Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Covering Mr. Fraser's Conflict Of Interest Ruling...The Stenography Continues.


This fine example is from the even finer Sean Leslie of CKNW:

BC’s Conflict of Interest Commissioner says he will not investigate Premier Christy Clark’s involvement with a company called RCI Pacific Gateway Education back in 2007.

Paul Fraser says his jurisdiction only applies to sitting MLA’s, and Clark’s involvement with the company ended long before she became an MLA in 2011....


As we pointed out earlier, the issue here is where the good Mr. Fraser's jurisdiction begin and ends. 


We thought we would have a look at the actual Conflict of Interest Act of British Columbia to find out the definition of a 'member' of the legislature who is subject to the rulings of the Conflict Commissioner.

Here is how such a 'member' is defined:

"member" means a member of the Legislative Assembly or of the Executive Council, or both.

Why does this matter?

Well, because Ms. Christy Clark was sworn in as Premier in March 2011 she became a member of the Executive Council two months BEFORE she became an MLA in May of 2011.

And, as Bob Mackin has previously pointed out.....

...(Ms.) Clark's name remained on RCI PGEI's corporate registration through its delisting in May 2011, two months into her premiership...

You see the problem with the stenography (and the greater proMedia silence) here now?

You will also note that Mr. Leslie framed the time in question as 'back in 2007' despite the ample documentary evidence to the contrary...
Again, the digging on this one (which was NOT hard work) began because of a tweet from the VObserver's Matt Millar...


The Post-Secondary Education Story You Did Not Read/See/Hear About Yesterday.


Which is that universities can't just do whatever the heck they (and/or their paymasters) want, on a whim.

The following is from a ruling handed down by Justice Savage of the BC Supreme Court on Monday against just such a whim from Capilano University:

1. The decision of Capilano University made on or about June 11, 2013 to discontinue various courses and programs was made without complying with section 35.2(6) of the University Act;

2. Capilano University does not have the authority to discontinue courses and programs as outlined in section 35.2 (6) of the University Act, unless the decision to do so is made by the board after seeking advice on the matter from the Capilano Senate and the Capilano Senate has so advised the Capilano Board;

3. The Capilano Board must seek the advice of the Capilano Senate and the Capilano Senate must advise the Capilano Board on the development of an educational policy for the discontinuance of courses and programs before the university can discontinue any courses or programs, including those purported to be discontinued by the 2013/2014 budget....


Here's a question to our current 'whim-maker-by-the-million', Ms. Christy Clark...

Where did yesterday's spike-story '25 percent' thingy/number come from anyway?

Judgement linksource?...The Opposition's critic for advanced education...


This Day In Snookland...Has Anybody (Including The Commissioner) Actually Read The Conflict Of Interest Act?



Updated: To include quote from Bob Mackin's previous story at bottom of post which makes it clear why two months just might really, really matter here.

Apparently, at least according to so-called reliable sources (eg. a tweet, but not a column, from Mr. Vaughn Palmer), the current Conflict of Interest Commissioner, who also just happens to be the father of a former Burrard Communications employed lobbyist for Enbridge and a current assistant deputy minister for Christy Clark, cannot deal with/rule on anything that went on before Ms. Clark was elected to the legislature of British Columbia (eg. on or about May 11, 2011):

But here's the thing....

If you take the time to actually read the Conflict of Interest Act of British Columbia it defines 'members' who are subject to the act (and the rulings of the Conflict Commissioner regarding it) thusly:

Therefore, given that Ms. Clark was sworn in as Premier on March 14, 2011 it means that, to the best of our knowledge, she actually became a 'member' of the Executive Council on that date, two months before she was elected an MLA in that lunchtime polling station visit-assisted by-election squeaker over David Eby.



What, if anything, happened between March and May of 2011, particularly given the following, as reported by Bob Mackin in The Tyee  recently:

...(Ms.) Clark's name remained on RCI PGEI's corporate registration through its delisting in May 2011, two months into her premiership...


Perhaps Mr. Palmer could ask the good Conflict Of Interest Commissioner about that (in addition to that other stuff we mentioned yesterday about all that fussy connectyness business).

This came up because of a tweet from the VObserver's Matt Millar who tells us off-line that he has a story coming...Stay tuned for that...


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Getting The Led Out.... For The Very First Time (Ever).


By way of Spokane Washington, circa 1968, and Josh Jones of Open Culture.

Fifty-seven minutes that killed psychedelia dead...


What Would Happen If There Was No Agricultural Land Commission?



I reckon this kind of thing would happen in just about every single city, town and hamlet in this province where there is arable land within 20 miles of a developer's binoculars and a willing council...

Summerland council voted 4-1 in favour of approving a controversial land swap Monday night.

The swap would see just over 80 hectares of farmland removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve and 90 hectares of land, farther out of town in West Prairie Valley, swapped in...

Put another way...

If this kind of thing accelerates, unfettered by ALC oversight, the good Mr. Les will be a king to these fine people.


Want to keep up with this stuff?...Follow the ol' shite-disturber (and I mean that in the best way possible), Harold Steves, on the Twittmachine.


This Day In Snookland...There's No Obligation Like A Conflictylessness Obligation.


From the Twittmachine feed of the 'Dean':


In response, we really do have to wonder....

Is the current Conflict Commissioner under any obligation to disclose his connection to a certain someone who was involved in at least one of the Premier's previous/pre-ledge election business ties under consideration who also just happens to be a current assistant deputy minister appointed by said Premier?


And, as a corollary...

What are the obligations of the 'Dean' and his associates in the Lotuslandian proMedia to disclose such a connection to the public of British Columbia in the event that our most excellent of all Conflict Commissioners does not?


This Day In Snookland...All Your Worthwhile Initiatives Must End


Remember when all those efforts were afoot from first the Knotty Gordians and then, later, the Snooklandians to shut down the 'Therapeutics Initiative', which is an independent research group that looks for actual evidence that new drugs we, the people of British Columbia, are going to pay for actually work?

