Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Casino Industrial Laundry Complex (ctd)... The Super-Secret, Cone-Of-Silence Defense!


From Marcella Bernardo's recent CKWX report on goings on in the legislature:

As BC’s new government reviews allegations of money laundering at Richmond’s River Rock casino, members of the former Liberal government are being accused of letting it go un-checked.

Debate in the Legislature on Monday focused on whether the Liberals ignored evidence of criminal activity.

Longtime New Democrat and Nanaimo MLA Leonard Krog says a report recently made public by his government was deliberately kept secret by the Liberals last year.

“The fact is there was trouble in our system. People knew it and they didn’t do as much as they could have if they did much at all.”

Former Solicitor General Mike Morris, also a former Mountie, is suggesting the report may have been kept quiet to ensure an ongoing police investigation wasn’t compromised.

“The members have to be very cautious and very careful on what kind of information that they put out there, it could have a dire effect on the consequences of what could literally be a multi-million dollar investigation.”...

Sure thing, Mr. Morris - an investigation that has been going since, say,  2006?

Which would make it a cone-of-silence affair that has lasted for almost 12 years with, of course, a break in 2009 due to the active dismantling of an investigatory body with the ability to look into such matters by your very own government.



The fine fellow, and current supporter of the quintessential Quilchenean, quoted by Ms. Bernardo above was once...



Of the entire province of British Columbia.

And isn't all this legislatin' and debatin' 'n stuff going on 'round here, for literally weeks on end,  just crazy to behold?


Monday, October 30, 2017

Casino Industrial Laundry Complex (ctd)...ProMedia Club Member Asks Very Problematic Question.


From the Twittmachine feed of Mr. John O'Dowd, a 'senior' producer at the Corus/Global/CKNW  'lectronic media hydra-head:


If you hadn't been paying attention you might think that that the reason we didn't know what was going on way back when was entirely due to the machinations of super-secretive BC Liberal government politicians who bamboozled everyone until very, very recently.

But here's the thing.

Those who were paying attention, and we assume that local proMedia members who are paid to do so can be included that category, knew all about by 2010 at the latest.

How do we know this?

Because enterprising independents like Sean Holman left a record of what went down in 2009/10.

Some of it in pixel form.


Some of it in video form. 

In other words, there can be no excuses here because the evidence was out there and yet the great majority of proMedia Club members chose to ignore it.


I would even go so far as to suggest that many of those same club members are still ignoring it.



Sunday, October 29, 2017

Advantage BC: There Are Known Knowns...

...And Then There Are Things That Only Colin Hansen Knows.

From Rob Shaw's latest piece in the VSun on the massive corporate  tax give away program that the Dippers have ended and the BC Liberals are still fighting to keep on keepin' on:

...AdvantageBC, the non-profit association whose corporate members benefit from the tax refunds, said it was disappointed.

“I think it’s been a very valuable program,” said CEO Colin Hansen, a former Liberal finance minister who helped expand the program while in government. “And I know first-hand how effective it’s been to attract companies to B.C.”...

Which means, one would think, particularly if one were to take the former CBC Radio commentator at his word, that Mr. Hansen would be more than happy to show us (i.e. the people footing the bill) how and why he knows what he knows.

But, alas, that is not the case:

...AdvantageBC was sued by The New York Times over access to its annual financial statements earlier this year. Hansen said his organization provided the statements to the court, and the newspaper dropped its lawsuit, but AdvantageBC will not otherwise make the documents public.

Imagine that!


Saturday, October 28, 2017

We're Number 1!


Travis Lupick of the GStraight has the story.

Here is his lede:

Another housing-affordability study has placed the City of Vancouver in its top spot.

“With a median home sale price of $1,108,345 and a median family income of $63,944, Vancouver is the most unaffordable market in North America, more so than other expensive housing markets such as Manhattan and San Francisco,” reads a summary of the analysis.

The study by Point 2 Homes compared affordability in 50 cities in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. (New York City’s five boroughs were calculated as separate cities.)

Researchers looked at incomes and home prices to calculate affordability.

“With its insane affordability gap, Vancouver exceeds even notoriously inaccessible Manhattan, and all other North American markets,” the summary reads...


Is it possible that San Francisco and Manhattan  missed the boat on our fantastic new Whaling industry?

Of course, if that is the case it would very likely mean that California and New York don't have their own homegrown finest of the finiest fine political folks doing their best, by virture of their own deeds and actions, to clear the decks for said whaling.

Or some such thing.


Friday, October 27, 2017

How America Is Different From Canada (maybe)...No. 2468.


Earlier today we noted how, when it comes to our political culture and a women's freedom to choose, Canada is still quite different from the United States.

And I sure as heckfire hope that the following, as reported by Christine Hauser in the NYTimes,  is not something that is occurring in Canuckistan.

Or even North Dakota...

A public school board in Mississippi said this week that it would give students the option of reading the classic novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” — but only with a parent’s permission — weeks after it removed the book from the required curriculum for eighth graders.

In a letter dated Oct. 23, Scott Powell, the junior high school principal in Biloxi, Miss., informed parents that students could study the book in classrooms again starting on Monday.

“As has been stated before, ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ is not a required read for 8th Grade ELA (English Language Arts) students,” Mr. Powell wrote, according to a report in The Sun Herald newspaper.

