Friday, April 01, 2016

This Day In Clarkland...Deflector Spike Spin Writ Large.


If you want to know why the average British Columbian who doesn't have time to pay attention 24/7 doesn't know who to vote for based on actual party and/or candidate positions, you need look no further than how the local proMedia has covered this week's 'secret political fundraising' story.

And this problem was clearly illustrated by Stephen Quinn's CBC Early Edition interview with Justine Hunter of the Globe and Les Leyne of the VTC this morning (starts at the 2hr 16 min mark).

First, the background....Which is that the governing BC Liberals have been holding multiple super-secret, super high-priced influence peddling fests....errrr...'get togethers' wherein big donors can buy exclusive inside access to ministers and/or our fine premier. Of course the flipside of this background coinage is that John Horgan was at a similar get together in Toronto this week.

So, what did the world-weary Lotuslandian pundits have to say about all of this on one of the most reasonable radio programs in the province this morning?

They told us that, in reality, this is just the way things have always been and always will be unless things change dramatically.

But, in the meantime they also told us, our fine premier has thrown her latest shiny deflector spike spin bauble into the ring for the proMedia to tussle over.

And what does that shiny bauble say?

Well, it turns out that our fine Premier will maybe kinda/sorta/perhaps introduce some kind of real-time reporting of all the mega-dollars raised at all those super-up-close-and-personal insider-accessible get togethers (that will just keep on keepin' on in perpetuity).


What's missing from all of this?


Nowhere  in Ms. Hunter and Mr. Leyne's discussion with Mr. Quinn did the folks listening at home hear any mention of the fact that the BCNDP has previously tabled legislation to end this practice completely (both from corporate and union donors) and that they have announced that they plan to do so again next week.


To be fair, Ms. Hunter did mention the Dippers' attempts to deal with this legislatively in her Globe piece today. However, again, there was no mention of the fact that the Dippers' legislation, if enacted, would actually stop this practice dead in its tracks while what Ms. Clark is suggesting would do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to stop it...All of this is rather ironic given that the entire front end of the Leyne/Hunter discussion with Quinn this morning dealt with how BC now has the lowest minimum wage in Canada without once mentioning all of the  shiny BCL gov't baubles that have been thrown into the Lotuslandian proMedia maw over the past few months pretending that she and her government have actually done something about the problem while they actually did nothing...And that is the real issue here - nothing that Ms. Clark ever says or does is actually designed to do anything real. Instead, it is all designed to deal with what is politically expedient and/or good PR in the moment only.
And, for the record....Overall I much prefer hearing Mr. Quinn on the radio in the morning (in fact, I only tune-in to the MoCo in the morning when I know, in advance, that Quinn, and not the Cluffmaster Flash, will be there) but I think he flat out dropped the ball on this one.



Chuckstraight said...

One has to wonder what it is like to live in Christy Clark`s world. She came to Kelowna to announce a program re: invasive mussels, but never any mention of the poor slobs that had their jobs privatized, and apparently had some secret meetings for cash with "someone".
I, for one don`t want to know when the donations arrive, I want to see the end of corporate and union donations to political parties. I suspect the BC Liberals are scared shiteless of such a thing, as it would end their main source of finance.
I am also a union member.
As always, keep up the good work you do RossK.

J MacDuff said...

Ross, thanks for keeping this going and adding some truth to it. Les Leyne has been a real poster boy lately. I wrote him a missive on the ""CC ditched the HST". Sure, after spending 10 million dollars of our money fighting for it.
I can only presume that the "political" repeater are handed their story line and contents, then allowed to make it look good. Must be an unrewarding way to make a living. Shameful all round.

Anonymous said...

It seems after some very serious investigation and clearing all the legal ramifications and no doubt sleepless nights or mornings with no breakfast because you're knee deep into a Webster award type breaking news story.... the king of BC media Vaughn Palmer has finally come out with his piece on buying government with.... wait for it...... an depth story featuring how the NDP are guilty of such influence peddling and then the real news breaker in that same article.... the Premier of BC will solve the shady practice used by the NDP with......... " real time " updates.
Who else in this great big world would of thought of that ? Problem solved..... way to go Christy.

