen.

Because if that's true Celine......errrrrr.....Stephane Dion might wish to re-consider any future support for his Liberal leadership campaign that SM Holman is now reporting is all set to start flowing out of the LeftCoast power axis located deep within the bowels of the MMarissen/CClark domicile*.

* which has recently been reconstituted in the City (ie. not the suburbs of) Vancouver.


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Diggin' With Dave

Where's Johnnnnnnyyyyyy?

March 13, 2006
Premier Gordon Campbell joined (left to right) Tewanee Joseph of the Four Host First Nations Society, Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan, Federal Minister for the Olympics David Emerson and VANOC chair Jack Poole for the official groundbreaking ceremony for the athletes village for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

Now that Smilin' Sammy has cleared the tracks of all things progressive in SE False Creek, it looks like it's time to get down to some serious gold diggin'.

However, we couldn't help but wonder why Mr. Emerson's partner in floor crossing, the esteemed Mr. John Reynolds, wasn't on hand for the photo-op.

Could it be the all those uppity voters up the hill in Vancouver Kingsway have clouded the optics and temporarily prevented a much rumoured appointment of Mr. Emerson's newfound 'right'-hand man to the VANOC board?

If that is indeed the case we the disenfranchised voters of that riding certainly would like to apologize for any and all difficulties our undue uppityness may have caused Mr. Emerson and his 'Team'.

Photo Credit: British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell and/or his very fine flack of seagulls.
Update: Couldn't help but notice this morning that a lot of the 'De-Elect The Gold Digger' signs have come down along King Edward. Does this mean that Mr. Emerson will soon be allowed to come out from behind the long arm of Mr. Poole in future perfect public-private photo-ops (ie. P3-Poo)?


Basi/Virk... T-Minus-Minus

T-Minus 40 - 42 = 82 Days


Will this thing never start?

This morning we learn, via Mark Hume in the Globe, that British Columbia's trial of the century won't begin until June 5th.

On the plus side, however, Hume does go long with a little bit of speculative question asking:

Has the potentially explosive information that led police to raid the British Columbia legislature in 2003 been kept too secret, too long? Or should it continue to be withheld from the public to protect the rights of the accused to a fair trial?

Those were the essential questions put to Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett of B.C. Supreme Court yesterday as The Globe and Mail sought to unseal a series of search warrants issued in a case involving Udhe Singh (Dave) Basi, Bobby Singh Virk and Aneal Basi.

Judge Bennett reserved judgment until March 28, at which time she will decide if the details of the police case can come out, or if they should remain sealed until presented in the course of the trial which starts June 5.

From there it devolves into all the lawyers saying over and over and over again to hide everything.

One extra tidbit worth mentioning is the fact that Mr Virk's lawyer had a little bit more to say on the taint issue that we brought up yesterday.

Kevin McCullough, Mr. Virk's lawyer, said he was concerned that "witness tainting" could result from the reporting of statements in the documents given to police by various witnesses.

"The potential for tainting isn't illusory, it's real," he said.

To which we respond,

"Let Them Eat Taint!"

Because after more than two years it is high time we, the public, got to know who got what and when as a result of this deal.

After all, it's not like it wasn't our railway that was sold.

Making like Tim Crouse to Sean Holman's Thompson (we reckon) on the front end of this thing, Irwin Loy has more in 24 hours, including extra background.


Monday, March 13, 2006

Basi/Virk - The Countdown Continues...

T-Minus 41 Days

Federal Liberals......Provincial Liberals......Martini Operatives....Former GordCoCabinet Ministers....A man called Spiderman.....Allegations of Fraud.....Corruption....A Billion Dollar Deal.....The Selling Off Of A Crown Jewel.....

And it all begins in 41 days with the scheduled start of the Basi/Virk trial on April 24th.

And, apparently the media, the lawyers, and, perhaps, a few former cabinet minister are starting to get restless:

Canadian Press (No Byline)
Monday Mar 13

Lawyers for several Vancouver media outlets have asked a B.C. Supreme Court judge to release search warrant information related to the 2003 raid on the B.C. legislature.

