Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Boessenkool 'Investigation' ctd...Did The Dean Just Invoke The Dobell Doctrine?


Why, yes, we believe he did:

What's this 'doctrine' business you may be asking?

Well, we explained it all, in full, here.

All joking aside, I'm quite enjoying Mr. Palmer's recent tweeting as it is more unvarnished with no room for the final pullback that seems to end each column.


Michael Sona Now Claims The CPC Threw Him Under The Bus


In the run-up to the last federal election we paid close attention to a special ballot 'incident' at the University of Guelph that involved a young Conservative Party of Canada staffer named Mr. Michael Sona.

And we were highly critical of what went down on the Guelph campus because we viewed it as a thinly-veiled attempt at voter suppression, regardless the 'technicalities'.

Thus, when the Pierre Poutine/Robo-Call scandal broke earlier this year Mr Sona was already on our radar screen (not to mention our hit meter due to a then top-of-the-page-type Google-Cache linkage).

As a result, it was our assertion that Mr. Sona was almost immediately offered up as a limited hangout stopper (ie. a convenient scapegoat) by SunNews AND the CPC because of how his profile had been elevated in the wake of the U of Guelph incident.

Here is how we described the situation at the time:

...I am a satirical snarkoleptic cynic on this one who is only attempting to demonstate just how absurd it was for Sun News to elevate the status of Mr. Sona's 'relationship' with the Prime Minister with their own photo (originating, apparently, from the PMO itself) before they set the limited hangout in motion....I mean, if Mr. Sona was just some junior drone, in a backroom somewhere, would the hangout have been credible enough to spike the (Robocall) story in front of the EC report (on the matter)?...

And now, eight months later?

Well, Mr. Sona has started to give interviews on this matter for the first time

Here is what he told the Huffpo's Althia Raj:

....In his version of the story, Sona is a scapegoat, an innocent player who was thrown under the bus, first by the Conservative Party and then by Elections Canada, which he says muddied his name....

{snippety doo-dah}

...Immediately after the Sun News report (
that named Mr. Sona as being 'under investigation' by the CPC for making misleading robocalls to voters), he offered his resignation to his boss, MP Eve Adams. He was new to her office, having just started as communications and parliamentary affairs manager two weeks earlier.

He said he felt his presence on the Guelph campaign (where the PPoutine scandal was rooted) would negatively affect her. But she initially refused.

Soon after, Sun News reported an exclusive statement it had received from Jenni Byrne, the Conservatives’ director of political operations. Byrne said the "party was not involved with these calls and if anyone on a local campaign was involved they will not play a role in a future campaign." It was "convenient" timing, Sona thought.

Sona called Conservative Party headquarters in Ottawa but said he was met with obfuscation. A few hours later, however, Arthur Hamilton, the party's lawyer, called him back.

"He asked me flat out — did I do it. And I said, 'Of course, I didn't do it,'" Sona said. "He said, 'Do you know who did?' And I said, 'No. I have no idea who it would be.'"

According to Sona, Hamilton assured him he would be fine, but half an hour later, (CPC political ops director) Byrne called Adams, who then called Sona and said she had to accept his letter of resignation....
(words & link in brackets, above, mine)

So, with all that in mind, ask yourself this...

Who benefitted most from the scapegoating of young Mr. Sona?


Who benefitted?

Saskboy has more, here...


The Boessenkool Investigation: 'Results' v. 'Parts'


Well, what do you know....

The latest watercooler whispers winding their way through the Twitterverse suggest that a misdirection play just might be coming....


Does this mean that these people (ie. Ms. Clark et al.) are now going to claim that there is no paper trail of the 'process' (ie. the parts) of the investigation but that there is some sort of trail of the actual 'result' of the investigation?


Didn't Ms. Clark's quisling-in-chief on this matter tell Vaughn Palmer that she spoke only to her (ie. Ms. Clark) regarding the said 'result' of the investigation?





CUPE15 And The CoV: Just Because The Actual Numbers Probably Won't...


....Get As Much Attention As The Fear-Mongered Wurlitzering From the CTF's Mouthpiece*.

The VCourier's Allen Garr (and FABula before him) is reporting that it's a four year deal with no year greater than 2% (6% total):

A city council source has confirmed that the City of Vancouver and its biggest union CUPE 15 have settled on a four-year contract commencing Jan. 1, 2012 for 6.75 per cent. This is the first contract negotiated since the three month strike last time around under Sam Sullivan's NPA administration and the first since Vancouver broke away from the joint bargaining process run by Metro Vancouver....


That sure as heckfire sounds like an evil and duplicitous capitulation to a public sector union compared to, say....



*Whose number appears to be starred-and-feathered in the address book of every news producer's iphone-thingy in Lotusland.
And speaking of the evil and duplicitous blackhole of never ending blizzard of Spamchunks and misdirection that was the Smilin' Sammy Sullivan regime...Thanks to our old friend PB for an offline  heads-up on this one.


The Boessenkool Investigation...The Dean Weighs In (In Writing)


As we reckoned he would, given that he was in on the original TwittWhispers on Monday morning, the VSun's Vaughn Palmer has weighed in on the matter of the paper-free 'investigation' that apparently contributed to the resignation of premier Christy Clark's former chief-of staff Ken Boessenkool.

And 90% of the column lays Ms. Clark (and the head of the public service agency, whom Ms. Clark appointed and who apparently carried out the completely verbal investigation on her own) bare. Mr. Palmer also makes it clear that the procedures posted on the PSA's own website indicate that this type of protocol is NOT acceptable despite the premier's claims that she followed all of the government's procedures to the letter.