Guy in Victoria

Norm Farrell said...

What is generally completely lacking from pro-media accounts is an examination of the purposes behind political contributions.

Michael Smyth and Jon McComb spoke Thursday about political contributions as if Liberal and NDP fundraisings were comparable. They implied equivalence to Christy Clark raising millions from people who do business with government with Jon Horgan grossing $40K from sympathizers at a party fundraising event.

Beyond the scale of receipts, what can Horgan provide in relief? Royalty reductions? Tax holidays? Billion dollar contracts?

There is direct evidence that Clark received 7-figure donations from Murray Edwards and associates and provided his companies with protection from prosecution on the Mount Polley disaster and massively subsidized power (including the billion dollar NW transmission line) for his mining properties, like Red Chris.

Certainly, sitting governments have concrete rewards to deliver in return for contributions. Opposition parties have potential benefits IF voters subsequently elect them to government. Those are not the same directly but there is enough similarity to conclude that the public would be better served by removing the potential of corruption by contributions. The appropriate route is to ban corporate and institutional donations and to limit personal donations to some reasonable amount, say $250 a year.

The result would be that parties would be more responsive to members because they would depend on them for finances as well as organizational and campaign work. Individual legislative members and candidates would become less dependent on the provincial headquarters who, under the present system, control the significant budgets and therefore, the party's messaging.

The single best thing we could do to reinvigorate democracy is to remove the influences of big money.

RossK said...

And Norm wouldn't the NDP's proposed private member's bill go a long way towards doing that?

(and isn't the fact that this is NOT being talked about the real story here?)


Lew said...

The big money donated is largely spent on messaging through the very entities that aren't talking. Those entities are themselves controlled by big money. Neither a sitting government nor the major recipients of its influence peddling harvest are likely to support any significant change to their symbiotic relationship.

It must be very hard these days for a pro journalist or a government employee to get up every morning and tell that person in the mirror they're working in the public interest.

North Van's Grumps said...

"holding multiple super-secret, super high-priced influence peddling fests....errrr...'get togethers' wherein big donors can buy exclusive inside access to ministers and/or our fine premier."

Isn't that the same as Journalists being paid to give speeches to those politicians and big donors that they are suppose to be keeping in line?

RossK said...


As a point of fact, one of those entities of which you speak once partook in the giving of the big money.

But, then again, what's $50,000 amongst friends.


Norm Farrell said...

Our friends at Glacier Media (Times Colonist and almost 20 BC community newspapers) undoubtedly take no partisan positions and focus on delivering unbiased news and holding government accountable. But then again... what's $220,000 among friends.

Glacier Media (Sam Grippo)

Madison Pacific (Sam Grippo)

RossK said...


It all seems to be in the 'multiples'.

On returns, presumably.


e.a.f. said...

Come on guys, its not so much money. A house in Vancouver starts at $2M. What's $10K or $250K between friends. We're friends aren't we? Friends help friends, don't they?

its disgusting that a Chancellor of a public university is throwing fund raising dinners for a sitting premier. Lets at least try to look impartial before people start wondering what is being taught at the university. I for one would like her resignation. she isn't fit to hold this position.

The "real time" donation list does nothing. Its how they look like they're doing something but doing nothing. We all can come to our own conclusions regarding who donates what in this province. We don't need a list for that.

When queen of photo ops, chrsity, announced they would "fix things" by ensuring the vendors received the profits from "shadow flipping" she wasn't addressing the problem at all. She was just re-directing the profits.

Same old tricks from the same old "horses end" and people are still buying the same old "end product" sent to them by the "same old bird cage liner". So how different are we from the State of Alabama?

Quebec may have been christened "the most corrupt province in the country", but it was out there in the open. They were honest about their corruption. You pay me, I'll deliver this. In my personal opinion, at least Quebec was honest about its corruption. B.C. not so much.

RossK said...


It has always surprised me how magnifcient the multiples are for those who chose to 'pay-to-play'.

Regarding what the corpmedia pay bought back in the day (and what happened to those who refused to pay), I think this exchange of Charlie Smith going after then premier Campbell on the issue is illustrative...