“However, 8th Grade ELA teachers will offer the opportunity for interested students to participate in an in-depth book study of the novel during regularly scheduled classes as well as the optional after school sessions,” Mr. Powell said...


Somehow I don't think that the extremists' real problem with the book is the character development of Boo Radley.

To wit:

...Kenny Holloway, the vice president of the Biloxi (Mississippi) School Board, later told The Sun Herald that the book was still available in the library, but that the eighth-grade curriculum would use another book because some of the language “makes people uncomfortable.”..

Regardless, just like in proMedia punditry circles north and south of all North American borders, it turns out that the real reason that this kind of codswallopanarianism continues to flourish is because the acquiescent reflexive responses of good liberals who immediately cave to soft, cozy 'optional' extremism:

...Arne Duncan, the former secretary of education in the Obama administration, and others on Twitter, welcomed the reinstatement. “Good news!” he tweeted...



How Is Canada Different From America...No. 2,467...


Sure, there are lots and lots and lots of similarities.

But there are also a lot of differences.

And some of those differences still matter.


The following is from a blog post by the ever-vigilant Fern Hill:

...(W)ith the nearly unanimous passage of the Ontario "Safe Access to Abortion Services Act, 2017"....we see another fault-line in today's politics.

Even hard-line, self-avowed anti-choicers flee from actually voting on abortion issues.

The bill passed 86 to 1, the one being Jack MacLaren, former PC and now member of the Trillium Party.

Note that no Progressive Conservatives voted against it...


...It's hard not to conclude that an anti-choice stance is now so toxic to mainstream Canadians that a beleaguered leader like (Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown CANNOT even throw his social conservative supporters a bone in a vote that had a foregone outcome. 

And the so-cons are pissed.

Imagine that!


Thursday, October 26, 2017

October In The Railroad Road Hockey Earth.


Next week will be filled with rides in the goddamned cigar tube.

And at one stop there will be public speaking.

So this afternoon I left the lab a little early to get a haircut at my favourite shop on Dunbar directly across from the new Stongs, one of the last vestiges of the truly independent supermarket.


A half hour later the slanting sunlight bounced off the blanket of leaf colour covering everything when I swooped down off the Creme-Ville plateau and headed for home.

About half-way there, unhurried because it was still early,  I passed by the red brick walls of Lord Tennyson elementary school as the now dying light shimmied from orange towards pink.

And suddenly I was dumbstruck by the thought of a thousand lazy fall afternoons of road hockey with the nets hard up against the red brick walls of my own childhood.

Not to mention...

The first line from Kerouac's 'October In The Railroad Earth' that I have loved since the day I first read it:

"There was a little alley in San Francisco back of the Southern Pacific station at Third and Townsend in redbrick of drowsy lazy afternoons..."

Dig it.

'Twas the immortal Steve Allen on the piano above...And did you catch Kerouac's sonorous singing voice for a line-and-a-half about two-thirds of the way through?
Finally, just in case you missed it, Mr. Beer 'N Hockey had something important to say about poetry earlier today.


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Casinogate: Shutting Down IGET In 2009....There Was Paper.


As previously noted, in 2010 Sean Holman captured Mr. Rich Coleman, on video, saying that there was absolutely no government documentation to explain why he shut down the integrated illegal gaming enforcement team in 2009 because, and I quote, "I don't deal in paper" (see 3min 50sec of the embedded video). 


Sam Cooper of Postmedia has determined, unequivocally, that there was, indeed, paper:

B.C.’s illegal gambling task force was shut down in 2009 due to urgent “funding pressure” on the B.C. Lottery Corp., according to a confidential B.C. government memo obtained by Postmedia News.

The March 2016 memo for then finance minister Mike de Jong, is the first known document indicating the illegal gambling task force was disbanded by B.C. officials for financial reasons.

Also, the document suggests, in the aftermath of the unit’s closure, organized crime in B.C. has been able to increase its dangerous reach into both legal and illegal casinos, for the purposes of money laundering.

The document was prepared for de Jong by B.C.’s Gaming Policy Enforcement Branch. It says that from 2003 to 2009, the Integrated Illegal Gaming Enforcement Team (IIGET) investigated crimes surrounding “common gaming” houses, animal fighting, and bookmaking. The unit was not tasked with investigating money laundering in B.C.’s licensed casinos, the document says.

But IIGET managers in January 2009 filed a threat-assessment asking for an expanded role, and warning of the potential influence of organized crime in B.C. Lottery Corp. regulated casinos.

Instead, in April 2009, B.C.’s illegal gambling task force was disbanded...


Who, exactly, was the chair of the BCLC in 2009, and who did he later end up working for in the most conflicty of circumstances?

And, who, exactly, made the (alleged) decision to squeeze the BCLC's funding all those years ago?

Interestingly, an E-Division document that Mr. Holman unearthed all those years ago has much of the same language in it as the doc Mr. Cooper has unearthed, including the term 'exigent funding pressure' on the BCLC.
Mr. Coleman's claim to Mr. Holman in 2010 was that, based on the advice of his people, he shut down IGET because it wasn't working and that he was doing something better, instead. Since that time, demonstrably problematic transactions (i.e. the ones we actually know about) have skyrocketed.
Now, getting back to this hypothesis about what was really going down within GordCo, circa 2009 that I've been working on...Time to start connecting some magic carpet dots, that involved yet another former GordCo-appointed BCLC chair, I reckon.


Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Only Real Magic...

We, the geezers who occasionally back my oldest kid, have not played much of late.

Mostly because our cymbal and the drum pounder had his bass pedal foot surgically reinforced with titanium a few months ago.

But last week we got together and, for all kinds of reasons, they let me wail away vocally on a couple of Tom Petty songs.

And I've got to say...

Having that 18 year-old feeling come rushing back in, if only for a few caterwauling minutes, was one helluva gift to be given on the eve of my 58th birthday.


The next day I received an Email from a very different drummer who powered the garage band that the earlier version of my 18 year-old kid sang along with occasionally all those years ago.

And that once much younger beat-keeper reminded me that it was that first Heartbreakers album that finally got us off the Zeppelin and moved us towards more straightforward things that, in the end, were a whole lot more fun to plow through way back in 1977.

All of which is just another way of saying that the magic is in the doing, now matter how, when, where or with whom.

The following was recorded, pretty much trick-free, a few minutes ago together with the whackadoodle and her partner, the krazy santa hat kat, down in the subterranean homesick blues room (i.e. the basement):


Saturday, October 21, 2017

Who's Really To Blame For The Trump Presidency?


First, this, about the aiders and abettors of the Trump presidency by Ryan Lizza of the 'outraged', but still very well-heeled, New Yorker:

Anyone in politics or government who works for Donald Trump, whether on the payroll or in some other supporting role, is forced to make a sacrifice. Working for Trump means that one’s credibility is likely to be damaged, so there is a kind of moral calculation that any Trump supporter must make: Does working for him serve some higher purpose that outweighs the price of reputational loss?

There is a hierarchy of justifications for backing Trump. At the bottom are the spokespeople and purely political officials who are almost instantly discredited, because they are forced to defend the statements of a President who routinely lies and manufactures nonsensical versions of events. Sean Spicer learned this on his first day on the job, when Trump sent him into the White House briefing room to tell the press lies about Inauguration-crowd sizes. He never recovered...


Having read the above it's hard not to ask oneself,  'Who's fault is this entire Trump thing, really'?

The rednecks?

The know-nothings?

The downtrodden white slipping underclass?


How about none of the above?

Are you getting my drift here?


Friday, October 20, 2017

Anti-Document Dump Friday Must Read....Are We Doing Better With The Resource Extractors Already?


If you read one blogpost this weekend, head on over to Norm Farrell's and read his latest about how things have already begun to change (for the better!) in the Natural Gas sector.

Here's the teaser, in Norm's signature graphical format that makes things crystal clear:

Do you see what I see?


So, head on over to read the Norm's entire post.




It's one more thing that will help convince you or, more importantly, help you convince others who are still skeptical, that the voters of B.C. did the right thing back in May.


Like Norway, if we give the extractor's cost certainty with a decent (rather than rapacious) return, they will come and they will invest...And everyone will win...Which is exactly Norm's point I think (and he will most definitely set me straight if I've got that wrong).
Don't forget, we're still working on an independent public interest journalism project for the Merv Adey fund...The idea is to fund a young go-getter to give them the time and space to do some in-depth digging on a story of import (we're going to ask for proposals which we just might ask you all for feedback on before we make a decision on who/what  to commit funds to)....If you'd like to kick-in a little to help support the fund....Go Here....If you'd rather hear more details from me first personally send me an Email to pacificgazette at yahoo dot the two letter extension for Canada.


Has The Progressive Edge Of The Envelope Been Expanded On Vancouver School Board?



Did last week's Mike Bernier-driven election actually cause a progressive shift on the Vancouver School Board?

I, for one, sure hope so.

Regardless, I'm sure digging the prog-barbs that successful 'One City' candidate Carrie Bercic is tossing over the snark wall via the twittmachine:

Will it really make a difference?

Hard to tell.

After all, there is a weird 3Vision/3Green/2NoFunCouver/1OneCity split on the board, so it won't likely be a balance of power thing (unless a Green rump slits off and one of them does something really dum, kinda/sorta like what happened at the beginning last time).


A real progressive pulling, hard, could help make leaners do the righteous thing(s).



Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Great Casino Industrial Laundry Complex....First Charges Have Been Laid.


Sam Cooper of Postmedia has the details - go read his entire piece.

Here is the lede and a bit more:

Criminal charges have been laid against Silver International Investment, a money-transfer business that RCMP allege was involved in money laundering, had ties to underground banking and used suspected drug cash to fund Chinese VIP gamblers in B.C. casinos.

During the RCMP’s Project E-Pirate probe, Mounties allege they uncovered more than $500 million from a Richmond money-laundering service they said handled up to $1.5 million a day...


...In late August, at a Vancouver conference attended by law enforcement officials, RCMP Insp. Bruce Ward outlined the details of E-Pirate. The investigation started with surveillance of gambling and cash drops at River Rock Casino, documents say, which led to Silver’s cash house, about a 10-minute drive away.

Ward said RCMP surveillance identified 40 different organizations linked to Asian organized groups dealing cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. Gangsters were delivering “suitcases laden with cash” to Silver’s cash house.

At Silver, dealers could drop off $100,000 in cash in a suitcase, Ward said, and within minutes a credit for $95,000 would appear in a Chinese bank, after a five per cent fee was taken for the laundering and transfer service...