Which is pretty damning if you ask me, and very, very strongly suggests that ulterior motives were afoot from the get-go.

But, in the end Mr. Palmer, who never mentions the fact that there was at least one reporter trying to find out what was going on during the period when the 'investigation' was allegedly taking place (and the former chief-of-staff and Ms. Clark were travelling together on a junket in Asia), pulls back.

In fact he pulls back so far that ultimately he concludes that the the actions of Ms. Clark et al. were...

...Amateurish and sneaky at the same time....


I'm sorry, but in my opinion this conclusion is just not on.

Because, based on past performance, and the way this is playing out, the actions of these people (ie. Ms. Clark et al.) appear to have been anything but amateurish or sneaky.

Instead, I would posit that they have been highly calculated, brazen and audacious.


Why do I come to such a  diametrically different conclusion than Mr. Palmer, you may be asking?

Well, based on the evidence at hand up to this point, it is my opinion that these people (ie. Ms. Clark et al.) knew they were up a creek without a paddle on this one from the very beginning.

So, rather than fight the sucking downward spiral of the current that would have required statements of truth and real contrition, they instead pivoted and ran straight down the chute right at the press all the while spouting bogus blather about investigations and procedures followed 'to the letter', and everything else under the sun including employer-employee regulations and confidentiality etcetera, etcetera, etcetera...

And it would appear that these people (ie. Ms. Clark et al.) did all of this safe in the knowledge that, when they were later caught red-handed after the current had slackened, the worst that would happen is that someone like Mr. Palmer (who is held in the highest regard by everyone in the Lotuslandian proMedia) would label them 'amateurish' and 'sneaky' .

Which, under the circumstances, for these people (ie. Ms. Clark et al.) is nothing short of a 'win'.

As for actually governing British Columbia in good faith?


That sort of useless fluff is for public consumption, legislatures, and the real amateurs - not to mention 'losers'.


Look....As I've said before, I know Mr. Palmer works hard and digs just as hard to find out what's really going down in Lotusland (and reading between the lines of his piece you can see the evidence of all of that)....I just wish he would write harder....
Update: NVG who connects a lot of dots, is well worth reading today on this matter, and its wider implications, here....

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The 'Not Royalties' Gambit: Preston Manning Goes To Bat For The Iron Snowbird


Remember last week when we couldn't figure out why Christy Clark was suddenly babbling incoherently and totally illogically about how her demand for a fair share of Northern Gateway revenues had nothing whatsoever to do with (or not, or maybe, or maybe not, or maybe who really knows) 'royalties'?

...“There’s a whole lot of revenue on the table (Clark said). We need to talk about how it will be split up. I’m not saying that’s royalties – I’m not.”...


It now looks like the babbling may have been a bit of advance work designed to change the channel just long enough such that the surrogates could worm their way into the CorpMedia's conventional wisdom sockets by the backdoor.

And guess who went and slithered through the optic fissure first first...

Why, none other than Preston Manning, who had this to say in his Postmedia Op-Ed today:

Conflict between B.C. Premier Christy Clark and Alberta Premier Alison Redford over the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline to the West Coast is not in the long-range interests of either province and needs to be resolved.

In July, Clark laid down five conditions for considering support of the project, including a provision that B.C. must receive a “fair share” of the fiscal and economic benefits.

Redford’s response was immediate and negative and seemed to assume B.C. was seeking a share of Alberta’s oil royalties, even though this was not the case...

It may be transparent, but that does not mean that this collusionary bit of co-operative prop-flinging is not corrosively eye-burning.


Can't remember what the 'Iron Snowbird' thing is all about?.....This, from The Globe's Rod Mickelburgh, should jog your memory.


Was The Dobell Doctrine Followed In The Boessenkool Investigation?


The FOI minimization doctrine of Mr. Kenneth Dobell, the right hand man of former British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell, was invoked early in the days of the Campbell/Clark regime.

Here is how Stanley Tromp called it, in the Tyee, in 2007:

...(T)he insidious shift towards "oral government" is growing. E-mails must be preserved and accessible under FOI laws. A debate is looming over Blackberry records. Yet the premier's multi-tasking assistant Ken Dobell startled an FOI conference in 2003 by announcing frankly that "I delete my email all the time as fast as I can." (then Privacy Commissioner David) Loukidelis later reprimanded Dobell for publicly admitting he avoids taking notes so they aren't uncovered by reporters under FOI...


Fast forward to late September of 2012....Current premier Christy Clark suddenly announces her own right hand man's resignation two weeks after an incident that led to said resignation, and then immediately justifies the delay by stating that she had to wait for an 'investigation' to play out. Here is how the Canadian Press called it at that time:

...Clark defended her decision to conduct a two-week investigation into the incident rather than suspend or fire (her former Chief-Of-Staff Ken) Boessenkool immediately.

"We went out to get all the facts that we could gather," said Clark, adding she had a number of conversations with Boessenkool about the investigation as it progressed.

"Everything that was done was absolutely to the letter required by government," she (Ms. Clark) said....

Hmmmmm.....An investigation!....Ya, that's the ticket.


Fast forward a wee bit more to yesterday (i.e. late October 2012) when Jonathan Fowlie of the VSun and Bob Mackin of All-Points-Bloggodome received the fruits of their very recent FOI request labours (ie. 9 full years after the invocation of the Dobell Doctrine documented above) regarding any and all records of the investigation into Mr. Boessenkool's actions cited by Ms. Clark a month ago.

And, guess what....

Those fruits turned out to be completely non-existent.

In fact, there was not even one fully redacted sour apple in the FOI crates of either Mr. Fowlie or Mr. Mackin because there were NO records handed over whatsoever.


