Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hey, Let's Get Pammy...



Christy Clark won't debate Adrian Dix on the HST.

Well, given that Pamela Martin's new job is, allegedly, to....

Or, to paraphrase a famous TeeVee commercial, does Ms. Martin hate everything (political)?


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

RailGate Revisited: Are They Listening To What The Dean Says?


Me, I was not at all surprised to learn that the AG's office, through it's Special Prosecutor, was still fighting to keep RailGate trial documents that had been previously released to the media from getting into the hands of the Official Opposition:

"....The matter played out one day last month in front of Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie, with a lawyer from the office of the special prosecutor facing off against one representing (NDP Justice Critic Leonard) Krog.

The special prosecutor's arguments against Krog's application ranged from the merely technical to the mildly insulting. The former involved readings of various court rules, the latter ... well here's the judge's summation of the key argument from lawyer Janet Winteringham for the special prosecutor:

"The Crown opposes Mr. Krog's application for unrestricted access to the materials because Mr. Krog has not identified what he intends to do with the materials.

"Instead, the Crown proposes a two-stage process. In the first stage, Mr. Krog would be able to view the materials. The second stage would require Mr. Krog to make a second application in which he would advise of his proposed use of the materials. The Crown would then consider its position on release of the materials including whether conditions should be attached to Mr. Krog's use of the materials."...

Why wasn't I surprised?

Because, I, like a few others, have actually been paying attention since the days when Mr. Vaughn Palmer pretty much identified us all as cultists.

What did surprise me, however, was the byline on the piece quoted above.

Which was none other than that of the VSun's resident Dean himself, Mr. Palmer.

And here's the real kicker that should have Team Christy shaking in its boots, rather than shaking its pom-poms:

".....At this stage in the review, the New Democrats are scratching their heads over why the special prosecutor fought to withhold this material in the first place. One can only note that it is not the first time someone has had to go to court to gain access to information regarding this case.

Nor was it the last. Krog's experience in some ways resembles that of Auditor-General John Doyle, which will be the subject of a column later this week...."


I wonder if there is something that The Dean knows now that he didn't back when he called us cultists that has suddenly made him sit up and take notice?


Monday, June 27, 2011

Another Real Pro Back In The Bloggodome


Almost missed it following all the new arrivals at Clark'sVille station, but it is very much worth mentioning that the best of the proMedia writers on all things maritime off the coast of Lotusland (and more) is back at it, Christina Montgomery.

The name of her personal blog is 'OnTheWaterfront' and, as best I can tell, it is value-added from all the pro-stuff she still/once(?) does/did for The Province.

Here's a good example from a recent post:

"While I was away, one of the more interesting stories to break was the sale of thePrincess Jacqueline to Mexican interests.

The Jacqueline is, of course, the former west coast ferry Queen of Esquimalt, sold by BC Ferries in mid-2008 to a Chinese company for a reported $1.7 million. She was one of four older ferries being turfed as part of the company’s replacement program, and the sale drew much attention — and raised many eyebrows abroad — for the high price paid for the 45-year-old ferry. She contained asbestos, didn’t conform international standards and was unlikely to be usable as a passenger ferry elsewhere without considerable work. BC Ferries CEO David Hahn said after the sale that she was destined for use as a cargo ship “off the coast of China”.

At the time, I thought the price was unbelievably high. So did a number of business folks who work in the maritime industry outside of BC, some of them outside of Canada. Their emails to me in 2008 and 2009 all boiled down to the same essential question: “What the heck?”

In the words of one writer, it “smelled bad.”.....

{snippety doo-dah}

....Then late last week, I ran across an intriguing Associated Press news article that might have connected some of the mysterious dots surrounding the Princess J, I thought. The Globe and Mail, the BBC and assorted international news outlets featured the article fairly prominently.

The story says that China’s central bank was reporting that officials have stolen as much as $120 billion US in assorted crooked deals over the past decade, and then fled the country — mainly to the United States. (The study was initially posted on the People’s Bank of China website this week but has since been removed, the story says.)....