And remember how we couldn't believe the ludicrousiosity of such efforts based on the actual evidence at hand?


More evidence is now in.

And, clearly, the Therapeutics Initiative got it right again. Paul Webster has the latest story of why evidence matters in The Tyee. Here's his lede:

News that an international team of investigators has found the flu drug Tamiflu of little medical use -- despite billions spent stockpiling it in B.C. and around the world -- comes as bittersweet vindication for Barbara Mintzes and her associates with the Therapeutics Initiative, a UBC-based pharmaceutical research group that bills itself as independent from government, industry and other vested interest groups.

When the B.C. government asked the Therapeutics Initiative to assess Tamiflu's scientific merits nine years ago, Mintzes concluded it offered flu patients little benefit. This closely matches findings published earlier this month by the Cochrane Collaboration, a U.K.-based network of independent health researchers...


Here's the real, if exceedingly obvious, question....

When evidence-based watchdogs like the TI are shut down (and/or severely hamstrung based on the conclusions of 'blue ribbon' panels of little apparent value, based on the evidence)...who benefits.


Who benefits if we waste millions and millions on useless drugs?



Monday, April 28, 2014

Does Mr. Bennett Even Know The Number Of Applications To The ALC That Were Approved In The Kootenays?



Integrity BC does.

And the results may surprise you given the good Mr. Bennett's recent bleatings about what his constituents have apparently been telling him for the last thirteen 'fucking' years:

IntegrityBC has reviewed 660 applications to the Agricultural Land Commission filed in the Kootenay district, following comments from Bill Bennett, Minister Responsible for the Core Review, that the proposed changes to the Agricultural Land Reserve are the result of listening to his constituents.

“Based on Bennett’s claims one would imagine that application after application was routinely coming back from the ALC stamped ‘rejected’,” said IntegrityBC executive director Dermod Travis. “And that’s far from the case.”

According to IntegrityBC’s review, 72.3 per cent of the applications to the ALC (from 2006 to 2012) in the Kootenays were approved (some with conditions) and 27.7 per cent were rejected outright. Numbers that point to the need for public consultations on Bill 24 – as Agriculture minister Norm Letnick promised last week – and not shotgun passage of the bill as Bill Bennett threatened the next day....


Wonder what the ol' turdstormer will have to say about those numbers when he's forced to respond to questions about them at his next presser after they are splashed across the public prints?




Please note:....The expletive at the top of the post is Mr. Bennett's, not mine.


Robo/Real Call Rebound...Why Do They Protesteth So Mucheth And So Fabulously?


I first noticed it from the first McMinister on the Twittmachine:

Which led to a little sniffing around the outer reaches of the Google cache until I found this bit of stinky cheese from the good and always oh so ethical Mr. Levant (hit link with caution):

There are 525,600 minutes in a year.

And there have been 3,581 news stories written about the Robocall scandal, according to the Infomart database.

Except last week, we found out it was fake. There was no conspiracy to use automated phone calls to dupe voters in the 2011 election into going to the wrong place to vote...

{snippety doo-dah}...

It’s the Canadian version of U.S. “Truthers," who claim the 9/11 attacks were an inside job, even after a massive, detailed investigation proved it was what we all saw it to be: an al-Qaida terrorist attack. Even when Osama bin Laden claimed responsibility for the attacks, that wasn’t enough to deter the most avid Truthers. Because they needed that conspiracy theory to make the world make sense to them...


Now once you stop shaking your head at that amazing bit of conflation...

Ask yourself the following...

Why are they bleating so loud and so hard (and absolutely fabulously) while they keep a light shining back on this thing?

Is it because they really and truly feel an overwhelming need to righteously dedisparage their collective disparagement?

Or is it because they see this an opening to demonize the opposition?


Is it really because they know that the brand is damaged?

On the brightside, I reckon, that Sun News generally, and perhaps the good, and always more ethical than we and thou, Mr. Levant specifially, can now start the public rehabilitation of this fine young fellow ....Maybe.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

If 'Corner Gas' Were Filmed Today...

...Who Would Mr. Butt's Co-Stars Be?

And would they send a limousine anyway?


Ms. Mallick of the Star:

...Canadians, desperate for work for themselves and their children, have proof that the Conservative government has no interest in well-paid jobs for Canadians, only in imported low-wage temps too terrified to be disobedient because a boss’s merest word can send them and their distant families back into penury.

Look at the sad and sorry evidence. We see kindly Saskatchewan waitresses weep on camera as they describe losing their jobs to trucked-in foreign workers...

And who can forget a then Globe-employed Ms. Mallick's finest hour in the belly of the very ugly of most ugliest of beasts...


Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Best Letter To The Editor So Far This Year.


Here it is, written by Ray Blessin and published by Kamloops This Week:

An open letter to Kamloops MLAs Todd Stone and Terry Lake:

As British Columbians, we are some of the most fortunate people in the world.

We share the riches of abundant natural resources and public services, which derive from the taxes we pay.

We also expect private corporations that extract these public resources should pay a fair share of the value of those resources in the taxes they pay.

However, a comparison of the value of the resources extracted in 2001 with those extracted in 2012 — and the related tax revenues — exposes an alarming trend about which we should be very concerned.

First, let’s take a look at the increases in just three resource-based production values in this province:

• In 2001, the value of coal production was $959 million. By 2012, it had grown to $5.06 billion, an increase of 527 per cent.

• The value of metals production in 2001 was $1.39 billion. In 2012, it was $2.45 billion, an increase of 76 per cent.

• The value of industrial minerals in 2001 was $296 million. That had increased to $472 million in 2012, an increase of 60 per cent.

This represents a huge increase in corporate revenue over the last 10 years or so.

In comparison, if we look at the total B.C. natural-resource tax revenue in 2001, we see it was about $4.2 billion. In 2013, that figure had declined to about $2.5 billion.