Later yesterday the Ms. Clark's own office confirmed that fact, as Mr. Fowlie made clear in his VSun piece:

...A spokesman for the Premier’s office confirmed Monday (Oct 29, 2012) that no documents were created during the probe, saying all interviews and reports were done verbally....


That's some FOI-minimization doctrine that Dobell Doctrine.

So....Did such an investigation actually occur, given the lack of actual physical evidence?....Well, the VSun's Vaughn Palmer was told orally, by the person who supposedly headed the investigation, the big boss of the Public Sevice Agency, Ms. Lynda Tarras (who was appointed just two days after Ms. Clark was sworn in as Premier), that she did indeed carry out the investigation in question, and that she reported the results of said investigation directly to the very same Premier who appointed her....Gosh...Could this be why Ms. Clark doesn't like spending anytime in Victoria?....After all, it would appear that the Campbell/Clark regime has constructed a Village that looks, walks and quacks (but never, ever writes apparently) like a duck called.....Potemkin...
Thanks very much to a sharp-eyed Anon-O-Mouse who mentioned, in the threads, that (s)he was in the room for the invocation of the DDoctrine (twice!) and thus jogged our memory...
And, yes, just in case anyone suddenly finds that they are vaguely thinking of Milo Minderminder and Colonel Cathcart....Catch-22 is one of our favourite books...Not to mention one of our favourite movies...


Monday, October 29, 2012

Office Of Premier Christy Clark Confirms There Are No Written Records Of Boessenkool Investigation



Tuesday Morning Update....We've fleshed this story out a little, thanks to the memory-prod of a sharp-eyed Anon-O-Mouse, here.

Why no WRITTEN records?

Because, apparently, the investigation into improprieties by Ms. Clark's former chief-of-staff was ENTIRELY verbal.


That is actually the office of the premier's current position, this after Ms. Clark herself previously told the local proMedia that she did not immediately fire her chief-of-staff, who later resigned after spending time on the road with her, because there had to be an official investigation first.

The VSun's Jonathan Fowlie, who was on this one earlier today, has the story. Here is his lede:

VICTORIA — A two-week investigation that ended with the termination of Premier Christy Clark’s former chief of staff was conducted without the creation of a single document, The Vancouver Sun has learned.

On Monday, government responded to a request under the Freedom of Information Act saying there were no records “relating to an investigation into allegations of improper conduct by former Chief of Staff Ken Boessenkool.”

The government also said there was no written correspondence between Boessenkool and Lynda Tarras, head of the B.C. Public Service Agency, who was tasked to lead the investigation.
A spokesman for the premier’s office confirmed Monday that no documents were created during the probe, saying all interviews and reports were done verbally....


No documents and no details regarding the actual interviews and/or the 'reports' that were 'done'.

Thus, at this point it would appear that there is no actual evidence to indicate that there was any investigation of any significance whatsoever.

Thus, in the absence of such evidence, based on past performance, I would once again posit that it would not be unreasonable for reasonable people to conclude that Ms. Clark was once again truth-challenged in the extreme when she used the so-called 'investigation' as her rationale for not calling for Ms. Boessenkool's resignation immediately rather than taking him on an extended Asian junket instead.


The Dean was also on the Twittmobile on this one earlier...Apparently he had been previously been given an assurance by the head of the investigation that it had actually taken place and that the head had 'reported to the Premier'....Hmmmmm.....Now that there is no physical evidence of any such investigation having taken place it will be interesting to see if Mr. Palmer continues to try and chase this one down...
Bob Mackin has essentially the same story as Mr. Fowlie - they were going after the same material through separate FOIR's.....Here.


Watercooler Whispers In The Twitterverse...The Boessenkool (non?)Investigation?



Update Monday Evening: See post on Mr. Fowlie's subsequent VSun piece, here....

Looks like an empty FOI has set off a bit of a feeding frenzy at the VSun according to recent Tweets from JFowlie and VPalmer Monday Morning:


What does all this mean?

Well, I would posit that, at the present time at least, all the actual concrete evidence indicates that there was no formal investigation of Mr. Boessenkool (during that period after the incident that led to his later resignation) when he was travelling with Premier Christy Clark in Asia.

Thus, unless, the CampbellClark government* presents such actual concrete evidence, pronto, it will be up to the Lotuslandian proMedia to determine, (like, for example, David Akin did on the weekend in another context) if Ms. Clark was lying when she told them, in no uncertain terms, that such an investigation did, indeed, take place.


*And yes, as Andrew MacLeod noted on the weekend, it is, at least according to Ms. Clark, officially the Campbell/Clark government once more...
As to Ms. Clark's ongoing, serial acts of something less than truth-telling, perhaps they are what is really responsible for her atrocious gender-splits that we and others noted some time ago.....Interestingly, late last week Rob Obvious suddenly woke up, smelled the coffee (and/or received the heads-up?), and started opining about those very same splits in his Saturday morning column just hours before the release of the 'video' that is supposed to help eliminate them but which just might do exactly the opposite as Bruce Hutchinson noted this morning....More on this later....


My Morning Ride.


Last week we got to talking about leaves and raking and such.

And I mentioned a big pile I ran into just off the Balaclava Bike Route in the teens the other day...


It was still there this morning.

And it was even bigger.

And yes, it really was pretty dark this morning (although the flash accentuated things a bit)...Personally, I'm actually looking forward to the fallback...Although that's really just selfish, because I know that daylight time is better for kids after school...


Sunday, October 28, 2012

#BCL12 Aftermath...David Akin Fisks Lotuslandian ProMedia...

.... And Agrees With Radical Nutbar Know-Nothing Bloggers.