{snippety doodle dandy}

...So here’s a funny thought. What if BC Ferries was used unknowingly to move funds out of China? What if the buyers back in China thought they were getting one of our newer ferries and got a loan from a state bank for, oh, maybe $10 million? But only part of it was used to pay out the purchase here? Maybe by some middleman official who has since disappeared (and he appears to have, according to my sources)?...

The entire story is a fascinating read, with context by the supertanker full, and well worth your time.


I have real admiration for Ms. Montgomery, whose gender I originally got wrong when she was, essentially, shut out by BC Ferries for asking real questions about the Queen of the North sinking and not succumbing to what I call the 'Evils of Access' like, say, this guy did.



The Media Are The Messengers


Last week, when we followed up on a report from Sean Holman (sorry Sean, had it as JFowlie in the original post), aghast, about what appeared to be a made-up-on-the-spot patronage appointment for former media maven Pamela Martin, a commenter mentioned that Ms. Clark had already locked-up Chris Olsen 'on her side' as her press secretary.

Well, it turns out that Rebecca Scott is Clarksville's deputy press secretary.

And Ms. Scott is also married to Stephen Smart.

Yes, that Stephen Smart, CBC-TV's legislative reporter.


Why, we, and others, must ask has the CBC not yet reassigned the good Mr. Scott?

Or is it possible that, in its new incarnation, the potential for even perceived conflictyness means nothing whatsoever to the Mother Corp?


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Dear Diarist, Issue #1


It has been a long time since I thought about the Franz Klammer house party story.

A story that, if you'll recall, never saw the light of day.

But then this thing with the editor happened and it all came flooding back....


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Make Your Dad A Rock 'n Roll Star (Star)!



Update at the bottom of the post for the arrival of the fans of all that is Swell

'Star, Star' is one of those Frames songs that all manner of folks have played with the band, live, over the years.

Especially kids who come out of the crowd

Heckfire - I have a sneaking suspicion it may have been the gateway song for Ms. Irglova.

But this, this is really amazing (watch it all the way through for the main thrill)....


Update: For those arriving from The Swell's discussion board I'm not entirely sure this is the best Star, Star ever.....Why?....Because I think this just might be the one.
Finally, for those Mic&Glen fans out there, you might enjoy this.


Friday, June 24, 2011

RailGate Resurfacing....The Auditor General Helps With The Dredging


I do this very, very rarely.

But this one is going to be pretty much a cut-and-paste job.


Because, in the wake of John Doyle's call for a public accounting of the six million dollar RailGate gag-order, Paul Willcocks dives deep, drags the bottom with lungs bursting, and then wrestles some potentially ugly undealt with issues back to the surface for all of us to see:

...Premier Christy Clark maintains there is no need to seek further answers in the B.C. Rail scandal.

But many questions remain.

(David) Basi and (Robert) Virk admitted taking bribes from Erik Bornman, a lobbyist and political foot soldier, and Brian Kieran, a lobbyist and former journalist. The men were lobbyists for one of the bidders for B.C. Rail.

But they were never charged.

In statements to obtain search warrants - not tested in court - police swore Bornman told them he started paying bribes to Basi even before the Liberals were elected in 2001. The money was to pay "his political support, his support in referring clients to my business and for assistance on client matters," Bornman told police.

That suggests other well-connected people were paying for preferential "assistance" in other areas. The government seems uninterested in establishing the facts.

A police search found that Bruce Clark, a federal Liberal activist, lobbyist and Christy Clark's brother, had B.C. Rail sale documents "improperly disclosed" by Basi and Virk. Clark was working for the Washington Marine Group, which was interested in buying the B.C. Rail line to the Roberts Bank superport.

But it's never been explained why Basi and Virk shared the material or what Clark did with it. (Christy Clark is now lobbying the federal government to help the same company win a shipbuilding contract.)

The government has consistently ignored important questions raised by the B.C. Rail scandal. The auditor general is standing up for the public interest...

I couldn't agree more. Especially the last part.

And remember....All that codswallop that used to be flung the public's way about how questions couldn't be answered (or even asked) because the matter was 'before the courts' is now nothing but dried spittle that can no longer be licked, either in Victoria or Vancouver, or even, dare I suggest it, London England.



The Shipbuilding Conundrum...What Will It Really Cost Us In The End?