Describing a typical cash drop, (RCMP Inspector Bruce) Ward said: “They would put $100,000 into a hockey bag, show up at the casino, and give (the VIP gambler) $100,000 …



I do not recommend you read the comments attached to the bottom of Mr. Cooper's piece as many of them are filled to bursting with xenophobic bombast.

Which, on the flipside, leads me back to what I feel is the heart of the matter, a topic that Mr. Cooper grazes in the following passage:

...On Wednesday, Chuck Keeling, an executive with River Rock’s operator Great Canadian Gaming Corp., said he was not aware of charges laid in the (RCMP's) E-Pirate investigation, and he was not able to comment...

Not aware....

Of the charges.

Sure thing.

But as to the actual laundering that has been going on on a massive scale in one of his decidedly onshore super great Canadian casinos?

Well, too bad the good Mr. Keeling couldn't comment on that.

And don't forget about the homegrown dismantling of the overseers of such laundering such that the latter could expand dramatically, and demonstrably beginning in 2009.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017



Riding a jam-packed bus to work this morning (even I don't ride my bike when the rain is coming down at the rate of millimetres per minute) I couldn't help but notice that all the kids hunched over around me were sporting Samsungs...The beginning of the end of Mr. Jobs' dominant party-line echo perhaps?

A guy I went to gradual school with way back in the dark ages (i.e. long before CRISPR was a glimmer in the late, great Michael Smith's brilliant, site-directed eyes) showed up at my office door, unannounced today...In addition to a little science, he wanted to know where the heck B-Lot went.

Norm Farrell and I are working with Merv Adey's family and some other folks on a new journalism project to honour and extend Merv's work...It's something we're pretty excited about...If you'd like to kick in a little to help make it happen Norm's got all the details up at his place.

Bigger E. and I have embarked on a musical recording project that we hope to have ready in both physical and digital downloadable forms in time for Christmas...As such, she wanted to hear my version of this classically cosmic Gram Parsons/ Emmy Lou Harris tune before we give it a serious try ourselves...

And, just in case you were wondering...The concept for the post is swiped, kinda/sorta from one of may favourite sports columnists, the SF Chronicle's Bruce Jenkins, who himself, I think, probably got the idea from Herb Caen....Anyway, here is one of Jenkins' last, best gems that, at the very least, will be appreciated by my old editor from days of yore...
Photo credit...


How Much Dirty Money, Exactly, Is In BC's Golden Era Economy?


Investigative Postmedia reporter extraordinaire Sam Cooper figures it's in the billions.


Here is the link to the CPress' LChangxing story published/archived at the MoCo's lotuslandian division.


Monday, October 16, 2017

WTF? - Vancouver Civic Politics Edition


From J. McElroy's round-up on Saturday's Vancouver Bye-Bye on the MoCo's pixel page:

..."It's a great victory for working people in this city, who have struggled for a long time," said [the NPA's victorious 28 percent solution candidate Hector] Bremner, whose resume includes running for the B.C. Liberals in the 2013 election and working for cabinet minister Rich Coleman (responsible for, among other things, housing policy) afterwards...

I have nothing more to add.

(he typed, mouth agape)

My own Pete Kelly-assisted take on the by-election results is....Here.
Stuff in the square brackets in the quote above is mine for clarification and context and all that.


What The Heck Is An 'Illegal Cash House'?


From Sam Cooper's latest:

...The findings shed more light on processes within B.C. casinos that may have allowed casino money-laundering, as alleged in an RCMP probe. Postmedia News has reported that investigators believe organized criminals loaned suspected drug cash from an illegal cash house in Richmond to VIP high-rollers recruited from Macau...

And on top of all that we are shocked!, shocked! I tell you to learn that whaling (with proxy pilot fish and everything!) has been going on in at least three (named) casinos (plural).


Sunday, October 15, 2017

The (Not So) Big Win For The BC Liberal Farm Team In Vancouver's Bye-Bye.


Why was the NPA's victory in the Vancouver by-election actually a loss?

Blogmeister Pete Kelly explains:

...Geoff Meggs resigned his council seat to take a senior position as John Horgan's chief of staff. So a by-election was held to replace him. 27%* of the 10% eligible voters chose the NPA's candidate. Pretty underwhelming of a mandate. But, a decision nonetheless.


...The other 73%* are voters, candidates, parties that are centre and centre-left...


...If the NPA are representative of the centre-right in BC as well why could their united-right party could only muster 27%? This "win" is so weak, its almost is a loss.


For the next 48 hours or so get ready for the rooster-crowing of the Marky-Markists who have wormed their way into the roledexes of the fine folks that produce the likes of the Puffmaster Flash, et al.

But have no fear because, in the end all this means is that the Farm Team has nothing, except of course, for the NoFunCouver dead-enders that will follow them to heckfire and back unless, of course the ghost of until the ghost of Terrific stops haunting the halls of the Bayshore Inn and appears as an apparition above Lost Lagoon.

*Actually 28/72.