Yesterday we noted that our (not) Premier was making stuff up during her speech to the pom pom-waving faithful up the Condo-King highway.

We also noted that the local herd media would very likely play it straight-up.

And they did.

And David Akin noticed.

And he called a number of them out by name.

Here is Mr. Akin's lede:

On Saturday, BC Premier Christy Clark spoke to her party’s convention in Whistler, B.C. During the speech, she mentioned several times that B.C. was leading the country when it came to job creation.

For example, as the Vancouver Sun‘s Jonathan Fowlie reported, Clark said, “I’m going to run on (being) number one in job creation.” The Globe‘s Gary Mason, reporting on the speech,wrote, “As expected, there was lots of talk about recent job-creation numbers that ranked B.C. first in the country.” Dirk Meissner of the Canadian Press wrote: “She [Clark] said B.C. has created 57,000 jobs over the last year, more than any other province in Canada.”

That last claim is demonstrably false and the others are pretty wobbly too.Statistics Canada, said right here on October 5, the most recent and up-to-date snapshot of the country’s job creation numbers, that “over the last year” in B.C., there are 44,700 more full-time jobs, 15,100 fewer part-time jobs for a net gain of 29,500 more jobs. Where on earth does Clark get 57,000 new jobs created?

And, frankly, I’m a little surprised that all of these reporters just took Clark’s boast on its face rather than look it up and challenge her on the claim that that B.C is “number one in job creation.” ...

Clearly, Mr. Akin is not in the club (although, to be fair, like HST before him, he got to leave town after the fisking was done). Too bad, though, that he didn't call anybody a waterhead and/or 'Ron Obvious'. On the latter count, luckily, we still have something left to bang the keyboard for (stay tuned for that one - and yes, it does involve 'the video').

Of course, there are also all those things that her government has 'done' to the people of British Columbia over the last eleven years that Ms. Clark did NOT mention in her speech yesterday...If you've forgotten a few of those we would be happy to help jog our memory (aurally, of course) , here... 


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Saturday Night's Alright For (Uke) Cover Fighting!


First, given the weather in Lotusland, The Original, by one of the original Eurythmics...

Next, the cover, which is a little goofy, but pretty darned original...

An even more original cover (of Edie Brickell's 'What I Am'), by the duo above, is this one.....
As always, thanks to LA Photomaven Ellen Bloom for the Uke Peghead at the top of the post.
Tsunami warnings for low lying areas (due to Haida Gwaii/Queen Charlotte Isles earthquake) up and down coast, including for WestCoast of Vancouver Island (eg. Tofino)....Should pass between 10pm and 11pm tonight, Saturday...Scarier in a few hours may be Hawaii as most of energy seems to be going south and west....Details, here.


#BCL12: This Day In Snookland...Is It Romnesia When It Is Also Flat-Out Lying?


So, given that, how many of Ms Clark's other 'claims' today to the faithful up the Condo-King Highway will be called out as....

a) Lies
b) Codswallop
c) Disingenuous
d) Ridiculous
e) Headlined on CKNW and Global News for the next three news cycles?

Of course, 'e' is a given....As for 'a' through 'd'....Perhaps we should have added 'all of the above'...
And then there is that other list....The list of things that Ms. Clark and Mr. Campbell (and the fine folks and corporations behind them) have done to the people of, and the place that is, British Columbia that she did NOT mention during the pom-pom waving session in Whistler this afternoon...


#BCL12...Is There Anybody Actually At The Confab Up The Condo-King Highway?


From the fingers of Andrew MacLeod Of The Tyee:

But why should the rest of the proMedia worry their pretty little heads about the fact that there are actually, you know, any BC Liberals in the room for stuff that kinda/sorta matters.

After all, it is the staged events, like the one that will close the show this afternoon that really matter.


And if this happened at a BC Con and or Dipper convention?.....Do you think we'd hear about a party in tatters, or anything....Or, would we hear more of stuff like, say, this?....Just asking.


Conversations Between McMaher and Michael Sona...


...And it looks like they likely are for realz.

Even more interesting, someone purporting to be Mr. Sona, who appears to still correspond with at least one of his friends from the old days (which gives me some confidence that the person purporting on Twitter likely is said person), also seems to have taken a penchant for dissing the work of one particular commentator at SunNews:

Will be interesting to see, me thinks, if Mr. Sona decides to unleash the little Johnny Dean that just may be lurking within.

Regarding the old 'Pre-Robo' days, and old friends and such....Remember this?


#BCL12...Dread Gone Audible.


In response to our post about the faux ecstasy uttered by Ms. Always Campaigning, Susan Anton, re: her coming candidacy for the BC Liberal Party at their convention up the condo-superhighway, the sharp-witted Scotty-On-Denman had this to say in the comment thread:

"I heard that quote on the radio. When Christy prompted all assembled with a tad-premature "Yes!" the tepid applause sounded the knell of doom, irretrievable now.

I've been wondering for a few weeks now if this convention would somehow mark a mile stone in the unnecessarily drawn out quartering of the BC Liberals, a palace coup from a hostile and skittish caucus perhaps, or maybe a high profile resignation, spectacular blunder or a little less salacious, another scandal. But the picture on the radio was the look of dread gone audible, a sense-o-round smell of mortal fear wafting unmistakably between the echoes of polite clapping.