While I find it ironic in the extreme that a number of our current provincial legislators who have demonstrated a penchant for union bashing in the past (and yes, we're looking at you cookie maker guy) are now pitching the Seaspan shipbuilding bid to all that will listen in Ottawa, I do think it would, overall, be a good thing.

Even with the previous Clark family connection to the parent company.

Not to mention the more recent involvement of the man with many hats.

However, tucked away at the tail end of a sharp story from Rob Shaw in the Times-Colonist was the following passage which did give me just a wee bit of pause:

"....The B.C. government has yet to make a decision on how it will financially support Seaspan's bid, but has indicated an extensive training program and "creative opportunities" would be used to boost Seaspan's proposal.

The company has asked for tax incentives similar to the film industry, but not everyone agrees it should be given subsidies. B.C.'s eventual decision on support will be included in Seaspan's final bid."

Kind of makes you go hmmmmmm, and/or wonder who else might be getting set to poke their fingers into the tax credit, incentive-laden pie (see references to family connections and hats, above, for potential hints).


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Reaching Out...Touching You...Touching Me...


Well whadd'ya know.

Pamela Martin is now Camp Christy's newly-minted 'Director of Outreach'.

Jonathan Fowlie of the VSun has the story:

VICTORIA -- Premier Christy Clark has hired former CTV news anchor Pamela Martin to be her new director of outreach.

Martin, who started the job on Wednesday, will make an annual salary of $130,000.

A job description for the role says Martin will develop Clark's "vision of creating open government by reaching out to British Columbians."

It also says Martin will "improve public awareness and engagement and ensure communication is a two-way conversation," and that she will "help the public's concerns be translated into action by sharing with the Premier the challenge British Columbians face navigating government."

Martin will also be expected to co-ordinate events such as town hall meetings for Clark......


Who knew we are now paying trumped-up camp counsellors $130K per year.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

One Day In June....


One day in June, our friend Donal Scannell let his cameras loose on what just might be the best Busker-Du session of all time.

June of 2001 that is.

Which makes it ten years ago, already, since Mic Christopher and Glen Hansard last played together on the streets of Dublin.


Here it all is, all together.

Just because I want to be able to go to one place to watch it all, all at once, whenever I want (and/or need) to.


You Ain't Goin' Nowhere...

Suspicious Minds....


I Bid You Goodnight....

As Mic himself says at the top of the last tune...

"We're gonna go home now, so if anyone knows this one please sing it....It's very easy"


Sure is.


Madame Premier, Which Is It....


...Is It Your 'Families First' Program?

“If you were a part of this, and I’m speaking to people who may have been responsible last night, I promise you this. You won’t be able to live in anonymity, you won’t be behind your bandana or under your hoodie.

“We are going to do everything we can to make sure the public understands who you were. Your family, your friends, your employer will know you were a part of it......

Christy Clark, speaking about the Vancouver Riots
As quoted by The Globe's Robert Matas, June 15, 2011


Now that you have decided take us down the vindictive, and potentially venal, road to collective vigilantism....

Is It 'Your Family First' Program?

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."

Bruce Clark, speaking about a 'request for proposals' (ie. the 'RFP') for the BC Rail Spur Line
As quoted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Oct 22, 2003


Monday, June 20, 2011

The Change Was Made Uptown When The Big Man Joined...


....The Band.

Good-bye Clarence. We, and especially littler e., will miss you.

Greg Mitchell explains how the Big Man kept Scooter from being turned to mince-meat in Sing-Sing prison, post-Folsom, but pre-Run, in 1972.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

For My Mom and My Dad


I've been climbing in and out of the cigar tube a lot lately on my way to and from not-so-secret science geek bunkers dotted around the country where peer reviewers are fighting it out to the figurative death over the ever diminishing success rates for grant-funded basic biomedical research.

I have written about this before, and I will write about it again, but that is not what I want to talk about today.

Instead, I want to talk a little about my Mom and Dad.


As I have also written before (see below), my Dad spent his entire adult life working for tow-boat companies hauling all manner of stuff up and down the westcoast, from Alaska to California, and sometimes even Hawaii.

And he was pretty well paid for doing that job, especially once the 1970's arrived.