Looking at natural resources produced in B.C., we find the provincial share of market value has declined from a steady 35 per cent some years ago to about 15 per cent in the last two years, a stark contrast to the huge gains made by private, resource-based corporate interests.

Can Stone and Lake help the folks in Kamloops understand this apparent anomaly?

Can they also advise voters as to whether or not private resource-based corporations have made tax-deductible contributions to political parties in B.C.?

Ray Blessin

And those graphs at the top of the post?...From the VSun?...the Globe?....the Financial Post?...Michael Campbell?...British Columbians For Prosperity?....Of course not...Instead they are the work (and the result of the digging) of Norman Farrell.
And what did happen to that Progress Board anyway?
The point of all this?..... Well....We don't have to wait for 2046 for the fake Sparkle Ponies to arrive...The real ones are right here, right now...All we have to do is stop giving them away to the cronies for free.


This Day In Snookland...Deflector Spike Spin Works Weekends.


As does Ms. Always Campaigning:

And, no, this time we are not talking about Mr. Clark.

Stay tuned for all weekend soundbites coming to you soon (if not an hour ago).

And what if the Universe had unfolded differently and Lotusland had had its own common sensical nonsensical, Campaign Research-assisted, revolution in the fall of 2011?....Well....Maybe....This.
Subheader?....Great response to Mr. Mackin's tweet on the Twittmachine by another guy named 'Bob'.


Friday, April 25, 2014

This Friday Afternoon In Snookland...The Harry Bloy Boomerang Thang...



That's right.

He's back....

Working it for an 'organization' with close ties to RCI's Mr. John Park:


Don't forget....Before he blew up on his own total incompetence as a pre-election Snooklandian cabinet minister, the good Mr. Bloy was the first (and at the time only) sitting BCL member to support the current premier...
Need background on all the various and assorted sundry 'connections'?....You can start here.


Long-Form/Evolving FAQ Lists...The Vox Experiment.


Here's a pretty good example...On that cattle rancher scofflaw guy down in Nevada.

I kinda like the concept and what it could become...A running narrative archive that you can pick and choose from...Could be useful down the road if they are kept up-to-date/revised.

Meanwhile, the rats down in the deepest of darkest black media sinkholes can no longer even bring themselves to call the kettle that is Mr. Cliven Bundy, well.....Black...


Just In Case You Missed It...The Superstitionists Don't Always Win.


From the MoCo:

The Law Society of Upper Canada has voted 28 to 21 against the accreditation of Trinity Western University's proposed new law school in B.C.

The vote means graduates from the B.C. university would not be able to practise in Ontario.

“Benchers took this issue very seriously, and did not find it easy to reach a decision,” said the Law Society of Upper Canada's treasurer, in a written statement.

“As members of the legal profession, we recognize the entrenched values of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and Ontario’s Human Rights Code, including the right of equality and the right to freedom of religion, and the foundational nature of those rights to our democracy.”

Trinity Western University students must sign a strict Christian covenant governing behaviour, including abstaining from sexual intimacy "that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman."...

Too bad it didn't work out that way here in British Columbia.

Where have the superstitionists won lately?....Well, there is....This.


This Day In Snookland...Hey There Mr. Multicultural Advisor Council Chair Guy...

...Why So Shy?

Is there an RCI connection to this one?

You bet:

...Khangsar was hired in October of 2012 to be managing director of RCI Capital Group, a Vancouver-based investment house with a Beijing branch office.

The person who hired him was John Park, the Korean-Canadian CEO of RCI Capital Group...


Even the Federal Minister of Temporary Foreign Workers is only one step less removed than Kevin Bacon.

Something tells me we're going to hear more from Bob Mackin on this before all is said and done.

Just in case you missed it, just like most of the proMedia herd round here....The good Mr. Park and the current leader of Snooklandia themselves have had just a wee bit of a direct connection in the past...Not that there is anything wrong with that....Unless, of course, a horse is a horse, of course...Or some such trade junkety-type thing...
Oh....And you may want to keep an eye on a parallel plot development, which is the potential involvement of the jet skiier...
Then again...What do I know...After all, once a cult member, always a cult member...


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Elections-Canada Runs Away From Robocalls....Again.


Alison has the present day run, run, run, run run away.

Here's the money shot:

"... it is not sufficient to find evidence of misdirection of an elector. There must be evidence of intention to prevent the elector from voting, or by some pretence or contrivance, to induce the elector to vote or not vote for a particular candidate...."

But here's the thing.

Exactly the same thing happened in Saanich.




Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Anti-Vaccination Conspiracy...The Superstitionists Win Another One.


Over the weekend, you might have heard about this:

EDMONTON—Health officials in Edmonton are warning passengers who arrived in the city on a flight from Vancouver earlier this month that they may have been exposed to measles.

The warning further extends to anyone who was in Edmonton International Airport during the hours immediately after the Air Canada plane landed on April 9....

And, especially if you like to read stuff (rather than just listen to soundbites), you may have seen this:

...British Columbia is currently in the grips of a large outbreak, with at least 375 cases so far...


What you very likely didn't see, read or hear is why this outbreak first erupted out in the Valley:

...The pastor for the community at the centre of the Fraser Valley measles outbreak says he sees vaccines as an interference with God’s providential care.

Rev. Adriaan Geuze says his 1,200-strong Reformed Congregation of North America in Chilliwack mostly shares that view, which is why vaccination rates in the community are “very low.”

“We leave it in (God’s) hands. If it is in his will that somehow we get a contagious disease, like in this case the measles, there are other ways, of course, to avoid this. If (we get sick), he can also heal us from it,” he said in an interview Friday...


So there you have it...

Because, you know, if you insist on a separation of church and state and if you rely on evidence instead of superstition and prejudice?


You must be a bigoted secular-socialist-marxist-atheist zealot.