It is truly amazing how quickly aural sensation cascades through the mental processor and what memories it can evoke. That split-second flash of nervous desperation vividly took me back to that agonizingly brief but eternal little moment between the announcement of Christy's leadership victory and the tardy applause of her new caucus. The princess warrior blew it off then but looking back now, her subsequent (and continuing) drop in the polls was foretold by the clarion ring of that little pin bouncing off the floor. So even though all I got was this lousy T-shirt (well, would have if I'd gone up to Whistler...) and I'm still pretty grouchy about Christy breaking her early election promise so's to let her party's privateering favourites mine their getaway trail right to the very end, I'm happy to see the BC Liberals swirling faster and faster down the toilet.

They deserve it; they really hurt BC."

Pretty interesting, not to mention insightful, eh?


Compare Scotty's comment to that of 'professional' watercarrie.....errrrr....commentator Mr. Keith Baldrey:

"It was one big energetic love-in at BC Lib conv. Aren't these guys supposed to floundering? Wouldn't know it here. On Global NH."

And how, exactly have the finest of the very fine folks running, and pulling the strings behind, the BC Liberal Party hurt B.C?.......This way.


Friday, October 26, 2012

BCL Convention....We Are All Free Enterprisers & Socreds Now!


Well, well, well....

Sorry to be cackling 'told you so!', but it appears that it's 'Free Enterprisers Forever!' at the BC Liberal Party convention a staight-shot up the Super-Condo Highway from Lotusland Central.

Jesse Johnston of WX has the story...Here's his lede:

The BC Liberal Convention kicked off in Whistler today with a lengthy discussion on the topic of free enterprise.

"Put aside your political affiliation," Premier Christy Clark said in her opening address. "Do you want to be part of building a free enterprise coalition in British Columbia? Do you want to be part of creating a thriving private sector in our province? Yes!"

Clark then turned over the stage to Brad Bennett, the son of Bill Bennett and grandson of WAC Bennett.

"In the past 60 years free enterprise has been successful of governing the province for 80 percent of the last 60 years," Bennett says. "I can think of a couple good reasons for that. One is the NDP just isn't very good at governing."

Clark also got an endorsement from former BC cabinet minister and Social Credit Party leader Jack Weisgerber. Weisgerber isn't attending the event in person, but sent a video message in which he voiced his support for a government that backs businesses...


Meanwhile, Andrew MacLeod of The Tyee explains why Voldemort is Dead on the TwittMachine.

Doubly-meany mean and wild, The Globe's Justine Hunter couldn't help but wonder if, after listening to the contorted exhortations of the faithful, if this is actually the convention of a Fringe Party.

Finally, who, exactly, was paying for 'our' Director of Outreach to be up the Highway of Super-Condos today anyway?

And, just in case you might have forgotten that all of the finest of fine folks who are really behind all this are the same people whose agenda of 'prosperity for the few and screw everybody else' are the ones who are truly responsible for the much discredited  'Golden Era',  we give you.....This.


#MsAlwaysCampaigning...Rises Like An Upside Down Cake From The Ashes


And notice, if you will, the retweets from the former chief denizens of....



Free Enterprisers Head To Whistler...But Will They Talk Northern Gateway?



Update, Lunchtime: Well, it's official...Keith Baldrey has dubbed today 'Free Enterprise Friday'...Carry on....And nevermind that Curmudgeon under the bed...

Was interesting to see the front-end puff-pieces start flying on the Eve of the BC Liberal Party's Destructio.....errrrr...'Convention' this weekend up in Whistler.

Puff-pieces like this, unbylined from the CP, in The Province:

...(T)here’s a quiet confidence rising from the (BC Liberal) party ranks as next May’s provincial election approaches.

Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett, co-chairman of the Liberals’ campaign platform committee, said Thursday there’s a growing sense that British Columbians are starting to tune in to Premier Christy Clark’s jobs and families message.

Clark will address convention delegates on Saturday afternoon.

Bennett acknowledged that the Opposition New Democrats are ahead in the public opinion polls, but said voters are recognizing that B.C. is actually doing well while other jurisdictions are experiencing steep economic declines.

“We’ve had a pretty good two months here,” said Bennett. “The B.C. Conservatives are imploding, lot’s of people predicted that, so that’s helpful...


There's that meme again.

The BC Conservatives are doomed/dumpkopf/destroyed.

And yet, the Curmudgeon at the top, the guy who says there will be a LibCon fusion over his dead body, is still out there....


And, perhaps most importantly, he is still drawing lines in the laissez-fairy-dusted 'Free Enterprise' sand.

Lines like this:

October 23, 2012 -Vancouver- John Cummins, leader of the BC Conservatives, today reiterated his support for the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline Project, saying that the economic benefits far outweigh environmental concerns.

“Given all of the information made public to date, I strongly believe that the Northern Gateway Pipeline should proceed as quickly as possible,” said Cummins, speaking today at a luncheon in downtown Vancouver.

“British Columbia desperately needs new capital investment, and new high-wage jobs,” Cummins added. “The Northern Gateway Project delivers both.”...


We can only wonder how stuff like that goes over with the Socred/Free Enterprise wing of Ms. Clark's tattered coalition.

What's that you say?

There is no Socred/FE wing left because they are all trying to figure out how to bring down The Curmudgeon and then mount a second coup against The Snook before she makes a final lurch towards the center line on Highway 99 and goes all in with the FedLibs for reals?

Come on the rest of you are saying

That's nothing but crazy talk.

Because everybody who is on their way to Whistler this morning is happy as a clam, right?

And absolutely no one is humming that old PF Sloan/Barry McGuire song.

Or Bigger E's and my newer one.

Newer song I mean....

Many thanks to Grant G for bringing Mr. Cummins' Northern Gateway continuing scorched mountain pass policy position to our attention....
Of course our song, thanks to the prodding of Mr. Beer 'N Hockey, is actually straight out of Phil Ochs....


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Do What Sooey Says.