The special prosecutor in the case and the lawyers for Bobby Virk, Dave Basi and Aneal Basi oppose releasing the information.

Special prosecutor Bill Berardino told Justice Elizabeth Bennett that a fair trial could be compromised if the information was released.

Dave Basi's lawyer, Michael Bolton, says releasing the information at this stage could taint witnesses who will testify when the trial starts in June.

Media lawyer Heather McConchie says because only some of the warrant information has been released the public isn't getting a complete picture of what the case is about.

Bennett has reserved her decision on the search warrants until March 28.

Dave Basi and Virk are charged with accepting a bribe, influence peddling, breach of trust and two counts of fraud over $5,000.

To which we would respond........Taint them all who are deserving. And the sooner the better.


Sunday, March 12, 2006

Root Causes Don't Count


Yesterday we mentioned that Canada's new Dinosaur Jr. government jumped, with both feet, into the forced march towards that far-off valhalla known as 'Creative Destruction' in the Middle East when we voted with the United States (and only the United States), against a U.N. resolution designed to help Palestinian refugees return to their homes.

But not to worry.

After all, when you are not one of the chosen ones, who needs a Homeland to Secure as long as you've got a little green, especially if it's got 'humanitarian' written all over it in invisible ink.

Because, apparently, a little more cash is just what Condoleeza Rice now has in mind to assuage the non-existent, and certainly not seething, anger of all those displaced persons:

"We are looking at ways to even increase our humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people during this period of time, but there are important choices that the Palestinian people face concerning the road map and the Quartet requirements," she (Ms. Rice) said.

So, what's next - an exchange of hospitals and schools for cell phones and Wal-Marts?

And now that we are in the game, perhaps we could throw in a Timmy's or twelve.

After all, the idea of a honey-trapped Neocon Utopia sure worked wonders in Bagdhad.

Didn't it?

Photo-credit: The late Paul Moran.


Saturday, March 11, 2006

Switch Into Glide


There are a number of very good reasons to do the right thing in Afghanistan.

And an excellent summary was recently posted by Dave at the Galloping Beaver.

But that doesn't mean we, the Canuckistani people, should keep silent when we do the wrong thing. For example, as reported by Paul Koring last week:

"But neither the new Conservative government in Ottawa nor its previous Liberal governments seem troubled by the sprawling detainee camps at the U.S. naval base in Cuba.

Not only has there been no Canadian demand for it to close, but Canada's special-forces units in Afghanistan continue to hand terrorism suspects over to U.S. forces who ship at least some of them to Guantanamo."

And, now there's this from Jeff Sallot today:

OTTAWA -- Canada voted against a controversial resolution on Palestinian rights at the United Nations yesterday, an early sign that the new Harper government is aligning its Middle East policy more closely with the views of Israel and the United States.

The previous Liberal government had abstained on the identical resolution last year. But on instructions from Ottawa, the Canadian delegation at the UN joined the United States to vote against a non-binding motion calling on Israel to allow all Palestinian refugee women and children to return to their homes.

The South-African-sponsored resolution was adopted by the UN Economic and Social Council by a vote of 41-2 with only Canada and the United States voting against it.

This was the first Middle East resolution to come before a UN body since Stephen Harper's Conservative government was sworn in last month.

Passivity is one thing, but active support for doomed policies of repression that encourage extremism is quite another.

Which, of course, is a clear example of why really knowing what you're voting for does count, regardless the minority thing.

Because, now, when even Republicans down south are jumping off the Strangelove-inspired PNACKian Doomwagon, Canada is being seen as suddenly clamouring to get on board.

And for what?

So that we can be honoured with the booby prize of giving the Jebbinator all of our oil in 2010?

Original Link Source on Dave's Afghan piece from Cathie.
Update: Longtime reader and Quebec correspondent eteba wonders if Lester Pearson is spinning in his grave. We figure that if he is it's probably happening at approximately 1956 rpm.


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Privatize All The Lab Coats


This is British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell visiting a private hospital in Sweden recently.

This is Mr. Campbell wearing a private green hospital lab coat.

This is Mr. Campbell after he appears to have had some difficulty buttoning his private green lab coat.