Oh, that and up-is-down and two-plus-two-equals-five.

(and antibodies are conceived of immaculately and expanded without exposure to foreign antigen)

The Onion pretty much gets it right on this one....
So....Why the huge drop in measles cases in the early 60's on the graph above?...You got it.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

At The End Of The Day...

...You've Gotta Listen To Something.

So, here's the thing...

When the day winds down I still like to listen to terrestrial radio.

And, given the dreck on the no longer so Giant 98 in the evening/late night time slots these days, the only thing left, especially if I've already heard Ghomeshi earlier in the day, is sports talk radio.

Which, if I don't want to listen to regularly scheduled smarm-swarms, pretty much means that the only option is the reincarnation of Dan Russell's long-running show way down the dial at CISL 650.

And, for the most part, I like the format, and the co-hosts, including Lee Powell.

But last week, when the Abbotsford Heat were leaving town at a total cost of $12 million to Sliverville taxpayers (including, I assume, Mr. Beer 'N Hockey) I was pretty darned miffed when they had Ryan Walter on and never once directly raised the matter with him, especially after Mr. Walter did his best to make it sound like the owners of the Heat actually did all of Abbotsford a favour when it let them terminate the contract early for the low, low price of $5.5 million.

Which I guess, brings to mind that old adage that all sportsmedia coverage, at its core, is little more than  advertorial copy meant to boost the profile of the home team.

Of course, this particular sin of omission by Mess'rs Powell and Russell is nothing compared to the abject sins of shillophantic commission that happen all the time on the sports talk stations.

The worst local example of which I reckon was....


Ironically, in my opinion at least, the good Mr. Jordan Bateman has been on this one lately...Why ironic?...Well, you know....Astroturf and three billion dollar ice bomb toll-bridges and all that...


How Do You Stop The Snooklandians?...Stand Up To Them.


Remember when the Snooklandians told us last Monday that they were going to let the worst of the land-rapers do whatever they wanted, without environmental review, based on a pile of jibber-jabber about forest ministry frameworks that made no sense at all?

And remember how they, the Snooklandians I mean, rescinded that order* less than a day later?


What caused the rapid climb down?

Well, in large part it was due to the swift and unequivocal actions of a young woman named Sharleen Gale.

Mark Hume told Ms. Gale's story in yesterday's Globe. Here is his lede:

Sharleen Gale, the young Fort Nelson chief who shook the government last week when she kicked its officials out of an energy conference, knew a showdown was coming and she’d have to be strong.

That’s why she held the sacred eagle feather in her hands when she took the podium at the BC First Nations LNG Summit and – with representatives from about 60 bands and major industry players looking on – told government delegates to get out.

“I respectfully ask government to please remove yourself from the room. I’m going to ask industry to stay,” said Chief Gale, whose stern face only partly hid her anger...

Amazing what a little truth speaking to the stupid can do, eh?

*Of course, the reversal is very likely only meant to be temporary.
It really is worth reading Mr. Hume's entire piece...Ms. Gale is not against gas extraction per se...She is, however, incensed at the wanton ways of the Snooklandians...Wonder how long it will take for some Astroturf group to start floating deflector-spin codswallop to the contrary?


Sometimes A Clarklandian Is Just A Clarklandian...

...And Sometimes He's The Third Man.


Update Tues Apr 22nd 6:00pm...The original form of this post indicated that Mr. Paul Fraser was appointed B.C.'s Conflict of Interest Commissioner by Christy Clark....That was incorrect...The good Mr. Fraser was appointed by Ms. Clark's predecessor, Mr. Gordon Campbell...The post has been corrected...Thanks to an Anon-O-Mouse who caught the error

Remember what our fine Premier, Ms. Christy Clark told the proMedia, and anyone else would listen after Matthew Millar's third story broke in the NaPo about her demonstrable pre-premier connections to a subsidiary company of RCI, which itself is a company that our fine Premier has done her best to pump while in office?

I mean, it was only a couple of weeks ago, right?


For the record, here is what Ms. Clark told the VSun's Rob Shaw:

...“I never did any work for the company, I wasn’t paid by the company, I never attending any meetings at the request of the company, and as far as I know the company never really got off the ground,” she said at the legislature...

Which is a pretty emphatic statement, no?


As we have already pointed out, there is documentary evidence which suggests that something quite different may have gone down with said 'company' given their letter-based overture to the University of New Brunswick a number of months after their incorporation. In addition, this letter was dated a full two months after Ms. Clark's first monetary compensation was due to arrive based on the company's original invitation/contract to her.

An invitation/contract, by the way, that Ms. Clark herself signed off on.

And last week Bob Mackin unearthed more paper involving additional overtures to (gasp!) Ms. Clark's kinda/sorta alma mater, Simon Fraser University.

And while very few of the proMedia heard have followed up on such documentary evidence, have no fear because the good Premier offered a 'don't worry, be happy' - type solution that seems to have satisfied said herd:

...(Ms. Clark) said she’d be happy to forward the matter to B.C.’s Conflict of Interest Commissioner for review...


With all of the above as pre-amble...

Please recall that the Conflict of Interest Commissioner that Ms. Clark was referring to is a very fine public servant by the name of Mr. Paul Fraser who was originally appointed by Ms. Clark's former boss, then Premier Gordon Campbell.

And please also recall that Mr. Fraser was forced to recuse himself from John van Dongen's recent complaint that revolved around Ms. Clark's actions in the run-up up to the sale/not sale (i.e. 990 year lease) of BC Rail by Mr. Gordon Campbell and friends, one of whom Ms. Clark likes to give bundles of our cash so that she can fly on private jets to exotic and hard to reach (by commercial airline route) locales like Edmonton and Regina.

And with that we finally arrive at a number of matters that get to the real heart of the matter here....