Yesterday, I posted a picture from my morning ride that led to a fun discussion about the raking leaves, etc., in the comment thread.

Coincidentally (or perhaps not), one of my favourite writers in the Eastern Canadian bloggodome, 'Sooey' soon thereafter posted-up a fantastic piece originally titled 'Will Rake For Food'.

One of the things I like most about Sooey's writing is her digressions that go madly off in all kinds of directions, usually towards the most interesting locations, and then, somehow, you end up at a singular destination that all makes sense in the end.

And then (of course) there is the fact that I really dig her world view.

Anyway, here is the top part from Sooey's  leaf raking post:

Last Sunday, we were in our spots, my Beau and I, surfing the net, when the doorbell rang. I would have answered, but I was in my housecoat and it was early afternoon, so my Beau, who is inclined to ignore unsolicited communication, was urged to “see who it is”.

I’m too curious by half and will even answer cell calls that I’m almost 100% sure are from Rogers, which is having a hard time accepting that we broke up. It keeps trying to lure me back with $25 gift certificates and rates off its overpriced (?) dismal (!) services. Alas, I am so distrusting of Rogers now, after it cheated on me (no need for details, you know the drill, I’m sure, dear Sooey Says reader(s)), that I won’t accept anything less than 100% free cable.

Oh, and why don’t I have caller i.d.? Because even when I did, I still answered every call – on account of I’m TOO CURIOUS BY HALF!

Before I got my Beau to do the honours, however, I peeked through the clear glass lines in our frosted door design (inherited, fussy, and will never change because we don’t renovate, we adapt) and ascertained that there was a middle-aged woman standing on the other side of it holding a rake. This is a necessary thing to do because on those occasions when said person on the other side of the door has been from one of those “energy” “companies”, my Beau can lose his temper, which makes me nervous because I figure it only eggs them on to fraudulently sign you up for its after dark kneecapping special.

Warning to “energy” “company” fraudsters: Stay away from houses with frosted glass designs on their doors.

And this is off topic, but I realized the other day that the Mike Harris legacy is death, fraud, and his Little Shits (Franks passim) moving on to mooch off the public purse at the next level of government.

As he listened to the communication from the lady holding the rake, I eavesdropped from behind the wall that doesn’t quite stretch far enough so that when you’re sitting watching Netflix (1/4 the price of basic cable, if you’re curious and a little antennae thingie will get you TVO, CTV and, I hope, CBC – cripes, we’d better get CBC – we’re paying for it, anyway – I’ll let you know after my Beau exercises his manliness and sets us up) the hall light shines in your eyes and you have to get up and dim the switch (please stop renovating perfectly adequate houses, previous owners).

“Hi, I’m so sorry for bothering you on a Sunday, but I wonder if I could rake your lawn? I’m going door-to-door offering my services to raise $20 so I can feed my kids. I have 5. The thing is, I start a job tomorrow, but I’m completely out of cash today. My partner died and I was a homemaker and everything is tied up for a while, and -”

Which was when I came out from behind the wall, pushed past my Beau, and shoved $20 into her hand...

Now - go and read the rest of what Sooey said....

You won't be sorry.


BC Place By The Numbers...Are We Really Getting Value For Money?


A few weeks ago, a piece published in the VSun under Jeff Lee's byline titled 'A Year Under The Big Top Wraps Up' included all kinds of back-and-forthing from folks both critical and not so about the massive renovation costs for BC Place stadium and whether they were worth it.

Here is one of those back-and forths:

...(Sandy) Garossino has gone so far as to suggest in a personal blog that were this a privately funded project, (then PavCo/BC Place chair David) Podmore - a successful developer in his own right - and former PavCo president Warren Buckley "would have been drawn and quartered by their shareholders by now, based on the fundamentals behind this absurdly lavish project."

Podmore says Garossino is taking liberties with what was promised. The stadium over the years has averaged 200 booking days a year, including conversions. PavCo expected the new facility would generate another 40. But as of this month, it has already been busy for 250 days, exceeding PavCo's estimates. He said he never meant to convey that there would be 40 "new acts," but rather 40 more days filled on BC Place's calendar.

"She went a little over the top. I don't see that argument," Podmore said. "I'd say give us a chance. We've just finished the building. We've just had part of a season of operation...

And then Mr. Lee moved on, but he (and/or his editor) helpfully added a 'By The Numbers' list at the end of the piece (which we assume came from the fine folks at PavCo).

Numbers like this:

Occupancy days (2009): 243

2010-11: closed for renovations

2012: 252 to date

2013: 250*

2014: 260*

2015: 250*


Given that the fine folks from PavCo (ie. folks that, apparently, work for us) actually post their 'occupancy' day numbers for BC Place on their website, we thought we would do what Mr. Lee and the very fine folks at the VSun apparently did not, which is to have an actual look at those numbers, month-by month, and do a little analysis for the 2012 'To Date' claim.

For this analysis, we broke things down into actual 'Event'  days and 'Other' days (which included stuff like 'Move In', 'Move Out' and 'Conversion') despite the fact that Mr. Podmore apparently thinks the latter are just great, or some such thing.

Here's what we found, again based on what is actually posted on the PavCo/BC Place website:

Events: 77 days (and we were very generous here and included stuff like 'PlayDome' as an 'event')
Other:  125 days (and, often many of those were laughable, with, for example, 11 MoveIn/Conversion/Move Out days in front of and behind the single Paul McCartney concert scheduled for late November).


It would appear that the actual 'Occupancy' days for 2012 are '202', not '250'. Therefore, unless, there is something wrong with the calendar on the PavCo/BC Place website, it would appear that the 'By The Numbers' list published by the VSun website is wrong.