And then there's the hair net.*

Now, of course, pointing out a photo-op gone wrong could be considered by some to be little more than petty snark-o-lepsy.

And people of that opinion just might be right.

Then again, wasn't it our money that Mr. Campbell spent while he traipzed around Europe with his entourage in search the PerfectPublicPrivate Photo-op (ie. P3-Poo)?

Thus, it could be argued that we deserve to get something tangible out of the deal.

Even if it is only a brief chuckle or two.

*And just so BC Liberal PR folks understand, especially the US Republican-inspired ones .....this is kind of like one of those Dukakis-in-the-tank-wearing-the-goofy-helmut - type moments.
For an adult-oriented, reality-based, P3Poo-free look at the red herring that the privatization issue really is, Andre Picard's piece in today's Globe was very, very good.


Sunday, March 05, 2006



Voters in mock byelection want Emerson to resign
Sun 05 Mar 2006 CBC News

Voters in David Emerson's riding are putting more pressure on him to resign following his defection to the Conservatives after being elected as a Liberal in the Jan. 23 federal election.

More than 900 people in his Vancouver-Kingsway riding voted in a mock election on Saturday. Nearly 95 per cent said they want Emerson to resign and run in a byelection.

It was a straw vote held at a few street corners around the riding for three hours, between 1:00pm and 4:00pm, on a reasonably nice early spring afternoon in Vancouver.

And after getting the youngest to and from tap dance class and then helping get some of the stuff required for her seven year old birthday party the next day (we had Starchild do the honours - she's fantastic), I arrived at Main and 26th just before 2pm to do my duty.

It was a fabulous scene - young/old; hip/square; Lib/NDP/Green; all ethnicities, and everybody was happy to vent about the betrayal, especially a very nice older lady who explained that she had worked like heck banging on doors for Mr. Emerson because she bought into his pre-election codswallop about how important it was for Canada and all it stands for to keep the CPC from gaining power.

Heckfire - just imagine if the thing had been formalized and if it had run all day long.

Regardless, as I've said before, I don't actually want Mr. Emerson to go.


Because I want to see him hanging from the neck of Mr. Harper like a huge bling bling-encrusted millstone from now until election day.

Nice mind's eye image, no?


Saturday, March 04, 2006

Just What Is A Pound Of Our Flesh Going For?


Johnathan Fowlie, Vancouver Sun
Published: Saturday, March 04, 2006

The provincial government has auctioned off computer tapes containing thousands of highly sensitive records, including information about people's medical conditions, their social insurance numbers and their dates of birth.

Sold for $300 along with various other pieces of equipment, the 41 high-capacity data tapes were auctioned in mid-2005 at a site in Surrey that routinely sells government surplus items to the public.

Included among the files were records showing certain people's medical status -- including whether they have a mental illness, HIV or a substance-abuse problem -- details of applications for social assistance, and whether or not people are fit to work.

"This should never happen," Mary Carlson, director of the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of B.C., said Friday in an interview.

"There are dignity issues involved in a lot of these disclosures," she said, pointing to things such as HIV status and a need to apply for social assistance.

In an interview Friday afternoon, Labour Minister Mike de Jong, whose ministry oversees the auction process, said he has ordered an immediate investigation to determine how the breach took place.

"It is completely unacceptable for information like this to be unsecured in the way this clearly is," he said.

"People deserve to know [this] type of information . . . is secure and kept private," he added, offering an apology. "I can think of no excuse for information of this sort finding its way into the public domain."

Clearly, Mr. de Jong is shocked.....just shocked!

Which brings us back to a question we have asked about Mr. Gordon Campbell's BC Liberal Government many times before:

Is there anything of ours that this bunch wouldn't sell for money?

Because somehow we get the feeling that they know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.


Mr. Harper Takes the Highroad.....

Part XIX


OTTAWA (CP) - There's a possibility Stephen Harper's first act as prime minister may have breached the parliamentary ethical code for MPs, the federal ethics commissioner indicated Friday.

But Bernard Shapiro's decision to launch a "preliminary inquiry" into Harper's controversial appointment of former Liberal David Emerson to the Conservative cabinet met with a furious rebuttal from the Prime Minister's Office.