First, this, from Matt Millar's original VanObserver piece about how Ms. Clark once worked for Burrard Communications in her pre-Premier days just before the fine folks from BurrardComm went to work flack-hacking for Enbridge:

Which is how we know that BurrardComm, whose founder is Ms. Clark's former husband Mr. Mark Marissen, did such flack-hacking.


Just who is this John Paul Fraser fellow named in the federal lobbying documents anyway?

And why does J.P. have a monicker that is so similar to that very fine conflict commissioner that we discussed above, but only because Ms. Clark herself indicated that he should make a ruling on the appropriateness of her not having disclosed her association with Burrard, Translink and a subsidiary of RCI, which itself has a business relationship with BurrardComm.

Well, as you may have already surmised, Mr. J.P. Fraser is the son of Mr. P. Fraser who is the above-mentioned conflictyness commissioner.

And what, you may be wondering, is Mr. Fraser the younger up to these days?


Kai Nagata filled us in on that one in his recent Mark Marissen-approved piece on the Dogwood Initiative's website:

...Where is John Paul Fraser now, the former Enbridge lobbyist? He’s an assistant deputy minister, appointed to lead the government’s strategic planning team after helping Clark win her leadership campaign...

Put another way, the former Enbridge lobbyist, MMarissen business associate, and son of the current conflict commissioner is now a full-fledged member of the Clarklandian flack-hackery that is paid, not by them, but instead, by you and me.



Protestations from Ms. Clark herself, and from Mr. Marissen also, about Ms. Clark's lack of direct involvement with various companies and entities Burrard Communications has worked 'for' and/or 'with' in the past based on when she was 'hired', whether or not she was officially 'lobbying', and/or whether or not she, herself, was 'paid' are not the point.

And neither are the bleatings of local proMedia press poodles who say that everything is fine and on the up-and-up because of multiple such 'technicalities'.

Because what all of this demonstrates, regardless the technicalities is that these fine folks are now, and/or have been, at some level, all in this together.

And that's what matters.

And that, in my opinion, is what should be followed up and chased down by the local proMedia like it was a thousand million back-decks (built from the product of raw logs shipped back from overseas), coming down the mountains.



Monday, April 21, 2014

At The End Of The Day...It's Good To Know Where The Turf Is Laid.


Astroturf, that is.

The patch of fake, non-grassroots, plastic sod up for discussion today is a fine little pipeline boosting outfit called "British Columbians for Prosperity".

The fine folks laying this turf used to have 'International' in their name but Alison, who has done all the digging on this one, figures that was likely removed because they getting revved-up to start smearing environmentalist advocacy groups in an ethically oily manner for their ties to similar grass roots groups in the States.

Interestingly, it turns out that a certain 'crisis consultant' is apparently working for this particular group of turf layers:


Wonder if this will be noted by various and sundry on-air folks the next time the good Ms. Mills shows up on a CBC TeeVee or LongWave station near you to give her latest 'insightful' commentary on various and sundry goings on in British Columbia?

Personally, I won't be holding my breath for full disclosure from the MoCo....After all they have never, to the best of my knowledge, mentioned Ms. Mills involvement in a most interesting internet gaming initiative either....


This (Slow) Day In Snookland...The Return Of Turdstormer Bill.



Look who has been tweeting again...


Mimosas for Easter Monday Brunch while phone fiddling, perhaps?

Because the last time Mr. Bennett tweeted in such a manner one really had to wonder if he had climbed aboard the Twittmachine while tying one on, big time.


Meanwhile, in case you missed it amongst all the codswallopanarianistic deflector spin, Mr. Bennett has been doing a little of that 'straight talking' he is so famous for while explaining why the ALR as we know it must be dismantled.

Here is what he apparently told Bill Tieleman:

...Bennett was clear that he decided to change the ALR because he has been "listening to his constituents for 13 fucking years!"...


There you have it.

The rationale for Snooklandian policies of public destruction in a nutshell.


Tip 'O The Toque to reader S.H. for the heads-up on the latest twittscapade from Mr. Bennett.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

At The End Of The Day (Easter Morning Edition)...


...It's pretty weird to discover that your Mom has something in common with Marc Maron.


Despite the fact that I blather on about his work all the time, most of you probably have no idea who this Marc Maron guy is.

Which is neither here nor there, especially if you only come by looking for the politics talk.

But for the purposes of this post it's probably worth mentioning that Maron is about the same age as me,  is kind of neurotic and a bit of an obsessive-compulsive who just won't let things go. He also has a very strange relationship with guitars as well as stray cats, and he seems to want to know a little bit about just about everything there is to know about anyone and anything, anywhere.

Oh, and he is also the ultimate DIY guy who builds one of the most successful podcasts in the entire universe in his subterranean homesick bluesroomish garage twice a week.

He started the podcast a few years back out of necessity after the bottom fell out of his semi-successful show business career that began while he was an acolyte of Sam Kinison at the Comedy store in the late '80's.

And, luckily for him (and us that listen), Maron pretty much kicked all the stuff that Kinison got him into quite a longtime ago now.

Except for the nicorette lozenges, which he apparently sucks on constantly.

All of which brings me to the goings on at my parents' house last night.

We were sitting around in the living room half-watching the hockey on the TeeVee and playing made-up Password (just guess who gets to be Alan Ludden) which littler e. loves, and during a break in the action my brother, who is the real guitar player in the family, headed outside for a smoke...

As he went out the door our Mom yelled 'Why don't you try the nicorette candy!'

'Good idea,' I said absent-mindedly as I tried to think of the next set of clues.

'Well,' she said. 'It's what I do. In fact, I've got one right now.'

I had no idea.

I honestly thought she had quit cold turkey.

After that we watched the tail end of Easter Parade on PBS (Stevie Ray was already done for the night).

Mostly for the tap dancing given that that's e.'s real thing.


That and the trumpet.