It's also important to realize that, when it comes to by-elections in this town, the vote skews, as Raymond Tomlin pointed out the other day, heavily Creme-Ville.
Of course this result also means that Developer Party No 2. is likely in  big, big trouble down the road because anybody with a progressive bone in their body (myself included) deserted them...This is doubly true for both Developer party's  if we don't get some real campaign finance reform at the civic level before the next General.
Weirdly, it looks like the only party with any bounce out of this thing is the Greens who took the top three School Board slots...But in actuality even that was weirdly split all over the place.
Tip O' The Toque to Rabbi David Mivasair for the image at the top of the post.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Who, Exactly, Enabled The Drug Money Laundry? The Victoria Times Colonist Takes An Important First Step Down The Path Of Non-Forgettery.


The VTC published a very important editorial today in which they noted the following:

...It’s been known for some time that casinos offer an attractive way to cloak the proceeds of crime. Gang members can claim they came by their cash playing poker.

But it appears casino-based laundering is far more extensive than was previously understood. It also appears Christy Clark’s former administration knew the facts for some time and failed to respond effectively.

In 2015, Clark’s government commissioned a report on the relationship between organized crime and casinos. But when it became evident the contents were explosive, the report was quietly buried...

This is an important first step at demonstrating a functioning promedia short-term memory organ.


If they could just engage a little longer-term memory and go all the way back to, say....



Friday, October 13, 2017

All (Very) Quiet On The Quick Wins Front...


Why are things so quiet?

Well, it turns out that the good Mr. Brian Bonney has taken one for the BCL team and pleaded guilty to something or other.

Keith Fraser of Postmedia has the story, such as it is.

Here is Mr. Fraser's lede:

A former Liberal government communications director quietly entered a guilty plea to one count of breach of trust on Thursday in the so-called quick wins scandal from the Christy Clark era.

Brian Bonney, who once worked on Clark’s Liberal leadership campaign, entered the plea to the criminal charge before provincial court Judge David St. Pierre in Vancouver...


What was it that Mr. Bonney did that resulted in the charge that he is now copping to?

According to Mr. Fraser's story it really wasn't much. Something relatively innocuous that had something to with a by-election 'donation' that wasn't quite kosher back in 2012:

...Election Act charges arising from the same RCMP investigation were laid in 2014 against Bonney, co-accused Mark Robertson and a numbered company. Those charges related to allegations stemming from a byelection in 2012. The charges were dealt with in May 2016 after the numbered company entered a guilty plea to one count of making/accepting a political donation.

The company, which did business as Mainland Communications, was fined $5,000 and the remaining charges were stayed. Bonney was the president of the company.


I seem to recall that there was all kinds of stuff that swirled around the capping-of all things 'Quick Winning' at the time that just might have come up again if Mr. Bonney had chosen to go through with a trial instead of copping.

Something about an Email that the good Mr. Bonney wrote about a potentially disgruntled staffer that they were worried might blow the whistle or something...

Hang on a second while I go into the archives and have a look....

Ahhh, yes, here it is....

..."Have [BC Liberal MLA] Harry Bloy meet with her and explain how doing anything would damage the Premier and the party. Have him say how he will try to find her work and get her back involved... If need be, offer x dollars per month to do non public work up to election [developing her database of potential supporters]."...

That 'her' in Mr. Boney's Email turned out to be a staffer who did the right thing and blew the whistle anyway.

Cassidy Olivier nailed that one down in The Province back in the day:

...Sepideh Sarrafpour, a former government liaison contractor and one-time honorary liaison to former multiculturalism minster Harry Bloy, confirmed to the Province that she was the person referenced in a government email the subject of heated debate this week.

“Yeah it is me,” Sarrafpour told The Province Tuesday. “They were talking about me.”...

Given all that, perhaps now is the time to get specific (rather than all innocuous 'n stuff as Mr. Fraser's story was above) about what, precisely the charges against Mr. Bonney and his company were:

Imagine that!

And one more thing (re: that lede from Mr. Fraser quoted above).... The good Mr. Bonney did much, much more than just  'work on (Christy) Clark's (BC) Liberal leadership campaign'....For example, in addition to being the very fine Mr. Bloy's Comms Director on our dime (again we're shocked!, shocked! I tell you, that the Dipper's have since hired their own folks to do similar things) he was also named in the Quick Wins origin document (a.k.a. 'The Spreadsheet').
To give credit where absolutely none is due....Mr. Fraser's is not the only proMedia report that is doing its part in the invocation of  the silence of the forgetting of what was really and truly at the core of this thing....which, of course would be the 'offer her x dollars per month' bit to keep quiet in the original Email...


Thursday, October 12, 2017

What Is To Become Of Young Vancouverites?


I know this guy...

He's a pretty young guy who is the partner of one of my wife's musical theatre friends. He is also a helluva a bicycle mechanic.


I guess you could say he's my bike guy.

And yesterday I dropped by his place after work, which is one of those nice low-rise apartment building's just off Main in the 'teens, and noticed that there was a 'For Sale' sign out front with a 'Land Assembly Possibility' banner slapped across it.

Which meant that, after I was done paying my bike guy for trueing my rear wheel, as is pretty much inevitable in this town, we got to talking about the following:

"...Vancouver is ranked among global cities most at risk of a housing bubble for the second time this year as the cost of a typical single-family home surged to a record $1.6 million, about 20 times the median household income. The seemingly relentless run-up has defied attempts to cool it, including a 15-per-cent tax on foreign buyers imposed by the previous, Liberal-led government last year..."