And while I know that part of the reason for my Dad's increasing salary, which helped make it possible for me to go to college, a first in our family, was the damned good job he did as he began to work on ever bigger boats like, say, this one, I also know that in large part I owe my shot at a higher education to his union.

How do I know this for sure?

Because I also know that my Mom, who was climbing the ladder working in ever bigger branches on ever bigger jobs with ever bigger responsibilities of one of our country's biggest banks at the very same time my Dad was hauling logs, got paid comparative peanuts for doing her non-unionized job.

But that does not mean that my Mom's passing down of her ability to be analytical, sometimes in the extreme, did not help me get to college too and, maybe even more importantly, help me become a full-fledged science geek in the end.

Anyway, the point all this is that labour matters.

As does collective bargaining and the right to take job action and try and make that collective too.

Which got me to wondering if I would have crossed the line at YVR, especially when almost all of the media blather cranked up about how to avoid any and all delay if you were a passenger, when the Air Canada ground workers went out recently.....

Now, just to be clear, I am not a union member.

But I do belong to an 'association' (an association that has done a damned good job for its members by the way, despite what many of my co-workers say) so I like to think I wouldn't have.

Crossed the line, I mean.

Anyway, below is my now traditional F-Day post for my Dad....


I really do live a charmed life.

I have a wonderful wife and two great kids.

I also have a job I actually like, where most of the time I get to do what I want while working with people (also mostly kids) to produce stuff we are all really proud of.

And that job pays me well; not hockey player money well, but I make more than I ever dreamed of. Which, of course, means that I make just enough that we can afford to live in our own house within the Vancouver city limits.

In fact, I guess some might say that I am upwardly mobile enough that I should quit all my complainin' because I'm one of the lucky ones that actually benefits financially from many of the 'rich folks first!' policies of Mr. Campbell et al.

But here's the thing.....

I am most definitely not one of those 'ladder puller-uppers'

You know, somebody who's got theirs, and now says, "Screw you Jack," to everybody else.


I'll tell you why.

It's because of my Dad.......

My old man was a Union man.

And the folks in the Union fought like bastards...and they fought constantly, usually for the tiniest of things in each successive contract...things like an extra quarter percent on a COLA clause, or one little add-on like an extra free filling per year on the dental plan.

And when I was a kid, especially during that time when I was a barely no-longer-a-teenager-aged kid, I thought the folks from the Union were just a little bit off their nut....all that energy going into what, exactly?

After all, it was the 80's, and Dave Barrett and the Socialist Hordes were long gone, and the Wild Kelowna boys were rolling along, and Unions were bad, and Expo was coming, and Trudeau was going, and John Turner was hiccupping, and Mulroney was lurking, somewhere off in the distance....

....And if you were a half-bright, apolitical science-geek kind of kid like me, breezing your way through college and thinking about graduate school, you laughed when you saw the boy wonder from Burnaby, Michael J. Fox, shirk his Family Ties and ape the young Republicans while making fun of his willfully neutered Leftie of a Dad on the TV screen...

....And if you were that kid, you thought that you were living in a golden age that was tied, not to the social democratic reforms of the past, but to the coming of Free Trade and the promises of the Reaganites from the South...

...And from that perspective you sure as heck didn't always get the irony of Bruce Springsteen singing about the plight of the working class in 'Born in the USA'.

But now that I have spent a good chunk of time in USA where I started a family of my own before coming home, I do get it.

I understand that my Dad spent his entire adult life hauling logs up and down the West Coast, working his guts out to help keep the robber baron families rich because he had to make a living to support his own family....

....And I get the fact that, because of the Unions, my family's standard of living gradually improved, bit by bit, over the years so that by the time I had grown up to be that callow young man described above my parents had saved enough to help me go to University....

....And I get the fact that I was the first one in my family who got to go to University....Ever.....And it wasn't because I was so damned smart....

....And I get the fact that, while my parents' limited financial help and support was important, it would never have been enough to get me into the same good schools if I had arrived on the scene a single generation earlier or, perhaps, later....

....And I get the fact that those Wild Kelowna Boys, and all the other neo-cons that have come since, have been doing their damndest to destroy the dream of a University education for all, and instead have instituted an elitist education for some and one-trick-pony Technical training for everybody else.....