(and I'm not joking)

A little later my brother and I got to talking about the time Oscar and Felix showed up on Password...The ultimate in early ABC cross-promotion, I reckon...Which reminded me that the love of Ludden's late life was none other than a pre-Susan Nivensized Betty White.
Actually, in the spirit of full disclosure, I should probably mention that, in addition to straight-up comedy and a hate-on for Lorne Michaels (who apparently passed on him in the early 90's), Maron also once worked the politics angle too....But even then there was a little time for fun and games.
It's almost 9:00am now on chocolate run Sunday morning and still nobody is up?....Geez...What's my family coming to?...Talk to you all later have a good third of four days...Speaking of which, 
The Third Man' post  is comin' promise (although Uncle Bob Mackin kinda/sorta beat me to it)...In the meantime, E. has me working on....This.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

This Afternoon In Snookland...Blame The Regulators.


Remember when our Premier threw Work Safe BC under the bus in the wake of a decision not to proceed with a criminal investigation into sawmills that keep blowing up for no good reason at all (i.e. because the owners of such mills can't be bothered to clean up the explosive wood dust on the floor).

Well, just in case you don't, here's a primmer from a piece by Gordon Hoekstra in the VSun published back in February:

...The premier said Thursday there will be no inquiry.

Clark took exception with WorkSafeBC’s handling of its investigation into the Babine Forest Products explosion on Jan. 20, 2012. The wood dust-fueled explosion killed Robert Luggi Jr., 45, and Carl Charlie, 42, and injured another 20 workers.

“I am deeply disappointed with how WorkSafe conducted this investigation,” Clark told reporters at a news conference on Thursday. “WorkSafeBC should have known what was required by the criminal justice branch in order to proceed with a case to court.”...


Now, just two months later we have this from Justine Hunter in The Globe:

The owners of the Lakeland sawmill in Prince George invested millions of dollars in recent years to boost production, but didn’t put the same effort into safety measures, an investigation into the explosion that killed two workers has concluded.

Greg Stewart, president of the company that owns Lakeland Mills, said Tuesday his company will embrace a culture of safety when a new replacement mill opens this fall, but maintained management “did everything reasonable to ensure our mill was safe.”...


No need for an inquiry here, no siree.

And certainly no need for more regulation, which Snooklandian jobs minister Shirley Bond also pooh-poohed back in March.


Just move along folks, 'cause we've gotta make sure we have the safest sawmills on earth.

Safest on earth for the cronies that is.

If you are interested in such things, you may want to go read the old Hoekstra piece, in full, as it contains some notable names in terms of blue ribbons and independent investigators and such...


This Day In Snookland...All Your Environments 'R Us.


Heard the latest?

Actually, you might not have because it was done without public consultation or debate.

Turns out that the Snooklandians have decided that those big projects most need to perform environmental reviews to make sure they don't harm the environment don't actually need to do so.

Perform environmental reviews I mean.

The VSun's Larry Pynn, who does good work, has the story. Here's his kicker:

...The province has exempted new and expanded ski and all-season resorts as well as sweet natural gas processing plants from scrutiny of the Environmental Assessment Office...


What's next....

How 'bout no board exams for surgeons in, say, private clinics because it's just too much of a hassle and it costs too much?


Of course, if you stand back a little you can see the big play here.

Which is to completely unshackle the cronies when it comes any impediment to any and all land rape whatsoever given what has already gone on with the advent of fungible park boundaries and the beginning of the end for the ALR.

Which, along with the total disregard for people who need a leg up, is what is really behind the smiley face of the conflictier-than-thou, crony-philantropist Premier. 


And one last thing....

...(Environment Minister Mary) Polak can still designate a project as reviewable where the “project may have a significant adverse environmental, economic, social, heritage or health effect and that the designation is in the public interest.”...

Feel better now?


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

At The End Of The Day...


...I just don't know how I feel about sharply rising gasoline prices in downtown Lotusland.


A couple of years ago now I let go of the VW (notso) Microbus.

And while I'm not sure our kids have yet forgiven me (or if they ever will), it did allow us to become a one car family

Which has forced me to either ride my bike or take the bus to and from work everyday.

So, the only time I ever drive, which is becoming rarer and rarer, is on weekends.

And last weekend I only drove once, to take the Whackadoodle out to the big spit that runs along the southern edge of the last bit of the northern arm of the big muddy.

Which meant that on the way home I noticed that gas had hit $1.49 a litre.

And while I know that hurts working folks that have to drive, and drive a lot, to and from work everyday I also know that it helps get some folks to do exactly what I did.

And I also know that it helps to force bigger changes to get folks to buy cars that don't use fossil fuels.

And that would be a good thing.


Usually, as you might have gathered, I can make up my mind about things.

On this one I just can't.

And ya, as you might expect, I do keep track and add them up...I'm now over the 10,000 km mark on the bicycle I bought two years ago last March...But that has nothing to do with the price of gasoline and more to do with the price of my sanity given that I find that that half hour or so each way is really helpful for science geek decompression every day.


If You Read Only One Story Today...


Go and read the real story of the life and times of Mr. Ian Reid.



Why We Are NOT Sour About The Sweet Deal For Ex-Lottery Boss Michael Graydon.


Last weekend the Globe published a column by the obvious one, Mr. Gary Mason, about how we should be up in arms about how we generously shovelled a severance pile Mr. Michael Graydon's way after he stepped down as the boss of the public's lottery watchdog and almost immediately turned up working for the fine folks from Vegas who are all set to begin building their Casino-Industrial Complex next to BC Place in downtown Lotusland.


How come the public is neither sour nor up in arms about all this?

I'll tell you why.

It's because of codswallop like the following, taken directly from Mr. Mason's column (careful you will use up one of your free monthly visits):

...Where does the average Joe get the kind of deal Mr. Graydon did: an $86,000 payout despite quitting BC Lottery Corp. He now heads off to work at PV Hospitality ULC, which has direct ties to Paragon Gaming Inc., the outfit behind a hugely controversial casino venture in downtown Vancouver...