As in incorrect.

Now, as to Mr. Podmore's unchallenged claim that Ms. Garossino was taking 'liberties' because the occupancy (including 'conversions'!) numbers are way up from the  pre-renovation days, we can only conclude that, based on his own actual numbers published on his own actual website, that he too is (to put it charitably) wrong.

As in incorrect.

And if Mr. Lee and/or the fine folks at the VSun had done a little  of the most basic of digging/fact-checking* they could have told their tens of thousands of readers (as opposed to our few dozen) that that was, indeed, the case.


And I won't even go into the egregious flinging of the codswallop that is the inclusion of 'conversion' days, etc. into the total....You want my honest opinion?...Going through this I can find ~50 event days/year that likely actually generate any spin-off revenue whatsoever in the downtown core...Thus, I really wonder about all those $$$ numbers that Mr. Podmore et al fling around in that regard (as justification for the $600 million dollar Magic Carpet - and I'm sticking with that 600 number until the fine folks at PavCo [remember, they work for us!] actually open their books and prove to us that the true cost is their now claimed $514 million) as well...
*Look, I know that folks who work in the proMedia are overworked, etc....I get that...But the actual tallying of the numbers from the BCPlace website took me all of about 15 minutes...Seriously...
Oh, and one last thing.... Just in case, I took an extra few minutes and sliced and diced the numbers from the post-renovation opening out one year...Or from Oct 2011 through Sept 2012 (the Lee piece was published in late Sept 2012) and nowhere did the aggregate ever come close to Mr. Podmore's claim of 250 days in any 12 month aggregate period...The real point here...The numbers are NOT up post- vs. pre-renovation...OK, that's enough, I'll stop now...


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Which Came First...The Six Hundred Million Dollar Magic Carpet Or The Casino-Industrial Complex?


Longtime readers may recall that I went apoplectic in the Spring of 2010 when all that Casino-Industrial Complex stuff on the northeast side of False Creek was going down.

For all kinds of reasons, including the fact that I bought the initial misdirection that it was all going to be about a Condo Land-Jack.

Anyway, as a result, I (who am no insider) worked backwards and came to the tentative conclusion that the egregious cost of the BC Place roof was, perhaps, being used to justify the call (and yes there was a 'call'  - remember that?) for the massive Las Vegas 'inspired' style casino in downtown Vancouver.


Ian Reid has now worked an FOI, hard, and has come up with information that, in my opinion, pretty much nails it. Here is just a small excerpt:

...According to (PavCo's BC Place re-development consultant Bruce) MacGregor’s billings he was meeting with (Las Vegas casino builder, and BC Liberal Party insider-connected) Paragon Gaming almost as soon as the city agreed to the planning process at the end of January 2008.

In February (of 2008), MacGregor was touring the stadium and meeting with architects and consultants regarding roof options.

By the first week in March (of 2008) he was working on the casino part of the project – except that officially there wasn’t a casino part for at least another year...

Why does this matter?

Well, this all happened before the City of Vancouver's development plan was put in place in the last days of Spam-A-Lot/Smilin' Sammy Sullivan's administration that paved the way for the casino call and way, way, before there were any 'requests for proposals' for said casino from PavCo which, further on down the road, was given to Paragon almost immediately. The details of this part of the timeline can be found here.

In other words, the fix was in from the very, very beginning.

And, guess what....

When then premier Gordon Campbell first announced the plans in May of 2008 to 'redesign' BC Place there was absolutely no mention of a 'casino'.

All of which would be just water under the bridge....

Except for one thing.

Which is the fact that we the people of British Columbia, people who spent much of last year being told that we had to throw adult disabled people out of their longterm care homes to save a little coin, are the ones who are left to foot the bill for that bloody $600 million dollar magic carpet atop the (still) little-used BC Place.


In case anybody is interested, you can find my frenzy of posts on this matter from April of 2010 at the bottom of the left sidebar under the header 'Paragon Marathon'....
Norman Farrell is on this one as well...
Anybody want to make book on whether or not this will even make it into the Lotuslandian Pro-Media (other than via Bob Mackin)?.....I'm willing to take pretty short odds on the 'no' side of that bet...


Which Is Worse...

...Translink Fare Evasion Or The (not) Premier's Commercial Flight Evasion?

First, from the razor-sharp transit-oriented mind of Stephen Rees, a thorough and complete takedown of the 'Fare Evasion Is Out Of Control!' mantra of the screamers and headline writers:

...What really needs to be compared is the rate of fare evasion. In 2001 it was around 8.1% of transit revenue. In 2011 transit revenue was $444.7m (source: 2011 Year End Financial and Performance report) $433m coming from fares – so the rate of loss was 3.3% of fare revenue (3.2% of transit revenue).

Actually, there was some work done on fare evasion around that time, by KPMG and in a report in 2002 they estimated fare evasion at $6.7m or 3.9% – but conceded that the lack of data on buses meant that it could have been 4%, or $1.4m more. Indeed 4% is one of those easy to remember figures that is still in my head, and I am glad that I have now got the source for that.

So the headline does seem to be misleading. Forget the use of 2001 as a base year, since clearly things were not “normal” then, and look at the long term trend and it seems to me that the best estimate we have of Translink is that the rate of fare evasion has been reduced – from around 4% to something closer to 3%, And that is before the new measures to improve collection on fines had been implemented...

Second, a story we covered yesterday that was broken by the Merry FOIR-ster, Bob Mackin:

...Premier Christy Clark has spent $185,027.86 on 25 trips from March 18, 2011 through Aug. 1, 2012 on a charter airline owned by a prominent BC Liberal bagman...