....And I get the fact that, if it wasn't for folks like my Dad and the other lefties of his time, my current world, one in which I make a living with my eyes and my mind wide open, would not be what it is today.....

....And most of all, I now get the fact that my Dad was, and is, my hero.



Friday, June 17, 2011

New Music Friday...Sean Kangataran


Sean Kangataran is part of that newly re-minted Dublin diaspora that is taking the musical world by storm.

And he's living the life in all sorts of ways, including, according to his Tumbleresquederian bio, these ones:

...(Kantagaran) spent early 2009 assisting his good friend Glen Hansard in the production of The Swell Season’s record Strict Joy.

His own debut album, written and recorded in Ireland during the summer of 2010 was a dark lyrical affair dealing with the rage and nostalgia of heartbreak, offset by joyful arrangements of brass and percussion.

He arrived in Los Angeles later that summer without knowing anyone and began assembling a group of musicians. They have played shows in Molly Malones, Room5, Silverlake Lounge, Viper Room and Bootleg Theater.

He met a girl at his first show in Los Angeles. They got married four weeks later in Las Vegas. They now live downtown and have a pet rabbit. This means he’ll probably be sticking around for a while....

But it turns out that the Hansard connection and that strange bit of matrimonial weirdness in the desert is only one half of what made me decide to take a hard listen to his stuff....


What, you may be asking yourself, is the other half of my reason for tuning in?

Well, it turns out that Sean used to be in exactly the same business that I'm (still) in.

At least the formal teaching part of the business.

In fact, I used to send an occasional student or two his way without even knowing it.

And now he's living his dream, while I keep churning out the students.

Occasionally though I both live with my dreams and teach at exactly the same time.

Imagine that.

You can buy Sean's entire album, which I very much dug, especially the song at the top of the post given its literary bent (and he'll even let you name your price!) here.


The Smart Alliance Phone Poll...A Push? A Pull? Or Just Voter ID?


The other day we had some discussion around here about the consortium of British Columbia businesses, all of whom directly benefit financially from the HST (as opposed to you and I who do not, regardless what the VSun editorial page says).

More specifically, the subject of the consortium's phone polling came up, which a number of readers had already alerted me to.

And then I received a comment from someone who professed to work for the call center that has been contracted out to do some of the polling who offered up what he called his 'script'.


I do not know for sure if this is, indeed, the 'script' being used by these people.

But, it certainly rings true in terms of what other folks say have been asked when they have been called.

So, I offer up the potential script proffered by our commenter for your perusal and ask you to let us know if you have been subjected to this line of 'questioning' over the phone by someone purporting to represent the 'Campaign Support' division of the 'Smart Tax Alliance of British Columbia' (ie. said business interests that directly benefit financially from the HST):

Putative Pollster: "Hello, I am _______________ and I'm calling from Campaign Support on behalf of the Smart Tax Alliance to get your opinion about the upcoming referendum on tax harmonization."

Putative Pollster: "Are you in favour of extinguishing the HST and reinstating the PST along with the GST?"

Potential Response: Yes/Undecided/No/Refused/Hostile/
Business Number/
Add to DNC list/
Caller Hungup/
Voter Not Available
Out of Riding/
Language Barrier

Putative Pollster: If they say yes (to extinguish HST)..... 

"Thank you for your opinion. Did you know the provincial government has announced improvements to the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) ahead of the July 22 Referendum that will see the HST rate drop by two percentage points for all consumers by 2014, and the government will provide children and seniors with $175 cheques to transition to the new rate. At a ten percent HST rate, the average BC family will pay $120 less than under the old PST."

Potential Response: (to 'qualifier' above):
No /
Caller Hung Up

Putative Pollster: If they say yes (to the qualifier above)..... 

End /Complete.....
"Thank you again, and have a great day/evening."
 [Close survey and set disposition as Do Not Call.]

Putative Pollster:: If they say no 
(to the qualifier above)......"I would just like to confirm (who I am speaking with)"..... And do you know if other members of your household are in favour of extinguishing the HST and reinstating the PST along with the GST?"