Why is a passage like the above problematic codswallopanarianism?

Because the descriptor 'hugely controversial' as practiced by selective proMedia amnesiacs like Mr. Mason smooths things over and makes it look like the egregious severance deal for Mr. Graydon is nothing more than an isolated matter when it comes to this 'venture'.

Which, of course, it is not.

Which further begs the following question...

If Mr. Mason wants us to be truly upset about all the conflicty goings on between the provincial government, the BC Lottery Corporation, PAVCo, and Paragon, why doesn't he tell us that another former BC Liberal appointed chair of the BCLC was actually an investor in Paragon while he was STILL the actual chair of the BCLC?

And why doesn't Mr. Mason tell us that that particular former chair of the BCLC suddenly turned up as a Paragon partner soon after he quit working for us, in another capacity, as well?

And why doesn't Mr. Mason tell us that that particular former chair of the BCLC actually called up the then Liberal minister responsible for BC Place and told him that if we, the public, didn't spend half a billion dollars for the new roof that it might, apparently, be a 'deal breaker' for Paragon?

And while were on about all this, why doesn't Mr. Mason tell us about the super-secret, super-fast way the deal was handed, pre-packaged and pre-cooked, to Paragon in the first place?

And don't even get me started on how Mr. Mason was all upset about a one time pay-out of $86,000 but didn't even bother to mention the latest super-duper sweet-heart deal with Paragon that will cost us millions of dollars every single year in subsidies.


'Hugely controversial' indeed.


Just to be even more clear about why my outrage is directed to this particular column, it was titled 'Why we should be sour about the sweet deal for ex-lottery boss Michael Graydon'...


Monday, April 14, 2014

What's The Buzz?.... Tell Me What's A Happenin'.


From Jann ('You Move Like A Cat Marty') Wenner's cash cow:

Rock opera and musical theater staple Jesus Christ Superstar will see its Second Coming this summer, as Johnny 'Rotten' Lydon, Incubus' Brandon Boyd, *NSYNC’s JC Chasez and former Destiny’s Child’s singer Michelle Williams have all signed on for a 51-city arena tour launching June 9th in New Orleans...

{snippety doodle-dandy}

...Rotten/Lydon seemed intent to begin the theatrics several months ahead of schedule. After introducing himself by throwing two bananas at members of the press, the former Sex Pistol attempted to prematurely start a Q+A during the cast introductions. He was subsequently rebuked by one of the show’s producers. Later in the press conference, Lydon demanded a microphone to begin the Q+A again, but was played off the stage.

When producer Michael Cohl was asked if casting Lydon was a "bold move," the producer replied, "I think based on today's press conference, yes would be the answer. But he is a proven performer of decades of success and people love him, so it's different. But I think he was just filling another slot. If you look at pop culture singers, we've got four or five different slots and he fit well."...

And which character will Mr. Lydon/Rotten play?

Why, King Herod, of course.

Somebody really should make Malcom McLaren's ghost pay.

And just in case you want to get in on the Great Rock Opera Swindle...It will be in town on July 12th...


This Day In Snookland...If Only Our Schools Were Bollywood.


The chronic underfunding is finally really coming home to roost.

Stefania Seccia had the (follow-up) story in local edition of the MetroNews:

When Vancouver school board chair Patti Bacchus recently opened her computer, she was flooded with tweets, emails and messages about the potential classroom cuts schools are facing this year.

Bacchus said concerned locals and parents have been messaging her about the projected $26.6-million shortfall for the 2015-2016 school year and what it means for Vancouver classrooms. The public has until April 30 to comment and provide alternative options for what their community’s school board can do.

“I agree pretty well with everyone who writes me emails or tweets me,” she said. “The hard part is cutting (programs) because it’s what I’ve been fighting against all these years.”...


What does noted 1970's educational historian and current Snooklandian Education Minister Mr. Peter Fassbender have to say?

...Fassbender said he’s told school boards that they need to work together with the province and share the responsibility and challenges.

“I would tell parents, while I recognize the pressures, I think there is great education going on throughout our schools throughout the province and to be assured of the fact that dedicated teachers and administrators are working hard to ensure no child suffers,” he added...

And as for the current Premier herself?

What does she have to say, given that she started the neverending underfunding of public schools while she was the Knotty Gordian's E-Minister more than a decade ago?

Well, the run-on psycho-babble doesn't seem to be up on the CBC's website but I distinctly heard Ms. Clark saying something on the long wave yesterday afternoon about how, whatever happens, it can't hurt 'our kids'.

'Our' kids?

First, as we've pointed out before, this has nothing to do with 'her' kid, so she should stop saying 'our' when she continues to screw them, and us, over.

Second, if the VSB could figure out a way to have a massive, useless PR extragavanza that bought Ms. Clark a few votes and cost something in the neighbourhood of, say $30 million?


Then they might be on to something.


And, just how much public money do we give away, for free, to wealthy people so that 'their' kids don't have to hang around with the hoi-polloi (and so that they can make damned sure 'their' kids get to have both band classes and athletic teams)....Well, in case you've forgotten....It's $250 million...Every...single...year....Kinda/sorta makes mincemeat of Minister Fassbender's fatuous words, above, eh?


Sunday, April 13, 2014

If The Greedheads Hated The HST-Free Campaign, Just Imagine...

...What A Province-Wide Anti-Pipeline Referendum Would Do To Them?

Non herd member Jeremy Nuttall has the story in 24 Hrs. Here's his lede:

An environmental group is amassing a network of canvassers and threatening to force a referendum if Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline project is approved by the federal government.

The Dogwood Initiative said it’s exploring creating an initiative petition under B.C.’s Recall and Initiative Act and launched Saturday — the same day that Kitimat residents voted against the project in a non-binding plebiscite.