Anyway, here's the thing...

My wife and I, despite the fact that we were a little late to the Vancouver Real Estate bubble party-party, we are very, very lucky to be a part of a group of folks, who are mostly of a certain age (or older) in Vancouver.

Because after trying like heckfire to help get two co-ops started, one of which was killed by GordCo at the last minute, we bit the bullet and bought our bungalow on the near Eastside back in 2005, which means we paid (the then crazy/astronomical amount of) $440K for it (and the 33' X 120' chunk of dirt).

That chunk of dirt (not the bungalow itself) is now 'worth' about $1.6 million on some paper ledger thingy somewhere.

Which is all fine and good if we could cash in and move away tomorrow (which we can't).

But, much more to the point, what are my bike guy and his partner, who works for the big credit union in town, going to do when they're evicted by the assembyists?

Or my kids?

Or all those teachers that we need to hire?

Or just about anyone of our fellow citizens who actually does real things in this town?



I don't want anybody who came to the party even later than us (who is not a speculator) to go seriously under water but I'm really starting to wonder if the only way we are going to hold on to our city (and, most importantly, the young people in it) is if we do some wilful bubble popping.

Of course, if we do this in any serious way that it actually makes a real difference, there is no way there won't be some short term economic pain also.

But seriously, what is the alternative?

That's not to say that I don't agree that we should also go hog wild on reinvigorating co-op and social housing, it's just that I honestly don't think that will be enough (and that it will be harder and harder to do) if the bubble keeps expanding.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

They Built This City...

...On (The River) Rock And Laundered Money.

Sam Cooper's latest on the big money bundling of Whaling and Real Estate is up at various and sundry Postmedia outlets.

Here is his lede:

A background review of hundreds of VIP gamblers at Richmond’s River Rock Casino in 2015 found that the highest proportion of players involved in large and suspicious cash transactions worked in real estate, according to a confidential memo obtained by Postmedia.

The memo did not state whether these gamblers work in B.C.’s or China’s real estate sector.

The Aug. 2016 internal review — filed to B.C. Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch compliance director Len Meilleur — was conducted to examine the amount of cash flooding through “high-limit” VIP rooms at River Rock, and the extent to which high-rollers could buy chips with small bills and cash out with big bills. This process is known to anti-money laundering investigators as “colouring up” and can allow gamblers to deposit suspected drug-cash $20 dollar bills in casinos and walk out with bundles of $100s which appear to be clean money suitable for banking and investment, experts say.

The Aug. 2016 memo examined $243 million in total cash buy-ins for all of 2015 at River Rock and provides the most detailed picture yet of the characteristics of high-limit VIPs at the centre of growing concerns in B.C. casinos...


Who was it, exactly, again, who helped clear the decks for this type of behaviour?

And does anyone really think it is limited to a single rockin' and rollin' casino in Richmond?


Hey, Lotuslandians (Central Division)....We've Got A By-Election Coming Saturday!


If you live in the City of Vancouver you can vote for one councillor (to replace he who has dearly departed for Dipperland, GMeggs) and the entire schoolboard slate.

Find out if you're registered to vote....Here.

And if you're not, but have lived here for six months you can fill out this form and take it with you, unsigned, to your closest polling place (which you can find here).

A little analysis of who's who and what's what to follow, maybe, depending on how much work I can whack out of the way this week.
Why did I fiddle and fuss about this myself?....Well, the CoV, in it's wisdom decided not to send out voting cards which had me worried about my own status...Gosh, is it possible that someone kinda/sorta wants to keep the turnout backlash down?


Sunday, October 08, 2017

A Local Journalist Actually Asks Rich Coleman Why He Helped Shut Down The Integrated Illegal Gaming Enforcement Team.


Too bad the journalist concerned, Sean Holman, did the asking not yesterday or last week, or even last spring, but instead way back in 2010:


It sure would be interesting if Mr. Coleman could now tell us (i.e. in 2017) what, exactly, he  did to  'do it better' than the team he dismantled in 2009 given the following statistics provided by Sam Cooper in his most recent Postmedia piece that was published yesterday?

...In 2010-11, (BC Lottery Corporation) reported 491 suspicious transactions to Fintrac; in 2011-12 there were 837; in 2012-13 there were 939; in 2013-14 there were 1,254; and in 2014-15, there were 1,737 suspicious transactions reported to Fintrac, the documents say...

Of course, the journalist who had the guts and get-up-and-go to actually ask the question, and challenge Mr. Coleman to get him on the record, was none other than Sean Holman. As we've mentioned (to use the good Mr. Coleman's own words from the video above) 'again and again and again', Mr. Holman's Public Eye's archives are an invaluable historical record of all that GordCo was up to during its 10 year reign of error after error after error.
Note that, in the interview above, Mr. Coleman explicitly states that there is absolutely no documentation of why he did what he did because...."He doesn't deal in paper".
TipO'TheToque to Laila on the Twittmachine for bringing this up - the thread that follows is worth looking at....Especially the part where Laila notes that, despite Mr. Coleman's claims about 'paper', his admission that there were Emails indicates that there must have been (at least before the great deleting began in earnest) an actual pixel trail that could have been turned into paper right then and there.
Again, my hypothesis on why so much happened in 2009 is coming...And it has nothing, specifically, to do with eventualities in Richmond.