(then there is a bunch of record keeping that the putative pollster is supposed to do)

Pollster: "Thank you. Keep an eye on your mail as your mail-in referendum ballots will start arriving between June 13 and June 24. If by June 24 you don’t have your ballot, please do not hesitate to contact us"

Please pay specific attention to passage, above, in red....If you have been called by these fine folks, were you actually 'asked' this after you had already been told that you were going to be asked for YOUR OPINION on the HST?....Thanks.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Best Comment On The Vancouver 'Riot's I've Read So Far...


....Comes not from proMedia pundits, but instead from our friend Jonku who posted the following up late last night at the Moon of Alabama:

"Riots" in Vancouver.

Very good live radio, helicopter and on the ground reporting tonight, when the Vancouver team played for the Stanley Cup.

Tens of thousands who came to view outdoor screens of the game were caught up in a scene of a few square blocks of chaos.

Vancouver lost the game and as that became clear, protests began. A teddy bear was set on fire, a police car was overturned and set on fire and over the next three hours four or five prominent buildings had their windows broken and some bold souls, mostly twenty year old males, entered and looted boxes of makeup.

As of now they have not gained entry to the Future Shop where the stereos and TVs are.

I think it is finished, the people who came into town to celebrate the Canuck victory tonight, hyped by the excellent marketing of hockey in Vancouver have hopefully found somewhere to spend the night. The drunk ones might have a more difficult time.

This police confrontation with the people turns my thoughts to why this is the chosen outlet for those hockey fans -- is it simply that the system allows no other form of expression?

It will be a difficult morning for people who work in the downtown core, but again that is four square blocks. They will see broken windows and vomit on the street.

I hope that they will also see that this is a successful use of police to keep the peace, and that things did not get out of hand.

Successful deployment of hundreds of police, a dozen mounted police, a few police dogs and perhaps twenty riot cops with shields, and some smoke bombs, flash-bangs and pepper spray bombs were able to turn away the crowd of some thousand or so onlookers and photo opportunists and vandals.

So there should be no call for police escalation.

Posted by: jonku | Jun 16, 2011 4:10:13 AM | 67


Now compare that with what I heard Don Cherry tell the puffmaster flash, Rick Cluff, this morning on the local CBC, which was that it was all the fault of left-wing pinko governments and their left-wing pinko media enablers that won't let the police break heads and take care of everything. Cluff, of course, let it all go and instead extolled the virtues of Cherry's suit jacket from last night which just gave the latter an excuse to take a shot at gays.... Seriously.

Mark Leiren-Young, writing in The Tyee, has a different take and wonders if social media-fueled village idiots as well as a police-assisted relaxation of the rules, rules that had helped things work so well all spring long, weren't major factors that contributed to the mayhem. He presents a pretty persuasive case.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Never Mind The Bomber....Bring On The Italian Stallion


Update: OK, maybe they should have inserted both into the line-up....Interesting watching/listening to entire HNIC crew ignore the long, intense boos for Bettman during trophyfest.


With the Canucks defense corps turning to swiss cheese and/or swedish chard, has it really come down to Nolan Baumgartner?

The Province's last decent wordsmith left standing, Jason Botchford, has that story:

You knew right away Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault wasn't in the mood to be telling the truth.

Asked how many players are hurt on his team Tuesday, he said: "Everybody is fine."

Sure. Take that for what's it worth, and it's not much. Vigneault also said both Alex Edler and Andrew Alberts, who left Game 6 early, "will be fine."

Does that mean they'll be fine today or next week?

His suggestion was clearly that both Alberts and Edler are expected to play.

That's great news for the Canucks, if true, because the other options were among the black aces Tuesday - Keith Ballard and Nolan Baumgartner are not ideal.....

Now, as you may have surmised, I'm all for journeymen getting their brief, shining moments in the sun.

But if it has come to this, why not got whole hog and bring in a real horse for the closing, one who just missed his only real shot the first time around back when that damnable towel waving was actually invented.

Because, despite all that, Bob Manno can still only be a year or two older than Dino Recchi.

And then there is that small matter of the casts.....


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Is The (anti)Smart Tax Alliance Push-Polling For The HST?



According to J. Fowlie in the VSun, the consortium of business groups that have directly benefitted from the tax shift that is the HST and who have, to the best of my knowledge, not passed along any significant aspect of their savings to the citizenry that is now paying those taxes, have decided to 'identify' members of that very same citizenry who wish to continue paying their taxes for them.