"The prime minister is loath to co-operate with an individual whose decision-making ability has been questioned and who has been found in contempt of the House," Harper's communications director, Sandra Buckler, said late Friday.

Sure thing Mr. Harper, sure thing.

After all, you may have a point that Mr. Shapiro is, indeed, a partisan hack.

Then again, in the words of that infamous straight-shooter, Baretta:

"Don't do the crime if you can't do the time."

Or should that be something about keeping your eye on all those sparrows swooping down on 24 Sussex Drive?



Banging The Snooze Button On Saturday

Sibling Synergy

I made a big mistake last night when I left the clock radio tuned to the (not-so)Giant '98 after listening to the the Canucklehead's game.

As a result, I was jolted awake this morning by the caterwauling of Michael Campbell.

And what I learned from my early morning scolding delivered by the Premier's brother is that anyone who is concerned about the consequences of increased private delivery for a universal public health care system is an idiot.

And one of the reasons for this self-delusional idiocy is the fact that, according to Campbell the Michael, fully 75% of our delivery is already private.

This is a statement he made most emphatically while inferring that anyone who didn't know it is actually an ostrich of very little brain.

Now, I have no idea of such a statement has even a grain of truth to it.

But the way Mr. Campbell trumpeted it as a reason for needing more private delivery is nothing short of bizarre.


Because if it is true it indicates that the runaway costs in our health care system are being driven not by the 25% of the delivery that is public, but rather by the 75% that is private.

And if that is, indeed, the case it would seem that even the most simplistic version of bean counter logic would lead one to conclude that it is the public, not the private, delivery that should be expanded to control costs and promote sustainability.

But, then again, no one has ever said that the glimmer twins built their empire of simplistic sibling synergy on stone cold logic.


Are The Natives Getting Restless?



Could be wrong, but can't remember this happening when we still owned, and ran, the ferries that we, the people of British Columbia, built:

Victoria -- About 100 demonstrators staged a protest at the legislature yesterday over the rising costs on B.C. ferries that serve smaller communities along the coast.

Jim Abram, a director with the Regional District of Comox-Strathcona, says fares have risen by 38 per cent in three years, with 17 per cent of that in the past five months.

Mr, Abrahm says ferry users feel there is no accountability to the people of the province from B.C. Ferry Services, which he calls Premier Gordon Campbell's failed experiment. CP

Oh, for the halcyon days when CP Rail and Blackball ferried us across the mercy whenever they darn well pleased.

Update: Thanks to reader Lenny in the comments who gives us the URL to a petition demanding that BC Ferries Chairperson David Hahn listen to frequent riders concerns.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Mr. Stark Hooks The Big Falafel


Mike Stark is the proprietor of an amazing site aptly named 'Calling All Wingnuts' .

Essentially, he and a growing band of Spinners that we like to call 'Merry Pranksters' call up The Screamers of far right radio talkshows down south and do their best to give 'em enough rope to hoist themselves on their own petards.

And yesterday Mr. Stark handed the hemp to Mr. Bill O'Reilly.

In case you haven't been following it Bill O'Reilly is having a little spat with a contender for the ratings crown named Keith Olbermann. Olbermann is actually not bad as far as these guys go - example: he actually repeatedly said somebody should have a look at what happened in Ohio during the last US federal election.

Anyway, Mr. Stark managed to get on with Mr. O'Reilly yesterday and even got as far as almost saying Olbermann's name when he was immediately cut-off and then threatened with a little visit from Fox Security and/or local authorities:

O'REILLY: Orlando, Florida, Mike, go.

CALLER: Hey Bill, I appreciate you taking my call.


CALLER: I like to listen to you during the day, I think Keith Olbermann's show --

O'REILLY: There ya go, Mike is -- he's a gone guy. You know, we have his -- we have your phone numbers, by the way. So, if you're listening, Mike, we have your phone number, and we're going to turn it over to Fox security, and you'll be getting a little visit.

HILL: Maybe Mike is from the mothership.