The Fun I Had On A Saturday Afternoon.


I had no agricultural crops, or even backyard beans, to bring in this year.

But it turns out that I inadvertently planted a seed recently when I asked Bigger E to help me out with a new musical project.

And yesterday afternoon she returned the favour when she asked me to come and play with her in downtown Victoria on the edge of Market Square.


Did we ever have fun especially when E. somehow managed to segue out of a John Darnielleish version of 'I Saw The Sign' straight into perhaps the greatest street musician's rave-up possible, 'Frankie's Gun'.

Of course, just like in the old days, we started with our historical warm up from Mr. Zimmerman...

And if you've ever wondered how, exactly,  even the most hackneyed of a Top 40 song can pretty much transcend everything in the mind of just the right listener at just the right time, click through on the 'Sign' link above.


Saturday, October 07, 2017

When, Exactly, Did The Whaling Of British Columbia's Casinos Begin?


From the latest piece by Sam Cooper in today's VSun:

"...The new documents reveal that in 2016 then-finance minister Mike de Jong was warned River Rock Casino was allegedly under-reporting suspicious and large cash transactions “contrary to federal regulations and BCLC policy.” De Jong was warned money laundering concerns could open the B.C. Liberal government to criticism for deciding in 2009 to disband B.C.’s integrated illegal gaming enforcement team..."

Which, again, brings us back to this old chestnut from the invaluable archives of Sean Holman's Public Eye, circa October 2009:

The former commander of British Columbia's now-defunct integrated illegal gaming enforcement team is questioning the provincial government's commitment to "meaningful" illegal gaming investigations. Speaking exclusively with Public Eye, Fred Pinnock also described the RCMP's senior management in British Columbia as demonstrating "willful blindness" when it comes to the connection between illegal gaming and organized crime. And he said his provincially-funded RCMP team should have been expanded - not shutdown...


...In fact, seven months after Mr. Pinnock's retirement, the team - which received its funding via a BC Lotteries sponsorship agreement - was quietly shutdown, its April 1, 2009 closure marked by nothing more than a footnote in the Crown corporation's financial statements.

The government has said it was more efficient for its enforcement branch inspectors to work directly with local police on illegal gaming issues...


What, exactly, did the BC Liberal government's 'enforcement branch inspectors do that was so efficient that it resulted in the following according to Mr. Cooper's VSun story?

...In 2010-11, BCLC reported 491 suspicious transactions to Fintrac; in 2011-12 there were 837; in 2012-13 there were 939; in 2013-14 there were 1,254; and in 2014-15, there were 1,737 suspicious transactions reported to Fintrac, the documents say...


Why is this not top a top-of-the-newscast/above-the-fold-front-pager for every single major media organ in British Columbia?

Sam Cooper, himself, states on the Twittmachine
that asking folks like the good Mr. Coleman (who was in charge at the time)  about their past actions does not matter given that documentary evidence matters more...While I agree that documentation does matter most, I also strongly feel that getting someone on the record explaining their past actions in such cases also matters (particularly at the back end of the thing when all the documents are in - and clearly they are rolling in).

And, as for the question posed in the sub-header?....I have an hypothesis...Wait for it.


The Whine Of The Ancient Turdstormer.


From the fine fellow formerly in charge of all things energy, etcetera...




Friday, October 06, 2017

SiteC....Now I Get It: Official Reports On Actual Events Count More Than The Actual Events Themselves.


I remember the reports from last winter from folks on the ground about the cracks in the banks of the Peace River being a real problem with the dam(n) building preparations.

But mostly I remember the photographs.

Photos like this:

And I also remember that the implications of these cracks for things like missed deadlines and cost overruns (not to mention outright safety) were widely discussed on the blogs, especially over at Laila's place.

Weirdly, however, there was little discussion of all this in the proMedia at the time.

Which is something that really confused me given how important this appeared to be, even for someone as geotechnically challenged as myself.

But I think I understand all that now.


Because, as is very much in evidence in Mr. Palmer's latest column, pushished today in the Vancouver Sun, nothing is real for the local proMedia types covering such matters until and unless it is written up in an official report.

To wit:

...The (Site C) contract, over budget and behind schedule from the outset, has been eating through its share of the project contingency fund at an alarming rate.

But just as those details were being made public last week via an uncensored copy of a report by Deloitte LLP consultants, senior B.C. Hydro executives were meeting with the main civil works contractor.

The Sept. 27 showdown focused on a series of problems, mainly arising from two tension cracks on the left bank of the river.

The first crack opened up in February, forcing a 10-week delay in construction. Barely was that contained when a second crack opened up on the same bank in early May.

“Work continued in the area until July 2017 when it was stopped by wet weather,” according to B.C. Hydro’s followup to the O’Riley letter.

“B.C. Hydro and the contractor worked collaboratively to develop a solution to remediate the second tension crack and the contractor commenced these remediation efforts, but production through August and September was below plan.”

B.C. Hydro and the contractor then tried to recover lost time via a joint review of the construction schedule. But the effort failed to reach a consensus.

“The review identified options to maintain river diversion by 2019, but the parties were unable to reach agreement on the schedule, options and allocation of cost.”...


The myopic blinders of officialdom, it would appear that they burn.