Or some such crazy thing:

"....The Smart Tax Alliance is a collection of 43 B.C. business and industry groups brought together for the sole purpose of supporting the HST, and encouraging people to vote "no" in the referendum.

The group is the official proponent for the No side, and therefore has received $250,000 in public funds to mount its campaign.It has also said it is doing fundraising to support its efforts, but has not disclosed how much it has taken in so far.

The group has created numerous videos, has produced hundreds of lawn signs and has embarked on a telephone campaign to help identify those inclined to vote in favour of the HST...."

But here's the thing....

One of our longtime readers, Jonku, was called by the fine folks from the 'Campaign Support' division of the business consortium the other day.

And according to Jonku, who is a pretty sharp guy, he figured he was being push-polled:

They called me yesterday with a poll, "Will you vote Yes to go from HST back to PST?"

First I asked who was calling ... Campaign Support, working for the Smart Tax Alliance. I inquired further and was told the STA supports the HST.

I said I would vote yes. Then the poller asked if I knew that the government was rolling back 2%, every family would gain $150,and so on. I said I did know, they hung up.

But it wasn't hard to pick up the poller's bias, since the anti-HST forces aren't push-polling, at least as far as I know.

Has anyone else had a similar experience?

Specifically, are these people stating that they are conducting a poll when they call and then asking leading questions designed to garner support for the tax shift?


Monday, June 13, 2011

The (anti)Smart Tax Alliance....


Follow The Money...

Straight to, as Sean Holman points out, The Lobbyists:

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the Coal Association of Canada, the Council of Forest Industries, the New Car Dealers Association of British Columbia and the Railway Association of Canada. What do these organizations have in common? Well, for starters, each of them is a lobby group. That means they're responsible for promoting the best interest of their members. But there's one other thing they have in common.

Each of them - along with 38 other lobby groups - is a member of the Smart Tax Alliance.....

And then ask yourself....

Whose interests do these people really care about?



I do not think so.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Why Does Everyone Hate World Cup Sockey So Much?


A couple of days ago the Globe's M. Sekeres helped fan the flames of this 'Everyone Hates The Canucks' meme by dropping logs like the following into the non-stop chat show fire:

...On the Jim Rome radio show, former Ottawa Senators president Roy Mlakar said the only Canadians rooting for Vancouver reside in B.C., while Edmonton Oilers defenceman Ryan Whitney went on a Boston radio station last week and said: “This team is so easy to hate it is unbelievable ... I’d say that 90 per cent of the guys in the league want nothing to do with seeing them win.”...


While I would agree that all their weasel words, finger-waving, diving, and silly taunting do make the Canucks hard to like, it would appear that the real problem may actually be what the game itself has become.

After all, when you have three hundred and sixty-two on-ice, in-building and on-line officials lined up, in spades, to throw the collective library at every single inconsequential love tap that might interrupt the stupid stretch pass and/or the damnable cycle that have turned the game into a weird hybrid of long-ball soccer and half-court basketball, I would argue that a team like the current brand of Canucks is what you are very likely going to get in the winner's circle


Because all those on-ice/in-building/on-line officials would never, ever let someone who was being harassed by a Lapierreish pest on the ice take care of things themselves, and put an end to all the codswallop, pronto.

Like, say, this....


Jymn, over at LFR, has another hypothesis.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Where Have All The Casts Gone?


The other night I noticed it while watching Ryan Kesler closely to see if he really is injured.

And while I couldn't tell if there is something actually wrong with either the major or the minor of one of his adductors I did notice the flip-flopping of the boot.

His skate boot that is.

And then I had a look at a whole lotta players, that behemoth Chara included.

And it turns out almost all of them have the flipping and the flopping going on all over the place - especially when they're into that damnable stop-and-start-back-and-forth-fake-soccer-style cycle game.


I dunno if I could even begin to play hockey without about 236 feet of white, 1.5 inch wide surgical tape wrapped around each of my ankles.

Don 'Beaver Cleaver' Lever, with full orthopaedic assists, above....And that's only because I couldn't find a good picture of Bob Manno's uber-casts.