The Dogwood Initiative said it’s unclear how such a referendum would affect Northern Gateway as this is uncharted territory. But its energy and democracy director Kai Nagata said if a majority of B.C. residents voted “no” it would put intense political pressure on the federal government to change its mind, and on the BC Liberals to oppose it in some way, such as a court challenge....

And, while the bought-and-paid-for flying ethical oilermaker dilbitnutter surrender monkeys will almost certainly soon be screeching and flinging their foreign contribution pooh all our body politic, here's something I still want to know...

How much, exactly, did Enbridge spend trying bamboozle the good folks of Kitimat?



This Day In Snookland...Of Lemonade Stands And Insurance Corporations.


The disaster that is the five year-long ICBC billing SNAFU....

Bob Mackin follows up on the story first reported by The Province's David Carrigg yesterday:

....David Carrigg in The Province revealed on April 12 how ICBC will repay $39 million to customers it overcharged after a vehicle identification system glitch. Transportation Minister Todd Stone told Carrigg that the Crown corporation also undercharged $71 million, but won’t be recouping.

I have exclusive, new information below about this Autoplan botch-up of epic proportions that has been festering for more than half a decade.

A source told me that ICBC has been working for several months on the top-secret ”PINS” — Project INSurance — to right the wrong. The Insurance Pricing (Actuarial) and Predictive Analytics departments are involved in the project, which was triggered by a Freedom of Information request.

ICBC wanted to keep the SNAFU secret until summertime: letters to customers were supposed to go out in July. In the meantime, ICBC has been gearing up to upgrade servers and systems so that could handle a major onslaught of web traffic. Without a major capacity boost, crashes would have been inevitable. As it is, the news of the multimillion-dollar mistake will probably tax the system much sooner...

Go read Mr. Mackin's entire piece. It's good, it's thorough, and it is both whistleblower- and FOI-assisted.

Take that Mr. Coleman.


Bottom line....

Tens of millions lost to the public purse.


Meanwhile, the VSB is getting ready to cut the heart out of everything for want of something on the order of $12 million.

And the Premier's response?

Well, pretty much what you would expect from a person in power who will pretty much say anything.

(more on that tomorrow).

And here you thought the Golden Era was over.....

Can somebody remind me again who started ICBC?....And who got the boot heel of big multinational insurers off  of our necks?....And made us money too?....Was it the ol' Socreds?... or the Campbellarians?...or the Snooklandians?...or their Cronies....I think not....(all of which, of course, like the ALR, is why it must be destroyed).


So....How Much, Exactly, Did Enbridge Spend In Kitimat?


First, from the report by Cameron Orr in the Kitimat Sentinel:

Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines say they spent $9,600 in advertising for Kitimat's plebiscite, between print and radio ads.

That breaks down to $6,500 in print and $3,100 on radio advertisements....

Second, from (just one) of the comments attached to the report (go read them all):

...How stupid are we supposed to be to believe that Enbridge has only spent $9600. They brought in hired employees that were flown here Full page paper ads, Internet Ads, Radio ads, Let's not forget about their many, many large bulletin boards that were bought and put together by hired people. Plus they used the Post Office to mail out two fliers, one being a glossy five paged booklet...

Let's see if somebody does the real digging.

Why does this neverending obfuscation matter?....Well, the folks running the 'No' side have been totally upfront about their numbers and they were almost $15K...Don't know about you, but I can almost hear the 'foreign environmentalist' deck of ethical oil-bought cards being thrown into the wurlitzer's blades already...


The Calgary Herald: Dewey Wins!





No word, yet, whether or not the CHerald has since named Mr. Anders the new coach of the Calgary Flames.

Meanwhile....The result in Kitimat was never in question...And the turnout looks pretty good to...3071 out of approximately 4200 voters = ~73%...Next big thing...Will Enbridge tell us how much they spent, as promised (No side says they spent less than $15K).


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Saturday Night's Alright For (Cover) Fighting!...The Best Long Form Ranier Beer Commercial Ever.


And it was shot in KNovoselic's Mom's basement, circa 1988...

The cover I speak of comes at the 10:38 mark...


This Weekend In Snookland....As The Herd Doesn't Turn.


It was quite interesting to see how Matthew Millar's work was derided in some quarters, including one you might have expected, when his stuff on Ms. Clark's 'connections' first began appearing exclusively in the Vancouver Observer.

But that all changed when his blockbuster dropped in the NaPo a few days later.

Well, that and the additional documentary evidence Mr. Millar posted up....


Which of the big proMedia organs in Lotusland is finally cottoning on?

The VSun?

The VTC?

The Province?

The Globe?


To all...

So far....

Which leaves?

Why, none other than the Nanaimo Daily News:

Premier Christy Clark has to notice an increase in the temperature at her office in Victoria.

Clark is under scrutiny for her involvement as a director of a B.C. company she once chaired, that she has promoted since becoming premier a year ago, raising concerns from critics.

In a story in the National Post Wednesday, Matthew Millar explained the situation, pointing out that in 2007, Clark chaired RCI Pacific Gateway Education Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of RCI Capital Group, which she has actively promoted on overseas trade missions while serving as premier.

Clearly, this is not good news, and it comes on the heels of an Ontario legislative committee wanting to question Laura Miller, the executive director of the B.C. Liberal party, concerning a $1.1 billion gas plant scandal in Ontario.

Part of that current furor includes allegations of deleting information from computers in the premier's office, in which Miller worked.

Sounds like we might be coming to an abrupt end of the B.C. Liberals' post-election honeymoon period...


...British Columbians are starting to get restless.

Except for the odd photo op - surprise - one might wonder if Clark is even in the province. It's almost like British Columbia is running on auto-pilot...

Good on the NDN.

As for the rest of them?

Guess they'll keep on goin' on.

And where are they going, exactly?


How does 'oblivion' sound as a destination?

As for all that snark that was once coming fast and furious from that expected corner, pre-NaPo story?...Still crickets (as of noon on Saturday).