{snippety doo-dah}

...Cabinet members are allowed to take charter flights if they're on government business, their destination is not adequately served by scheduled service and/or if their schedule dictates they cannot wait for a scheduled flight...

{snippety doodle-dandy}

...Clark made four trips in three weeks for $38,600 on Blackcomb Aviation during July 2012, including a one-day, $15,470.07 trip on July 19 to Regina and Edmonton. She met Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall during the first stop and Alison Redford, the Alberta premier, on the second. The meeting with Redford was called the "Secret Summit," because Clark was whisked in and out of the Alberta Legislature with no notice or fanfare. Along for the ride were deputy minister Neil Sweeney, aide Gabe Garfinkel and the bodyguard.

Such is life aboard charter jets, which use a private terminal on the south side of Vancouver International Airport...


And, need we explain who is raking in our dough on both fronts?....Think 'turnstiles' and 'private jets'...


My Morning Ride...Trouble In Upper West Cremeville


Taken on that strip of Boulevard along 16th that would be perfect for an LRT to the far Western edge of CremeVille.

Looks like some finest of fine folks' gardeners have been doing a little unauthorized biomass dispersal.

Of course, if such an LRT proposal ever got serious consideration you can bet the astroturf would be laid immediately and a grassrootsian 'Save Our Boulevard!' group would suddenly turn up on the front page of the VSun....Or some such thing...


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

This Day In Snookland....The Re-Emergence Of Princess Pammy


I don't know about you, but I for one am sure glad to see that our (not) Premier's 'Director of Outreach', Ms. Pamela Martin, is on the job.

Doin' really, really important stuff like....

In other much (much, much, much) more important news, Norm Farrell explains why the latest press release from the (not) Premier's government  trumpeting a fix for BC's justice system is very (very, very, very, very) likely....


Please note: A press release is not governance.....And Ms. Martin's outreach emporium is not a legislature...As for David McLean's private jet, well?....


This Day In Snookland...Flying The Friendly Skies Of Air McLean


Well, well, well....

What do you know.

The very fine fellow who helped put Gordon Campbell in power and bought BC Rail fair-and-square because, of course, no fix was ever in (and no cabinet discussions were ever leaked), is now raking in the dough flying our current (not) Premier around Western Canada on his company's private jet.

Bob Mackin has the $185,000, FOI-assisted story, here.

Personally, I find this part particularly interesting/disturbing:

...Cabinet members are allowed to take charter flights if they're on government business, their destination is not adequately served by scheduled service and/or if their schedule dictates they cannot wait for a scheduled flight...

{snippety doo-dah}

...Clark made four trips in three weeks for $38,600 on Blackcomb Aviation during July 2012, including a one-day, $15,470.07 trip on July 19 to Regina and Edmonton. She met Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall during the first stop and Alison Redford, the Alberta premier, on the second. The meeting with Redford was called the "Secret Summit," because Clark was whisked in and out of the Alberta Legislature with no notice or fanfare...

Why interesting?

Well, it's not like Air Canada and WestJet don't have daily service to Edmonton and Regina.

But, then again, if it's not 'royalty' then it must be 'revenue'.

As in our revenue that was spent for shameless grandstanding.

Not governing.



Monday, October 22, 2012

This Day In Snookland...The Word Salad Rules.


Did you catch Gary Mason's report on the Globe's recent 'wide-ranging' interview with (not) Premier Christy Clark?


I know I have been critical of Ms. Clark's penchant for always campaigning rather than governing.

But this latest report, in my opinion, is downright disturbing.

Because, in terms of her latest 'position' on Northern Gateway at least, Ms. Clark doesn't seem to make any grammatical, not to mention logical, sense whatsoever.

Case in point, the following on what Ms. Clark believes British Columbia needs (?).... wants (??).... deserves (???)...

...“There’s a whole lot of revenue on the table. We need to talk about how it will be split up. I’m not saying that’s royalties – I’m not.”...


It's not royalties....It's revenue, which is, apparently, something completely different altogether.


Well, who really knows, because the (not) Premier most certainly doesn't.

Know what it is, I mean....

...“Let’s negotiate,” the Premier said. “Let’s look at the range of benefits that are there and talk about it. If it doesn’t come out of royalties, we’re perfectly comfortable with that.”...


When you read word salad like that, coming out of a 'wide-ranging' interview with a hand-picked friendly it really is hard not to conclude that this person should not be in charge of anything, even if it is just the toilet paper orders for the Helijet terminal washroom.


And then there's......this.....'Quantum!'...Thanks to Grant G for bringing it to our attention (we think)...


My Morning Ride.


Taken from atop the Hillcrest Geyser this morning.

It did not spray me.

Although, bizarrely, the sprinklers were on out on the baseball fields.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Eight Percent Solution...


Ever wondered about about this new-fangled, crowd-sourced funding business that all the young hipsters are talking about these days?


Have you ever wondered how accordian/guitar playing wretches with the remaining ink barely even visible on their hands anymore could make a whole bunch of kids happy, not to mention healthy.


Meet the children of Angelitos Felices!

The header?....They're at 92% of their goal...Try it, you'll like it (and feel good too)...


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Saturday Night's Alright For Uke Cover Fighting!


First, The Original, by the original, Roger Miller...

Next, The Cover, by my original kid, E....

'Twas almost the end of last summer, the summer of E's daily busking...To say the least, by the end of the session, which was a full one, I was more than just a little verklempt...These days you can catch her down in the Montreal Metro...
As always, thanks to Los Angeles photo-maven extraordinare Ellen Bloom for the Uke peghead at the top of the post (which was made for her by her brother Ken!)...