O'REILLY: No, Maybe Mike is going to get into big trouble, because we're not going to play around. When you call us, ladies and gentleman, just so you know, we do have your phone number, and if you say anything untoward, obscene, or anything like that, Fox security then will contact your local authorities, and you will be held accountable. Fair?

HILL: That's fair.

O'REILLY: So, just -- all you guys who do this kind of a thing, you know, I know some shock jocks. Whatever. You will be held accountable. Believe it.

We'll be right back.

If you want to hear the entire exchange, you can listen directly at Stark's place here.

All of which is hilarious, of course.

But also sinister, especially when the Spinners started receiving calls from a very fine fellow who said he was the head of said gaulieter security services.

Luckily for the U.S. Constitution's first amendment, people like the good folks from Media Matters (linked to above) and then heavyweight lefty bloggers like Atrios and Jane Hamsher grabbed the rod and started reeling Mr. O'Reilly in (or should that be 'up'?). As a result, the entire thing was screened on Olbermann's MSNBC show this evening. The latter was both hilarious and serious as Mr. Olbermann had a former state prosecutor on who's opinion it was that the only person who has crossed the line here is O'Reilly by uttering threats. Crooks and Liars has the video.

What I really like about Mr. Stark's approach is that it is all DIY and so simple, direct and powerful.

Imagine, if you will, one guy, with no money and little more than his wits, guile and guts taking down the entire Ailean propaganda machine all on his own.

It's incredible.

Which, of course, is why it scares The Screamers and their string pullers so very, very much.


The Derangement


From the Oxford minidictionary (which is most excellent for testing runaway farsightedness):

derange: v.t. disrupt: to make insane. derangement n.


"I'm going to be Stephen Harper's worst enemy. We're going to stir the pot and you better believe we are going to make a heck of a lot of noise."

David Emerson, To the National Media, Jan 23rd (Election Night), 2006

"People want a member of Parliament who can help them, who gets things done. I feel I can have the most impact in cabinet, particularly when they are asking me to join them."
David Emerson, To the National Media, Feb 6th (Cabinet Day), 2006

"I know many of my constituents are having difficulty with the choice I have made,To those of you who are upset with my decision -- I apologize. However, I did not come by this decision lightly and I stand firm behind the decision to become a part of this new government."

David Emerson, To My Mailbox, Mar 01 (PlayingUsForSaps Day), 2006


So, my question for my Member of Parliament is the following:

When did this derangement actually occur?

Was it when you got together with Mr. John Reynolds after the election, or did it occur before that? You know, back when you were essentially, and repeatedly, calling Mr. Harper an 'Enemy Of The State' while rumours swirled that you were simultaneously helping to hold up an imminent Softwood Lumber agreement with the hated (or is that loved? - I can't quite keep track) Bush Administration?

OTTAWA—Here's the plot of a real-life political thriller: David Emerson defected to the Conservatives this week carrying a multi-billion dollar softwood lumber deal that Liberals, for political reasons, didn't finalize before the federal election.

Former colleagues as well as officials and diplomats privy to the secret, backchannel talks insist Emerson was instrumental in delaying a breakthrough in the decades-old dispute that cost thousands of Canadian jobs. They say the former Liberal industry minister worried that a pre-election announcement would damage Liberal prospects in key British Columbia ridings.
James Travers, Toronto Star, Feb 09, 2006

We have questions - you have answers.

Could you just give us a straight one?


Original Link Source to the Travers piece: Tim at pogge.


Thursday, March 02, 2006

My Letter From Mr. Emerson


Mr. Emerson's so-called 'apology' turned up in my mailbox today.

And, more than ever, it left me wondering the following:

Is my member of parliament deranged?

(more to follow.....)


Let Mr. Simons Speak


In her recent budget Ms. Carole Taylor promised to restore some of the funding to the BC Ministry of Children and Families that Gordon Campbell's Liberal government had previously slashed, and some might say burned, out of it.

But how do we know this government and the Minister currently running this 'Yes Minister' ministry will do the right thing with the money?

Because, clearly, the problem here is more than just money.

Way more.