Or at least obscure all acknowledgement and/or understanding of actual events such that no political price is paid for what those actual events actually mean at the time that they actually happen.

If you get my drift.

Put another, snark-free way....Why does this myopia really matter?....Well, ask yourself the following...What if the BC Liberals had prevailed in May and there had been no change in officialdom?....Would this mean that Dean et al. (and thus the great majority of the the BC citizenry) would still think that everything is going along swimmingly with Site C?... If your answer, like mine is 'yes', you will also understand that this means we would be buying yet another SparklePony fantasy all over again, except this time with real money....And, here, right on schedule, is a little proof to stir into that pudding.
A smaller,  tangential question has just popped into my half-empty suitcase of a pre-Thanksgiving weekend mind...Will these new fangled 'official' releases lead Mr. Palmer to re-think his previously stated position that the firing of the Golden Era BC Hydro CEO by the Dippers was a lousy idea?...For the record, here is the editorial kicker from the Dean's column at the time (i.e. July 2017): "....(Hydro CEO Jessica) McDonald departs with a severance package of half a million dollars and every likelihood that she’d land a position elsewhere that will make Horgan look ridiculous..."
Finally, if you want a better, more in-depth  analysis of what the latest Site C revelations actually really do mean, go read Norm's latest.


Thursday, October 05, 2017

Never Mind The Troll Trucks And Other Trivialities...



"...We’ve got bags of dirty money. Literally millions of dollars that is probably raised by selling illegal drugs that are fueling the opioid crisis are being gambled and “laundered” at B.C. casinos. Then they are sometimes invested in real estate in B.C., fueling the housing affordability crisis..."


Two questions...

Why is this not the top of every single newscast 24/7?

Why is no one in the local proMedia asking the fine folks who were in charge and making policy at the time how, exactly, things got to be this way?


Monday, October 02, 2017

The Keef Report....Spewtrifaction Action, Jackson.


Sure it's bizarre.

In the extreme.

But, then again, according to the time stamp it was posted after 9 pm on a Saturday night.


Gosh, I wonder if he who counts his followers (and, much, much worse, spews on others deemed to have too few) was actually peeved by the fact that Norm's tweet sat at or near the top of the #bcpoli preferred list for most of the weekend?
Previous Keef Reports, and there have been many, can be found....Here.
And the first rule of said Ledge Club?....Thou shalt not diss the work of fellow members....As for 'Idiot Bloggers'?...Well.
There is a Club?...You bet there is (he said as non-hatefully as possible).


Did NDP Supporters Help Mr. Simpson Do The Right Thing On Bus Passes For Disabled?


It would appear that the answer to the question in the header to the post just might be yes:


A while back I dipped my toe into the water on this issue on the Twittmachine and got at yelled at, reasonably loud and hard, by a small cadre of Dipper supporters who were upset that non-insiders (who don't really understand how thing work) were making the new government look bad by having the temerity to speak up.

But that was nothing compared to the pushback against those folks who were really out there advocating for the disabled loud, long and hard.

And two of the most ferocious of those advocates were Laila Yuile and Delphine Charmley.

But as time passed and the advocates kept pushing (which led, at least in part, to  the proMedia coverage that Ms. Charmley garnered - for all the right reasons) you could feel a change in the zeitgeist that got me to thinking of that (perhaps apocryphal) quote from Franklin Roosevelt:

"I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it."

Call me crazy, but I think a whole of good folks, many of them Dipper supporters, just helped Mr. Simpson (and, presumably Mr. Horgan et al.) do what Mr. Roosevelt (allegedly) asked his supporters to do.

Which, to my mind, is the way things are supposed to work.


The fact that moderate, centrist supporters of the BC Liberal gov't were never listened to, especially early on when the slashing and burning started in earnest, was one of the reasons I came to see them as completely intransigent...And then, as things moved from GordCo Inc. to Clarklandia it seemed that the KloutKlub screamers made sure that the moderate voice was completely suppressed...
Link to Richard Zussman's tweet at the top of the post is here...Mr. Zussman also has the best breakdown so far on how things will work...here.


Sunday, October 01, 2017

Has The Middle Already Disappeared From Lotusland?

I'm not really sure.

However, I do know that in my business, where the compensation packages are healthy (thanks in large part to the longstanding concerted efforts of a  professional 'association' many of my colleagues refuse to call a union), cost of living issues make recruitment incredibly difficult. Given that, how does a family where the parents are school teachers or bus drivers, or dental assistants even begin to make a go of it?

This is something that Stephen Quinn has been thinking and talking about recently. Yesterday, he wrote about it too. Below is his lede, but I highly recommend you click on through on this one so that you can read the entire thing:

Earlier this month, when my 8-year-old returned to school to begin Grade 4, four of his friends were gone. The twins had moved to Ottawa, and his buddy, who has shared after-school care with him since he started school, went off to Vancouver Island. The family of the fourth boy moved to Nelson. All of them lived within walking distance of his east-side school. All of their parents were gainfully employed professionals. I don't know the details or the motive behind each of the moves, but this week when I moderated a panel discussion for UBC called "Can we raise children in Vancouver?" I thought immediately about the decision those parents had made...

ersonally, I enjoy reading Mr. Quinn's satirical bits in the Globe but, given his insight and empathy, I like it even better when he plays it straight...I think we could use more of that from our local proMedia these days....Much more.