As exhibit 337,492a, we offer up the latest on the Sherry Charlie tragedy from Paul Willcocks:

The director’s review, an internal investigation, was supposed to look at the lessons that could be learned. (The Liberals had eliminated the Children’s Commission, which provided effective oversight when a child died. The Coroners’ Service is supposed to investigate child deaths, but has failed. An inquest into Sherry’s death was only held this month.)

The ministry’s internal review was plagued with problems. It hired Nicholas Simons to do the review. Simons, now a New Democrat MLA, was then executive director of child and family services for the Sechelt Nation then.

Simons hadn’t done a review like this before, and the ministry never clearly conveyed its expectations. The review went through 25 drafts and ended up pretty much as Simons submitted it in September, 2003, Morley reports.

But not entirely. Recommendations on ways the ministry could improve were gradually eased out of the report.

The ministry view was that the report should only look at whether people followed existing policy, not whether those policies were adequate to protect children. (Simons’ initial draft said that homes where children were to be placed under the new “Kith and Kin” agreements should be evaluated as thoroughly as any other placement; the ministry resisted including the recommendation.)

Perhaps now we can understand why Mr. Simons was not allowed to speak at the Coroner's Inquest or why the current Minister in charge of the Ministry, Mr. Stan Hagen, was so quick to discredit Mr. Simons almost immediately after Ms. Morely's non-report, report was released.

And no, to the best of my knowledge we are not living in a Joseph Heller novel.

Because this is a very real, not a comic, tragedy.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Secret Social Workers For Simons?


As we mentioned yesterday, British Columbia's current Minister of Child and Family Development Stan Hagen (there have been many more BC Liberals before him) has been feeling put upon because some in the media have been calling him on his smear of a gagged Nicholas Simons.

Simons, a former social worker who was heading up the Sherry Charlie review before he was elected as a rookie NDP MLA last year, has been bound and gagged by a confidentiality agreement with Mr. Hagen's Ministry.

Which didn't stop Mr. Hagen from dragging Mr. Simons through the mud when he was feeling a little heat after the completion of the Coroner's Inquest and the Morley (non-)Report.

Sure, this all sounds like 'inside baseball', but it does speak to how little is actually being done vs. how much time and effort is instead being spent on the spin and the smear.

Well, that and the fact an avalanche of leaked documents from, one can only guess social workers, from inside the Ministry has allowed NDP critic Adrian Dix to go on the attack once again. As reported by Sean Holman in 24 hrs:

The B.C. Liberal government tolerated high risks for vulnerable children by leaving child protection reports incomplete for too long, an NDP critic says.

NDP Children and Family Development critic Adrian Dix said internal government documents show thousands of reports were not finished in an acceptable timeframe.

"The established standard timeframe for Child Protection Reports is 30 days," Dix said. "Ministry statistics now show that thousands remain incomplete for more than 90 days."

Dix said between October 2003 and October 2005, statistics in the government's own database show a 53 per cent increase in reports being left open for greater than 30 days.

"These delays are hampering the government's ability to monitor children in care ... the government is putting these children at risk," Dix said.

Children and family development minister Stan Hagen wasn't available to respond to Dix but a ministry spokesman agreed files were being left open for too long, although he added it was simply a matter of filling out the requisite paperwork to close them.

The spokesman also said the number of open case files has remained constant over the years.

And Jeff Davies on CBC radio this morning reported that a whole bunch of the reviews have gone on for more than one year.

Could it be that Minister Hagen couldn't speak because he was too busy trying to plug all the leaks? Perhaps he could stop them tomorrow by offering up SUV exemptions.

Oh, wait, maybe social workers can't (or won't) give hundreds of thousands of dollars to BC Liberal campaigns for no (greater) good reason at all.

Update: Mr. Holman is now reporting that the so-far silent Mr. Simons wants the gag removed so that he can defend himself from the smear.
Btw: Why does it seem like it's almost 'All Holman, All The Time' these days? Because, almost invariably, he is first to the story. And even when he's not (ie. he was not first out of the gate on the Hagen smear of Simons - something about birthday celebrations are some darn thing), he seems to go hardest on the follow-up. As we said last week, the no longer really young man appears to be lapping the field.